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Decade: Rating: List Type:
Side by Side (2012)
April 2nd: Instant watch, computer
Overall opinion: Okay
One of the best things about film documentaries is that they inspire me to watch more films. This is true of this documentary, but I was also surprised at how much it made me question and argue over the topic at hand, which was: film vs. digital. Personally I found many of the people in the documentary full of hot air over this subject. It's like comparing old tempera based paints of the Renaissance (chips away after a few years, the color fades, etc) to oil paint now (lasts for hundreds of years). Switching from film to digital when making movies is not going to destroy the industry, it's not leeching the creativity from filmmaking any more than film leeched the creativity from storytelling when it was invented, and the increasing accessibility of filmmaking isn't decreasing the quality of films. In fact I find most of the people in this docu, especially the ones who are so against the change to digital, to be dull filmmakers who lack any sort of experimentation or risk taking. It was ridiculous hearing some of them talk and complain. It's essentially like when a website gets a major update, and a good number of people complain over the changes, but after a few weeks get used to it.
However I do love that this film made me get so mentally involved in a topic I thought I had no opinion on. So I did enjoy watching! It got me sort of fired up when I was expecting to watch just another "this is why you should love film" film.
The Bothersome Man (2006)
April 5th: Instant watch, computer
Overall opinion: ...good...
Good quality movie, interesting, well shot, well acted, dark humor, and very bizarre. Did I enjoy it? Not so much- and not through any fault of the movie, it's just the kind of movie I tend to avoid. The juxtaposition of the colorless, quiet, mundane world with the sudden and disturbing acts of suicide and violence works really really well, and I wasn't expecting it to be so bizarre, so I was pretty disturbed through the whole thing.
It was a little slow? I am not so sure I can judge that properly, because I enjoyed the parts of quiet and disquieting human interaction the best. It was like getting a break from the weird parts, but there was a disturbing flavor lingering through every scene, which I really liked. Sometimes it didn't feel like anything was happening, but my squeamishness with the rest of the film made that a non-issue.
I didn't empathize with the main character too much... I felt like I would have reacted differently to the situation, but I didn't really get what was going on either. We don't get his "story" or anything. It was a very ambiguous film, it felt a little directionless at times, but still interesting.
I think for those who really like black comedy, it's very much worth watching.
April 6th: Instant watch, computer
Overall opinion: Kinda good
It started out a little boring. Eisenberg didn't bring anything new to the table so you will either like him or dislike him as much as you usually do. I get the situation his character is in but I don't care too much, something about him I just can't sympathize with. The other characters were better, the acting was pretty good and it was a decent story when it got down to it. The comedy was... okay? Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig were the funniest parts unsurprisingly.
I feel like these people's stories is a lot more than the romance presented, infact the lead's romance feels like it gets in the way a bit, at least to me. Maybe I'm just not too interested in that.
But I'd watch this again.
April 6th: Instant watch, computer
Overall opinion: Loved it
I am hesitant to talk about the movie because I didn't really "get" it, but I did enjoy it a lot. It was a conglomeration of things I personally find awesome and wonderful, and I think it's one of those films that will have a lot of diverse opinions. But I loved it! It was beautiful, calm and interesting, ambiguous, and anything about space gets bonus points in my book.
April 6th: Instant Watch, computer
Overall opinion: Awesome
Stephen King once wrote that he tried to create a radio show on a scale of Orson Welles' adaptation of War of the Worlds. After many attempts he came to the conclusion that radio is a lost art. I dunno if it really is, but this movie Pontypool came off, to me, as the great horror radio show that never was, that King might have been imagining. It just so happens it's in movie form, and while the film side of it isn't the best (characters are alright, no super impressive cinematography, etc) the writing and delivery of the story was excellent. You don't get to see any of the action for the first hour or so of the movie, and I still found it scaring the crap outa me. I began to hang on every word that was spoken, and the images my mind thought up were much worse than what they could have showed me.
Speaking of words, I was sorta impressed at the "cause for infection" story Pontypool thought up. Like in The Happening, it was thoughtful, it took a look at a science people take for granted, and it was unique (as far as I've seen at least). The only downside to this is the clear shift in mood the movie takes after this point of exposition, which happens a lot in horror movies. It goes to show that the unknown is what's truly scary. It's still entertaining, though, and the ending was pretty swell.
Doomsday Book (2012)
April 13th: Instant watch, computer
Overall opinion: Nice
Doomsday Book is a little compilation of 3 short stories. First off it's a great quality movie, everything looks wonderful, the effects are great. The stories themselves are of varying interest. The first, "Wonderful New World", is about a zombie outbreak; it's standard fare, has some amusing characters but doesn't bring any new concepts. It would probably get a 2 out of 5 stars. The second is called "Creation of Heaven" and is sort of interesting: a robot who claims to have reached nirvana. I liked the concept a lot, but I felt like the execution was a bit lackluster. The story does more telling than showing, and the dialogue felt like the writers getting on a soapbox. 3 out of 5 stars. The third story is my favorite. "Happy Birthday". Netflix describes it as such: "a young girl regrets an unusual Internet purchase that may bring about the end of the world." This is the best of the three stories and if you are going to watch this movie, you should let it be a bit of a surprise. Though the dialogue has a little of the same problem story #2 has, with too much spoken exposition, it is the most original and interesting of the three and for me it made the whole movie worthwhile. If I had to give just that last one a rating, it would be 4 out of 5.
