Crazy Movie Lady 27

July 26- August 1, 2009
I got very close to being caught up this week but got sidetracked by pesky little things. Like spending time with people I like and love. Geez friends and family. 4 movies behind target. I'll wipe that out this week.
414. Grand Hotel. Classic with Greta Garbo and Joan Crawford. The premise of this 1931 winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture is the comings and goings of Berlin's finest hotel. It includes a dancer, a ruined aristocrat and a dying man spending his life savings among others. This movie was neither here nor there for me. It was interesting enough but at the same time rather boring. I think my biggest issue is I don't like to follow a lot of characters. Someone always gets short shrift and I feel cheated. 2.9 stars
415. Pan's Labyrinth. Spanish fantasy film which won 3 Academy Awards (Art Direction, Cinematography & Makeup), all deserving, about a girl who believes in fairy tales and finds herself in the midst of one during World War II. Quite gory at times which is unfortunate as otherwise it would be a kid's movie. I guess an adult version of a kid's movie. It's been likened to Lord of the Rings. I wouldn't know as I haven't seen any of the Lord of the Rings. I definitely liked this film, though. 4.3/5 stars
416. Gonzo: The Life and Work of Hunter S. Thompson. Documentary about the author of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. For about 30 seconds I wanted to try watching that movie again but yeah no. It's basically about a drug binge. I definitely think I would understand it more now but I'm straight. It was amazing how many people from various ways of life he knew. Very strange to see President Carter talking about this odd guy in the same glowing ways as Pat Buchanan. There were some really great things done by the filmmaker of Gonzo but I must say I couldn't stand the subject. He's the antithesis of just about everything I believe in. Plus this doc was 2 hours. I absolutely understand that the filmmaker had an outrageous amount of material but... wow. Parts of it were extraordinarily beyond me. Sometimes the filmmaker went overly long on parts of history that while incredibly interesting, don't have a whole lot to do with Thompson's life. 3 stars
417. The Notebook. I dragged my feet watching this movie because I found the book horribly sappy, but I really liked the movie. Odd and unbelievable interaction between black and white people for the period in which this film was set, starting with the 1930s but that was a minor distraction. 4.3 stars
418. Alex & Emma. Predictable Rob Reiner romantic comedy. Of course I had high hopes because he did one of my all time faves, When Harry Met Sally, that I still think about multiple times a week. This, however, with Luke Wilson & Kate Hudson? As a man trying to write a novel in 30 days (with the help of a stenographer) so he doesn't get killed by the Cuban men he owes money to for gambling? No ma'am. Boring. 2.5 stars
419. Woman is the Future of Man. South Korean film which was highly sexualized. At first I had a hard time keeping the characters straight, then once I had the characters I couldn't figure out if there was some time-traveling happening and we were seeing multiple periods in the characters' lives. From reading the back I see I'm right and it's about the 2 friends who both had relations with the same woman and them remembering it. Interesting-ish. 2.7 stars
420. Color Me Kubrick. Outrageous film based on a true story about a Stanley Kubrick impersonator (played by the hilarious John Malkovitch) who bamboozled people out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. It cracked me up but I did want him to get caught earlier and the movie to end sooner. I didn't need to see SO many people he cheated. 3.7 stars
421. The Producers. Mel Brooks version of the story of two men who set out to make a flop when they realize flops could make them more money than a hit. They lose it when 'Springtime for Hitler' becomes a hit. Funny at times especially with Mel Brooks but at other times it was just there. 3.3 stars
422. I Loved You So Long. French movie with Kristen Scott Thomas. All of her French movies make it over here it seems. I like her a lot. In this film she plays a woman getting out of prison after a 15-year sentence for murder. You find out who she murdered, how she's now coping and watch as she tries to fix her relationship with the estranged sister she's now living with. Excellent film. A bit slow-moving at first, then it picks up. Worth the effort. 4.8/5 stars
