llcoolvad: (newer)
And now for the finale. How many movies did I watch this year???

DECEMBER MOVIES
127. Only Lovers Left Alive, Redbox. Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston are eccentric vampires who have been married for over a century. Adam hung out with Byron and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. Eve is even older, centuries older. She hangs out with Christopher Marlowe, played by John Hurt. They spend a lot of time being quirky and sad, and getting blood from various resources. They refer to humans as zombies and they're sad about the way the zombies are treating the world. Adam is a musician who collects old instruments and old tech. Eve is a reader who speed reads hundreds of books in many languages. They live mostly apart (for whatever long-term relationship reason), but Adam gets suicidal (has a wooden bullet made and everything) so Eve travels to see him in Detroit from Tangiers. Lots of languid pale limbs and quietness.

Eve's sister Ava shows up for a visit. She's of course also a vampire, but she's kind of the stereotypical little sister. Trouble.

I had a passing thought while watching: dear god, CENTURIES of listening to your pretentious boyfriend's music. But then I realized I could listen to anything Tom Hiddleston wanted me to, for eternity! Tilda feels the same. Why wouldn't she?

Although my opinion of this might be somewhat biased with the Tom Hiddlestonness of it all, I have to give it a big thumbs up. Hipster friendly, too, since it's a Jim Jarmusch film.

128. Robocop 2014. Not as bad as I feared, but WAY too serious. Why remake a classic at all? And the lead, Joel Kinnaman, is an actor I really like (for example he was in The Killing playing Holder) but has most of his sparkle removed here.

129. Into the Storm. Worse than I hoped. I didn't review this right after seeing it, so I've already forgotten the entire plot. There were tornados and storm chasers and people in peril. Decent special effects, so it wasn't Asylum-esque, but the plot wasn't much better than an Asylum special. I hadn't really been paying attention but IMDB informs me that Richard Armitage is in this, so combined with the Hobbit (he's Thorin) that's two movies in a row that I watched of his. WTF was he thinking? He's got HOBBIT money and he did THIS?

130. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Theater. Mostly The Dull and The Never-Ending. Ok, not terrible, but dear lord it wasn't good. Peter Jackson must have been planning his next epic during the filming of this, because it felt like no one was in control. It felt very Discovery Channel, also: there were War Goats, War Pigs, War Wolves, the Eagles showed up (WHY AREN'T THE EAGLES BROUGHT IN FIRST IN ALL CASES FOR FUCK'S SAKE?), there was a splendid War Reindeer...and I can't remember what else. I kept waiting for the fifth army. There was a ridiculous fight scene on a frozen lake. Legolas leapt about. Bilbo was unconscious. The usual. And then Bilbo went home.

131. Big Eyes, Theater. Seriously interesting, based on a fascinating true story. It's a Tim Burton movie, but you'd never guess that because of the pure weirdness of reality. A newly divorced 1950s mom, Margaret (Amy Adams), moves to San Francisco for the art scene as she considers herself an artist. Her work is what we no doubt would call puerile now (and indeed was called worse then) — waifish children with giant eyes in various scenes. She is seduced by another artist, Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz), who dazzles her with his salesman charm and good looks. He rents out space in a jazz club to show their combined work, and when someone asks about her painting, he claims it as his own. Partly because he is a crafty salesman, and partly because he always wanted to be a famous painter, he becomes the public face of her work, and somehow they become ridiculously wealthy. Eventually she can't take the pressure of the lie anymore and leaves him. When he demands that they maintain the fiction post-divorce, she sues him. The best scene is a paint-off that the judge requests in the courtroom. She wins, and the world finds out that "Walter Keane" is a fiction and it was Margaret Keane all along. Shocking! Amy Adams is great, Christoph appropriately scene-chews, and there are a couple of amusing small parts with Jason Schwartzman playing a gallery owner and Terence Stamp playing a Times reviewer. Also drool-worthy set decorations. So awesomely midcentury I wanted to steal everything in every set.

132. Good People, Redbox. Somehow we are to believe that Kate Hudson and James Franco are struggling to make ends meet in London. She's a school teacher, and he's an architect or something, but mostly he's trying to renovate a money pit he's inherited from a family member. It's draining all their reserves. Meanwhile, they're living in a skanky rowhouse, and renting out their basement to a shady guy. They've just been served with eviction papers. Shady guy dies in their basement, but miraculously he's left behind a bag stacked with fat cash. This clearly can't be honestly begotten gains, but beyond a passing thought Jimmy and Katie decide to take the money. The original owner (Omar Sy), the other guys who stole it (Sam Spruell), and the police (Tom Wilkinson) are suddenly all onto them, and much mayhem ensues. Obviously the filmmakers are aiming for the "good people do one bad thing" trope, but instead they hit "good cast and crew makes one really bad movie". And now that I've made that joke I see that every reviewer in Rotten Tomatoes made the same one. Well, it was too damned easy.

