Movies 2012: Weeks 6-8

I tried to squeeze in a bunch of the Oscar nominees ahead of the awards show last week so you'll see that reflected. Almost caught up with this year's movies! Phew! I still need to watch more docs. I see a doc-filled week in my future.

Week 6: February 5-11, 2012
22) Happy, Happy. A Norwegian film about an absolutely delightful cheerful housewife (Agnes Kittlesen) in a loveless marriage to her high school sweetheart. Things go awry after an encounter with a new urban neighbor. The loose story line felt unfinished and odd toward the end. But I would love to see more from Kittlesen. She was like a Norwegian Audrey Tatou. 3.2 stars
23) Project Nim. A documentary about a chimpanzee raised like a human for a scientific experiment then abandoned. You could tell from the beginning how naive and self-indulgent his handlers were and that this could never work in the long term. A really difficult film to watch and I don't even consider myself an animal activist. I like animals and believe they should be treated ethically but I don't get too crazy about it. The humans were definitely the less sympathetic characters. I enjoyed the aesthetic of the film and the graphics worked very nicely. 3.8 stars
24) Tree of Life. Brad Pitt and Sean Penn star (I mean that loosely as they only sporadically appear) in this film about a man searching for the meaning of life by looking at the childhood of the brother he lost at a young age. Sigh. Indulgent is the best word to describe this. Many other reviewers like the word pretentious. Definitely an art house film. One that people will love to say they loved because of the look and the idea that there is a deep, underlying meaning. Beautifully shot, painfully slow, excruciatingly long. Mayhaps Tree of Death would have been more apt? Metaphorical to the exclusion of dialogue and inclusion of the beginning of time. Pass. I feel so indifferent to this film I don't even know what to rate it. 1.5 stars
25) Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy. Zach Braff and Dean Cain make appearances in this independent film about a group of gay male friends commiserating on love. Amusing. There were even appearances by Andrew Keegan and Nia Long. It was amusing to continually recognize people. 3.5 stars

Week 7: February 12-18, 2012
26) Exporting Raymond. A documentary about the creator of the series "Everybody Loves Raymond" trying to export the hit show to Russia. Of course there are many moments where ideas and some humor are lost in translation. Some are funny, some are drawn out way, way, WAY too long. This entire film would have been much more interesting if it happened in 20 minutes instead of over 90. There wasn't enough new material to prevent it from becoming boring, repetitive and redundant. 2 stars
27) What's Your Number? Anna Farris stars as a woman who figures out the number of men she's slept with and decides she needs to cull her exes to find her husband. So she enlists the help of her cute, promiscuous neighbor. You know exactly where this movie's going before it even begins. That doesn't stop it from being enjoyable at turns. It's also rather unbelievable at times and Rashan found it a bit sexist. (He's great.) 3.3 stars
28) Colombiana. Zoe Saldana stars as an assassin determined to hunt down the men who killed her parents in front of her. Awesome thriller! Ignore the Brits making all kinds of American accent faux pas. Quite enjoyable! 4.5 stars

Week 8: February 19-24, 2012
29) I Don't Know How She Does It. Sarah Jessica Parker stars in this film about a married working mother struggling to juggle it all through a sea of sexism, somewhat inept childcare, judgmental mothers, etc. SJP's character was pretty useless. The best and more interesting characters (played by Olivia Munn and Busy Phillips) were ancillary to the story line. One reviewer mentioned the caricatures created of all of the women in this film. So, so true. And really to the detriment of watchability. Didn't enjoy this film.  2 stars
30) How to Die in Oregon. This documentary follows people considering and fighting for what they call "death with dignity": the ability to choose when you will die. Though it really only shows one side-- those who are wholeheartedly behind the idea of allowing the gravely ill to choose when they die-- it shows that side really powerfully. You see those who are angry, others at peace, sadness, joy. All of the emotions that come with any life-altering decision. Really, really moving film. 5 stars
31) The Loving Story. A documentary about the interracial Virginia couple who fought to remain legally married in their home state. A sweet story told mostly as a compilation of materials (audio/video recordings, photographs) culled from other sources. Because the Lovings were both deceased at the time of the film's creation, there was a distinctive past-tense feel. There were questions I'm sure the filmmaker had, some that were palpable, that will never be answered. There were a few present-day interviews from their daughter, a few friends and the attorneys who handled their case but there was still something missing. It didn't feel like we were getting any new information. 3 stars
32) Urbanized. This design documentary explores aspects of urban living worldwide through dozens of experts in the field. If you're a design or city planning or landscape architecture student, I'm certain you will see or should see this film. If  you're interested in those fields or any like it, you will probably like this film. I found it rather boring. It really seemed to lose its way when it came to Stuttgart, Germany. This bizarre segment was only tangentially related to the rest of the film. 2 stars
33) Another Earth. A teenager becomes obsessed with the idea of a second Earth, in many ways identical to the first. This obsession leads her to cause a fatal accident. She strikes up an unlikely relationship of sorts with the man whose family she killed in the crash. Weird. Rashan enjoyed it moderately. I did not. Things that should have been explained more were left out. Things that did not need further explanation were expounded upon. 2.4 stars
34) Moneyball. Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill star in this Oscar-nominated film about the underdog Oakland A's baseball team. We follow the pair assembling a rag tag band of cheap players to take down some of the richest teams in baseball; teams that should statistically blow them out of the war. I didn't expect to like this movie but I really did! It was fun and dare I say it? Heartwarming. I just said it. 4 stars


Trish said...

Of all of these, I have only seen #27. The neighbor and I watched it and we both laughed quite a bit, Anna is hilarious. I've been watching a lot of British films on Netflix lately and I'm hoping to get a chance to get to London in the next year or so.

Michelle said...

I have a lot of movies to catch up with you... I did see #33 - Another Earth and I agree - good movie. Amazing scene with a guy playing a saw - how many movies have that?! This scene is on the composer's website http://www.scottmunsonmusic.com/news/music-in-film-another-earth-soundtrack if you want to see/hear it again.

Jameil said...

trish... she was so over the top. we love British films! I've only flown through London with two brief layovers. I DEFINITELY need to get over there!

michelle... my elementary school principal played the saw. lolol i had completely forgotten that until you said that.