Friday, May 3, 2013

April 2013 Recap

Let's do it...

1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die - As seen in April 2013
1) Shoah (1985 - Claude Lanzmann) 7/10 - I gave it an '8' initially, but a '7' seems more suitable. I'd say it's TOP 20 chances are nil, but it's still a powerful experience and definitely belongs among other "must see" movies.
2) 1900 (1976 - Bernardo Bertolucci) 5/10 - Still boring as hell, but I have to give it SOME credit.
3) There Will Be Blood (2006 - P.T. Anderson) 8/10
4) Artists and Models (1955 - Frank Tashlin) 7/10 - I'd like to somehow squeeze this one into the TOP 20, but with the recent influx in great movies, I can't see it happening.
5) Open City (1945 - Roberto Rossellini) 2.5/10 - Honestly, I barely even remember this one and that's bad considering I watched it in the last month. Thumbs down!
6) Paisan (1946 - Roberto Rossellini) 5/10
7) Europa '51 (1952 - Roberto Rossellini) 5.5/10 - These Rossellini flicks just weren't for me and that's that.
8) Voyage in Italy (1953 - Roberto Rossellini) 6/10 - My opinions have definitely changed, as I'd call this the best of the Rossellini lot, as opposed to "Paisan".
9) Akira (1988 - Katsuhiro Otomo) 2/10
10) Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957 - John Sturges) 6/10 - Barely a '6' and just not a very great western, at all.
11) A Star Is Born (1954 - George Cukor) 6.5/10 - '7' was just too high, so I had to knock it down a peg. James Mason was brilliant. Judy Garland...not so much.
12) Pulp Fiction (1994 - Quentin Tarantino) 10/10 - As of today, this is just slightly beating out "Le Trou" (inside my head) for the top spot of the TOP 20. That will flip flop back and forth hundreds of times before TOP 20 time though, I'm sure.
13) My Fair Lady (1964 - George Cukor) 8/10 - All the songs were good - great and Rex Harrison was outstanding. Big thumbs up!
14) Ariel (1988 - Aki Kaurismaki) 6.5/10
15) La chienne (1931 - Jean Renoir) 7.5/10 - Really good stuff and I stand by my previous quote, as saying this IS the best Renoir film in THE BOOK.
16) Me and My Gal (1932 - Raoul Walsh) 6.5/10 - Can't quite go '7', just because, but a really good flick, funny and Tracy is great. I had a good time with this one, no doubt!
17) Las Hurdes (1933 - Luis Bunuel) 4/10
18) The Baker's Wife (1938 - Marcel Pagnol) 4.5/10 - As hard as it was to find, it sure was a fruitless search.
19) High Sierra (1941 - Raoul Walsh) 2/10 - Worst movie of the month? Maybe...or at least it's right behind "Akira".
20) The Departed (2006 - Martin Scorsese) 7.5/10 - I thought about it and this just isn't on par with Martin's best work, so I lowered the rating a bit. Still a great movie, filled with suspense and great acting and all that jazz.
21) Apocalypto (2006 - Mel Gibson) 9.5/10 - I just can't, in good conscience, stick with the original '10' rating, but still damn good and one of the best action-adventure flicks I've ever seen. The images of this film are still fresh in my memory.
22) Gladiator (2000 - Ridley Scott) 4.5/10
23) Talk to Her (2002 - Pedro Almodovar) 9/10

Aaaaannd

NON-1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die - As seen in April 2013
1) The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012 - Peter Jackson) 7/10 - Now, don't misunderstand that '7' rating, as I was EXTREMELY disappointed in "The Hobbit". Tell me Mr. Jackson, how do you plan to stretch a 300 page book into three, three-hour films? Ugh. Anyway, yeah, this just wasn't anywhere near the caliber of film that any of "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy was. WAY WAY WAY too much goofy and down right bad looking CGI only helped to mar the quality of this film. I honestly think the only reason I'm giving it a '7' is because it is related to "The Lord of the Rings" and I do love those movies. I kind of look forward to the other two "Hobbit" flicks, but I REALLY hope the quality goes up, otherwise this trilogy will only end up soiling the greatness that is Jackson's LOTR trilogy.

