Here are some two sentence reviews of the movies I watched in February.
- Finding Nemo (2003) – It’s the usual kid’s movie stuff that somehow finds a way to pander to both adults and children alike. All the underwater denizens are dutifully visited, but it never seems to have much to say on its long journey through the sea.
- Grandma’s Boy (1970) – Charming Lloyd film about a cowardly man learning to stand up for himself. Maybe the story is pretty slight, but there is no denying how funny the gags are in Lloyd’s first “full length.”
- College (1927) – One of Keaton’s weaker films, and still an absolute delight. A bit less story than usual, but Keaton makes excellent use of his athleticism in the film’s repeated sports try-out disasters.
- Who’s that Knocking at my Door? (1967) – Unrestrained Scorsese is not exactly the best Scorsese, and this, his first feature, seems way too concerned with showing off rather than showing the audience something with a bit of heart to it. Lots of good scenes, but also plenty of sub-Godardian filler.
- Godfather (1972) – Perfectly constructed film, it’s just too bad the material is so sensational and, honestly, fairly immature. I’m also not certain Brando’s performance is, you know, good.
- The Wedding Video (2012) – Lucy Punch is great, and the script actually has some pretty good gags if you don’t mind a complete lack of subtlety. Really, my only issue (aside from using the tired found footage framing device) is that the main dude is kind of a douche.
- Good Night, and Good Luck (2005) – Well made and beautifully shot movie that, unfortunately, feels a little too on the nose to really get behind. One gets the idea that we are supposed to think that Murrow is a saint to end all saints, and aint nobody got shit that smells that nice.
- The French Connection (1976) – Gritty and well made “cop” movie that would sure be a whole hell of a lot more likable if its main character were not such a dick. Which wouldn’t be so bad, but it’s also not clear that the director realizes Popeye is a piece of shit.
- The Warriors (1979) – Fantastic slab of visceral non-stop action, propelled by a script that has trimmed every last bit of fat from an already lean movie. Hill is really underrated as a director, and this is probably his best film.
- The Land Before Time (1986) – Great animation and a semi-serious script pushes this one forward a few steps when compared to similar movies. Still, what’s with all these kids movies starting out by brutally killing the protagonist’s parents?
- A Matter of Life and Death (1946) – Classic P&P story of love, heaven, and everything in between. The script especially shines–expertly balancing a complicated plot with a whole bunch of heaven stuff that, somehow, never once feels preachy.
- The Canyons (2013) – Honestly, pretty much the total mess you would guess this would be, the chief complaint being a script that really just kind of goes nowhere in the least coherent manner possible. Lohan is barely passable, and Deen is pretty wooden, though he at least has impressive screen presence.
- Punch Drunk Love (2002) – Really brilliant movie about a severely repressed dude finding love with a fellow societal reject. Everything about this film is evidence of some seriously brilliant work both behind and in front of the camera.
- Enter the Dragon (1973) – The story is pretty meh, but that’s hardly the reason one goes to a “kung fu” movie. Unfortunately, the fight choreography is pretty bland as well, leading one to wonder just where this movie got its hallowed reputation.
- Polar Express (2004) – I can’t help but feel like 90% of the set pieces in this film are pretty superfluous. Of course, I guess, without them you would be left with a pretty short movie about kids riding a train to the North Pole.
- Stepford Wives (1975) – Goes for the slow burn, rather than a more in your face approach, and largely works. Still, for an “uneventful” horror film, it’s all too obvious how dreadfully slow this movie is when compared to something like Rosemary’s Baby.