Movies Seen in 2010

Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by Starbreaker, Jan 1, 2010.

  1. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    I've been without internet and mostly distracted from my usual film watching schedule the past two weeks due to a big move, but I've managed to squeeze in a few films here and there...

    180. Clerks II [B+]
    181. The Other Guys [B+]
    182. Inception [B+]
    183. Working Girl [B ]
    184. Grizzly Rage [F]
    185. Chaplin [B ]
    186. The Men Who Made the Movies: Sam Fuller [B+]
    187. Moment of Impact [C-]

    Clerks II: Kevin Smith’s long-awaited sequel to his debut film doesn’t quite have the punch of the original. By the time Smith made this follow-up, circumstances weren’t so dire for the writer/director, and you can feel a little sentimentalism seeping in. That said, the film’s major set piece is a donkey show, so it’s not like Smith has turned into Frank Capra. Randall still gets all the best lines. Mostly, it’s a lot of fun to return to these characters after ten years, and the film acts as a fitting send-off to this group of characters.

    The Other Guys: I find Will Ferrell to be hit or miss, so I was surprised that I liked this film so much. Most of the jokes are terrific, and even the action is effective. A couple of Ferrell’s riffs go on for a bit long, and I didn’t find the way he demeans his wife to be very funny, but overall it was a lot of fun.

    Inception: Upon a second viewing, I think I missed some of the nuances the first time, both visual and aural. I’m still not sure about the mechanics of the ending where DiCaprio and Watanabe manage to escape limbo, though.

    Working Girl: I like Mike Nichols, but sometimes, especially during pop-song montages, he can lay it on a little thick. I’m also not convinced by the ending, but Hollywood demands upbeat finales, so I can live with it. Harrison Ford appears awfully late to be top-billed, though.

    Grizzly Rage: Apparently shown as a Sci-Fi original movie, I acquired this “movie” for my birthday as a gag. As terrible as you might expect in most respects, and in some, it’s even worse. It’s too long and has too few scenes of the advertised rage to be worth watching even for laughs. The “ending,” if one is to generously call it that, was hilariously bad—as if the filmmakers were completely out of money and just had to call it a day. Apparently the star played Tom Hanks’ son in Road to Perdition a few years ago--his career has taken a nasty dive since.

    Chaplin: At times, this suffers the same problem that afflicts most biopics: it feels more like a travelogue than a narrative. Famous people and events are paraded across the screen, most of their appearances are over in short order, and a greater theme or focus is at best only alluded to. At times, the film wants to be about Chaplin’s politics, about Chaplin’s love life, about his family relations, about his friendship with Douglas Fairbanks, and about his love for the movies. But the film can never pick one thing, so it mostly hangs the proceedings on Robert Downey, Jr.’s performance, which, luckily, is terrific. The actor so wonderfully embodies Charlie Chaplin that you forget, at times, that you’re not watching the genuine article. Kevin Kline, too, is perfectly cast as Fairbanks. He probably gets the most screen time out of any of the supporting players. He’s too old to return to the part now, which is a shame, because a movie that focused on the Chaplin/Fairbanks friendship would be terrific. With the exception of some dodgy old-age make-up (Chaplin at 80 looks like a space alien) it’s a superbly executed film, and it is eminently watchable, but without a focus, it isn’t the masterpiece it wants to be.

    The Men Who Made the Movies: Sam Fuller: One of Richard Schickel’s better documentaries, this accomplishes what any good documentary about a filmmaker should do—it made me want to see his films. Like all of Schickel’s documentaries, it’s entirely workmanlike, composed of an interview with the director (this one more insightful than his piece on Spielberg, for example), clips from the director’s films, and some voice over narration (by Sydney Pollack) to fill in the gaps, but the parts are interesting enough that it works. It also helps, no doubt, that I haven’t seen much of Fuller’s filmography, so the pieces reliance on long film clips is less annoying than usual.