April 14th: Online streaming, computer
Overall opinion: Okay
Spartacus... I have heard so much about it but never really had the desire to watch it. Even now I struggle to come up with an opinion on it. I guess it was good. Not much grabbed my attention, and it was very long. Through a few parts I felt myself watching just to watch it and not because I was interested. But I liked the story alright, I'm glad I saw it finally. I like the classic Roman setting. And I thought Lawrence Oliver was pretty good, his character Crassus was interesting.
The Awakening (2011)
April 16th: Instant watch, computer
Overall opinion: Good!(?)
I watched The Awakening with my sister and it is nearly impossible to feel scared with her around, she makes the most hilarious comments on movies. Even with her there were still some eerie parts of this movie. But it's not really a horror movie. I don't know what it is. It's a bit mystery, tragedy, romance even? I am not sure what to think. It starts in one direction, a little like 1408, has a splash of The Others, some of The Sixth Sense, The Orphanage maybe. But even for its many different sides I think it was good, it was a chimera of a movie but one that worked pretty well. I loved the thin line between fear and ... love? Lust? And wish it had been pushed a little farther. The acting was good, there were some nice cinematography that I was kinda impressed with. Sorry this review is so jumbled, I was expecting something much different and after watching it my sister and I were quite baffled for a while. It's not so much confusing as it makes you think it's going one direction and then goes in a very different one. I'm probably overdramatizing at this point. But we both liked it! In fact I wouldn't mind buying this just to have it on hand. I would really like to watch it again some time.
April 19th: Online streaming, computer
Overall opinion: Not my type
Anime horror double feature booze night, with two movies I did not pick.
I didn't enjoy Uzumaki, but I would recommend it to absolutely anyone who would give it a chance because I found it to be such a strange experience of a movie. It's based on a horror manga of the same name, and frankly the manga is much more terrifying. "Uzumaki" means spiral and it's the story of a town cursed by spirals. This movie doesn't quite reach the "disturbing" level but I did find it very discomforting. There were a lot of scenes that were just odd and surreal, and the 90's feel of it just added to the oddity. Saddly the limited effects left a lot to be desired in true horror, though some of the gore scenes are kinda impressive. However it was also in some moments hilarious. Maybe it was the booze and the company I watched it with, but we found the acting and cinematography (the latter of which was often quite impressive at times) to be funny on several occasions. They seemed to be imitating the manga and anime style, where characters made a lot of "hmm", "ahh!" "oohh?" noises instead of actual conversation, overexaggerated reactions to things like wind yet understated reactions to things like stalkers, and most dialogue was delivered with the characters looking directly at the camera. This reminded me a bit of movies like Tokyo Story, but even more like panels of manga, where characters are always facing the reader due to the nature of comics. The strange manga-like behavior plus the creepy and unsettling visuals plus all the hard lemonade I had (that stuff is delicious) made this a really interesting experience, and one that I would recommend you try to recreate if you ever want to watch Uzumaki and enjoy yourself.
Gyo: Tokyo Fish Attack (2012)
April 19th: Online streaming, computer
Overall opinion: It's not you, it's me
Anime horror double feature night with some friends continues with Gyo, the movie I'm still trying to forget. It's one of those movies that makes me wish brain bleach existed. The amount of body horror and various disgusting, gory images in this movie is impressive. Bloated human bodies (still living!), tentacle and tubes in questionable locations, gases in massive amounts, dead sea animals attatched to spider-like robot legs, lots of stabbing and popping. I used to know what weird was and now that's been completely changed. I wish I could put one of those images here but I would rather not look at them again- instead there is one of the comical scenes from earlier in the movie with a roboticised shark. It gets gory after that but I laughed out loud at the first appearance of that thing. It's probably my favorite character.
Okay I am not even sure what to say about this, I think, if you find most movies boring and unimaginative, if you like surreal and disturbing visuals, animated gore, and don't mind subtitles or questionable quality dubs, you should really really watch this. Otherwise it's probably too niche to be widely enjoyed.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention we watched this with no subtitles or voiceovers, because we downloaded the wrong file (and we were a lil drunk so why not I guess?). I'm guessing if anyone watches this with some form of understandable translation it will be a lot more enjoyable.
