Explore
 Lists  Reviews  Images  Update feed
Categories
MoviesTV ShowsMusicBooksGamesDVDs/Blu-RayPeopleArt & DesignPlacesWeb TV & PodcastsToys & CollectiblesComic Book SeriesBeautyAnimals   View more categories »
Listal logo
Avatar
Added by Xanadon't on 4 Dec 2012 06:55
742 Views 4 Comments
18
vote

December Movie Journal - Xanadon't

Add header image

Choose file... or enter url:
Sort by: Showing 24 items
Decade: Rating: List Type:
Add items to section

At the Movies

People who added this item 905 Average listal rating (606 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.3


There's a good many critics out there that seem to have no idea what a good children's movie looks like these days. Many of these same people appear laughably sensitive to variations from what they think a Christmas movie "ought to be". These critics are foolish and likely beyond help in these matters.

Rise of the Guardians impresses on essentially every level- from the character design, to the rollicking action sequences, to the voice-acting, to the comic and touching script. Visually the movie is nothing less than a minor knockout. The story is not anything revolutionary, exactly, in the way it unfolds. But with character concepts as sharp and well-developed as those present, it's easy to forgive a children's movie for subscribing to one or two kid's movie cliches. And the script is peppered with enough humor and genuine heart as to make Rise of the Guardians a holiday treat that anyone can savor, so long as they check their "bah-humbugs" at the door.
Xanadon't's rating:
Rate:
Watched Wanted Custom


*rewatch*

Yep, decided that since this movie stuck around at one of the local theaters far far longer than I ever would've guessed, I needed to go see it a second time, this time with my girlfriend.

She loved the movie, and I was every bit as impressed with it as I was back in October.
Xanadon't's rating:
Rate:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 2751 Average listal rating (1641 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.9


It had been quite a long day on very little sleep when I finally settled into my local movie theater to watch this so... the fact that I dozed off on two occasions shouldn't be read as a total knock against the movie. But yes, all in all I'd say I missed maybe 10 of its somewhat trying 169 minutes.

The first time, I woke up and, "Oh cool. Galadriel's in this movie. Sorry Galadriel. Didn't see you come in." And also, "Hey cool, there's a woman in this movie! I'd almost forgotten what those look like."

Anyways, I'd have an easier time with the preposterous idea of The Hobbit coming at us in 3 installments if each of these installments was a nice, tidy 115 minutes. Obviously that won't be the case. Instead we get dinner scenes, action scenes, exposition scenes, and journey across various landscapes scenes that all run longer than they need to. If you're as big a fan of middle earth as the director must be, I guess this is okay. I'm discovering that I am not.

Still, this is a largely entertaining movie at its core. Martin Freeman as Bilbo is probably it's single biggest strength. Getting Ian McKellan back as Gandalf, is certainly in its favor too. And the "Riddles in the Dark" scene lived up to my hopes, along with most all of the visual effects, wargs, etc.

But honestly, spending another two over-long films with three under-characterized dwarfs just doesn't sound that great. Smog better be fucking awesome.
Xanadon't's rating:
Rate:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 619 Average listal rating (348 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 6.8
Hitchcock (2012)


I'm happy to report that this was quite a lot better than I feared after the unimpressive trailers came out. In fact, for me it's one of the most pleasant surprises of the year.

The movie's often playful tone works to its advantage in a bit way. But really, the movie is able to traverse an extremely broad range of tone very fluidly and effortlessly. The film moves at a brisk pace, each development and turn in story and characterization (whether concerning the story line dealing with Hitch and his wife Alma, or the struggle to get Psycho made) launching itself into the next in a swift and controlled manner.

Also, there's not a bad performance in the thing. And Helen Mirren ought to receive a Best Actress nomination. And while not given much screen time, James D'Arcy is a dead ringer for Anthony Perkins. It's almost creepy.
Xanadon't's rating:
Rate:
Watched Wanted Custom
Add items to section

Off the New Release Wall



Oh. Oh no. This is what everyone is all worked up in a lather about?! What a disappointment.

If scene after scene marred by distractingly amateurish hand-held camera-work is your thing, then by all means. If you can get inspired by a "sense of community pride" that is evidently built around little more than alcoholism and child-abuse, well have at it. And if you think for a second that the fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, and neighbors that populate this film would unanimously clamor to return to a life of poverty and environmental/mortal doom, well...

