Sunday, December 30, 2007

Stardust (2007)

Although I'm not a huge fan of the fantasy genre, this is a really well-made movie with a lot of originality behind it. It's not just the same old stuff, there are some interesting twists and visual moments in here. It actually makes me mildly interested in reading the original novel it's based on. 3.5 stars.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)

Whenever I watch this again, it might possibly get a 4 1/2, but for now I'll play it safe and give it a 4. This is a fairly marvelous adaptation of Sondheim's show. Tim Burton was the ideal person to direct this story. Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter may not be amazing singers, but they're certainly competent, and their acting is so compelling it's easy to overlook any flaws in their singing. (After all, it's not Phantom, where the entire point is the voices.) I thoroughly enjoyed this, and will definitely watch this again when it comes out on video. See, Hollywood? You CAN make great musical adaptations! 4 stars.

Disturbia (2007)

"Inspired" by Rear Window, but not a remake, huh? It's closer to the original than some movies that *are* officially remakes. But the movie is quite good. Shia LeBeouf turns in a great lead performance. The plot builds at a good pace and gives us a satisfying ending. I wasn't on the edge of my seat... but I *was* nodding appreciatively. Heh. A very solid thriller, and definitely worth seeing. 3.5 stars.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Brief Encounter (1945)

This story unfolds nicely, but it all seems fairly aimless. I think that stems from telling the story as a flashback. It led me to expect more from the end of the story than I was given. The final shot of the movie is a nice one, but when the credits rolled I thought, "What? That's it?" However, I would have been content had the first 5-10 minutes of the movie been cut, as well as the narrating voiceover. Remove the flashback element, and it's a perfectly well-told tale of their love. 3 stars.

Superman II (1980)

Well... this is more of the first Superman. The cheesy dialogue has been toned down a bit, but other than that, there isn't a whole lot of difference between the two. The same problems are in this movie... but it's still fairly entertaining. So, yeah. See my review for Superman. 3 stars.

Fracture (2007)

A very solidly put-together thriller. Anthony Hopkins plays a very Hannibal Lecter-esque character, and, of course, does a wonderful job with it. This movie didn't blow me away, but for an evening of quiet entertainment, it certainly serves its purpose. 3.5 stars.

Jane Eyre (1997)

Jane Eyre is a nice story, but *must* she be made into either a radical feminist or helpless wimp? Surely there's a middle ground where she can be slightly vulnerable but quite sensible and capable of doing her own thing? She wasn't completely helpless in the books. This version of the movie felt completely disjointed and backwards... A definite disappointment. 2 stars.

Play It Again, Sam (1972)

This isn't quite as solid as some of Woody Allen's other comedies. I can think of quite a few that I enjoyed more than this. This one seemed to wander aimlessly around until the end, when it suddenly all came together to create a lovely, lovely ending that paid tribute to one of my favorite movies of all time. So without the ending, it would have been a disappointing three stars. The ending moves it up to three and a half. Worth seeing if you're an Allen fan... Don't if you're not. 3.5 stars.

Superman (1978)

The idea of comic book stories being told seriously had not yet caught on, I see. This feels so much like a cartoon version of the story, but it's not completely consistent. At times it's working hard to be taken seriously, and then it turns around and has a moment of cartoon slapstick comedy. It was a fairly entertaining watch, but the uber cheesy dialogue and odd tone keep me from saying it's really a good movie. 3.5 stars.

Dan in Real Life (2007)

I saw this movie because, hey, guess who's in it? NORBERT! But anyways. Ahem. This movie is really a very, very good movie overall. Steve Carell is a very convincing, likable character who finds himself tangled up in situations he really doesn't know what to do about. Juliette Binoche turns in a slightly wooden performance, but everyone else in the cast does a great job. (Including Norbs. But ANYWAY.) The drama is fairly believable, the characters are likable, the dialogue is smooth, and the ending is satisfactory, although not *totally* satisfying. Definitely worth watching. 4 stars.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Christmas Carol (2004)

Plot: An old bitter miser is given a chance for redemption when he is haunted by ghosts on Christmas Eve.

I got this because, hey, it had an abundance of musical theater people in it, AND it had music by people who wrote songs for musical theater! However . . . meh. The silliness of it all! The songs were goofy and overdramatic, the back story was goofy and contrived, the lyrics were (primarily) goofy and forced and . . . erm, yes, the entire movie can be very nicely described as "goofy". One of my absolute favorite moments - at the end, Scrooge appears to be taking the entire town to Fred's dinner party. That is NOT the way to get in good with your nephew. Oh, and the kid, also near the end of the movie, who Scrooge sends to buy the turkey. He makes the funniest faces in the entire world. My sibs and I spent more time making fun of it than we did actually watching the movie. 3 stars.

A Christmas Carol (1938)

Plot: The timeworn Dickens' story about the old merchant Scrooge and how his own disappointments in life shape his view that both life and men are not worthy of his notice or concern. But the dessicated gent is about to get his comeuppance when he imagines he is visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future.

This feels oddly like a filmed theatrical version. Everything is very over-the-top. I suppose there's an aspect of the Christmas Carol story that is always over-the-top, but I wasn't terribly fond of this version, with the theatrical intoning of the lines and the dramatic switch in character without much transitioning. The Alistair Sims version triumphs quite a lot over this. 2.5 stars.

The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006)

The second Santa Clause movie was fairly obnoxious, mostly due to the annoying actress playing Mrs. Clause. She's in this movie less, and therefore it's less obnoxious... But it's still a ludicrous movie that isn't worth watching. It offers only a few more laughs than the horrendous second movie, and it may not be totally annoying, but it certainly isn't very entertaining. The ending scene is one of the most stupidly slapped-together moments ever. 1.5 stars.

The Christmas Shoes (2002)

Let me preface this by saying I passionately hate this song. PASSIONATELY. I want to viciously chop it up into little pieces and burn it and then bury the ashes underground. So it's no surprise that I wasn't a fan of the movie. Its plot hangs together very thinly indeed, just a vehicle to try to make people feel sad and have their heartstrings tugged at. But ya know what? It's pointless. Because the kind of people who need to learn this lesson are the people like me, who scoff at the silliness of the story. So... yeah. There's not a whole lot of point to it. And it isn't even acted terribly well. So meh to it forever. 1 star.

The Nanny Diaries (2007)

I'd read the book awhile ago and wasn't terribly impressed... but after watching the movie, I want to re-read it, because the movie is quite, quite good. I was especially impressed with Laura Linney as the self-centered mother whose world is falling apart around her. The child actor is neither too intelligent nor too stupid - he seems like a genuine kid. The movie builds convincingly and ends satisfyingly, without being either bleak or sappy. It didn't blow me away, but it was pretty satisfying, and definitely worth seeing. 4 stars.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Brother Bear (2003)

This certainly wasn't Disney's finest hour. It's a tired old story that's been told many times, and there's only a tiny little twist on it this time around. The young cub is fairly annoying as child characters go. However, some of the visuals are simply amazing. Who says we need computer animation to do visually stunning movies? Pfft. And I did rather like the ending. 2.5 stars.

Anastasia (1997)

Maybe I just got a kick out of all the musical theater people in it, I don't know, but I liked this movie a fair amount. I can't quite figure out why, though. I must say it would all be vastly improved without Rasputin and his little creature, though. They may have been comedy relief, but, MAN, they were annoying. 3.5 stars.

Evan Almighty (2007)

While theologically this is closer to the mark than Bruce Almighty was, it's far less funny. The movie reminded me far more of The Santa Clause (also pretty unfunny) than anything else. There are a few good moments, and I still like Morgan Freeman's portrayal of God, but the ending is cheesy and the few moments aren't quite enough to make up for all the jokes that fall flat. 3 stars.

The Game Plan (2007)

Oh, boy. A cocky celebrity connects with a child who warms his heart. Nope, we have NEVER seen this movie before. Except we have. Multiple times. Although this movie isn't *terrible*, it certainly doesn't have anything going for it. Madison Pettis is annoyingly precocious, the plot is predictable every step of the way, and there are far too moments that clearly went like this in the writers' minds: "Hey. You know what would be funny? If we could make the main character look stupid. How about [insert dumb idea]? Okay, yeah, I know there's no plot reason whatsoever for that to happen, but, hey, it'd make him look stupid! And it might be funny!" Except it's not. 1.5 stars.

Surf's Up (2007)

The mockumentary has caught on as the hot new thing. (Possibly because of The Office, w00t w00t.) However, that only works when you make it important that it's a mockumentary. You can't just take a bland movie and say, "We'll make it a mockumentary!" and have the movie be better. That decision here seems to be completely unfounded. There's no reason this couldn't be just a normal movie. In fact, I think it would've benefited from that. The mockumentary does best with a kind of dry, subtle humor for it to be truly awesome. Applying it to a wacky cartoon just makes the whole thing kind of weird. 2.5 stars.

Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004)

Um. I can't remember why I watched this. I think it was just sitting around on TV and I didn't move. I guess it's not a terribly *bad* movie if you take it for what it is: a movie based on a cartoon. Don't expect anything great as you watch this, and that's what you'll get. It does have a moment or two that's mildly funny. 2 stars.