Gonna' probably keep these write-ups on the short side...just so 'ya know.

2) The Artist (2011 - Michel Hazanavicius) 7.5/10 - Okay, so I finally got the chance to see last year's Best Picture winner, "The Artist" and it was pretty good. Of course, being introduced to silent cinema via the 1001 BOOK, I appreciated this a lot more. I remember when this first came out and reading Ebert's review where he mentioned that in certain theaters, people actually got up and walked out when they realized that no one was going to say anything. That's just silly America!! Could it have been better? Absolutely! You had the chance to, not only make a silent picture in 2012, but add some 21st Century flare to it. All they really did here was make a cookie cutter silent picture in the modern age and didn't utilize anything to give it a special twist, considering the fact that in 2012, Hollywood has plenty of special twists up it's sleeve. The story is basic, as are the characters, but the acting is top notch and...hey, it's a silent movie in 2012 and that's pretty cool. On a final note, I just knew someone was going to end up talking at the end, but couldn't they have come up with something a little more poignant to be said? Just seemed really random and unnecessary.

3) Lincoln (2012 - Steven Spielberg) N/A - I mentioned this in my "There Will Be Blood" review, but I'll mention it again here. I rented "Lincoln" this month, but after about an hour decided that since I have to sit through so many bad movies for THE BOOK, I wasn't going to sit through one when the option to bail was right in front of me. I watched for literally one hour and after hearing everyone blather on about the 13th Amendment, I decided to check out before my pulse stopped. Boring. As. Hell. Sure, Day-Lewis was fine as usual and maybe he even deserved a gold statue for his work, but damn this was coma inducing.

4) Django Unchained (2012 - Quentin Tarantino) 8/10 - I'll be damned if this one isn't growing on me...just a little bit. I talked a lot about this one in my "Pulp Fiction" review, so I don't really have a whole lot else to add. The Tarantino of the past ten years just isn't the same as the QT from the 1990s or even the QT that directed "Kill Bill". Feeble attempts at comedy and more of the same schtick that got him recognized in the early 90s, makes this a mild disappointment. Listen, if you show me a trick once or twice I'm gonna' be thrilled with it and remember it. However, if you keep showing me the same trick, eventually the magic is gone.


5) From Dusk Till Dawn (1996 - Robert Rodriguez) 6/10 - So after watching a bunch of newer stuff, the wife and I decided to take to our DVD shelf and watch some stuff that we hadn't seen in a while. First up: "From Dusk Till Dawn" - a film I introduced into our DVD collection, because I USED TO love it. Now? Not so much. Okay, so it's still a really good story, with very nice character development and as a horror flick, it's pure gold. But overall, it certainly gets goofy at times and some of the horror in there is just downright laughable, as is the acting...by some. It's a keeper on the DVD shelf, because you always need to keep a few good horror flicks around, just in case.


6) Matchstick Men (2003 - Ridley Scott) 7.5/10 - Another one that I introduced into the DVD collection, because when I worked at Movie Gallery (circa 2003 - 2005), I literally saw everything that came out on DVD and this came out during that time period and I loved it. It's a con-man story, starring Nicolas Cage as an OCD patient and veteran con-man, who, one day, realizes he has a 14-year-old daughter. Obviously I haven't forgotten it, since it's been sitting on my DVD shelf, but I bet for most people this is really a forgotten picture, because I never hear a peep about this, sometimes, brilliant movie. Sure, at times it also comes off as very artificial & plastic, a product of the Hollywood machine. However, everything works, there's a very cool, very unexpected (I think) twist ending and it all comes together for a very fine film. I'm also quickly beginning to realize what a fine actor Nicolas Cage is. I know, I know, he doesn't really ooze the aura of the great actor, but he has a really nice catalog of work under his belt. Sure, there's some shit in there too, but a lot of his movies are, at least, fun, if not quality films.



And that's it. Same time next month? I am so there!

May 3, 2013  12:26am

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