Monday, September 27, 2010

The Reader (2008)

Well-acted, well-crafted drama on a war-related subject we don't get many stories on. It all ends up as a rather beautiful epic tale of love and forgiveness and making decisions. 3.5 stars.

It's Complicated (2009)

It remains true that I don't like Meryl Streep playing "normal" people. She comes off as shallow, airheaded, and juvenile. Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin both do what they can with the not-very-funny material they're given, but Streep is just uninteresting from beginning to end. 2.5 stars.

Did You Hear About the Morgans? (2009)

This was, surprisingly, not as awful as I thought it would be. Most of it is due to the saving charm of Hugh Grant, who can take a boring script and make it entertaining. Sarah Jessica Parker is good in this particular role. Their performances are about all the movie has going for it, amidst a bunch of uninteresting sight gags and jokes that can only be made funny by Grant's dry delivery of them. 2.5 stars.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

How to Rob a Bank (2007)

A light-hearted, if far-fetched heist movie. The main actors are both entertaining in their roles. If you don't take it too seriously, it's extremely entertaining. 4 stars.

The Others (2001)

I had a very similar reaction to this as I did to The Sixth Sense, a movie this is often compared to. While this is much more straightforward ghost story, it evokes the same beautiful gothic imagery and feel to it. Nicole Kidman's performance in this movie is stellar. The entire film is just completely beautiful, beginning to end. 4.5 stars.

Last of the Red Hot Lovers (1972)

This was a Neil Simon play I wasn't crazy about even when I first read it. Its dialogue is not as witty as others, and its plot seems a little shaky, especially at the end. However, Alan Arkin plays the part very well and makes it much more enjoyable a watch than it was a read. I'd never call it one of Simon's best, but it's not a bad watch. 3 stars.

Captains Courageous (1937)

I really didn't expect to like this movie. I thought it would be an obnoxious childhood movie. However, Freddie Bartholomew is not really all that bad as 1930s child actors go, and Spencer Tracy is phenomenal in his role of the fisherman who helps take care of him. The story's very compelling and not as dated as I expected it to be. Well done! 3.5 stars.

Nine (2009)

What a waste. They have Rob Marshall directing, who clearly CAN do musicals, as we've seen from Chicago. A musical by Maury Yeston, who is quite competent. An all-star cast. Based upon a Fellini film. It should have been much, much better than it was. As it was, the musical numbers seemed drab and dull (with the exception of "Guido's Song" and whatever that song was that Kate Hudson sang - both of them had an energy the rest lacked). The rest of the movie clearly takes a backseat to the musical numbers, so there's really nothing of worth to look at here, unless you find individual clips of those songs online. 2.5 stars.

Who Am I This Time? (1982)

One of the most charming little love stories I've ever seen, in an hour-long TV movie. Christopher Walken and Susan Sarandon are fantastic in their roles, and their roles within roles. I'd recommend it even more strongly for theater nerds. 4.5 stars.

Easy Virtue (2008)

An easy-to-watch romantic drama with some very good comedic moments. Now, a few months after I've seen it, it's hard to remember much of the plot, but I'm still left with a sense of having thoroughly enjoyed it. 4 stars.

In Bruges (2008)

This was not at ALL what I expected it to be. I was expected some sort of harsh action thriller and instead got this brilliant action comedy. Very dark comedy, yes, but comedy. Colin Farrell in particular is hilarious in his role as the whiny assassin incontent to stay in Bruges. I'm not sure what I thought of the ending, but whether I liked or disliked it, it didn't detract from how fun the rest of the movie was. Definitely recommended. 4 stars.

The Circus (1928)

I really haven't seen very many Charlie Chaplin movies. This one had enough genuinely funny moments that I liked it, and the less-interesting dramatic part of the story didn't take over it. On top of that, this film was only a little over an hour, which I felt was just about the right length. Too much longer and I would have begun losing interest. 3.5 stars.

The Room (2003)

It's being listed in various places as one of the worst films of all time. It definitely didn't disappoint. From the terrible acting to the terrible writing to the terrible directing to... EVERYTHING else, this movie is a colossal pile of hilarious crap from beginning to end. I told a friend as I was watching it, "Any movie that makes me crack up laughing when the mom announces she has breast cancer is doing something wrong." I'm hard to impress with bad movies, but this one was truly fantastic in its awfulness. 1 star.

Toy Story 3 (2010)

With just as much heart as the previous two Toy Storys (but more genuine laughs than Toy Story 2, which I didn't care for much), Toy Story 3 is a wonderful final act in the saga. It features some of the funniest things the series has done, and one of the most emotionally powerful animated sequences I've ever seen. And, yes, I cried at the end. Who didn't? 4 stars.

Dangerous (1935)

Wow, what an uninteresting melodramatic mess this movie was. Aside from one or two good moments, it just consisted of a lot of over-the-top writing and awkward performances. 2.5 stars.

The Time Traveler's Wife (2009)

I didn't expect to like this as much as I did, but it's a fairly solid romantic drama. It takes an interesting premise and does interesting things with it, while still letting the story be character-centered. Not an all-time favorite by any means, but certainly a good watch. 3.5 stars.

Play Misty For Me (1971)

It's revered as a classic horror movie, but I don't get it. It's very clunky in its execution, with scenes that were supposed to be scary but made me laugh out loud at a few moments. That being said, the two main leads do a good job with their performances, and it's not a BAD movie at all, just a decent one. Not at all the marvel of cinema it's sometimes held up to be. 3 stars.

Dumb and Dumber (1994)

I've never been a fan of "dumb" or gross-out comedy, so it's not really a surprise that I didn't love this movie. It was as well handled as the material could be, though. The first 15 minutes were entertaining, and then I was emotionally ready to be done with these characters. Most of the situations are not particularly clever and the dialogue is predictably stupid. Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels are likeable as always, but the movie just never quite takes off. 2 stars.

My Sassy Girl (2008)

This makes me want to see the Japanese film it was based on. It's a decent movie with good acting, but it's all a little too quirkily clever, as in the style of Juno, but without Ellen Page to balance on the side of awesome. Nice try, but it never quite works. 3 stars.