Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Purple Rose Of Cairo

Cecilia goes to see a movie so many times that one of the characters on the screen notices her, falls in love with her and walks off the screen to be with her. This pisses off the other chracters in the movie, all of the people involved in making the movie and Cecilia's abusive husband.
I liked this one. The best parts involve the movie characters: the guy who ditched the movie is that stereotypical cheerful hero type that I just love and the funniest parts of this movie are the characters in the movie-within-the-movie being angry and frustrated with the guy leaving. They can't finish their story without him and they want to be free, too.
So a lot of The Purple Rose Of Cairo is funny and does that whole "blurring the lines of reality and fantasy" thing that can fail so easily but is done well here. And it all builds up to (semi-SPOILER) a lame ending that I hated. Or, as Matan put it, "a Woody Allen ending." Except this is the only Woody Allen movie I've seen (besides Scoop) where the ending pissed me off.
All I'm saying is, I would have done it differently.

End of line.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

This is one of those movies I never had an interest in seeing. Judd Apatow doesn't interest me, the previews didn't interest me, I have no more patience for breakup comedies than I do for romantic comedies ... there were a great many reasons why I totally didn't care about Forgetting Sarah Marshall.
You know what? It's actually really good. It was certainly better than the Not Much that I was expecting. Jason Segel's a really good writer (which bodes well for when I eventually get around to seeing that new Muppet movie. Speaking of which...) and I approve of any movie that includes a stupid Dracula musical performed with puppets.
I should point out that if I had just watched this movie on my own (which wouldn't have happened, obviously, otherwise I would have seen it before last night), I probably wouldn't have thought much of it. I would have just sat there intending to hate it and finding fault simply because my expectations told me to.
But I watched it with a friend who wanted me to see it because it's one of his favorite movies (the same friend who showed me Killing Zoe for the same reason; of the two movies I much preferred Killing Zoe, but that should come as a surprise to no one), and that made me a little more inclined to accept the movie.
So I'm curious now, would that work with any movie? Like, if I were to watch, say, Schindler's List with someone who thinks I should see it (I haven't) because it's one of their favorite movies, would I enjoy it?
Or would I have to reconsider that friendship? "Yeah, I watch movies to be depressed and think about war atrocities. And you should watch this movie even though you hate sad, serious films." Maybe this hypothetical person isn't a good friend.
And they're ruining my point! My point is, I seem to be more inclined to enjoy movies I wouldn't enjoy otherwise if I watch them with a friend who likes the movie. I mean, heck, I really liked that Arthur remake in spite of the fact that it's pretty much everything I hate in a movie. Maybe I liked it because I went to see it with Lauren, who thought it was great and loves Russell Brand.
Who was also in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Maybe he's the key to this half baked nontheory.
I'd like to end this not-really-a-review with my favorite line from Forgetting Sarah Marshall: "When life gives you lemons, fuck those lemons and bail."
Now I'm off to find out why the chick who played Jack McBrayer's wife in this movie looked so goddamn familiar.

End of line.


Ingrid Bergman is a serious and damn near emotionless psychiatrist at a mental hospital for the mostly-sane (I guess?). She scoffs at love until she meets handsome, handsome Gregory Peck and falls totally in love with him, in spite of the fact that it turns out he not only isn't the person he originally claimed he was, but he has no idea who he actually is. And he probably killed someone.
Spellbound isn't the best Hitchcock movie I've seen, certainly, but it was still entertaining. I wasn't bored at any point, I was really interested in finding out what Amnesia Guy's story was and there's a dream sequence designed by Salvador Dali. Neat!
Best of all, though, is Michael Chekhov as Ingrid Bergman's former mentor and all around hilarious old guy, Dr. Alexander Brulov. He was without a doubt the best character and most entertaining part of the movie. Apparently Spellbound was nominated for a bunch of Oscars; if one of those Oscars was Best Old Guy, he would have won hands down.

