Dear Cinema Diary - Vol 3 E5 - May 2012
1640 7.5 7.61. Hugo (2011)
Ah, yes... I give this film considerably higher marks then PvtCaboose91. It was great to see a film that combined not only Martin Scorsese brilliant craftsmanship but also his passion for films.
While, I did not watch the film in 3D. It is nice to see a film where 3D wasn't some post-production after thought to milk more money out of the audience. Instead there is a logical reason to a film being shot in the latest technology as it heralds the importance of the history of film.
257 5.8 5.92. Gone (2012)
Finally a decent psychological thriller. It also didn't hurt that the film was shot in Portland Oregon, which can work against a film but in this case I didn't have a problem with the gaps in locations vs action.
I found how the main characters post-trauma anxiety was handled in a rather unique way. In some aspects it made her more vulnerable and dangerous and yet highly functional in her paranoid state. This isn't one of those films where you feel like constantly shouting at the character "Don't go in there!".
771 6.8 7.33. The Bank Job (2008)
This was a pretty decent little 'bank heist' film. It isn't over saturated with a 'hip' soundtrack or seizure enduing action sequences. I'm afraid that this is about as close as your going to get to a Jason Statham film where he is acting and not just an action figure. Even then it still leans towards the action figure side of things.
51 6.6 6.74. Romulus, My Father (2007)
As you might know by now I'm a sucker for Father-Son tearjerkers. However this film managed to delver more then the typical Hollywood superficial film. Granted it helps that this is based on a true story.
This film has more in common with "Nowhere in Africa" (2001) or "The Return" (2003). How or why the film has received little recognition beyond Australia is something of a mystery to me. Especially since it stars two of my favorite actors Eric Bana and Franka Potente.
748 6.4 6.65. John Carter (2012)
Of the various sci-fi films churned out by Hollywood recently this actually was actually pretty decent. The subtext to the film isn't as glaringly obvious as "Avatar" so there is at least a little subtlety to the film. Alas, I think that this subtlety to the film as a whole is what killed the possibility for a sequel. The film doesn't start off with a massive amount of CGI eye candy and grand action sequences.
On a side note... I did lend the film to my mother expecting her to hate the film. Turns out I was wrong and she really liked the film. Just goes to show... you never know.
270 7.9 86. Yi Yi: A One and a Two... (2000)
The film reminded me some of "Fanny and Alexander". It is a multiple generations family drama where the title character acts more as an unaware focal point for the viewer to follow.
However, this film doesn't take over five hours to make a statement on life and our search for meaning in day to day life. So, if you don't feel up to the task of "Fanny and Alexander", this would be the film to watch.
264 7.7 7.77. Taste of Cherry (1997)
Plot: An Iranian man drives his truck in search of someone who will quietly bury him under a cherry tree after he commits suicide.
OK, so the plot of the film was almost enough to keep me from watching the film. I had just watched "Goodbye Solo" (2008) and wasn't too excited about watching another film involving suicide. The film can also be a bit tedious as the main character drives around the same ugly hills all day long looking for someone to help him. While the ending can be open to interpretation it is one that I found thought provoking.
935 7.6 7.68. The Skin I Live In (2011)
63 8.4 7.89. The Endless Summer (1966)
Going to High school in Southern California if for some reason it rained, our lunch hour would be confined to the gym and watching various sports related documentaries. Now, for someone who was more interested in building rockets, making stop motion animation films and playing Dungeons and Dragons... this practice was an actual form of torture. If I was lucky I could get out of these films by doing extra credit science homework... or I would just ditch school.
So, my relationship with the "Sport Documentary" is a very sour and bitter one.
However, this was a fun film to watch. I actually liked the narrator and the American tourist oblivious to local customs comments. After all this is a film about surfing not about world politics or that the sport of surfing has some deeper significance to life on this planet.