High School Musical 2 (2007)

Reuniting all the characters from the first movie... and paying attention to a couple more characters, instead of just Troy and Gabriella. Yay! The plot in this one, however, is pretty much nonexistent. The original one had a single strong plot going for it, while this one seems too busy cranking out excuses for musical numbers to try and form a coherent plot. But, you know what? It doesn't really matter. It's not a masterpiece, but it does have a few great songs (the one Chad and Ryan sing on the baseball field is a blast) and, overall, will definitely be enjoyed by fans of the first one. 3 stars.

The Country Bears (2002)

This is one of the most bizarre movies I've ever seen. It was made in 2002, but it was clearly meant to be made as a Disney live-action musical in 1963 or so. It feels *exactly* like one of those. It has a lot of Jay-Wardesque humor that is totally different than I've come to expect from children's movies these days -- in a good way. Not a terrible movie, by any means... although it does have enough "Wait, what, huh?!" moments to make it only okay. 3 stars.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

High School Musical (2006)

All right, it may have a totally cheesy plot, and maybe Vanessa Anne Hudgens is a terrible actress... but there's something fundamentally lovable about it. Maybe it's the silly teenager in me, but I grew to enjoy this movie quite a bit. The dance sequences are pretty fun, the songs are entertaining... It even has a moment or two that's kind of funny. So I dub this a fairly guilty pleasure. 4 stars.

Maid in Manhattan (2002)

Did the filmmakers go out of their way to make this movie as unoriginal as could possibly be managed? It's not even terribly *bad*, it's just the least original movie that's ever existed. Ralph Fiennes is a wonderful actor, but you wouldn't know it from this. 2.5 stars.

Hoot (2006)

Oh, boy. This movie doesn't have an agenda at ALL, oh, no. It's not an environmentalist motivational speech thinly wrapped up in a stupid plot. And it doesn't really matter that the kids in the movie can't act because, after all, if your ONLY goal is in pounding a message into people's heads, you certainly don't need good actors for that. 1 star.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Gangs of New York (2002)

This movie took me three days to watch. I found the story uninteresting, the characters bland, and the acting uninspired. However, there were two high points. I absolutely loved the final scene (not the climactic scene - no, I'm talking about the 30 seconds or so before the credits). Visually beautiful. And Daniel Day-Lewis' performance as the Butcher was chilling. Other than that, it's a difficult movie to watch. Not because of the violence, but because it's so aimless. 2.5 stars.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street in Concert (2001)

An incredibly well-cast version of Sondheim's musical. Patti LuPone, who I usually don't like, is absolutely perfect as Mrs. Lovett. George Hearn is also great in his role. The music is amazing, although most of the time it's hardly pretty. The lyrics are fascinating. There's a lot of great dark comedy in here. Overall, quite a treat to watch, especially after the far-more-bland Sunday in the Park With George. 4 stars.

The Number 23 (2007)

My goodness, reviewers were incredibly harsh to this movie. Sure, it had a "twist ending" that's been used before, but it told its story well. Sure, there's at least one gaping plothole, but *nearly* everything fit together. Jim Carrey was certainly fine in the title role. I personally enjoyed the movie quite a bit as a fluffy psychological thriller. It deserves nowhere NEAR the razing it got. 3.5 stars.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Sweet and Lowdown (1999)

As you should all know by now, I'm a huge Woody Allen fan, but found this a bit disappointing. It was neither as thought-provoking as his best dramatic work nor as funny as his best comedic work, although I did laugh out loud at a few moments. Sean Penn does a great job of creating the character, though, and it is fascinating to watch just as a quiet character study. Not fantastic, but very solid. 3.5 stars.

Gangs of New York (2002)

This movie took me three days to watch. I found the story uninteresting, the characters bland, and the acting uninspired. However, there were two high points. I absolutely loved the final scene (not the climactic scene - no, I'm talking about the 30 seconds or so before the credits). Visually beautiful. And Daniel Day-Lewis' performance as the Butcher was chilling. Other than that, it's a difficult movie to watch. Not because of the violence, but because it's so aimless. 2.5 stars.

Mallrats (1995)

There's a Fry and Laurie sketch in which Hugh Laurie reads a poem to the audience and Stephen Fry's response is, "Hugh, you chose that poem... For God's sake, why?" This quote kept running through my mind as I tried to write this review. While watching the movie, I kept thinking, "Wait. Why am I watching this again?" And after the movie ended, I still can't come up with any sort of answer. The characters are obnoxious (with the *possible* exception of the one guy who is portrayed as the "nice guy"). The humor is aimed at those people who think the very mention of... well, *anything* to do with sex is absolutely hilarious. I found this movie not only unfunny, but actually unpleasant to watch. 0.5 stars.

The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)

After this movie ended, it took some thinking before I decided whether I absolutely loved it or absolutely hated it. (Possible spoilerishness ahead, although nothing specific.) I adored the first 3/4 of the movie... and then the ending took a turn that I wasn't expecting and left me feeling wholly unsatisfied. (Possible spoilerishness is over now.) However, thinking back on the theme of the movie and the ideas behind it, I'm now convinced that not only did I love it, but it was a deeper movie than I was giving it credit for. Woody Allen has a way of mixing sorrow and joy in his movies in a way that I really connect with. My only problem was I initially forgot (emotionally, not for real) that I was watching one of his movies... and started expecting something totally different. This is quite possibly my favorite of his movies, after Annie Hall. Also, this movie has confirmed to me once more that Jeff Daniels is awesome. Both his characters in this movie captured my interest and held it until the end. Just great stuff. 4.5 stars.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Sunday in the Park with George (1986)

This is not Sondheim's best musical, not by a long shot. The music is rambly and, for the most part, unmemorable. However, there are some very good lyrics, and the story is fairly interesting. The second half of the show is better than the first, easier to connect to. Mandy Patinkin and Bernadette Peters are both superb in their roles. I would recommend this if you're a Sondheim fan already... Otherwise, I'd recommend watching Into the Woods to become a Sondheim fan before you watch this. :-) 3.5 stars.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (2001)

Ah, Woody Allen, you are amazing. This plot in most people's hands would be stupid and full of completely lame gags. It's not terribly original, you can see the plot coming a mile away... and yet it manages to be a thoroughly entertaining movie, even if it does have a moment or two of cheesiness. Very funny throughout, as well as being a nice tribute to detective movies and romantic comedies of the 40s. Certainly not his best but fun to watch! 4 stars.

Friday, August 10, 2007

New York Stories (1989)

A totally enjoyable series of short movies by some great directors. Scorsese's segment, "Life Lessons," was fascinatingly told and beautifully filmed. I'm not sure I understood Coppola's segment, "Life Without Zoe," but I thoroughly enjoyed it even if I'm not sure what the point was. Woody Allen's segment was my favorite (not a huge surprise there), absurd but hilarious. Definitely worth checking out. 4 stars.

Empire of the Sun (1987)

While this movie was well-made, I felt almost no connection to the characters and had difficulty getting into it. Christian Bale does an amazing job as the young child (it was fun to see that he was not only a brilliant actor now, but as a child as well). The story feels a bit disjointed but there are some very genuinely touching moments. More likely to be enjoyed by people who like the genre in the first place. 3 stars.

Pleasantville (1998)

I loved some of the things this movie did with color... some great moments. However, I had a problem with the actual message of the movie, particularly regarding the mother, who only came fully into color once she cheated on her husband. Call me old-fashioned, but that feels like a less-than-admirable trait. A lot of the movie felt like that to me... it just had a very different set of values from me. Not only that, but the movie appeared to be more concerned about making its social point than telling the story. The ending is haphazard and confusing, with plotlines suddenly being resolved with no explanation. Too bad, because the concept is wonderful. 2.5 stars.

Grease (1978)

Nearly all of this movie is pure delight. Fantastic musical numbers, likeable main characters... great stuff. And then it gets to the end and everything goes haywire. Sigh. (Spoilers ahead.) Sandy discovers that the only way to get her guy is to change everything about herself. That is NOT sweet or romantic. That's bleak and depressing. (Although possibly more justified if you consider that he was apparently about to become a jock for her - so at least they were going to mutually try to change for the other person.) Also, the lyrics for "You're the One That I Want" make zero sense in that context. "To my heart I must be true"? That's clearly not the case, since she's just changed everything about herself for a guy. Harumph. That lame ending lowered my rating half a star. However, I am going to salvage the movie from the mess it turned into, by pretending that post-movie they tell each other, "It's okay, you don't have to change, I really DO like who you are" and all is well. 3.5 stars.

Fast Food Nation (2006)

Meh. It seemed to be substituting a political point for a coherent story. We get the idea, fast food is disgusting. But there is no reason this couldn't have been a documentary. None of the characters had personalities or lives I cared about. Plot points were wrapped up abruptly. If you're not going to bother making interesting as a fictionalized version, don't bother fictionalizing it at all. Just keep it as a straightforward nonfiction story. It'd have been more interesting. 2 stars.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

Like most quirky indie comedy/dramas, this plays up the quirky so much that I can no longer identify with the characters. These aren't people, they're living breathing quirks. There are definitely some good moments, but overall it goes too far over the top for me to really like it. 3 stars.