End of line.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Breathing Room

Fourteen people who may or may not have anything in common are locked in a room together. They're wearing deadly shock collars, they're numbered and they're forced to "play a game" (AKA "be locked in a room and not trust each other") until only one of them remains.
I'm a sucker for this shit; give me a "bunch of strangers locked in a room" movie and you bet your ass I'll watch it.
Breathing Room is pretty good, as far as this sort of movie goes, but it's not great. It introduces a lot of interesting questions about who the people are, why they're there, how they're going to get out of here, all kinds of things. And then they never address any of those questions, really. They throw them out for the sake of killing characters off and (SPOILER-ish) having a twist ending.
I was also disappointed in one of the hints given throughout the movie. It was an anagram, and I figured it out immediately. That's pretty sad (for the movie) because I royally suck at anagrams.
All that aside, though, it was an entertaining hour and a half. I wish I could have had some explanations to go with all the things I wondered throughout the movie, but I'll take what I got. It was ninety minutes of me not being bored and that's all I really want out of a movie.

End of line.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Arthur Christmas

You know how a lot of movies, especially animated movies aimed at children, tend to have previews that make you think "Well. That looks awful."? Remember how Arthur Christmas had previews like that? And you know how a small percentage of the time the previews are just terrible and wrong, and completely misrepresenting the actually really good movie they're trying to advertise?
Remember how Arthur Christmas had previews like that?
Arthur Christmas is the story of the Santa Claus family, their sleek, fancy and technologically up-to-date (actually, way-off-in-the-future-date) operations, the Grandsanta who prefers the good old days, the upcoming-Santa older son Steve who's a jerk and younger, stars-in-his-eyes-believes-wholeheartedly-in-Christmas-and-Santa-and-magic Arthur, and a present that accidentally didn't get delivered.
I loved this movie; it was sweet and it made me cry, it had a lot of action and silliness and it was just a whole lot of fun. I'm bummed that the previews made it look so incredibly stupid because it tricked me and a whole lot of other people into not wanting to see it.
Also, the cast is awesome: Bill Nighy, James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, Imelda Staunton, Jim Broadbent, Michael Palin in a small role and an actress I've never heard of (Ashley Jensen) as my favorite character, an elf named Bryony who is an expert at wrapping presents.
It's such a fun movie. It makes you cry, but not in a horrible way. You love pretty much all the characters (except probably Steve, who is mostly a jerk) and even when it hits all the annoying cliches that you usually hate, they're handled well enough that they don't bother you.
(In that paragraph, "you" means "I.")

End of line.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Not nearly as good as Shadows And Fog, better than Alice, kind of tied with Manhattan Murder Mystery (not quite as good as that one, actually).
And I don't have solid proof, but this movie is evidence that Woody Allen invented the Some Shit That Happened genre that I loathe so much.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Woman In Black

A widowed father named Arthur travels to a gloomy town to do some lawyery job involving papers and a giant, spooky old house that the townspeople have creepy superstitions about.
Superstitions or ghosts?!?
I tried really hard to like The Woman In Black, but I had some issues.
First of all I spent the whole movie wishing it would end, but not because I wasn't enjoying the movie. I just wished it would end so the fucking audience would shut the fuck up. It's fine to react if something scares you, but there's no need to discuss it for the next five minutes. If you talk above a whisper in a movie theater, I hate you.
I guess that problem had nothing to do with the movie itself. But this next one does: the music. Basically, every moment that should have been chilling was ruined by the music. Every time something spooky happened (for instance, a shadow in the background moving because it's not just a shadow), the music let out a sudden, jolting blast. I have mentioned before my distaste for jump scares, but I have no problem saying it again: JUMP SCARES ARE NOT SCARY. They're annoying and they're proof that you think your audience is stupid. The Woman In Black would have been infinitely spookier if the music had been subtle and I had been allowed to notice the scares on my own.
They showed the ghost too often, too, but I'll let that one slide because ... because I will. I'm feeling gracious.
However, in spite of all these issues, the movie was definitely entertaining and well acted. I was involved the whole way through and was genuinely interested in what was going to happen next.

End Of Line.