Friday, December 2, 2011

My 2011 Movie Odyssey - Part III

Micmacs (2009)
While not as good as Amelie or some of his other earlier work, Jean-Pierre Jeunet still infuses this film with plenty of quirky characters and lots of his unique visual and narrative style. The whole movie ends up being quite fun.

Things to Come (1936)
As a vision of the future, the movie is pretty interesting, predicting what life will be like from 1936 to 2036. It's fun to compare what they got right and what was wildly inaccurate. Unfortunately, it's rather boring. Since it covers so much time the characters keep dying off to be replaced by new characters, depriving the audience of anyone to really latch on to. And the movie is so preachy in its anti-war message that it manages to sap any remaining energy right out of the film.

Shallow Grave (1994)
Danny Boyle's directorial debut is full of unhappy people doing unpleasant things to each other; a real downer of a movie.

MirrorMask (2005)
I give the movie points for creating a new world but take them all back for its visual style. Everything is distorted in a grotesque way and half the time I felt like I was watching the movie through a dirty pane of glass. The plot is little more than a twisted retelling of Alice in Wonderland, and the plot twists were either cliched or contrived.

Blood Simple. (1984)
Several sequences are very well crafted but the overall bleak tone of the movie kept me from enjoying it.

Die Hard 2 (1990)
This seems little more than a bad episode of 24. I found some of the plot twists unexpected, but only because they were really dumb.

It Came from Outer Space (1953)
There's little in this movie to separate it from all the other alien invasion movies of the 1950s.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)
As I expected, the movie was a little too long and slow and didn't have a satisfying ending. This is the problem with telling a story in two parts that was never designed to be split up. I can't pass final judgement until I see Part 2, but right now I feel that there should be just one really long movie. (And they still left too much for Part 2.)

Catfish (2010)
What starts out as a rather unremarkable documentary about a photographer quickly escalates to being almost a thriller about the way people choose to present themselves to the world.

The Kid Stays in the Picture (2002)
This is an interesting look into the life of Robert Evans, one of Hollywood's most celebrated producers. My main problem with it is that of the four movies that get the most attention, The Godfather is the only one I like and I utterly loathe Love Story and Rosemary's Baby.


James said...

So Mirrormask didn't work for you? I thought the story was pretty stock but I did enjoy the eclectic visuals. It's not the kind of thing I'd want to see done too often, but I thought they worked as a one-shot. What do you think of other Gaiman movies like "Coroline" or "Stardust?"

vespreardens said...

I also wasn't very thrilled with Mirrormask, but it was the soundtrack and not the visuals that really threw me off. If you're just going to stick with one instrument for the soundtrack, choose piano or maybe guitar, but not... a fluttering trumpet. Trumpets only really flutter well in jazz, when they have something to stand out against.

I didn't mind so much that half of it looked like it was out of some sort of steampunk Bjork video. Oh, yeah, and I'd agree with Jim that the story was pretty stock and lackluster.

Herch said...

I've never liked the covers for the Sandman comics and I found the illustrations in Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth annoying and frustrating. So to see an entire 101 minute movie full of Dave McKean's visual style was more than my visual aesthetic wanted to take. While I can see why some may like McKean's work, I don't like it one bit.

I liked Coraline and really like Stardust (even more than the book). On the other hand, Gaiman's reworking of Beowulf left me cold.

vespreardens said...

Yeah, I'm not very fond of Dave McKean's visual style, either, but I recognize it as a valid artistic style, and it felt fairly universal throughout the film, so I just kind of categorized it as, "Decent, but really not my style."

James said...

Hmmm. Stardust left me with mixed feelings but maybe I watched it at the wrong time. I'm open to giving it another chance. I love Coraline with a love usually reserved for G.K. Chesterton, but since G.K.C. was a big influence on Gaiman I guess that's not too surprising. I haven't been exposed to McKean's work beyond the Sandman covers, so maybe that kept it a bit more "fresh" and intriguing for me.

vespreardens said...

I actually missed the first 15 minutes of Stardust when I saw it, but overall I really enjoyed the movie. I enjoyed the book, too, but when I read it I quickly found that the movie took a rather loose interpretation of several key points, as well as changing a few others for reasons I don't even know. I enjoy them both, but separately.

Coraline, on the other hand.... I very much liked the movie better than the book, which is something. The book felt very simple. The sentences were short, the plot was very linear, and I didn't feel like the characters really got to develop and live. The movie, on the other hand, felt very complex, and had much to say about the nature of evil, particularly how it seems seductive and intriguing at first, but can end up costing you big in the long run.

Strictly visually speaking, though, I liked both movies more than Mirrormask, and Stardust, in particular, was very beautiful. But then, I don't think Coraline was *meant* to be beautiful.

Herch said...

Stardust the book is a faerie story. Stardust the movie takes those simple elements and turns it into a fantasy adventure. The main reason I like the movie better than the book is the ending. The book kind of peters out while the movie has a series of climaxes to wrap up all the different subplots. The ending of the movie was far more satisfactory to me. (Though I should probably confess that I saw the movie before I read the book.)

Coraline gets a bunch of bonus points for me since it features a song by They Might Be Giants.