The movie does wise to spend a portion of its focus on its young protagonist and the way her fears and imagination shape her story and experience. More of this and less near-future/Hurricane Katrina-informed "noble savage" theory re-workings would've been far more interesting and far less frustrating.
Xanadon't's rating:
Rate:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 526 Average listal rating (297 ratings) 5.7 IMDB Rating 5
Cosmopolis (2012)


I'm fairly certain I don't know just what to make of Cosmopolis to be honest. There are many aspects that I admired. And there are many that frustrated the shit out of me. I feel like there's a brilliant movie buried in there somewhere. But the material just didn't consistently engage me. And there's an odd manner in which the movie feels too abstract at times, and then too heavy-handed and obvious at others.

The technical aspects of the move are very strong. And I think that Robert Pattinson did a mostly good job with the material, which is something I was nervous about. And the overall idea and structure of the story intrigues me. Possibly more than the execution.
Xanadon't's rating:
Rate:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 1786 Average listal rating (1248 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 7
Ted (2012)


I hated it.
Xanadon't's rating:
Rate:
Watched Wanted Custom
Add items to section

Retro Titles

People who added this item 233 Average listal rating (137 ratings) 5.4 IMDB Rating 5.3


Grubby, monotone, and singularly un-clever "erotic who-dunnit thriller". It's a shame that Meg Ryan wastes a pretty darn good and pretty darn brave (especially for Meg Ryan- we're not talking about Nicole Kidman here) performance on this otherwise wholly unremarkable genre film.
Xanadon't's rating:
Rate:
Watched Wanted Custom


Yes, Woody Allen is at least a decade (and that's being kind) too old for his role here. But if you can look past this immutable fact, The Curse of the Jade Scorpion works surprisingly well as a light, mischievous, and brazenly fun retro-comedy/romantic comedy. The script is crammed full of playful jokes and instant Woody-isms. And bottom-line: I laughed. Quite a lot.
Xanadon't's rating:
Rate:
Watched Wanted Custom


This debut (and at this time only) feature-lenght directing credit to Scott Frank's name is impressive in a number of fundamental ways that allowed me to overlook a few of the more minor and awkward problems present in his first-time effort.

The Lookout succeeds most convincingly in the way its characters are written and fleshed out. The movie does not insist on plot without ensuring that the audience feels like they know these characters first. And I appreciated this fact.

Joseph Gordon Levitt is strong here (though he's done better work) and Jeff Daniels is particularly good. When we get to the "bad guy side" well, the performances aren't quite up to the same snuff as these two. Still, an engaging watch and certainly better than most films of its ilk.

Xanadon't's rating:
Rate:
Watched Wanted Custom
Add items to section

Classics

Where I see what all the fuss is about.
People who added this item 672 Average listal rating (403 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.2


Jane Russell is damn good in this movie. Almost everything else is damn mediocre.
Xanadon't's rating:
Rate:
Watched Wanted Custom
Add items to section

World Cinema



If you're expecting a soft and fuzzy romance movie, you'd better think again. Leos Carax's The Lovers on the Bridge is every bit as abrasive as his newest film Holy Motors could be through stretches. But while the film can be a difficult watch, it also has an undeniable penchant for stark loveliness. In the end it's the unflinching humanity behind this range of territory that lifts the story and kept me engaged.

Not everything worked for me here, though. In fact, I still have serious misgivings about an entire lead character and this impeded me from really enjoying the film as much as I'd hoped.
Xanadon't's rating:
Rate:
Watched Wanted Custom


It's an impressive and fun movie that doesn't quite measure up to its cinematic peers, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Hero. Partly due to characterization that simply isn't as compelling. But also it never quite achieves the same effective identity in tone as either of those movies do.
Xanadon't's rating:
Rate:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 302 Average listal rating (167 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.8
Xanadon't's rating:
Rate:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 313 Average listal rating (143 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8.1
Xanadon't's rating:
Rate:
Watched Wanted Custom
Add items to section

Listal Group Project


Movie Exchange Program


Round Two - Phase Three : From Phillydude's Shelves
People who added this item 1326 Average listal rating (743 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 8.1


I'll be honest. I expected this movie to bore the hell out of me. Its whopping 191 minute runtime wasn't selling it to me. And bio-pics tend not to be my favorite form of cinematic storytelling. Far from it. So with these things stacked against me I'm happy to say that: Gandhi really is a damn good movie. And- I even liked it.

