Saturday, July 29, 2017

Give My Regards to Broad Street (1984)

IMDb plot summary: Paul McCartney's recording of his new album is complicated by the fact that the master tapes of his recordings are missing.
Directed by Peter Webb. Starring Paul McCartney, Bryan Brown, Ringo Starr, and Barbara Bach.

Back when my movie challenge began, a friend assigned me Michael Jackson's Moonwalker with the caveat, "I hope you're a Michael Jackson fan, because you kind of have to be to like this." That's pretty much how I feel about this movie and Paul McCartney. There's no narrative structure to this film, really, it's just a series of McCartney music videos. Problem is, while I liked Moonwalker all right for what it was, Michael Jackson is a much more dynamic entertainer to watch perform. The performances here are very understated on McCartney's part, even if occasionally accompanied by wacky psychedelic visuals. None of it does much to actually elevate the music, and I found myself, as a result, zoning out through much of it. If I were a bigger McCartney fan, I could see myself enjoying this movie as an odd little conglomeration of concert segments, but if you're only so-so on his work, there's really very little to get out of this.

2 stars.

How it entered my Flickchart:
Give My Regards to Broad Street < Beach Party
Give My Regards to Broad Street > Raging Bull
Give My Regards to Broad Street < The King and I
Give My Regards to Broad Street > The Whole Nine Yards
Give My Regards to Broad Street > Barry
Give My Regards to Broad Street < Eddie the Eagle
Give My Regards to Broad Street > Spaceballs
Give My Regards to Broad Street < The Secret War of Harry Frigg
Give My Regards to Broad Street < Sullivan's Travels
Give My Regards to Broad Street > The TV Set
Give My Regards to Broad Street > Stardust Memories
Final spot: #1708 out of 2642.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Pepito y la lámpara maravillosa (1972)

Plot summary: A young boy finds a lamp that produces a magical genie.
Directed by Alejandro Galindo. Starring Martín Ramos Arévalo, Javier López, Guillermo Orea, and María Duval.

This is so weird but it's kind of charming for the strange, strange 1970s clown story it is. A lot of that is helped by the main kid, who seems to be a pretty realistic kid (in an extremely unrealistic situation) and is not nearly as annoying are children so often are in movies. The ranking ended up a little low because it is weird and awkward, but I boosted its star rating because I didn't dislike it the way 1.5 stars would imply.

2.5 stars.

How it entered my Flickchart:
Pepito y la lampara maravillosa < Beach Party
Pepito y la lampara maravillosa > Raging Bull
Pepito y la lampara maravillosa < Cinderella (1965)
Pepito y la lampara maravillosa < The Whole Nine Yards
Pepito y la lampara maravillosa > Baby Boom
Pepito y la lampara maravillosa > 17 Miracles
Pepito y la lampara maravillosa > Alice in Wonderland (1951)
Pepito y la lampara maravillosa > Mother
Pepito y la lampara maravillosa < A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Pepito y la lampara maravillosa > Swingers
Pepito y la lampara maravillosa < Before I Fall
Final spot: #1823 out of 2641.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Bronson (2008)

IMDb plot summary: A young man who was sentenced to seven years in prison for robbing a post office ends up spending three decades in solitary confinement. During this time, his own personality is supplanted by his alter-ego, Charles Bronson.
Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn. Starring Tom Hardy, Kelly Adams, Matt King, and Jonny Phillips.

Artfully directed, but I didn't feel like there was much of a point to telling this story. What was I supposed to come away with?

2.5 stars.

How it entered my Flickchart:
Bronson > Beach Party
Bronson < Kolya
Bronson < Interstellar
Bronson < The Matador
Bronson > Water for Elephants
Bronson < Sleepers
Bronson < Must Love Dogs
Bronson > Son of Rambow
Bronson > Lost in America
Bronson > Genius
Bronson > Captain Fantastic
Final spot: #1217 out of 2640.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Tab Hunter Confidential (2015)

IMDb plot summary: The story of matinee idol Tab Hunter from teenage stable boy to closeted Hollywood star of the 1950s.
Directed by Jeffrey Schwarz.

