Sunday, April 23, 2006

Flick the Button

Big Backlog...

1) Derailed: Kind of predictable, kind of entertaining. I'll probably watch anything Owen and Cassel do. Or Xzibit. Aniston is teh lame, though. Lots of plot holes, but not too bad. One of the things about it is that every scene seems to forget everything that comes before that - it just kind of rambles forward. That's odd for a twisty thriller. Fired, but not a bad rental.

2) Walk the Line: I didn't like it much. If Witherspoon and Phoenix had different names (even with the same performances), this would have been a CBS Sunday Night movie. The music is good, but you can listen to a Cash greatest hits album and come away with almost as much. There were probably only about one or two scenes that I liked (the first Sun session, and... ummm...). The natural comparison is to Ray, which is significantly better, but I'd also compare it, unfavorably, to Hustle and Flow. A better movie could've been made out of this story. This one was kind of lazy. Fired.

3) Good Night and Good Luck: Exceptional acting, but this movie needed about 20 more minutes, and to get rid of the musical interludes, which added nothing. Strathairn's performance is pretty spectacular. It's just odd - I liked a lot of this movie, but there are pretty significant flaws in the movie. Example, any focus on the Downey-Clarkson relationship was unneeded. At the same time, the Hollenbeck subplot deserved more. I feel I'm overcriticizing, since I actually liked this a good deal. But the flaws keep it from attaining really superb status. Steak knives.

4) Jarhead: Dude, read the book. While the film doesn't fuck up anything too terribly, and the cinematography of the scenes in Iraq was very very good (as if we should expect anything less from Deakins), the problem was context. The book does a remarkable job of putting every emotion, every reaction, everything in its proper, personal context. The film just doesn't do as good a job of it, mostly because it's a natural filter (the film is Mendes' take on personal thoughts). Plus, one of my favorite, and one of the most important, scenes in the book didn't make the film (barfight). The acting was all good and stuff, but the totality left me wanting more. The book is a cadillac. The movie is fired.

5) Elizabethtown: Not good. Too much of a vanity project, it seemed, and, like so many vanity projects, it could've used someone telling Crowe "No" on about a hundred things. The big problem is that there are 3 (or more) movies going on, and none of them work all mixed together like this. Family tragedy, personal reflection on failure, quirky romantic comedy, road movie, rambling on fathers and sons, song of the south, etc. Too much going on. Had Crowe taken out about half of the stories he was trying to tell, maybe this is salvagable. As is, it's a mess. Plus, about 15 minutes is spent watching non sequitur clips of "the best conversation evah!", which was excruciating. Yes, I've had those conversations. When I was 15. I felt like an idiot afterwards. And I'm embarassed for myself, but I can't imagine why anyone else would give a shit. Also, the soundtrack kind of sucked. Like, lame ass Dave FM bullshit that would make me change the station. Fired.

6) A History of Violence: The Lady warned me that this was one of the worst movies she'd seen in years. Glad I don't listen too much. I liked it a lot, actually. It's simpler than I thought it'd be, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The acting was very good. I can understand why it might not be for everyone, but it worked for me. Some sequences really did feel like a comic book film done right (and I didn't know it was a graphic novel beforehand, but I could sense it). Steak knives.

7) Nine Queens: I've been waiting for a movie that really got me fired up for quite some time, and here it is. Highly, highly recommended. Smart, but doesn't annoy you by acting all smart. Definitely leaves you excited about the next minute. See this movie. I don't want to say too much about it, because it'll ruin the surprises. Cadillac.

8) The Salton Sea: Upon high recommendations from others. Not sure how good it is, actually. It definitely felt like the director has some of that Tarantino-wannabe disease. But it's also pretty interesting and well-enough acted. The camera tricks were intrusive, and it would've benefitted from a grittier look. I thought the jazz stuff was pretty out-of-place, though the rest of the music was good enough. Kilmer, Sarsgaard and D'Onofrio were excellent. It kept my interest, and was bordering on great at times, but there also were spells of "get to the point". I'm right on the fence between fired and knives, but I lean toward fired.

9) The Forgotten: Yeah, this pretty much sucked. Nothing else to it. A couple of slight freak-outs, but it's really just a rejected X-Files script. Moore is better than this. Fired.

10) Constantine: I think this was better than it had any business being. The special effects were actually pretty good. Reeves didn't bother me like he's prone to. Oddly, I kind of want to see it again to get a better grip on it. After The Forgotten, though, I don't have much tolerance for movies where people get sucked away into thin air. Fired for now, but it's closer than you'd think, and I might revise this later.

11) Tootsie: No, I'd never seen this before. They don't really make many movies like this anymore, and I don't really have a problem with that. It's an adult comedy, but the adults have adult problems and shit, which doesn't work well (to me) as a template for comedy. It reminded me of Something's Gotta Give more than Some Like It Hot, which is a very bad thing. It's all about neuroses and people dicking over other people, in the guise of a screwball comedy. Now, I don't have a problem with neuroses or people dicking other people over, but at least be honest about it. If you want to make a screwball comedy, make one. This didn't work for me at all. Plus, Dorothy was about as far from attractive as possible. Thankfully they made all of her would-be suitors drunks. Fired.