Run Lola Run (1998)

Fascinating movie that scared the heck out of me. It's dark, it's bleak, and even with a happy ending it still kind of freaked me out a little bit. Marvelous filmmaking, though. There were a LOT of moments that made me think, "Oooh. That was a nice shot." So, well done, I moderately enjoyed it, but the atmosphere isn't a terribly pleasant one. 3.5 stars.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Hollywood Ending (2002)

This is not nearly as bad as most of the Flixster reviews claim it is. It's a light, fluffy, and pleasantly uplifting comedy in typical Woody Allen style... which means I liked it a lot. :) Some great moments in here. It's also significantly less cynical than many of his other movies (although cynicism is fun too). Overall, a very enjoyable watch. 4 stars.

Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)

Definitely one of his better movies. It's more hopeful than Manhattan and warmer than Annie Hall. The characters are all fascinating and it's satisfying to see it all somehow turn out in the end. I liked seeing how the individual stories connected. Everyone had a story that got to be told. Very good movie. 4 stars.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Big Daddy (1999)

Slightly spoiler ahead, although why anyone would care about this movie enough to worry about spoilers is beyond me. Yeah, everyone knows my stance on Adam Sandler. We should hang him from a tree and beat himuntil he repents of all the horrible things he has wrought. This movie is SLIGHTLY less horrible than Mr. Deeds - less of a cruel streak and more of a simple "Well, that's not even close to being funny." Plus, we're supposed to feel sympathy for this guy? I was rooting the entire time for the kid to go to someone else. (Hoorah for that ending.) As an older sister, I did not chuckle warmly at the antics throughout the movie, but kept going, "Uh! Well, that's just obnoxious." Urgh. Adam Sandler has still done nothing to change my mind about his worth as a celebrity. 0.5 stars.

The Gold Rush (1925)

While I wasn't blown away by this at any point, there were enough laughs to keep me smiling throughout. Sometimes the simplest gags are the best. I'm not a Chaplin fan overall, but this is a pretty good film overall. 3 stars.

Hairspray (2007)

Pure delight. I'm a big fan of the movie and show, and this was a nearly-perfect adaptation of it. (Amanda Bynes was my one gripe - she portrays far too much confidence to play Penny. I missed that awkward character... I always sympathize with her.) This movie may not have the most substance of any movie out there, but it's certainly one of the best feel-good flicks I've seen in awhile. You can't help but come out of this with a smile on your face. Special "Yay" goes to James Marsden, who was absolutely perfect in his tiny role. Goodness, can that guy sing! 4.5 stars.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

I didn't expect to enjoy this nearly as much as I did. Indie comedy/dramas are all the same, right? Quirky cast of characters, usually a road trip involved... Except this one was both genuinely funny and genuinely touching. The characters were quirky but their quirks did not overpower them. The ending scene at the pageant should have been cheesy and lame, but somehow it worked... a satisfying ending. Overall, a very good movie with great performances from the whole cast. Definitely worth watching. 4 stars.

The Green Mile (1999)

This story was well-told and remained fascinating up until a half hour from the end, when it suddenly turned and ran off in a completely different direction. The ending five minutes made me giggle out loud, which I suspect wasn't the response they'd have hoped for. It didn't feel in tune with the rest of the movie at all. It was quite disappointing, because I liked the rest of the movie up until then. 3 stars.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)

This was my favorite of Tennessee Williams' plays for a long time, and this is quite a good movie adaptation of it. By the end of the movie each character is distinctive, even the more minor ones, which is helped by both a good script and good actors. I wasn't sure about Elizabeth Taylor at first in this role, but she turned out to do a fairly good job... and Paul Newman is great as Brick. It's very much a movie version of a play, but it's very well done. 4 stars.

Frantic (1988)

While this movie is not as well-crafted as Chinatown, I found it more enjoyable, at least throughout the first half. The ending is a bit muddled and sort of rambles off into nowhere, but the first hour of the movie is intelligent and interesting. Good, but not fantastic. 3 stars.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Shaun of the Dead (2004)

While this is a thoroughly solid movie, I was hoping for something more. I'd heard so many recommendations for this movie that I was expecting to absolutely love it... and I didn't that much. It definitely had its funny moments, but it wasn't spectacular at any point. Still, if you're a fan of zombie movies you'll probably get a kick out of this. 3.5 stars.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)

Okay, you can make a cartoon version of Hunchback. That's not impossible. You can even give it an ending without everyone dying (as long as you don't pair Quasimodo with Esmeralda). That's trickier but could still be workable. What you CAN'T do is insert singing and dancing gargoyles. That just doesn't work for this story, sorry. I love to hear Jason Alexander sing, but... no. No, no, no. Talk about yanking you out of the movie. I suspect they were just inserted to try to make the movie more kid-friendly, although that doesn't actually work because the movie is still too dark to really work as a child's movie.

*However*, if the gargoyles (and the few other out-of-place comments or jokes) had been removed from the movie, it would have been quite good! It may be a lightened version of the story, but it's still there, and it's beautifully done. The musical sequences in particular were lovely. "Out There" was my favorite - it captured Quasimodo's total isolation from the world in a way that worked really well for me.

Disney, you ALMOST got it right. If those stupid gargoyles hadn't been in there, this movie could have quite possibly gotten four and a half stars. But because I had to sit through their antics and silly song (okay, I actually like the song, but only when out of context), you lost a star and a half. *shakes head* So close, so close. 3 stars.

Friday, July 27, 2007

A Midsummer Night's Dream (1999)

Plot: Lovers' lives are complicated by city law, feuding faerie royalty, and... love.

I've always been a fan of Shakespeare, and A Midsummer Night's Dream is one of my favorites. This adaptation isn't perfect but is quite fun all the way through. I'm not sure why they decided to switch the time to the early 1900s... It didn't add much to the movie, but what it did add seemed perpetually out of place. However, the cast is good, and aside from that minor quibble, it's well done. Plus, MUSICAL THEATER PERSON SIGHTING! That's Gregory Jbara playing Snug! 3.5 stars.

Clash by Night (1952)

This is rather an unusual movie... It clearly leads you in one direction and then yanks you back the other way at the last minute. The movie doesn't play very interestingly, with melodramatic lines and predictability up until the end. It appeared to be a noir movie, so I was expecting a noir ending... and then didn't get it. It was so unexpected that I'm still not sure whether I was pleased or disappointed that it went a completely different route. The ending, however, was the only noteworthy thing about the entire movie... Not really recommended. 2.5 stars.

The Lion in Winter (2003)

It's amazing how twisted these characters are. You can never be sure if anything they're saying is sincere or if it's just all a scheme. Solid performances by Patrick Stewart and Glenn Close, and a very good script (virtually identical to the original, to my recollection). However, if given a choice between watching this remake and the 1968 version, go with the older one. While Stewart and Close are good, Peter O'Toole and Katharine Hepburn are even better. 3.5 stars.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Breach (2007)

I don't generally like spy movies, or movies based on true stories, but this was a very solidly well-made thriller. I enjoyed it fairly well. Fascinating performances from Chris Cooper and the always-good Laura Linney. (Ryan Philippe plays the protagonist and is bland, but not distractingly so.) Definitely worth seeing if you're a fan of the genre, and possibly even if you're not. 3.5 stars.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Noises Off... (1992)

A friend recommended this movie, and so I decided to check it out. For the first forty minutes, I found myself thinking, "This is fairly entertaining, but not fantastic." By the end of the movie, however, I had changed my mind. This is one of the funniest things I've seen in awhile. The first half of the movie is mostly setup and some mild chuckles, while the last half is hilariously zany and had me laughing out loud several times. Definitely recommended! 4.5 stars.

Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994)

I found the first half hour of this ridiculously cheesy and kept giggling at inappropriate moments. However, as it kept going, I realized it was the dialogue itself that was the difficulty - the story was actually somewhat interesting. With that in mind, I was able to actually enjoy the movie. To my huge surprise, Tom Cruise was the most interesting character (Brad Pitt was far, far too emo, Kirsten Dunst too irrational and Antonio Banderas' eye makeup kept making me burst into laughter). And the ending was satisfying. So... I mildly liked it, but only because I ignored everything that made it nonsense. 3 stars.

Fun with Dick and Jane (1977)

Definitely superior to the silly 2005 remake. It starts off somewhat blandly, but about halfway through it starts picking up and from there to the end is solidly fun, if never hilarious. I wouldn't watch it again, but it was definitely worth seeing once. 3 stars.

Hollywoodland (2006)

This movie should have been much more interesting than it was. The storyline with the detective, however, was mostly boring. Very run-of-the-mill. I wanted to return to the flashbacks more than I wanted to see the "present" timeline of the story. Ben Affleck, surprisingly, turned in a fantastic performance -- much better than anything I've ever seen him do. Too bad the moviemakers didn't concentrate solely on his character and cut out the other plotline. 2.5 stars.

We're Not Married! (1952)

I'd never even heard of this movie before, but it turned out to be quite a charming little flick. It tells the stories of five different couples that find out they're not legally married. Some are delighted to get the news... others, not so much. Each segment is fun and, overall, sweet, although it's got a lot of cynicism along the way. The Fred Allen/Ginger Rogers plotline was wrapped up a little too tidily to convince me, but other than that, quite fun. 3.5 stars.

