Here are some two sentence reviews of the movies I watched in April.
- Movies watched – 16
- Movies that were new to me – 12
- Teen Comedies – 3
- Monthly Masterpieces – Stagecoach, Johnny Guitar
- Jane Eyre (2011) – I wasn’t familiar with the story, but this seems to deliver the fancy prose without a hint of stuffiness, thanks in large part to the excellent leads. The cinematography is also quite breathtaking and fits the gloomy atmosphere perfectly.
- The Trip (2010) – Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon hit the road to sample really fancy restaurants in this 6 part British miniseries. Not exactly laugh out loud funny, but quite uncomfortably well-done as the two leads effortlessly (and naturalistically) riff off of each other.
- 35 Shots of Rum (2008) – A bold film in its refusal to elaborate on any of the details of the relationships that unfold within it. Rather stunning actually, and with a fantastic soundtrack–I was still thinking about it the next day, though, I’m afraid it is still missing that something that will keep it in my mind the day after that.
- Sex Drive: Theatrical Version (2008) – The theatrical version really is much better (and less misogynistic) than the unrated version (as the video disclaimer before the unrated version accurately states). Still not one of the all time teen grossout sex comedy classics, but pretty amusing nonetheless.
- The Hangover Part II (2011) – On the one hand, I don’t mind a movie that has no aspirations beyond giving the audience exactly what it expects. On the other, this scene for scene rehash of the first film was a lazy, unfunny mess that shows about as much respect for its audience as it does its protagonists.
- Easy A (2010) – There are definitely parts that try too hard (the “cool” teacher for one), but the clever script and Emma Stone’s undeniable screen presence make a second watch through as easy as the first. And, once again, all the delightful Christian bashing is A-OK in my book.
- Bridesmaids (2011) – It is just what you have heard, a Judd Apatow comedy with women playing the male roles (Kristin Wiig is actually quite phenomenal as the lead). As with a lot of Judd Apatow style films, it is also quite hilarious, hurt only by the uneven pacing that tends to make things drag between the more memorable set pieces.
- Something New (2006) – By casting the white guy in the “I’ll fix you” role it automatically marginalizes the black woman’s legitimate reservations, a problem that is all too obvious in the bullshit ending that conveniently sweeps the issue of race under the rug–where the white guy has been suggesting it belongs the whole movie. Sledgehammer obvious, this painfully simplistic movie never attempts to approach its main issue of race with even the slightest modicum of complexity–Save the Last Dance handles this subject so much better.
- You Again (2010) – Utterly stupid, and with random life lessons breaking up the idiotic set pieces as it lurches its way towards the conclusion. Still, Kristin Bell somehow manages to keep it from being completely unwatchable, which, I suppose, means I am that much closer to finally watching When in Rome one of these days.
- Sex Drive: Unrated Version (2008) – A cut above the usual teen comedy fare, there are actually quite a few clever moments scattered throughout. Though (and perhaps this is because I watched the unrated version with 20 minutes of random grossout and sex jokes added) the humor had a bit of a nasty misogynistic streak despite the “it’s good to be a nice guy” message.
- Fast Five (2011) – Eschewing physics and plausibility for a sweat and testosterone drenched orgy of brograbs, swaggering displays of physical prowess, and general face-punching awesomeness, this may be the manliest movie ever made. Even better than Tokyo Drift!
- Thor (2011) – Though the Asgard stuff is kind of silly, and Portman’s character is reduced to a one dimensional ohmygoshheissohot character, the fish out of water “Thor in Oklahoma” stuff is pretty entertaining. Decent, but still one of the weaker Marvel entries.
- Failure to Launch (2006) – MM is pretty charming without being smarmy and the supporting characters are all pretty good. Unfortunately, Sarah Jessica Parker’s character as the romantic interest is unappealing and the plot is pretty implausible.
- The Shooting (1968) – One of those “existential” westerns with an overbearing modern soundtrack, a metaphorical journey across a wasteland, and an ending that, while I think I figured it out after a rewind and internet lookup, really could have been filmed a bit more clearly. Nothing really wrong with it, but a filmmaker like Boetticher manages to do this kind of thing and make it twice as good without hitting you over the head with his metaphors like this one does.
- Johnny Guitar (1954) – One of the most ridiculously baroque pieces of stylized melodrama ever. Like they say in Ghostbusters, Nicholas Ray is either a ”certified genius or an authentic wacko” …in this case I’m going with both.
- Stagecoach (1939) – The film that made John Wayne a true star and proved once and for all that the western needed to be taken seriously. Just a “mismatched traveller” tale at heart, but, due to its choice of genre, it takes on an aura of mythic grandeur that remains unmatched to this day.