February Movies: WINWINWIN

You know the drill. I’m finding it rather difficult to rate a movie at the extremes of my scales. Everything seems to either be two or three stars. This is probably in direct relation to my inability to hurt someone’s feelings.

Goodfellas ***

This was a gangster movie with a little more personal touch: as we trace the history of one particular member through his history with organised crime. With slightly unstable, yet believable, characters, this was a well-made film that will have me coming back to watch it.

Batman Begins *** (and a half)

Yes, I did view this after I saw The Dark Knight. I don’t feel like it detracted from it at all. If anything, I almost preferred this order as I first saw Batman in a much darker movie, and then went back to a “reflection” upon his formation. Gotham seemed more believable, and the grittiness of the urban core was very well done. The “evil” character wasn’t very well-done, and the final victory seemed rather empty because of it. Hence the half-star knock that avoided it earning four full flickering balls of gas.

Dirty Harry **

A typical 70’s Clint Eastwood flick, what can I say? Notable for the infamous lines, there isn’t really much else to draw me to this film. The characters were unbelievable: even when factoring in the “action” movie and “rogue cop” genres. The retro groove and classic lines save this from one star.

Following ***

I seem to be giving out 3-stars like candy. This is a short (70m) neo-noir film by Christopher Nolan that focuses on a man in London who has taken along the habit of “following” strangers. With the flashback-style that hearkens to Nolan’s Memento but with a more organised plot and a gritty atmosphere, this is another solid film that I’d watch again.

Donnie Darko ****

This low-budget and slightly cheesy movie really grew on me as it went on. The scene with “Mad World” playing was astoundingly good, and the acting cast really sold this film. I can’t imagine it would be easy to portray their parts as effectively as they did, but they did it masterfully. A rare 4-star.

Mad Max ***

A surprisingly good performance from Gibson and a quirky –yet totally believable–post-apocalypse made this an enjoyable film. I felt like the plot really didn’t take itself all that seriously at points, but they did the “rogue” cop much better than in Dirty Harry. Harry was just explained to us as someone who had a reason to be a loose cannon. Mad Max showed us why, which made it a much more believable character.

Marjoe ***

A 1972 documentary about a child (and later adult) evangelist named Marjoe. This likeable and honest 28-year old is frank about the tricks of his business and the money-based industry that is behind religion. Marjoe himself is fascinating when he’s allowed to talk, but too much of the film are different churches where he is performing, which is why I docked this excellent film a star. Nevertheless, I would recommend viewing this just for the last five or ten minutes: Marjoe is absolutely brilliant.

Thank You for Smoking ****

I liked this film because the main character didn’t do what we all expected him to do at the end. As someone who has dabbled in PR, I found a lot of the humor amazingly well-done. It’s smart. It’s funny. It’s a great view.

One Hour Photo ***

I’m still not sure what to think about this film. Robin Williams played the serious part well, and photo techs always seem a little off-kilter.

 

It appears I have rewarded rather a large amount of *** and **** ratings this month. While I could attribute it to going soft in my old age, I will prefer to credit the fact that I just choose a lot of really good films. Or Netflix recommended them to me. But I still liked them.

In other news, I have started watching two TV series: BBC Robin Hood and Deep Space Nine. Reviews will be upcoming for those.

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