Crazy Movie Lady 39

October 18-24, 2009
This week I got behind a little. I'm still in the double digits behind! Too much actual immediately applicable work to do. Eventually I'll catch up. Lots of docs this week.
584. Punch Drunk Love. Adam Sandler film about a man with 7 overbearing sisters. Irritating, intrusive music. The first 10 minutes gave me no idea of what the film was about. I got that he was a loser but that's about it. A very austere, clinical look to this film. Stylistic choice I cared nothing about. There was the most ridiculous awkward phone s.ex conversation ever. Why me? This film was shot in an extremely irritating manner. And the editing along with the music created a ridiculously unnecessarily frenetic & boring pace. It got mildly interesting after an hour & 15 minutes. If you think that wasn't enough, you're right. Especially since it then got irritating again. I never want to see it again. Ever. 1 star
585. Cleopatra: A Life's Journey. Argintinean film about two women who meet by chance, one rich and famous, the other poor and struggling who escape their lives for a few days. Wandering story line punctuated by entire songs where the characters just sat and thought. Interesting characters but the wandering wearied me after a while. 3.4 stars
586. How to Marry A Millionaire. Three gold-diggers live together and collaborate on how to snare a very rich man. Lauren Bacall, Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable. Quite the trifecta! Bizarre six-minute on camera orchestral overture before the credits. It was a beautiful song, but let's get to the film, already, shall we, kids? As you'd expect, some marvelous clothes. Intriguing, nicely-paced film. I laughed out loud a couple of times at the hijinks as they found some horrible millionaires and great poor guys. (Figures.) Loved the end. Very funny. 4.3 stars
587. New York Doll. Documentary about the rock band the New York Dolls and their ups and downs. Some interesting and effective layering of archival images. The blending along with interviews, music & editing very quickly set a rock and roll scene. But it also has the impact of sounding like the story you've always heard about how drugs took down a rock & roller. The layering became a crutch early on, though. There were a lot of unnecessarily disorienting blurry shots. I had to adjust my eyes constantly. If it was in an effort to show the mood of the music, the editing style got that across just fine. The story then took an unusual turn. It was irritating to watch the story go back and forth in time repeatedly-- he's in the "present" and everyone else is in the future (? I guess...) They're talking in past tense and he's in future tense. The filmmaker inserted himself via questions in some unnecessary ways as well. I didn't understand why other people were talking about how the people in the film felt at certain times. Very bizarre. The synopsis really could've made this sound like a much more interesting film by even being honest about what the film is. I really liked the music. The structure and editing were unnecessarily frustrating. Toward the end the intercutting of concert footage was fantastic. Definitely too long. Anticlimactic after the huge moment they somewhat inadequately built toward. The last 15 minutes needed to be restructured to bring out and focus on the great material they had. 3.4 stars
588. Stranger with A Camera. Documentary about an eastern Kentucky landowner who shot a Canadian filmmaker making a film about poverty in his area in 1967. This film was from the perspective of a girl who grew up near the area, but in a middle class family. It was a bit long, the narration was a bit oppressive and irritating. The film was heavily slanted in strange ways. I wouldn't want to watch this again. 2.8 stars
589. Notorious. Hitchcock film (it's been a while, eh?) with Carey Grant & Ingrid Bergman. WHAT?! I can't take that level of awesome and I haven't even rolled the opening credits yet... A suspenseful story of espionage. Loved it! Extremely crazy. 4.8 stars
590. Greenfingers. British film with Clive Owen & Helen Mirren about a criinal who becomes a gardener in prison. The dialogue was written predictably and sometimes even tritely. Lame music. Only mildly interesting. Some fabulous hats on Mirren, though. 2.9 stars
591. Heart of the Game. Documentary about a successful girls high school basketball team in Seattle. I don't understand why Ludacris narrates this other than to get some buzz but more importantly I don't understand why the narration is written in this manner. It was pretty obvious that they started shooting this film after most of the groundwork had been set i.e. partway through their first season. So they spent some boring time in back story to explain what we missed. They go too quickly through two seasons then take an unnecessary break to get some coach back story. I think my biggest issue with this film other than the amount of characters is that so many issues and angles are introduced and not fleshed out. It's like you're getting constant snapshots and no complete pictures. And that serves as making the film feel long and somewhat dissatisfying. This is also a result of following the team/coach for such a protracted amount of time-- at least 7 years. The game sections are not edited/written tightly enough to get the game across without overdoing it. It steals the momentum from a fast-paced game. Use of announcer voiceover inexplicable toward the end saying what has been long-established. That said, the actual end of the film was still very emotional. 3.7 stars
592. Brooklyn Bridge. Ken Burns documentary about the aforementioned. Probably overly detailed about the construction, dedicating more than 35 minutes of the film to the subject, which makes it at times excruciating to watch. Obviously an amazing amount of research went into this film to find all the letters & documents involved. However, it feels more like a history class than a documentary. This film adds to the notion that documentary means boring. It absolutely could have been 30 minutes long. I didn't hate it but it was difficult to watch at times. The chronology was strangely ignored in parts toward the end. Some of the non-historical things included seemed strangely out of place. Like does this add to what the film's thesis is or is it just something the filmmaker likes that happens to mention or show the bridge? It seems overwhelmingly like the latter is true which is what makes the end really drag. 3 stars
593. Standard Operating Procedure. Errol Morris documentary about the 100s of photographs taken by soldiers at Abu Ghraib. This is so up his alley with the investigation into when the pictures were taken. The reenactments were over the top at times. The digital graphics went right into the austere look of the film. Very stylistic. Because he talked to a lot of the people who were there when the photos were taken and were in the photos, it made these soldiers, most of whom were kids at the time, seem like naive idiots. Not through the filmmaker's fault, but the soldiers. Great research to get the information in the film. It was a little too detailed and incredibly long. This could easily have been called 'Lessons Learned' for these kids. 3.5 stars
594. Cleaner. Beautifully shot & stylized film starring Samuel L. Jackson as a single father to Keke Palmer. Jackson is a crime scene cleaner who suspects a cover-up that the home of Eva Mendes. Intriguing from the outset. After an hour it became trite and predictable. That doesn't mean I knew everything that was happening as it happened. But it made the ending less satisfying. 3.6 stars
595. A Touch of Greatness. Documentary about a very creative teacher in Rye, NY in the 1950s and 60s. Far too heavy on interviews. They had this great archival footage which they took too long to explain. Why had they been taped? For another documentary? I wanted to see that most of all, though. It was much more interesting than these reminiscing "testimonials" from the teacher and his students. The interviews made it feel incredibly long. Very slow pacing. 3 stars
596. The Perfect Holiday. Morris Chestnut & Gabrielle Union. Faizon Love, Terrence Howard, Charlie Murphy, Queen Latifah, Katt Williams. Had all the cast makings of a potentially bad movie. Rashan made me watch this. I had very low expectations. I wanna know who costumed Union. HORRIBLE clothing choices. Stupid, predictable, silly, cliché. Poor acting. At 90 minutes it was still excruciatingly long. Never. Again. 2 stars


Rashan Jamal said...

You will NOT tell people that Perfect Holiday was my idea. You know that was sarcasm that you ran with b/c Gabby is your personal hero! LOL

Notorious was DOPE!!!

I was really disappointed by Brooklyn Bridge. I thought it was gonna be good, but I guess Ken needed sometime to become a good filmaker.

Jameil said...

Wait. You're the one in love w/her. Ol non-acting self. Hitchcock, Bergman & Cary Grant? LOVE! I'd heard Brooklyn Bridge wasn't very good... that was proven.