The primary problem with this documentary is its choice of subject. Hunter himself does not seem particularly inclined to give information about his past or his life, couching everything he says in pleasantly vague language that gives us very little sense of who he really is as a person. The best documentaries are still narratively compelling in some way, and this really isn't. There's no arc. It just all meanders from subject to subject and none of it is particularly interesting.

1 star.

How it entered my Flickchart:
Tab Hunter Confidential < Beach Party
Tab Hunter Confidential < Raging Bull
Tab Hunter Confidential < Father of the Bride (1950)
Tab Hunter Confidential > They Were Expendable
Tab Hunter Confidential > Five Children and It
Tab Hunter Confidential < Three Guys Named Mike
Tab Hunter Confidential > Bitter Moon
Tab Hunter Confidential > The Odd Life of Timothy Green
Tab Hunter Confidential > Dangerous
Tab Hunter Confidential < Glory Road
Final spot: #2356 out of 2639.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Sin City (2005)

IMDb plot summary: A film that explores the dark and miserable town, Basin City, and tells the story of three different people, all caught up in violent corruption.
Directed by Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino. Starring Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke, Clive Owen, and Rosario Dawson.

A stunning-looking movie. Apparently I watched the recut version, where "That Yellow Bastard" was all one piece at the beginning. It was by far my favorite of the stories -- I was tired of the relentless cynicism by the time the next two rolled around -- and if I was just ranking that, it might end up much higher on my chart. As it is, I loved looking at it but don't think there's much to recommend it beyond those visuals. It's an emotionally exhausting watch.

3.5 stars.

How it entered my Flickchart:
Sin City > Beach Party
Sin City < Kolya
Sin City > Interstellar
Sin City < Misery
Sin City > Summer Wars
Sin City > The Tree of Life
Sin City > Young Frankenstein
Sin City > My Favorite Year
Sin City < The Big Short
Sin City > Mrs. Brown
Sin City > You Can Count on Me
Final spot: #830 out of 2638.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

In Search of a Midnight Kiss (2007)

IMDb plot summary: Broke and alone on New Year's Eve, Wilson just wants to spend the rest of a very bad year in bed. But, when his best friend convinces him to post a personal ad, he meets a woman bent on finding the right guy to be with at midnight.
Directed by Alex Holdridge. Starring Scoot McNairy, Sara Simmons, Brian McGuire, and Kathleen Luong.

This movie is kind of an odd beast. I definitely like its ambitions. It's got a Before Sunrise kind of vibe. Problem is, it's not nearly as compelling as Before Sunrise. While the characters do grow on me over the course of the movie, I found them wholly unlikable for the first half and wasn't fully sold on their new selves for the second half. It very much feels like a newbie writer-director project with big goals that are much harder to actually bring to fruition, and there are a lot of cheesy self-conscious moments of dialogue that take me out of the movie entirely. However, there are some really lovely moments scattered throughout, hints of what this film could have been, and I'd be interested in keeping an eye on this filmmaker.

How it entered my Flickchart:
In Search of a Midnight Kiss < Beach Party
In Search of a Midnight Kiss > Raging Bull
In Search of a Midnight Kiss > The King and I
In Search of a Midnight Kiss < Revengers Tragedy
In Search of a Midnight Kiss > Cropsey
In Search of a Midnight Kiss > The Woman in Black
In Search of a Midnight Kiss > *batteries not included
In Search of a Midnight Kiss > A Dangerous Method
In Search of a Midnight Kiss < L.A. Confidential
In Search of a Midnight Kiss < So I Married an Axe Murderer
In Search of a Midnight Kiss > Hotel Rwanda

Final spot: #1491 out of 2637.

2 stars.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Meet John Doe (1941)

IMDb plot summary: A man needing money agrees to impersonate a nonexistent person who said he'd be committing suicide as a protest, and a political movement begins.
Directed by Frank Capra. Starring Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward Arnold, and Walter Brennan.

3 stars.

How it entered my Flickchart:
Meet John Doe > Beach Party
Meet John Doe < All's Faire in Love
Meet John Doe > Interstellar
Meet John Doe < Misery
Meet John Doe < The Mummy (1932)
Meet John Doe > The Illusionist (2006)
Meet John Doe < Monsters Vs. Aliens
Meet John Doe < Starship Troopers
Meet John Doe > City Lights
Meet John Doe > The Other Side of Sunday
Meet John Doe > After the Wedding
Final spot: #936 out of 2636.

