Here are some two sentence reviews of the movies I watched in February.
- Movies watched – 11
- Movies that were new to me – 10
- Silent Westerns – 3
- Monthly Masterpieces – The Asphalt Jungle
- Les Miserables (2012) – Filmed with some style, it is almost enough to counteract the annoying way everyone talk-sings their lines. Also, I’ve heard the score for this is great, but after listening through it I must say that such reports were greatly exaggerated.
- The Narrow Trail (1917) – This William S. Hart vehicle is alright, though it mostly suffers from too many long stretches of inactivity. Still, the location shooting is always nice on these early westerns.
- The Man with the Punch (1920) – Somewhat inconsequential silent western short. The homely lead is pretty charismatic, even if he doesn’t really punch all that many people.
- Hands Up! (1926) – Really pretty hilarious comedy farce, with the main character acting kind of like a silly James Bond prototype. The ratio of funny gags to misfires is uncommonly high.
- Rango (2011) – It’s the usual bit of modern animation hipster winking for the parents, but I do at least dig the western vibe. And I have to admit the banjo ride of the Valkyries sequence is rather inspired.
- Galloping Bungalows (1924) – Typical keystone wackiness, but fun enough (if a bit antiquated for 1924). Quite a bit of running about without much sense to any of the going ons.
- Fatty and Mabel Adrift (1916) – A really well done silent comedy short. It might not be the most hilarious film ever, but the excellent performances and film making make this a delight anyway.
- The Lord of the Rings (1978) – This condenses the first two books into a run time that is less than a third of the first two Peter Jackson films, and is, honestly, probably a tighter narrative. The low budget shows through in many places, but really only adds to the charm.
- A Good Day to Die Hard (2013) – The suspension of disbelief crushing implausibility has been a part of the series for a while and is something I can grudgingly accept. Unfortunately, the laziness with which the script was written is new to the series, as is Willis sleepwalking through the role.
- The Asphalt Jungle (1950) – One of the all time masterpieces, a cold, relentless, perfect movie about those who live apart from society. One of the first, and still the best heist movie of all time.
- Mama (2013) – Though this is a bit episodic (which tends to undercut the suspense–only so many “it was only a dream” segments before the first confrontation loses its power) and doesn’t really know what to do with the ending, this is still solid multiplex horror fodder. The premise is cool enough, the child actors great, and the jump scares, while cheap, are well executed.