Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Crumb (1994)

This is the true story of a truly broken artist. He is the most functional of his family, the rest of which seems to be holding on to sanity by a thread. This documentary is enlightening but at the same time terrifying. The man is incredibly talented but has an intense disdain for humanity and sets out to isolate himself from everything and everyone he does not approve of. This bleeds through into his comics, which are funny and dark and controversial.

This movie is a difficult one to watch. He and his family are painful to listen to. He himself has a perpetual nervous, awkward smile on his face, laughing at the most inappropriate moments in his brothers' interviews as they talk candidly about wanting to kill each other and molesting women on the street. If you want a fascinating insight into the mind of... well, something of a mad genius, this is worth watching. As far as I'm concerned, it is too painfully awkward for me to ever want to watch again. And I'd be very careful who I recommended it to. 3 stars.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Fisher King (1991)

This is wild, magnificent, superb, extravagant... I can't even think of enough adjectives to describe this movie. It's in some ways a movie very grounded in realism, with a very funny, very identifiable story of loss and trying to get back on your feet... and then it spins off into this beautiful fantasy realm where dragons roam the land and Grand Central Station is turned into a giant ballroom (in one of my new favorite movie scenes of ALL TIME). It is beautiful. It is stunning. It is moving. It is hilarious. It is most definitely worth watching. 4.5 stars.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Catch Me If You Can (2002)

This was more focused on relationships than I expected, and less focused on the story of how the guy managed to get away with this for so many years. It's a fascinating story, though, and an amazing character study of one of the most daring, luckiest criminals in history. DiCaprio is excellent in his role here - flexible, charming, believable, but tiring quickly of life on the run. The opening credits set the tone for this almost-whimsical story that is very close to the true story of Abagnale. Definitely one to watch. 4 stars.

Monsters vs Aliens (2009)

Dreamworks is stepping up its game. (Is that the right metaphor?) As opposed to derivative, sloppy movies like Antz, Shark Tale, or Chicken Little, their last few have been relatively original and well-written. Monsters and Aliens is no masterpiece, but it does hold some genuine laughs and very few cringe-worthy moments. Plus it brings together some of my favorite voice actors as well as people who I've always said should do more voice work - listen to hear Will Arnett, Hugh Laurie, & Rainn Wilson's work - they're all fabulous! 3.5 stars.

The Proposal (2009I)

I couldn't suspend my disbelief NEARLY enough to buy all the contrived storylines in this movie. Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock try the best with what they've got and manage to make their characters likable... Unfortunately, they're just saddled with a ridiculous script that goes out of its way to think of the most unbelievably awkward moments possible for this already unlikely situation. None of it progresses as it should, and they're stuck going from plot point to plot point and attempting to make sense of it all in between. The in-between moments ring true, actually... Small conversations between the two of them are sincere and genuine. But all the "funny" moments of the film are overplotted... which definitely detracts. 2.5 stars.

The Cheap Detective (1978)

It doesn't speak well for this movie that an hour after I saw it, I can barely remember what happened in it. Neil Simon's dialogue is best suited to real characters with real personalities... in spoof, it becomes oddly larger-than-life. This movie seems so determined to be funny that it forgets to actually BE funny. It attempts too many take-offs on specific movies, rather than overall cliches and stereotypes, and just leads to silliness. And not the good kind. More looks of disdain than laughs here. Very disappointing. 2 stars.

Coraline (2009)

This is an extremely original, extremely well-crafted movie... But I didn't enjoy it. It's simply too eerie. The button-eyed parents gave me an extremely squicky feeling right from the very start, and the ghost children absolutely terrified me. I do like scary movies, but I like ones where at the end I feel like I've come back to safety, or at least stability. Coraline left me feeling unstable and nervous long after the film ended. 3 stars.