Thursday, January 08, 2009

A Bunch of Movies

Some views on some of the movies I've watched since last - and as usual the Pia-grading scale from turkey - 5 goes like this; turkey, worthless, 1-, 1, 1+, 2-, 2, 2+, 3-, 3, 3+, 4-, 4, 4+, 5. Not a simple 1-5 scale since I think there can be little values or not that makes a movie worth the "-" or "+" part.

  • A Mighty Wind - one of my favourite movies ever is the brilliant dog show fake documentary "Best in Show" (and not only, spoiler alert, because the rightful BIS winner in the end is a Norwich, relative to Norfolk, terrier), which is hilarious and so true to life beyond belief. When you've travelled those circles (in my case cat shows, but from the few dog shows I've attended it boils down to pretty much the same type of people) yourself without being a sad stereotype the recognition factor and all the clever details of this BIS movie is stunning. And why do I mention this as the name of the movie here is "A Mighty Wind"? Well, the same makers and pretty much the same cast, this time a fake documentary about a folk musician reunion, very enjoyable. There's one detail about the TV producer Lars Olfen that claims he comes from Sweden, describing his hard life here and the bestselling recording of a folk music song when he was a teenager which is a 10-point joke (for us Swedes and no Olfen is not a Swedish name). Pia-grade; 4+
  • Batman Begins - better than I had expected, decent action for the thinking mind, good actors and special effects; 4
  • Bobby Jones - Strike of Genius - no I'm far from a golf fan, but as M (who lives in the illusion that golf is a decent hobby) had recorded it and there was good actors I gave it a go. It was more interesting than I had thought (although I still have no idea how one man can accomplish all that and still have a busy family life as well as a career as a lawyer...), the scenic Scotland and St Andrews views didn't hurt either; 3-
  • Broken Flowers - great music in this movie! Good actors, entertaining in a sad-funny way, and the ending was such a bummer of an anticlimax, sigh. Pia-grade; -4
  • The Da Vinci Code - I really didn't have much hope for a movie based on one of the crappiest most overrated books I've ever read. But on TV, it's free and a recent one at that hence *one has to watch it*. And I sure wasn't disappointed. It was just lousy, good actors performed way beyond their usual talents, the story (which if told better is a good one, I admit) even more muddled than in the badly written book. Pia-grade; 1-
  • Dixie Chicks Shut Up and Sing - a very interesting documentary about the ignorant redneck reactions when one of the Dixie Chicks made her statement about Bush in 2003. Like the tagline says - Freedom of speech is fine as long as you don't do it in public...; 4
  • Firewall - foreseeable but rather good thriller with good actors lead by Harrison Ford; -3
  • Gentlemen's Relish - starring in this endearingly funny movie is lovely Billy Connolly who plays a Scottish painter gone photographer in Edwardian London; 4
  • Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - when the very first Indiana Jones movie was released in Sweden I thought it was just groundbreakingly brilliant. I didn't like the sequel, but the third one was pretty good (yes the one with Sean Connery of course). Making a fourth one so many years later, well, not the brightest of ideas perhaps, as the genre isn't very fresh and inventive anymore, I found this movie to be *tad bit* strained as well as corny but with good actors; -3
  • Kattbreven (The Cat Letters) - silly plot, not very talented actors and stupid ignorant people who leave the cat behind at their summer house when autumn comes, what's to like in this waste of money Swedish movie? 1
  • Kinky Boots - a sweet bagatelle based on a true story about a shoe factory in Northern England which finds itself in deep crisis and tries to find its new shoe niche... A memorable performance by Chiwetel Ejiofor, one of those actors who really has diversity; 3+
  • LA Law The Movie - when this lawyer series came to Sweden in the late 80ies it was a huge hit (at least for us budding lawyers). Gosh, I was glued in front of the TV that one time every week and since then I'm such a sucker for well made lawyer series, what works better than a well written/told closing argument? So of course I had to watch this reunion movie of the series - turned out it was a rather sad event. To much time has passed and it was just stale, mostly uninteresting and tiresome; 2-
  • Madagascar - with few exceptions I'm no fan of animated movies. This wasn't one of those exceptions. Y-a-w-n; 1
  • Miami Vice - another one of those late 80ies glitzy, hip, groundbreaking TVseries that I adored at the time. Admittedly, when I see and odd episode nowadays I find them to be rather... nerdy and silly, but still the series fall into the category of fond-teenager-memories. Hence I wouldn't have dreamt of watching a stupid movie version at the cinema nor rent it on DVD. On TV - see above Da Vinci Code - that's another thing. Although as usual, a movie with talented as a tree-trunk Colin Farrell falls quite flat, add to that uninspired, stupid plot and you get a; 1
  • Must Love Dogs - this is a movie I really, really like and watch now and then, I just thought I'd mention it as it really is a little romcom gem no frills, not a lot of überstylish people living in apartments/houses they wouldn't be able to afford with that income irl and so forth. Talented Diane Lane is a sweetheart - as always, why doesn't she get more good parts?? - and John Cusack is perfect as her counterpart in this charming story about somewhat jaded people looking for someone, The One, to love. Like most of us do. Pia-grade; -4
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - I loved these books by C.S. Lewis as a child and I remember adoring a british TV-series based on the books with Aslan being so wonderfully made. This movie was nothing like that. Non plausible special effects and annoying child actors. Not that that did stop be from bawling my eyes out as usual when Aslan was killed by the evil witch...; -2
  • Pieces of April - with a story that makes one very grateful for the family one has, I would have liked it much more if it hadn't revolved so much around a poor dead uncooked turkey for Thanksgiving; 2+
  • Poseidon - I remember having seen the original Poseidon movie which I quite liked, this one though wasn't half bad either, in a horrifying way, you will never ever find me on a cruiseship, not before this movie (or Estonia) not after. Dauntingly well made special effects; 3-
  • Stardust - this magical and funny lovestory is quite lovely indeed, brimming with good actors and quirky details. Although I could do without the over pompous soundtrack, I do know when I feel like crying, laughing, oh and ahing all by myself, thank you very much; 4
  • 10, 000 BC - not a movie I'd chose to watch myself, but despite it's ridiculously modern take on a presumably prehistoric story it was okey, better than I had expected anyway; 2
  • Tuck Everlasting - a rather sweet, fairytailish story about the possibility of living forever, beautifully made, good actors; 3


