Crazy Movie Lady 37

October 4-10, 2009
I watched multiple highly talked-about films this week AND enjoyed some of them! It was a good week for films!
554. Pineapple Express. Silly silly movie about a weed head who witnesses a murder. Seth Rogen & James Franco went full weed head... but somehow I feel it wasn't a stretch. I definitely laughed out loud several times. Rosie Perez is a crooked cop. The last 5 minutes made this a true stoner movie. SO silly. But I cracked up the whole time. Lololol. 4 stars
555. About A Boy. Hugh Grant movie about a perennial bachelor who decides hot single moms are the new way to get over on women and a concurrent story with Toni Colette as a not-hot, depressed mom with a socially pitiful child. The kid and Grant's character suddenly find themselves intertwined. I'd managed to see bits and pieces of this film several times over the years but not the whole thing. The film took way too long to talk about where Grant's family was if it ever did. I still enjoyed it. 3.8 stars
556. Adjust Your Color: The Truth of Petey Greene. Documentary of the successful, provocative black Washington, DC radio dj and eventual television commentator about whom the film "Talk to Me" was made. The music was obtrusive and most of the time didn't fit with the film. The narration was unnecessary and irritating. They gave the narration job to Don Cheadle to get attention for the film but it was absolutely unnecessary. They had this great video from his show that was believed to be lost but didn't use it enough. Greene had these amazing guests who are well-known names today. WASTE of a gold mine. Reuse of contemporary video and archival clips when they had years of video. The filmmaker(s) let other people speak for Greene instead of letting Greene speak for himself. I wanted him to use the actual newspaper articles, too instead of images of photocopies. 3.2 stars
557. Camille. James Franco & Sienna Miller are newlyweds heading to Niagara Falls for their honeymoon when he realizes how much she gets on his nerves. She got on mine, too, with that ridiculous bubbliness. Especially that horrible disappearing Southern accent. So cloyingly heavy and bad in the first scene, then non-existent for several scenes, then there in a less irritating and more authentic way and back and forth again. When she's killed in a car accident, she doesn't realize she's dead... some major continuity issues. Geez. Get an intern and make them pay attention to that stuff ON THE SET so you can re-shoot. And IN THE EDITING ROOM. They really needed to work on the beginning and end of the script. The middle was interesting and at times pretty funny but the beginning was terrible and the end veered toward the overly outrageous (which sounds crazy considering the concept of the film). I might have turned it off without the quest for 750. 2 stars
558. The Pajama Game. Doris Day is one of the seamstresses in a pajama factory. This Bob Fosse-choreographed film almost made me want some pjs but I don't do all that fabric when I sleep. Long sleeves and pants? Nope. Love the "I Would Trust Her" musical number. Musicals can be wearying for the endless musical numbers which don't advance the plot, of which there are many in this film including one ridiculously long number in the park. Wow... I couldn't get into this film. 2.9 stars
559. Cactus Flower. Walter Mathau plays a man dating a woman (Goldie Hawn) who thinks he's married. When she demands to meet his wife, he asks his assistant (Ingrid Bergman) to pose as his Mrs. Goldie won an Academy Award for her role. Pretty amusing but started to quickly veer toward the ridiculous. Quincy Jones did the music which was pretty cool. Easy to see where this film was going pretty quickly. Still cute. 3.6 stars
560. A Great Day in Harlem. Awesome concept. Documentary about the famous picture of dozens of (mostly black) jazz greats gathered on the steps of a Harlem brownstone. They found as many people as they could who were there that day to talk about what it was like and how the picture came together. SO cool. Fabulous editing, particularly early on. The interviewer was intrusive, though and the film could've used more artistic direction in interview composition. I liked the font selection. I cannot figure out why I am so into this film, maybe it's the energy of those interviews, the pacing of the editing, the uniqueness of the idea, probably a combination. Though I did wonder how long I would stay intrigued. AWESOME music from these jazz greats. That's what kept it riveting. One musician said "What's the point in living to 100 if you don't do anything." Word. Made me want to relearn the trumpet and make sure my kids pick up an instrument. Any instrument. And now I want to find the music of every single one of these people. Most random final words said in a documentary. So strange. Loved this film. One of the few times I wanted to listen to the credits until they ended. I can't imagine trying to clear all of this fantastic music. MONEY. 4.4 stars.
561. Muhammad Ali: Made in Miami. Documentary about the birth of the great boxer. Some really cool archival video but the film starts out pretty slowly with a lot of talking heads. Very poor job of weaving in the feeling of the time with what's going on in the Civil Rights Movement. From a Beatles photo op to political upheaval. Ridiculous and jarring. Some very obvious use of stock sounds. And it's always frustrating when a subject is still alive and has no contemporary role in the film. In this case that's due to Ali's illness but there are ways around it (archival) that weren't used here. Of course Ali is an amazing person on film. ALWAYS. But I'd rather HIM tell us about himself, even through archival footage, and what he was thinking and feeling instead of a biographer, some historians, some people from his neighborhood and his trainer and doctor. But probably more frustrating is the lack of structure and organization in the story line. The "Made in Miami" tag line was not properly fulfilled throughout the film. 2.3 stars
