Here are some two sentence reviews of the movies I watched in June.
- Movies watched – 16
- Movies that were new to me – 15
- Seasons of television shows watched – 13: Terriers, Game of Thrones, 2 seasons Bored to Death, 2 seasons Justified, 3 seasons True Blood, 4 seasons Mad Men
- Monthly Masterpieces – The Maltese Falcon
- Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) – The reviews would have you believe that this is way shittier than the first one, but rest assured, they are both pretty shitty. An overlong mess of a film, I probably would have preferred it if they would have done a bit more of the National Treasure style stuff instead of the wall to wall CGI robot fights.
- Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon (2011) – The reviews would have you believe that this is a marginal improvement on the second one, and while they thankfully allow a bit of story to sneak in between the robot fights, I can’t really say it is much of an improvement otherwise. Shia is a whiny, idiotic protagonist, the film is probably 90 minutes (literally) too long, and, in what is the biggest problem with this whole series, the Transformers themselves are, conceptually, rather ridiculously stupid.
- Used Cars (1980) – The broad humor is just as often stupid as it is clever, but I can’t deny the movie moves along at a nice snappy pace. And it really does have a uniquely scuzzy atmosphere that ties the whole production together quite nicely.
- 1941 (1979) – The production design is impressive, but goddamn if this isn’t about the biggest waste of celluloid I’ve ever seen. I have to marvel at the amount of hubris necessary to get a film like 1941 made.
- Star Wars Prequels (reviewed on Youtube) – Some dude in Wisconsin painstakingly makes an epic (and well-edited) nerd rant about why the Star Wars prequels suck so much. He makes some good points, and then repeats them on end for 4 hours in one of the most annoying voices of all time…so, by all means, check this out if that sounds like your kind of thing.
- The Maltese Falcon (1941) – This sets the high water mark for every private eye and noir film to follow in its impressive footsteps. Huston makes the direction seem effortless, and Bogart proves why they just don’t make em like they used to with his iconic performance as Sam Spade.
- The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (2009) – The series ends with a protracted courtroom whimper here in this overlong movie that doesn’t seem to know quite what to do with its rather weak story. Some of the nice Scandinavian atmosphere is still there, but it’s still nasty, rape-obsessed stuff just like the first two movies.
- Dead Reckoning (1947) – This plays kind of like a poor man’s The Maltese Falcon, which means it is actually pretty hugely enjoyable despite its flaws. The lead actress on the other hand plays kind of like a poor man’s Lauren Bacall and does not fare as well in the comparison.
- Centurion (2010) – One of those “one big chase” movies, but nowhere nearly as compelling as something like The Naked Prey. This is probably because the script seems more concerned with cramming as many decapitations into the proceedings as humanly possible than it does with telling a compelling story.
- Morning Glory (2010) – I was on board for the by the numbers premise, and the leads had potential, so I was surprised by how much I hated this one. The main culprit is the treacly script that insults your intelligence at ever turn (along with the dubious message that bullshit morning shows have something worthwhile to say).
- Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010) – The 30,000 year old cave paintings really are pretty amazing, but I still don’t see how the “3D” somehow magically lets us understand their relationship to their environment any more than a 2D depiction of the 3D surface. Also, Herzog is verging on self-parody…I rolled my eyes all the way to the back of my head when he asked “what would this crocodile think if he could see the pictures?”
- X-Men: First Class (2011) – Really a pretty decent X-movie, with good performances and interesting mutant choices (though the Darwin shit is frustrating on a a few fanboy levels) for the X-team. On the villain front Kevin Bacon is pretty great, and January Jones actually isn’t as horrible as you heard, but maybe that is just in comparison to the other two cardboard cutouts in the “Hellfire Club.”
- When in Rome (2010) – I absolutely hated this film, and this is coming from a guy who kind of liked New in Town. My daily movie review actually got liveblogged in a sense, so you can go HERE if you need more reasons not to subject yourself to this one.
- Down With Love (2003) – Ostensibly this is a return to the old school Rock and Doris style of 60s screwball comedies, and I suppose it is pleasant enough in parts. However, it makes the fatal error of not playing it straight (not to mention the fact that all the blatant double entendre’s are more at home in an Austin Powers movie than in something like Pillowtalk) and thus, this one mostly loses me from the get go.
- Decision at Sundown (1957) – Pretty good Western even though it doesn’t have the crackle of a Burt Kennedy script like the other Boetticher/Scott collaborations. Still, not without its faults, primarily the complete implausibility of the script.
- The Girl Next Door (2004) – While it stays in fairy tale male wish-fulfillment mode during its first half it has a certain halfhearted charm, but then the script throws in about a dozen plot elements too many, which, coupled with Cuthbert’s wildly uneven performance really sinks this one. I should mention that Timothy Olyphant really steals the film, even if his character is as out of place as the rest of the second half’s developments.