133. The Equalizer, Redbox. Denzel is a bad ass, again. I think he and Liam Neeson should make an ass-kicking film together. Yet again I am entirely not unique in comparing their filmic similarities. I guess my finger is on the pulse of America, y'all. Call me a bellweather if you must. Anyway, Mr. Creasy, uh, Robert McCall is a man of mysterious past. He works at Home Depot by day, and doesn't sleep at night so he hangs around a local diner reading the 100 best books of all time. He's on #93 when we meet him, so that's a lot of sleepless nights. Some Russian pimps put a smackdown on a 'ho he's made friends with, so he reluctantly uses his special set of skills and puts a stop to that. Which then triggers a lot more stuff, including the arrival of a Russian ass-kicker (Marton Csokas, who you might remember from Lord of the Rings as Celeborn, completing the Hobbity circle) leading to a glorious fight scene in Home Depot involving nail guns and trip wires and I don't know what all. Totally fun.

134. Guardians of the Galaxy, Amazon Instant. Bought this—they had a sale. I will watch it many times, so it's worth it. While it might not be my #1 this year (Big Hero 6 might barely edge it out) it's probably #2. I'll have to look over the year and seet what my top ten was.

So 134 is my final official number for the year. It doesn't count the endless partial movies I watched while I was recovering from surgery, or several movies that I've just seen too many times to count again (Jurassic Parks 1, 2, 3 for ex). I probably forgot a handful of others that I didn't record while watching. I can live with that.

I'll try to pick a top ten and post that this week.
llcoolvad: (newer)
Catching up again!

NOVEMBER MOVIES
115. Next, Cable. Not the most ridiculous Nic Cage movie ever, but it's certainly in the top 10. He has the ability to see two minutes into the future, except sometimes when there's a pretty girl it's a lot longer. Anyway, it's terribly muddled and not particularly fun. A few fun moments near the beginning, and Cage does his best to carry it with the crazy Cageness. But the end is a standard action thing only with a clairvoyant who walks in front of the SWAT team saying things like "Duck!" and "Wait. Ok, shoot!" and "Eight inches above the railing, fire!".

116. In the Electric Mist, Cable. A Dave Robicheaux movie. Tommy Lee Jones is Dave. Pretty serviceable. Love the books, and there's some lifted dialog/text. One of those movies where the critics loved it way more than the audience. So I guess that means it's smart.

117. Big Hero 6, Theater. My favorite movie this year so far. So cute. There is something about the animation that every time Baymax is on screen I just kill myself laughing. Charming and sweet. I hope they make a million of these, but I suppose that would kill it. "I am not fast."

118. The Prince, Redbox. Bruce Willis is very prominent on the cover, but the real lead is Jason Patric, who I haven't given one thought to since Lost Boys. He's not as pretty as he used to be, and they insisted on taking off his shirt so we could see his thickened middle-aged body. But really the problem with the movie was the plot. I rented it because the third person on the cover is John Cusack, and I am determined to see the entire John Cusack oeuvre, which is more challenging than one might think, since he's powering these out at a mighty clip. The plot is terribly mundane — Dad has a past, daughter has a habit, Dad goes off to find the daughter using the skills from his past. The body count is huge. And it's really not worth it. Not even for the five minutes John Cusack is in it, or the 15 minutes Bruce Willis is. Mostly depressing.

119. Goodbye World, Redbox. Another end-of-the-world movie, this time with a bunch of old college friends, serveral of whom are successful and wealthy, who get together for a party at their friends' off-the-grid paradise in rural California. The world ends while they're together because of a text and some hacking. And then they basically have to live together forever, since they're on a nice hill in California with solar power and a well, and everywhere else people are starving. There is menace from outside and conflict from within. The acting is fine, but the script is pretty first-scriptish, with characters quoting George Washington and the Constitution from memory and saying things no one would say, ever.

120. Interstellar, Theater. The earth has been all used up by us naughty humans. It's a giant dust bowl, and food is scarce. The most important job is farmer. All unneccessary technology has been repurposed to food production. There is a secret NASA mission to find new planets to keep the species going, however, and McConaughey is a pilot. Off he goes to save his kids. And a lot of cool sciencey stuff happens, and some crazy stuff, and some fun stuff. The best thing in the movie is the trippy walking computers. They're excellent. Overall it's pretty depressing. I found the cast to be miscast, on the whole. And I wondered why, if future we could stick a wormhole in the solar system so that humanity could use it to escape, couldn't future us stick it, say, next to the moon? Be a lot shorter trip! Why Saturn? Still, I really really liked it, and would like more intelligent science fiction movies right now.

121. Last Passenger, Netflix. Got really good ratings on Rotten Tomatoes, and I agree. Grippy little thriller about passengers on a train in the UK. The train stops letting people off and starts accelerating, and the six passengers left on board have no idea why and really really would like to get off the train before it crashes or derails. Dougray Scott is the lead, playing a single dad doctor, and he's quite good in this. Sneaky use of unseen villain. Excellent cast on the whole, really.

122. Not Safe for Work, Netflix. The main character has a really bad day. He screws up a couple of things at his job as a paralegal and is told at the end of the day that it's his last. The boss comes out and tells everyone that the server is down and that they should all go home. Tom dawdles a bit and sees something suspicious, so he goes back upstairs and ends up getting trapped in some kind of mysterious plot. On top of all of it, his iPhone has run out of battery!! Talk about a bad day! With several dead security guards and other late workers piling up around him, how does he get out? Makes my own office seem certainly nicer. Not terrible. Could have been better.

