Thursday, January 22, 2009

we watch a lot of movies around here

[EDITED TO ADD: M noticed that I forgot to include *The Band's Visit on my list. It's a recommend and I thought it came out in 2007 which is why I forgot to include it here. It's a charming and unexpectedly good (like I thought it was going to be good, but it was even better than I thought, so... unexpected and even better) movie about an Egyptian police precinct band on a performance trip to Israel who get stranded in a remote town wondering if they will make their scheduled performance for an Egyptian embassy opening. I know that's a run-on sentence. Go watch it, you'll like it.

And also? I forgot that the Oscar nominations were being announced yesterday so my bitching about the Academy possibly overlooking Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei was unnecessary. They both got nominated. Yay!]

It's well into 2009, but since I have a lot of time on my hands I'm going to write up a list of all the movies we watched this year and this time just brief notes of my thoughts, maybe. Okay and stars next to the ones I recommend.

The Business of Being Born (interesting documentary, very biased)
In Bruges (interesting - not really the comedy it was advertised as being)
Charlie Bartlett (it was okay)
Be Kind, Rewind (awesome visuals! I would have loved to be on staff for the props and set department when making this movie. Too bad the story was just so-so.)

*Blindsight (documentary about a blind mountaineer (really) who undertakes an expedition to climb Mt. Everest with a group of blind Tibetan kids. Yes it's crazy inspiring but really I engaged with the people in the film more for their stories and not necessarily for what they accomplished as blind people. Very very good.)

The Hammer (Adam Corolla's movie. not bad. not really that good though)
Run, Fat Boy, Run (not worth it)
Shine A Light (the only way I'll ever afford to see a Rolling Stones concert. I'd recommend this if you like the Stones and concert films.)

*Young@Heart (loved it! not great as a documentary but the subject matter was so intriguing!)

*The Visitor (very strong performances-Richard Jenkins has become one of my favorite actors to look out for, compelling story, uplifting ending)

*Son of Rambow: A Home Movie (awesome! love the visuals-very creative! adorable kid actors (not in the saccharine way) and heartwarming story about friendship)

Iron Man (entertaining-I'd recommend it if you like explosion-laden summer blockbuster types)
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (a sentimental favorite and entertaining for that reason but admittedly flawed)
The Foot Fist Way (thought this would be way funnier. it fell flat)
The Promotion (engaging enough of a concept, last bit sort of didn't make it for me. enough funny bits to keep you going)
The Incredible Hulk (Ed Norton is a better casting choice for the Bruce Banner role than (give me a break) Eric Bana ?? and there were plenty of fun explosions and such, but not a very good movie overall)

*WALL-E (very very good. I loved how the first half of the movie conveyed a very complete narration with nearly no dialogue. a touch preachy at the end but still very enjoyable)

Wanted (interesting ideas, tried too hard to force the comedy in, and the gore was unnecessary and over the top)
*Tell No One (French title:Ne Le Dis a Personne. Not bad, does a fine job of working within the genre. The music was a bit overwhelming and the end was just a touch unsatisfying but still quite entertaining. Not a top recommendation, but I guess I would recommend it.)
Hancock (the first half was good the second half sucked ass)
Batman: Gotham Knight (Heath Ledger was without a doubt magnificent in his interpretation of the Joker. the whole movie was about 30 minutes too long, they didn't seem to know how to end it. Better to have done the 2-face story as another movie than try to force it as an additional plot line into this one? I don't know. Something about it didn't work.)

*Kenny (still on my top 10 list for this year. I appreciate a movie that is very good and very funny and has a positive ending. It's so easy to kill off all the characters if you're stuck and don't know how to end your story. It's much harder to keep them alive and put a positive engaging spin on the end of the story of their journey.)

Transsiberian (interesting but flawed. Ben Kingsley isn't all that in this one)
Step Brothers (ridiculous but funny)
Man On Wire (french tightrope walker documentary. fascinating and sometimes beautiful, but I kept thinking to myself: what a crackpot!)

*Frozen River (this movie too remains on my top 10 list with similar thoughts as above about the ending as I had about Kenny)

In Search of Midnight Kiss (not worth it, I regret that I wasted those hours of my life)
The Pineapple Express (not as funny as I'd hoped and slightly ridiculous 'specially at the end, but still entertaining)
Tropic of Thunder (really bad)

*Burn After Reading (it's refreshing to watch an intelligent comedy. I enjoy the silly ones, but this one was even more enjoyable because it was smart and felt true and well acted. A fine ensemble cast.)

Ghost Town (disappointingly not that good considering the talent involved)
Rachel Getting Married (it was okay. Anne Hathaway was good in a dramatic indie role. And the wedding party scenes were my favorite visually, but the story didn't work for me. lots of loose ends, you know?)
Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist (cute idea, heard a promising review of it, but it wasn't that good. Charlie Bartlett was better)
Happy-Go-Lucky (very enjoyable character study of an amazing individual. I loved the trampoline scenes which I thought visually connected with the idea of joy and happy-go-luckiness (if you will). Not really a story as much as a slice of life, you know, something interesting happened once and here I'll tell you about it in a 90 minute film format. Eddie Marsan who plays the crabby driving school instructor (en rah-hah!) also gave a strong performance)
W. (made me feel sorry for him. felt like a too-long SNL sketch Josh Brolin does an amazing impersonation)
Synecdoche, New York (3 hours of my life that I'll never get back)
Role Models (not as funny as I thought it would be)
Slumdog Millionaire (unsatisfying story but pretty to look at and the music was good)
Wendy and Lucy (sweet, compelling and short story like)
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (unsatisfying story but pretty people making out a lot and beautiful cinematography+art direction)

*The Wrestler (I cried a lot after this movie was over. I cried a fair share during it too. When I saw the trailers for it I had a very visceral reaction and I teared up a few times. His face is so amazing, there's so many stories in it. I hesitate to call it my #1 movie for this year, because I feel bad recommending a movie that's so sad. But it was very well written, fantastically performed and directed and I think what makes me most sad of all is how true it is. Mickey Rourke and Marissa Tomei will get totally overlooked by the academy for their roles in this movie which is a crime as far as I'm concerned.)

*Waltz With Bashir (animated full length feature of a lebanese war veteran dealing with his demons. I kept seeing the trailers for this one but didn't want to go see it. M saw it without me and what he told me now makes me want to see it. So this is a bit of a cheat to include it on this list, but there you go.)

From DVD:
*Billy the Kid (documentary about an amazing teenager)

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