July 12-18, 2009
Excellent week for film watching. I was hanging with Adei and Drew and celebrating my and Rashan's first anniversary so there was very little movie-watching the last few days but I made up for it the rest of the week.
376. Bobby. This film about how the lives 22 people intersect on the day Bobby Kennedy was killed. Crazy cast included Helen Hunt, William H. Macy, Nick Cannon, Laurence Fishburn, Elijah Wood, Lindsay Lohan, Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher and on and on. This film was written and directed by Emilio Estevez, who also had a small part. It was bolstered massively by the actual historical footage from the day. Without it, the film would have fallen much more flatly. Still a decent effort 3.5/5 stars.
377. Sorry, Wrong Number. Barbara Stanwyck plays a screaming invalid harpy who overhears a murder plot and has to figure out who it's against and convince someone to help. The melodrama was ridiculous and most of the story about how her husband's (Burt Lancaster) life was unraveling was told in flashback. 3 stars.
378. Guarding Tess. Strange movie where Nicolas Cage plays a secret service agent guarding a cantankerous former first lady (Shirley MacLaine). It was funny, then took an oddly serious turn I wasn't expecting and didn't understand. Both were quite good in their roles, though. 3.2 stars.
379. Jamaica Inn. Hitchcock film about an inn housing a gang of pirates. When one pirate's niece comes to visit, they have to keep their activities from her and the constable who helped her get there. It all unravels marvelously from the first night. This one got off to a slow start but moved nicely in the last half. There was a strangely large amount of unnecessary dialogue packed into this one unlike his later works but much more concise still as it was about half an hour shorter than most of his later works. 4 stars.
380. Horton Hears A Who! Animated film with quite the cast (Carol Burnett, Jim Carrey, Steve Carrell, Amy Poehler, Seth Rogan). Needless to say but I will anyway, I came into this film with high comedic expectations!!! They were mostly met though Carrey as usual was a bit over the top. Still a cute kids movie. 4 stars
381. Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. Wow... this parody of a rags to riches music biopic is so overly silly. Wasn't a fan. 2/5 stars.
382. Saint Ralph. A teenage boy bargains with God to wake his mother out of a coma, he will win the Boston Marathon in the 1950s (before Africa took over). It was intriguing and amusing throughout. It only got a little too sappy toward the end but still not entirely predictable. I think my mom would really like this film. 4.3/5 stars.
383. Teddy: In His Own Words. HBO documentary about Ted Kennedy's life. It was strange that this was subtitled "in his own words" when his voice was disembodied for the entire film except when you saw archival footage. I'm assuming this film was green lighted because of the considerable amount of "never before seen" or rarely before seen footage. There was no real new ground broken and there didn't seem to really be any sort of reflection on his life which is what I expected, again from the title. That doesn't necessarily mean in depth coverage of what everyone wants to know (Chappaquiddick) but go deeper on SOMETHING. As it encompassed most of the events of his life, it was overly broad. It really seemed like the sort of film they show when someone dies. Strangely abrupt ending. This has nothing to do with the actual film but was there a requirement for reviewers of it to use the phrase "warts-and-all"? B/c it was in no less than 5 reviews. Let's be a bit more creative. 3 stars.
384.The Seven Year Itch. A man's family goes out of town for the summer and he begins to fantasize about his beautiful neighbor (Marilyn Monroe). I felt sorry for her. This is at least the 3rd of her movies I've seen and she always plays a ditz. Silly movie but amusing enough. 3.3 stars
385. Very Young Girls. Documentary about a NYC program which helps sexually exploited teenagers leave "the life" as they call their time as prostitutes, many of them starting at age 13 or 14. Very moving and heartbreaking, this film followed the director of the program and several of the girls she was helping or had helped transition out of the life. Difficult to watch and there was one story that was introduced, then ignored until the final wrap-up which was very strange but overall an excellent documentary which showed how hard it is for these brainwashed girls to take back their lives. 4 stars.
386. Thin. Downer documentary about women struggling with eating disorders. I think I wanted something more from this movie: some sort of hope, something beyond the day to day in a treatment facility but I guess that's not what the producers wanted for this film. Judging the film for what it was and not what I wanted it to be, I think there was still something missing, not necessarily from the stories of the girls they followed, though as in the last doc, there was one story that was pretty much pushed aside through most of the film even though it was very compelling-- a girl with an eating disorder w/a mom who also has one (and doesn't seem to care that she does or think about the impact of the things she says on her child). I liked that everyone was so open. I can't really pinpoint what the deal was with this film. It made me sad and hungry. I wanted to eat for them. 3.9 stars.
387. The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer. Cary Grant, Myrna Loy & Shirley Temple. Classic. Have I told you lately that I love Cary Grant? Yowza. Cute movie about an artist (my boo) who has the misfortune of having a judge's (Loy) younger sister (Temple) fall in love with him then having to date her to get her infatuation to subside. Cute. 3.8 stars.
388. Uncle Buck. John Candy plays the irresponsible uncle who has to come to the rescue to stay with his nieces and nephews and do some creative parenting. Cute family movie. 3.8 stars.
389. Delicatessen. French movie where the neighborhood butcher lures men in to kill them and feed the neighbors (Sweeney Todd-style). The latest plan hits a snag when the butcher's daughter falls in love with the next victim: a clown. Sounds much more silly than it was. Kind of sickening to watch. This movie preceded Johnny Depp's (side note: isn't Johnny a weird name for such an odd man? a little too normal). It took a little too long to get to the point but the end was largely unpredictable which of course I loved. 3.7 stars.
390. Tuskegee Airmen: They Fought Two Wars. PBS "documentary" about the black pilots in WWII who escorted bombers to their missions and never lost a single bomber plane. I use the term documentary lightly because it was heavy on recreations. The narration was overused and a little too obvious. It was disappointing because this is such an important story about how the fighters were discriminated against in the military and then again when they came back to America w/o the hero treatment they deserved. This movie did not feel like it was made for a sophisticated audience. With the participation of at least 10 of the fighters, I had high hopes for this film. However because of the over-reliance on narration, their stories were not told so much as a general overview. I suppose this movie is for people who have never heard of the airmen. That doesn't include me. 3 stars.
391. An American in Paris. Gene Kelly in the musical story of an American... in Paris... who is keeping a secret from the woman he loves and who is also keeping a secret from him. There was a 15-minute dream sequence at the end that made absolutely no sense in the scheme of the rest of the film. It also too overly long to introduce the characters in the beginning. The music was wonderful especially the song from one of my fave movies (When Harry Met Sally), "Our Love is Here to Stay." Love that song! The ending dance sequence killed it though as much as I love dance, it really dragged the movie down. 3.3 stars.
392. My Favorite Wife. Cary Grant plays a man who remarries after his wife is missing for 7 years. He has to make some decisions when she shows up. Cute classic comedy. 4.4 stars.