Crazy Movie Lady 42

Since I saw a lot of movies this week (21, ow!), there were multiple I enjoyed a lot, close to 5 stars for 2 of them.  AND I am now only 3 movies behind!!!  When I catch up I finally get to watch Malcolm X for the first time.  I can't wait!!  Since it's so long & Malcolm X is my favorite dead guy, (which makes it a tragedy I haven't seen this film yet), I've been saving it for when I catch up.  Nice reward!  My review of it will likely be among the next week's films!

November 8-14, 2009
625. Vacancy.  Horror movie starring Luke Wilson & Kate Beckinsale about a couple who finds an old hotel with a vacancy then find some unpleasant information about the hotel.   Beckinsale played an irritating, whiny character.  Mildly interesting at first but lots of horror movie don'ts kept happening which made it ridiculous and frustrating. I can grudgingly give you a few but after the 3rd I want you to stop being so stupid.  I also want to be shocked by what's happening but still feel like it could happen to me.  And the end?  Sigh.  Didn't like the end AT ALL.  2 stars
626. Magdalene Sisters.  Irish film about "fallen women" sent to a convent to atone for their "sins."  Relentlessly infuriating, then depressing.  You wanted SOMETHING good to happen to someone, ANYONE!!  The dourness made it feel incredibly long because it was so sad.  I enjoyed that I didn't recognize any of the actors.  4.2 stars
627. Father of the Bride.  Spencer Tracy & Elizabeth Taylor in the classic version of this film.  Oh yeah!  This made me not want to plan a wedding because of how crazy everyone got.  Tracy laid it on a bit thick in some areas but the father-daughter relationship was so cute!  4.2 stars
628. Shakespeare in Love.  Captivating.  Romeo & Juliet came alive for me in the dramatized writing of the play in a way it never has before.  Gwyneth Paltrow plays Shakespeare's muse.  For me she at times leaves something to be desired, but Joseph Fienne's Shakespeare is divine.  Some great costuming as well.  Dame Judi Dench was stately!  Ben Affleck was mostly non-existent.  I thoroughly enjoyed this movie!  5 stars
629. Lessons of Darkness.  Werner Herzog documentary about the devastation in Kuwait after the first Gulf War.  Opening quote in German and the descriptions of each part were strangely not translated on the Netflix online version though all of Herzog's voiceovers were in English.  The lack of translation was mildly irritating at first, then because it happened with such frequency, became maddening.  Some really cool aerial shots in the opening minutes and continued throughout.  Typical Herzog use of sweeping, swelling, dramatic music with aerials and landscape shots.  The lack of a narrative becomes even more strange when the wordless scenes are peppered with sporadic short first-person stories of war.  I try to take films for what they are but I don't know what this is.  2 stars
630. The Lost Weekend.  An alcoholic is left alone by his brother and girlfriend on a long weekend.  Wassup to some of the world's most irritating music!  Wow!!  Crazy frenetic-sounding music became horrifying!  It raised the drama level, but could have certainly done so with less irritation. Great story line of a drunk on a bender.  The director and editor did a great job of pacing and tension-building.  The ending was a let down.  3.3 stars
631. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.  Film set in Nazi Poland (with British accents) about the young son of a Nazi officer who makes friends with a boy in a concentration camp.  You'll "enjoy" it much more if you look at the film as a historically-based fantasy film rather than nitpicking the unrealistic or historically inaccurate occurrences. 4 stars
632. Berga: Soldier's of Another War.  Documentary about Americans captured and forced to work in concentration camps during WWII.  Very slow-moving in the first half of the film.  Though the stories were interesting, there wasn't enough visual material to support 85 minutes worth of film.  Repetitive in that let those who remembered tell the same story multiple times which made for a dragging pace.  The film was very stylistic which I appreciated-- stark black and white through the archival, interviews & recreations.  The laborious pacing couldn't make up for that.  2.4 stars
633. Make the Yuletide Gay.  Indie film about a guy whose well-meaning Midwestern parents don't know he's gay when he goes home for Christmas.  Predictable with some stilted acting.  The boyfriend in Adamo Ruggiero was the most well-acted role.  Entertaining enough.  3.3 stars.
634. Familiar Strangers.  Indie film about a long lost son who goes home for Thanksgiving for the first time in 3 years.  He joins the family for their annual tradition of playing donkey ball (basketball on donkeys).  None of the characters were particularly likable.  I didn't care who won or what happened to anyone.  The movie felt like it ended and there were still 30 minutes left.  Characters were introduced but not developed.  The plot holes made the story line confusing.  It needed focus.  It really felt like this movie would never end.  1.9 stars
635. Annie Oakley.  Classic film starring Barbara Stanwyck as a sharp-shooting woman who goes on the road with her amazing ability in a time where women weren't allowed or expected to do much.  Cute movie with an unforced love story.  Unusual in most movies, even more so in classics.  3.5 stars
636. Everything's Cool.  Propagandistic environmental documentary about global warming where the filmmakers try to convince you global warming exists and we have to fix it.  I don't care what the issue is, I don't like to be propagandized.  I'm also in general not a fan of films where the filmmakers insert themselves, though I sometimes give leeway for personal stories.  In this case, it's so unnecessary and intrusive.  The film even goes back in time to the start of the conversation on global warming.  There were so many characters it felt like an endless stream.  I'm not even sure what this film is thematically focused on as far as structure. Obviously the point is to convince people about global warming but what are the organizing principles, the main points?  Too much information from different factions was crammed into this film without being clear enough and some of it was presented in incredibly boring ways.  Then it became repetitive.  Censorship, people and locations believed to be effected, the impact of lobbyists.  Far too long.  And because of the methodology I was more skeptical at the end than at the beginning.  2 stars
637. The Goebbels Experiement.  German documentary film about the Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels made with archival footage coupled with acted voice overs from Goebbels' diary.  Some great footage presented in an unusual style.  It seemed almost like a fiction film.  Though it was interesting hearing some insight into how the Nazis came to power, in a stream of diary entries, it became boring.  After 17 minutes of voice overs with no on-cam speech, the film began to lose some of its appeal.  At that point it began showing Goebbels on cam which helped break up some of the monotony.  If you're a WWII history fan, you should watch this film.  I can't say that I would necessarily want to watch it again, though.  3.4 stars
638. New in Town.  Boring film with Renee Zellweger (who never doesn't look pinched) as the company person who moves to Minnesota from Miami to institute changes at a plant but everyone hates her including the other main character played by Harry Connick, Jr.  As predictable as you thought it would be.  Of course the only minorities are caricatures.  I couldn't stop rolling my eyes at all the "heart-felt" speeches.  I'm going to say I never ever want to see this movie again. 1 star
639. Valentin.  Argentinean film about a little boy who lives with his grandmother and believes his family has problems only he can solve.  The narration from his perspective was cute at first but sometimes became a crutch used in lieu of dialogue.  The film was alternately cute and sad.  This kid had a lot of personality.  So cute.  A bit of a shark-jumping ending but still worth watching.  3.9 stars
640. Bolt. Oscar-nominated animated kids Disney movie about a dog engineered to keep a girl safe... or so he thinks.  When he goes on a mission it is HILARITY!  It's like Finding Nemo with a dog.  Cute.  4 stars
641. D.esecration Nation.  Documentary short with hokey, overly dramatic music.  Some great images on all sides of the flag b.urning issue.  The artist story line felt oddly incomplete.  The interviews in the park were particularly strange.  2.9 stars
642. Emma.  Dear God let Gwyneth Paltrow never again sing.  Wow... She was amusing as the title character in this film based on Jane Austen's book.  I'm not sure how I'm supposed to believe she's 21, though.  Toni Colette is incredibly dull but in an amusing way.  The longer this movie lasted the more I liked it.  I really want to read the book now.  I know!  It's ridiculous that I haven't read it.  The narration was the primary distraction but that wasn't enough to make this film unworthy of repeated re-watching.  4.5 stars
643. Time Indefinite.  Personal documentary which is more than a little indulgent in the length of time it stays with some of the images.  His "compulsion to film everyday" (mundane) life becomes wearying.  The narration is irritating.  My original thought was couldn't this movie have stayed in the family?  After 45 minutes it became less annoying and more interesting like the study of another person's life.  Even the director as narrator managed to tell the story from a semi-detached perspective.  But the length was ridiculous.  3 stars
644. The Strange Love of Martha Ivers.  Classic film starring Barbara Stanwyck about a man who comes back in town after a long absence and shakes up the life of a married couple.  Kirk Douglas also stars.  Extreme melodrama.  The end was pretty awesome but the film was too long for the lack of plot.  3 stars
645. Murder by Death.  Truman Capote, Peter Sellers & Peter Falk star in a film about a millionaire who invites 5 top private investigators to his home so solve a murder for a one million dollar prize.  Silly caper movie with a bizarre ending.  3.9 stars
646. Elling.  Norwegian comedy (my first I believe) nominated for an Academy Award about two mentally handicapped men coping with their release into the world.  I know what you're thinking, not possible.  But it is!  Very cute.  It started to get a little long, though.  At some point it began to feel like there was no natural conclusion but there was.  Fun.  4.5 stars


