Saturday, January 28, 2012

Scotland, Pa. (2001)

A fun take on the story of Macbeth with a lot of unexpected laughs in it. Maura Tierney in particular is good as the Lady Macbeth character, and Christopher Walken is extremely entertaining as Lieutenant McDuff. It's interesting to see the comedic angle on such a well-known play. The abrupt ending didn't quite work for me, but overall it was fun to watch. 3.5 stars.

Best Part: Christopher Walken. Like I said, he was a lot of fun in this.
Worst Part: Also like I said, the ending. It never builds up the inevitability of the death, which is one of my favorite things about Macbeth to begin with. Just kind of throws it in out of nowhere.
Flickchart: #520, below Nine Lives and above Nanny McPhee.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Mars Attacks! (1996)

This movie is completely silly and completely entertaining. It takes a lot of the alien movie cliches and turns them around, which means the movie's not only funny and entertaining, but actually an interesting story all on its own. Definitely enjoyed this one. 3.5 stars.

Best Part: I loved how gleeful the aliens were in their destruction. It wasn't anger or fear that made them kill things off... they just had fun with it. Every time they tricked somebody into thinking they were friendly and then attacked somebody, I laughed.
Worst Part: It's a silly thing, but all the gooey head exploding made me a little nauseous. For some reason that cheesy green goo CGI was so much ickier to me than much more realistic gore in most movies.
Flickchart: #522, below We're Not Married and above Manhattan Murder Mystery.

The Blair Witch Project (1999)

(Some spoilers ahead.)
This movie is so much more effective than I thought it would be. I think this is due to two things that a lot of the "found footage" horror movies these days are missing: 1) the quality of the acting here is really good and completely believable, and 2) you see so little of what's going on. Instead of buckets of blood and spring-loaded cats, this movie does an amazing job of building up the tension and the desperation along with the characters. (As I think back on it, the build happens fairly slowly, but I felt like we were definitely moving toward something in each scene - it didn't feel slow.) In the final scene, almost NOTHING happens in comparison to other horror films, and yet it was one of the scariest things I've seen in a long time. Meep. By the way, watching it at 2:30 in the morning when you're the only person awake is awesome and terrifying. 4 stars.

Best Part: Heather's attempted confident cries of, "It's not the same log," devolving into terrified sobs... that really got to me. I knew they weren't going to get out alive, but in that moment, I suddenly felt it.
Worst Part: However, the famous confession scene only half-worked for me. It was unfortunate to be taken somewhat out of the world of the movie so near the end.
Flickchart: #294, above Jaws and below Kiss Me, Stupid!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Hulk (2003)

I watched the sequel to this movie, I know I have, but I can't actually remember anything about it, except being bored throughout it. I wasn't terribly bored during this one, although I wasn't impressed with it either. It's a nice plot - Bruce is easy to root for, and although there are a few too many villains, they all make sense as people who would be after him. However, the dialogue is cheesy, the comic book-like edits are not used effectively, and none of the characters are interesting except for Bruce himself. OK, but not good. 2 stars.

Best Part: I really liked Eric Bana as Bruce. Like I said, he's easy to root for. I wanted him to win.
Worst Part: People's reactions are weird. For example: Bruce tells Betty essentially that the crazy janitor wandered into his room and said he was Bruce's dad. Betty's response to this is... nothing. Nothing? Really? Is that a believable thing for the crazy old janitor to say? Not at this point in the movie. *sigh*
Flickchart: #1023, below A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and above Avatar. (And, yes, Avatar is in the right spot. I didn't get that movie at all.)

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Revengers' Comedies (1998)

This movie just wanders all over the place without really going anywhere. The humor jumps back and forth between absurd (slightly surreal) scenes, quirky characters, and droll comedy-of-manners scenarios, and combining them all somehow made them less funny. Just an *odd* movie that I couldn't get into on any level. 1.5 stars.

Best Part: Hey, it's Rupert Graves! I do love him a lot.
Worst Part: It could have possibly saved itself if it had a decent ending, instead of setting up a huge climactic scene and then just abandoning it.
Flickchart: #1158, below Dinner For Schmucks and above 27 Dresses.

Jake's Women (1996)

Neil Simon and Woody Allen have similar dialogue patterns, similar humor, and similar themes. (I clearly love them both for the same thing.) This, more than almost any other Simon play, kept reminding of something Woody Allen would have directed. However, comparisons aside, I really enjoyed this film. I'd read the play before but watching it made all the difference - it seemed a much more unified story. Alan Alda is really great in the role of Jake. The dialogue is great - I laughed out loud quite a few times - and the overall story is a very touching one. When I read through all Neil Simon's plays, this one barely registered on my radar, but now I think I could call it one of my favorites of his. 4 stars.

Best Part: I love the dialogue. Love love love it. It's just so funny.
Worst Part: That ending is pretty abruptly resolved, which was disappointing.
FlickChart: This wasn't in the FlickChart database when I went to look for it, so I submitted it and expected I'd have to come back and edit this review later, but it ended up being added almost immediately, so now I know the FlickChart ranking of this movie is... #422, below The Nightmare Before Christmas and above Run, Fat Boy, Run.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Smiles of a Summer Night (1955)

This is my third Bergman film I've seen and I'm amazed by how different the three of them were. I've seen this story adapted a few times (most notably the Sondheim musical A Little Night Music) so it was nice to finally see the original. It doesn't connect with me on any sort of deep level, but I enjoyed my time watching it. There are some extremely funny moments (I laughed out loud when Henrik, in his moment of despair, accidentally brings his stepmother's bed through the wall). Overall, it's an extremely *pleasant* movie and I liked it, but that's as far as it goes for me. 3 stars.

Best Part: I found the ending extremely satisfying, much more than I was anticipating.
Worst Part: Not really a bad moment but since I'm so familiar with the musical, I kept getting thrown off when they didn't sing... most notably "Every Day a Little Death," which has a lot of its lyrics taken almost directly from Charlotte's dialogue.
FlickChart: #619, below Synecdoche, New York and above My Best Friend's Wedding.