Feb 23, 2009

Movie Reviews @ The Temple

The Reader - Pretty good movie.  I'll say the affair part of it didn't do much for me.  It gave the movie an interesting structure, but that's just a way to tell the story, not a story.  The story, however, is very interesting.  I've not seen something about the time after WW II in Germany.  It must have been a frightening confusing time.  It's scary to ponder, though I come down firmly on one side of the debate, I assume most of us do.  Point is, if any one of us had been in Germany in 1942, we'd have been nazis.  Just sayin'.  Most people didn't fight back, germans are not inherently any better or worse than the rest of us, therefore most of us wouldn't have fought back, maybe we'd have participated.  It's horrible, uncomfortable, but how can I say I'm such a strong person I'd have found a way to go against everything around me?  Some of us would have, for sure, but me?  I'd like to think, but can't say.  What it must have been like in Germany after everyone had that conflict, and that guilt, and the need to punish, it's a striking setting.  I feel like they could have done a lot more with that, it didn't have as much weight as I would have liked, it was all transmitted through the lens of their relationship.  So I liked it, I don't love it as much as everyone else seems to, Kate Winslett did fine, but I wouldn't have picked it out as an amazing performance.  Nothing like Streep's in Doubt.  I haven't seen the rest of the actress nominations, sadly, so I can't compare.

Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog - Movie or TV show? dunno, but I wanted to extoll its virtues, so I'm calling it a movie.  I wasn't sure if I've already talked about it, so I had to search my blog, wow I call things horrible a lot.  Anyway, i think everyone knows about this, but if you don't, GO WATCH IT NOW.  I saw it when it came out on the internet, I downloaded it to watch it every few weeks, and now I finally got around to buying the DVD, which is fantastic!  The sing along commentary is hilarious, the featurettes are cool, but oh em gee the fan-created applications to the evil league of evil are amazing.  So good!  I'm looking up a number of these people, they are absolutely funny, well acted, well written, well sung, I was blown away.  I didn't even realize they were fan things before I clicked, and then I certainly didn't expect them to be so good.  But yeah, the actual show is amazing too, I forget how much until I rewatch it again and am stunned again.

Word Wars - Cool little documentary about the Scrabble circuit.  It's cool, the people are every bit as weird as you would expect.  The history is interesting, the drama is meh, the culture is interesting.  I'm not a crazy scraabble person or anything, but it was neat.

The Comedians of Comedy - Pretty funny.  I love Patton Oswalt, I like Zach Galifianakis, I'm not really a fan of Brian Posehn or Maria Bramford.  There's nothing much intersting here, it's cool to see their nerdy habits, they have some good stories, Patton's really the only funny one though.  But if I'm going to watch a movie about a comedy tour, I guess I'd rather it feature nerds than black guys, hispanic guys, women, hicks, black women, douches vince vaughn knows, or dane cook.

Helvetica - Okay, clearly I was watching documentaries while working on a Saturday, huh?  This one was pretty cool too.  It's about the font, which is pretty amazingly common.  It's the history, the general use, some font theory which was actually neat, and the modern (I guess you'd have to call it post-modern but then I might have to punch you) reaction to its use.  I'm no graphic designer, obviously, but it was a cool movie.

Little Miss Sunshine - This movie started out rough.  The characters are just too quirky, too idiosyncratic to be believable, likable, or tolerable really.  For the first 1/3 or maybe even 1/2 of the movie I was just not sure I could sign on for these peoples' story, I was thinking the movie was overrated.  But by the end it really pulls it in, and the pageant scene is just so genius that it would be worth it even if it wasn't a good movie.  The characters calm down and act more normal as the movie goes on, the story comes together, and the acting and writing in the pageant stuff is fantastic.  It's a sweet movie, very family kind of movie.  For all its disingenious forced character setup in the beginning, it's a very geniune family by the end.  I liked it.

Burn After Reading - Wow, this movie fails on nearly all counts, which is really sad.  I like the Coen brothers a lot, I like Pitt, and Clooney.  There are other actors I don't know the name of I like too.  The plot doesn't seem bad, the acting is fine, there are many pieces of a good movie, but somehow it just fails, it never comes together.  I was uninvested, uninterested, just bored.  The movie ended and I just thought... really? that's it?  The only parts of the movie I much like are the briefings of the boss played by that bald guy, they are kinda funny.  The rest of it is just amazingly... meh.

Mongol - Huh, not bad!  It's basically Braveheart with some Gladiator, except with Mongols.  Epic story, coming of age, the leader of a people, love, family, principles, all that.  I suppose if it were just another movie it wouldn't be particularly notable.  But it is an interesting context that I've never seen before, though if you blur the details things are pretty much the same.  It's well done, though, the land is beautiful, the filming is beautiful, the people are all very convincing, the action is decent - some of it is really pretty great, though in parts it feels like they ran out of choreography, as the filming gets kinda lazy.  The blood must have been digital, it was too bright and gloppy.  It's not a revolutionary movie, it doesn't bring anything new to the table except its background.  No idea what kind of fidelity it has to its history, I have a hard time believing truth is quite as dramatic as fiction.  But I still liked it quite a bit, defintely worth seeing if you want an interesting ancient war type movie.  I guess its supposed to be the first of a trilogy about Genghis Kahn's life, after this I'd totally watch the next two.

88 Minutes - Ugh, nothing to see here folks.  It's a completely average thriller with Al Pacino.  It's not all its fault, I'm pretty much done with thrillers.  You need to either be a stupidly violent and gorey horror movie, or you need to be distantly plausible or interesting.  This is obviously not the former, and its defintely not the latter.  Evil masterminds with evil masterplans that can be everywhere at once and know the hero's every single choice ahead of time to properly plan the reaction, it's just tiresome.  You don't want to figure it out, cuz who cares?  You only have the information they give you, not as if you were there, so why try.  And you hate yourself for saying "if I was there I would do this or that" because no matter what you do the evil genius would have already planned for it.  As for this movie in particular, it's just average, "twist" is average, pacino is average, meh.  The only interesting thing was that the red head from Mr. Holland's Opus grew up to be pretty, if too skinny.

Evelyn - So this is some random movie with Pierce Brosnan (strike one) about an irish court case that overturned the resoundingly moronic law that you had to have two parents to take care of your children, even if one dropped off the face of the earth, but wasn't known to be dead, resulting in a bunch of orphaned kids because one parent buggered off.  It was pretty descent, it's a nice story, it's sweet, Brosnan manages to tolerable, the little girl is cute.  It's nothing amazing, but it doesn't really have to be, it's just a happy little story where a dad fights for his kids.  Irish accents are cool too.

The Witches - Uh, what'd you do to this book?  I only read the book for the first time a few months ago, and just now watched this, ugh.  There's not really much good to say about it, it was a cute book, but a dumb movie.  Maybe it couldn't have been made into a good movie, maybe it's too weird to be watchable.  Acting wasn't good, they changed it to be hollywoody, added some things that made no sense and had no reason, the mouse puppets were kinda cute, but that's about it.

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