Recap: 28 October 2009

Lots of movies to get through again.  Off we go.

What I Watched

  • Everyone Says I Love You (4 stars): Known by many as “that Woody Allen musical,” this throwback to the fantastic musicals of the 1950s is a story more or less about finding love.  All of the stars (except Drew Barrymore) do their own singing, whether they should or not, which is part of what lends the movie its charm.  Roger Ebert really says it best in his review: “Sometimes, when I am very happy, I sing to myself. Sometimes, when they are very happy, so do the characters in “Everyone Says I Love You,” Woody Allen’s magical new musical comedy. I can’t sing. Neither can some of Allen’s characters. Why should that stop them? Who wants to go through life not ever singing?”  Definitely worth checking out; it’s not available on DVD as far as I can tell, but it is streaming on Netflix Instant.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street (3½ stars): I’d somehow managed to reach my 26th year of life without having ever seen any of the Nightmare movies.  I was sort of skeptical going into this one, since my impression of Freddy Krueger is more an outrageously comical maniac than scary villain, but I was very pleasantly surprised.  I definitely jumped at a few parts, which amused my sister greatly.  This is probably going to become an annual viewing for me in October from now on.
  • Rosemary’s Baby (2 stars): I feel like a bad cinephile because I just haven’t been able to connect with any of the Polanski films I’ve seen.  The closest I came was THE NINTH GATE, but it fell apart in the final act.  I didn’t particularly like any of the characters, with the exception of Ruth Gordon’s Minnie, but that’s entirely due to the actress rather than anything having to do with the story.  I think I have trouble with weak females, and it’d be hard to find one much weaker than Rosemary.  I was mostly just annoyed with her the whole time.  There was a little bit of a creep factor, but not enough to make the movie (which felt very long [which is never good]) an enjoyable experience.  I know some people rank this movie among the scariest of all time, but it didn’t do anything for me at all.
  • Asylum (1½ star): Not much to say about this one. I was bored one afternoon, so I chose what I hoped would be a fun slasher film from Netflix Instant.  It has some moments that are amusing, and that’s what gets it the extra half star to keep it above PROM NIGHT.
  • Paranormal Activity (3½ stars): Quite the phenomenon this little film, huh?  This movie about a couple fighting some sort of entity is scaring the heck out of people.  I wasn’t really scared during the movie, but I was admittedly a little creeped out when I laid down to go to sleep that night.  I think I would have found the movie itself more frightening if I didn’t suffer so severely from motion sickness.  There’s a fair amount of handheld camera work, and, while it never comes close to the shakiness of CLOVERFIELD or THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, it was still enough to force me to stand at the side of the theatre for the second half of the movie.
  • The Invention of Lying (3½ stars): This film has been marketed as a comedy, but it’s really more of an existential dramedy.  It tackles some heavy material with as light a touch as it can muster, but it still comes off a little clunky at times.  That being said, it’s a movie that makes you think, and a mostly enjoyable one, plus I’d watch Ricky Gervais in just about anything.
  • Slither (3½ stars): How much fun is this movie?  I mean, it’s Nathan Fillion.  Come on.  If that’s not enough, I thought the “monster” was pretty clever, and the plot moves along nicely.  It’s probably not going to blow your socks off or anything, but it’s a fun little horror comedy definitely worth checking out.
  • Sleepy Hollow (3½ stars): Tim Burton + Johnny Depp.  Need more?  Fine.  How about we throw in Christopher Walken as the Headless Horseman?  Still no? OK, we’ll throw in some gorgeously gothic images, including the creepiest tree ever.  Really, the shining star of the movie for me is Johnny Depp’s performance as Ichabod.  It’s a role that’s a bit different than what I’d normally expect, in that Ichabod is really sort of a big, geeky, desperately-trying-to-be-brave-but-not-really-pulling-it-off wimp.  And it’s utterly charming.  To be honest, this isn’t a movie I adore (it’s no SWEENEY TODD or EDWARD SCISSORHANDS), but it’s one I come back to year after year.  It’s just fun.
  • Babette’s Feast (3½ stars):  The first half of this movie is a little dry.  It lacks the charm of, say, CHOCOLAT.  Until it hits the third act.  The entire movie, in my opinion, should have been the third act, because the third act is stellar.  It’s inspiring; it’s entertaining; and, for the foodies out there, gorgeous food porn galore.  So, if you can make it through the middle of the movie, where nothing much is happening, you’ll be very well-rewarded.
  • An American Werewolf in London (3½ stars): If you’re a horror make-up aficionado, this movie is worth seeing for its landmark monster make-up alone.  That being said, it’s also a highly entertaining and fairly gruesome take on the werewolf legend.  To put it concisely, I really, really liked it.  It starts out mostly horror comedy and then goes more for horror drama toward the end, but it works rather well.  Bonus for those looking forward to THE WOLFMAN, the extra features on the latest DVD release have some interviews with make-up guru Rick Baker, who talks a bit about the upcoming film.

And that’s it.  I’ll be wrapping up my horror viewing this week in time to indulge in Christmas movies galore starting in November.  Yes, I’m one of those people.  Speaking of which, are you all gearing up for NaNoWriMo?  Still on the fence?  If you’re not participating, are you ready to experience the disappearance of friends and family participating?  My mom told me a couple of weeks ago that she’d been lamenting to my dad that they’d likely not see me for the entire month, so at least they’re prepared.  😉  Only 3 days to go, and then IT’S ON!  Woo!


One thought on “Recap: 28 October 2009

  1. Nathan Fillion in anything gets 5 stars for me!

    And yes, we’re ready to see you disappear for most of the month of November, although I’m sure you’ll show up for Thanksgiving and your birthday, right? Just remember, White Christmas and Muppet Christmas Carol are in my movie stash, with or without you! (Preferable with!!!!)

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