562. Operation Filmmaker. Documentary about an Iraqi wannabe filmmaker brought to Prague to work on a new film and the cultural clash and the clash of expectations between him and those on the set. Definitely far more interesting than the directors other 2 films I watched. It sparked discussion, but as usual, she was way too involved in her film. 3.5 stars
563. The Mosque in Morgantown. Documentary about a woman who is a single Muslim mother fighting the position of women in her mosque in West Virginia. Pretty interesting dynamics but the film needed to be shortened and have the story line tightened. I felt less sympathetic toward the main character as the film progressed. 3.4 stars
564. Foul Play. Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase movie about a woman who picks up a hitchhiker, then finds herself in the middle of a mysterious crime. Some of the things that just "happened" were way too coincidental. The car scene was the worst part of the entire film. Foolish. Never want to see this again. Didn't follow the conventions it set up early in the film. 2 stars
565. Kinamand. Danish movie about a plumber whose wife leaves him. When he starts eating in the Chinese restaurant across the street nightly he gets an offer to wed the owner's sister. It moved slowly but I still enjoyed the film. Some interesting twists and likable characters. 3.5 stars
566. Planes, Trains & Automobiles. John Candy & Steve Martin. Lol. That's funny just hearing those 2 names together. They're two strangers, one jolly and one laid-back, stranded together in bad weather. Silly but laugh out loud at times. 3 stars
567. Paranormal Activity. I wanted to see this low-budget ($15k) scary movie about a couple terrorized by paranormal activity in the middle of the night. It definitely looked low budget. Bad camera angles, lots of non-tripod shots, soft focus. Slowest start ever. By the time the activity started, I'd pretty much checked out. Didn't care what happened to these people. it felt like watching someone's home video. I wasn't scared or really terribly interested. The screaming, talking & gasping in the audience was hilarious though! Lol! I would reeeeeally like to know how they got so much buzz around this film! Because I need to take notes! WOW!!!! 2 stars
568. Tyson. Documentary about the heavyweight championship fighter. I needed the subtitles. I'm usually bothered by slow pacing, but I think this one moved a little too fast. I enjoyed the framing in the interviews. I wish there was more archival footage. Overlapping sound bites made the film confusing at times. Sound bite after sound bite after sound bite became wearying. I can't say I cared too much about how this film ended. Interesting at times, I liked that he talked about the most difficult moments of his life but it wasn't enough. Who would've thought I could hear the word skullduggery twice in one film? Lol. Not enough to save it. 2.8 stars
569. Good Hair. Documentary starring Chris Rock about black women and their battle with hair including natural, weaves and perms. Interesting and a definite opening to a conversation. I could not understand why Andre Harrell was in the film. You could feel the life drain out of the film almost every time he was on the screen. Some of the best parts involved "real people" instead of celebrities. Nia Long & Raven-Symoné were two of the most interesting celebs. And a woman with blond braids/locs I'd never heard of. It was a great experience watching this in Atlanta surrounded by black people. Some things in the film were very expected, a lot of it. He tackled a touchy topic with a lot of humor which helped a lot. There will be a lot of people who say things were missing from this film-- particularly the history behind "good hair" which on that note I absolutely agree, but the film is what it is. It worked. 4.2 stars


On a limb with Claudia said...

Great reviews. I'm amazed at how many films you watch - and how you keep them all straight.

Paranormal activity? Thanks for watching so I don't have to! ;) I think they got a lot of buzz because it's Halloween and it's scary ghosties stuff. People are waaay into ghosts now.

PS. Thanks for letting me do name/url - makes it easier for me to comment! :)

Southerner in Suomi said...

"Good Hair" is NOT playing in this country town, which is why I am going home this weekend.

I always like the cinematic breakdown.

Ladynay said...

I kinda had hopes for Paranormal Activity...damn

Jameil said...

claud... i have to write them down as i watch them or they don't get very good reviews. it becomes increasingly difficult to keep them straight even still! you're welcome on P.A. i was so unimpressed w/that movie, as was rashan. and finally, you're welcome! lol.

v... it's not in a lot of places. i really liked watching it in ATL.

lady... lots of people really liked it. i wasn't one of them. they did everything in a pattern so after a while, you knew where to look for the "scary" moments. it's hard for me to get scared when i know it's coming.