Here are some two sentence reviews of the movies I watched in September.
- Movies watched – 17
- Movies that were new to me – 11
- Fairly badass and/or sweet action movies watched – 3
- Monthly Masterpieces – It Happened One Night, Broken Blossoms
- Dredd 3D (2012) – This is a no nonsense, hyper-violent day in the life of everyone’s favorite dystopian fascist cop. The slow motion sequences look pretty cool (though they would have looked better, like the rest of the film, without being in 3D), the action is pretty much totally badass and/or sweet, and Eomer has a fucking EPIC scowl.
- Bachelorette (2012) – Apparently this got panned on release, but as long as you go into it expecting an Always Sunny in Philidelphia style story about horrible people, you might actually end up enjoying it. Of course, it is hard to tell how good it really is since I like everyone in the cast so much.
- It Happened One Night (1934) – This grandfather of all rom coms hasn’t lost a bit of its charm 80 years later as a mismatched pair of potential lovers learn how much fun slumming it with the poor can be. They don’t make em like they used to, and, apparently that goes for rom coms too.
- When Harry Met Sally (1989) – The script is full of good one liners, though it isn’t quite as deep and insightful as it thinks it is. Still, the leads are charismatic enough that it remains unusually watchable anyway.
- Eurotrip (2004) – Sure, it reduces every country in Europe into a single stereotype of its inhabitants, but hell, we’re Americans, and nuanced understandings of cultural differences are not our strong point. Also, as teen road trip movies go, this is actually pretty funny in its own over the top silly way.
- Cabin in the Woods (2012) – Totally crowd pleasing commentary on horror movie tropes that will keep you entertained from beginning to end. Also, it is rather hilarious.
- The Lucky One (2012) – Zac Effron, even though he seems to have butched up for the role, is ultimately somewhat unconvincing as a taciturn marine of few words. It’s the usual Sparks shit, but this time it thankfully confines the manufactured tragedy into a more conventional romantic storyline which makes things a bit more watchable (unlike the last act of Dear John).
- Safe (2012) – Statham action vehicle which really throws plausibility out the window for some utterly ridiculous story about cops, Russians, and Chinese shooting up New York to capture Statham and a cute little girl. That said, it sure moves along at a nice pace, and isn’t really a bad bit of visceral testosterone-laced cinema.
- Damsels in Distress (2011) – The odd tone is offputting at first, and even though you end up getting used to it, the film still fails to engage. It is satire I suppose, but not exactly successful satire.
- Celeste and Jesse Forever (2012) – By starting with the couple already broken up, this avoids over-sentimentalizing the relationship and is actually a reasonably insightful film about moving on. Rashida Jones turns in a pretty great performance too.
- The Five-Year Engagement (2012) – Another rambling improvisational style movie that seems to be all over the place as it tracks the very long engagement of its central couple. Still, it is amusing and the leads are likable which makes it a pleasant enough diversion.
- Bridesmaids (2011) – Though it falls victim to the usual Apatow-improvisational-style trap of overlength and spotty pacing, it hardly matters as it is so often so completely hilarious. The food poisoning scene alone is a masterpiece of scatological brilliance.
- Broken Blossoms (1919) – Beautiful Bitzer cinematography and great acting round out one of Griffith’s most lyrical films. Surprisingly forward thinking about racism as well–given the time, source, and amount of yellowface.
- Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) – Crammed full of more clever jokes than possibly any movie ever, this also happens to be quite a triumph of low budget production design. Atmospheric, hilarious, and more than a little silly, it hardly matters that the plot is little more than a series of barely connected skits.
- Can’t Hardly Wait (1998) – Not a bad last day of high school party movie, helped by a script that is a bit more clever than you usually find in this stuff. Still, I’m not sure I really buy the whole stalkeresque premise of the main guy expecting JLH to hook up with him the whole movie.
- The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970) – Holmes may be a tad too make-upped up, but this really is a rather brilliant late period Billy Wilder film. The script is delightfully wild, but it has real emotion to keep the movie grounded in reality–beautiful cinematography too.
- Step Up 3D (2010) – Though it’s tough to beat Channing Tatum, the male leads in this series are getting worse and worse at an exponential rate. Thankfully the charismatic Moose returns from part 2 to anchor his half of the movie, while the dance sequences are probably a series high (though they continued to suffer from the usual Step Up problem where the other teams usually looking like they got robbed out of the win in the various dance fights).