122. Stripes, Cable. Doesn't really hold up from a feminist perspective, does it? And why is Harold Ramis such a pussy? Sure, I'll just follow my pain-in-the-ass deadbeat buddy and join the Army. Why not? Still, it's a classic from my early adulthood and it gives me the warm fuzzies. Boom-chakalaka-boom-chakalaka-boom! BLOOOOOOWWN UP, SIR!

123. Hercules, Redbox. I can't help but love Dwayne Johnson. I don't expect that he's a genius in real life, but I bet he's a genuinely nice guy. Anyway, the movie wasn't terrible. Couple of big war scenes, some smaller fight scenes, lots of shouting and prancing about. Gratuitous use of John Hurt, who plays the ruler of some damned Greek place and hires Herc and his merry band of mercs to fight in his little war. I wonder if Hurt is like Cusack — some kind of demon making him work work work, no matter what the job? Because for the excellent actor that he is, he's got a lot of crap on his resume. Rufus Sewell is also here collecting a paycheck.

124. The Expendables 3, Redbox. So many actors I love or at least enjoy—Sly, Arnold, Harrison, Mel, Dolph, Antonio, Wesley, Jet, Kelsey, Jason (Statham). Then all the others they have to fill seats—they're all fine. But the movie is just a muddled mess! There's all the action you could possibly hope for. There's some "bring in new meat to let the old guys fade out" plot. There's a typical "crazy guy needs bringing down, and the actual CIA can't handle it for whatever reason" plot. There's some backstory about the new characters and some of the old that they laboriously try to fit into every non-action scene. They make Antonio Banderas into the comic relief, which is rather fun and winning. They even drag Robert Davi in (although he should really have been in the one where Bruce Willis was in, so they could relive Die Hard). But honestly, I decided to get some Christmas shopping done while I was watching it, so I figured I didn't give it enough attention and that's why I found it so confusing. So I let it queue up again and play a second time. And it's a hot mess. And that's a shame, because with the right script it could be simply amazing. I see Sly's name in the writing credits. Maybe it's time to just be a consultant, Mr. Stallone. Also? Good idea to watch with subtitles on. SO MANY ACCENTS! SO MUCH BAD VOCAL WORK!

125. The Giver, Redbox. In the future everything is in black and white, but everything is peaceful and everyone is scarily perfect in a Mormon-esque kind of way. It turns out that this is because every morning everyone takes a drug that keeps them that way, but no one in the whole community knows it except the .. rememberer? I can't remember what they call the position. (I could look it up, but why?) The Giver is the guy that was The Rememberer, but is going to die or retire or something so he has to teach the new Rememberer how shit works in their community and the history of humanity. They do it through a funky mind-meld, so the kid gets to actually feel like he's experienced these things. Of course The Giver is a rebel, and shows the kid all the delights mankind has given up to live in this safe, crime-free, all-needs-met utopia. And he shows him the bad things, too, like when the babies are born that aren't quite perfect what happens. Naturally the Rememberer decides that's decidedly uncool and figures out how to take down the memory blocks, and voila, just like in Oz, the world is in color again. Not terrible, but kind of a waste of decent actors (Jeff Bridges in the titular role, Meryl Streep as evil overlord, Alexander Skarsgard as Dad, Katie Holmes as Mom), really.

126. Life of Crime, Redbox. Based on the Elmore Leonard novel "The Switch", and you can totally tell (that's a compliment, son). Two guys (John Hawkes and Yasiin Bey, both of whom I love) take a woman (Jennifer Anniston) hostage and contact her husband (Tim Robbins) for a ransom. What they don't know is that her husband doesn't want her back, and is in fact divorcing her. Hijinks ensue. I love heist flicks and I loved this. Jennifer Anniston is excellent, really. I watched the deleted scenes and I have to say that I utterly agree with all of them. Smart editing can completely make a movie.

movies

Nov. 8th, 2014 10:12 pm
llcoolvad: (newer)
It is obvious that the TV season has started up in earnest, because my numbers have severely dropped.

OCTOBER MOVIES
103. The Boxtrolls, Theater. I heart this movie. Very strange and clever and charming. The creators also made Coraline and ParaNorman (I saw Coraline but not ParaNorman) — the aesthetic is similar to those.

104. The Rover, Redbox. It's the end of the world and no one feels fine. Guy Pearce is a loner who wanders around the Outback randomly existing and/or killing people. When some random thugs steal his car (which for some unexplained-until-the-very-end-of-the-movie reason he is compelled to get back), he ends up with Robert Pattinson, who is excellent in this playing the younger brother of one of the car stealing thugs. Horrible things happen, as they do. Very Mad Max. Very compelling visuals. The world is sun-seared and bleak, as I imagine most of the Outback is.

105. The East, Cable. Former FBI agent now works at a private intelligence firm and gets assigned to infiltrate an anarchist collective group. The group, led by Alexander Skarsgard, is a collection of crazy bright but crazy people who are making splashy attacks on the rich. Our heroine falls for the charismatic Skarsgard, and some things happen.

106. Brick Mansions, Redbox. One of the last things Paul Walker made. Fun action scenes. French guy (David Belle) is fun to watch do Parkour stunts (I gather he basically invented Parkour). Otherwise forgettable SFish dystopian "thugs in the hood turn out to be the least bad bad-guys in the movie" plot.

