Crazy Movie Lady 40


October 25-31, 2009
I passed 600 this week! WHOOOOOO HOOOOOO! Less than 150 to go! Do you understand how little that sounds to me right now???? (Yes, that's strange to me, too! Lol.) I'm still 12 behind BUT I was as many of 17 behind this week until I watched 6 in one day.
597. N.ew World Order. Documentary about conspiracy theorists who believe the 9/11 attacks were staged... I'm choosing to address this film from a purely film student level rather than talking about the topic... like I do with most to all of my reviews. Interesting choice to start the film in black with the voice of JFK. The next scenes were scary and disturbing. EXCELLENT sound quality. Focused at the beginning, but because they were showing different factions of conspiracy theorists, but using one as their main character, the film began to get convoluted after about half an hour. There were scenes which could've been easily chopped because they did not advance the (in some ways non-existent) plot. I'd be curious to know what the filmmakers consider the point of this movie other than giving a platform to people who are really passionate about a viewpoint millions disagree with. Since there were very few people in the film for very short amounts of time with opposing views, it became like a one-note song: boring. No matter the topic, particularly the longer the film, the more you need informational variety. 2 stars
598. Paul Blart: Mall Cop. I was kind of scared to watch this... Very dumb start. I didn't care at all about what happened to this guy Paul who wasa loser with the women & wanted to get a chick he should never be able to get. You could see everything as soon as it was about to happen. Ridiculous. I can see lots of people liking this but I wasn't one of them. 2 stars
599. Nothing Sacred. 1937 film about a woman who falsely believes she has radium poisoning and gets caught up with a big city reporter. Some great clothes and relatively amusing moments. It started to drag after about 50 minutes. By the end I didn't care what happened. 2.9 stars
600. Sunshine Cleaning. Amy Adams stars in this film about a woman who becomes a crime scene cleaner (with her lazy sister played by Emily Blunt) so she can send her son to private school. Alan Arkin gets to play a cantankerous grandfather again. Some lip flap in the 'Happy Birthday' song scene where the sound didn't match the picture. I really enjoyed this film. All of the roles were well-acted and the plot was allowed to develop rather than being forced along. 3.9 stars
601. Butterflies are Free. Goldie Hawn film about a woman who moves in next door to a young blind man and befriends him. The "I can't believe you're blind" scene dragged on for way too long. I would guess that's partially because we're so much more used to a world where people are different but also because it needed to be edited. The film was too aimless in the first hour. It took an interesting turn at that point but it was almost too late. It wasn't horrible, but the meandering was definitely a distracter. 2.9 stars
602. Manufacturing Dissent. Documentary about Canadian filmmakers (who couldn't stop talking about being Canadian) in love with Michael Moore who want to make a film about him but find themselves in hot pursuit of him trying to get just one interview. The film comes off as sour grapes as she unveils all the ethical issues Moore has throughout the making of his films and the possibility that he's not a very nice person. I'm not the biggest Moore fan but this film irritated me more than his most irritating film! How are you going to do the things you criticize him for doing? Probably the worst thing, though was the narration. FYI: Just because you make a film doesn't mean you have to narrate it. Also too long. At least Moore can tell an engaging (probably factually and/or chronologically shaky) story. 2 stars
603. Oh God! Rob Reiner directs John Denver and George Burns in this film about a grocery store clerk who sees God and tells people who don't believe him. Some heavy & heavy-handed environmental messages in here. Weird answers from God to some deep questions, but some great ones, also. Music from the 70s and 80s is so horribly dated. But in general a mildly interesting and mildly amusing film. 3.3 stars
604. Elsa and Fred. Spanish film about a boring widower who is befriended by his new feisty Argentinean neighbor who spices up his life. Slow moving but cute to see old love blossom. 3.4 stars
605. The Odd Couple. The original film starring Jack Lemmon & Walter Mathau about a neurotic divorcing man who moves in with his slob of a divorced friend. Of course mania ensues. 3.3 stars
606. Strait Jacket. Joan Crawford film about a woman who spent decades in an asylum for decapitating her husband and his lover and is now out. The narration rather than dialogue was a bit overplayed in the early minutes. Crawford gave her all to the role of crazy! There is an outrageous number of cheesy graphics and effects. It becomes apparent early on that she's not all together there. It was too poorly acted to be effective on the part of everyone around Crawford. The explanation at the end was the worst. 2.8 stars
607. Protagonist. Jessica Yu documentary about an obsession with self-control. She seems to love animation, even giving wooden puppetry a role in this film. Strange interweaving of the four principles which makes it feel almost frenetic. It was difficult to connect with each of them. After 15 minutes I'm still guessing about the connection between the four-- outsiders? It took me a while to get into it, not that the stories weren't interesting, but they became riveting. I had to push through the unorthodox manner of storytelling in the stories of these four men who have to overcome massive obstacles. I don't know that I would want to watch it again... but I might. 3.4 stars
608. Arranged. Two teachers, an Orthodox Jew and a Muslim, bond over a shared expectation of arranged marriage. I really enjoyed this film. Some of the roles were a little caricature-ish, but that didn't detract from the overall believability of the script. Enjoyable characters, well-written, enough drama without being overplayed, with a pleasing conclusion. 4.4 stars
609. Mad Money. Diane Keaton, Queen Latifah & Katie Holmes in a film about a rich woman whose husband lost his job so she gets one... at the federal reserve. They carry off a heist and tell the story in flashbacks... which as you can imagine, gets OLD.... fast. Remember what I said about Diane Keaton being typecast? Even her clothes look the same in every film. Strangely, though, this was still somewhat interesting because there was some non-silly humor built in. Why is the black woman the single mother of 2? This film was definitely too long for what it was but I actually kind of enjoyed it... which felt strange. The denouement was ridiculous. Way too long which brought down my rating. 3.3 stars
610. The Amazing Adventure. Early Cary Grant film about trust fund baby who makes a bet to live on next to nothing for a year. Strangely frenetic scene-setting. I like that I get to see my boyfriend CG very early on, though! :) The music, though enjoyable, was intrusive over the dialogue in the first scene. It was even worse in the fight scene. They also must have just learned these different wipes because just about every single one was used. The story line was interesting enough if a bit slowly-paced. Grant is as gallant as ever. 3.2 stars
611. The Big Sleep. Bogey and Bacall. Oh. yeah. Intriguing at the outset. Bogey plays a detective. It was very strange how willing everyone was to give information to Bogey with curiously little coercion. Interesting story line. It's kind of cute that they're menacing each other with a bunch of .22s. This is definitely a movie you have to pay attention to the entire time. Lose focus for one minute and you've missed a critical part of the story. I stayed engaged until the end. 3.9 stars
612. Chops. Documentary about Florida high school students learning the repertoire of Duke Ellington for a competition. There was some technical quality lacking in the cinematography but the editing and story line are entertaining and for the most part engaging. I don't know that in the early scenes the film was quite able to strike the balance between utilizing the music and being unnecessarily married to it. When rehearsals began it was more natural. How do they have not a single female jazz musician among the principle people they interview at the Florida school? Very strange. I liked seeing white and black kids coming together like a family. This film made me want to pick up a french horn for the first time in 9.5 years. I don't understand how the filmmakers spent 33 minutes on the first school, 5 on the second, then moved to a different school for 3 more minutes. Why? The first school was so lovingly developed that the others just feel like throwaways. That of course detracts from the overall continuity and feel of the film. It might've been more effective to just focus on the one school. OR if they were showing other favorites in the competition, it seems there was another way to do that. Wynton Marsalis wasn't too heavily used in this film but he injected some nice soul and additional fun. Some good suspense built in the climax. Any jazz fan should be all over this film. 4 stars


