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.