Wednesday, March 2, 2011

February 2011 Recap

"RECAP" has returned. In case you're not familiar, allow me to fill you in on the meaning of this post. Basically after every calender month has come to a close, I like to look back at my month in movies. I re-rate (if necessary) all of the films that I watched for the "1001" book and also talk briefly about the movies I watched that are not part of the "1001" book. That's about the just of it.

1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die - As seen in February 2011
1) Groundhog Day (1993 - Harold Ramis) 8.5/10
2) Ghost Busters (1984 - Ivan Reitman) 5.5/10 - It's not a bad movie, it's just that I really don't think it deserves a place among such prestigious titles.
3) Sleeper (1973 - Woody Allen) 9/10 - Upped it two notches because it really is a fantastic comedy and inching closer and closer to being my favorite of the early Allen films.
4) Annie Hall (1977 - Woody Allen) 7.5/10 - Still not FULLY realizing the hubbub over this one, but coming closer to recognizing it as one of his greats.
5) Funny Games (1997 - Michael Haneke) 8/10
6) Manhattan (1979 - Woody Allen) 10/10
7) Night of the Living Dead (1968 - George A. Romero) 6.5/10 - I think I initially went just a little bit easy on this one when considering the cheap budget and the final product. Still a really good horror film though.
8) The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985 - Woody Allen) 4.5/10 - Fantasy stories are just not what I'm looking for when I think of Woody Allen.
9) Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969 - George Roy Hill) 9/10
10) Hannah and Her Sisters (1986 - Woody Allen) 9/10 - Something...and even I don't know what, is holding this from being a '10'. It just doesn't give me that '10' vibe.
11) Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989 - Woody Allen) 8/10
12) The Sting (1973 - George Roy Hill) 8.5/10 - This one went up. Would have been a '9', but I liked "Butch Cassidy..." just a little better and it's basically the same team making both.
13) A Place in the Sun (1951 - George Stevens) 6.5/10
14) On the Waterfront (1954 - Elia Kazan) 4/10 - I realized that I was easy on this one at first because I may have been trying to fit in with the popular opinion...something I promised myself I wouldn't do when I started this project. Shame on me!
15) No Country for Old Men (2007 - Joel & Ethan Coen) 10/10
16) From Here to Eternity (1953 - Fred Zinnemann) 7/10 - Really good, just not as good as my first rating would lead you to believe.
17) Gandhi (1982 - Richard Attenborough) 5/10
18) Midnight Cowboy (1969 - John Schlesinger) 10/10
19) American Beauty (1999 - Sam Mendes) 6/10 - Still a little torn on this one. There are certain aspects of it that I love, but overall there are things about it that I do not love.
20) The Heartbreak Kid (1972 - Elaine May) 7/10

NON-1001 Movies - As seen in February 2011
1) The Town (2010 - Ben Affleck) 4.5/10 - I can't, for sure, put my finger on exactly why I didn't like "The Town" - it may have been a couple of factors. First off, I was really looking forward to this one. Affleck made his directorial debut with "Gone Baby Gone", a film that I thoroughly enjoyed and I had high hopes that he'd make it two for two with me. I tuned in expecting, not a blatant action film, but a film about bank robbers and robberies and what I got was basically a love story, with bank robbery in as the background theme. It felt as if "The Town" was really trying it's best to be "Heat", but failed in Epic fashion, as it lacked grittiness and good acting. Also, who was I supposed to be rooting for? Cool cop Jon Hamm or Punky Renner and Hunky Affleck?

2) Buried (2010 - Rodrigo Cortes) 9.5/10 - Loved pretty much everything about "Buried" and the only reason it didn't get the full '10', is simply because i wasn't feeling it. The film made me feel claustrophobic and I thought Ryan Reynolds did a fantastic job, portraying all of the right emotions at the right times. Everything that the character was going through seemed plausible and nothing felt forced or contrived. I, at no point, was saying anything to the effect of "Oh, well he wouldn't do that" or "Well this couldn't happen, it would be more like this, I'm sure". Great film and the best thing I saw "non-1001" wise all month.

3) Case 39 (2009 - Christian Alvart) 1/10 - This was atrocious! My wife picked this one during our Sunday trip to Redbox and hesitantly I went along like the good husband, even though I kind of had a hunch that it would suck. This was just really cheap as far as providing us with suspenseful moments. It had those kind of suspense moments, like a dog jumping up and barking when everything was quiet...you know the type. I'm gonna' stop there. It was bad...trust me.

4) Cyrus (2010 - Jay and Mark Duplass) 6.5/10 - Another "wife pick" where she was able to redeem herself a bit. I enjoyed this one enough and thought that John C. Reilly was great in it. I've always admired actors who were able to play awkward and Reilly certainly mastered awkward here, as his character is subject to many an awkward moment. For a woman pushing fifty years old, Marisa Tomei is still looking super foxy and she did a good job, acting wise.

