Friday, August 26, 2016

Mr. Holmes (2015)


IMDb plot summary: An aged, retired Sherlock Holmes deals with early dementia as he tries to remember both his final case and a mysterious woman whose memory haunts him. He also befriends a fan, the young son of his housekeeper, who wants him to work again.
Directed by Bill Condon. Starring Ian McKellen, Laura Linney, Milo Parker, and Hiroyuki Sanada.

What an interesting little movie. It's part mystery, part character study, part old age drama, but all the parts seem to fit together fairly well. The thing that stands out most about this movie is its profound sense of isolation. Even as Holmes befriends his housekeeper's young son, he is still stuck alone in his memories or lack thereof, with nobody to reach out to for confirmation of his own past. This intangible sense of isolation is so pervasive that when it becomes an actual plot point halfway through the movie, it makes absolute sense. The final conclusion and most recent solved mystery seem a little contrived, but as a whole this is a lovely and haunting look at a very familiar character.

3.5 stars.

How it entered my Flickchart:
Mr. Holmes > Days of Heaven
Mr. Holmes < A Clockwork Orange
Mr. Holmes > Children of Paradise
Mr. Holmes > The Call
Mr. Holmes > Eve's Bayou
Mr. Holmes > Nick of Time (which is too high on my chart)
Mr. Holmes < 21 Jump Street
Mr. Holmes < The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934)
Mr. Holmes > An Education
Mr. Holmes < Monsoon Wedding

Final spot: #658 out of 2498.

That Touch of Mink (1962)


IMDb plot summary: A rich businessman and a young woman are attracted to each other, but he only wants an affair while she wants to save her virginity for marriage.
Directed by Delbert Mann. Starring Cary Grant, Doris Day, Gig Young, and Audrey Meadows.

The previous two Doris Day rom coms I watched had an extremely unlikable male lead. Here that male lead is Cary Grant, so Day herself is the only unlikable one in the couple. The movie itself spends far too much time cutesily dancing around the idea of sex. Obviously they couldn't come right out and say most of what they were discussing, but there were plenty of sex comedies in the 50s and 60s that were able to deal with that while still adhering to the Code. This one seems less like grown adults trying to tell a story and more like middle schoolers trying to see how dirty they can make their conversation before the teacher notices. It's not funny enough to be entertaining as a comedy but the relationships aren't deep enough for it to work as a dramatic story. It's an awkward movie, and while there are a few good lines that got a chuckle out of me, it's all muddled.

1.5 stars.

How it entered my Flickchart:
That Touch of Mink < Days of Heaven
That Touch of Mink > Bad Moms
That Touch of Mink < Liz & Dick
That Touch of Mink > The Goonies
That Touch of Mink < Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
That Touch of Mink > Throw Momma from the Train
That Touch of Mink > Lincoln
That Touch of Mink > The Lizzie McGuire Movie
That Touch of Mink < A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
That Touch of Mink < The Forest
That Touch of Mink > Cruel Intentions
Final spot: #1646 out of 2497.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Move Over, Darling (1963)


IMDb plot summary: After five years lost at sea, a missing wife thought long dead returns just after her husband remarries.
Directed by Michael Gordon. Starring Doris Day, James Garner, Polly Bergen, and Thelma Ritter.

It took me far too long into this movie to realize it was a remake of My Favorite Wife, a movie I grew up with. (Amusingly, they even reference the movie halfway through, citing it as an example that wives thought dead could come back to life.) The problem is, though, Doris Day and James Garner are no Irene Dunne and Cary Grant. Day comes across as naggy and snippy while Dunne had a charm to her persistence, and while Grant is a master of screwball comedy chaos, Garner just seemed perpetually grumpy. The script works for the most part, but its best bits were cribbed from the previous movie's script. There's no real reason to see this one over the remake unless you're just a huge fan of Doris Day. I am not, so I was largely unimpressed.