107. Transformers: Age of Extinction, Redbox. I have a strange compulsion to watch anything with Mark Wahlberg in it. I enjoyed this more than the others in this series for precisely this reason, and for this reason only. It wasn't any better than the others, but at least it didn't have the horror that is Shia LaBeouf.

108. Godzilla, Redbox, rewatch. I still find the lead character entirely forgettable. I cannot call his face to mind. Everyone else is pretty good. Love the monsters. Feel bad for the big guy. How lonely is he?

109. Sabotage (2014), Redbox. Arnie plus a bunch of interesting actors in a pedestrian plot about DEA agents gone bad. Way more violence than is usual, creepy staged serial killer-type crime scenes, over-the-top performance by Mirelle Enos. Arnold was quite good (surprisingly), but overall I can't say I liked it at all.

110. The Da Vinci Code, Cable. Rewatch. I can't help but like this movie even though the books are just so bad. I liked the book too (at least the first one). Not love, but like. No one does the intelligent hero like Hanks.

111. 2012, Cable. Rewatch. John Cusack at his John Cusack-iest — charming, earnest, crazy. Plot basically is that the Mayans were right after all and the world is going to end Dec 2012, so how do you survive the end of the world? On a massive ark, of course. Can't even pick a favorite scene, although outrunning massive volcano explosions and massive earthquakes are right up there.

112. Iron Man 3, Cable. Rewatch. Always fun to see Robert Downey Jr. do anything. SO MUCH BETTER than Iron Man 2.

113. Contagion, Cable. Rewatch. I probably shouldn't have watched this in my delicate state. But it's just so good and compelling. Alas, it is stuck in my head. Love Soderbergh.

114. The Happening, Cable. Rewatch. More Marky Mark madness. This time with M. Night directing. And it is a muddled mess. THE TREES ARE KILLING PEOPLE! Oh, sorry, SPOILERS! Dreck. Not the worst movie I watched this year by far, but it's the one that shouldn't have been so bad and is therefore the biggest disappointment.

movies

Nov. 8th, 2014 09:48 pm
llcoolvad: (newer)
I am too behind to link to everything. So here's September:

SEPTEMBER MOVIES
81. Executive Decision, cable. Interesting to see so many familiar faces very young again. Fairly routine thriller with "technology" thrown in. Of course it's 1996 technology, so it's not all that.

82. Bourne Legacy, cable, rewatch. I heart Jeremy Renner. That is all.

83. Guardians of the Galaxy, theater. My one trip to the movies in over two months. Had to wait til I could get someone to take me. So much fun. More please. Now. Will watch this again, possibly while it's still in the theater even.

84. Locke, Redbox. Fascinating filmmaker's exercise. Watched it for Tom Hardy, which was good because other than a series of voices on the other end of phone calls, he's the only person in this movie. He gets in his car at the very beginning of the movie and starts driving from somewhere in the UK north of London to London. It's late at night and his family is waiting at home, a woman is delivering his child in the hospital in London, he has a hugely important job in the morning that needs lots of finessing and preparation. He's headed to London leaving it all to wait. What follows are all the calls he makes and receives—can he pull off being the responsible man he longs to be?

85. Winter's Tale, Redbox. Pretty ridiculous but reasonably ditzy and charming. Will Smith is Satan. Russell Crowe is a demon. Colin Farrell is starry-eyed about a gorgeous dying-of-consumption girl. Stuff happens. There is a magical horse. There are magical sidekicks. A LOT of years go by. Something else happens. The end.

86. Divergent, Redbox. Read the first two-and-a-half books, then something spoiled the surprise at the end for me, so I never finished (because I just didn't care). The movie was pretty faithful to the first book. Shailene Woodley is the current "looks way younger than she is" It Girl. In this movie the dude who plays her brother plays her boyfriend in The Fault In Our Stars, so I wonder if that's creepy?

87. Rage, Redbox. Nic Cage. I had to look this up to recall what it was about. That can't be good. Nic is a reformed bad guy whose daughter gets kidnapped so he goes on a back-to-his-roots rampage trying to get her back.

88. Transcendence, Redbox. This got some bad reviews. But honestly I think it was way more subversive and fascinating than reviewers gave it credit for. The basic premise is that, after he gets radiation poisoning and is dying, Depp's super-clever wife manages to upload his essence into an AI shell. The argument that all of her friends make is that there's no way that's really him, and instead it's creepy and a not-him simulacrum. So they resist in very intersting ways, and he continues to solve all kinds of health and communication issues. At the end, after they've come up with a way to completely destroy him (and in doing so destroy all of technology in the world), and here's the subversive part, it's revealed that it really is him, that he really is their friend and sure he's made a few missteps but he's still basically human. But they don't really know it. And then he's destroyed and all of the amazing contributions he made to the world are gone too. Not SkyNet! Oh well.

89. Riverworld (2010), SyFy. Not sure if I can count this as a movie, as it was clearly filmed as the pilot to a series that never happened, but it was four hours so I'm giving myself credit anyway. It looked nothing like a movie, however, and everything like the pilot to a SyFy channel tv series. So....not very good, but decent enough for a SyFy show. Followed the plot of the Farmer novel, at least roughly? Like I'd remember anyway. I read the book back in college. I am old.

