Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My 2011 Movie Odyssey - Part I

Now that November is half over, I really ought to start posting my movie odyssey. This year I've been much worse than usual about keeping up with my thoughts on the movies I watch. So far I've seen 132 movies this year for the first time but only have 55 blurbs written. (Somewhat in my own defense, I have been working on other projects.) But at least one of you likes reading these, so here is the first installment.

The Social Network (2010)
This is a slick movie that is full of energy. The opening scene between Mark Zuckerberg and his soon-to-be-ex-girlfriend is immediately arresting with dialog so quick it would make Howard Hawks proud. The conversation continually goes on tangents then loops back around in a way that reminded me of reading a comment thread on facebook. Jesse Eisenberg is electric in the role of Mark Zuckerberg, graduating from “poor man’s Michael Cera” status to becoming a force to be reckoned with. The Social Network is engaging all the way through, with fascinating characters, memorable performances, and a taut script, all held together masterfully by director David Fincher.

Exam (2009)
Eight people are in a room prepared to take a test that will determine which one of them will be given a high-profile job. The only problem: when they turn their test papers over, there is nothing written on the other side. The entire film takes place in the exam room, and it is fascinating to watch the candidates as they try to figure out what the rules are and what it is that they need to do.

The Proposal (2009)
Sandra Bullock is fun to watch (as always) and there are a few laughs, but there is nothing in this film to distinguish it from the rest of the romantic comedy crowd.

Black Swan (2010)
This visually striking tale about a ballerina's descent into madness features strong performances from its three leading ladies, a compelling story, and lots of beautiful ballet. I just wish it hadn't decided to go into weird sexual territory.

This Film Is Not Yet Rated (2006)
I was hoping that this would be an honest documentary about the merits and flaws of the MPAA rating system. Unfortunately, it was actually a 97 minute rant against the MPAA's puritanical view of sexual content, completely missing the fact that the MPAA rating system exists for the movie- going public, not the filmmakers.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
There were a couple interesting visual touches, but overall I was bored with the endless scenes of teenagers running and screaming.

Tangled (2010)
This is a really fun movie. The animation is gorgeous and features several wonderful moments of pure character animation (with the animators constantly coming up with new and inventive uses for Rapunzel's hair), the songs are all pleasant (though none of them are particularly memorable), and Rapunzel spends most of the movie barefoot. Really, what's not to like?

True Grit (2010)
The 1969 original is one of my favorite westerns, so the Coen brothers' version had a lot to live up to, and they delivered a fine remake. Roger Deakins’ cinematography was beautiful as always and Matt Damon played a much more interesting LaBoeuf than Glen Campbell’s take on the character. But The Dude cannot hold a candle to The Duke.

Innerspace (1987)
This was mostly fun, rather silly, and very 80's. To be honest, I find it hard to believe that Dennis Quaid’s character had any friends at all based on how he always acted.

Darkman (1990)
It’s an interesting take on superhero tropes, but it was too dark and angry for my tastes.


Jessica Snell said...

Moreover, the MMPA system exists for *parents*. It technically has nothing to say to adults.

And it does do a terrible job when it comes to violence, I think. Anyway.

James said...

You keep writing 'em, we'll keep readin' 'em.