On a limb with Claudia said...

I tend to avoid all movies about Irish people (meaning the Magdaline sisters). They seem to always be about how everyone shits on the Irish. Why do we think Irish people are so lucky?

Lots of Gweneth here. Are you becoming a big fan? ;)

I do love your movie reviews - thanks for sharing

Miss Snarky Pants said...

21 movies this weekend alone??? **My hat goes off to ya**

Jameil said...

claud... purely coincidence. i actually think i like her less after this week. before this week i never thought about her. magadalene sisters was more about the Irish being terrible to each other. Thanks & you're welcome!

Ms. Behaving... crazy, i know! thanks!

CoolThoughts said...

21 that sounds like a record of some kind. I gotta check Guinness for you.

How do you choose the movies? I love the mix.

Lately I have been watching a lot of Asian films. And they have really grown on me. Check out Princess Aurora; I'd love to read your review.

Rashan Jamal said...

I watched a lot of these with you this week. Vacancy, Everything is Cool and Familiar Strangers were bad.

Murder by Death cracked me up and I like Elling, although for the first part of the movie I was a little apprehensive. I also liked the Goebbels Experiment more than you did.

Jameil said...

coolthoughts, lol. i think i've watched 26 in one week. I choose the movies based mostly on netflix availability. i like to have a mix of docs, classics, foreign, indie & comedy based on what i'm in the mood for. a lot of them are online for netflix. I couldn't find Princess Aurora. Who made it?

rj... I know! :) I liked Elling. I got right into and giggled. Murder by Death might've been more funny if I'd seen the movies it referenced.

CoolThoughts said...

I saw it on the Sundance channel.

DaniColoredGlasses said...

To say that I love Shakespeare in love would be a gross understatement. I thought it would be campy and I'm not a G. Paltrow fan at all. I saw it on accident and absolutely fell in love with it....Hmm...now that I think abt it...I should own it...(putting it on my Christmas list)

Jameil said...

cool... i need to come to your house! i don't know anyone w/sundance channel! lol

dani... i was so shocked to enjoy that movie. i've thought of a few movies to put on my Christmas list thanks to the last year!