Another month, another movie review! These are films that I have never seen before, and decided to watch them based on a) cultural significance, b) recommended by a friend, or c) looked interesting.
Last December, I claimed that my rating system was something like “One star is ‘terrible’ and 4 stars is ‘most amazing thing in my life.'” I’d like to revise that a little bit, and add that a three- or four- star movie means that I would watch it again gladly. A two star movie is one that I wouldn’t suggest, but would watch if it were the only choice. One star? I would probably walk out of the room or get on my computer.
With that in mind, let’s begin!
The Terminator **
Hot: Crafting a movie where dialog is not critically important. Dystopic future with a ruined LA and giant robots with police strobes.
Not: Plot? Weak at best.
Reservoir Dogs ***
Violent, profane, and darkly humorous: Reservoir Dogs was different than my impression that it was a “heist” film. However, the oddball characters made this film. Entertaining throughout, with a deeper thread of social criticism for those who wished to find it.
A painstaking re-creation of the final days at the Führerbunker as Berlin fell around it, Downfall takes a look at the inner circle of the German command staff as they contended with a delusional leader. The plight of the German civilians is gut-wrenching, and the thought processes of the various leaders and military officials is compelling. Downfall is a reminder that war is no less brutal in modern times. An excellent film.
Pan’s Labyrinth ***
With amazing landscapes and visuals, one wonders what del Toro could do with an unlimited budget and vision to create an entire movie like his dream-like sequences in Pan’s Labyrinth. Interspersed with the Spanish Civil War, this film is billed as a fairy tale for adults, and doesn’t disappoint. Dark, beautiful, and with an outstanding performances from Sergi Lopez and Ivana Baquero, I thoroughly enjoyed this. If only it had more fairy-tale sequences…
Perhaps the fact that I had not read the Dune series before viewing this film worked against my enjoyment, but I do have fairly extensive knowledge of the Dune series through word-of-mouth, Wikipedia, and other references. With a confusing plot, poorly explained points, and laughable visuals, this is not a movie I want to view any time soon. Even Patrick Stewart couldn’t save this one. The best part? I liked the House Atreides military uniform collars.
Winnebago Man ***
This documentary grew on me as it progressed. The film-maker did an outstanding job of portraying this man as more than just the “angriest man in the world.”
Road to Perdition **
Predictable, unbelievable characters, and a plot that meanders along, I would have given this film except for the scenes outside. In the rain. Because I loved that imagery. Otherwise, one star.
2001 for a modern age. This is what hard Sci-Fi should be. Amazing graphics, stark lunar scenes, and an amazing performance from the main (only) character, Moon is worth your while. My only nitpicks are that it was a hipster plot; it didn’t really care about the big plot “twist,” and the ending was rather uninspired. Despite these, I feel this film deserves my highest praise.
Mind-warping. I’m currently keeping it at three stars because I need to watch it again to sort it out, but this is a great film that deals with time travel, invention, technology, and morality.
District 9 *
What. The. Hell.
I have nothing more to say.
This is Spinal Tap ***
Ever wonder how aging bands feel like? This is a great “fake” documentary that pokes light at those who believe themselves to be the most amazing human specimens on Earth, but are something less. With subtle bits of humor and a quick pace, this is certainly a film to watch for fun.
I Like Killing Flies ***
Amusing documentary on a foul-mouthed and hard-working restraint owner in New York. Four stars for the first 45 minutes of the film, and two stars for the last 45 minutes.
Fight Club ***
Undecided. I felt like this movie went overboard in points, and in others understated major plot elements. Despite these flaws, overall this is a good movie to view a few times: if for nothing else than to unravel the plot.