Monday, June 24, 2013

Sort of Film Reviews

There are so many movies being made all the time, the thought of it is overwhelming, like the concept of infinity or the logistics of Santa’s Christmas Eve itinerary.  I sometimes think it’d be possible to watch every movie that’s made, or at least within a specific set of parameters, like if I were to attempt to watch every movie made in England and the U.S. in 2012.  Usually what tells me that a task like this would be impossible (even if I weren’t a mother with a full time job) is the awareness of some obscure art movie or really shitty straight to video affair.  A good example is the film Transylmania.  Just looking it up on IMDB a moment ago, I found out this 2008 film is a “2009 horror/farce sequel to the 2006 comedy National Lampoon's Dorm Daze 2.”  When I  watched the first half hour once though, after it fell into my possession (that’s right, I once briefly owned Transylmania!) and I told myself “well, you said you wanted to try watching every single movie!”, I couldn’t finish it, because my gut told me it was about to turn into an unfunny, unsexy softcore porn comedy.  Also, did you know there’s such a thing as WWE Studios,  a subsidiary of World Wrestling Entertainment that makes narrative films?  I once briefly owned a copy of the WWE Studios classic The Chaperone, starring Triple H, and this is another movie I couldn’t get through. 
But sometimes, just sometimes, I think maybe I’ve seen more movies at least than everyone on my floor at work, or maybe even everyone on my block.  Lately I’ve been managing to see very many mainstream new releases.  Too many to write reviews of.  But I am going to do a very brief summary review of all the movies I can remember seeing in the past month, with a rating system of 1 to 5 X’s, 1 X being Transylmania bad and 5 X’s being Royal Tenenbaums great. 

Stand Up Guys – XXX – Good revenge violence scene favoring a rape survivor, and pretty good use of the wonderful Lucy Punch.  Good use of old guys and friendship.  Too middle of the road to necessarily recommend.

Gangster Squad – XX – kind of whatevs, but fun to watch if you’re familiar with Raymond Chandler and all them, and fun to ponder whether Emma Stone makes a believable femme fatale.

Magic Mike – X – boring and depressing with no pay off.

The Watch – XXXX – for nesting dolls-related humor and some great one-liners.

Hitchcock – XXX – pretty interesting story of the making of Psycho, and Anthony Hopkins is good.  Also, the last line is great.  A little too neither here nor there, though.

A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III – XX – all farts, no poo.  It has Bill Murray, though.

Devil in a Blue Dress – XXXX – this one is less recent than the others, made in 1995, and it’s one I’ve already seen.  It’s really neat because it’s a Raymond Chandler-esque L.A. gumshoe mystery, but with Black characters, when the genre is usually White.  It’s just generally good, too, with a surprising twist.

Django Unchained – XXX – I had to miss a half hour of this movie but I got the gist of what I missed.  Meh.  The stylized editing and surprising soundtrack songs were fun and it erased some of the anti-german sentiment left over in my subconscious from having watched Inglorious Basterds, so that’s nice.  But I think it was over-lauded. 

Prometheus – XXX – holy moly, this was one lonely-feeling space odyssey, a la Moon, 2001 Space Odyssey or Solaris, all space movies that I think are sort of boring and claustrophobia-making.  On the other hand, some parts were beautiful and it had good suspense. 

The Master – XXX – I’d been looking forward to this movie when it was more blatantly about scientology than it ended up being in its final incarnation, but that’s okay, it’s still really good, and I thought I’d never respect Joaquin Pheonix again after that “I’m Still Here” hoax but he’s good in this movie and I’ve never seen another character like the one he plays here.  Philip Seymour Hoffman is amazing as usual especially when he sings Slow Boat to China.  The main problem with this movie is somehow it’s missing its oomph.  It’s not quite artsy or disturbing or queer subtexty enough …. It’s not fully anything enough, it’s a little amorphous, though I think some of that is intentional, since the protagonist is a drifter and this movie sort of drifts along. 

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