90. Office Space, cable, rewatch. Still love it. Still laugh all the way through.

91. Serendipity, cable. I watched Sweet Home Alabama and was in a "let's get that corn-pone taste out of my mouth but stick to cute guys in romantic comedies" mood, so John Cusack nicely fit the bill. Bonus Jeremy Piven, almost always a welcome addition.

92. Sweet Home Alabama, cable, rewatch. I am now watching "The Mysteries of Laura" with Debra Messing and Josh Lucas entirely because of this formulaic dreck. Lucas is very charming and cute in this movie, and I am after all a girl.

93. The Town, cable, rewatch. Jeremy Renner. Jon Hamm and his exceedingly present 5 o'clock shadow. Charlestown. Affleck and Fenway Paaaahk. Accents.

94. Captain America: The First, rewatch.
95. Captain America: The Winter Soldier, rewatch. Cap is Cap. What else is there to say? I was hugely amused by Everything Wrong with Captain America: The Winter Soldier. It was more fun in the theater than on the little screen. But honestly, I could watch all of these over and over again and not be bothered a bit by the plot holes. Go Marvel team. Make lots more movies!

96. The Amazing Spider-Man, Cable.
97. The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Amazon Prime. The first one was on cable and I stumbled upon it right at the beginning. In all the previews for these movies, I hated the voice of the kid playing Peter Parker. I thought he was too mumbly and whiny to play PP. I have to admit, he kind of grew on me. The movies are collosally stupid. I mean, totes moronic. But aren't all superhero movies ridic? Yes, yes they are. The first one is much better than the second, however. The second has just too much going on and as much as I like Jamie Foxx, his villain was dumb. I like him better as the president, frankly. And that's not this movie.

98. The Lincoln Lawyer, rewatch. Pretty good. Read all the books, and although the movie plot tends toward the action adventure-y side of the book plot, it's fairly faithful to the flavor. There are several books already in this series, so I am wondering if they'll crank out another. Probably can't afford McConaughey anymore. There's also the Harry Bosch series that Amazon is producing as a cross-over option (the books cross-over because Bosch and Haller are brothers). But they REALLY can't afford McConaughey, so I suppose I should stop thinking about it.

99. Obsessed, rewatch. Beyonce and Idris Elba are married with a kid and have just moved into a beautiful giant McMansion, but Idris is being stalked at work by a hot blonde (Legend's Ali Lartner) who thinks they're dating. There is amusing OVERLY OBVIOUS foreshadowing involving a soft spot in an attic floor that is the really high cathedral ceiling over a glass coffee table. Chick fight later, hot blonde is out of the picture. Go Bey! Stupid movie. Pretty much worth a miss, even for the Idris Elba factor. In fact, he really should be embarrassed by this movie, but I suppose they all thought, hey, a paycheck, and hey, I get to work with Beyonce (except probably Bey didn't think that...or did she?)!

100. A Night in Old Mexico, Redbox. Quirky small film. Robert Duvall and no one else you know except Abraham Benrubi, "Jerry" from ER. It's about what it's called. Enjoyable if you're a fan of Duvall.

101. A Walk Among the Tombstones, Theater. Pretty good. Liam Neeson can probably play this role while actively doing something else like solving world hunger. Based on a Lawrence Block detective series, I suppose this could become a franchise. I would watch it. But I like Liam Neeson now. It took me a couple of decades, but I finally forgave him "Darkman".

102. Snow White and the Huntsman, cable. Not as bas as I expected. A few interesting world-building choices. Kristen Stewart wasn't awful, which I found surprising.

movies

Sep. 24th, 2014 11:48 pm
llcoolvad: (newer)
Posting this now because I'm so behind on my obsessive list-making. I'll post September once the month is over.

AUGUST MOVIES
66. War of the Worlds (2005), HBO. Rewatch. Very good. I forget sometimes how much I like Tom Cruise the actor, as opposed to Tom Cruise the man—especially when he's doing SF. Last month it was the excellent "Edge of Tomorrow," and this month it's the excellent "War of the Worlds." So claustrophobic. Only a few glimpses into the wider world and what's happening everywhere. Instead, it's what's happening immediately in front of you. Non-stop scariness. Dakota Fanning is impressive, but after a while you feel bad for the actress. It must have been kind of scary, really, to spend every day screaming and crying and being tiny in a huge huge world, even if your real world is grounded and smaller.

67. The Shawshank Redemption, AMC. Counting this as a separate movie than the pack below, because I surprisingly have never watched this before. Sometimes I get my back up about "good" movies, which is insanely dumb because I love movies and especially "good" ones. And Morgan Freeman? I have no idea why I never got around to watching this before. Because it was good! Tim Robbins really is so good.

68. Jaws, Cable. Rewatch. Also counting this as a separate movie than the pack below, because the last time I saw this movie it was college. Or maybe it was when I was 12 and saw it in the theater. Sometimes you go a long time without seeing a movie filmed in the 70s and you forget what an innovative time it was for filmmaking. The pacing, the shorthand, the acting, all so good and so different that what came before. Anyway, still scary. Easy to overlook the robot shark. Unsettling.

