Here are some two sentence reviews of the movies I watched in November.
- Movies watched – 16
- Movies that were new to me – 5
- Bond Movies – 5
- Monthly Masterpieces – Palm Beach Story
- The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) – A lot of people call this one the best Roger Moore Bond, but I wonder if they aren’t just swayed by the memorable set design and cool Egypt locations. Because otherwise, with the introduction of the indestructible Jaws (who admittedly has a considerable amount of screen presence), Moore’s run in the series turns from silly to cartoonish.
- The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) – I don’t know why people shit on this one so much. It’s pretty dumb and inconsequential, but so are the rest of the Moore years, and this one at least has a cool “mini me” villain that is actually fairly menacing.
- Live and Let Die (1973) – Moore takes over the role of Bond and heads to Harlem and then the Louisiana bayou. This isn’t as bad as I remembered it, but the wacky boat chases and voodoo shenanigans definitely let you know that the Moore years are going to be more You Only Live Twice than From Russia With Love.
- The Cabin in the Woods (2012) – I am not super well versed in all the horror tropes this pokes fun at, but I don’t think that would stop anyone from appreciating the humor (for instance, never having seen a modern Japanese horror film, I still found the clips of the Japan branch hilarious). This is that rare Hollywood action/horror release that actually has a bit more going on in its head than just how to get to the next set piece.
- On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) – It’s a shame Lazenby didn’t stick around, because this film is easily up there with the all time best Bond films. He’s missing Connery’s cruel edge, but otherwise, he nails the role in a really excellently constructed film to boot.
- Bad Santa (2003) – That unusual Hollywood movie about a “bad” Santa that actually is a pretty bad dude. So, kudos to the filmmakers for finding a way to make this such a sweet (and hilarious) movie without cutting back on Bad Santa’s penchant for anal with plus sized women.
- From Russia With Love (1963) – Probably the best Bond film of all time, this classic never fails to entertain. Great Bond girl, great theme song, great train fight, and another great Connery performance that is at once cruel and charming.
- Skyfall (2012) – If I want to complain, this isn’t exactly going to win any awards for tight plotting (not that other Bond films do much better) and Craig is still too serious for Bond. But this is still the best Bond film I’ve seen in a long time–great villain, nice restrained stunts, excellent new cast additions and some really brilliant cinematography courtesy of Deakins.
- The Cabin in the Woods (2012) – Not really so scary as much as it is a very Whedonesque “hip” commentary on the genre tropes of the modern horror film. Thankfully, it isn’t nearly as insufferable as all that sounds, in fact, it is easily one of the most entertaining big Hollywood releases this year.
- Swept Away (2002) – Bizarre story about a horrible rich bitch who has the tables turned on her in a pretty fucked-up master/slave desert island “fantasy” come true. I’m not sure anyone really knows what they are trying to say, and Madonna proves here that the rumors of her acting shortcomings might not have been so greatly exaggerated after all.
- Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936) – Cooper leaves his simple town life to run with the rich folk and teach them a few good old fashioned lessons about what it is to be a hard working, head thumping, honest American. Quite enjoyable, though, while this isn’t nearly as preachy as Meet John Doe, it definitely pushes it.
- Palm Beach Story (1942) – Another brilliant script full of wacky characters and scintillating one liners, this is one of Sturges’ (many) good ones. The supporting characters practically steal the show too, from the Weenie King to Mary Astor and her boy toy Toto.
- Desperately Seeking Susan (1985) – I don’t care if it uses the oldest setup in the book (amnesia!), this is pretty fun. The main story has some nice fish out of water moments, while Madonna proves that any rumors of her acting shortcomings are greatly exaggerated.
- The Sure Thing (1985) – Cute road trip movie that finds the strangely likable Cusack doing his usual thing. It kind of reeks of the 80s, but still has plenty of entertaining moments.
- Catch and Release (2006) – I like the two leads a lot, but it isn’t enough to save this movie from the worst kind of melodramatic impulses. Of course romantic comedy/dramas like this always take themselves too seriously and, like this one, find themselves not up to the task of being a real movie.
- I Married a Witch (1942) -Sleight tale of witchcraft and curses with a thoroughly unconvincing love story. Still, Veronica Lake is as mesmerizing as the male lead is bland, so it is at least partly watchable I guess.