1.5 stars.

How it entered my Flickchart:
Move Over, Darling < Rebecca
Move Over, Darling > Bad Moms
Move Over, Darling < Love's Labour's Lost
Move Over, Darling < The Sword in the Stone
Move Over, Darling > The Children's Hour
Move Over, Darling < The Devil Wears Prada
Move Over, Darling > Holiday Affair
Move Over, Darling < Multiplicity
Move Over, Darling > K-19: The Widowmaker
Move Over, Darling < Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

Final spot: #1769 out of 2496.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Moonwalker (1988)


IMDb plot summary: Anthology movie by, and starring, Michael Jackson in his prime, combining a number of music videos from his bestselling "Bad" album with a fantasy tale of Michael's confrontation with a ruthless drug dealer known as Mr. Big (Joe Pesci).
Directed by Jerry Kramer. Starring Michael Jackson, Joe Pesci, Kellie Parker, and Brandon Quintin Adams.

When my mysterious benefactor assigned me this movie for my movie challenge, the note was something like, "If you're not a Michael Jackson fan, Moonwalker might be a tough watch." Well, they lucked out, because I am a *huge* Michael Jackson fan and enjoyed this for the most part. It's a weird little anthology of concert performances, reimagined music videos, and short films centered around Michael Jackson songs. MJ was an incredibly dynamic performer, and by far my favorite sections were anything where I got to hear him sing and watch him dance (thus the chosen screenshot). Those just brought me such joy. The "Smooth Criminal" segment takes up about half the film and while I loved how wonderfully over-the-top ridiculous it was (Michael turns into a car? Sure! And now he's a robot spaceship? Why not! And Joe Pesci is somehow using spiders to peddle drugs to children? Yup!), it was much longer than it needed to be. Who wants to watch a Michael Jackson music film for 10 minutes of spaceship fights? I wish that one had been about a third as long and made way for a couple other imaginative musical segments. I spent about 30 minutes after the credits rolled watching MJ music videos on YouTube because I just hadn't gotten quite enough of the music itself. Overall, though, a fun (if weird) flick.

3.5 stars.

How it entered my Flickchart:
Moonwalker > Days of Heaven
Moonwalker < Children of Men
Moonwalker > A Matter of Life and Death
Moonwalker < The Call (I debated over this one way longer than I expected)
Moonwalker > Duck Soup
Moonwalker < The Big Short
Moonwalker > The Return of the Living Dead
Moonwalker > The Killing (Why is this so high up on my chart? That can't be right.)
Moonwalker < Chronicle
Moonwalker > Starship Troopers

Final spot: #825 out of 2495, or 67%. Maybe deserves to be higher.

Captain Fantastic (2016)


IMDb plot summary: In the forests of the Pacific Northwest, a father devoted to raising his six kids with a rigorous physical and intellectual education is forced to leave his paradise and enter the world, challenging his idea of what it means to be a parent.
Directed by Matt Ross. Starring Viggo Mortensen, George MacKay, Nicholas Hamilton, and Frank Langella.

(Mild spoilers.)

Every so often I watch a movie that is good quality, solid script, excellent acting, creative idea, but I just don't care much about it. This is one of those movies. I can pull out individual scenes that touched me - the poor oldest boy's first encounter with the opposite sex, the second boy's furious reaction to his mother's death, the uncomfortable scene where the emotional request to celebrate Christmas is smushed down with cold logic - but it's hard to parse it as a whole. While I assume it wasn't deliberate, it was a bit frustrating to me that in a movie whose plot focused all around an unseen woman, only the male characters got any character development. I was incredibly curious as to why the older two girls seemed to not mind their total isolation at all, while the older two boys were clearly pushing the boundaries a little bit. The movie's ending is also unsatifying, wrapping up a very complicated question with an oversimplifed answer. It's a good watch, especially for some compelling acting on behalf of the boys in the family, but it didn't blow me away.