The sheer size and scope of the film works out to be more of a truly impressive and remarkable thing and not the dull and self-congratulatory thing that I'd feared. The story covers a good many years and a lot of ground in celebrating Mahatma Ghandi's life, struggles, and acheivements- and it moves surprisingly swiftly and powerfully through these proceedings. Many of the scenes have a self-contained arch of crescendo-ing energy that works fantastically on their own and also within the larger context of the film. I was quite pleased.

Now, that said, Ghandi does at certain times fall into stretches that too closely resemble straight-forward history lesson territory. Director Richard Attenborough envokes a directing style that I for the most part enjoyed for its lack of "fussiness" but one that also feels a bit languid now and then. Still, what he sets out to accomplish is very ambitious and indeed a work of passion and I would say that what he's done is pretty special.
Xanadon't's rating:
Rate:
Watched Wanted Custom
Add items to section

Revisits



Odd when a movie becomes slightly less interesting at a surface-narrative level, yet more fascinating at sub-textual levels. A third viewing someday down the road will help me sort out where the film fully stands with me.
Xanadon't's rating:
Rate:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 691 Average listal rating (446 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.3
Young Adult (2011)
Xanadon't's rating:
Rate:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 1926 Average listal rating (1231 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 6.9
Elf
Xanadon't's rating:
Rate:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 1980 Average listal rating (1254 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.5


Still holds a spot on my All Time Top 5 Comedies.
Xanadon't's rating:
Rate:
Watched Wanted Custom
Add items to section

Good Intentions


Ah yes, December. That exiting, hectic, joyful, stressful, lovely, pain-in-the-ass, magical, patience-trying, heart-warming, world-maybe-ending-but-probably-not month. It's here- has been for twelve days now- and it's kinda kicking my ass. But I kinda like it. It's been a very mixed bag thus far cinematic-wise, and I predict more of the same to follow. With a new Tarantino flick to put a colorful stamp on it before we seal up 2012 once and for all.

Thanks for joining me.

Warmest holiday wishes, readers.

Added to

15 votes
Film Journal Archive, 2012 - Xanadon't (12 lists)
list by Xanadon't
Published 6 years ago



Related lists

May Movie Journal - Xanadon't
31 item list by Xanadon't
22 votes 17 comments
August 2013 Movie Journal - Xanadon't
19 item list by Xanadon't
10 votes
Movie Diary 2012: January
17 item list by drugs
23 votes 2 comments
October Movie Journal - Xanadon't
7 item list by Xanadon't
20 votes 14 comments
Film Journal Archive, 2011 - Xanadon't
13 item list by Xanadon't
5 votes
Film Journal Archive, 2012 - Xanadon't
12 item list by Xanadon't
15 votes
January Movie Journal - Xanadon't
35 item list by Xanadon't
27 votes 19 comments
June 2013 Movie Journal - Xanadon't
23 item list by Xanadon't
26 votes 3 comments
Movie Journal - December 2011
15 item list by Orlok
4 votes 2 comments
June Movie Journal - Xanadon't
37 item list by Xanadon't
20 votes 21 comments

View more top voted lists


Comments

Posted: 5 years, 7 months ago at Dec 13 17:10
Yep, the run time on Gandhi is intimidating but well spent for the most part. Glad you enjoyed it! Looking forward to your thoughts on most of what you've got coming up this month. :)
Posted: 5 years, 7 months ago at Dec 13 17:57
Yay, glad you watched "The Lovers on the Bridge". I have Holy Motors in my queue but after reading a review I think I'm going to watch some of Leos Carax earlier films... well first.

Also good to know about "Beasts of the Southern Wild". Recently I have been hyper aware of bad camera work and finding it more and more difficult to overlook for the sake of 'art'. I will no doubt get around to watching the film but it can be pushed into the "I can wait" stack.
Posted: 5 years, 7 months ago at Dec 22 16:29
I too was rather underwhelmed with House of Flying Daggers, especially compared to other martial arts films released around its time. It didn't help that I'd figured out the ending before it played out.

Your thoughts on the first Hobbit film sound like my thoughts on the first LOTR film. Personally I'll stick with the animated '70s version of The Hobbit. :P

Post comment


Insert image

drop image here
(or click)
or enter URL:
 link image?  square?

Insert video

Format block