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)

I'm not sure why I started watching this. I expected it to be horrible. But then it wasn't quite as bad as I'd anticipated. It actually has its good moments. John C. Reilly steals the show throughout most of the movie. At its best, it's funny. At its worst, it's not stupid or annoying or obnoxious... simply not funny. That's pretty impressive. I wouldn't recommend it unless you're a fan of the genre or stars anyway, but it was far from being painful to watch, which was my expectation. 2.5 stars.

That Thing You Do! (1996)

One of Anna's recommendations. I found this fun, fluffy, and totally forgettable. One of those movies that, although they're great when you're watching them, don't stick long in your mind. Still, I can see why people like this. It's unendingly good-natured and has some fairly catchy music as well. (The music will probably stick with me far longer than the actual movie.) 3.5 stars.

The Roaring Twenties (1939)

This film is definitely a genre film. It fits that genre perfectly and is a great movie within that genre. To people who don't like the 1940s gangster movies, however (*cough* me), it's good but not great. James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart both turn in very good performances, and Priscilla Lane is fine as the innocent young girl... Nothing that blew me out of the water, but well done. Very solid. 3 stars.

Godzilla Versus the Sea Monster (1966)

Such SILLINESS! I'm not a fan of monster movies on the whole, but this one kept me interested with outrageously strange dialogue and plot devices. (My favorite bit of the script: "Where's my rifle?" "I thought it was a toy. I started playing with it and it broke." ...WHAT?! I had to pause the movie at that point because I was laughing so hard.) If you like monster movies or deliberately watching poorly made movies... this one's worth checking out. The MST3K version is pretty good, too. 2 stars.

The Goodbye Girl (1977)

I liked the remake of this movie, and I liked the musical, and I like Neil Simon... it makes sense I'd like this as well. And I did. I always warm immediately to these characters, no matter what their flaws may be. Richard Dreyfuss and Marsha Mason did a good job of bringing that likeability to the screen. And Neil Simon's dialogue is just always charming... witty without being too obviously scripted. This is a fun one. 4 stars.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Almost Famous (2000)

This is primarily one of those nostalgia movies that recalls the values and attitudes of a past generation. American Graffiti is one of those movies. This one's mostly about the music of the 70s. Now if I had lived through the 70s or was a fan of 70s rock, this movie would probably capture my attention far more. But the fact is, I didn't find a whole lot to grab onto. It was also one of those rambling dramas that feels deep but I can never find anything to connect with. (Think American Beauty. ...Why am I only referencing movies starting with "American" in this review?) Overall, I was disappointed... but then, I am hardly the target audience. 2.5 stars.

Monday, July 9, 2007

The Painted Veil (2006)

I was hoping for this to be more substantial than it was. It has a great premise and good actors, so why was it so bland? The script is melodramatic, with wooden characters, and comes to an abrupt end with no satisfying resolution. 2.5 stars.

The Fountain (2006)

This movie may not be the easiest to understand I've ever seen, but it's certainly one of the most beautiful. Stunning visuals throughout that truly bring to life the beauty of the stories being told. I'm still not entirely sure of the actual plot of the movie, but, surprisingly, that didn't at all detract from my enjoyment of the movie. Hugh Jackman is quite good in his role, Rachel Weisz is very capable in hers. There really are very few words to describe this other than "beautiful." I definitely plan on rewatching this again someday. 4.5 stars.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Bus Stop (1956)

Definitely pretty dated, and the heavily accented version of "That Old Black Magic" made me go "Huh?" But it's still a fun movie... one of those comedies that make you smile fondly more than laugh out loud. Not nearly as good as The Seven Year Itch or Some Like It Hot, though. 3 stars.

The Mistress of Spices (2005)

I thought Bend It Like Beckham and Bride and Prejudice were decent movies, but nothing special. This one, however, is a charming romantic drama with magical fantasy elements that drew me into the story right away. The whole movie feels like a beautiful fairy tale and, except for one slight moment of "Wait, what?" at the end, was really well done. Definitely worth watching! 4 stars.

Friday, July 6, 2007

The In-Laws (1979)

This is one of those fun comedies that are entertaining but there's not much to say about them. Peter Falk and Alan Arkin play off each other perfectly in their roles, and there are definitely a few very funny moments in this. It isn't going to stand out as a great movie at any point, but it's very solid as fluffy entertainment. I'd certainly recommend it, especially if you're a fan of either of the lead actors. 3.5 stars.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Pan's Labyrinth (2006)

Although I can't at any point say I actually enjoyed this movie, there's no denying it is beautifully made. The ending is wonderfully ambiguous, made to fit both the fantasy and the bleak realism, which are contrasted with each other in very shocking ways. It is a masterpiece of a movie. And yet I didn't actually like it. I was never drawn into the story. But because it was so wonderfully made, I am going to boost it up from my usual "Good but didn't like it" 3.5 stars to 4, because it fully deserves at least a 4. So, 4 stars.

The History Boys (2006)

It's been awhile since I found a movie I liked this much. It's based on the play, which won six Tonys and intrigued me when it was first put on Broadway. The dialogue is brilliantly written and held my attention from the very beginning. The stories are touching and, although I would have liked to become more familiar with some of the characters, they were all interesting and made me want to know what happened to them at the end. (The ending was wonderfully satisfying.) Overall, an incredibly good movie. 4.5 stars.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Bruce Almighty (2003)

I was worried that this movie would be offensive to me as a Christian, but in the end it turned out it wasn't at all. Nor was it offensive to me as an artist. Heh. It was a perfectly watchable movie with a few very funny moments. Not spectacular, but definitely fun for one viewing. 3.5 stars.

Friday, June 29, 2007

The Good German (2006)

This is clearly a tribute to noir movies of the 40s. It beautifully captures the feel and look of the movies of the time. George Clooney and Cate Blanchett are both good in their noirish roles. However, I'm not sure the movie had anything to offer *other* than being noir in 2006. It doesn't really standout as a movie in and of itself. Nice-looking, nice for fans of the genre... but nothing spectacular. 3 stars.

Monday, June 25, 2007

The Prestige (2006)

This was a beautifully done movie. Very much a Christopher Nolan picture. Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale both were wonderful in their roles. The movie might have gone slightly overboard on twists, but since none of them were completely earth-shattering, I don't think it made a huge difference. If you liked Memento, you probably will like this one as well. 4 stars.

Love Wrecked (2005)

Mindless nonsense, most likely to be enjoyed by pre-teen girls. I was going to add half a star to its rating because although it was certainly bland and uninspired, it wasn't obnoxious... and then the second half of the movie happened. Ugh. The first half is silly but acceptable. The second is just painful. 1.5 stars.

Never Been Kissed (1999)

Despite being painfully awkward in the first half, this movie managed to stay interesting and fun all the way up until the end... and then it blew it. For a movie that tries to be about being yourself and love conquering everything, it rather messed that up by making her declaration of love a selfish, thoughtless one that did absolutely nothing to prove her love to him. That, for me, just about ruined the movie. Too bad, because it could have been perfectly acceptable as a chick flick. 2 stars.

Night at the Museum (2006)

Considering I was expecting it to be horribly lame and annoying, it wasn't. Heh. It actually did have a few funny moments, although it's definitely a typical children's movie, and is therefore predictable. It could have been better, though. Although fine, it was bland. But I'll take bland over obnoxious any day. A fine kids' movie, a mediocre movie overall. 3 stars.

Employee of the Month (2006)

This movie was better than I thought it was going to be. The first fifteen minutes made me very skeptical, but then it picked up and was actually kind of entertaining by the end. However, it's nothing at all special. Totally forgettable. And, yes, Jessica Simpson is miserable as an actress. So... not a terrible movie, but not terribly good, either. 2.5 stars.

Miss Potter (2006)

While this movie was compared to Finding Neverland, let me start off by saying that movie was far superior. This felt a bit melodramatic and poorly-defined at times. Those moments were few and far between, though. Overall it was very well done. Renee Zellweger is great in this role, and even Ewan McGregor doesn't do too much to ruin it. Recommended for those who like movies based on true stories. Heh. 3.5 stars.

Man of the Year (2006)

Eh. This was fluffy, silly, and totally forgettable. I keep forgetting that I've actually seen it. Also, although Laura Linney is usually quite good as an actress, here she felt over-the-top and out of place, making an unconvincing progression from normalcy to paranoia. Nothing else particularly wrong with this movie, there's just nothing at all special about it. 3 stars.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Checking Out (2005)

Based on a play, feels like a play. That's a good thing as far as I'm concerned, but that means it moves slowly and there's far more sitting around and talking than exciting car chases (although, come to think of it, there's a kind of car chase too). A few of the characters are a little too self-consciously onstagelike, and the production quality is slightly amateurish. However, the script is intelligent, funny, and hits all the right notes without being either too morbid or too sappy. Peter Falk was fantastic, creating his own unique character. The ending veered dangerously close to being trite, but managed to avoid that. All in all, a very satisfying little movie you've probably never seen. 4 stars.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Deja Vu (2006)

Quite a fun film. There's nothing earth-shatteringly different about this movie - pretty straightforward dramatic premise. At first I was skeptical, but it's smarter about how it unfolds than a lot of movies, and this is what makes it interesting to watch. Denzel Washington turns in a solid performance, as always. 3 stars.