69-80: Cable. A shitload of rewatches between July-Sept. Die Hard #30, Dark Knight Rises, Bond Bond Bond (two Brosnans, two Craigs), Veronica Mars, Hobbit 2, Elysium, Mission Imp #30, Mission to Mars, National Treasure 1 and 2, Ocean's 11, Pacific Rim, basically about 40 more. If I was home, and there was a movie on cable, especially if it was on Starz, Encore, or HBO so no commercials? I was probably watching it. I vaguely wish I kept track, since I have a pretty terrible memory, but really, I don't think I watched anything new. Action/Spy/Thriller/SF/Caper. That's the ticket! Only giving myself credit for 11 here (because it takes me to a round number).

JULY MOVIES
61. X-Men: Days of Future Past, Theater. Missed mentioning this for May. I can't keep track of everything, clearly. Very good! I especially enjoyed the bullet-time effect when Quicksilver ran around. But really I enjoyed all of it. Good plot, good series reset, be interesting to see where they go next.

62. Enemy, Redbox. I am not smart enough to understand all of this movie. Lots of symbolism and imagery, etc. Jake Gyllenhaal is a history professor who sees a video clip of a man who looks exactly like him. Why? Who is he? Are they twins? His mother says no. How can he be identical? The ending is equally mystifying.

63. Joe, Redbox. Back to good Nic Cage. He's best when he's playing poor and conflicted and gritty. This was pretty dark.

64. Blood Ties, Redbox. Period piece set in the 70s. Clive Own has just been released from prison. His brother, Billy Crudup, is a cop. Brutal stuff happens. I kind of forget the actual details of the plot already. Mob? Assassinations? Robberies? Murder? Whatever. Good while you watch it, doesn't stick to your ribs.

65. The Grand Budapest Hotel, Redbox. Very good. I love Ralph Fiennes, and I like most of Wes Anderson's movies, so this was definitely a no-brainer. I wouldn't say a lot of it was surprising. But overall it was fun indeed.

66. The Lone Ranger. I thought I must have reviewed this earlier. It wasn't as awful as I thought it would be, but lord it wasn't good. Army Hammer was attractive. Johnny Depp was a caricature. The plot was insanely dumb. Still, for the mood I was in? It was ok.
llcoolvad: (newer)
I really really really need to catch up on my books list. But here's the latest movie update, at least!

JUNE MOVIES
44. Salt, Cable. Pretty good chase scenes. Good cast. Was a rewatch. Angie doesn't look as fragile as she's looked lately, and Chiwetel Ejiofor has a great scene. Waste of Andre Braugher, though, and I wish Liev Schreiber's character was a bit more conflicted or something in the third act. Anyway, fun. And I especially appreciate filmmakers who take a moment to have a character who is fleeing from law enforcement and might never return to her apartment arrange for dog sitting. Good job!

45. Brothers, Cable. As you might expect, this is about some brothers. One, Jake Gyllenhaal, is a ne'er-do-well ex-con, the other, Tobey Maguire, is a soldier. The soldier goes back to Iraq and goes missing, presumed dead. The ne'er-do-well picks up the slack and helps the soldier's wife and children out and straightens out his life at the same time. Pretty good. I really like Gyllenhaal, so I might be biased. Maguire is excellent, too.

46. The Trials of Cate McCall, Redbox. Mostly boring. Waste of Clancy Brown and James Cromwell. Kate Beckinsale is as game as ever, and Nick Nolte is quite good, but the plot itself could have been a Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode.

47. This is the End, Redbox. Stupid. I mean, really really stupid. Intentionally stupid. A send-up/critique of celebrities and their vapidity, which I did appreciate, although at some point you realize that they're writing what they know because that's all they know and it kind of makes you sad. I laughed despite all of that, but mostly I was kind of wanting everyone to die. And thankfully, they all do! The enjoyable parts are really all the celeb cameos and the ways everyone dies. Or doesn't...

48. Runner Runner, Redbox, Not bad. Justin Timberlake is a math whiz who is trying to raise his grad school money by playing online poker. When he realizes he's been swindled, he travels to Costa Rica to confront the site owners. Predictably he ends up working for them, and bad things happen (and I'm not talking about denials of service or sticky viruses). Ben Affleck is impressively oily as the online casino owner.

49. Dracula: The Dark Prince, Redbox. OMG. Bad. So very bad. You think you can imagine bad, and then there's this and you realize you don't know from bad. It would have been ok if they played it for camp, but it was so serious! Well, except for the sex scenes. But so very bad. And what is Jon Voight doing in this? It can't have paid well enough. He must be destitute. I hope they paid him extra for the inexplicably ugly prosthetic nose he has to wear throughout.

50. Nebraska, Redbox. Well-deserved hype. Bruce Dern is great, Will Forte is great, all the supporting cast is great, the cinematography is great, the story is great. It's just great. It's funny and touching and maddening and the best road movie I think I've ever seen, and possibly the best father-son movie I've seen, also. I have trouble sitting down to watch "good" movies, which is almost always stupid of me because I love them. So glad I watched this.

51. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, Redbox. We've got a new Jack Ryan, and he's Captain Kirk. Which is fine. We've got Kevin Costner as his grizzled CIA recruiter and later handler, and he's great in the part. We've got the hammiest Kenneth Branagh ever, playing the Russian baddie, and that's sorta fun (he's also the director, which is I'm sure the only reason someone let him get away with that cheeseball accent). There's some financial mumbo jumbo about crashing the world financial markets and suddenly analyst Jack has to become spy Jack. He manages. It has a few fun moments. The Jack Ryan franchise has always suffered under the weight of its own seriousness, in my opinion, and this doesn't do much to dispel that. But Pine is fun to watch.

