Tuesday, February 1, 2011

January Movies

I always take January as my time to catch up on all the movies I feel like seeing. TV is pretty much on hiatus until February, and the weather stinks, so it's the perfect time to watch as much as possible. Here's a rundown of what I caught the past 31 days. All films have their respective link to their IMDB page in the sidebar. These aren't reviews so much as brief personal assessments.

The Fighter (B+): My Aunt's niece plays Mark Wahlberg's daughter in this films, which I was all gung-ho to see, until I realized she only had 3 minutes of screentime. The film itself is decent, but very predictable and slow in parts. Oscar for Christian Bale though. And Melissa Leo.

Family Guy: It's A Trap (A-): Great conclusion to their Star Wars trilogy. Jokes that work, references that are funny. Easy way to pass an hour. Might not hold up on repeated viewings, but who watches those more than once?

Boys Life 7 (D+): A collection of some number of gay themed shorts. They all sucked.

The Illusionist (B): A lovely little homage to Jacques Tati, that starts off in a vein of wistful humor then quickly turns depressing. I don't require a happy ending in my films, but when it became obvious where this one was heading, a little levity would have been appreciated.

True Grit (A-): A fine entry into the Coen Brothers oeuvre. The film was paced well, it was funny and suspenseful and the script had some great turns of phrase. Didn't love the coda, but it didn't detract from the rest of the film.

I Love You Phillip Morris (B-): Raunchy and hilarious in parts, slow and boring in others. This would have been a better film if Ewan McGregor had been given a character to play. As written, Phillip Morris has almost nothing to do.

The Take (B): A British crime drama miniseries with Tom Hardy. Pretty average stuff, nothing surprising or truly interesting, it's all been done before and better.

I Knew It Was You: Rediscovering John Cazale (C): A short documentary celebrating the career of 70's character actor John Cazale. It comes off as a DVD extra, everyone loved him, he never did anything wrong, he was perfect in all his roles, every famous actor he ever worked with learned so much from him. Repetitive.

All Good Things (B-): A dramatization of the Robert Durst case, this film suffers from wallowing in the weird twists of the case instead of its characters. nice to see Kirsten Dunst again, though.

Dream Boy (C): An adaptation of the Jim Grimsley novel. Too slow paced and the lead character is difficult to identify with. Makes for a slog of a film.

The Exterminating Angel (A-): Luis Bunuel's satire on religion (one of many) where Mexican nobility find themselves unable to leave a room. Starts to drag slightly, and waits until the very end to make its point, but still a fantastic film.

Simon of the Desert (B-): Luis Bunuel's satire on religion (one of many) where a man stands on a pillar in sacrifice for God and is tempted by the Devil. Enjoyable, but too short (45 min) to make much of an impact.

Viridiana (B): Luis Bunuel's satire on religion (one of many) and the aristocracy where a nun visits her uncle in the countryside and sets up a shelter for the town's poor. Winner of the Plame D'Or, I thought once the movie made its point, it kept on making its point over and over.

Somewhere (C): Sofia Coppola's study of the ennui of a Hollywood actor. Ennui is the feel one gets watching this plotless and ultimately pointless film.

Blue Valentine (B): A study of a couple and how their marriage disintegrates. I'm not as in love with the film as others are. I found it to drag at points and be almost too downbeat for entertainment. Again, I don't need happy, peppy in a film, but I need something to latch onto. Two hours of depressing material tends to put one out of an enjoyment zone.

Exit Through the Gift Shop (B): An interesting take on the street art phenomenon. Better in the first half as the film follows a number of different artists. boring in the second half when Bansky takes over.

Open House (C): A person is held hostage in their house while two psychopaths take over and start killing. Been there, seen it.

I Am Love (B+): An Italian film about Tilda Swinton's affair with a cook. The film isn't as epic as it thinks it is, but the food in the film made me hungry.

The Way Back (C+): Prisoners escape from a Russian gulag and make their way on foot to India. It feels like we're with them every...single...step of the way.

Making the Boys (B): A nice look at the cultural touchstone that was The Boys in the Band. Loses focus a couple of times, but places the film in perspective.

Lake Tahoe (A-): A young man's car breaks down and he tries to find the replacement part needed for it. On his search, he comes across a number of slightly strange individuals. From the director of Duck Season (another fine film), this is a great, low-key and very funny 80 minutes.

Gasland (C-): One of this years Oscar nominated documentaries, it's all about hydraulic fracturing and how it's bad. Trouble is, the director delivers mushy-mouthed narration that is grating to the ears, an endless litany of the same problems over and over, graphics that are hard to follow since they fly by so quickly and a finale that ignores any idea of a possible solution and instead dumps the issue back to the viewer. It won't win.


hrmustang said...

very true about the january and watching movies thing! and pretty accurate on all the ratings... i LOVED true grit! :)

Michelle M. said...

I have some of these on my Netflix queue. I'm ashamed to admit that the only one I've seen is the It's a Trap Family Guy movie. Osama Bin Laden popping up was the joke that made me laugh out loud. I don't even want to know what that says about me.

Polt said...

I want to see Dream Boy as I read the book years ago. And since you have it a D+, I'm going to assume it's the movies in Boys Life 7 and not the boys IN the movies, that sucked. :)