Here are some two sentence reviews of the movies I watched in February.
- Movies watched – 21
- Movies that were new to me – 18
- Marilyn Monroe movies – 4
- Monthly Masterpieces – Some Like it Hot
- A Canine Sherlock Holmes (1912) – Short film about an unusually perceptive dog who tends to solve all his detective master’s cases. The dog is pretty funny, and, importantly, his master holds his own in his scenes, so it is really a pretty amusing little short.
- Felix in Hollywood (1923) – Felix the cat wanders around Hollywood getting into trouble and meeting the stars. There are a lot of clever sequences even if it is overall mostly just a slight bit of Hollywood star fan service.
- Ella Cinders (1926) – Coleen Moore is an able lead (her hilarious and possibly filthy cigar smoking routine alone is worth the price of admission) in this minor silent comedy. The narrative is pretty fractured, but considering a good 20 minutes of the original has been lost, I don’t know if that is really a fault of the script.
- Doubling for Romeo (1921) – Will Rogers is a great screen presence, and there are plenty of good gags (even working in a few meta references from back when being meta wasn’t so played out) in this silly “western.” Unfortunately, it plays out as more of a feature length short film that is more content to jump all over the place than tell a coherent story.
- The Evil Dead (1981) – Grossout (with strong special effects) low budget horror film that, admittedly, has a certain charm. However, though I realize they are going for different things, Texas Chainsaw Massacre is still a much stronger film.
- About Last Night (2014) – Really quite hilarious romantic comedy about a year in the life of two couples. All four leads are excellent, and the script keeps the jokes flowing nicely, what more could I ask for?
- There’s No Business Like Show Business (1954) – Pretty dire and tacky musical about a family that apparently has the most shrill and annoying stage act of all time but gets famous anyway. Not even Monroe’s minimal screen time can save this clunker.
- Ever After: A Cinderella Story (1998) – This is how to do a rom com version of a fairy tale and get it right. I’d like to give most of the credit to Barrymore, who is delightful, but honestly this is all around strong work right down to Da Vinci as the fairy godmother.
- Collateral (2004) – Despite the third act feeling a little rote, this is still a fantastic and very stylishly made thriller. What more can I say about this film other than that it’s enough to make a person not hate Tom Cruise.
- Lone Survivor (2014) – I feel like calling this jingoistic and manipulative is like calling a rom-com forumulaic–ie, it is a lazy and unfair way to review it. However, despite a few tense action sequences, most of the rest is far to unbelievable (and eye rollingly jingoistic and manipulative) to really recommend.
- Katy Perry: Part of Me (2012) – As is usually the case with a film like this, I only feel like I got the vaguest picture of what the real Katy Perry is like. Still, overall, this merely surface-deep chronicle of a year long tour by someone whose music I generally dislike [editor’s update: generally like] is pretty entertaining.
- Austenland (2013) – Really quite delightful modern day take on Austenian romance. There is scenery chewing aplenty from the supporting cast, but, for some reason, it provokes more giggles than eye rolls.
- Some Like it Hot (1959) – One of the all-time great comedies, and the rare movie that actually manages to equal Monroe’s performance. The pregnant and “overweight” Monroe has never looked better either.
- Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004) – One of the greatest stoner comedies of recent times–and it gets by on selling its absurdity through the two leads playing things straight no matter how ridiculous the situation. It’s also, importantly, rather hilarious.
- My Week With Marilyn (2011) – Williams actually does an excellent job, even if the normally beautiful actress seems a bit fugly throughout this movie due to being subjected to a constant comparison with Monroe in the viewer’s mind. Otherwise, the rest of this is a pretty forgettable story of a good-natured young dude that, twist, ends up having a thing for Marilyn Monroe.
- Bus Stop (1956) – Monroe finally gets a chance to prove herself as a serious actress and knocks it out of the park. It’s just too bad the dude she is stuckc with here is so fucking obnoxious.
- The Prince and the Showgirl (1957) – Not as lame as some would have you believe, almost entirely due to Marilyn’s superb performance. When she is onscreen, it’s easy to forget what drivel the rest of the film is.
- The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) – Apparently Scorsese is the only director who can make biopics I enjoy. Of course, it helps that by playing the life story of the ultimate douchebag as a comedy it doesn’t seem like a biopic–though, on the other hand, playing things for laughs does have the unfortunate effect of making the ultimate douchebag seem a lot more sympathetic than he should have been.
- Safety Last (1923) – While the first half is funny, it is definitely not Lloyd’s strongest material. However, the famous building climb of the second half definitely delivers and elevates this film a few notches in Lloyd’s oeuvre.
- Love on the Run (1936) – Pretty shitty take on the It Happened One Night premise only with none of the magic and charm. Gable and Crawford wander around Europe from one ill-conceived set-piece to another while the viewer wonders how long until it’s over.
- I Am Britney Jean (2013) – Ostensibly this was supposed to have shown viewers a glimpse of the “real” Britney, but is really just an extended commercial for her Vegas residency. Still, there are flashes of honesty, and on a reality show level, the “gotta get ready for the show in time” premise works well enough.