January **

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.

Downfall ****

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…

Dune *

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.

Moon ****

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.

Primer ***

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.

Terrible movie.

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.

One thought on “January **

  1. We can still be friends because you also loved Pan’s Labyrinth and Reservoir Dogs.

    I’m totally keeping an eye out for these posts to determine if you need a scolding or not.


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