    Moment of Impact: This documentary aired on TNT in 1999, and exhibits some of the forms worst tendencies on television (the DVD, a gift, has been sitting on my shelf for almost six years). First, there’s the overbearing narration by Sam Watterson from a cheap, museum-like set. It’s intended to add weight to the proceedings, but the subject (six Pulitzer Prize winning photographs) needs none, and it ultimately comes off as distracting and extraneous. Second, there’s the constant throbbing of synthesized music. Instead of commenting on the action, it is simply there. I suppose it is intended to keep the audience’s attention, but it is hardly dynamic enough to do so. Finally, there are some cheap dramatic recreations, shot with an unsteady camera. For a special that is ostensibly devoted to photography it has a complete lack of faith in still images, augmenting them with the sound of camera shutters and flashes, which becomes repetitive and annoying. All of those complaints said, the form can only detract so much from the material, which itself is fascinating more often than it is not.
     
  2. Starbreaker

    Starbreaker Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Date Night (2010) [B-]

    Steve Carrell and Tina Fey both manage to play slightly different characters than what I'm used to, and they both have a handful of laughs, but I don't think it's anything I'd watch again anytime soon.
     
  3. Kirby

    Kirby Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore. Meh... D+

    I didn't expect anything going in and the movie met my expectations.
     
  4. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    188. The Most Dangerous Man in America [B+]
    189. The Trials of Henry Kissinger [B-]
    190. Power and Terror: Noam Chomsky in our Times [D+]

    The Most Dangerous Man in America: This is a film about Daniel Ellsberg, the man who leaked the so-called Pentagon Papers to the press in 1971 and quickly made himself public enemy number one of the Nixon administration. It's a terrific subject that has sadly been forgotten by many people, and it is re-told with creative economy and technical polish here. I'm reminded of two other documentaries I've seen this year, The Fog of War and You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train, and this film falls somewhere in between the two (and features the subjects of both films: Howard Zinn, in interview footage, and Robert S. McNamara, in archive footage). The interviews convey the correct urgency, as does the music and editing, but the reenactments and archive footage are never as poetic or unexpected as anything Errol Morris pulls off in The Fog of War. On the other hand, the filmmakers here are smart enough to let Ellsberg read his own narration, avoiding yet another gratuitous celebrity voice over. If you don't know anything about the Pentagon Papers and their revelation to the public, I won't explain much here. Go see this documentary. You won't be disappointed.

    The Trials of Henry Kissinger: An interesting, if one-sided documentary, it's professorially made but takes a little too much time in the first forty minutes to state its case. There are far more damning and revelatory events in the second half than in the first, which is bogged down by a few scenes of Christopher Hitchens showboating that go nowhere (he and a crowd intend to confront Kissinger at a speaking event, but they never do). It's good, but it could be better. And it's certainly hard to comprehend Hitchens ended up supporting the Iraq War with a passion in 2003 (and beyond), but he did.

    Power and Terror: Noam Chomsky in our Times: I checked with Rotten Tomatoes to see if my memory of critical praise of this documentary wasn't faulty. Alas, it wasn't. Critics seem to be in love with this film, but it seems more likely that they're in love with Chomsky's politics. Chomsky is insightful and intelligent, but he's not a particularly commanding speaker, which doesn't do this dull and lifeless film any favors. Basically, a rather aimless montage of a few speaking dates with interludes from an extended interview with the director, there's not much form here and there's certainly not much professionalism. As we wait for Chomsky to fix the microphone so he can be heard, or we wait for someone in the audience to get the microphone so they can ask a question, or we watch as a boom mic perilously drops into the shot and stays, or we squirm in our seats as the camera awkwardly and with sudden jerks attempts to frame its subject, we're ultimately left with the impression of a film that has all the budget and professionalism of public access. Despite all those faults, Chomsky manages to keep it from falling completely apart, because his depth of knowledge and analysis is so pointed and astute. But if this is the best his work can be translated to the screen, perhaps reading one of his many, many books would be a far better choice.
     
  5. CommanderRaytas

    CommanderRaytas Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Me too, and I liked both of them. I stand by my irrational liking of Twilight despite its shortcomings (and silly elements). As for the A-Team, it was fun (as a child of the eighties, I loved the series)- also, I have a crush on Sharlto Copley, so I definitely wanted to see him on the big screen. :adore:


    I haven't been to the cinema much. I saw Inception two weeks ago, and I thought it was very entertaining.

    As for non-cinema first time viewings, I can remember only the ones I hated:

    300- bwahahahaha. Seriously, it's so corny I couldn't stand it. Gerard Butler is bad enough, but in this case, it was the whole package *shudder*.

