Monday, October 15, 2018

Summer Stock (1950)


IMDb plot summary: A small-town farmer, down on her luck, finds her homestead invaded by a theatrical troupe invited to stay by her ne'er-do-well sister.
Directed by Charles Walters. Starring Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, Eddie Bracken, and Gloria DeHaven.

While this movie doesn't knock me off my feet the way a few classic musicals do, it's really solid. Plenty of Gene Kelly dancing, plenty of Judy Garland singing, a charming little love story, and even though it's a little bit confusing as to how this can actually end well for most of these characters (thinking about the logistics of their future relationships is not terribly positive), it taps into that "good old-fashioned happy ending" feeling that I knew I instinctively wanted for this movie from the moment it opened. My favorite moment was the Kelly dance sequence where he uses the sounds of the stage around him -- a creaky floorboard, a newspaper on the floor -- to create new sounds and rhythms to play with. It's the sort of carefree, "well, hey, look what I can do" style I've always loved in Kelly's dancing, and it really works here. Overall, a good movie, if not necessarily a great one.

3.5 stars.

How it entered my Flickchart:
Summer Stock > Father of the Bride Part II
Summer Stock < The Hustler
Summer Stock > Lilies of the Field
Summer Stock > Mr. Holmes
Summer Stock > Flight of the Navigator
Summer Stock < Spellbound (2002)
Summer Stock < Inherit the Wind
Summer Stock < Bubba Ho-tep
Summer Stock > Pushing Tin
Summer Stock > 28 Up
Summer Stock < Au Revoir Les Enfants

Final spot: #794 out of 2855.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

The Tribe (2014)


IMDb plot summary: A deaf boy joins a boarding school for similar children. Confronted by the violent and criminal antics of some of the other boys and girls, he struggles to conform and join the 'tribe'.
Directed by Myroslav Slaboshpytskyi. Starring Hryhoriy Fesenko, Yana Novikova, Rosa Babiy, and Oleksandr Dsiadevych.

This is such a tough movie for me to rank, because I seriously appreciate the artistry of this movie while actually hating the story itself. I love that the film is entirely in sign language with no translation or subtitles. That's such a bold, delicious choice, and I wanted to love the film just for that. Unfortunately, it's a crime drama that doesn't seem to go in any new directions (though I may have missed something with the language barrier), and on top of that, it's very viscerally unpleasant. There were at least two scenes where I had to shrink the browser because it almost physically hurt me to watch it. It's very interestingly made, but it's just not a movie that I would ever care to see again.

How it entered my Flickchart:
The Tribe < Father of the Bride Part II
The Tribe < Picnic
The Tribe > Breach
The Tribe < Anchors Aweigh
The Tribe > The Firm
The Tribe > Inkheart
The Tribe > Short Circuit 2
The Tribe < Annie (1982)
The Tribe > It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
The Tribe > My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2
The Tribe < First Blood

Final spot: #2333 out of 2854.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Dazed and Confused (1993)


IMDb plot summary: The adventures of high school and junior high students on the last day of school in May 1976.
Directed by Richard Linklater. Starring Jason London, Joey Lauren Adams, Milla Jovovich, and Shawn Andrews.

As much as I love Linklater's writing, this one doesn't do a lot for me. Maybe I had to be a high school partier or a teenage boy in the 70s or the 90s to really get it. There were so many characters to keep track of, and none of the female characters were anything interesting, and Linklater's dialogue was not nearly as interesting as it usually is. It's fine, but it missed the mark for me.

How it entered my Flickchart:
Dazed and Confused < The Asphalt Jungle
Dazed and Confused > Withnail & I
Dazed and Confused > X-Men
Dazed and Confused > Checking Out
Dazed and Confused < Twin Sisters
Dazed and Confused < Ready Player One
Dazed and Confused < Dear Frankie
Dazed and Confused < Solo: A Star Wars Story
Dazed and Confused > A Knight's Tale
Dazed and Confused > The Disappearance of Alice Creed
Dazed and Confused > The Spanish Prisoner
Dazed and Confused < The Man in the Iron Mask

Final spot: #1595 out of 2853.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Venom (2018)


IMDb plot summary: When Eddie Brock acquires the powers of a symbiote, he will have to release his alter-ego "Venom" to save his life.
Directed by Ruben Fleischer. Starring Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, and Scott Haze.

