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.