Sunday, March 09, 2008

Movies Again

I've been trying to catch up on some movies, but still the pile of recorded movies/DVD's doesn't seem to shrink... Anyway here are some of the ones I've watch lately;

* Cassandra's Dream - Woody Allen's latest, didn't make a memorable impression, might have something to do with fogey Colin Farrel making one of his standard lousy performances. A few Mulberry bags were, as usual in Allen's England set movies, involved. Alas, they didn't perk the movie up all that much. Liked Ewan McGregor, Hayley Atwell and as always Tom Wilkinson though, - 3/5
* Layer Cake - brit gangster drama, yes with Daniel Craig, and some other talented actors - and oh no I really don't include Sienna Miller in that group - tried to be stylish and edgy I suppose, didn't succeed, just quite boring, -2/5
* Bride & Prejudice - a semi-Bollywood version of wonderful movie (book) Pride & Prejudice, and quite a lovely one it was. Colourful, happy, full of that nerdy but yet charming song & dance numbers á la Bollywood. Not as good as Monsoon Wedding, but a nice entertaining piece just the same, +3/5
* Bewitched - a sweet and rather entertaining romantic comedy bagatelle, 2/5
* Open range - I'm not much of a western movie fan, but now and then I catch one and it happens to be a good one, such as this beautifully made drama, 4/5
* Napoleon Dynamite - I know, this is suppose to be a cult comedy, but IMHO it was just so embarrassingly bad it was just... yes, bad, 1/5
* House of Flying Daggers - absolutely stunningly beautiful movie, brimming with those picture perfect scenes that takes your breath away, poetic and sad, +3/5
* The Squid & the Whale - depressing and overrated family drama with good actors, it had its moments, but too few of them, -3/5
* Guess Who - in parts absolutely hilarious, the interaction between Bernie Mac and Ashton Kutcher was great, -4/5
* National Treasure - I'm a great fan of Indiana Jones, especially of the Raiders of the Lost Ark-movie. I didn't have any real expectations about this film, but it turned out to be quite a nice surprise in the Indiana Jones-genre of films, good action, nice plot, +3/5
* The Interpreter - a very good political thriller that gets you thinking, 4/5
* The Jacket - a kind of supernatural drama, different, I do like paradox in movies, books - and well in life I suppose, sometimes - and I rather enjoyed this movie, +3/5
* Against the Ropes - I fail to see the interest in a *sport* that's about beating each other into a pulp, and I fail to see the interest in a movie about a female promoter that has the bad taste of being fascinated by this whole ugly business. And I do not like the once so sweet Meg Ryan's new and nothing but improved plastic face, -2/5
* We Were Soldiers - yes, war is ugly, bloody hell, and yet man(kind) keeps fighting wars over and over again, never seems to learn this simple lesson. Do we need yet another bloody boring on the verge of parodical predictable war-movie brimming with stereotypes and cliches? Shouldn't think so. This one includes another once so pretty now very plastic face too, Madeleine Stowe, such a pity..., 1/5
* The Merchant of Venice - admittedly I rarely enjoy a Shakespeare play or movie. Though the stories are often great and timeless, I find the original dialogues/monologues so incredibly dull, pretentious and over-the-top they make me itch all over. Oh there are exceptions, however this one wasn't. Except for the setting in Venice, I didn't like it much, despite all the good actors, it was just quite silly really, -2/5
* Lost Souls - can things get anymore boring? What could have been a good drama/horror movie turned out to be quite a sleeping pill, such a pity, +1/5
* Cinderella Man - once again boxing, this praised drama based on a true story just left me with a "so?", 2/5
* Dirty Pretty Things - ah this is issue is so completely sad, about the illegal organ-trade and immigrants, about those vicious ones who use the vulnerable, dependable, and for some, expendable others, 3/5
* Finding Neverland - such a lovely, lovely movie, 4/5
* Mrs Caldicott's Cabbage War - this is what happens when Shirley Valentine retires, kind of bittersweet comedy drama about a rising at an old people's home, -3/5
* The Bourne Supremacy - I'm one of those - well, hopefully there are more than me around - who liked the Richard Chamberlain version of The Bourne Identity much more than the other one. And this sequel didn't do much for me either, a really thin plot and a whole lot of chasing, mainly in cars and mainly in Berlin. Yaaawn. -2/5