Doctor Zhivago (1965)

This movie should have enthralled me so much more than it did. It's just exactly the kind of movie I like - melancholy, atmospheric, moves slowly. But none of it ever came together to form a great story for me. It all just kind of fell apart without any real resolution, either happy or tragic. However, the atmosphere *is* lovely and the music is gorgeous. It is long, but that doesn't damage it, as it is an epic tale and deserves to be treated and filmed as such. 3 stars.

Dreamgirls (2006)

The movie as a whole is only 3 stars, but a few spectacular musical moments punch it up another half a star. This story is nothing particularly interesting, and most of the music isn't either. That's the show's fault, though, not necessarily the movie. Jennifer Hudson's renditions of "I Am Changing" and "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going" really stand out, as does Beyonce's song "Listen" (written for the movie). Not nearly as good as the equally well-received Chicago. 3.5 stars.

Copying Beethoven (2006)

This movie desperately wants to be Amadeus... but it's not. It could have been a really good movie, if the writing hadn't been stupid. And if the acting was better. Ed Harris does the best he can with this bizarre script, but everyone else seems like they stepped right out of a soap opera. In fact, this entire thing feels like a soap opera... melodramatic and silly to the extreme. 1.5 stars.

The Queen (2006)

This was a very well-done movie. Helen Mirren fully deserved her Oscar for this role, bringing a deeply complex character to the screen. Sometimes movies about real-life people get so caught up in making that person's life meaningful and significant that they forget to make the movie interesting, but this held my attention the whole way while still making its point. I don't think it's made a lasting impression on me, but it was definitely worth watching once. Quality movie. Possibly worth 4 stars, but I'm giving it 3.5 for now.

Manhattan (1979)

Annie Hall blew me away. This one... not so much. It felt a bit bleaker. Annie Hall had a sort of delightful reveling in how messed up life and relationships were, and this... not so much. That being said, however, it was still a very, very well-done movie. I absolutely loved the use of Gershwin as background music. Wonderful contrast between the sort of traditional, beautiful feel to the city and the bleak, straightforward look at life as it is. It seriously made me want to go back to New York. I miss my city! Anyway. If you have vowed to only ever see one Woody Allen movie in your entire life, see Annie Hall... but if you have made no such vow, I recommend this. 4 stars.

Monday, May 28, 2007

The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

Not my type of movie at all, but it was well done. It's very sincere and fairly uplifting without being too sentimental. Will Smith does a fantastic job here, creating a likable, believable character. His son also does a great job playing the little boy. If you enjoy inspiring dramas or whatever you want to call this genre, I highly recommend you check this movie out. 3.5 stars.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

Yeah, somehow I never saw this movie. I loved Raiders and Last Crusade, so it's not surprising that I liked this one pretty well, too. The first half hour of it was... odd, though. It was too uneven a mix of comedy and action. However, as it got going it picked up pretty quickly and had a tremendously satisfying ending. Some truly great moments. 4 stars.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Casino Royale (2006)

I'm not a fan of Bond, or of action movies in general. This one was pretty solid, though. Daniel Craig makes an interesting Bond, fairly dark and sinister. He worked well for the role. Overall, though, I have very little to say about this. A well-done, satisfying movie in a genre I don't care for or pay attention to. Definitely worth seeing if you like action films, or the Bond series in general. 3.5 stars.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Romeo + Juliet (1996)

Baz Luhrmann is incredible. I've now seen all three of the movies in his Red Curtain trilogy and while I wasn't *crazy* about Strictly Ballroom, I loved the other two. This was a fascinating thing to try and while it didn't ALWAYS work (thus the 4-star rating) it did most of the time. Some truly beautiful moments in here playing with language and visuals and doing all sorts of interesting things. Great version of a classic story. 4 stars.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Meet the Parents (2000)

This isn't a bad movie, but it certainly isn't a great one. Although there are a few funny moments, overall I spent too many moments muttering to the screen, "What is wrong with you people?" Comedies about idiots can be funny as long as you realize from the beginning they're idiots. Comedies that are supposed to be about smart people who then go ahead and act like idiots... Sigh. There weren't enough laughs to make up for the frustration with the characters' actions. Too bad, because this could have been a much funnier movie. 3 stars.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Spider-Man 3 (2007)

An odd possible conclusion to the series... wrapped things up a little too neatly, and included a bit too much emo Peter for my taste. I really liked what they did with the Sandman, though, that was probably the best moment of the whole movie. Very cool stuff, visually. If you're a Spidey fan anyway, you'll want to check it out, but for a more casual watcher of these movies, I'm not sure it'd be worth seeing. It's entertaining, but totally forgettable. 3 stars.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Moulin Rouge! (2001)

This may well have been one of the most amazing movies I have ever seen, and I don't know how it happened. A traditional love story, no new twists there, paper-thin characters, melodrama galore... and better yet, everyone will sing pop songs? Not original songs, but *pop* songs. Say, "Like a Virgin" and "The Show Must Go On." Hey, I like musicals, but by all rights that should have been cheesy and stupid and all-around lousy. And yet.. somehow it isn't. I was enthralled with this movie by the time the first dance scene showed up. I have never, ever been a fan of Ewan McGregor, but since all he had to be here was sincere, he was perfect. Nicole Kidman was also fantastic in her (also not-deep) role. And the fact that neither one of them have particularly good voices didn't keep me from enjoying the movie - I *really* don't know how that happened. This movie is all about style over substance, and BOY, does it have style. It's got style overflowing and coming out its ears. Dazzling. Stunning. A spectacular film.

I am going to venture to do something I haven't done in a long time, and that is rate a movie 5 stars. I think it deserves it. The movie completely blew me away.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Pulp Fiction (1994)

All right. This is the kind of movie I don't like usually, but everyone else who watches movies does. Heh. That being said, it was actually pretty good overall. Interesting dialogue, interesting intertwining plotlines... I think it was a well-made movie and interesting to watch, but I wouldn't place it in my absolute favorites list at any point. 3.5 stars.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Holiday (2006)

This is a very satisfying chick flick. The two stories are each interesting, with their own characters and plots. I like all the actors in this fairly well (with the exception of Cameron Diaz, who actually was surprisingly likable here). I will mention, however, this movie unfolds s-l-o-w-l-y. It's 136 minutes long, and because of that, I'm not sure it would hold up to a second viewing because of so much in-betweenness. Also, I felt like the Kate Winslet subplot was slightly underdeveloped in some ways. The ending to her story felt abrupt, which was too bad, because she was the character I was most interested in. Still, a satisfying watch. Recommended if you like romantic comedies. Or perhaps romantic dramas, since this is more dramatic than comedic, although it's somewhat lighthearted. 3.5 stars.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Dead Again (1991)

Ooh, I liked this. People reviewed it comparing it to Hitchcock, and that is absolutely what it was like. A very classy mystery thriller, great atmosphere, great acting... even a few fun twists I didn't actually see coming. The climactic scene, which kept cutting back and forth between past and present (similar to Frequency, although earlier and more interesting), was a great way of holding my attention for a scene I usually would have tuned out of in another movie. Overall, really fun movie. Definitely recommended. 4 stars.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Say Anything... (1989)

This movie is what Sixteen Candles should have been. Funny, sweet, generally charming... small layer of sappiness underneath but it certainly didn't damage the movie too much. John Cusack plays this sort of character so well... lots of coolness points to him. Worth watching as far as these movies go. Nothing deep here, but entertaining. 3.5 stars.

Happy Feet (2006)

This was a thoroughly satisfying movie, although I have no idea why that is. It's not particularly funny. Its themes are not original. Penguins are cute, but so are a lot of CGI creatures. But somehow everything comes together in this movie to create a pretty darn good flick, whether it be for kids or adults. Very enjoyable overall. 4 stars.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Children of Men (2006)

One of the most compelling movies I have ever seen in a genre I am not interested in. The story was interesting, the characters were interesting... and all sorts of little things jumped out at me. Loved the blood splattering on the camera lens, that was just wonderful. The first hour was more interesting than the last, but still a very good movie. I'd certainly recommend it. 4 stars.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)

I'm a Richard Curtis fan. I loved Bridget Jones's Diary, raved about Love Actually... but wasn't at all crazy about this. Although it had some very funny moments and generally likable characters, it had one enormous fault: it felt *bleak* to me. I have no idea how this happened. Love Actually, despite a sad ending or two, felt infinitely more cheerful and happy. I can't pinpoint anything in the movie that felt like this to me, but somehow it did as a whole. Too bad, because it's a nice story (oh, that and it was quite a bit rushed in building the relationship. But oh well). 3 stars.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Rich and Strange (1931)

The movie itself is not very interesting, except for some interesting early directing from Hitchcock. There were a few moments that made me sit up and say, "Ooh, that was interesting." Like much of his early work, definitely more for fans of Hitchcock or the genre. 2.5 stars.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Goodbye Girl (2004)

I have not read the play, nor have I seen the original movie, but I liked this quite a lot. The opening half hour or so was rough going, with way more soap opera drama than anything else. But after that first half hour, it began to pick up and became rather a sweet movie with characters I was warming to. The little girl was fairly annoying all the way through, alternately too precocious and too young, always too sappily sweet. But the story isn't about her, it's about the adults, both of which became well-developed characters toward the end and made it a satisfying movie, if not great by any means. 4 stars.