3 stars.

How it entered my Flickchart:
Captain Fantastic > Days of Heaven
Captain Fantastic < Children of Men
Captain Fantastic < Children of Paradise
Captain Fantastic < Hancock
Captain Fantastic > Trainwreck
Captain Fantastic < Twin Sisters
Captain Fantastic > They Made Me a Fugitive
Captain Fantastic > 2012
Captain Fantastic > Ballet Shoes
Captain Fantastic > Runaway Jury
Captain Fantastic > The Women
Final spot: #1131 out of 2494.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Do Not Disturb (1965)


IMDb plot summary: American couple Mike and Janet Harper move to England for Mike's work, where Janet believes Mike may be having an affair with his assistant. The Harper's busybody landlady thinks Janet can play Mike's game by entering into an affair of her own, whether it be real or made-up.
Directed by Ralph Levy. Starring Doris Day, Rod Taylor, Hermione Baddeley, and Sergio Fantoni.

(Mild spoilers.)

The overall premise of this movie is definitely a workable one for a silly comedy, but the execution of it just falls apart. The story doesn't have any kind of narrative arc. It just has the same thing happen to the characters over and over again without either of them changing or growing or acting in a way that'll make anything different the next time. One thinks the other is cheating and overreacts. Then the other one thinks their spouse is cheating and overreacts. Repeat infinitely. That gets old very fast, and it makes the happy ending a moot point since clearly they're just going to fall into the same trap again, since attractive people are going to continue to exist around them. If it were funny or original or clever along the way, that might be excusable, but it's not, making this an irritating rom com that doesn't work for me at all. There's nothing I can find to like about it.

0.5 stars.

How it entered my Flickchart:
Do Not Disturb < Days of Heaven
Do Not Disturb < Bad Moms
Do Not Disturb < Faces
Do Not Disturb < 42nd Street
Do Not Disturb > The Ultimate Gift
Do Not Disturb > XXX
Do Not Disturb < Clash of the Titans
Do Not Disturb > Around the World in 80 Days (2004)
Do Not Disturb < Medium Cool
Do Not Disturb > One Hour to Die: You Have All Been Poisoned
Do Not Disturb < The Rules of Attraction

Final spot: #2364 out of 2493.

Yellowbeard (1983)


IMDb plot summary: Yellowbeard, a pirate's pirate, is allowed to escape from prison to lead the authorities to his treasure. He finds that his wife neglected to tell him that he now has a son, 20, and shame of shame, an intellectual. The British Navy, Yellowbeard, his son, and members of Yellowbeard's old crew all go after the treasure.
Directed by Mel Damski. Starring Graham Chapman, Peter Boyle, Peter Cook, and Marty Feldman.

As soon as I started watching this movie, my husband saw the cast list and said he wanted to watch it with me. It is an incredible cast -- half the members of Monty Python, many of Mel Brooks' go-to favorites, and a smattering of well-known character actors. (The Australian tagline was apparently, "Everyone who's ever been funny!") With such a great collection of funny performers, you'd think this would be a home run. Well... not quite. It is definitely entertaining enough, especially as it gets going and picks up steam, but there are also a lot of awkward moments where jokes don't land (and, oh my gosh, so many rape jokes -- that definitely made me a little squirmy). Fortunately, at only 96 minutes, it has enough fun moments to make it worth watching, despite its flaws.

3 stars.

How it entered my Flickchart:
Yellowbeard > Days of Heaven
Yellowbeard < American Outlaws
Yellowbeard > Children of Paradise
Yellowbeard < The Green Mile
Yellowbeard < One, Two, Three
Yellowbeard < The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes
Yellowbeard < Splice
Yellowbeard > Tangled
Yellowbeard < Elf
Yellowbeard < Connie and Carla
Yellowbeard < Being John Malkovich
Yellowbeard > Peter Pan Live!

Final spot: #923 out of 2492.