Crazy Movie Lady 38

October 11-17, 2009
I may have made a little progress this week but I want to be caught up by the end of October so I don't find myself having to watch 30 films on December 30th & 31st! I've got my work cut out for me.
570. Adventureland. Film about this kid who graduates from college and goes home to Pittsburgh where he can only find a crappy job at Adventureland city fair. Of course there is a love story but it takes too long to finish developing. I didn't really care what happened. 2.4 stars
571. Spirit of the Marathon. Crappy music in this documentary about marathon runners, including history of the marathon and following several people training for the marathon. The beginning almost made me want to run a marathon but I don't have that sort of crazy in me. Hours and hours outdoors in all kinds of weather? Pass. Let's do a 5k and then we'll talk. This film was interesting at first but grew too long and followed too many people. Learning about different kinds of marathon runners (first-timers, long-timers, marathon addicts), some effortlessly, some with maximum effort, but there is a limit. The music was really grating. It was a lame attempt at inspiration where it wasn't needed. The stories are inspirational enough without it. By the time we got to the marathon I was pretty sure they were going to make us watch 20 minutes of it... and I was just about right. Because of the amount of characters, the denouement felt really interminable. 2.9 stars
572. Shrink. Kevin Spacey plays the weedhead shrink to a "troubled" kid played by Keke Palmer. KP has a poorly-developed role. It takes way too long for you to see something in her character. My favorite characters were the most cynical ones. It became pretty corny toward the end which was unfortunate. It had potential for more. This was a little too long and followed a few too many stories. 3.3 stars
573. Auntie Mame. Classic film about a crazy single woman who becomes the caretaker of the nephew she'd never met when her brother died. Quite amusing. Irritating and annoying portrayal by an Asian actor. Not unlike the bending and scraping by black actors in classics. Some awesome clothes and hats. All of the "surprises" were easily identifiable & telegraphed early which was annoying. Definitely longer than it needed to be. I loved the title character, though. 3.4 stars
574. Fargo. Frances McDormand plays a pregnant sheriff investigating murder. William H. Macy is a crooked husband working with kidnappers. There were some completely unnecessary scenes which did nothing to advance the plot. Dumb. Multiple story lines playing out. I liked the high shock factor. 4.1 stars
575. Romantico. Documentary in Spanish set in Mexico & San Francisco about two illegal immigrant friends who go to the US to work as mariachis and the twists and turns they face. Interesting at first, then very slow-moving. I wanted something, anything to happen. No concept of the passage of time, either. I had no idea how long they were in Mexico. 3 stars
576. The Butterfly. French film about a crotchety old man who becomes the extremely reluctant companion of a little girl over butterflies. This girl said "I love celery root salad." Who says these things??? Only a French child. The end was almost trite but still a very cute film. 3.9 stars
577. The Courtship of Eddie's Father. Classic film starring a young Ron Howard as the son of a recent widower getting back into the dating scene. Very out of sync with the present. Today you're expected to at least let the body get cold before you start picking out future wives. It was more somber than I expected since Netflix billed this as a romantic comedy. That it was not. It played out like a sitcom with very definite scenes beginning and ending. I enjoyed it for the most part though sometimes I wanted it to just hurry along a little faster. 3.3 stars
578. The Proposal. Sandra Bullock is the overbearing boss who convinces her assistant Ryan Reynolds to marry her so she doesn't get deported. Betty White is her grandma. Pretty funny at times. Some horribly fake backgrounds. Why? Terrible. Has Sandra's face always that tight? Ryan is HILARIOUS!!! It was a little long but for the most part I enjoyed it. 3.5 stars
579. American Violet. Film based on a true story about a Texas woman the system tried to railroad into pleading guilty for a drug crime she didn't commit. Some excellent acting by Nicole Beharie and Will Patton. Alfre Woodard was also in this film. Her acting was less noticeable. There were some unnecessary "scene-setter" shots mixed into the narrative far too long into the film. Repetitive music mostly consisting of "sympathetic" moaning became irritating. I wouldn't have believed the story if I didn't know it was a true. The denouement was a bit overplayed and preachy. I do realize I'm reacting to the subject matter more than some of the elements in the film i.e some of the characters being more like caricatures than actual people-- few shades of gray in character development outside of the main character. Still a very compelling story and a quality film. 4.2 stars
580. Gilda. 1946 film starring Rita Hayworth about a love triangle with her old flame and her new husband set in Argentina. Very easy to see why she was such a sensation. This film was still missing something, though. She had some awesome clothes. Completely dissatisfying ending. 3 stars
581. Father's Little Dividend. Spencer Tracy & Elizabeth Taylor in the sequel to the classic version of 'Father of the Bride.' Taylor plays the daughter who's pregnant, which turns the family upside down. I can't say I overly enjoyed the film but I didn't hate it. It was just there. 3 stars
582. Alberta Hunter: My Castle's Rockin'. Documentary about a black woman who became a famous jazz singer in the early 20th century, left the music business, then staged a triumphant comeback at age 82. The narration was irritatingly heavy-handed and unnecessary. It made this film feel more like a news report than a documentary. She was amazing and great on camera, the type of performer who's always on. It seems when the filmmaker couldn't figure out a transition from one part of her life to another, he/she used one of her songs. She sounds great, but still. Some shaky/questionable use of archival images. I don't believe a lot of the earliest stories she told (because of doubt cast by the narration & Ms. Hunter herself as to her credibility) but that didn't make her less entertaining. She laughs like another Alberta-- my grandmother! I'm probably not old enough at 27 for some of her subject material! Lol. Really a fascinating historical portrait of a forgotten blues star. Dialing back the narration a lot would've improved this film dramatically. 3.4 stars
583. In the Mood for Love. Chinese film in Cantonese about neighbors who realize their spouses are having an affair. Strange repetitive music that sounded more Western than Asian. It was interesting the first time, less so the 7th. The other piece was used thrice. Why? I noticed 3 wardrobe repeats... I'm guessing because of the amount of time you're supposed to infer has passed. There was some interesting cinematography. The director got a little too caught up in slow motion. Still a quality film. 3.6 stars


Desy said...

you would really be a good critic for a paper (if you were to consider a side gig from documentaries)... Where do you find these films? netflix?

Jameil said...

thanks desy! lol. i'm not really interested in writing reviews but my mom asked me the same thing. i watch most of them on netflix, my classmates give me some & my program has a collection. oh yeah my apt. complex has free rentals, too.