    Inglourious Basterds- seriously, people. What a load of whaffle.

    Boondock Saints two (whatever the name)- awful. The first one was great, but meh. This one is hardly worth the waste of time.

    The Golden Compass- humpf.

    Avatar- overrated and too in-your-face moral lesson. You got nothing on D9, bitch. :p

    Can't think of anything else.
     
  6. JacksonArcher

    JacksonArcher Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The A-Team felt like the quintessential summer movie: big, dumb, but a whole lot of fun.
     
  7. Rii

    Rii Rear Admiral

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    Breaking the Waves (1996, Lars von Trier)

    At 2.5hrs the film is rather too long for its own good, but Emily Watson's captivating performance as Bess carries it through to the surprising denouement. We're never told exactly what is 'wrong' with her, but from the opening scene it's clear that hers is a soul of such innocence and unrestrained love that it cannot possibly survive the rigours that await her, even in the remote Scottish village in which the film is set.

    Breaking the Waves is unambiguous in its indictment of the church; but is elevated above mere mud-slinging by its broader treatment of belief and religion. The allusions between Bess and Jesus are unmistakable; fortunately we are spared having to witness her crucifixion.

    3.5/5 stars.

    300 would've been an interesting exercise in raw machismo if only it'd refrained from shoehorning American political rhetoric into the film - about as inconspicous as a McDonald's would've been - omitted most of the sex scene, and employed a little more nuance in its depiction of race/gender/sexuality. As it stands, it's an unfortunate missed opportunity.
     
  8. CommanderRaytas

    CommanderRaytas Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Just like the series, really. I always liked it as a kid, and I had loads of fun watching the film. I thought it was awesome that two non-Americans played American characters and actually managed the accents okay (well Liam Neeson didn't do so well, but who cares).

    Rii: I think my biggest beef with 300 is that I expected it to be much better (and less cringe-worthy) than it turned out to be. The same thing can be said about Avatar. I was just... disappointed, I guess.
     
  9. LitmusDragon

    LitmusDragon Commodore Commodore

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    Ed Wood - A. Probably Burton's best film. Landau's Lugosi is amazing.
     
  10. Captain Craig

    Captain Craig Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I've recently seen the following:

    Piranaha 3D - Yep, its cheesy. It is what it is and doesn't try otherwise. It was fun though.
    Book of Eli - finally got around to seeing this and while I liked it I think they missed some opportunities to flesh out more of what led to the world being that way. They hinted at it a bit of course. Even after Denzel's reveal I kept thinking a few things still didn't add up. Overall it was good, just not "I'm going to add it to my DVD collection" good.

    Got the Lethal Weapon 4 pack for $10 and seen the first 3 this past week. I hadn't seen those in so long I had forgotten how much fun they were.

    The Crow - I'm going to post something on this later but I hadn't seen this in 15yrs easy and it too is a forgotten film it seems. I enjoyed rediscovering this film.
     
  11. Aragorn

    Aragorn Admiral Admiral

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    The Expendables was the last movie I saw in theaters.
     
  12. CommanderRaytas

    CommanderRaytas Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    True. It's hilarious.
     
  13. LitmusDragon

    LitmusDragon Commodore Commodore

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    Sphere - C. A movie that ought to be better than it is given the sum of it's parts. Some elements of the plot work pretty well while others don't make a lot of sense. Not completely terrible; has a few interesting scenes.
     
  14. CommanderRaytas

    CommanderRaytas Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I thought Sphere was okay, but not all too good. It left much to be desired.

    The Secret Window- wow what a strange King-adaptation that was. I'm not sure whether I liked it or not.

    I think it's been a few years since they made that, but as a huge Stephen King fan, I am kind of wary of the movie versions.
     
  15. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    191. World’s Greatest Dad [B-]
    192. Swimming with Sharks [B ]

    World's Greatest Dad: A satisfying dark comedy, but it struggles to find a consistent tone. Some of the lighter humor seems forced, and it opposition to the darker moments which, frankly, work better. It's definitely Williams' best performance in years. It is at times unbelievable (the suicide note is hardly as moving as the film has us to believe), but these shortcomings never sink the film's point, nor the characters.