My hope going into this was that it was ridiculous enough that I would have a good time with it, since I had a tough time imagining it would be an objectively *good* movie in any sense. Fortunately, it was just as ridiculous as I expected. Our antagonist had such deliciously cartoon villain line deliveries that I had a ton of fun from the moment he showed up, and Eddie and Venom's interactions added to that over-the-top nonsense. It's wildly messy and frequently doesn't make a lot of sense, but oh boy was it fun.

How it entered my Flickchart:
Venom > Batman Forever
Venom < Breaking Away
Venom < Good Time
Venom < Hugo
Venom < Interiors
Venom > Adventures in Babysitting
Venom < The Family Man
Venom > Away From Her
Venom > One, Two, Three
Venom > Choke

Final spot: #1361 out of 2852.

Monsters and Men (2018)


IMDb plot summary: The aftermath of a police killing of a black man, told through the eyes of the bystander who filmed the act, an African-American police officer and a high-school baseball phenom inspired to take a stand.
Directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green. Starring Chanté Adams, Giuseppe Ardizzone, Nicole Beharie, and Cara Buono.

This is an interesting concept for a movie, but the individual pieces to it aren't quite as interesting. The final piece is definitely the highlight of the film, which is kind of unexpected, since it's the least directly connected to the central conflict.

How it entered my Flickchart:
Monsters and Men > The Lion in Winter (2003)
Monsters and Men < Breaking Away
Monsters and Men > Captain Phillips
Monsters and Men < American Teen
Monsters and Men < Hannah and Her Sisters
Monsters and Men < The Happening
Monsters and Men < The Minus Man
Monsters and Men > Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles
Monsters and Men < Lilies of the Field
Monsters and Men > Guys and Dolls
Monsters and Men > Away We Go

Final spot: #1053 out of 2851.

A Star Is Born (2018)


IMDb plot summary: A musician helps a young singer and actress find fame, even as age and alcoholism send his own career into a downward spiral.
Directed by Bradley Cooper. Starring Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper, Sam Elliott, and Andrew Dice Clay.

I've only seen one of the previous versions of this story, and that one a long time ago, but I didn't remember that one being quite so... purposelessly depressing. This movie is clearly trying to be *about* something, but what that is is very muddled, and that makes it messy. Gaga sounds great in all her songs, even if they're not interesting, and Bradley Cooper does more interesting acting than he usually does, but it all comes together very clumsily.

How it entered my Flickchart:
A Star Is Born > The Lion in Winter (2003)
A Star Is Born < How to Train Your Dragon
A Star Is Born < Good Time
A Star Is Born < Hugo
A Star Is Born < Interiors
A Star Is Born > Dirty Dancing
A Star Is Born > Office Space
A Star Is Born < The Last Unicorn
A Star Is Born > Marathon
A Star Is Born > Star Trek Into Darkness
A Star Is Born < The Road

Final spot: #1349 out of 2850.

Double, Double, Toil and Trouble (1993)


IMDb plot summary: On Halloween night, two precocious little girls try to save their parents from the greedy clutches of their nasty old Capitalist aunt. Magic abounds and they meet new albeit strange friends along the way.
Directed by Stuart Margolin. Starring Mary-Kate Olsen, Ashley Olsen, Cloris Leachman, and Phil Fondacaro.

My husband and I started watching this on Hulu because it looked ridiculous and then kept watching because it was, indeed, ridiculous. Cloris Leachman as the evil witch is so delightfully over the top and nonsensical.

How it entered my Flickchart:
Double, Double, Toil and Trouble < Lolita (1997)
Double, Double, Toil and Trouble < Anastasia
Double, Double, Toil and Trouble > Mamma Mia!
Double, Double, Toil and Trouble > The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
Double, Double, Toil and Trouble > Nick Nolte: No Exit
Double, Double, Toil and Trouble > Out of Time
Double, Double, Toil and Trouble > Moms' Night Out
Double, Double, Toil and Trouble > Passion
Double, Double, Toil and Trouble > Sideways
Double, Double, Toil and Trouble > Wild Strawberries
Double, Double, Toil and Trouble > Nine

Final spot: #2138 out of 2849.