Crazy Movie Lady 30

In the midst of celebrating my birthday I still managed to stay on target! Score!! (My birthday is today... recap to come.)

August 16-22, 2009
462. Big Fish. Tim Burton film about a man who tells this fantastical stories about his life and the skeptical son who at the end tries to find out who his father really is. Very interesting. 4 stars
463. Been Rich All My Life. Documentary about 1920s Apollo dancers who reunited 60 years later (at ages 84 to 96) to dance again for another 20 years. I loved the personalities and there was some great archival footage. I think the direction of the story line could have been tweaked for greater dramatic potential as far as introducing the characters more fully earlier on and showing fewer of their performances at the beginning . I also would have liked a foot note at the end of the film. The best section was undoubtedly the one surrounding the 1940s-- full of archival and great storytelling. 3.5 stars
464. Stolen. Documentary about the largest art heist in U.S. history: 13 paintings stolen from a Boston museum. Intrusive music overtook the dialogue at times. Extreme over-reliance on art historians and experts who don't translate interestingly. As interesting as the idea of the hunt for this film is, it becomes boring very quickly. The filmmaker tried unsuccessfully to draw us into the story of the (long dead) museum benefactor's life. I never felt the parallel between her story and the heist and why her story mattered other than it happened at her museum. Unnecessarily long at 85 minutes. 2.4 stars
465. But I'm A C.heerleader. Satire about a girl whose friends and family think she's gay so they send her to camp to make her straight. Funny at first then it became an excuse for girls to m.ake out. Boring. 2 stars
466. Shades of Ray. Romantic comedy about a half-Pakistani guy whose father insists on setting him up with Pakistani girls. Very cute and very funny. I enjoyed it. 4.4 stars
467. London to Brighton. British movie starts with a girl and a woman battered and bruised and a mystery as to how they got that way. In some ways the non-linear story line was confusing at the beginning just because you had no clue what was happening and sometimes when it happened if the bruised girls weren't in it. Still very thrilling and frightening. It would've helped to have subtitles for some of these really thick British accents. 4.2 stars
468. The Lady Eve. Classic film about a scam artist father and daughter who try to dupe a rich man who turns out to not be so easily conned. Revenge on all sides leads them down various roads in this comedy. Very funny and cute. 4 stars
469. Margot at the Wedding. Strange movie full of inappropriate over shares with children. I never like Jack Black in even semi-serious roles. Unstable creatures. What is the point of this movie? Too many indie scripts wander bizarrely. 2 stars
470. The Darjeeling Limited. Strange movie about three brothers (including Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman & Adrien Brody) on a trip across India on a spiritual mission only one of them is aware of the true destination. Interesting and at times amusing but toward the one hour mark I started to wonder when it would end. I liked the ending, though. 3.8 stars
471. A Certain Kind of Death. Documentary about people who die without next of kin in LA County and how they investigate to try to find descendants. Super annoying black slates between shots and not necessarily between scenes, just to avoid jump cuts which was actually more irritating. Some really graphic shots of dead and decomposing bodies. Makes you thoughtful about life by the nature of the topic. However, it was technically (shots, editing, etc.) lacking. I liked the long silences, allowing for thought. But it made the later bad music choices that much more obvious. The long shots for interviews were particularly strange. 2.9 stars
472. The Take. Canadian documentary about Argentinean factory workers who repossess a shut down factory. Some really great opening shots. Creative and engaging which continued through much of the film. It got lost in boring, redundant, overly explanatory narration which reminded me of a D.iscoveryChannel doc. It also seemed very slanted with too much background. The people's stories were the most interesting. The filmmakers are also showing themselves on television arguing as what they call "activist journalists." (A term I have huge issues with. A journalist is supposed to be impartial.) Great music in the first half. This might have been interesting if there was less heavy handed "teaching" and more emphasis on the people's stories. There were all these unanswered questions implied by gaps in the story line. They tried to draw a parallel between the factory takeovers and the political elections that was boring, non-existent and completely irrelevant to the plot. 2 stars
473. Cinema Paradiso. Outrageously long 3-hour Italian film about a film producer who goes back to his hometown for the first time in decades, why he stayed away so long but finally chose to come back home. Really good movie, but it took me 4 days to watch it because of the length. 3.9 stars
474. Melvin Goes to Dinner. Some really bad cinematography in another non-linear film. It was all about this group of people who get together and start sharing too much information with strangers. 2 stars
475. Prison Town. Documentary about the impact of the prison industry on rural towns, one California town in particular where in many cases the prison is the largest employer. Too many prison stats. They all start to run together toward the end. Really nicely told stories from several different types of people in the town. 4.2 stars
476. Suspicion. A woman begins to suspect her charming but cad-like husband (Cary Grant) married her for her money and may even be a murderer in this Hitchcock thriller. The end was a bit trite and boring for me which took the fun out of the rest of it. 3.4 stars
477. I Heart Huckabees. Strange film about an environmentalist (Jason Schwartzman-- how is this my 2nd film with him this week?) who hires existentialist detectives (Dustin Hoffman & Lily Tomlin) to figure out three coincidences. So strange and sometimes (but not enough) funny at the same. Useless profanity at times like right at the beginning of the film. Movies that are about everything and nothing at the same time, even cheekily are ridiculous to me. 2.9 stars
478. U.nited 93. Film about the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania on Sept11 mostly from the perspective of the flight crew and hijackers. The opening seems leading and like something that will encourage people to profile M,uslims even more than they do now. The setup also seems overly long. I realized I don't really like watching films where I know the outcome sucks because it's based on history I'm aware of. It makes me antsy. I really like that they didn't use any well-known faces. Much less distracting than watching someone you recognize trying to act like a hero. Sometimes the shaky camera shots were distracting. Very difficult to watch the closer the film came to ending. Brought back all of the feelings I had that day. 3.9 stars
479. M.eet Dave. Really bad E.ddie Murphy movie where he's a ship disguised as a human come to earth to save their planet from destruction. Very silly and pointless but Eddie played an excellent alien. He was quite amusing. It was the supporting cast that was a mess. 2 stars

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