    Swimming with Sharks: Kevin Spacey's performance is exceptional, but the film is merely good. Part of the problem is Frank Whaley, who is ten years too old to be playing the lead character, but his performance isn't bad. Part of the problem is Michelle Forbes, who has so little on-screen chemistry with Whaley that the film lacks the weight their romance is supposed to bring, and yet I wouldn't say her performance was bad, either. And part of the problem is the twist ending, which perfectly makes the film's point about Hollywood, but never feels like it would actually happen. It's an obvious influence on The Devil Wears Prada, which might be more polished, but never has the harsh honesty of Swimming with Sharks.
     
  16. CaptainCanada

    CaptainCanada Admiral Admiral

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    70. The American (B+)

    George Clooney's latest film, directed by a former music video director Anton Corbijn, is a film that demonstrates effective use of star power: it's unlikely this film would have gotten any attention (and it's still unlikely to be anything huge) without the presence of the King of Hollywood. Clooney's been willing to loan out his starpower to low-profile films in the past, and he does so again here. It's a fairly standard setup (though the opening has one nifty twist that would have been really unexpected that not Entertainment Weekly's review spoiled it in the opening paragraph): Clooney is an assassin who arrives in a small Italian town to await his next assignment, and while there ponders the state of his life, sort-of-befriends a priest (Paolo Bonacelli), and starts to fall in love with a really, really luscious prostitute (Violante Placido). It's familiar material, but it's played well. The director knows how to use the camera effectively, positioning it in ways that keep the audience on guard for something about to happen. Clooney really dials down his charisma here (like he did in Syriana), and gives an effective performance. The other actors, mainly Italians, are all effective, particularly Placido, who really sells the idea that our lead character would want to give up his old lifestyle to live with her (and she's very attractive - this is a movie prostitute who actually takes her clothes off). The mark of a good movie is when they can really interest you in the mechanics of the character's profession: we get some long sequences of Clooney at work on his guns, and it's interesting to watch (particularly constructing a sound supressor out of parts from an auto shop).
     
  17. CaptainCanada

    CaptainCanada Admiral Admiral

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    70. The American (B+)
    71. The Kids Are All Right (B+)

    Finally saw this, on the last night it was in at my town's art cinema (will full attendance, though, so obviously it's been a big money-maker for them; I think they kept it in for almost a month). Some great acting all around. This has been talked about as a potential Oscar-winner for both Moore and Benning; I liked Moore's performance better, but they were both good. I don't know if the material was showy enough to get a win for either, but whatever. Ruffalo was also really good, and the two teens. As a story, I'm slightly more uncertain. The sideplots with the two kids are just sort of there. The main story of the three adults was great most of the way through, but it felt like Cholodenko wasn't quite sure how to end it. It seemed like there was a scene between Nic and Jules missing. And they really just drop Paul, to the point where I wasn't sure how we were supposed to feel about him. My favourite bit was probably when the moms were trying to figure out if their son (tragically named 'Laser') was gay or not. It's comparatively rare these days to see a film addressing serious issues also be a comedy.
     
  18. Captain Craig

    Captain Craig Vice Admiral Admiral

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    SexDrive

    A rewatch. The first time I've seen it in over a year. I really like this movie and think it got totally passed over when it came out.
     
  19. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    193. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles [B-]
    194. Commando [D]
    195. The Game [B-]

    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: This is probably more colored by childhood nostalgia than any other film out there. When I owned it on VHS, I must have seen it 30 times. And yet I haven't seen it in almost 15 years (perhaps longer), which creates a strange viewing experience. Not only is it like seeing the film for the first time, but I can also recite all the dialogue and events, almost subconsciously. Is it any good? Hell, I don't know. The puppetry and make-up effects are impressive, but they're also pretty bulky, which makes this a better vehicle for one-liners and physical comedy than the promised martial arts. Is it worth the grade I've given it? I'm not sure, really. All I know is I enjoyed re-watching it after all these years. And the one liners...well, they're leagues and bounds above the crap being passed off in Commando.

