Wednesday, May 30, 2012

In the Mood For Love (2000)

Parts of this I really loved. I liked the slow build of the relationship between the characters, and I loved a lot of the little scenes with them interacting. But then the ending happened... and it wasn't that I didn't find the *plot* satisfying, but I didn't like the way it told the story. What had been an intimate, quiet, very personal story suddenly zoomed out and focused on things happening outside of the few characters we knew. It just didn't work for me, and the mood the movie had so slowly and carefully put together just fell apart for me. 3 stars.

Best Part: I really loved the scene where she rehearses confronting her husband. Very moving and sad.
Worst Part: That ending.
Flickchart: #765, below The Descendants and above The Glass Menagerie.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

I'm not generally interested in stories about crime, but I was kind of fascinated by the psychology of these characters. Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty play a very interesting couple, and even when I wasn't interested in the actual *plot* of the movie, their interactions were extremely interesting. I also liked the simplicity of the movie, especially when it came to the ending. It told the story very matter-of-factly, without glitzing it up as much as I thought they might. Well done. 3.5 stars.

Best Part: As said above, the characters of Bonnie and Clyde.
Worst Part: I didn't really care for any of the other characters. Definitely didn't grip me, and whenever the story focused on them I kind of got bored and tuned out.
Flickchart: #807, below Misery and above Batman.

Ward 13 (2003)

A fascinating little claymation horror movie. It has a nice mix of horror and humor, as well as some extremely creative visuals (my favorite was the mad wheelchair chase through the hospital - incredible to watch!). I'm not doing a best/worst part because the movie is short enough that I'm only really comfortable reviewing it as a whole. And, as a whole, it's great fun. Nicely done. 4 stars.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Edge of Heaven (2007)

I really liked this movie as I watched it, but I just have this sense that it's not going to stick with me beyond today, so my overall opinion of it may go down over time. It's a good story with interesting characters, though, and I especially liked how they handled the ending. I'm just not sure how much it stands out in comparison to other dramas. Pretty solid watch, though. 3 stars.

Best Part: I liked seeing all the different people's paths intermingle.
Worst Part: I really didn't care for the chapter titles occasionally interspersed throughout. I felt like they added very little and mostly were just distracting to my overall enjoyment of the movie.

Flickchart: #774, below Outbreak and above Nacho Libre.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Mr. Baseball (1992)

I already don't have a high tolerance for sports films, but I was even less impressed with this one than usual. It takes about three different cliched formulas, smushes them together into one movie, and then waters it down until it's completely uninteresting. Even now as I think back on it, I have to work really hard to remember the plot details. Sports movies have to be *really* good to overcome the genre handicap for me, and this one didn't even come close. 1 star.

Best Part: I guess I kind of liked the main girl. I wish she did more to be interesting.
Worst Part: Tom Selleck's character was thoroughly despicable and never really changed. I can't root for someone like that.
Flickchart: #1544, below Shrek the Third and above the Pride & Prejudice with Keira Knightley.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Footloose (2011)

Immediately after watching this one, I went ahead and watched the original, which I own but hadn't seen in several years. Even without the immediate comparison, though, it was clear which one was the winner. This version is pleasant, but its dance scenes are not as infectious, its soundtrack is dull, its character development is nonexistent, its plot doesn't really seem to form a coherent whole, its protagonist is not as charming, and its antagonist is not as threatening. In many ways it's a carbon copy of the original, but the few things it does change, it changes for the worse. It's a truly unnecessary remake, and almost all the good bits are the bits that it stole from the first movie. 2 stars.

Best Part: There is a single exception to that last sentence - I liked the character of Willard here much more than in the original. Although he became a very different kind of character, taking on a nerdy vibe rather than a tough one, he was very engaging and my favorite scenes in the movie all included him.
Worst Part: I am baffled at their choice of things omitted from this adaptation - they seem to have left out all the scenes dealing with actual character development, especially for Ariel. If you're going to take out the original movie's plot and character development, you have to replace it with *something*, and this movie didn't.
Flickchart: #1052, below Robin and the 7 Hoods and above Baby Boom.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

This is easily one of the best horror movies I've ever seen. It's funny, it's scary, it's captivating, and even when you kind of think you know what's going on, the ending takes you completely by surprise. It is very aware of horror movie stereotypes and uses them creatively. The characters are easy to root for. If more horror movies were this well done and this creative, I'd like the genre so much better. 4.5 stars.