230 7.6 7.710. The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974)
Yep, Mr G watched the film earlier this month and I had seen the remake so figured I would rent the original. The remake is instantly forgettable while the original is still the better film and will remain a classic for some time to come.
1160 7 7.211. Escape from New York (1981)
I had actually managed to put of watching this film for quite some time. For no other reason then the feeling that I needed to be 'in the mood for an '80's film'. I really enjoyed the cast of the film and won't be putting off rewatching this film for quiet as long as it took to watch it the first time.
699 6.7 7.512. My Cousin Vinny (1992)
614 7.8 813. Charade (1963)
46 6.4 6.914. Stranger on the Third Floor (1940)
I have been trying to work my way through some of the "Quintessential Film Noir" films or at least expand my film experience. I did like this film but I'm pretty surprise that it made the list. While it meets many of the qualifications to be considered Noir, it isn't as gritty or 'hard boiled' as some of the others from the list. There is a lighthearted aspect to the film that I didn't find very compelling.
So... while yes, I did enjoy the film, it wouldn't be my first pick for a Film Noir recommendation.
79 7.5 7.215. Pariah (2011)
Ah, and of course thanks to lotr23 and Xanadon't for watching the film before me.
I really liked this film and it has just enough grit to thankfully not feel like another 'fluff' piece and not overly gritty giving it an exploitation feel. So, just the right mix of tenderness and heartache.
15 5.2 5.416. Tan Lines (2007)
Another "meh" film. Sort of interesting 'gay coming of age, in Australia' low budget film. I did like that the story felt a bit more realistic regarding the characters. However, the problem with realism in films dealing with young adults is that the dialogue typically makes "Good Night Moon" sound like riveting literary drama. So, this aspect can be a plus or a minus depending on how your willing to take the film.
There were a few points that redeemed the film but nothing that I felt made this film stand out beyond 'thank god it isn't yet another soft core sex comedy'. For that reason alone I'm willing to give it an extra half star.
108 5.9 6.117. I Sell the Dead (2008)
With Ron Perlman and Dominic Monaghan you would think that I would have been a bit more excited about the film. Actually, I turned the film off at one point just because I was bored and uninterested in the story. After being fully determined to give the film a second chance... I still found myself bored and uninterested. It is a nice idea but there just wasn't enough story to the whole film.
12 5.3 4.618. Donner Pass (2012)
878 6.8 7.119. Chronicle (2012)
A decent enough 'shot with video camera documentary style' film. However, I wasn't very impressed with how some of the character development was handled. It wasn't until a few days had passed and I sat down talking with a friend that I realized that I really didn't like the film that much. Finding it unrealistic and almost trite but this film is clearly geared for a different generation of viewers.
119 5.5 5.220. Riding the Bullet (2004)
Wow, this an incredibly bad film. The narrative is inter cut with flash backs, hallucinations, fantasies and daydreams. It isn't too difficult to figure out what is 'real' however the tedious nature of constant daydreams... then cut back to 'reality' is quite boring but did give me a chance to check in on my email from time to time. Yes... it was that freaking predictable and boring.
Ah, but to truly seal this movies fate we have the 'voice over narration ending' something that I personally consider a kiss of death for most film. Ah, but the (wrap the story up) narration turns to rambling with a near bible thumping message about 'choosing life'. This film almost works as an anti-horror film with the morality tale told at the end.
The only thing I find confusing about this film is how it has gotten such high ratings and how so many good actors got sucked into this 'so bad its bad' feature?
Movie Exchange Program
873 7.7 7.721. Sympathy For Lady Vengeance (2005)
I think out of the three films from the vengeance trilogy, this would have to be my favorite. Well, at least a nice way to round out the three films.
This isn't quite as 'over the top' as Oldboy and isn't quite as bleak as the other two films. Two things I'm very thankful for in the final film.
There is a nice cinematic progression with the three films. As well as marked evolution of Chan-wook Park as a director. So, I'm glad that I took the time to watch the films in order.