The Madness of King George (1994)

I was hoping for this movie to be a bit more than this. Although it was mildly interesting all the way through, it was never fascinating, and the climactic turn of the story felt like it wasn't even included. An oddly anticlimactic latter half. However, it still was an interesting movie and I'd probably recommend it. Great performances all around. 3 stars.

The Ladykillers (2004)

The first hour of this movie was super fun. From the first five minutes I was hooked. Snappy dialogue, interesting characters... Although some might have been annoyed by Tom Hanks' character's smug ranting, I found it hilarious. And it wasn't that the ending didn't fit, because it definitely did. But it all seemed to come to a close rather suddenly. Adding an extra ten minutes just might have made the last third of the movie much funnier. Still an enjoyable movie, though. 3.5 stars.

Stranger Than Fiction (2006)

A very satisfying movie... very funny moments, great acting (especially from Will Ferrell and Maggie Gyllenhaal), entertaining movie over all. The only problem with it, however, is that it really couldn't have had a stupendous ending consistent with the tone and plot of everything coming before it. It does the best it can, and although it almost works, I felt somehow lacking or cheated as the credits began to roll. I'm not sure there was any other solution, though. Definitely still worth watching... I did laugh out loud a few times. "Yes. I am relieved to know that I am not a golem."

Also, check it out! Musical theater person! That's Kristin Chenoweth interviewing the Emma Thompson character on TV! 4 stars.

Leon (The Professional) (1994)

I believe this is one of the ones Anna recommended... and unfortunately is one of the ones I didn't enjoy so much. I found the initial concept more disturbing than anything else when played out (not to mention the relationship between the two of them). Gary Oldman was one of the creepiest villains I have ever seen on screen, although I'm not sure exactly what made him that scary... but points to him for that. The movie as a whole also felt like it was trying too hard to be deep, and I never really slipped into any mode where I was actually interested in the story, since the obvious meanings kept distracting me. I suppose I can see why people liked it, but everything that they liked just rubbed me the wrong way. 2 stars.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Rocky (1976)

I wasn't terribly excited about seeing this, but it turned out to be quite a good movie. I think it can appeal to a lot of different audiences because it really *isn't* just a sports movie. (A lot of sports movies claim that, but most of them are lying.) Although the plot was centered around this boxing match, the story was really more about the character of Rocky. The characters feel real (I especially love the character of Adrian, who reminds me a terrible lot of myself) and are different from the stereotypical Hollywood characters, and I even found myself interested in the boxing scene at the end. All-around good movie. 3.5 stars.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Man on the Moon (1999)

What a fascinating movie. I knew virtually nothing about Andy Kaufman when I saw the flick, so just learning about his life was interesting. But it was also just a well-done movie. It struck the right balance between drama and comedy. I thoroughly enjoyed it. 4 stars.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)

Yeah, this gets my standard Harry Potter rating, but it almost got a four. And a three. But at no point was it *really* a three and a half. There were some moments that made this the best movie in the series to date. The character development was satisfying - not *quite* as much as in the book, but close. And then there would be sudden moments that made me stare at the screen thinking, "Why would they choose to do it that way?" So because it was equal parts worse and better than all the rest, it unfortunately gets rated the same as they did.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Flushed Away (2006)

Kids' cartoon movies lately have been incredibly, incredibly disappointing. Last year yielded some clunkers (like Doogal), and then a few medium-bad (like Over the Hedge and Pixar's Cars). This is the first cartoon I've seen in a long time that I've actually thoroughly enjoyed. At first I was worried they'd overdo the film references (as Dreamworks has a tendency to do... Shark Tale, anyone? *Shudder*) but while it was self-referential and silly, it was also much cleverer than anything children's entertainment has offered us over the last few years. Lots of little throwaway moments that took me a second to get, but when I did, I started laughing out loud. This is not quite Chicken Run, not quite Wallace and Gromit, but it's certainly a cut above the dreck we've been offered recently. Enjoyable for both parents and kids. 4 stars.

Friday, April 6, 2007

The Sixth Sense (1999)

I know, it's pretty surprising I hadn't seen this before. This movie is rather incredible. Even knowing all the twists and the premise and all that, it's still a beautiful story done in a simply stunning way. Haley Joel Osment does an amazing job in this flick carrying the weight of his character. It strikes just the right balance between serious drama and supernatural thriller, hitting almost no sour notes at all. Definitely one of the best movies I've seen so far this year. 4.5 stars.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Reality Bites (1994)

This was a surprisingly satisfying movie. I'd had it in my head as a sort of goofy teen comedy/drama from long ago, but it turned out to be very interesting. Nothing earth-shatteringly original as far as plot goes, but all the actors do well in it, it mostly rings true as far as characters, and the ending made sense with the rest of the movie. As I said... thoroughly satisfying. 3.5 stars.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain (2001)

This movie was beautiful. Visually, thematically, plotwise... everything was just gorgeous. It managed to perfectly manage that delicate balance between "Ooh, artsy, visually interesting stuff!" and actually being satisfying as far as a movie story goes. Definitely one of the most stunning movies I've seen in awhile. I highly recommend it. 4.5 stars.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Beverly Hills Cop (1984)

Well, this was pretty fun. Nothing fantastic, but it did have a few good moments, particularly in the last half hour of the movie. I felt it was a little slow to get going, but once it did it was consistently entertaining to the end of the flick. Fun for a lightweight evening's entertainment. 3.5 stars.

Pretty Woman (1990)

As far as romantic comedies go, this one is pretty good. I was never blown away by it at any point, didn't even get particularly attached to the characters, but it was a solid story told well. Definitely worth watching if you're a fan of Julia Roberts, Richard Gere, or romantic comedies in general. 3.5 stars.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Fargo (1996)

This should have been much better than it was. The Coen brothers have put out a lot of very good films, but for some reason this just didn't work for me. The plot kind of went around in circles, the best character didn't show up until halfway through, I found it neither very funny nor very thrilling. The best part was hearing all those North Dakotaisms again. "Don't you know." "You bet." That was pretty fun, but overall, I was pretty disappointed with this. Not my favorite of the Coens'. 2.5 stars.

Death to Smoochy (2002)

I saw about 20 minutes of this on TV and was intrigued, so I went out and rented it. The first half of it was more interesting than the second, where everything went just a little too far over-the-top for me. Also, the conclusion didn't quite fit... but the movie was pretty amusing. Robin Williams' character was sometimes too zany, but sometimes hilarious. Edward Norton's idealistic character did make me laugh quite a lot. ("Honestly, I have to say that there were times when I felt my voice wasn't being heard.") Definitely had some good moments, although not a perfect flick. If you're into dark comedy, it's worth a watch. 4 stars.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

High Noon (1952)

I saw this ages ago but didn't remember it at all. Really well-done flick. I don't enjoy westerns as a whole, but this one managed to draw me into the action. Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly are both wonderful in their roles, neither of them play up the western movie stereotypes. Beautiful ending as well. Very... stark. But very fitting for the movie as a whole. I don't think I'll look back at this movie thinking, "Oh my gosh, that was good," but I definitely think it was. 3.5 stars.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Hotel Rwanda (2004)

Another one of those movies that I admire greatly but didn't actually enjoy watching. It's very well done, tells the story well, good acting, good pacing... everything about it works well. I don't think I'd ever want to watch it again, but I'd recommend it to others, especially if you like this movie genre. 3.5 stars.

The Illusionist (2006)

This movie had great atmosphere. The mood was consistent nearly all the way through, with very deliberate coloring and lighting choices that contributed to that mood. However, the ending doesn't quite fit. The ending plot twist makes everything seem much more light-hearted than it's been building toward, and for me it felt a bit jarring... didn't quite measure up. However, the first 3/4 of the movie was truly fascinating and very enjoyable. Definitely worth watching. 3.5 stars.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Sleeper (1973)

Heh. An older Woody Allen flick with a very different feel than his newer ones, which specialize in witty dialogue, while this one is definitely more slapstick. It does have some fantastic moments, though, and is, overall, a pretty fun evening's entertainment. Worth seeing if you're an Allen fan, or if you like older slapstick comedy. 3 stars.

For Your Consideration (2006)

You can't go too wrong with a Christopher Guest mockumentary, really. Even his weakest effort, A Mighty Wind, was pretty entertaining. While this wasn't nearly as good as Guffman or Spinal Tap (but then it's difficult to top those!) it was still a solidly entertaining movie. It did have a curiously sad ending. I suppose the same thing happened in Guffman, but it felt lighter there, while here it felt very heavy. It didn't destroy the whole movie by any means, but definitely threw a bit of a bittersweet ending on it. Odd. Still good watching though. 3.5 stars.

