Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sunshine (2007)

I am fascinated by dark movies about space (I'm pretty sure that's a category they keep giving me on Netflix) so I was pretty sure I was going to enjoy it. And I did, overall. I still don't buy Cillian Murphy as a good guy. He just looks too evil. This movie evoked a great sense of atmosphere and managed to have some very suspenseful moments, along with some absolutely beautiful ones. Sort of an odd mix of art movie and horror/thriller. But I enjoyed it quite a lot. 4 stars.

Music Within (2007)

Although I like all the actors involved, this movie somehow felt off-kilter. The climactic moments didn't happen on schedule. The story had a weird rhythm to it that kept throwing me off. The first 20 minutes are fantastic, with great characters, great dialogue, and a great set-up for the story. And then it all just... didn't really go anywhere. Still a decent movie, just disappointing. 3 stars.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Good Will Hunting (1997)

This is a beautifully crafted movie. Everything is perfect, from the dialogue to the acting to the overall story... It was a thoroughly satisfying movie. Oddly enough, it hasn't stuck with me nearly as much as I thought it would a week or two after seeing it. But I still think it's one of the better movies I've seen this year. 4 stars.

Braveheart (1995)

This is one of the most overrated movies I have ever seen. The final martyrdom scene was fairly moving, but the rest of it was just the story of someone out for vengeance, who then suddenly becomes a hero for no reason. Cue lots of fight scenes that don't really matter if I don't care about the cause, and they gave me no reason to. I'm STILL not convinced he wasn't just mad that his girlfriend was killed. 2 stars.

An Education (2009)

A very well-acted, charming coming-of-age story. Both Peter Sarsgaard and Carey Mulligan are marvelous in their roles, embodying their characters perfectly. I became a little uneasy with it halfway through, unsure where it was heading, but it was a thoroughly satisfying ending. Well done. 3.5 stars.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Alien (1979)

(Some spoilers ahead.) An extremely solid classic horror/thriller. I always put off watching it because I didn't know if it would be nearly as good as it was claimed to be. And although the sudden twist with the appearance of the robot was, I felt, a little bit silly, the parts with the alien were well crafted and pretty much terrifying. Now I have to decide whether or not I want to see any of the sequels. 4 stars.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Lost Weekend (1945)

This movie does NOT wear well with time. It's a good story overall, and Ray Milland gives an interesting performance, but it all seems very naive and unbelievable and unrealistic, especially given the amount of very good addiction movies that have been released since then. The ending is pleasant, but doesn't feel at all natural. Disappointing - Billy Wilder is certainly capable of helming excellent serious projects that can endure. 2.5 stars.

The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (1992)

Rebecca De Mornay is the glue that holds this thriller together. It's a pretty good story and has some very nice moments, but it's her cold-blooded performance that makes the whole thing truly terrifying to watch. It's an intelligent movie as well - the characters aren't stupid, just overly trusting. As soon as they begin to get the idea that something is wrong, they act, and they act intelligently. Overall, I enjoyed this a lot - definitely would recommend it! 4 stars.

Downfall (Der Untergang) (2004)

Fascinating film. Bruno Ganz is excellent as Hitler, and Juliane Köhler was a scene-stealer as Eva Braun. The character of Traudl Junge was much less the center of the story than most synopses seem to make her (many of the most important scenes don't feature her at all) but hearing the real Traudl Junge speak about it in the opening and closing clips was very interesting. This movie also features the most terrifying, difficult-to-watch I've ever found on film, where Magda Goebbels slowly murders each of her six children. There are no words to describe how disturbing that scene is. The movie runs a little long, but if you're willing to sit through it, it's a fascinating watch. 3.5 stars.

The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970)

I had such high hopes for this movie in the first 15 minutes. They weren't ALL dashed by the end, but a few of them certainly were. I quickly warmed to Robert Stephens as Holmes, and thoroughly enjoyed the opening scene where he scolds Watson for embellishing the facts so much in his stories. However, as it went on it became clear that this was going to be, more or less, another Irene Adler story and nothing really new to the Holmes universe. Still enjoyable, but disappointing given what I was expecting. 3 stars.

The City of Lost Children (1995)

Haunting, fascinating, and beautiful. The images in this movie are extremely dreamlike - elongated faces, giant mechanical eyes, a color scheme that alternates between very bright and very dark... The story is epic and feels very much like a dark folk tale. It's one of those movies I love, but can't quite figure out how to put it into words. Even sitting here trying to remember why I loved it so much, all I can pull together is this overwhelming sense of beauty and myth and... I don't even know what else. This is an incredibly lame review, but I may just have to leave it at that. 4.5 stars.

The Chocolate War (1988)

It's very disappointing that with such a good story and some decent actors, that the director went ABSOLUTELY INSANE. And whoever was in charge of picking music. The flashback/dream sequences were so badly done and so out of place in the middle of this movie that I started giggling every time it faded into one. It was like one person directed a solid drama and someone else came in and said, "Ya know what this film needs? MONTAGES SET TO RANDOM POP SONGS!" and threw a bunch in there for no reason. That's one flaw, but it was a MAJOR one, and it kept me from being able to enjoy the movie. Thus the low rating. 2 stars.