52. Donovan's Echo, Redbox. Danny Glover is Donovan, a former scientist who helped with the Manhattan Project, and who later lost his wife and child in an accident. He comes back to his home after 30 years away, where Bruce Greenwood, his brother-in-law and town sheriff, has maintained his property. He tries to settle into small-town life, but he is plagued with premonitions that seem to echo his own past. His next-door neighbors are a mother and her young daughter and Donovan is convinced that they are going to die on the 30th anniversary of his own family's death. Is he right, or is he just losing is mind? It's ok, but the writing is a bit too sappy and everything has this sad tinge. Donovan has just a bit too much backstory, and his notebook of SCIENCE! is a bit tedious. I want to support movies that have older leads, but this is not going to win anyone over.

53. Ice Soldiers, Redbox. Oh my. This is truly bad. Kind of hilariously bad. Evil grown-in-a-vat super soldiers rape, murder and pillage, and leave behind one woman who gives birth to Dominic Purcell. He grows up to become a scientist/adventurer/seriously awesome athlete who sets out to find what happened to the soldiers. Predictable stuff happens, Michael Ironside performs the Michael Ironside role, and everyone dies. Our hero escapes, barely, and flails around in the arctic, then Adam Beech shows up and becomes his Tonto. Sorta. There's a LOT of killing. Some boobs. Ice soldier naked butts. More killing. That's about it! Surprised it wasn't an Asylum movie.

54. How I Live Now, Redbox. Loved this! American teenaged girl gets sent to stay with relatives in England for the summer and is pouty about it and typically teenagery. A couple of days later war breaks out. She's with her cousins, but their mother is a diplomat and she's been called away so there are no grownups. All kinds of post-apocalyptical horrible things happen. Very good and very realistic.

55. The Dark Knight Rises, Redbox. Another rewatch. Despite his pouty side in this, I do heart Christian Bale. He just really brings it to every role, and he's by far my favorite Batman. I was just in a superhero kind of mood this month. Oh hell, every month.

56. Man of Steel, Redbox. Yet another rewatch since I was watching Batman. And it was good. Another pouty superhero. Love Russell Crowe as the super-effectual ghost in the machine.

57. Edge of Tomorrow, Theater. Loved this. No matter how you feel about Tom Cruise, it's really really good. I mean, if you hate him, well, he dies in the movie. About 100 times! Maybe more. And if you love him there he is. And if you're indifferent, he's a pretty good actor despite his Tom Cruiseyness. Seriously, go see it. It's so good!

58. 3 Days to Kill, Redbox. More fun than I thought it would be. Kevin Costner is a CIA agent who is dying of cancer and has only a few months to live, so he goes back to Paris, where his estranged wife and daughter live, for an attempt at reconciliation. There are spy hijinks and awkward father-daughter moments and bike riding and scary Parisian nightclubs, but it all works out and Kevin is reasonably charming. I bet this is one of those that audiences like more than critics, because it's not exactly deep. Still, I have a soft spot for Costner.

59. All Is Lost, Redbox. Gripping. Robert Redford sails the ocean blue. For a lot of the movie you worry that he's going to break a hip. The actor is 77, after all, and he's sailing alone. REALLY REALLY ALONE. THERE IS NO ONE ELSE IN THIS MOVIE EVER. THE CAST LIST HAS JUST ROBERT REDFORD! Ahem. Boat takes on water when it's struck by a shipping container (hey, I can relate. My car was hit by a dumpster, once) and he spends a chunk of time fixing it. He's got a clever seat pull winch something, so he doesn't have to climb up the mast. He's very resourceful, anyway. All of his electronics are fried, so he has to figure out how to sail by the stars. And of course there's a storm, and the boat does several complete rotations so he walks on the ceiling and eventually ends up in the drink a lot, and there are sharks, and of course he runs out of supplies eventually.

But he's really not a talker. There is a scene where he tries to raise somone on the dying radio. And there's a monolog at the beginning. There's one "fuck" and maybe a super quiet "shit" and some "HELP"s. I think that's it. If I were in that position I'd be chattering up a storm. All day long "fuck this fucking boat and the fucking ocean and how is this my life and oh, sure, now there are sharks and why didn't I somehow bring more water, I'm such a moron." But no. Redford brings new meaning to the term "stoic."

I gotta say, this didn't make me want to take up sailing. I'm sure if you saw this in the theater it would be hella impressive, but because I was watching on DVD and there's no dialog, I kept looking away and reading the internet. This is definitely one of those critics love it, audiences are mixed sort of movies. Still, the Sundance Kid is still pretty hot and fit and impressive.

60. Freezer, Redbox. Robert Saunders, played by Dylan McDermott, wakes up in a giant industrial freezer filled with food and realizes he's being held captive by Russians who want their money. He swears he doesn't have it. A surprising number of people traipse through the freezer and beat him up. The writers were clearly pleased with themselves, because there is plot twist on top of plot twist. Did Saunders steal the money? Does he make it out of the freezer? What the hell?