Music and Lyrics (2007)

A romantic comedy doesn't have to be plausible if the characters are likeable, which is what allowed me to enjoy this movie. Heh. It's silly, it's fluffy, it's ridiculous, but the characters are intelligent (although sentimental) and generally likeable (although Drew Barrymore came dangerously close to the "annoying, not cute anymore" line a few times). Good for its genre, typical for non-chick-flick lovers. Also note that my shameful love of 80's music may have played into my enjoying this movie. 3.5 stars.

Winter Passing (2005)

This really wasn't what I was expecting at all, although I'm not quite sure what I *was* expecting. It was much bleaker than I had anticipated, mostly due to Zooey Deschanel going all creepy emo on us. And I'm not entirely sure that it got resolved at the end. However, it made for interesting viewing, with interesting characters. I do wish I had found out a bit more about what was going on, but I supposed that's the trend of the indie drama: set everything up and then don't resolve it. It's not a style I particularly like but, hey, I liked the journey up until then. 3 stars.

Idiocracy (2006)

I can't believe I'm rating this movie this highly, but I actually found it to be very funny. One of the reviewers here referred to it as "dumb comedy." (Heh. That can also be taken quite literally for this movie, but whatever.) There were quite a bit of dumb comedy aspects to this movie, yes, but it's pretty smart for being one of those movies. Heh. There was more than one moment that I chuckled out loud. However, be warned, there is a fair amount of profanity and sexual jokes, so if you're not comfortable with that, I wouldn't recommend it. 4 stars.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Dark City (1998)

Heh. Silly sci-fi. This overall isn't a bad movie. The whole thing's rather bleak, and Kiefer Sutherland overacts like mad (and apparently channeled William Shatner for his line readings, too). But it's fun watching things try to get figured out. Not a bad flick if you're into sci-fi... or, really, even if you're not into it. I enjoyed it. 3.5 stars.

Monday, March 5, 2007

The Thirteenth Floor (1999)

I'm not a sci-fi fan in general, but this one wasn't bad. It had a pretty decent plot (today it would be cliched, not nearly as much in '99) and I was happy with myself for guessing what was going on. Hurrah. However, my reaction to it is the reaction to most well-done sci-fi movies, as well as to most well-done action movies. I can remember neither anything spectacularly good or spectacularly bad about it. This does have one thing going for it, though. Craig Bierko is a musical theater person. Yay them. 3 stars.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Before Sunset (2004)

Let me start off by saying I absolutely adored Before Sunrise. Richard Linklater's best movies are the ones least likely to appeal to a mass audience - where his characters wander around just talking. Before Sunrise was like that, and, largely, this was too. The movie makes you feel like you've simply jumped in on an evening of conversation between two intelligent and interesting people. However, I didn't feel quite as interested in their story this time around, for some reason. Maybe because the first time I liked the mystery of deciphering their characters through their conversation. Maybe it felt just a little bit more contrived this time. I'm not sure. It's still a very good movie (wonderful when you consider that it's a sequel) but it doesn't have that extra touch the first one did that made me love it so very much. Absolutely worth seeing, though. 4 stars.

Friday, March 2, 2007

State and Main (2000)

I'd never actually heard of this movie and then suddenly had two people mention it at once. It turned out to be a completely delightful comedy. I laughed out loud a few times, but mostly just enjoyed the story. Great dialogue, great plot, great acting, great characters... definitely worth sitting down and spending an evening watching it! 4 stars.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

And... I bestow the typical Harry Potter movie rating upon this. I do think this movie was more well-done as a flick in itself. The first two movies were mostly just nods to the books, but I think I would have moderately enjoyed this even without having read the books. It still wasn't quite good enough for me to give it four stars, though. On the whole, quite satisfying. 3.5 stars.

Monday, February 26, 2007

All the King's Men (2006)

Hmm. I have to say I was hoping for a bit more than this. Although everyone turned in wonderful performances (in a movie set in the south, most of the lead actors are British... amusing), the whole movie felt a bit flat. It was a good film, but it wasn't a great one. 3 stars.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Radio Days (1987)

You know what's great about Woody Allen's movies? I seldom find them uproariously funny, but the dialogue is always fascinating. Clever, witty, and just fascinating to listen to. This movie sort of meanders through the childhood of a boy growing up during the days of radio, but it's quite a delightful watch, with some truly amusing moments and, as I said, some great dialogue. I doubt I'll remember it very much, but certainly a worthwhile watch. 3.5 stars.

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

I'm not sure exactly what I was expecting from this movie, but this... wasn't it. It's billed primarily as a comedy, but... it never felt like one. I'm not simply complaining that it wasn't funny, it didn't even feel it was *trying* to be in most places, after the first... oh, 25 minutes or so. Odd. Not a bad movie at all, but I can't come to much of a solid conclusion on it because I was so confused by it. So I suppose it gets a star rating somewhere in the middle. 3 stars.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Analyze This (1999)

This had some good moments that made me smile, but overall my thought was "This should've been much better than it is." It's a good premise, and somehow the individual moments didn't work very well. Lisa Kudrow's character was so underdeveloped that she just felt out of place whenever she did anything that sort of hinted at a personality. Billy Crystal's long monologue at the meeting is incredibly unfunny. And it's sad, because this movie could have been hilarious. However, as I said, there are some very good moments, and it really isn't as bad as I'm making it out to be. Just disappointing given what I was hoping for. 2.5 stars.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Mozart and the Whale (2005)

I'm not going to claim this is a great movie... but I *really* enjoyed it. As far as a romance story by itself, it's not really that interesting. The story hits all the traditional highs and lows of a movie romance, with pretty much all the same conflicts and resolutions as every other romance movie.

What makes this movie interesting is the characters. Josh Hartnett and Radha Mitchell do a superb job of portraying these two people. I really connected to both of the characters, especially his. Although I don't have Asperger's, I am socially awkward and very much connect with movies about people who don't always know the right thing to say and have a zinger for every situation. So even if it wasn't a *fantastic* movie, I connected to it in a superemotional way and therefore give it a high rating. 4.5 stars.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Inherit the Wind (1960)

This really was quite a well-done movie. A little over-the-top at times, but all of the key actors do a marvelous job in their roles. I especially liked Fredric March, who plays the "enemy" with sympathy, although he cares more about winning than he does about the people around him, much as he pretends. Nicely done. 3.5 stars.

The Shining (1980)

This was a fun movie, quite creepy, had some very effective moments... but I do have one complaint. (By the way, I also have no idea how this compares to the book, since I haven't read it.) I think it tried to do too much. It tried to pack too many sideplots in there, and I don't think they complemented each other all that well.

(Slight spoilers ahead.) There was a little boy who sees things. Fine, that's a great plot, and done very effective when it was focused on that. And we also had the plot of the father going crazy. Fine, that's also a good plot, and that was also very well done. (Jack Nicholson = CREEPY even when playing a "nice guy.") But all the stuff with the ghosts of the people of the hotel... Hmm. It felt like overkill. It felt like they couldn't decide which of these to focus on, so they decided to go for ALL of them. Two of them could have worked together - the little boy seeing things works beautifully with either of those plots, and even the last two would work well together (the ghosts show up and drive him nuts). But all of them together ... didn't really connect. I would have been significantly happier if they had dropped at least one of those subplots and just chosen to focus the movie's energy and tension on the others. I liked this movie, but I think it could have been better. 4 stars.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Schindler's List (1993)

This movie was superbly done. Although I didn't connect to it emotionally quite as much as I was expecting to, I was still blown away by how well it was executed. What I probably liked best about it was the characterization. It would have been simple to dumb the characters down - the superheroic Schindler on one side, and the evilpsychodeathkiller Goeth on the other, and that wouldn't have been nearly as interesting. I was fascinated by both of them as characters because they weren't clear-cut, black-and-white good and bad. Made it a much more interesting story. There were a lot of other things that made this movie incredible, but that was the thing that really jumped out at me the most. 4.5 stars.

Friday, February 9, 2007

My Best Friend's Wedding (1997)

This movie should have been much better than it was. It's one of the most refreshing overall endings for a romantic comedy I've ever seen. (Spoilers here.) GASP, guess what? Sometimes loving someone means not being selfish with them, and just letting them do what makes them happy, even if it means YOU DON'T GET THEM in the end. I really, really, really appreciated that. I would have been furious if they had actually brought the two together at the end. ("Our motto: selfish sneakiness will get you what you want!")

(No more spoilers now.) However, despite that lovely ending that made me happy... the actual execution of the movie was terribly weird. Most romantic comedies try to have at least a sort of normality about them. Here, most of the characters were just... weird. They did things that didn't make sense. The scene in the restaurant where everyone was singing felt... surreal. Not that I have a problem with breaking into song, but it has to fit the tone and genre of the movie. This just... didn't. I felt a little bit like *everyone* except for the Julia, Dermot & Rupert characters were... Hmm. Robots. Programmed by aliens who weren't actually sure how humans actually act. Or maybe I'm just running with the wrong crowd, and there really is a whole bunch of people who are like whatshernamerichgirl and her friends.

