Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Movies seen over Summer 2006

Movies seen over Summer 2006 (this years + decades ago):

- "An Inconvenient Truth" - 5/5 stars (amazing commentary and discussion: startling, inspiring, succinct)

- "The Lakehouse" - 3.5/5 stars (good summer flick, but not if you like your movies to make sense)

- "The Devil Wears Prada" - 4.5/5 stars (the only female-empowering movie out amidst action and G-rated inundation, it still carries its own weight and has amazing story, execution and acting. true to the book and with its own flair. the whole brunette journalist image is beginning to grow a bit tiresome, though. I may identify with it, but it's wearisome, especially as they're all waifish, pale, and romantically linked to a superhero of some sort (Rory Gilmore, Lois Lane, Andrea Sachs).)

- "M.A.S.H." - 2/5 stars (boring and horrendous. comedic perhaps for the 1970's, but utterly despicable and rather insulting to the modern intelligentsia, as well as women, in general. The whole "boys will be boys" mentality is rife throughout this movie and despite its setting in South Korea during the Korean War, the excuses and lack of responsibility and accountability is a somber reminder of just how irreverent military structure and training is/can/has been in the United States. Especially with consideration to the problems, scandals and controversies emanating from our current wartime activities, the behavior and representations (bc I think the filmmakers were attempting to shy away from gross characterizations) of women, nurses and notions of male masculinity are appalling.)

- "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" - 4/5 stars
Full of stomach-turning and entertaining action, humor, cringe-worthy moments, I loved almost every minute of this action movie... enough to forgive the abrupt and blatant lead-in to the trilogy ending sequel. Johnny Depp does not disappoint and neither does Orlando Bloom, but Keira Knightley's portrayal of Elizabeth Swann was rather painful and uninspired, although the problem may lie in the character development instead of the actress. Honestly, the idea of Elizabeth and Jack as a couple, however temporary, convenient or thrilling for story power, repulsed me. Whether this is due to the fact that the first film set up Elizabeth and Will as soul-destined lovers or because Depp's portrayal of Jack has been said to imply a certain undertone of homosexuality ("gay pirate" in tv critic circles) I am not sure, but either way, it doesn't make sense. I don't care if she needed a way to sacrifice Jack for the greater good without his knowledge - it just doesn't work. But other than that, the film had amazing scenes and is lots of fun, especially as a friend-flick. There's plenty of opportunity for hysterical laughter and jaw-dropping stunnedness. Personally, I found the presence of a Chinese-speaking conch-shell guy stitch-pop worthy.

- "Superman Returns" - 4.5/5 stars
Contrary to the response of critics and intelligensia, I both enjoyed and liked this movie a lot. Putting aside the inevitable questions of common sense, logistics and unless Newton's 3rd law is accepted, the pesky laws of physics (Superman gets rid of Lex Luthor's attempt to destroy the Americas in space - only to FALL down to Earth in a potentially gravity-defying act even die-hard fans would find hard to ignore), the basics behind the legend of Superman are there and back, stronger and more vivid than ever before (as far as I know). If I've seen any of the previous movies featuring the Man of Steel, I don't remember it, but this film made up for that. I felt hopeful and inspired upon walking out of the theatre... that's a good thing. Kevin Spacey reaffirms his place in the acting canon while Brandon Routh enters Hollywood in a wonderfully blinding burst of light. Kate Bosworth looks way too young to be a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter with a 5-year-old son, a long-term old flame and an approximately 7-year journalism career with the foremost newspaper in the country, but she delivers a beautiful, graceful and strong performance as Lois Lane. James Marsden is always wonderful to see on screen as he is incredibly attractive with a huge talent for acting, but my goodness, his characters have the worst luck with making women fall in love with him - getting the short end of the stick when the woman's heart goes to the superhero (here, it's Superman; it's Wolverine in X-Men).

- "Bullitt" - 1/5 stars
Granted, I didn't stay for the entire movie and I played cards throughout the portion I was there for, but from what I did watch, this precursor to the modern-day action/detective flick was wildly empty and confusing to follow. Actor Steve McQueen did not make this movie worth watching.

- "The Bandwagon" - 2/5 stars
Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse in a wacky, light-hearted 50's dance comedy tinged with commentary on the dangers of making too much of art. Great actors, great dancers, horrendous story and presentation. The first third left me befuddled, the second third wincing in pain, and the final third a bit relieved, but even the barely tidy ending could salvage the night for me. Nothing against Cyd Charisse, but I liked the Fred & Ginger films better - they had story that stayed in one place.

"High Noon" (quite good. lived up to expectations as a classic western)

"A Shot In the Dark" (never again... never, never, never again)

"The Manchurian Candidate" (the original, from the 1960's. good, startling, confusing, and more than horrifying what with all the deaths. It's never pleasant when a "good" character is killing more "good" characters.)

"Charade" (quite good. lots of twists and quite funny, as well.)

"Wedding Crashers" (great fun)

"Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" (for the second time. having previous knowledge of the plot, I was better able to notice details and possible future implications of body language and dialogue.)

"Deadly Game" (middle-late 1990's adventure/mystery/crime drama. terribly formulaic and horribly irritating to any sane and stable mind. you want to knock off every character and writer involved in the making of the movie, and possibly yourself, during the first half... the second half manages to salvage some of the writer's integrity, but that's not saying much.)