Here are some two sentence reviews of the movies I watched in April.
- Movies watched – 14
- Movies that were new to me – 13
- John Carpenter movies – 2
- Monthly Masterpieces – none
- Slomo (2013) – Short film about a guy who tunes in and drops out to pursue his love of in-line skating all day long in sunny California. Well made, though the message is undercut a bit by the fact that the dude used to be a high paid doctor who didn’t so much “leave it all behind” as “retire early.”
- Black Metal (2013) – Short film about a thirty-something black metal singer with a family who is shaken by news of an atrocity committed by one of his fans. Quite well done and even a little insightful, though no black metal fan/nihilist worth their salt would be that visibly upset at the news of a violent crime.
- The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride (1998) – I only watched The Lion King for the first time a couple years ago and remember liking it. This made me question my memory as the juvenile plotting and antics completely justify its straight to video status.
- So Undercover (2012) – Miley Cyrus goes undercover at a sorority to catch, like, some kind of Eastern European bad guy or something. Honestly, pretty much everything is just on the wrong side of barely even worth watching, and Miley Cyrus is in over her head playing the tough girl–of course I watched the whole thing and didn’t hate it anyway.
- Dillinger (1945) – B-movie (that I assume is highly historically inaccurate) about the famous bank robber handles the action scenes quite well, making for a fairly rip roaring good time. Incredibly violent too, what a difference a world war made with the censors I guess.
- Louis C. K.: Oh My God (2013) – Louis is a very clever guy, and I know he’s capable of brilliant work, but this really only seems to hit home about half the time. Not to say this isn’t any good, but I’ve seen guest appearances from him on talk shows that are more consistently funny.
- Prince of Darkness (1987) – Fun bit of low budget horror from John Carpenter, though it is too much of a mess to really be much more than a passing amusement. Also, the script doesn’t seem to understand quantum physics any more than that “Buddhist” dude down at the community garden that tried to give you that flyer about magnets that one time.
- Fun Size (2012) – This was marketed as “Superbad for girls!” and the trailer actually seemed like it might be ok. Sadly, it isn’t–in fact, it is about the worst piece of shit I’ve seen in quite a while.
- Evil Dead (2013) – While the script is in way too big of a rush to get to its string of lazily connected set pieces, perhaps it is in a rush for a reason, because they really make the movie come alive. One of the more visceral horror experiences I’ve had in a while, too bad the script isn’t quite up to the same level of brilliance as the deftly handled carnage.
- Caligula (1979) – Shitty, yes, but not as bad as some might claim–it is basically just a long series of big, well-shot and ill-conceived set pieces. Excellent production design and fine actors without much of anything else to back them up aside from a few tame cut-ins of hardcore porn.
- I Claudius (1976) – Long, detailed and uniformly excellent masterpiece theater miniseries about several generations of Roman Rulers. The acting is especially impressive and more than makes up for the minuscule budget.
- Killing Them Softly (2012) – Excellent gangster movie that revolves around a handful of losers and the fallout of their poor life choices at the hands of Brad Pitt’s professional hitman. If I have a complaint, it is that the script is a bit too heavy-handed with the whole “no, see, we’re drawing parallels to the current economic crisis” thing for my taste.
- Rocket Science (2007) – Finally a high school movie for kids that did debate! I can’t attest to its accuracy, as I was not one of those kids, but a good 90% of this film is really quite insightful, clever, and all around excellently conceived.
- Big Trouble in Little China (1986) – As a kid I remember this one being more fun than going to the movies. As an adult I’m happy to report it holds up just fine and that the flying sword fights and lipstick on Russel’s lips are just as awesome/hilarious as they were when I first saw it at age 10 or so.
I fucking love “I, Claudius.” When I started the first episode and saw the production values, I thought, “Shit, this is gonna be lame.” I’ve rarely been so wrong.