Greetings, everyone! After a 3-year (unplanned) hiatus, I decided it's time to return to the keyboard and share my thoughts on one of our greatest American pastimes: movie watching. Hey, if Betty White can revive her career at 80-something, I can breathe new life into my blog at 40-something. Betty, you’re an inspiration to us all!
Where have I been all these years? Well, I've been busy enjoying a new job, a new nephew and a new niece. And I'm happy to report that it’s been a good busy!
However, I always made time to see movies. Let’s get caught up, shall we? Below is a list of flicks I’ve seen during my movie reviewing hiatus. I included brief reviews for some of them. And I wouldn't be me if I didn't categorize them in some way...I broke them down by what I liked, didn't like, those I'm undecided about, and those I wanted to see.
So, grab a snack and a beverage and let's compare notes.
30 Days of Night – I was skeptical, but this was surprisingly good. The head vampire is one of the scariest villains I’ve seen in a long time.
300 – Although it has a little more gore than I can stomach, this has to be one of the best art directed films of the decade. Every frame could be a painting.
The Bourne Ultimatum – All 3 kick butt! Looking forward to the fourth!
Breach – This one grew on me…. If fact, the more I caught it on cable, the more I saw things I had missed the first time around, and the more I got hooked, until I finally added it to my collection.
Gone Baby Gone – This was a really well acted film with a compelling, albeit overdone (child kidnapping), storyline.
The King of Kong – Watched this one via Netflix Instant Play online (most awesome-est feature ever!). This is one of the best documentaries I’ve ever seen. Great study in human behavior.
The Lives of Others – Yes, it's a foreign film. Yes, that means subtitles. You'll enjoy it anyway!
No Country for Old Men – No one was more shocked than I was that I liked this film. I’m not a big fan of the Cohen brothers' films… the exceptions are The Man Who Wasn’t There and this film. I was riveted to my seat from start to finish. Speaking of the finish, can someone please explain the ending to me?
Juno – I know, I know… I’m the only one in America who didn’t gush over this film.
Knocked Up – I just don’t think this is my brand of humor.
Ocean’s Thirteen – Well, it was better than Twelve.
Superbad – Ditto Knocked Up comment.
We Own the Night
Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead – Interesting premise…can’t decide if I didn’t like the execution, or that the actors did such a great job portraying their characters that that’s why I don’t like it…because I don’t like the characters.
Wanted to See
The Bucket List
The Great Debaters
The Dark Knight – Surreal to see Heath Ledger on-screen so close to his untimely, tragic death. I hope wherever he is, he knows how we marveled at his incredible performance.
Gran Torino – Timeless storyline; tough to watch at the end, though.
Hancock – Great premise, acting, execution.
Man on Wire
88 Minutes – This movie was so poorly written I turned it off after the first 8 minutes. Sorry, Al. You’re still one of my favorite actors.
The Happening – So many puns, so little cyberspace. I was such a huge fan of The Sixth Sense. I left that film thinking, "I wish I could write like that!" I'm sad to say that I'm so not a fan of everything else that followed it. (Sorry, M.)
Wanted to See
Quantum of Solace – I’m a huge James Bond fan, and I like Daniel Craig. Not sure why I still haven’t seen this one.
W – I’m not a fan of “W,” but was curious about how they would portray him.
Anvil! The Story of Anvil
District 9 – Now one of my all-time favorite sci fi flicks. The website is pretty cool, too.
The Fourth Kind – They portray this to be based on actual events. But I did a quick search online and found some info that led me to believe that wasn't so. However, at one point during the movie I found myself thinking, "I'm going to be really mad if this is a hoax! (a là Blair Witch)" And then I thought, "What am I saying?!! Why would I want THIS to be real?!" Super scary. See it.
The Informant! – Goofy, quirky, entertaining.
State of Play
Up in the Air
Echelon Conspiracy – There is not enough html code in cyberspace to list all of the things I hated about this movie.
Knowing – There are not enough words in the English language for me to describe how RIDICULOUS and unbelievable this movie was. This would be a perfect candidate if the Mystery Science Theatre 3000 crew decided to make a comeback. Here's an example: Nick Cage's character trying to ask a guy a question as the guy is running past him, except the guy is ON FIRE, because he was in a PLANE CRASH and he's now SCREAMING in pain because he's ON FIRE! Really? You'd try to ask THAT guy a QUESTION? No "stop, drop and roll, Dick, roll?" Based on Mr. Cage's recent project selections, I should've KNOWN better than to see this film. I admit, I was seduced by the subject matter.
Julie & Julia – Like most people I’ve discussed this movie with, I loved the Meryl Streep part of this film, and did not like the whiny Amy Adams part. Should’ve just made the movie, Julia.
New in Town
(500) Days of Summer – Loved Joseph Gordon-Levitt... would've liked a different leading lady....
A Serious Man
Wanted to See
The Hurt Locker
The Invention of Lying
The September Issue
And that brings us to 2010…
The Art of the Steal – Calling all art lovers and those who love a good scandal. This is the American political machine at its “slimiest.” Shocking, amusing, educational (on several levels), and outrageous. Makes me want to smack politicians who were and were not involved in the biggest art “heist” in human history. Don’t let this happen to your neighborhood/city! It was a battle of wills, even from beyond the grave.
The Book of Eli – This year’s sleeper… RUN, don’t walk, to wherever you rent/buy/watch movies, and rent/buy/watch this movie…NOW! Why are you still reading? Grab your keys/laptop and get going/streaming!
City Island – Quirky, fun…everyone’s got a secret…really well done.
The Elephant in the Living Room – One of the best docs I’ve ever seen. If it doesn’t get nominated for a Golden Globe or an Oscar, I’m going to be upset.
Iron Man 2 – 97% as good as the first one.
Robin Hood – Interesting twist on a classic story.
The Wolfman – I’ve been a Benicio del Toro fan from the beginning, so I might be a little biased. Great special effects – surely Oscar will offer a nod. A little slow in spots, but well-acted and entertaining.
Clash of the Titans – Yes, the original '80s version with claymation technology was better than this updated version... Better story, for sure! New version had to explain a lot...minimal suspense...Ralph Fiennes was the saving grace.
Shutter Island – Perfect example of high expectations leading to big disappointment. I guessed the ending half way through, then I was confused and pissed off because, by the end, I didn’t know if I was supposed to have guessed it (you know how sometimes it’s more suspenseful when the audience figures out what's going on right before the protagonist does, and then you're on the edge of your seat waiting for him/her to figure it out…?! Yeah, that didn't happen here.). A few days later, I saw a new SI trailer that boasted, “the biggest plot twist ever!” Then I was pissed off all over again because I realized that I actually was not supposed to have guessed the ending half way through.
Valentine’s Day – One phrase comes to mind: “The horror…the horror…” Now I know what Kurtz meant at the end of The Heart of Darkness. He was having a premonition of this horrible, horrible, horrible film. Ashton Kutcher and George Lopez were the only positives. The rest – horrible.
None – Apparently, the films of 2010 so far have made it easy for me to decide "yay" or "nay."
Want to See
Alice in Wonderland
Now that we’ve had a chance to catch up, what do you think? Do you agree or disagree? Was I too harsh in some of my assessments? Anything on my "Wanted to See" list that I shouldn't bother with?
It's good to be back! Watch for new (and hopefully more frequent) movie reviews from yours truly. I’ll start with Inception, slated for a mid-July (2010) release. And as always, please share your opinions/reviews in the Comments section!