901 7.9 8.122. Notorious (1946)
Cary Grant appears in so many Hitchcock films that I have to confess that sometimes I forget which one is which. So, it was good to take the time to re-watch this classic and figure out which films I hadn't seen yet.
This film comes across more as a "Romance Film Noir" then some the more pure 'thrillers' that Hitchock directed. Still, the acting and story are great and worth watching a few dozen times ;)
1784 7.4 7.523. Pi (1998)
461 5.5 624. Iron Sky (2012)
An interesting Sci-Fi comedy film from Finland with a very clear message. It is about as silly as "Mars Attacks" but not quite as funny. The film has quite a bit to say about America and Fascism... a shtick that I'm finding at little old and far too obvious of a target.
Still, if your going to do that type of film. The film did an excellent job and had enough movie references to at least keep me interested. However, the comedic elements are more from an outsider perspective and lack a subtly or understanding that I think could have made this film work better.
So, if your looking for a comedy film with about the same type of humor in "Spaceballs" or "Ice Pirates" that pokes fun of American politics, then this would be the film to watch.
702 5.9 6.125. Inkheart (2008)
Yes, I have been on a 'Family Film' kick recently. I think this helps balance out some of the darker films that I lean towards.
So, yes I found this film rather enjoyable and visually impressive. With a great cast and wonderful story it is a 'family film' that I would easily recommend to others.
259 6.9 026. Win Win (2011)
Understated Comedy/Drama. I liked the characters and the story line but I didn't find the film as interesting as others. This could have been because I just re-watched "Little Miss Sunshine" right before this film so was finding my "sedate films" level reaching a sleep inducing state or in this case apathy inducing.
Still, after thinking about the film for a few days. I really did like the aspect of how a lie told out, prevents the main character from acting or doing the things that are closer to his nature. So, there is a nice struggle between being someone your not and acting according how you truly feel.
245 6.6 6.727. Reservation Road (2007)
35 7.1 6.228. Loosies (2011)
Meh, harmless and slightly entertaining romantic comedy that isn't too sappy or silly. Still, the whole thing runs at a pretty rated "G" level and if your lucky you might find something better to watch on TV.
So, if your going to watch (or be forced to watch) a romantic comedy, this is a safe film. Other then that... "Jurassic Park" is always fun to rewatch.
Nothing says Romance like running for your life...
839 5.7 6.129. Zathura (2005)
455 5.5 5.830. Haywire (2011)
Meh, while yes I was entertained enough to watch the whole film this isn't going to be a film that I relish revisiting anytime soon, nor is going to be a film that I recommend to anyone.
One thing that I found really annoying (even days after watching the film) was "the girl from the wrong side of the tracks' was an aspect of the story that had to be *told* to us and never... not once did this statement have anything to do with the film or had any bearing on the story. The main character, didn't resort to using some type of 'criminal know-how', didn't have to resort to intelligence gathering through a meth dealer. Then she has this great relationship with her father who lives in a gigantic house.... WTF?
It was this minor annoyance that left me feeling that the film was some poor mockery of "The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo". Considering the cast and the director I was expecting a little bit more from the film. Then again Soderbergh does seem to jump from one cinematic style to another. This time it just didn't work for me.
661 5 5.431. Season of the Witch (2011)
The good news is that this isn't as bad as "Van Helsing". Also, at no point does Nicolas Cage take off his shirt and have a romantic interlude with a woman half his age. So... really this is a step up from many Cage films.
So... meh... ya... I'm having a hard time finding reason to not put this film in the 'b-movie' pile but does fit nicely into "Seen worse but recommend you avoid".
39 5.1 5.232. The Island (1980)
Ah... well when the film got to "The Island" I instantly lost interest and found better things to do with my time. So, can't rate and can't really say I watched it. Other then "It graced my dvd player for a few moments" :P
Trust your instincts... avoid the film or read the book. Actually, I might avoid the book as well.
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