Rashan Jamal said...

Sunshine Cleaning sounds interesting.. you really like Amy Adams, huh?

I wanted to see Elsa & Fred - Netflix says 3.9 for me.

I have to finish "Protaganist" as you know I fell asleep, but I was liking more than you at the time.

Jameil said...

I was less impressed with her earlier in the movie but was glad she got away from the ditsy redhead role she is dangerously close to never getting away from.

Elsa & Fred was good. Had weaknesses but I enjoyed it.


Anonymous said...

I strongly disagree with your assessment of several films here. I suggest you've seen too many movies and aren't giving many of the films here a fair shake (six movies in one day!) It happens when people are burned out from watching too many movies. It happens to film critics too. As you've gained viewing momentum your critiques have gotten more and more shallow and meaningless (thank God for the fast forward button). I'll take just two films from this page as an example: New World Order, which is a documentary about how the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks were staged (yeah right)and Manufacturing Dissent, an "unbelievably fair" (film guru John Pierson's words) critique of the Michael Moore phenomenon. Both got two stars from you. Manufacturing Dissent was one of the most interesting documentaries I've seen in the past couple of years, but in your cloistered world it ranks on par with one of the most bogus "documentaries" (New World Order) ever made. What kind of TV producer did you say you were in Pittsburgh? Tell me you didn't have anything to do with the news division. I'd rather see you delve more deeply into something, anything then persist with these shallow critiques. We readers are left wondering, 750 movies in a year, but so what?
It must be getting pretty rank over there, shall I send somebody to fumigate?

Jameil said...

Not sure why you chose to be anonymous in your critique of my goal (probably because you were so nasty about some of the things you said) but you've raised some valid points. 750 movies is ridiculous. I will not try to watch that many in one year again. However, since I have made the goal (because I haven't seen many films in my lifetime), I will follow through. As for the fast forward button, I haven't touched it. I would only be cheating myself which would be ridiculous.

I don't know how my critiques have gotten more shallow and meaningless when they're often longer and more detailed. I definitely have less patience with filmic flaws. I'm okay with that. You'll notice that during the week I watched those 2 star docs, I also watched several films that I rated 4 stars or better. You obviously watch a lot of movies and read reviews so you know films are highly personal. We each take from them different things based on our past experiences. I have a list of more than 30 things I've learned from watching this outrageous amount of films. I'm saving them for after I finish watching them all, though perhaps now is the time to explain again what it all means.

That said, I stick to my assessment of those two films. For New World Order my biggest issue was how overwhelming some of the characters were and the clarity of the story line. If you thought Manufacturing Dissent didn't smack of sour grapes, we were watching two different movies. We watched that film in class and most of us came to that conclusion. Yes, there were valid points in the film, many of which are reasons why Moore's films grate on me, BUT the more I watch films, the more I separate myself from the topic and focus on the structure. For example, why was that scene allowed to remain in/play on and on when it did nothing to further the plot or had exhausted its effectiveness?

Is there really a need for personal attacks? If you don't care for my critiques, find someone who gets paid to write them. Perhaps you don't watch the news. I got out because I wanted to produce longer pieces. I was writing :20 to :40 scripts daily. I don't know that I will ever be the person who writes long critiques of films. That's not my particular goal. And now that I've written my long detailed response, you probably won't read or respond to it, but here's your answer.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your reply. I apologize for my rudeness. I hope you make the kind of movies you'd like to make one day. Yes local news can be very short and shallow so good for you for getting out, and seriously I won't send anyone to fumigate.

mdeals said...

30 days means 30 new post.... it means daily read a new book and totally read 30 books ..it would be interesting..