Movies 2010, Week 1

January 1-9
This year, the goal is to watch 365 movies.  I definitely know I can do that!  I combined the first nine days because only 2 days were in the first 'week' of the year.  I can't stop watching movies.  It's ridiculous.  But you see I'm already ahead.  Yay!
1) Sin Nombre.  Billed as the story of an ousted gang member traveling through Central America toward the U.S., I found myself more drawn to the parallel story line of a young girl traveling to the U.S. with her father and uncle.  Beautifully shot, well-acted.  3.8 stars
2) Blind Date. Stanley Tucci co-writes, directs and stars in a film about a couple (Patricia Clarkson is the other half) pulled apart by the death of their child who use personal ads to come back together.  Seemed very indie and very improvised which was sometimes awkward.  And because of the setup you got mostly unimportant snapshots of their personalities instead of insight into their characters.  How do they know it's them?  I didn't particularly care about either of the characters.  2.4 stars
3) Don't Bother to Knock.  Marilyn Monroe plays about a babysitter spending a night alone in a hotel with a child in this 1952 film.   Anne Bancroft also makes an appearance.  Marilyn is CRAZY.  A slow start, but it turns out pretty awesome.  Best acting I've seen from her.  Finally, a non-dumb blonde role.  4.1 stars
4) Driving Miss Daisy. Morgan Freeman, Jessica Tandy, Dan Akroyd, Patti LuPone, Esther Rolle.  A stubborn white woman reluctantly hires a black man as her chauffeur.  Very disorienting to see Freeman like this but for the most part I enjoyed the film.  4 stars
5) Meet John Doe.  Frank Capra directed film starring Barbara Stanwyck about a fired newspaper writer who pens a fake letter loved by readers.  Wow, long-winded, heavy-handed monologue.  That definitely brought the movie down.  Are you supposed to watch this and feel charitable?  You can have a feel-good movie without going quite this far.  Geez.  Downhill around the one hour mark.  And of course some degrading roles for blacks to boot.  Yikes.  2.9 stars
6) My Wife is An Actress.  French film about a man... wait for it... whose wife is an actress!  Lol.  A well-recognized one so people take irritating liberties.  Interesting-ish.  I cared about the characters for the most part but something wasn't quite there.  3.4 stars
7) Between the Fold. Documentary about modern origami.  Really interesting start shattered by amateurish narration.  Some awesome cinematography and amazing art.  Fantastic editing.  Interesting and appropriate music lost its interestingness through repetition and overuse.  I really enjoyed what felt like a journey through the evolution of origami though some of the scientific stuff toward the end dragged.  Really high technical quality.  The narration is truly a shame.  3.7 stars
8) Matchstick Men. Nicolas Cage, Sam Rockwell star in a Ridley Scott film about con artists, one of whom has OCD.  Pretty interesting in the outset then lagged a bit, then picked back up.  The first ending (yes, first ending) was awesome!  Unexpected and cool.  The second ending, (sigh, it's never good when there's a second ending) was trite and corny which made the good parts seem like a waste or an accident.  3.3 stars
9) The Soloist. Robert Downey, Jr. and Jamie Foxx star in a film based on fact about an LA Times writer and a homeless former Julliard student.  I wish there had been subtitles because Jamie Foxx spoke so quickly it was difficult to understand sometimes.  Beautiful music.  Hard to watch and sometimes boring with an interminable feeling.  Why do we need continual crazy scenes?  By the end I didn't even care what happened.  3 stars
10) Far From Heaven. Film set in the 1950s starring Julianne Moore, Dennis Quaid & Dennis Haysbert about a woman living what everyone else sees as the ideal life.  Horrible font for the opening credits and title.  Ridiculous, intrusive music.  Outrageously naive story line.  I didn't believe Quaid for a second.  And Moore was back and forth.  Was this a Lifetime movie?  YUCK.  2.9 stars
11) Adam. Film about a man with Asperger's syndrome who freaks out when a cute new teacher girl moves into his apartment building.  Cutely quirky but not in a way that's trying too hard.  I enjoyed it.  Surprisingly clever.  You know how a lot of indie films try too hard and let the story line slip through the cracks?  This film didn't have that problem.  A refreshing change.  4.2 stars
12) Up. Animated kids film about an old man and a boy who go on a high-flying adventure.  Requires you to suspend a crazy amount of disbelief.  I wasn't ready for all that.  3.4 stars
13) Wake Up Sid. Indian film about a slacker with weird mid-sentence mixes of Hindi and English.  The song-led montages were ridiculous.  Do we need to have a 3-minute song montage?  I'm going with no even though the first couple were funny.  Some really lame music sometimes but that wasn't enough to make this film a bust.  Very enjoyable and amusing.  I laughed out loud several times.  3.9 stars
14) Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte. Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, Agnes Moorehead film about a woman suspected of murder as a child but never proven guilty.  She's now become a curmudgeon recluse and general nuisance to the town.  What's up crazy town.  Very slow-moving story in the first third of the film which made it hard/boring to watch sometimes.  Most of the last half hour to an hour was pretty awesome!  But I don't know that it made it worth the length.  3.4 stars
15) The Little Princess.  Shirley Temple stars as an orphan under a cruel headmistress.  Strangely little interaction with children.  So corny.  I'm sure I'll assailed for that but whatever.  3.1 stars
16) Husbands and Wives.  Woody Allen, Blythe Danner, Sidney Pollack, Mia Farrow star in an Allen-written and directed film about a husband and wife whose marriage starts to unravel when their friends separate.  A very Woody production... which means it made me weary.  I will say this, a much less self-absorbed and neurotic role for himself which was a refreshing change.  I can't say it was uninteresting but for how long?  And is there a reason he always has to write in a romance with an outrageously younger woman?  So gross.  3.4 stars


Ginae said...

Have you seen The Little Princess remake that came out in 1995? I really liked that one a lot and loved the imagination parts they incorporated into the movie.

Rashan Jamal said...

I can't believe you watched Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte without me. I've wanted to see that for a year, but since it was so long, I never brought it up. Hmph!!!

I really liked Wake Up Sid, and I'll have to check out Adam.

Jameil said...

ginae... haven't seen it. i usually need a while between originals and remakes. esp. when i don't really like one of them or have issues w/it.

rj... i didn't think you'd want to see it!! my bad! wake up sid was funny! i really think you'll like adam!