Wednesday, November 17, 2010

L.A. Confidential (1997)

Solid crime story with very good casting. It's not at all a genre I get into, so I was pleasantly surprised when I found myself enjoying the ride. 3.5 stars.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Les Miserables (1935)

A very solid adaptation of Victor Hugo's book, though some of the acting seems dated and stilted. (Young Cosette in particular is very difficult to watch.) Fredric March portrays an extremely human Valjean who is easy to sympathize with, and Charles Laughton is threatening and immovable as Javert. Aside from the overacting of some of the side characters, quite watchable. 3.5 stars.

How To Lose a Guy In 10 Days (2003)

There's really nothing all *that* wrong with this movie, but there's nothing really right with it, either. it's pretty generic. Matthew McConnaughey and Kate Hudson are capable but bland. The showdown at the end of the movie was unbelievably uncomfortable to watch. It had all the elements of every romantic comedy and not one thing to make it stand out. 2.5 stars.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Goodfellas (1990)

I went into this movie prepared to dislike it. I hated The Godfather and didn't like Scorsese's earlier Mean Streets, so I couldn't imagine enjoying this. To my surprise, I thought it was wonderful. The dialogue was snappy, and each of the characters really popped as their own individual person. By the end of the movie, I felt a cohesive story had been told, rather than just a series of ministories. This is the movie that changed my mind about Martin Scorsese. 4 stars.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mary and Max (2009)

Sometimes dark, sometimes hilarious, sometimes tragic, always touching, this is one of the most interesting animated films I've ever seen. The script is sharp and the story is extremely compelling. It's told largely in the form of letters between the two main characters, and in most movies that method would get old quickly, but this makes it work wonderfully. So glad I got a chance to see this. 4 stars.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Ace in the Hole (1951)

This movie has been compared to some of Billy Wilder's other dark flicks - particularly Sunset Blvd. and Double Indemnity. It's not as good as Sunset but I liked it better than Indemnity. The story is an unusual one, and Kirk Douglas is wonderful as the newspaperman desperate for a scoop. By the end, I was wrapped up in the story. Well done. 4 stars.

Ramona and Beezus (2010)

A very capable adaptation of the books. I was hesitant when I heard about it, since I was a huge fan of the book series, but with good casting and screenwriting, this manages to make the transition nearly seamless. Most appealing to younger audiences or those who grew up with the stories. 3.5 stars.