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|Saturday, October 20th, 2012|
|Go see this one
Argo in 25 words or less:
A remarkable piece of filmmaking craft in addition to being a great, suspenseful story. Too many oustandingly effective elements to list. Highly recommended. A.
|Friday, October 19th, 2012|
|It's not that I haven't seen a movie for *that* long but
It's true, I haven't been to a movie theater for an awfully long time. I'm quite sure I've been out to the movies sometime
between January and now. Yes, in fact, I definitely saw The Avengers in theaters. But apparently I didn't write myself a 25-word review of it. And come to think of it, I also saw The Dark Night Rises, too. For that one, my review comports largely with the friend who described it to me as "a triumph of theme over plot." Regardless, I enjoyed both, although I guess neither inspired me to run home and tell everyone about having seen them.
So then I went to the movies last night. And am going to go again tonight. WACKY! So here's my review for the first outing:Wuthering Heights (2012) in 25 words or less:
I didn’t think it was possible to make Wuthering Heights too broody. I was wrong. Visually arresting, but too wordless and atmospheric to be engaging. D.
When I ran this review by the friend I saw the movie with, she said "That's a pretty kind review. You should probably add a warning that there are some hard moments to watch. But then again saying outright that animals die and there's kind of a brief flirtation with necrophilia may be too harsh." Consider yourselves warned. Really, it's more like two movies: a gorgeous nature documentary about the Yorkshire Downs, intercut with a very dark and largely wordless tale of obsession and destruction. I liked the former better than the latter. But your mileage may vary. Certainly many of the metacritics liked it. Ah, well. Current Mood: mellow
|Tuesday, January 10th, 2012|
|Thursday, December 29th, 2011|
|Again, I feel entitled to more than 25 words
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows in 25 words or less:
An adaptation of Holmes into the buddy-action-flick genre. Not landmark cinema, but it had clever touches, and by the end I liked it. B.
I agree with others' comments that I would have preferred an earlier airing of the new season of BBC Sherlock to a new Guy Ritchie film. And it's true that I went to see this one more out of a sense of obligation than out of a genuine desire to go. Aaaand it took me a while -- almost all the way to the end -- before I warmed up to this one. There was one moment (ironically, a chase scene, which I usually love) when, like fajitas
, I found myself saying "Oh, Guy Ritchie, will you please stop being so Guy-Ritchie-ish!" But--credit where it's due--Ritchie did, to excellent effect, ultimately pay off the occasionally-annoying stylization of showing every fight twice (first the version in Holmes's head, and then the real-life version). At that moment, I started to feel some real warmth toward the film. By the end, I liked it. I wished the intelligence and affection of the first 4/5 of the movie hadn't been so hidden in bombast and silliness, but in the end, I was able to see that it had been there. Ultimately, the story held together better than it might have. There were a few nice canonical and insider touches. Stephen Fry, Noomi Rapace, and Jared Harris are all well-cast. Jude Law was, again, excellent.
It's no masterpiece, and I (for one) found the film's cutesy humor off-putting and even a bit desperate. (At first, I used the word "jejune," and then I took it out when I realized just how snobby that made me look. And then I put in this parenthetical statement, because some of the humor was
jejune, and I am
a snob.) But if the previous film was a demonstration of how adaptable Holmes is into the modern steampunk-pulp-action genre, this film does the same for the buddy-action-flick -- and as such, the cheap laughs are a (regrettable, por moi) byproduct. The great thing about Holmes is that -- through all the putty-pulling of adaptation -- it still holds on to its Holmes-ness. Which is wonderful. Current Mood: active
|Friday, December 16th, 2011|
|Finally got to a theater!
Saw this one last weekend on a trip to visit an old friend and her kids, ages 4 and 6. I basically strong-armed the kids into coming with me...but it worked!The Muppets in 25 words or less:
Sentimental, nostalgic, and clearly a labor of love. It doesn’t hold together, completely, but I left the theater happy and humming…so I recommend it. B+.
|Sunday, December 4th, 2011|
|a little movie break
Election in 25 words or less:
Designed--successfully--to make the viewer uncomfortable. I can’t dispute the craft—it’s tremendously well-made and darkly funny—but for me, not so fun. B+. Current Mood: working
|Wednesday, November 9th, 2011|
|It's horror time!