5) Dinner for Schmucks (2010 - Jay Roach) 3.5/10 - I read somewhere, where someone said that the actors here (Paul Rudd and Steve Carell) "deserved better material" and I think whoever said that pretty much nailed it. If I'm in the market for current day comedy, then those are two of the actors that I seek out, so I had high hopes for this one. The opening montage of a man dressing up dead mice and making art out of them was certainly interesting, but it goes downhill from there. This was just really cheap and unattractive comedy, with no finesse whatsoever. Not only did the actors involved deserve better material, but it really felt like they were just phoning it in and maybe didn't have their heart (or funny bone) into it.

6) Inception (2010 - Christopher Nolan) 5/10 - God, I hope I don't get crucified for this one. I didn't like it folks - there I've said it. To me, this was just a really good idea, instead of a really good script. I'm not afraid to admit that maybe I didn't fully follow the plot 100% - that could be my ignorance or it could be due to some plot holes. Now I'm not one to make excuses for my own insolence, but this thing, although I couldn't pin them down, reeked of plot holes. Nolan, in his effort to analyze and make a film about dreams, forgot some important elements that exist in dreams. My dreams are often choppy and incomplete. If you ask me what a dream I had was about, I may not know every single detail, while "Inception" tells us that details are key. I'll stop defending my reason for disliking this picture and end in stating that Chris Nolan USED to be a favorite director of mine, but is no longer. With my disapproval of "Inception" that makes four Nolan films in a row that I've failed to see the greatness in and thus his name was scratched from my mental list of great filmmakers. I do, however, still LOVE "Following", "Memento" and "Insomnia". By the way, the '5' is for a good looking picture and I'll be the first to admit that this film was absolutely eye dazzling. Part of the '5' also goes to a good idea, despite poor execution.

7) The Last Exorcism (2010 - Daniel Stamm) 6/10 - I have a bit of a soft spot for fictional films that are told in a documentary style. Honestly, in writing about all of these movies I'm beginning to notice that I draw a definite line between rating new movies and rating old ones. I don't expect as much out of these new movies that I watched and thus, that's why they get higher ratings. This was fun, but really nothing extravagant or special. If you're in the market for a small...very small scare then check it out, but otherwise I wouldn't break my neck - or any body part for that matter - to see this one.

8) The Social Network (2010 - David Fincher) 7.5/10 - By the way, that's a '7.5' on the "Fincher scale". Loved how Fincher was able to turn a story about the creator of Facebook into something very dark and basically place it in his own Finchian World. I'm sure Trent Reznor's Oscar winning score didn't hurt matters in giving "The Social Network" a dark feel either. Jesse Eisenberg was fantastic and in my opinion deserved his Oscar nomination. However, this film really doesn't hold much of a candle to Fincher's previous works, even his newer stuff like "Zodiac" or "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" I definitely liked more than this.

9) Despicable Me (2010 - Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud) 8.5/10 - Probably the best non-Pixar animated film I've EVER seen, although I haven't seen that many non-Pixar animated movies, so that's not really saying a whole lot. I had a hell of a time with this movie though. I genuinely laughed during some parts and had to fight back some honest to goodness tears during other parts. This is right behind "Buried" as far as best things I saw "non-1001" wise this month. Check it out - no matter your age.

10) The Other Guys (2010 - Adam McKay) 2/10 - Pretty much the same feeling as "Dinner for Schmucks" except Will Ferrell is the lone wolf in the "deserves better material" heading. Mark Wahlberg is not a funny man and has no business along side Will Ferrell in a comedy. In fact, if I had my way, Wahlberg would have no business in films period, but I don't have my way and thus were treated to Marky Mark failures every now and then. I shouldn't say that because I am actually looking forward to "The Fighter", but not for the presence of Wahlberg. We're getting off topic here. "The Other Guys" is barely funny, save for a few lines from Ferrell and actually I thought Michael Keaton was pretty hilarious too with his TLC references and his job at Bed, Bath and Beyond. Other than that, this is basically trash.

11 - 16) Every Woody Allen film from "Match Point" to "You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger" (2005 - 2010 - Woody Allen) various ratings - "You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger" came out on DVD this month and once again I was able to tout the fact that I've seen EVERY Woody Allen film. With that fact in place, I also realized that I have absolutely no ranking of his films and seeing as how he is my favorite director, I would like to have a ranking of his films. So...after checking out the new movie, I decided to keep going backwards in watching Allen's films. As I watched them, I kept a Microsoft Office Word document of notes and ratings, so that when I'm done I could have a really accurate list of his movies from best to worst. So why am I holding those ratings from your eyes? Well, if you care, I plan to post the full, ranked and rated list up when it is complete, right here on the "1001 Movies I (Apparently) Must See Before I Die" blog. So, hopefully you care enough to look forward to that.

WHEW!! That was a HUGE post. That about caps off February in my world of film. Let's keep truckin' on March and I'll see you back here in 31.

March 1, 2011 11:32pm

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