* Hellboy - liked this one! Nice special effects, humour, action, a bit of thinking, entertaining, +3/5
* The Deep End - a remake of a The Reckless Moment from 1949, it never grabbed me, I'm just very bored of people making all the wrong choices for perhaps the right reasons instead of just taking responsibility for their own as well as their loved ones actions in the first place. Shot in absolutely beautiful surroundings at Lake Tahoe. -2/5
* Song for a Raggy Boy - based on a true story, about a boys reformatory school in Ireland in the late 1930ies. Great performances, chilling, sad, gloomy, +3/5
* In Good Company - much better than I expected, liked the ending which isn't the usual insipid Hollywood one, +3/5
* The Golden Bowl - beautiful, but oh how boring and superficial, nothing whatsoever in the vicinity of Ivory's great movies like A Room With A View - things just don't get any more perfect than that one! - Maurice, Howard's End, The Remains of the Day... -2/5
* Nynne - just a bad drunken Danish version of Bridget Jones really, without heart, warmth and a decent humour, +1/5
* Final destination 2 - I liked the first one and its plot very much, I liked the second one too, here's a -4/5
* Radio - such an endearing movie based on a true story about the mentally challenged boy Radio and his life as an "assistant football coach" in the late 1970ies, Cuba Gooding Jr is brilliant as Radio, 3/5
* The Cooler - William H. Macy plays the gambling jinx, the so called cooler, in this drama in casino surroundings. A rather lovely film, good actors overall, +3/5
* Se upp för dårarna (Mind the Gap) - a lovely, Swedish comedy-drama about two girls from different backgrounds applying for the Police Academy. The name of the movie literally translates "Mind the idiots", and its a fairly common pronunciation by immigrant tube drives of the "Mind the door"-phrase - idiots = dårar, dörrar = doors. In this film one of the girl's father is the immigrant tube driver, though in fact a highly skilled heart surgeon, that can't speak Swedish very well. Hence the title of this first time director movie of actress Helena Bergström. -4/5
* Before Sunset - admittedly I don't remember much, at all, of the prequel movie Before Sunrise, but I really loved this sequel. Brilliant script and dialogue, a wonderful, moving film about second chances, about life and choices, +4/5
* Ready When You Are, Mr McGill - quite a sweet and funny English drama about an extra at a TV show who tries his best to give a performance of a lifetime, and about all the brown-nosing going on behind the scenes, with brilliant as always Bill Nighy as the director, +3/5
* Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street - I had expected so much more, even though I'm not a fan of musicals - Singin' in the Rain, Moulin Rouge, Cabaret and The Wizard of Oz being some exceptions to that - I thought this sounded like an intriguing movie, vaguely remembering seeing a TV adaption of the Sweeney Todd musical as a child. And if it was only for the amazing scenography, costumes, makeup and great actors - oh Alan Rickman... - it would get 5/5. But it isn't, despite all that it was mainly slow and tedious, hence only getting a -3/5
* No Country For Old Men - I didn't have much of a preconception about this movie, just decent actors and some Oscars. But since the latter obviously always isn't a sign of quality - I just say, Braveheart... - I wouldn't make too much of that. And even though I'm still haunted my the notion of what happened to that poor black dog in the beginning of the movie, I thought it was an overall pretty darn good one. Amidst all that violence - Javier Bardem so deserved that Oscar! - and all the choices we make, a low voice humour and philosophizing going on. Highly recommended! 4/5


John said...

Thanks for the recommendations! I haven't seen most of your list. I'm confused by your rating system... +, -, and [nothing] - explain?

Pia K said...

Well, I could go with a 1-15 scale I suppose, or well, then I have the "worthless" and "turkey" ones too...:)

- means it's a weak 2,3,4 and + means it's a strong 2,3,4. (Nothing) is just a plain good, bad and solid 1-5. Sometimes I confuse myself, especially when I think a movie deserves an additional tiny or big -/+. Shouldn't think that much I guess...:)

John said...

You Europeans! How 'bout a simple 1-5 scale? We Americans can't deal with arithmetic that requires more fingers than we have.

Love from America! : )

Pia K said...

Ah, I'll bear that in mind, perhaps make a very simple scale for Americans vs the more sophisticated European one...;)

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