Monday, October 12, 2009

What Are You Watching? Catching Up on DVDs

Today I resurrect the What Are You Watching Feature on this blog in which I

A) Catch up on DVD releases

B) Tell you what I've watched on the small screen

C) Hopefully read comments about what you all have seen lately.

 So to take care of A)


Dance Flick: The only flick that interests me in the context of this Wayans spoof is the flick of the switch to the OFF position.

Drag Me To Hell: Along with Whip It. this earns the distinction of being The Movie That Got Away. Tremendously entertaining in a retrograde sort of way, it's like Sam Raimi's version of what Tarantino and Rodriguez were trying to achieve with Grindhouse. But it's not all mindless fun - Allison Lohman's performance gives the story some gravity. Warning to home theater owners with subwoofers: Do not turn the soundtrack up too loud or you will A) need to buy new speakers and/or B) Start an earthquake.  Full review - GRADE: B+

Every Little Step: Monumentally entertaining documentary about casting for the recent revival of A Chorus Line. The editing in particular is outstanding. A must-see for anyone even remotely interested in theater.  Full review - GRADE: A

Land of the Lost: I would say I lost my faith in Will Ferrell a long time ago, but then again, I'm not sure I ever had any.

My Life in Ruins: Nia Vardalos is genuinely talented, but she needs either to write or find a good script fast, or her career will live up to the title.

The Proposal: Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock make for such a charming couple, I really wish the rest of the movie was as good as they are. Their charisma makes the movie worth seeing; it's just too bad they're surrounded by dim supporting characters and predictable gags. Full review - GRADE:  B-

Year One: Reviews of this primitive comedy were so toxic I stayed away. So did most everyone else.

What Are You Watching?

The Boys From Brazil: Film adaptations of Ira Levin range from classic (Rosemary's Baby) to slick but empty junk (Sliver). This strange little movie falls somewhere in between the two. At first, its modern-day Nazi story is absorbing and unnerving, and then it gets sillier and sillier as it goes along, not least for the spectacle of Gregory Peck trying to play a demented Nazi cloner.  Laurence Olivier, as the Nazi huter,  seems to be taking the whole thing seriously and thus seems to have wandered in from a completely different film. It's watchably ludicrous trash. GRADE: B-

Gilda: It contains one of the most famous female entrances in film history, and it would have been nice if the film as a whole were as great as that moment. As it is, this noir-ish love affair gone bad tale has more than its fair share of hackneyed plotting, but at its best, it's deliciously torrid. GRADE: B+

The Parallax View: I had seen this Alan J. Pakula film about a paranoid reporter (Warren Beatty) before years ago, but got a fresh look at when TCM played it as part of an evening of political thrillers. I was struck by how effective it still is. A silly Dukes of Hazzard-esque chase aside, the film creates a chilling air of tension, mostly through Pakula's canny direction, which made me feel as if the walls were closing in. Trly underrated. GRADE: A

So what have you seen lately, no matter what the screen size?


Allison Dickson said...

I have the Parallax View on my Netflix queue, I think. I'll have to check. I've been meaning to watch that.

Today I actually watched two good movies I hadn't seen yet: The Wrestler and Pineapple Express.

The Wrestler was just heartbreaking and good. I felt soooo bad for Mickey Rourke's character, because I liked him so much and wanted so much for him to succeed. And the ending just left me with so many mixed feelings. I'm still thinking about it, actually. Great movie. A+

Pineapple Express was surprisingly funny and high quality, considering the subject matter. Most stoner movies make me feel bad after I watch them, but with the Apatow team at work, there was a good amount of substance there. And really funny dialogue, which made up for the lagging third act. I'd give it a B+. :)

Allison Dickson said...

I should clarify... by "feel bad" after a stoner movie, I mean wolfing down on three Big Macs and a box of Ho-Hos and drinking a quart of Mountain Dew bad. lol