Here are some two sentence reviews of the movies I watched in April.
- Movies watched – 15
- Movies that were new to me – 13
- Channing Tatum movies – 6
- Monthly Masterpieces – Ordet
- The Raid: Redemption (2011) – There is some good visceral action to be found here, though a plot to back it up wouldn’t have hurt things. My real complaint is that there are a few too many endless kung fu fights that kill the realism of an action movie that desperately needs that realism to deliver the suspense.
- Step Up (2006) – Pretty sweet teen dance movie. This would make a great double feature with Save the Last Dance, and I mean that as the highest praise.
- She’s the Man (2006) – For all the praise she seems to get, Amanda Bynes WAY overplays things in this. Which makes the ridiculous premise and weak script that much harder to swallow.
- Fighting (2009) – Much grittier (and better) than I assumed it would be, this isn’t a half bad fight movie. Really, my biggest complaint is that it doesn’t appear that Tatum knows how to fight at all and wins all his matches by dumb luck–which makes his rise through the “underground fighting ranks” pretty hard to swallow.
- Dear John (2010) – There is a nice 20 minutes of “young people falling in love” before the usual manufactured drama takes over. I’ve never understood the desire to put country over love, but apparently sacrifices like that really take Nicholas Sparks from 6 to midnight.
- The Vow (2012) – While the script addresses some interesting issues with suddenly not remembering the last seven years of your life, I feel like something more could have been done with this premise. At its heart this wants to be a sappy romance film, and that is tough to do when the female lead seems to want nothing to do with the male lead for most of the film.
- Carrie (1974) – The premise might be a bit simple, but that’s part of the power of this film. The simple juxtaposition of the horrors of the climax with Carrie’s dreams for how things could be really turns out to be powerful cinema.
- The Notebook (2004) – I could have done with a few less manufactured tragedies to keep the central couple apart, but the strength of the leads really carry this further than it should be able to go. And, as it turns out, the old people leads are even better.
- The Kingdom (1994) – Really fantastic horror-psychodrama that is perhaps the best use of Von Trier’s trademark cynicism. Disgusting and hilarious, the parade of misanthropy never fails to consistently entertain for the entire four hour run time.
- Party Girl (1958) – The melodramatic script doesn’t quite drag me in the way it should, but the film has a definite melodramatic power anyway. I suspect a lot of this is thanks to Ray’s masterful handling of the visuals.
- The Cabin in the Woods (2012) – Maybe not the great metafictional feat that the reviews are claiming it is, but an undeniably crowd pleasing and entertaining film nonetheless. Absolutely hilarious, you’ll leave this one wishing they made ’em like this more often.
- Four Adventures of Reinette and Mirabelle (1987) – This is hyper-Rohmer territory, full of holidays, chance meetings, mystical encounters with nature and a fascination with mundane events. I’d only recommend it to Rohmer die-hards, but I would also highly recommend it to Rohmer die-hards.
- Ordet (1955) – A brilliant film about the power and folly of faith that never lets the viewer settle on a simple explanation for its mysteries. Perhaps one of the most audacious bits of storytelling I have ever seen.
- Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) – The setup might be a bit far fetched (and I’m pretty sure time travel doesn’t work that way), and there might be a few too many wacky chase scenes set to wacky music, but overall this movie is a real delight. The fish out of water scenes in San Francisco are still genuinely funny, which is saying something considering I’ve watched this probably close to 50 times.
- 21 Jump Street (2012) – The rambling script is a little too self aware for its own good, but there are enough scattered bits of cleverness to outweigh the parts that try too hard. Actually, it is the leads more than anything else that save this film–Tatum especially is pretty great.