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
Waking Life (2001)
April 23rd: Online streaming, computer
Overall opinion: Wonderful
The day I watched this happened to be the same day that one of my professors lectured a fellow student on the overuse of theory in a presentation. I thought it was weirdly fitting because, if this movie has any flaws it's that it's got its head in the clouds. It's all talk and no action, so to speak, or very little action. All theory. Personally I was 100% fine with that. I feel like there's a lot lacking in both cinema and the real world when it comes to dreams, inspiration, wonder, cheesy sentimental stuff like that. So I had no problem giving myself over to a film that spent most of its time talking about very abstract ideas. The relatively realistic dialogue was invigorating, like a breath of fresh air in a sea of very eloquent scripted films. It makes everything else seem so formulaic, so strapped down. I have watched it three more times since the first and enjoyed every minute of it. It's especially fun to watch with someone else, so far my sister and roommate have gotten sucked in to watching it with me and we've had some really great conversations while watching.
Basically, it's like I said with that movie Love; it's not going to be everyone's cup of tea, but if you like this kind of thing, you will probably love Waking Life, and I'd be curious to hear what others think about it.
Gods and Monsters (1998)
The Mummy (1932)
April 27th: Instant watch, computer
Overall opinion: a solid classic
Wonderful. I liked every minute. A true classic. I really love the story, of this Egyptian priest who has suffered more than any human has ever suffered for love. It was neat how little rushing about there was in this movie, so much waiting happened, and yet it was still so interesting. I liked the active role of Zita Johann's character, I liked the eerie presence of the Egyptian gods who still have some power even in the modern world, and I liked how the movie showed the attitude of some English characters towards digging up and claiming items of another country's (very much alive and well) culture. While I didn't hate the 1999 remake it certainly did sacrifice a lot of that for action.
April 27th: Online streaming, computer
Overall opinion: Awesome!
Paprika was great. I would recommend this to anyone who likes animation; it's not aimed at kids which lets it get a little weird and it's got a great great great story (though it will seem familiar, remember this came out before Inception) and it's visually stunning to a wonderful degree. I was so impressed, I watched it two more times after my first viewing. Lots of fun! It is just weird and surreal enough to feel like an actual dream, the characters are all really neat, and the English dub doesn't have totally crappy voice acting like so much anime does. So go check this out!
The Dead Zone (1983)
April 27th: Online streaming, computer
Overall opinion: Pretty good
My dad really likes this film and Christopher Walken and he manages to work "like that movie The Dead Zone" into a surprising number of conversations so I figured I'd bite the bullet and just watch it. It's sadly one of those films that inspired a lot of copycat plots ever since so nothing was new to me. I remember an episode of Smallville that is basically The Dead Zone without any of the appeal this movie had, it just rips the plot right from it, and that really detracted from my enjoyment of the film. Not to mention the first time I saw Walken was in Balls of Fury, and then SNL, so I have yet to be able to take him seriously. My dad said when I told him that: "The Dead Zone, that's Christopher Walken." And truth be told this movie helped me see him as a serious actor. And I liked it! It gave us some real human problems, this guy had to deal with a lot of stuff that didn't have a right answer. I found myself trying to think of what I'd do in his situations and just feeling hopeless.
The Seventh Seal (1957)
April 28th: Hulu plus, computer
Overall opinion: Great
I've wanted to see this for so long, and it totally lived up to the hype I'd built in my head. What a great movie. For a film made in the 50's I really loved the characters portrayed; I felt for them, didn't want anything bad to happen to them. It felt real to me, too. Not like a modern medieval period piece, but I had to remind myself that this was made in the 50's and not earlier (probably since it was in a language I didn't understand, that made the whole plague and tavern setting seem more authentic than the contrived English accents a modern American or British production would use). Just goes to show how frustrating Hollywood can be- this Swedish film has an atmosphere of reality and clever observations on life and for a story involving religion it was very compelling to me. Not since episodes of Star Trek Deep Space 9 have I felt so strongly on a character's feelings of faith, since I'm not exactly a person of faith myself.
Just typing this up makes me want to go watch this again.
April 29th: online streaming, computer
Overall opinion: Cute
So this movie is very simple and and it's got several anime tropes/cliches that I sort of despise- I have seen what feels like a hundred animes starring some random girl in a school with a white n blue uniform whose life seems to involve only a couple of friends at school, their crush, and sometimes family on the peripherals. But despite the bland set-up I ended up enjoying The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. It was a cute idea, there was nobody to really hate, and I ended up sympathizing with the main character's desire to stay with her friends forever. It's hard to say goodbye forever to somebody you care about and that really got me right in the heart. So despite a dull start this movie will be one I remember.
April 29th: instant watch
Overall opinion: Kinda good
So maybe I just wasn't in the mood for such a film but it was kind of entertaining. Actually it was surprisingly new and fresh and I never though to turn it off or continue it later, even in some parts where I was a little bored. The characters were all kooky and interesting enough to keep watching. Lots of unexpected things happen, and even old tropes get used in new ways. What a whirlwind of a film. So much was going on, it was hard to keep up at times. I am not sure what else to say. It was weird in a good way, I didn't love it but I liked it, and it certainly is a unique little film.
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