Wednesday, July 7, 2010

16 For the Road: The Past Two Weeks in Movies

I don’t usually make lazy posts like this, but a) I’m in friggin’ Half Moon Bay, CA, and it truly does not interest me in the least to spend two hours on a post right now, and b) I’ve seen so many movies over the past two weeks that it would be extremely difficult to whittle it down to one thing to discuss.  But I did want to remind everyone of what a freak I am, knocking out 16 films over 12 days or so while I was a bachelor.  Man I really lived it up, didn’t I?  Here's a general rundown for you:

Becket (1964): 8/10.  Peter O’Toole + Richard Burton = Incredibly well-acted film.

Metropolis (1927)8.5/10.  Heralded as a classic, this silent film by German director Fritz Lang is eerie and beautiful, and is deservedly credited for heavily influencing the sci-fi genre. 

The Secret in Their Eyes (2009): 7.5/10.  This Argentinean crime drama won Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards this year.  It was a very entertaining movie but Un Prophete (2009) was much better. 

Toy Story 3 (2010): 8.5/10.  I really hope everyone’s seen this by now.  Pixar continues its streak of greatness. 

The Searchers (1956): 6/10.  My mom will kill me for this, but I really didn’t think this movie is all it’s cracked up to be.  In 2007 AFI ranked it as #12 all-time…don’t really see it.  The story is entertaining but John Wayne is playing John Wayne as he always does, and the acting in general is unbelievably wooden. 

Seraphine (2009): 8.5/10.  This French film went completely under the radar for me last year.  It’s the story of the French artist by the same name who was discovered by her master while she was his house-maid in WWI-era France.  The lead performance is spectacular and the direction and photography are mesmerizing. 

The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus (2009): 6/10.  Weird as always with director Terry Gilliam.  Heath Ledger gives a worthy last performance. 

Edge of Darkness (2010): 5/10.  Mel Gibson’s latest film had a lot of potential but was forgettable and formulaic. 

Winter’s Bone (2010): 9/10.  I already gave it my glowing review here (post below).  Best movie I have seen so far this year, narrowly edging Toy Story 3. 

Tetro (2009): 5.5/10.  Francis Ford Coppola (director of “The Godfather”, et al.) made his comeback with this film in 2009 about long-lost brothers who reunite in Argentina.  Once again, this film had tons of potential but the acting and script were so awkward and clunky at points that it was almost embarrassing.  Sad to waste what otherwise was a visually beautiful and well-shot film. 

The Piano (1993): 7.5/10.  Really beautiful film that I’ve somehow missed until now.  The musical score is stunning and probably makes my top-5 all time scores.  Didn’t really like Holly Hunter in the lead role, otherwise this would probably be higher than a 7.5/10.

The Damned United (2009): 8/10.  THIS is what sports movies should aspire to be like.  It follows soccer manager Brian Clough of British team Leeds United in the 1970’s-80’s.  Extremely entertaining and Michael Sheen gives a very compelling lead performance. 

Seven Pounds (2008): 7/10.  This seemed to be a love/hate movie for a lot of people.  I didn’t love it or hate it but I think I enjoyed it more than most.  Will Smith is hard to resist. 

Invictus (2009): 6/10.  Juxtaposing The Damned United (above) in the sports-film category is this underwhelming Clint Eastwood-directed film about Nelson Mandella and the South Africa national Rugby team.  Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman give *decent* performances and make it better than it otherwise would have been, but the film is basically just a big pile of mush. 

Michael Clayton (2007): 9/10.  This is my 4th time to watch this…it gets better and better every time.  One of my favorites of 2007 which was a strong year for film. 

Zombieland (2009): 7.5/10.  One of the funniest movies I’ve seen in a while (2nd time to see it for me).  The Bill Murray cameo is just classic.  

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