423. Safe. Really? A sex scene after one line of dialogue? Less than 30 seconds after the credits disappear? Julianne Moore film about a wife in the affluent suburbs who becomes environmentally sensitive and has to seclude herself to be able to breathe. Boring 2 hour movie. Hated it. I don't believe a single word written positively about it ever. 1 star
424. Umbrellas of Cherbourg. French classic by Jacques Demy where every word is sung about a doomed love. Pretty engaging script but the end was not quite satisfactory. Still a great effort in this 5-time Oscar nominated film. 4/5 stars
425. O Brother Where Art Thou. Funny George Clooney movie (with 2 Oscar nods) where he is an outlaw who escapes to go find a treasure but has to take along the two men chained to him. For certain predictability I'll go 4 stars.
426. The Ugly Truth. Katherine Heigl film about a morning news producer who is forced to work with a misogynist who in turn helps her catch a man. Predictability of some sort ensues. Still, not the worst romantic comedy I've seen this week. 3.3 stars
427. Stray Dog. Legendary Japanese director Akira Kurosawa's 1949 film about a detective on the hunt for his stolen gun and his escapades to stop the man who has it from committing crimes. Beautifully shot. Pretty nice script though it could've used a little tightening toward the front end. The lead is a man I imagine to be the Cary Grant of Japan because he was pretty hot. Captivating toward the end despite some platitudes at the very end. 4 stars
428. 2001: A Space Odyssey. Stanley Kubrick film. Really? A 16-minute ape sequence and an additional 5-10 minutes, all without dialogue? Outrageous. This is why the film is 2 AND A HALF HOURS. No mas. During the Jupiter approach scene, Jameil: "Was Kubrick on acid?" Rashan: "I think so." WEIRD. I feel like 70% of this movie was dialogue-free. I know at least half. The music was good but I really think I only enjoyed and understood 20 minutes of this film. I was impressed by the special effects for the time. A NYT reviewer, "Somewhere between hypnotic and immensely boring." Perfect. A generous 2 stars
429. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. French film based on a true story about a man who dictated a book by only blinking after developing locked-in syndrome after a stroke. He was paralyzed and couldn't speak but could think. His only means of communication was through blinking. I wanted the story to progress a little more quickly but I was still captivated by it. 4 stars
430. Stranger Than Paradise. Jim Jarmusch film from the 1980s. If I hadn't just seen 2001, I would've said I don't know if anything can be stranger than this movie. But that would be an exaggeration. I just didn't understand the point. A man meets his Hungarian cousin for the first time, plans to hate her, the broker a truce, she leaves, then with his friend in tow, the 3 go on a road trip to Florida. 1.9 stars
431. A Man Named Pearl. Documentary about a man who taught himself horticulture and topiaries and became the first black person to win yard of the month in his small poor SC town. Nice unasuming opening. Loved the opening. There was some really great photography. The music didn't seem to fit, though and there were multiple repetitive quotes which was the beginning of it becoming boring. It took more than 20 minutes to get to the controversy which inspired him-- racist comments about black people not keeping up their yards. This would've made an awesome short. I'm just not sure there's enough archival pictures and video to support a feature-length doc. This feeling was advanced by the music giving it a "this is almost over" feel. The Chamber of Commerce director was hilariously SC in a good way. I want to see the garden now. 3 stars


Adei von K said...

Grand Hotel sounds cool.

You liked Pan's Lab?? That was too weird for me. My face was scrunched up the whole time.
Well, you'll prob like the Lord of the Rings. I (surprisingly) enjoyed those. And I even got into the Star Wars (courtesy Troy of Troy and Edwin fame).

Fear and Loathing... I think of Pat (HU). That was his JOINT.

I don't know about Julianne Moore... I think everyone wants her to be "deeper" and better than she really is. Then again, I haven't seen her whole catalog to know.

Jameil said...

adei... grand hotel was just ok. pan's was interesting. i don't want to like LOTR. i'm sure that shocks you. never seen star wars tho it was played when the band dir. went on vacay b/c we had a star wars theme one year in h.s. pat WOULD like that movie. weirdo. i'm w/you on JM. i don't need to see her catalog to say yeah no on her. william h. macy tho? i've loved him in every role.