    Commando: For some reason, I had never seen this film until now, and I wasn't missing much. The plot has so many holes that it makes The Game seem tightly-plotted in comparison. James Horner's music combines a few underdeveloped and familiar themes with steel drums. Most of the time, it's as if it comes from another movie (maybe that's why Horner re-used the best bits a year later for Aliens). It's easy to see why it has such a cult following, since the homo-eroticism is so overwhelming and the plot so ramshackle to be hilarious. In the special features some of the cast and crew comment that the film is funny on purpose, but that strikes me as a little shameless revisionism meant to rehabilitate the fact that they agreed to appear in this turkey. A shame Dan Hedaya wouldn't appear on camera to defend his ridiculous South American accent (because, apparently, South America is one country or...something).

    The Game: There's two sides to The Game. On one side, you have a brilliant performance by Michael Douglas as a loathsome and isolated bastard who is content to live in an empty house and watch the business news at night. The atmosphere is brilliant, with cinematography that draws lines all over the frame, making Douglas' character feel trapped in the most open of spaces and alone in the most crowded of rooms. The music and editing fill the movie with a slow building sense of dread. The film borrows liberally from other paranoid thrillers, including an obvious lift from The Conversation, as well as using several supporting characters from The X-Files, who provide the proper mood. Despite all that praise, however, there's the other side of The Game, which is the ludicrous ending. For a time, the film entertains the notion that the game might be a financial scam, but in the end it is revealed to be an exercise in providing a bad person some redemption. This being a movie, the Douglas character doesn't have a psychotic breakdown after the game routinely risks his life and ultimately pushes him into committing suicide. Of course, there's no reason why Douglas' character manages to jump off the building from just the right spot to land on an airbag, and also no reason why he just doesn't shoot himself in the head when he wants to kill himself. Apparently, the game is so expansive that it can control every variable in a person's life. Perhaps the game is ultimately a metaphor for the film's screenwriters: it can do whatever it wants in order to get to the desired ending. It's a shame the film is such a technical achievement, as well as a delight with its dialogue and performances, because it's a sensible plot away from being a masterpiece. Instead, it's just another minor entry in David Fincher's filmography.
     
  20. zakkrusz

    zakkrusz Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Updates (in bold):
    Aliens in the Attic (6)
    Armored Trooper Votoms: Big Battle (7)
    Armored Trooper Votoms: Roots of Ambition (8)
    Armored Trooper Votoms: The Last Red Shoulder (8)
    Armored Trooper Votoms: Pailsen Files: The Movie (7)
    Batman: Under The Red Hood (9)
    Boondock Saints (10)
    Boondock Saints: All Saint's Day (9)
    The Book of Eli (8)
    Broken Blade (7)
    Cargo (7)
    Cencoroll (8)
    Les Chevaliers du Ciel (8)
    Clash of the Titans (2010) (8)
    Crazy Heart (6)
    Dante's Inferno (2010) (7)
    Date Night (7)
    District 9 (8)
    Eden of the East: The King of Eden (8)
    Eden of the East: Paradise Lost (8)
    The Edge of Darkness (9)
    Evangelion 2.0: You Can [Not] Advance (9)
    The Expendables (9)
    The Fantastic Mr. Fox (8)
    Fist of the North Star (1995) (4)
    G-9 (6)
    Gamer (6)
    Green Zone (7)
    Higurashi no Naka Koroni Chikai (7)
    Inception (10)
    Inglorious Bastards (7)
    Iron Man 2 (9)
    Jonah Hex (6)
    The Killers (6)
    Kino's Journey: Life Goes On (7)
    Kino's Journey: The Country of Disease (7)
    The Last Airbender (8)
    Law Abiding Citizen (9)
    The Lovely Bones (6)
    Lupin the 3rd: First Contact (7)
    Lupin the 3rd VS Detective Konan (7)
    Lupin the 3rd: The Secret of Mamo (9)
    Lupin the 3rd: The Last Job
    Naruto Shippuden Movie 3 (8)
    Oblivion Island (6)
    Oceans (Documentary/ Rating is NA)
    Oldboy (9)
    Pandorum (7)
    Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (8)
    Street Fighter IV: The Ties That Bind (8)
    Summer Wars (9)
    Sunshine (4)
    Sword For Truth (6)
    Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Lagann-hen (8)
    They Were 11 (9)
    The Triplets of Belleville (5)
    The Uninvited (7)
    Waltz With Bashir (9)
    Wicked City (8)