Monday, March 16, 2009

My 2009 Movie Odyssey - Part II

Unfaithfully Yours (1948)
This Preston Sturges gem is a gleefully dark comedy as an orchestra conductor fantasizes about murdering his wife who he suspects of being unfaithful.

The Naked Spur (1953)
The film takes a more serious look at many of the western conventions without going all Unforgiven revisionist on us.

Open Your Eyes (1997)
This trippy, mildly entertaining film was remade as the slightly better Vanilla Sky.

George of the Jungle (1997)
This goofy film has much more intelligence than the trailer led me to believe with the humor coming from more than just getting hit in the crotch, falling in poo, and other such "slapstick" ilk.

Species (1995)
The effects are gross, half the characters have no real reason for existence, the dialog is stilted and unnatural at best, and the climax is predictable and far from thrilling.

Coming up next: three films that won major awards, and two featuring Anne Hathaway.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

My 2009 Movie Odyssey - Part I

Well, here we go with the start of another movie odyssey. Hopefully I won't get too backed up and behind like I did last year. For this year I have decided to distill my thoughts on each film into one sentence (and hopefully it will be a pretty good sentence). If I have more to say I will write more, but only after I have composed the lone sentence. I have no idea how much this will happen (I haven't felt the need to add any more material yet) but the additional thoughts will probably be few and far between. I'm also hoping to cross 2000 total movies some time this year (I currently have 109 to go), so I might do something special once I hit 2000. We'll see. Now, on with the show.

The Duchess (2008)
The whole thing is pretty to look at, but the story is uninteresting.

Vicky Christina Barcelona (2008)
There were too many unhappy, dissatisfied characters for me to get into it.

Bridge to Terabithia (2007)
A beautiful yet heart wrenching tale of imagination and friendship in unlooked for places.

Straw Dogs (1971)
This exercise in 70s unpleasantness is boring through the first two-thirds, and the violence in the final third was so over the top that I couldn’t take anything seriously.

The Bounty (1984)
This is a surprisingly entertaining tale on a grand scale that tries to tell the story of mutiny aboard the Bounty as realistically as possible.

Coming up next: a movie that was better than I expected and one that was worse than I feared.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Top and Bottom of 2008 - #1

Well, we have reached the very best and the very worst. But before I let everyone in on the secret, here is an honorable mention of a favorite film I saw for the first time on the big screen.

Honorable Mention
The Great Escape (1963)
I had the great fortune to see The Great Escape on the big screen last year. One of my favorite films of all time, my enjoyment of the film was greatly enhanced by being able to see it in the theater. The prison camp appeared much larger and I found myself watching the multitude of activities going on in the background which are harder to see on a television screen. The whole movie had an even more epic feel than it did on DVD. This is truly a must-see for everyone and I highly recommend the big screen experience.

Love Crazy (1941)
This is easily the funniest movie I saw all year. William Powell and Myrna Loy are a happily married couple until a series of innocent yet unfortunate events causes Myrna Loy's character to question her husband's love for her. What follows is one madcap situation after another, each eliciting more laughter than the previous one. The witty banter here between Powell and Loy is highly reminiscent of Nick and Nora from the Thin Man series, but without those pesky murders getting in the way of the comedy.

D-War (2007)
Where do I start with a movie like this? The story is silly, the screenplay is laughable, the acting is almost entirely wooden, none of the characters act believably, half the scenes end abruptly without any sort of reasonable conclusion, and to top it all off, it’s a story that is about Korean mythology with reincarnated Koreans, that takes place solely in modern day Los Angeles, with only one (minor) Asian character (who may or may not even be Korean). But wait, there’s more! Not only is Los Angeles being attacked by two dueling dragons, there is also an ancient Korean overlord (who looks as un-Korean as anyone can look) whose sole purpose is to look menacing as a Sauron wannabe while he makes the blade of his sword appear magically from its hilt. He also commands hoards of undead soldiers that appear inexplicably out of nowhere and headquarters in a castle (wha?) that is another complete ripoff of Lord of the Rings. Of all the films I’ve seen from 2007, this one would make the best Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode, and I fully expect to see a Rifftrax available for it very soon.

Since nobody guessed what the top and bottom films would be, I get to keep all the fabulous prizes I had prepared for the winners.

Coming up next: the beginning of my 2009 Movie Odyssey.