Here are some two sentence reviews of the movies I watched in June.
- Movies watched – 18
- Movies that were new to me – 10
- Days since last Dazed and Confused viewing – 32
- Monthly Masterpieces – Dazed and Confused
- The Room (2003) – Possible contender for the “worst movie ever made” title, a feat made even more impressive by the reasonably competent production values. Worth watching for the train-wreck spectacle of it all, but I’m not sure that anyone really needs to see more than 10 minutes of this to really get the picture.
- Dazed and Confused (1993) – Probably the real brilliance in this film is the way it shows every single aspect of high school life while never feeling like either a celebration or condemnation of that life. Also, Mathew Mcconaughey (probably playing himself) is a revelation in this film.
- The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill but Came Down a Mountain (1995) – As these things go, this is pretty harmless entertainment. Still, it undeniably comes down a bit too far on the wrong side of the precious line as a group of quaint Welshfolk do something precious due to their precious life outlook.
- Wanderlust (2012) – This “yuppies join a commune” film is far funnier than you would expect thanks to a genuinely clever screenplay. Just too bad there isn’t someone with more charisma than Jennifer Aniston to work opposite the always likable Paul Rudd.
- Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011) – Nice dreamlike study of a woman who has recently escaped from a cult. The nice photography and strong performances help smooth out some of the more obvious attempts at drawing metaphorical parallels between her old life and her new.
- Religulous (2008) – For some reason Bill Maher comes off as a slightly more likable militant atheist (despite his smirking attitude), so that helps sell this attack on religion better than you would expect. Still, the targets are way too easy which makes me think maybe it would have been better to just leave them all alone in their own deluded worlds.
- Solaris (1972) – Excellent dreamlike “sci-fi” film that is really a psychodrama a heart. If I have a complaint, it is that some of the philosophy is a bit hoary, but this is still a hundred times more human than anything by Kubrik.
- 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) – The middle “trip to Jupiter” section with Hal 9000 is undeniably gripping cinema. It’s just too bad that the space ballet and final laser light show do not have nearly as much to say about the “big” questions as Kubrick thinks they do.
- Snow White and the Huntsman (2012) – While the script is a mess of barely linked set pieces, the visuals almost make up for the laziness. The fairy tale vibe is surprisingly strong throughout–the dark forest and the air freshener ad fairy forest are especially cool.
- Dr. No (1962) – The set pieces might not be as impressive as later entries in the series, but Connery’s Bond was never more cool than he is in this first outing. Sets a high water mark for the series that is only equaled by the following 3 movies.
- The Misfits (1961) – Marilyn (in her last film) is in top form in this bizarre story of her meeting up with some no-hopers trying to hang on to the long gone past. The final horse-catching sequence is especially fine cinema.
- You Only Live Twice (1967) – Not a bad Bond film, but the first one in which the gadgets and silliness finally overtake the story. This film is proof that it was Roald Dahl (who wrote the screenplay), not Roger Moore, who ruined the Bond franchise.
- Cheyenne Autumn (1964) – Impressively, this features some of Colthier’s career best cinematography. Unfortunately, it is coupled with John Ford at his most sentimental and preachy and thus the film tanks rather direly.
- Hackers (1995) – What should have ended up as typical multiplex fodder manages to tap into a rather impressive amount of cyberpunk atmosphere that catapults it past its populist origins. Also, young Angelina Jolie is quite breathtakingly beautiful.
- Prometheus (2012) – Visually, and on the strength of a few brilliant set pieces, this is impressive stuff. Just don’t try to think to hard about the script, which only answers its “big” questions in the most superficial and unconvincing ways possible.
- The Proposal (2009) – Reynolds and Bullock make appealing leads in this above average bedroom farce. A few parts faltered (like Oscar from The Office‘s vaguely racist supporting character) but for the most part this is great rom com material.
- Showgirls (1995) – This slickly produced take on All About Eve is not nearly as bad (aside from Berkley’s central performance) as you might have been led to believe. Which is not to say it is good, but it does have a definite sleazy atmosphere that works for it in a certain mean-spirited kind of way.
- Up! (1976) – A typical Meyer’s/Ebert collaboration of titties and silly dialog. Sadly, the script is more than a few shades too ridiculous to let the movie be anything more than a well-edited curiosity.