This goes back about 2 1/2 weeks. Jabberwocky and The Town should also be in the list, but I wrote independent posts about them both.
The Hills Run Red: The film-about-a-film aspect is fun, but Masters of Horror's Cigarette Burns did it waaay better. Pretty typical gore horror otherwise. Stupid add-on ending partway through the credits ruined what was actually a halfway decent one.
Scoop: Scarlett Johansson is really cute here, and Woody Allen is really funny. I don't watch a lot of Woody Allen, so I haven't been burned out yet on his brand of humor. Definitely a light, fun, enjoyable film.
Justice League- Crisis on Two Earths: I really like the idea of these PG-13 superhero movies, but I'm typically underwhelmed. This is one of the better ones. Some of the voices didn't really fit- like Batman's and Superman's, but the story was relatively solid overall with some really bright spots. Owlman's character and dialogue was particularly well written. I can't decide between 3 and 3 1/2 stars, but I'll play it safe and go with three.
Dead Man: A wild ride. entertaining and unique. I watched this again recently, and gave it an additional star. Visually arresting, clever dialogue, and a story that takes you far beyond where you thought it would or could go all make this one of Jarmusch's masterpieces (does he make any films that aren't) that improves with each viewing (times two so far).
Survival of the Dead: The tongue-in-cheek humor was funny, but overall this movie was terrible. The plot hung in shreds barely recognizable over a flimsy frame. Lines were cliched and plagued with wooden deliveries. The extra half star is for the humor. I'm so sorry, Mr. Romero.
Up in the Air: Got kinda schmaltzy and life lessony just before the end and I thought I was gonna have to like it less. But then it turned itself around and became more like real life. Kudos for that. Kendrick is delightful, really. Clooney is as handsome and charming as ever. Lots of nice moments, nice interactions between characters. I could have done without the wedding stuff altogether. Bleah. That's why it gets 3 1/2 stars instead of 4.
The Fourth Kind: A lot of this film's success depends upon the viewers buying into the "facts" of the film. Of course, there are consequences afterwards, when the thinking audience goes home and looks it up and finds out it's not true. It raises the question of whether or not it's ethically responsible- especially when you consider that there are those who *won't* look it up afterward and will think that it's based on fact.In terms of how it was filmed, I don't think it was given enough credit for trying something new. I don't know that I've ever seen a film that uses "documentary" footage side by side with reenactments. So aside from the ethical considerations, is this an effective way to tell a story? I think I'd need to see more like it before I could tell you for sure.
My rating loses a half star because the film is not actually true.
Big Fan (watched because of John's review): This was really tough to watch. Not being a "big fan" myself it was hard for me to relate to the protagonist making one bad choice after another. As a character study, however, it was quite effective and thought-provoking. I couldn't help but make the connection between what happened to Paul and abusive relationships- the shame, making excuses for the other person, continuing to support the other at your own detriment, etc. You want to empathize with Paul but you can't because he in such denial he can't empathize with himself. I ended up thinking about it all day afterwards...
Carriers: Surprisingly good and well put together. It's rare for a film like this to rely on plot and characterization to tell its story rather than SFX. I was impressed. Note: I'd really like to watch this again to see how it holds up. I was very surprised by this film.
MacGruber: 1 star for the 2 minute skit towards the end that the entire film was built around, and a half star for throat ripping. Heck yeah! I knew going into it that it was going to be bad, so I'm not mad or anything. But it was crude without cause in many instances (though the celery in the ass was funnier than I wanted it to be), and so much of it didn't resemble the SNL skits that I have enjoyed. Kristen Wiig always makes me smile, so I don't fault her for anything. She probably had to do it because of her contract. Heh. Probably.
Cecil B. Demented: This was my first John Waters film. Finally! Based upon what I've heard and read of him, this seemed pretty mainstream, relatively speaking. It was sloppy but really, really fun and funny watching Waters poke fun at both Hollywood and independent film.
Have either of you seen any John Waters? I'd be curious about what you think. He certainly has a reputation for being a distinctive director.