Wednesday, June 9, 2010

My Confession (plus April and May movies)

First of all, DC's Blackest Night threw me for a loop. I realized suddenly that I had a large stack of comics that I had not yet read, so I got to work. I have been reading a lot of comics in the past month and not watching too many movies. What I had been watching wasn't particularly noteworthy, even if I enjoyed it. I mean, how much do you want to hear me carry on about Amy Adams in Leap Year? I generally dislike romantic comedies, but I'm a big Amy Adams fan, from Junebug to Doubt to Sunshine Cleaning, I think she one of the most talented actresses out there. She can do funny and serious and even sexy in that girl-next-door kind of way.

Secondly, I got overwhelmed. There were so many good discussions going on and I had so much to say and couldn't say it all. I didn't intentionally drop off writing, it just kind of happened. I couldn't say it all, so I didn't say anything. In light of this, I have a proposal for you both- I'll try to be more consistent with my blog, and you two figure out how to get up here for a Dryden movie and a few drinks so we can have at least one nice face-to-face discussion about film this year! Wouldn't that be fun?

Thirdly, I'm on a big music kick right now as well. I got a new hard drive for my macbook (500 Gigs!) and have been busy filling it with lots and lots of songs. This has also taken me from my blog duties.

But I do enjoy this discourse with you both, and I hear that you value what I have to contribute to the discussion, so perhaps you will be hearing more from me.

In the meantime, here are a couple of lists of what I've seen the past couple of months.


The Invention of Lying- I've been disappointed in Gervais's movie career so far, though I haven't wanted to admit it.

Little Miss Sunshine (2nd viewing)- I will always love this film. Steve Carell's performance is particularly compelling.

Fantastic Mr. Fox- I thought it was wonderful, straddling that magical line between what is appealing to kids and to adults. I thought Anderson did an excellent job. True, it was a little self-conscious at times, but aren't all of his films?

The Hurt Locker- Excellent as well- see my notes from an earlier post.

Neverwas- It had a bit of a movie-of-the-week feel to it, but McKellen was lovely as the crazy guy. It had a pretty good cast, really- Eckhart, Brittany Murphy (RIP), and Nick Nolte (looking like shit, as usual).

The Hound of the Baskervilles- This one takes place in the late 1800's. It's interesting that they changed it partway through the series- most of them take place in contemporary 1930's and 1940's England. The scene in the cave where Holmes reveals himself to Watson is cinema gold.

It Might Get Loud- I'm a fan of all these guitarists, and I really liked hearing what they had to say, but as a whole the film lacked cohesion. Loved the animated bit about Jack White sleeping in a room filled with musical instruments and equipment.

Year One- Terrible movie, but I loved watching Cera and Black act like idiots together.

Princess Mononoke- I've been a huge Miyazaki fan for some time now, but it took me forever to watch one of his best. Adrienne and I and my wife and kid and his friend are going to be having a Miyazaki film fest this weekend- we're hoping to watch 4 of his films. The lineup is not solid, but My Neighbor Totoro, Ponyo, and Howl's Movies Castle are very likely candidates.

The Reader- I really enjoyed this and thought the acting was excellent. Maybe the first film I've seen that hints at sympathy for a Nazi. Oh boy.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas- There are a lot of WW2/Holocaust films out there, so it's saying something that this film adds something new to the canon. The ending was chilling, but again, you're left with an opening to sypathize for a Nazi family. Even, God forbid, the commander.

Crank 2: High Voltage- Did I mention that I'm a sucker for Jason Statham? I'm not a big action film buff, but I've seen 3 Transporters and 2 Cranks, and Cellular. These are not particularly good films either (the first Transporter was pretty good, actually). What is it about him? That accent, maybe? I have to mention as well that Snatch is probably in my top 10 favorite films, so there's a little of an explanation...

Appalachian Impressions- A very nice low-budget documentary about the AT.

Briars in the Cotton Patch: the Story of Koinonia Farm- an off-the-beaten-path civil rights-era documentary well worth seeing

Comedy Jesus Show- Jesus as a stand-up comic is a great concept, but this sucked.

Breathless- You already know how I feel about this film.


How to Train Your Dragon- Amazing start- the first half of this film was the best kids' film I've seen in a long time. The second half was just like just about every other Hollywood kids' film I've seen. Average them together and it's still a very good movie, though.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes- We are almost done watching all of the Rathbone/Bruce Holmes films. Only one more disc to go! This one also takes place in the 19th century. Moriarty's in it and it's also very good. It was interesting to discover that this one's not actually based on a Doyle story.

Babies- There were a few moments that didn't seem genuine (extra-clever camera angles, and a couple of particularly "precious" scenes), but overall this was a wonderful film. I would watch it again.

Rollerball (James Caan)- I hate to say it, but the further I get from having watched this, the less impressed I am with it. It is a facinating study of seventies filmmaking what with the endless zooming in and out and the long closeups of brooding faces. The message seems to be "it's important to be free" but Caan's character didn't seem to be particularly enlighted in his pursuit of freedom. And what the hell was with the exploding trees?
But the Rollerball sequences? Awesome.

The Karate Kid (2nd or 3rd or 4th viewing- who knows? I watched in on HBO more than once after it came out)- I wanted to show this to Ethan before we went to see the new one with Will Smith's kid in it (for which he had free preview passes). I suspected the new one would be crap (which it pretty much was) and Iwanted him to see it framed by the originals, which are a couple of the best mainstream films to come out of the eighties. After all these years, it really holds up well. It's still very watchable, and at the end, when the asshole blonde kid congratulates Danielsan, it makes the movie nearly perfect.

The Karate Kid, Part 2- Kind of like Kill Bill 2, this movie is much better when viewed closely after the first (I said "kind of" like Kill Bill 2). The whole first scene, after all, takes place right after the tournament in the first film. Part 2 rambles a bit more, but there are some great classic scenes (chopping the ice in the bar and when Daniel exposes Sato's nephew as a fraud, for example). True, the plot is essentially the same as the first, but Miyagi takes a more central role- as he should, as these films are really about him.

The Karate Kid (the new, crappy one)- There are exactly two scenes that I enjoyed in this film- when Jackie Chan beats the poop out of a bunch of ten-year-olds, and when Chan and Smith climb a mountain to this awesome temple with a lady on a ledge dancing with a cobra. The rest of it is crap.

Iron Man 2- I know it's not as good as the first (everybody keeps reminding me)- but I thought the cast and the acting was excellent- RDJ, Cheadle, Rourke, Rockwell, and Paltrow were really fun to watch all the way through. I'm still totally on board with this franchise.

Date Night- Sort of a run-of-the-mill plot, but these two are REALLY funny together. I laughed pretty hard at the theater.

The Princess and the Frog- I liked it as much as Aladdin and The Lion King but not as much as Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid. It's better than a lot of the stuff in between then and now, like Mulan, Pocahontas, et al.

Saw VI- I will keep watching these as long as they keep making them. Those traps fascinate me, really. It's why I keep watching. I don't really understand a damn thing about the plot anymore.

Ninja Assassin- Really cool SFX, kinda lame story. But sometimes really cool SFX is enough.

Leap Year- I know I'm already married, but I want to marry Amy Adams as well. I adore her acting. I even loved Enchanted.

So there you have it. 2 months of movie watching. Questions? Comments?

Now I just need to catch up on reading your blogs...

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