Tuesday, February 7, 2012

So long, and thanks for all the fish!

Yep, I think my blogging time is done for the moment. Three different experiments in three years gets tiring! But I've definitely had fun. This has made me look at movies much like how I used to. I've enjoyed sharing my critical eye and making this into an exercise in brevity.

I'm certainly not abandoning the blog completely, though! I'll be back every once and awhile, if some movie (or TV episode or book - I'm being limiting this time) catches my eye more than most and I feel like writing about it. Definitely be sure to expect something around the time The Hunger Games and The Avengers come out!

Until then, watch some movies for me :-)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Snow Falling on Cedars (1999)

Netflix Streaming over 2/4/12 and 2/5/12
This movie is boring. I'm sorry, but it's true. I have heard that the book is pretty awesome, and I fully intend to read it, but framing action around a courtroom drama that lacks on the drama is not a great way to set up your story. I think that the backstory - the love between Ishmael and Hatsue when they were children and young adults, plus the sequences in the internment camps - is far more interesting. I wanted more of that, instead of James Cromwell in an awful, bushy beard and Max Von Sydow bickering back and forth in the courtroom.
My Netflix rating: 3 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 135

Friday, February 3, 2012

Drive (2011)

Netflix DVD on 2/2/12
Considering all the buzz that surrounded this movie when it was out, it was pretty disappointing. It is definitely bloody and very graphic (shotgun blasts at point blank range to the head, for example) and there's some shock value there, but other than that, it's a little meh. Ryan Gosling is great and Albert Brooks too, but for me, the standout was Bryan Cranston as the garage owner/mentor. Carey Mulligan was barely in the film at all, despite what trailers suggested, and I'm not totally sold on Ryan Gosling's character making the jump so easily from getaway driver to hit man.
My Netflix rating: 3 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 134

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Shame (2011)

The Nick with Lauren on 2/1/12
Again with the no plot! Michael Fassbender (mmm, mmm) is convincing in his incredibly subtle performance as a sex addict, and Carey Mulligan is disturbing as his falling-apart sister, but nothing happens! The characters end up in the same place they started out in. The plot is really only a situation. There is a lot of nudity. I find it interesting that male full frontal nudity nearly always gets an NC-17 rating, while female nudity shows up in PG-13. I know that I'm not the first person to point this out, but everyone just needs to relax about the full frontal.
My Netflix rating: 2 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 133

Happythankyoumoreplease (2011)

Netflix Streaming over 1/31/12 and 2/1/12
This must be the week of movies with no plot. Nothing happens here either! I should have known better, since it was written and directed by someone who has (at least to my knowledge) never written or directed before. Josh Radnor, you're great on How I Met Your Mother. This character seems like it's just him recycling Ted, just plus an orphan and a bald best friend. The biggest difference is that none of these characters are sympathetic.
My Netflix rating: 3 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 132

The Iron Lady (2011)

The Nick with Lauren on 1/31/12
So. Boring. There is not much going on in this movie at all. I'm sure that Margaret Thatcher's life was interesting and riveting and all that (to someone) but the only interesting or riveting thing about this film was Meryl Streep's performance and her makeup. She totally embodies Thatcher in everything from her weird gait to the gap in her teeth. Perfection. That being said, I think that Michelle Williams in My Week with Marilyn is just a touch closer to perfection for me. And, for the love of God, will someone please make a biopic someday that isn't framed?
My Netflix rating: 2 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 131

Friday, January 27, 2012

Which Way Home (2009)

Netflix Streaming on 1/26/12
I was expecting this to be a different story than it is. It's not about the US Border Patrol or about the influx of illegal immigrants into the United States - it's actually about the journey of illegal immigrants from Central American going through Mexico on their journey to get here. And, it focuses entirely on children traveling alone. It's heartbreaking to see parents telling the stories of their children who died of exposure while trying to get to America. It's short and mostly subtitled, but worth watching.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 130

Real Steel (2011)

Netflix DVD on 1/26/12
Welcome to Rockem Sockem Robots: The Movie! Anyone who tries to claim that this is anything different is lying. Though, if you go into it expecting Rockem Sockem Robots, this is a fantastically fun film. Hugh Jackman is the star, but he really isn't - the kid is. And the robot, Atom. This well deserves its nomination for Visual Effects - the robots seem absolutely like they are on set with the actors. And the fight scenes are pretty spectacular. I also really like the end - it's not quite fair, or what you expect. Sometimes it's nice to see a little deviation from formula.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 129

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Friends with Benefits (2011)

Netflix DVD on 1/20/11
This is just like No Strings Attached, but better written and more entertaining. Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake totally sell me on best friends who try being lovers, and I find this one more realistic than NSA. It gets messy. The lines get blurred. And people end up getting hurt. But in the end, it's happy and things turn out okay. This is a successful rom com definitely, and it leaves you feeling cheered about the state of the world. Love the flash mobs too. And above all, it doesn't take itself overly seriously.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 128

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Guard (2011)

Netflix DVD on 1/5/12
This is trying to be Snatch and failing. None of the characters are likeable or relateable, the plot is muddled, and the writing doesn't do the film any extra favors. This got nominated for a Golden Globe (for acting - Brendan Gleeson maybe?). Otherwise, I would never have watched it. Lauren was right when she said she had heard it was awful.
My Netflix rating: 2 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 127

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

The Nick with Ben on 1/5/12
You all know how much love Swedish cinema, and how much I enjoyed the original Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. This is a very worthy American adaptation of the novel as well. It's tight and tense and stressful to watch, but it's in such a good, gripping way that you almost enjoy how much it keeps your nerves on edge. Rooney Mara totally sold me as Lisbeth Salander, even though I hadn't been convinced from the production stills. I still wonder why exactly they bleached her eyebrows, though. And I don't understand at all why they chose to change the ending - there's nothing wrong with it, but there's nothing wrong with the way the book ended either.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 126

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Sarah's Key (2011)

Netflix DVD on 1/4/11
The book that this is based on is always advertised as a tragic mystery, almost like noir. If the movie is anything similar, it's not that at all. Tragic, yes. It's about the roundup of Jews in France in 1942, so obviously it's tragic. But there really isn't a whole lot of mystery or intrigue going on at all. I felt that the framed story (all the parts with Kristin Scott Thomas) was entirely unnecessary, and that the true heart of the story was with young Sarah. The child actress playing Sarah was brilliant. Other than that, there isn't too much going on here.
My Netflix rating: 3 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 125