Barry (2016)

IMDb plot summary: A look into the early life of U.S. President Barack Obama.
Directed by Vikram Gandhi. Starring Devon Terrell, Anya Taylor-Joy, Jason Mitchell, and Ellar Coltrane.

1.5 stars.

How it entered my Flickchart:
Barry < Beach Party
Barry > In Cold Blood
Barry < The King and I
Barry > When I Walk
Barry > MASH
Barry < Eddie the Eagle
Barry < Spaceballs
Barry < Albert Nobbs
Barry < Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Barry < I Remember Mama
Barry < Robin and the 7 Hoods
Barry < The Invention of Lying
Final spot: #1730 out of 2635.

To any faithful readers of my blog: If you're thinking, "There's no review!" you are correct. I'm going to cut back on actual review writing because life's gotten busy and I've been finding myself not watching movies because I don't want to bother writing it up afterward. I'd rather do more movie watching even if that means less movie writing. If I have something I have to say about a movie, I will, and I'll always make a brief post showing where the movie fell in my Flickchart, but you'll most likely see quite a few review-less posts from me in the coming months.

Witness (1985)

IMDb plot summary: A young Amish boy is sole witness to a murder; policeman John Book goes into hiding in Amish country to protect him until the trial.
Directed by Peter Weir. Starring Harrison Ford, Kelly McGillis, Josef Sommer, and Lukas Haas.

Witness is kind of a weird movie, in the sense that I remember being thoroughly engaged while watching it and yet now, just a few days later, I struggle to remember individual things I enjoyed. I do find 1980s Harrison Ford to be quite charming, and he is here as well, carrying a role that doesn't have *all* that much depth to it once you get past the fish-out-of-water trope. I was much more interested in our leading lady, but sadly we get barely a glimpse at all into her life and thoughts. The movie is most interesting when it looks at the contrast (and conflict) between the Amish philosophy of peace and nonviolence in comparison to the more aggressive instincts in Ford's character. They never quite dig deep enough to make this as compelling as I wanted; I really wanted an apology from him for the damage he wreaks on their farm in the final moments of the film. There are glimpses of a really fascinating action movie here, but it doesn't gel as much as I wish it would.

3 stars.

How it entered my Flickchart:
Witness > Beach Party
Witness < All's Faire in Love
Witness < Gone in 60 Seconds
Witness < Kind Hearts and Coronets
Witness > The Matador
Witness > Miracle on 34th Street (1943)
Witness < The Time Travelers' Wife
Witness > The Pursuit of Happyness
Witness > Laura
Witness > Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
Witness > The Gold Rush
Witness < Five Graves to Cairo
Final spot: #1051 out of 2633.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

C Me Dance (2009)

IMDb plot summary: A drama centered on a teenage girl who has trained her entire life to dance for the Pittsburgh Ballet.
Directed by Greg Robbins. Starring Christina DeMarco, Greg Robbins, Laura Romeo, and Hugh McLean.

Oh my goodness, this was terrible. Besides being extremely poorly written, awkwardly filmed and clunkily acted, it also has a major issue with its message, and that's what I'm mostly going to deal with in this review, because it's what sets it apart from other equally crappily-made religious movies.

About halfway through the film, it becomes clear that the main character has some sort of bizarre power that compels everyone she looks at and/or touches to become a Christian. She brings this to her pastor, who instantly starts setting up situations where she can look at large groups of people, first in his church, then at a battle of the bands, and finally on TV. At no point does anyone question or become concerned by the fact that she seems to be be able to override their free will -- in an especially skeazy scene, we get a montage of her using her Jesus touch to finagle those TV spots for free.

This does not work as a comforting or inspirational evangelism narrative. These scenes of masses coming forward to the altar crying out to God take on a horrifying light when you remember they have no choice in this -- she looked at them and miraculously changed their minds. It's not a willing surrender to God, it's mass mind control. A better movie version of this would be a horror movie about this young girl's unexplained power to make everybody think and believe the way she wants them to.

Oh, yeah, and it's pretty incompetently made too.

0.5 stars.

This movie isn't on Flickchart yet. I have submitted it so I can eventually rank it.