(Some spoilers in this part.)
Best Part: The ending took me by surprise and then moved me in a way that I would never have expected from a horror movie.
Worst Part: Well, it is extremely bloody in the final 20 minutes or so. While I'm not super squeamish, there were moments where I felt a little nauseous at just how much death was happening.
Flickchart: #158, below 127 Hours and above Fiddler on the Roof.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Gladiator (2000)

I DON'T GET IT. This is just one of those movies where I don't get the appeal at all. Maximus is an incredibly dull character who is portrayed as oh so noble but we don't see why and we certainly don't see him actually BEING noble. We get no real sense of his character, even though in 2 1/2 hours they had PLENTY of time to show it. Because of that, I couldn't care less about his dilemma or his situation. It's a violent action flick trying to be a bigger, more important story, but doesn't ever really *humanize* its protagonist. 2 stars.

Best Part: Joaquin Phoenix was 10 times more interesting as the evil emperor than any other character. I was fascinated by him every time he was on screen.
Worst Part: I was amazed by just how little I cared whether Maximus lived or died.
Flickchart: #1094, below Hulk and above Avatar.

Office Space (1999)

Crossposted from my personal blog, therefore much longer than my reviews usually are.

Office Space is currently #59 on Flickchart's global ranking (and the #13 comedy). It's gained a huge cult following but I had never seen it before.

I feel about it the way I feel about most movies that have the "cult" sort of label attached to them: 1) I don't think it's nearly as interesting or funny as I think I should think, but 2) I have a feeling that if I watched it several more times it would grow on me. There's nothing wrong with the movie, but nothing really stood out to me as something I loved.

Office Space actually reminded me a lot (in an odd way) of one of my very favorite cult movies - Napoleon Dynamite. They both have very low-key humor, a fairly loose plot, distinct and quirky characters, and infinitely quotable lines. They're both structured more as a series of entertaining scenes than a straight beginning-to-end story. The first time I watched Napoleon Dynamite I thought it was mildly funny but nothing special, but as friends kept making me watch it over and over again, little lines or moments started jumping out at me as hilarious. I feel like the same is true of Office Space. There were so many little things that, although they were new to me, jumped out as potentially hilarious, even though they just made me smile pleasantly at the time rather than actually laugh.

(It's also occurred to me that, although it's a bit flashier, I made the same journey with This Is Spinal Tap, which is now my #7 of all-time on Flickchart.)

It's weird to judge a movie based so much on how you think you might like it in the future, but I really feel this is a movie I shouldn't give up on. In a year or two, I'd like to rewatch it. I'd love to watch it with someone who really enjoys it. It's got a bizarre charm to it that I feel I am just on the verge of, and it could someday become one of my very favorites. Or I could watch it 3 more times and still not get it. I will have to keep everyone updated on the "liking Office Space"-o-meter.

For the moment, 3 stars.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Repo! The Genetic Opera (2008)

This movie has a great, imaginative opening, and then... maybe one more imaginative song after that. It never quite reaches its potential, becoming a fairly incoherent mess that takes itself far too seriously for a musical with such awkwardly-written lyrics. Disappointing, because I wanted to so badly to love this, and from the first 10 minutes I thought I was going to. 2.5 stars.

Best Part: The opening song with the grave robber.
Worst Part: The ending. Did we really need our heroine to sing a song about how our genetics don't define us? Really?
Flickchart: #900, below There Will Be Blood (which is 200 or so too low) and above Kiss Me Kate.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Four Lions (2010)

(Significant spoilers ahead - the ending determined my response to this movie.)

I am so conflicted about this movie. I was LOVING it up until the very end. Then it took two turns that were very dark, even for me. The problem was this movie, while clearly very satirical, kept two of the main characters significantly more realistic in their reactions and responses. This meant they became real people in my mind, and then the ending happened, and I felt... devastated. I don't know what I expected to happen. I know it couldn't really have ended any other way. And I'm sure that was a very deliberate choice - that the ending was *supposed* to jar me in a way the dark tone of the rest of the movie hadn't. I just don't know if I can be OK with it.

I'm giving it a high rating for now because I did really enjoy and admire most of the movie. I am hoping that after a few months, my thoughts on this will settle some and I will be able to decide a little more clearly how I felt about this movie as a whole. 4 stars.

Best Part: Faisal's explanation of how he disguised himself to buy bleach made me laugh harder than I have at a movie in ages.
Worst Part: The ending. As stated above.
Flickchart: #354, below E.T. and above Boy A.