Monday, August 14, 2017

The Gift (2000)


IMDb plot summary: A woman with extrasensory perception is asked to help find a young woman who has disappeared.
Directed by Sam Raimi. Starring Cate Blanchett, Giovanni Ribisi, Keanu Reeves, and Greg Kinnear.

This is kind of an unusual movie. Cate Blanchett is much more downplayed than usual, playing a psychic who almost seems to wish nobody knew about her gift and that she could just get along under everyone's radar. There are a bunch of other big-name actors that have varying role sizes, but she's the most interesting, partly because she's the only one written with any even implied depth and partly because Blanchett could take on any role under the sun and make it interesting.

The mystery itself unfolds somewhat predictably, but the addition of the supernatural adds a fun little twist into it. I do get the sense the movie wanted to be more shocking and more beautiful than it actually turned out to be, but it was interesting enough to keep pulling me along. I'm not sure I could confidently say it was a good movie, but Blanchett and the slightly more original twist on the genre made it a fun one to watch.

Wait. I FORGOT THIS WAS DIRECTED BY SAM RAIMI. Well, that makes all the sense.

3 stars.

How it entered my Flickchart:
The Gift > Beach Party
The Gift < Kolya
The Gift > Stage Fright (2014)
The Gift < Out of Sight
The Gift > Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium
The Gift < Notorious
The Gift < Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken
The Gift < The Ring
The Gift > Prometheus
The Gift < Descendants

Final spot: #1112 out of 2645.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Jack Strong (2014)


IMDb plot summary: The most spectacular Polish spy of the Cold War era, Colonel Ryszard Kuklinski, informs Americans about the Communist Bloc's top secrets in the face of the upcoming martial law.
Directe by Wladyslaw Pasikowski. Starring Marcin Dorocinski, Maja Ostaszewska, Patrick Wilson, and Dimitri Bilov.

2.5 stars.

How it entered my Flickchart:
Jack Strong > Beach Party
Jack Strong < Kolya
Jack Strong < Interstellar
Jack Strong < The Matador
Jack Strong < Water for Elephants
Jack Strong < Lord of War
Jack Strong > Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer
Jack Strong < The Lion in Winter (2003)
Jack Strong < Ran
Jack Strong < Single White Female
Jack Strong > House of Flying Daggers
Final spot: #1299 out of 2644.

CBGB (2013)


IMDb plot summary: A look at the New York City punk-rock scene and the venerable nightclub, CBGB.
Directed by Randall Miller. Starring Alan Rickman, Ashley Greene, Richard de Klerk, and Freddy Rodriguez.

I knew absolutely nothing about this movie or the club and people that inspired it, so I went in completely blind. Right away my attention was captured by the creative packaging of the story in comic book form, dealing with exposition through text bubbles and captions, a device that I thought worked well and captured the spirit of the story. I was also particularly taken with the pacing of the film, which is unusual for a biopic. It jumps from moment to moment, only showing the most interesting or most important parts, and then skipping the rest or covering it in sketch or montage, but somehow I never felt like we were skipping along too fast.

Alan Rickman is not the first person I would have chosen to play Jewish guy from New Jersey, and his casting was occasionally distracting, but he faded nicely into the role as the movie went on. Overall, I had a good time with this movie and am happy it was assigned to me for this challenge. Nicely done!

4 stars.

How it entered my Flickchart:
CBGB > The Family Man
CBGB > The Englishman Who Went up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain
CBGB < The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)
CBGB < The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall
CBGB > Little Children
CBGB > Hoodwinked!
CBGB < Jack Goes Boating
CBGB < Mary and Max
CBGB > Match Point
CBGB < Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events

Final spot: #530 out of 2643.