Sunday, August 14, 2011

Rise of the slumbering blogger: Catching up filmically

Saturday I cleaned up real cobwebs at my house. Today I clean off virtual cobwebs on this blog. Many distractions have set in that put me out of the swing of things. Now it's time to get back into the swing of things and not look back - except for this update on the big-screen movies I've seen since I've last posted. And I'm including films I've seen in the classic series in Dayton and Columbus.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest A+
One of three movies to win the top five Oscars of Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Screenplay. The writing of this film becomes all the more impressive once you realize the book was written from the point of view of the Chief

Winnie the Pooh B
Sweet, gentle fun - a very pleasant throwback to the Disney movies of old, with this entry being animated by the A-crew at the Mouse House. It rarely manages to be more than pleasant, but that seems appropriate for such an assuming character as Pooh. Eeyore (voiced by Pixar's Bud Luckey) provides most of the laughs.

Cowboys and Aliens C+

Indiana Jones and James Bond in the same movie. How can it miss? By being saddled with a confused script that manages to be overwrought and half-baked at the same time. It's fairly decent as a Western, but the more aliens there are, the more unfocused it gets. Very disappointing.

Beginners A
With its often whimsical tone and its scattered chronology, this picture could have gone wrong in all sorts of ways but holds steady, thanks mostly to strong performances by Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer and Melanie Laurent in a story about a man struggling to come to grips with his father coming out of the closet late in life. It's especially nice to see Laurent get a good vehicle after her breakout in Inglourious Basterds.

The Adventures of Robin Hood A+
You simply cannot fully appreciate this movie until you've seen it on the big screen with a crowd applauding Errol Flynn's every swashbuckle.

Crazy Stupid Love B+
A terrific cast including Steve Carell, Julianne Moore, Marisa Tomei and Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone powers this episodic ensemble piece about love lost and found in unlikely places. The performances help overcome some slightly ungainly writing, especially an icky subplot about a teenage girl's crush on a 40-something.

The Wizard of Oz A+
Once again, you simply cannot fully appreciate this movie unless you've seen on it on a big screen in a packed house with Technicolors that are practically blinding.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes A-
 What seemed like a misguided idea for a reboot has turned into the summer's most pleasant surprise. Special effects movies often fail because the effects are more interesting than the humans, but in this context, it's actually quite appropriate.  Terrific motion capture work by Andy Serkis (AKA Gollum AKA King Kong) and smartly choreographed action sequences make this trump not only the Tim Burton remake, but even the 1968 original as well.

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