Monday, October 24, 2011

Wild Strawberries (1957)

I saw Bergman's The Virgin Spring earlier this year and really, really liked it. Wild Strawberries was less powerful for me. Maybe it's too contemplative, maybe it's too full of symbolic images (not something I've ever been a fan of), maybe it's just a topic I'm not old enough to connect with emotionally. Although I enjoyed watching it and was impressed by it, in the end it left me a little cold. Impressive, but not one I ever "got into." 3 stars.

Best Part: I absolutely loved the flashback conversation between Marianne and Evald. I can't even say why. It just hit me in a way I didn't expect.
Worst Part: I never like mysterious symbolic dream sequences. That first one especially just did nothing for me.
FlickChart: #505, below High Noon and above The Dark Knight.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Paranormal Activity 3 (2011)

A group of friends convinced me to go see this with them, and I figured for a series like this, it'd be all right even if I hadn't seen the first two movies. While it wasn't a completely terrible experience or anything, I have very little patience for horror movies low on plot and big on spring-loaded cats. There were only maybe two moments in this movie where I was scared, rather than just startled, and I want my horror movies to scare me. And the faux-documentary dialogue was extremely unrelatable - I hate when that stuff somehow manages not to sound real or scripted. 1.5 stars.

Best Part: The oscillating fan gimmick was actually fairly effective at building tension. The sheet scene they did with it was far scarier than any of the rest of the film. Also, the guy sitting behind us who screamed at one point, "THERE ARE NINE GRANDMAS IN THE CLOSET!" - he actually might have been my favorite part of this movie experience.
Worst Part: Whenever a cheap scare happened, especially the ones that made me think, "Well, that was a cheap scare." Then I'd just get annoyed with the writers.
FlickChart: #1326, below A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and above Zorba the Greek.

Mean Girls (2004)

I announced to a group of friends last night that I'd never seen Mean Girls, and they all let out shrieks of, "I love Mean Girls!" and insisted I watch it right then and there. While I didn't end up with that sort of adoration for it, I did enjoy it. Tina Fey wrote a smart comedic script, and the acting is pretty entertaining, especially Amanda Seyfried. There were plenty of moments when I laughed out loud, which is all I really ask for in a comedy. Good enough. 3.5 stars.

Best Part: I was trying to remember which moment got the loudest laugh from me... I can't remember exactly, but one possibility is the moment when the person not from their school shares during apology time. "I just have a lot of feelings."
Worst Part: There weren't a lot of moments that fell flat, but toward the end there were moments that were either being cheesily hilarious or accidentally being cheesily serious, and the fact that I couldn't tell which it was going for was kind of annoying.
FlickChart: #391, below Ghost Town and above Crimson Tide. Far too high, but it'll drop.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Serious Man (2009)

(Spoilers ahead.) I was all set to love this movie, and I very nearly did. But then it hit the final scene, and all the investment I had in the story just kind of... fizzled. Despite it being a visually wonderful scene, I couldn't find its emotional connection to the rest of the movie, so I just felt unsatisfied. I feel like this is a movie that if I let it settle, and then a few years from now go back and rewatch, it might have a wholly different impact on me. Up until that ending, it was on its way to becoming one of my favorite Coen films. It was a great story told well. I'll have to revisit this in a few years after my opinions on it settle a bit. 3.5 stars.

Best Part: Michael Stuhlbarg was fantastic. I loved watching him react to everything that came his way. I think I particularly liked how he responded to the more minor frustration (in comparison to everything else) of the unwanted record club subscription. Such an easy character for me to connect with.
Worst Part: That ending... and, come to think of it, that beginning...
FlickChart: #515, below Back to the Future 3 and above You Can't Take It With You.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Boy A (2007)

Boy A took a little while to engage me, but what ultimately drew me in was Andrew Garfield's marvelous, marvelous performance. I didn't pay much attention to him in The Social Network but he is charming, vulnerable, and utterly believable as the lead in this film. The story circles around him and is best when it's showing him and his reactions to his new surroundings. There are a few moments where the movie seems to get a bit sidetracked, but overall very powerful. Very well-done. 4 stars.

Best Part: Andrew Garfield, all the way.
Worst Part: I didn't always buy into the drama between Terry and his son. Until the end I wasn't sure what it had to do with anything, and so it always felt like I was being pulled away from the story I actually cared about.
FlickChart: #363, above Spirited Away and below Source Code.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Bitter Moon (1992)

Bitter Moon isn't the kind of movie I'd call enjoyable. It's very mean and dark and bitter and unpleasant. Not that I'm against bitter and dark movies... but most of it is also just boring. In the first hour and a half, nothing really happens, and then when something finally did happen I didn't care anymore. Neither the story on the cruise ship or the story in the past gripped my attention or seemed to be anything new until the final third of the movie, when it had long since lost my interest so didn't have the kind of impact I'm sure it was trying to make. Disappointing. 1.5 stars.

Best Part: The dinner date early in the movie had a very nice moment where the two played the sort of silly little game people do all the time - they start imitating each other, seeing how far the other one will go. I really enjoyed that moment.
Worst Part: Any of the cruise ship moments where wheelchair guy set up or commented on the story. "You haven't heard the ending yet." "She wants you to hear her side of the story." It all felt like very forced exposition.
FlickChart: #1209, above War of the Worlds (2005) and below A Time To Kill.