Saturday, July 30, 2011

Movies This Week (...Or Month)

I'm back! It's been awhile since I blogged anything. From the 4th to the 24th, I was working at a kids' theater camp, putting on a production of High School Musical Jr. (Pretty sure those songs are never, ever, ever going to leave my head.) Although we were staying in an apartment rather than in cabins or tents or anything like that, we didn't have Internet. So now I have returned.

I did most of my movie watching in the last week since I've been back, but I did manage to squeeze in a couple of movies at camp as well. So I'll give you the quick rundown of those before moving onto this week's.

Movies I Watched At Camp

Napoleon (1927). A four-hour silent French biopic about the life of Napoleon that takes us up to when he really started gaining power. Some impressive filmmaking demonstrated, but Napoleon is an uninteresting character. It succeeds technically and fails storywise. 2/5.

Waterloo (1970). I didn't intentionally watch this right after Napoleon, it just happened to be the next one on my list. Not a new favorite or anything, but a pretty solid war story. Napoleon himself is about 10 times more interesting in this version. 3/5.

The Secret of Santa Vittoria (1969). A long but charming story about an Italian village in World War II who must hide the wine they're famous for before the Germans come and take it from them. A fun watch. 4/5.

Creation (2009). Biopic of Charles Darwin. Good acting from Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly, but it lacks a solid overarching theme tying it together, so ends up scattered. 2.5/5.

Ran (1985). Adaptation of King Lear set in feudal Japan. The story gripped me less than other Kurosawa films, but it does have some of the most haunting imagery I've ever seen. If it was shorter it would probably hit me harder and I'd give it 4. As it is, 3.5/5.

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921). A story about a family torn apart by war. A few interesting moments, but jumping between the "big picture" moments and the intimate scenes of the family is very jarring. 2.5/5.

Kung Fu Hustle (2004). Silly martial arts comedy. I didn't like it at first, but as it went on I warmed to the ridiculousness of it and by the end was thoroughly enjoying it. I did laugh out loud a few times. 3.5/5.

All right. Now:

Movies I Saw This Week

Rango (2011). Animated western starring Johnny Depp as a city lizard who ends up in the desert. I expected this to be funnier and more interesting than it was. Unfortunately, I think the hype ruined it for me. It wasn't bad, but it never really made me laugh. 3/5.

The Adjustment Bureau (2011). Sci-fi romance about two people who want to be together but are kept apart by a mysterious group. Despite the fun sci-fi plot, I got frustrated with the characters in this movie and cared less and less whether they were going to make it out. 3/5.

The Sunshine Boys (1996). This remake of Neil Simon's original doesn't always work, but I like some of the new dynamics. Woody Allen in particular really works for me in this role. 3.5/5.

The Birdcage (1996). Comedy about a gay couple whose son is getting engaged to the daughter of an ultraconservative senator. Funny, crazy, unexpected. I can't remember the last time a movie made me laugh out loud this much. Very solid. 4/5.

All right. All right. Now I'm caught up on that. Although it's very weird for me to be at the end of the month and only have seen 13 movies.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Silly Picture Sunday

Some silly pictures!

Nearly all the pictures I downloaded this week, however, were from Reasoning With Vampires. Instead of posting all those (and it's too hard to choose a favorite from among the ones I kept), I just want you to go check out the site. It's hilarious.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Movies This Week

* = Available on Netflix Instant

I only watched 6 movies this week. What a slacker.

Marooned (1969). Space thriller about three astronauts stuck in space. Wonderfully suspenseful by the end, but long uninteresting technical scenes scattered throughout. 3/5.

The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane (1976). Jodie Foster plays a strange little girl who moves into a new neighborhood with her father and runs into issues with the locals. Weird. Couldn't get into it. Slightly surreal acting and dialogue. 2/5.

Hustle & Flow (2005). Story about a pimp trying to become a rapper. Never really gripped me but I admire it, and it does a great job creating the atmosphere. 3/5.

Closer (2004). Based on the play about four people whose love and sex lives all intersect. Dark and bleak but fascinating. 4/5.

*Laserblast (1978). Via MST3K. It's about a guy who finds an alien laser gun in the desert and it starts to take over him. Not as bad as some MST3K movies, but hardly good. Both the real and MST3K versions are on Netflix Instant. 1/5.

Quitting (2001). Fascinating true story re-enacted by the participants in a sort of documentary format, about a Chinese actor who tries to quit drugs. I'm more impressed by the format than the story itself, but worth a watch. 3.5/5.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Hannah Movie Awards: June 2011

I watched 28 movies throughout the month of June. So here are some pretend awards.

Best Actor
-All That Jazz (Roy Scheider)
-Buried (Ryan Reynolds)
-I’m Not Scared (Giuseppe Cristiano)
-Marooned (Gene Hackman)
-Midnight in Paris (Owen Wilson)
-New York, New York (Robert De Niro)
-Peeping Tom (Karlheinz Bohm)
-The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane (Martin Sheen)
-The Third Man (Orson Welles)
-Yojimbo (Toshiro Mifune)

There are a bunch of contenders this month, and it's rather hard to choose, because I honestly loved every single one of these performances. Sometimes they were the best part of an uninteresting movie (Martin Sheen and Orson Welles) and sometimes they were just part of what made the movie great (Giuseppe Cristiano and Owen Wilson).

I think in the end although I'd love to give it to Wilson, I have to give it to Welles for The Third Man. I wasn't enjoying the movie at all (couldn't stand Joseph Cotten's character), when along comes Orson Welles for just a few minutes of screen time, and he made the whole movie interesting again. The fact that that small role captured my attention really stands out, so I think he has to get that award this month.

Best Actress
-Another Woman (Gena Rowlands)
-New York, New York (Liza Minnelli)
-War and Peace (Audrey Hepburn)

No contest here. Gena Rowlands made that movie.

Best Character
-Another Woman (Marion)
-I’m Not Scared (Michele)
-Peeping Tom (Mark)
-The Big Lebowski (Brandt)

Again, although I really enjoyed all these characters, Another Woman got a rating of 4.5 stars from me because of that main character.

Most Disappointing
-Blue Valentine
-Raging Bull

Blue Valentine gets this one. I should have liked that movie. I can't put my finger quite on what fell apart, but I wanted to like it. With Raging Bull I knew there was a chance I wouldn't get into a boxing movie, even one by Scorsese. And Splice was never good enough to be that disappointed by.

Best Scene
-Let the Right One In (the pool scene)
-M (the town's paranoid citizens accuse everyone of being the murderer)
-Yojimbo (the samurai approaches the whole group at the end)

Those are definitely some interesting scenes, but I'm pretty sure Let the Right One In has to take this award. When I think of the movie, that is the one moment that comes to mind. It's a visually fascinating scene. And a horrifying one.

Best Script
-Another Woman
-Grave of the Fireflies

Another Woman has swept a couple other awards, and I would love to give an award to Grave of the Fireflies, which broke my heart, but Closer definitely gets this one. It holds very true to the play script (not surprising, since the playwright also wrote the screenplay). There's not a lot of fancy plot points or visual elements to Closer. It's held up entirely by the actors and the script.

Looks like those are all the ones I'm handing out this time around.

I will probably be watching not nearly as many movies this month, since I'll be working at a camp for 3 weeks out of it, so I'll be without as much free time or as many resources.