Too bad that the execution failed. The premise is much better than the actual movie. I gave it 2 1/2 stars and then bumped it up a half a star because, gosh darn it, I DID like that ending. Heh. 3 stars.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Ed Wood (1994)

I'm a fan of Plan 9 From Outer Space, Tim Burton, and Johnny Depp... so I was looking forward to this. I liked it every bit as much as I thought I would. It was a fascinating story. My favorite part of the whole thing was recognizing characters who later turned up as actors in Plan 9. It's told very much in the style of an Ed Wood film, feeling never quite serious drama or comedy, but very sincere about it all. Johnny Depp was marvelous, as was Martin Landau. A really well-done film about a fascinating subject. Cool. 4 stars.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Thank You for Smoking (2005)

This movie was really disappointing, although I can't put my finger on why. I thoroughly enjoyed the openng 15 minutes or so, and the ending was satisfying... but everything in the middle felt like it dragged a bit without actually getting anywhere. Not a bad movie, gets 3 stars for the beginning and ending, but doesn't get any others because the middle was meh. 3 stars.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Pride & Prejudice (2005)

I was profoundly disappointed by this. The story itself is a rather nice story that's grown on me over the years, but this version felt sort of like... Pride and Prejudice For Dummies, although that sounds horribly offensive to anyone who liked it. Heh. I felt everyone was very two-dimensional. This wouldn't have bothered me for characters like Lydia or even Jane, who really aren't supposed to have a whole lot to them. But Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth are fairly complex characters, and here they were transformed into bland replicas of every feisty girl and strong-and-silent guy in romance movies. Bleh. That rather destroyed it for me.

I'm also disturbed by movies that were supposed to be set in olden times but have pop culture references (see my hatred for Ella Enchanted and Around the World in 80 Days). This didn't do that, but it detracted from the actual story by simply setting modern characters with modern thinking in Victorian dresses. Example: Charlotte's line "Don't you judge me, Lizzie, don't you dare judge me!" That can't have appeared anywhere near the original novel. And for me it zapped me right out of the story into real life where I was thinking, "Gee, that felt out of place." 1.5 stars.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Lady in the Water (2006)

I was so, so ready to love this movie, especially given that I loved both Signs and The Village when no one did. I was disappointed with it, but not as disappointed as I would have been had I not known that everyone else hated it. :-)

It's a nice concept, executed nicely. Its main problem on my end was the characters. They were all incredibly flat. The Paul Giamatti character (and the lady in the water herself) became the only one who I could understand. Everyone else seemed like they were randomly selected and thrown in there, even amusing characters like the movie critic. [Slight Spoiler Warning Ahead] So when person after person was selected, and then re-selected to help this girl get back to her world, I kept thinking, "Uh, yeah, so what?" [/Spoiler] I'm thinking it would have made me like it significantly more had it been created as a mini-series (although I seriously doubt the plot could be stretched that far). That way when all the characters came together at the end, it would be an "Oh, now that's cool" moment instead of "Wait, who's that person again? I don't get it." Stretching it out also would have offered opportunities to explore motivations - like why everyone just goes along with the plan. Here it seems random and unbelievable, while there could have been some good exploration of that.

I certainly didn't think this was the dismal failure the critics seemed to think it was. It still has some lovely moments that work, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. But it was far too jumbled to warrant a high rating. 3.5 stars.

Monday, January 29, 2007

A Scanner Darkly (2006)

Plot: An undercover cop in a not-too-distant future becomes involved with a dangerous new drug and begins to lose his own identity as a result.

Wow. This was an interesting movie, although I was really unsure what was actually happening. Heh. Actual plot details baffled me. I'm not sure if this is the same exact animation style they used in Waking Life - if so, I'm getting used to it, because I really liked it here. It felt amazingly real. I kept actually forgetting it was a cartoon. Robert Downey Jr was the most interesting character in the entire movie, no question. It was also one of those movies that even though I wasn't sure what was happening (and no doubt smarter people than me will be able to figure it out) it was still interesting to watch. 3.5 stars.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Good Morning, Vietnam (1987)

I am only the very mildest of Robin Williams fans. I'm seldom annoyed by his antics and occasionally impressed by his actual acting. (Whoa. Random alliteration everywhere.) However, at the beginning of this movie I found him annoying and not in the least entertaining. I was just beginning to think, "Oh, great, this is going to be one of those movies that I can't wait for it to be over." However, as it went on, I reminded myself of WHY I don't mind Robin Williams: when he plays crazysillyzany whatever, he manages to play it with hints that that's not all there is to him. As opposed to some others actors who play like that's the entirety of their characters. And so I felt like it rather redeemed itself at the end, although the story got a bit sappy. Not a fantastic film, but not a terrible one by any means. 3 stars.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)

I have a suspicion all these movies are going to be rated around the same. This followed the original book very closely and added nothing new, although it was fun to see the characters come to life once again. Another not-stellar, but certainly fun-for-an-evening watch. (Except for the fact it's quite long - I didn't mind the length but others might if they're not fans of the original books.) 3.5 stars.

Night of the Living Dead (1968)

I've never been much of a zombie movie watcher, and am not entirely sure what made me pick up this film. However, it turned out to be quite fun and surprisingly effective, despite some hammy acting and horrid effects. Not too interested in watching the new one, or any other zombie flicks, but this wasn't at all bad. 3 stars.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Country Girl (1954)

This movie was quite well done, and I found it to be a very interesting watch. However, as "real truth" after "real truth" was revealed, I found myself unsure as to whether it was melodramatic and silly, or full of depth. I'm still not entirely sure which way it went. But it was a pretty satisfying movie, either way. 3.5 stars.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Superman Returns (2006)

First off, Superman is certainly iconic, but he's got to be one of the most boring superheroes ever. He's ridiculously perfect, both in character and superhero qualities. But now that I've gotten that minor comment out of the way...

This was only meh. There were some nice moments, but overall none of it struck a chord with me. And the dialogue... goodness. I about lost it when Lex Luthor yelled, "BRING IT ON!" because it was such a drastic break from the tone of the entire rest of the movie. Nah, that didn't work for me at all. So definite moments of coolness, followed, unfortunately, by moments of campiness and bizarrity. I also probably would have liked this if I liked the original movies and superhero more. 3 stars.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Wordplay (2006)

This is definitely going to be more of interest to people who enjoy crossword puzzles. My family and I sat around trying to solve the clues as the contestants did. :-) I did find it genuinely interesting though, especially in the last half of the movie as we got into the competition and watched the people we'd met earlier competing for the champion title. Not stellar, but rather fun, especially if you're a crossword enthusiast. 3 stars.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Machinist (2004)

Dang, Christian Bale is freaky looking in this. But anyway. Really interesting movie. Dark and creepy and did keep me interested until the end. However, the ending would be much more impressive if it hadn't beent done in various forms by every psychological thriller of the last ten or fifteen years. Probably still worth watching if you liked Memento, although it's much bleaker throughout than Memento was. (In feel it's more like The Butterfly Effect. But this doesn't have Ashton Kutcher in it so that automatically makes it better than that movie.) 3 stars.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Sybil (1976)

Wow, this was a fascinating movie. I'm fascinated by multiple personality disorder anyway, and this story just completely engrossed me. Sally Field was absolutely amazing in this role, embodying each one of the personalities in a completely convincing way. I was just blown away by her performance. Although this movie is really long, it didn't feel too long at all. It wound up just exactly when I wanted it to. This movie is really, really interesting - definitely worth watching. 4.5 stars.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Cars (2006)

I was pretty disappointed in this movie. The Pixar/Disney team has always put out quality films, and I suppose this is quality as far as there not being anything outright WRONG with it, but I found it incredibly bland. Telling an old, worn-out story (this is pretty much every "sports star" movie ever made) and just making the main character cars doesn't make it a good movie. Too bad, because this could have been much better. 2.5 stars.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)

No, I do not anticipate turning into a Harry Potter fanatic. I'm not into fantasy as a rule, but I decided I'd give the books a try and see what I thought of them. The first one was nothing fantastic, but a fairly satisfying read, so I decided I'd test out the movie, too. I thought it was quite a good movie adaptation of the book, capturing the spirit of the story... and therefore I had the same reaction to it. A very satisfying watch with interesting characters and only a few moments that didn't quite work. Probably worth watching. 3.5 stars.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

A Christmas Story (1983)

Plot: Ralphie has to convince his parents, teachers, and Santa that a Red Ryder BB gun really is the perfect gift for the 1940's.

I had never really wanted to see this movie, but then a bunch of people whose movie opinions I respect highly started raving about how great a movie it was, so I sat down and watched it. To my surprise, it was quite charming. Nostalgic without being sappy, down-to-earth while still maintaining Christmas cheer... even a few moments that made me laugh out loud. Definitely a worthy addition to my Christmas movie collection. 4 stars.

Monday, January 1, 2007

Scoop (2006)

This movie was so much fun! I've already discovered I'm a Woody Allen fan - I've liked all of his movies that I've seen. I'm also more and more impressed with Scarlett Johansson as an actress. I've seen her in three very, very different roles now and she managed to play them all really well. The movie lagged a little bit in the middle, feeling like it was kind of dragging itself along, but then it picked up quite a bit and finished up with a very satisfying ending. Not terribly original but great fun. And it has the honor of being the first movie I saw in 2007. 4 stars.