Anonymous said...

i just wanna say i ABSOLUTELY agree with you regarding the Da Vinci Code on both the book and the movie! you're the first person i find to agree with me on this.

and i'm a big fan of both Batman movies by director christopher nolan & actor christian bale. The Dark Knight is mighty good too! :)

Anonymous said...

I heard a lot - and I mean : a lot !- of criticism about '10.000 BC' such as : this and that is so not possible and totally historically wrong, ... but finally I had the occasion to watch it and I liked it. I am thus completely capable of forgetting historical reality and to get absorbed in a story, and that was very much OK indeed.

Jan said...

Pia, I'm a bit late getting around. I hated the Da Vinci Code. I don't think Dan Brown could write his way out of a paper-bag. Now, I work at a bookstore, and when some one raves about how wonderful he is, I just smile, and say that's Dan Brown. That way we don't loose sales or customers.

Pia K said...

LSL, oh, finally someone who agrees with me on that, wonderful and lots of thumbs up!:)

Hildegarde, I agree that a really good story does overtake mistakes in historical fact. Sometimes I guess being in the right mood or not get you annoyed or feeling generous about those discrepancies.

LOL, Jan! That's a keeper quote "couldn't write himself out of a paperbag"! :) Another writer I really don't like (but in his case the books often makes decent movies at least) is John Grisham, and we have a bunch of Swedish ones (of course best sellers too) that totally play in that paperbag league...:/

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