I've seen a ton of movies since I last posted, so I'm just going to quickly go through them to get this half-way up to date.
159. Take Shelter (B)
It's still a powerful, very well-acted film, but it doesn't work nearly as well the second time around when you know the ending. It's a very dark and convincing film about mental illness, but when it veers away from being grounded in reality it falls to pieces.
160. Dirty Girl (B)
The Weinstein company is pouring a lot of money behind this movie, from first time writer/director Abe Sylvia (who did a fantastic Q&A at the screening I attended), and I hope they make their money back. It's not a perfect movie by any stretch of the imagination, but it has a good cast, especially the newcomers (Juno Temple and Jeremy Dozier), and I can't believe how harshly some critics have savaged the movie.
161. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (A)
Nicholas Meyer kept the Star Trek
franchise going with this movie, which is certainly one of the best features of the series, if not entries, period. After seeing it so many times, though, what's really left to say? The Blu-ray looks great (grumblings about color timing aside), although I do miss many of the scenes from the longer version of the movie. I assume that will eventually be released in HD as well -- whenever Paramount wants to squeeze more money out of me, probably.
162. Moneyball (B)
This isn't nearly as funny as the advertisements have been pushing it to be (just about all of the snappy lines, characteristic of co-writer Aaron Sorkin, are in the trailer), but it's still a pretty decent baseball movie (and, for once in that genre, not a box office disaster). Phillip Seymour Hoffman is playing a nothing of a character, though. I'm sure he only agreed to do the movie out of loyalty for the director, who helped him earn the Oscar for Capote
. Brad Pitt is great, as he's been pretty steadily for the past ten years (if not longer), but the real stand out is Jonah Hill, who works well in a drama/comedy like this, perhaps better than he's worked in most of the comedies I've seen him in.
163. The Killer Inside Me (D+)
This is the second time this novel (which I think is terrific) has been filmed, and by all accounts (though I haven't seen the version starring Stacey Keach) it's just as bad as the first try at it. Surprises that worked on the page (the fate of Jessica Alba's character, for instance) are obvious on screen, and the conclusion is taken far too literally by the screenwriter and the director to work. Most of the characters seem to be two-dimensional figures on screen and, worse, the film never let's us buy into the main character's insane belief that he could get away with all the murders he commits like the book does. It's clear from the get go that nobody buys a word Lou Ford (Casey Affleck, miscast) says. And the stylish, Tarantino-like opening credits (as cool as they are) strike a tone that is totally wrong for the rest of the movie.
164. Sappho (D)
This was a forgettable, contrived, and boring silent film from the early twenties. Luckily, it was presented with a graduate student's introduction, several times more entertaining and interesting then the film itself. It's no surprise it isn't on home video.
165. Airplane II: The Sequel (C+)
Some parts of this movie (warning: vacuum) work so very well, but so much of the movie is spent re-treading the first film (often, there are extended flashbacks to that movie, only reminding us that it had a better jokes) that it never really works on its own. William Shatner's role is pretty amusing, though, demonstrating his ability for self-deprecation that would be further exploited beginning with Free Enterprise
in the late 90s.
movies this year...I'm getting there.