I've watched two highly entertaining movies lately, both of which can loosely be categorized as "horror." Not being a horror film person (despite being a horror RPG-er), I hasten to add that they're somewhat outside the more typical horror genre. Each has a bit of gore, but also a good bit of humor, action, and even thoughtfulness, since each subverts what might be our stereotyped assumptions about the characters' intentions. Each also has a great "low-budget" quality about it, as if the filmmakers really stretched their resources to squeeze as much excitement and entertainment out of them as possible. Perhaps the horror genre is better suited to that than many, but regardless, it's refreshing. In this age of expensive blockbusters, it's nice to see people relying on story and sleight of hand sometimes.Tucker & Dale vs. Evil in 25 words or less:
Two well-meaning hillbillies are mistaken for serial killers. Great casting (including Alan Tudyk!) and inventive humor make up for a bit of predictability. B+.Attack the Block in 25 words or less:
London inner-city miscreants fight aliens. In a way, it's what Super 8 wanted to be. Less ambitious -- naturally -- but tight, tense, and entertaining. B+. Current Mood: busy
|Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011|
|Friday, July 29th, 2011|
|This is crazy! Two movies in two weeks?
Super 8 in 25 words or less:
Go for the dramatic, actiony (if occasionally overdone) ode to the movies that made us moviegoers; stay for the short embedded in the end credits. A-. Current Mood: mellow
|Tuesday, July 26th, 2011|
|Thursday, March 31st, 2011|
|It's pretty much work and the occasional movie around here
Jane Eyre in 25 words or less
Gorgeous locations, art direction -- but lost something of the characters' motivations. It's hard, I'm sure, translating such an internal story into a 2-hour visual medium. B.Get Him to the Greek in 25 words or less
WAY better than it has any right to be: honest yet ridiculous, it pulls you along. Also, a hilarious (and, dare I say, good
) soundtrack. B+.Pushing Tin in 25 words or less
I had remembered the awesome air-traffic-control scenes, but had forgotten how downright weird
the plot of this very-dark comedy was. B.Star Treks 2, 3, and 6 -- YES, I CAN DO THIS -- in 25 words or less
Let's face it. They're Star Trek movies, not earth-shattering cinema (ST2 comes closest). But they've got idealism, and great music, and adventure, and heart. B+. Current Mood: awake
|Wednesday, February 9th, 2011|
|25 Words: Oscar catch-up edition
The Social Network in 25 words or less:
Skillfully built, Rashomon-style, from its protagonists’ deposition testimony. How good was it? I emerged with opinions about the characters, rather than the film. A.True Grit in 25 words or less:
The highly-stylized dialog poisoned everything in this film, rendering its characters clichéd and wooden, and its revenge story bafflingly shallow and unemotional. B-. Current Mood: working
|Monday, January 10th, 2011|
|The flight back was better.
Inception in 25 words or less:
More Matrix-y than I expected, and less deep -- but an excellent adventure, beautifully filmed. B+.Salt in 25 words or less:
My wheelhouse: one long chase/fight scene. But it seemed…thin; more like a pricey TV pilot than a feature. Still, I’d watch the series. B-. Current Mood: mellow
|Saturday, December 4th, 2010|
|Tuesday, June 29th, 2010|
|Friday, June 25th, 2010|
|Sunday, June 20th, 2010|
|Tuesday, December 29th, 2009|
|There are special rules for Sherlock Holmes. Accept it.
Sherlock Holmes in 25 words or less:
Fits successfully into the Holmes oeuvre—pulpy adventure about dedicated friends—but stays a movie of today. But couldn’t they find a razor for Downey? B+.
I have more to say about this one (and feel entitled to add it, now that I’ve distilled my 25 words). To my mind, Downey’s wardrobe and grooming were among the weakest parts of this film. Distractingly sloppy, when we know that Holmes was actually fastidious about his personal appearance. Sure, the film departed from the source material in some other unnecessary ways (and Downey spoke too mumblingly fast some of the time) . . . but fundamentally, it worked. Jude Law is a great Watson, and the film played up some under-recognized elements of both Holmes and Watson—Holmes’ athleticism, Watson’s intelligence, Watson’s bravery, Holmes’ dry sense of humor, Watson’s suaveness—as well as the things we know about Holmes and Watson, such as their dedication to each other and Holmes’ analytical process.
In essence, Holmes has always been part of the pulp-adventure genre of its day. Part of Conan Doyle’s genius is his creation of a character and setting that translate so well into the pulp adventure genre of any era. So yes—this is a 2009 movie. It had a steampunk aesthetic that will soon seem dated and a quick-cut editing style that (in addition to being annoying), is very much of this time. But it’s also a Holmes movie. I could quibble all day with bits of it—but basically, I liked it. Perhaps the best testament is that I’m looking forward to the sequel. Current Mood: content
|Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009|
|Monday, December 21st, 2009|