Monday, December 28, 2009

My 2009 Movie Odysey - Part XVIII

Ponyo (2008)
The latest offering from Hayao Miyazaki is very cute and charming with plenty of memorable characters, and while the visuals are not as opulent as Spirited Away (2001) or Howl’s Moving Castle (2004), they are still quite lovely.

Public Enemies (2009)
Johnny Depp and Christian Bale are both quite good as they face off against each other, but I had a hard time keeping track of all the supporting characters and the best parts of the movie were the closeups of Myrna Loy from Manhattan Melodrama (1934).

Star Trek (2009)
This was a whole lot of fun with a great cast, especially Simon Pegg as a very funny Scotty, with the only real complaint I can come up with is that they sacrificed a bit too much of the philosophical musings that are is signature of Star Trek in favor of more action (and a few too many lens flares).

The Bishop’s Wife (1947)
This is a pleasant little movie featuring Cary Grant, who is endearing as always, and David Niven as a frustrated bishop who gets an unexpected answer to his prayers.

Alien Trespass (2009)
While I applaud their efforts to recreate a B-movie from the 1950s, the sexuality, the obvious use of CG, and the fact that it was in color instead of black and white kept taking me out of the moment and kept it from being an effective homage, but never funny enough to work as a parody.

The Paradine Case (1947)
This courtroom drama never really gets going in the courtroom scenes; what makes the film interesting is how it focuses on how the trial affects all the people involved.

All That Jazz (1979)
This unorthodox musical (it is almost half an hour into the film before someone on screen sings something and is firmly rated R) tells the story of a celebrated Broadway director and choreographer who is working himself to death, and becomes more and more abstract as the film progresses, taking the movie musical into some interesting new places.

Mystery, Alaska (1999)
While the idea of a small-town hockey team taking on an NHL team is a fun idea, what elevates this film over most of the rest of the sports movies out there is the attention it gives to the characters and how the big game affects the whole town.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie (1995)
The action is mindless, the characters are shallow, the dialog is flat, the villain is too comical to be taken seriously, the robot assistant is annoying as all get out, the big effects set-pieces are unconvincing, and its single redeeming attribute, a song on the soundtrack from They Might Be Giants, lasts only a few seconds, making this movie every bit as dumb as I though it would be.

Nothing Sacred (1937)
Carole Lombard is very funny in her only Technicolor appearance as a woman who is incorrectly diagnosed with terminal radium poisoning, and only learns this fact after a reporter for a major New York newspaper decides to write a series of public interest articles on her tragic story.

Coming up next: more hockey and an unconventional ghost story.

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