Recap: 12 October 2009

Mega Movie Recap — GO!

What I Watched

  • Memento (4 stars): Finally got around to seeing this one.  While the resolution left me feeling a bit cold, there’s no denying the brilliance of the storytelling here.  The true feat comes in making the audience feel the same confusion as frustration as the main character, often without even realizing it.  It evokes a sort of detached sympathy quite unlike anything I’ve ever experienced with a film before.  So, even though it’s not a film I particularly enjoyed, it’s certainly one that I appreciate.
  • Bullets Over Broadway (3½ stars): Woody Allen does his take on gangster movies in this film about what happens when a gangster infiltrates a Broadway production.  It’s a comical and enjoyable examination of the lengths people are willing to go to for the sake of art.
  • The Evil Dead (3 stars): This movie is pretty ridiculous but in a very fun way.  I jumped about six times whilst watching, which always ups the enjoyment of a schlocky horror movie.
  • Powder Blue (2 stars): Oh, what a mess.  I think this is what happens when you get a bunch of high-calibre, talented actors who make a movie because they think it will win awards instead of because it has a compelling story.  I’m not sure what the point of this movie was, to be honest.  In an effort to concentrate on the positive, some of the performances were in fact pretty solid.  Jessica Biel continues to impress me, doing much with very little story-wise.
  • The Informant! (3 stars): This movie was mind-boggling, but in a good way.  Like Memento, we’ve got an unreliable narrator here, too, as played by Matt Damon (who does a fantastic job playing against type, I might add).  This isn’t an out-and-out comedy, but it is very funny in a sort of wtf-is-going-on-is-this-guy-for-real sort of way.
  • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (5 stars): A perennial favorite, my sister and I had been waiting to watch this movie since some time in August, but we made ourselves wait ’til October.  As always, totally worth the wait. You can see my original review here if you’re interested.
  • The Singing Detective (2 stars): Another mess of a movie here, I’m afraid.  This one never landed theatrical distribution, despite having Robert Downey Jr., Mel Gibson, and Robin Wright(-Penn) leading the cast.  I’m not familiar with the critically acclaimed BBC miniseries, but I have to imagine the film was a letdown.  RDJ is hard to look at for most of the film, which is part of the story, but… Well, to paraphrase RDJ in Tropic Thunder, never go full-psoriatic.  Additionally, if the Singing Detective story had been more prevalent and better woven throughout, it would have been a more solid film.  As is, it’s a pretty big disappointment.
  • Couples Retreat (2½ stars): Another middling romantic comedy.  The difference here is I felt this one had a lot of potential going in, but with lack of story, lack of likeable characters, and lack of any truly laugh-out-loud moments, everything just fell flat.  It’s not an entirely disagreeable disappointment if you can leave all your hopes for something uncommon at the door.
  • Gangs of New York (3½ stars): Can I put in a request for a truncated edition of this film?  Because I think I would have really enjoyed it had it been, say,117 minutes instead of 167 minutes.  It’s a gorgeous film, and the characters are really interesting when the story is actually moving.  Because it meanders so much, though, it feels even longer than the nearly three hours it does take.
  • The Exorcist (3½ stars): As a horror movie, I’m rather nonplussed about this film.  I don’t find it particularly horrifying or unsettling, at least not in the way that many people do.  However, as a psychological study, it’s really quite fascinating.  As shocking as some of the violence is, the truly chilling aspect is the psychological games the demons play with those trying to cast them out.
  • Apartment Zero (3 stars): Despite an uneven tone and some pretty big pacing issues, this is actually an interesting little movie.  It stars Colin Firth (who is very good, per usual) as a young man beginning to show some symptoms of the psychological illness that has relegated his mother to hospice care.  When he takes on a tenant for his spare room to save money, he begins to suspect that his new roommate might not be exactly who he says he is.  What’s heartbreaking is that he doesn’t really care; he just wants a friend, a confidant, a parental figure.  The biggest issue is I never really felt the danger or the mystery.  There’s never really any doubt about the roommate, and none of the characters ever seem to be in true danger.  I’d love to see a smart remake that addresses these issues; it’d make for a pretty stellar little thriller.
  • Night of the Living Dead [1968] (3 stars): Again, this one, for me, was more effective as a psychological study than a horror movie. Though, having said that, it did make me afraid of the dark and give me nightmares.  Honestly, I think this is one that might grow on me in time, but on first full viewing, it didn’t do much to really grab me.

And that’s it.  I’m on a horror kick now that October here, in case you couldn’t tell.  I’m rather unversed in horror, to be honest, so feel free to leave me some recommendations!

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One thought on “Recap: 12 October 2009

  1. Dan says:

    Horror recommendations? Here ya go:

    An American Werewolf in London
    The Gift
    Slither (not horror so much as a goofy homage to 50s drive-in movies like The Blob)
    The Wicker Man (the original, not that Nic Cage remake…although that was horrifying for other reasons)
    Devil’s Backbone
    Don’t Look Now

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