Water for Elephants – I did not like this movie. From a “just a movie” point of view, I don’t think it’s that great. Of course, the dude from Twilight and the chick with the pointy chin put me in a bad frame of mind. That’s pretty unfair to him, I’ve never even seen Twilight. Even though the chick from it is in Snow White & The Huntsman, I’m super on board with that movie, so I can look past it. But he did prove me right. And so did pointy chin. The story could be kind of interesting, the framing is nice. But I can’t get over the circus thing. I don’t like circuses, for obvious reasons. And even though this movie is ostensibly against animal abuse, it’s totally okay with it as long as you aren’t actively beating the shit out of a creature. Moving around the country in a cage 2x the size of the animal itself, that’s totally okay. Just don’t hit it with a stick. I never saw Seabiscuit, for instance, because I think horse racing is fucked up, I don’t care how inspirational the story is. I think I feel the same way about this movie, I’d rather not have seen it.
50 / 50 – Well, that’s a pretty wonderful movie. It’s about a 27 year old guy who gets cancer, 50/50 chance of surviving. The movie is nothing you don’t expect it will be, which sounds like a fault. He has his problems with his family, and his girlfriend, and his friend, and all the normal parts of life. The romance in the movie is pretty predictable. But it is all the same a very funny and honest movie. There’s nothing to dislike about it, warms your little heart, and makes you laugh. One of the better movies to come out recently, for sure.
Win Win – This is a pretty good movie. It’s about a family, the husband (a lawyer) takes charge of an old man who has lost most of his senses, and then ends up in charge of this guy’s grandson as well. Lots of dramatic stuff happens, but I don’t mean in a melodramatic way. It revolves a bit around a high school wrestling team the guy coaches. You know, I say all that, and this movie sounds super boring. Just as boring as it sounds on the back of the box, which is why I wasn’t in a rush to see it. But I heard it was very good, and it was. Maybe not as good as I had heard, it’s not the best movie of 2011 or anything. Not better than 50/50. But it is very good. It is very honest and real. Nothing is overly dramatic, just slightly out of the ordinary (enough to make it interesting). And everyone does a good job, acting wise. Just a solid movie, all around.
Jane Eyre – Zzzzzzz. No seriously, I fell asleep watching this. And this is about all I need to know about it. Boring!
The Descent 2 – People seemed to like the first one, and I never understood why. It wasn’t the worst horror movie ever, but I’m not sure why it stood above the rest for so many people, it seemed pretty samey to me. This one is more of that. I do like the premise a bit. It’s at least every so slightly more creative than “woah, 4 more dumb teenagers randomly wander into the same cave! crazy!” Besides that? Kind of normal, tries to be pretty gory for the sake of it, not super impressive though.
Let Me In – I liked the original version. Not so much because it was geniusly executed (it was kind of a weird Swedish thing) but because the concept was so cool and unique. Sadly, this movie doesn’t have that benefit. It’s a remake, it’s fundamentally not unique. So it loses a lot due to that. The execution of the movie is decent, nothing bad, nothing amazing. The kids do a pretty good job. I’d be fine with only having ever seen this version, but since that’s not true, the Swedish one was good enough for me too.
Bronson – Yikes. So, I guess this guy is the most famous prisoner in England. He calls himself Charlie Bronson, and he’s a complete fucking wacko. The movie tells me he’s spent 34 years in prison, 30 of them in solitary. Largely due to the fact that if he spends more than 10 minutes in the presence of another breathing human being, he beats the living shit out of them until their breathing has ceased. Perhaps more shocking, though, is the depths to which the actor playing Bronson went to pull off this roll. The movie is basically told by him, much of it with just him talking at the camera – sometimes to an audience as if this is one man play. And this guy inhabits every bit of this insane man. It is somewhat frightening to watch, honestly, how deeply he carries this guy’s insanity. The movie itself besides that is just okay, but his performance is worth watching, even though I never want to watch it again. I’m slightly afraid of what the movie thinks of Bronson. He’s clearly nuts, but at the same time, given that he’s telling the story, he is kind of glorified. When he goes on a rampage, there’s this dramatic operatic music. It gives it almost a nobility? Kind of uncomfortable. But still should be seen.
UHF – So I had never seen this. You know, I think this kind of movie has to live in nostalgia. I’m sure it was hilarious when it came out. And I’m sure if I saw Top Secret for the first time in 2012, I’d probably think it was kind of dumb. So me seeing this for the first time now, it’s kind of lame. The skits (and it really is just a series of skits) aren’t all that hilarious. The commercial for the spatula story made me crack up for some reason. A couple weird al songs they shoehorned in were good. But besides that it was kind of meh. Sorry!
The Red Balloon – I guess this movie is very famous, I had never heard of it. But it’s only 30 min long and on Netflix, so there you go. It’s a little French movie about a boy who finds a red balloon, but the balloon is kind of alive. It moves around on its own, follows him, plays with people. It’s really kind of cute. If it was 10 minutes long and cuter, it would basically be a live action Pixar short. It really hard that feel. I’d rather it be that short, too, it does kind of drag in the middle. I guess it’s supposed to be deep, with the little boy trying to get away and the masses of humanity descending on him to take the balloon. That doesn’t really connect with me in any way. But maybe I’m just ignorant. It does have a pretty powerful penultimate moment, though. The balloon was given such personality, seeing it “act” out the end is surprisingly effective. Then the real end is kind of sickly sweet and not that touching. But still interesting enough for a 30 minute investment. Don’t go on the internet and find out that there’s supposed to be some bullshit christian allegory going on though, that’ll just ruin it for you.
Harsh Times – Um. So, Christian Bale is an ex-soldier fuck up screwing around with his fuck up friend. Kind of trying to get their lives in order, but not really, mostly fucking around and hoping they get lucky. It’s kind of hard to see the point of a movie like this, I don’t feel like I learn anything or care all that much for these assholes. It ends as it can only end. That’s about it. Note: I wrote those last two sentences when I was only 2/3 of the way through the movie. I knew it could end as it can only end, before I saw it end. That says enough, I think!
Cash Back – Meh. This movie is just a basic love story. The hook is the kid has some ability to freeze time. This is largely an excuse to go around to all the hot girls who just happen to be in his shitty supermarket at 2 in the morning, take all their clothes off, and draw pictures of them (I assume they cut out the creepy part where he touches them, because he definitely did that). That then tries to become some kind of metaphor for life, I guess. I don’t really know, but I do know that the movie is trying to be artsy. And a movie that thinks its artsy wouldn’t put a bunch of boobs in without inventing an artsy justification. The movie isn’t poorly done, it’s pretty british (main character has two emotions – talking in a monotone, and staring into the distance), but it’s ok.
Nerdcore Rising – This movie is about MC Frontalot. He’s sort of one of the big progenitors of “nerdcore” rap. I’m listening to a lot of the nerdy music these days. I’ve never been particularly into Frontalot, but I’ve not really listened to much to know if I like it. Adam WarRock is my favorite in the category, hoping to see him in Phx in a few weeks! Anyway, the movie. It’s… not great. It’s not bad, it’s just kind of an okay version of following this guy around with a camera. There’s not amazing insights into the genre or into Frontalot himself. It’s really just a tour diary, if anything. IT’s neat to see, I guess. But I feel like there’s more to do here. Maybe a movie about the rise of the genre in general would be a little more interesting than just a bunch of nerds talking about how cool Frontalot is. Or maybe we need more distance from the origins to find a story like this interesting. Not sure. But if you love Frontalot, I’m sure it’s an entertaining enough movie!