Thursday, November 23, 2017

The Fly (1986)


IMDb plot summary: A brilliant but eccentric scientist begins to transform into a giant man/fly hybrid after one of his experiments goes horribly wrong.
Directed by David Cronenberg. Starring Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, and John Getz.

(Spoilers ahead.)

I watched the original 1958 version of The Fly earlier this year, and these could not be more different in tone. The original brought to mind a comparison with Shakespearean tragedy or ancient myths -- a noble genius brought to a tragic end by his hubris. This one is much ickier, less noble, and if it's a commentary on anything, I feel it's much more about male/female relationships. Both male characters in this are such unpleasant characters (even before one of them is turned into a monster). In the original, we sympathize with the scientist, despite his terrible decisions. In this one, Geena Davis is the only one to root for, and she's really great, but it's upsetting to see her tossed from awful man to awful man when I wish she'd be given a little more agency instead of somehow giving her creepy boss the role of hero.

Random other thoughts: The body horror visuals are horrifying and effective. The final scene is deliciously terrifying. I'm disturbed that we never learn what happens to the baby, unless they were deliberately trying to leave it open for a sequel, in which case, bleh. Not as emotionally powerful as the original.

3 stars.

How it entered my Flickchart:
The Fly > George of the Jungle
The Fly < Split
The Fly > At First Sight
The Fly < Husbands and Wives
The Fly < Dawn of the Dead (1978)
The Fly > The Major and the Minor
The Fly < Borstal Boy
The Fly > Malcom X
The Fly > Monsters
The Fly > Jesus Christ Superstar (2000)
The Fly < The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle

Final spot: #945 out of 2679.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)


IMDb plot summary: Imprisoned, the almighty Thor finds himself in a lethal gladiatorial contest against the Hulk, his former ally. Thor must fight for survival and race against time to prevent the all-powerful Hela from destroying his home and the Asgardian civilization.
Directed by Taika Waititi. Starring Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, and Tessa Thompson.

Some random scattered thoughts on Thor: It's interesting that the third Thor movie made me care so much more about the Incredible Hulk than two movies of his own and two Avengers movies. Sometimes the humor feels a bit out of place, a bit modern for this fantastical mythological story being told, but it's still enjoyable. It's dumb that they brought Loki back only for his character arc to be pretty insignificant, that seems just obvious fangirl service. Hela is a fantastic villain. I had a good time with this but, like Guardians 2, it's going to completely flow out of my mind in a week or two.

3.5 stars.

How it entered my Flickchart:
Thor: Ragnarok > George of the Jungle
Thor: Ragnarok < Split
Thor: Ragnarok > At First Sight
Thor: Ragnarok > Husbands and Wives (this is too high)
Thor: Ragnarok < Loins of Punjab Presents
Thor: Ragnarok > The Gold Rush
Thor: Ragnarok > Florence Foster Jenkins
Thor: Ragnarok > You Can't Take It With You
Thor: Ragnarok < Mr. Holmes
Thor: Ragnarok < A Serious Man
Thor: Ragnarok > Porco Rosso

Final spot: #760 out of 2678.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Le Bonheur (1965)


IMDb plot summary: François, a young carpenter, lives a happy, uncomplicated life with his wife Thérèse and their two small children. One day he meets Emilie, a clerk in the local post office.
Directed by Agnès Varda. Starring Jean-Claude Drouot, Claire Drouot, and Marie-France Boyer.

2.5 stars.

I somehow forgot to keep track of how it actually entered my Flickchart, but its final ranking is at #1268 out of 2677, below Water for Elephants and above The Adjustment Bureau.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Hanna (2011)


IMDb plot summary: A sixteen-year-old girl who was raised by her father to be the perfect assassin is dispatched on a mission across Europe, tracked by a ruthless intelligence agent and her operatives.
Directed by Joe Wright. Starring Saoirse Ronan, Cate Blanchett, Eric Bana, and Jessica Barden.

This is... fine, and the characters are interesting and the story is okay, and the whole thing looks fantastic. It just also feels very empty, like I can't quite figure out what the point of making this was.

2.5 stars.

How it entered my Flickchart:
Hanna < George of the Jungle
Hanna > Quigley Down Under
Hanna > Love's Labour's Lost
Hanna > Shanghai Knights
Hanna > My Best Friend's Wedding
Hanna < Born Yesterday
Hanna > The Apostle
Hanna > Despicable Me
Hanna > Lust for Love
Hanna < Dear Frankie
Final spot: #1384 out of 2676.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Begin Again (2013)


IMDb plot summary: A chance encounter between a disgraced music-business executive and a young singer-songwriter, new to Manhattan, turns into a promising collaboration between the two talents.
Directed by John Carney. Starring Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, James Corden, and Hailee Steinfeld.

This was apparently directed by the guy who did Once, which I totally get. The music is less interesting and the story less strong, but it's got the same kind of charm. And this may be the most I've ever liked Mark Ruffalo in a movie.

3.5 stars.

How it entered my Flickchart:
Begin Again > Ghostbusters (1984)
Begin Again < Chariots of Fire
Begin Again > At First Sight
Begin Again > Husbands and Wives
Begin Again > Rogue One
Begin Again > Finder's Fee
Begin Again > La jetee
Begin Again < Gone in 60 Seconds
Begin Again < The Impossible
Begin Again > The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness
Begin Again < The Butler

Final spot: #686 out of 2675.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Intolerance: Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages (1916)


IMDb plot summary: The story of a poor young woman, separated by prejudice from her husband and baby, is interwoven with tales of intolerance from throughout history.
Directed by D.W. Griffith. Starring Lillian Gish, Mae Marsh, Robert Harron, and F.A. Turner.

2 stars.

How it entered my Flickchart:
Intolerance < George of the Jungle
Intolerance > Rio Bravo
Intolerance < Love's Labour's Lost
Intolerance > The Proposal
Intolerance < The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Intolerance < The Bishop's Wife
Intolerance > The Forest
Intolerance > Carol
Intolerance > The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio
Intolerance > Running With Scissors
Intolerance > Mr. Nice Guy
Final spot: #1797 out of 2674.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming! (1966)


IMDb plot summary: Without hostile intent, a Soviet sub runs aground off New England. Men are sent for a boat, but many villagers go into a tizzy, risking bloodshed.
Directed by Norman Jewison. Starring Carl Reiner, Eva Marie Saint, Alan Arkin, and Brian Keith.

Oh, this is so silly and delightful. It's the kind of movie that I could never see getting Oscar nominations now but I'm so glad it did then. It's a wonderfully warm-hearted and well-intentioned war comedy, which are not adjectives war comedies tend to be.

4 stars.

How it entered my Flickchart:
The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming! > Ghostbusters
The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming! > Split
The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming! < Benny & Joon
The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming! < The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall
The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming! > We're No Angels (1955)
The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming! > Gone Baby Gone
The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming! > Mr. Brooks
The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming! < The Goodbye Girl (2004)
The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming! < The Florida Project
The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming! < Dog Day Afternoon
The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming! < A Streetcar Named Desire
Final spot: #522 out of 2673.