ABANDONED MID MOVIE:
Gambit, Redbox. So I rented this at the same time as Cate McCall, while I was in Hyannis. I watched Cate, and it was so meh that when I got about 20 minutes into this I just gave up and went to bed. Sorry, Cameron Dias and Colin Firth. I am sure you're lovely people. But no. And Joel and Ethan? Maybe you need a vacation. Because, as I've mentioned, no.

May Movies

Jun. 1st, 2014 01:15 am
llcoolvad: (newer)
Much like April was Meth Month, May is Clooneyriffic!

MAY MOVIES
30. Finding Vivian Maier, Theater. Excellent documentary. This should have been in the April entry because I watched it in April, but I forgot. Maier was a loner who became a nanny because the job allowed her to have a lot of time to take photographs. And take photographs she did! Over 100,000 photographs. And then she never showed them to anyone. After one of her storage units went up for auction, amateur historian John Maloof bought one of the lots that had some of her negatives in them, and he was so impressed with the quality of her work that he set out to find out who she was. So engrossing. Showcased a whole mess of obsession (on both sides — the filmmaker was clearly obsessive himself) in a fascinating way.

31. Star Wars, DVD. I own this and felt compelled to watch it. It's the re-release, where all the squeaky cutesy aliens are popping around in Mos Eisley, and with all the other post- post- post-production crap Lucas felt that he had to add in. Ugh. But it still is fun to watch. I just really need to get the original version some day.

31. I, Frankenstein, Redbox. Aaron Eckhart plays the monster. And that's where the similarity to the original Frankenstein tale ends. After slaughtering Frankenstein's wife, the monster takes off, only to be followed by his creator, until his creator freezes to death. For some reason, the monster decides to bury his maker in the family plot, and while he's doing that he's set upon by demons. And then he's saved by gargoyes. And then 200 years pass while he sulks in the woods. And then there's SCIENCE and Bill Nighy and the chick from "Chuck" and more demons and more gargoyles. And a lot of statements like "This will end tonight!" and "It is not for you or I to deny God's purpose!" In one scene the queen gargoyle gives him the name Adam. So hey, Adam Frankenstein, that's cool.

33. Bad Country, Redbox. An 80s period piece set in the south. Willem Dafoe is a cop who convinces Matt Dillon's bad guy to become an informant against mega-bad guy Tom Berenger. Neal McDonough plays unctious bad guy lawyer, and really everyone else except Willem Dafoe and some soon to be dead guys are all just bad bad men. There is, as you might expect, gunfire. There are murders. Only one gratuitous set of breasts. And then it was over. I was wondering through the entire movie if Willem, Matt, and Tom all got hazard pay for the mega-staches they had to sport. The moustaches were practically other cast members, so really they should have at least gotten scale for them!

34. 47 Ronin, Redbox. Keanu Reeves is the One, again. This time in ancient Japan. But really, same thing. The kid they cast to play him as a, uh, kid, looked a lot like Keanu did at that age. So that was good. The smoldering go-to Japanese guy of the decade, Hiroyuki Sanada, plays the main Japanese mentor. So Keanu is a half-breed, and basically lives in a mud hut, and everyone else lives at the shiny palace. The sets are lush and detailed and amazing. The plot is very complicated. Unfortunately they do the broken English thing to show that it's Japan, but I guess you have to overlook such things. But anyway, there is intrigue and a war and star crossed lovers and withcraft and fabled beasts and if they had just cast someone else it would be really good! But alas. Keanu! Great fight scene between Keanu and Hiroyuki, however.

35. Godzilla, Theater. YAY big lizard. OK, I've read a few reviews that said the big guy wasn't in the movie enough, but really he was the hero, so I think the pacing was good and having him as a guy of mystery. Or gal. It's not really clear, is it? Anyway, I enjoyed the heck out of most of it, grinning like a fool during the monster fights. The real flaw in the movie is the human hero, Bryan Cranston's character's son. He's very generic and I seriously couldn't remember what he looked like from one scene to the next. But ok. Not every actor can carry a picture.

36. The Monuments Men, Redbox. WWII throwback. Earnest Clooney. Gets the president of the US to agree to letting George form a team to go to Europe to save precious works of art from being stolen by the Nazis. I loved all of the cast. And the fact that this mission was needed made me unspeakably sad. But it's a bit uneven and it didn't make me cry, which it should have. The team is a bit jolly for all that they're experiencing the horrors of war, and the pacing is a bit strange. Still, it made me nostalgic for old movies.

37. Solaris (2002), Netflix DVD. Sad Clooney. In this one he plays Chris Kelvin, a psychiatrist on Earth. He gets a call from a friend, begging him to come to space station Prometheus located in orbit around the planet(?) Solaris. The crew is coming unhinged and they need his help. It's far enough into the future that the space station is huge, and spaceflight is largely unmanned. He flies there alone, and arrives to find a mystery, indeed. There are bloody handprints on the walls, and his friend is dead. There are two remaining crew members present who seem to be under some serious amount of stress. What is happening?

The whole thing is gorgeous and claustrophobic. Soderburg does an excellent job of world building, whatever the decade. Vaguely disturbing that the reason that we'd build a giant space station outside a really odd unstable (gas giant?) planet (apparently an unknown object) with no obvious commercial benefits is never explained at all. Obvi I never read the book. Bonus points for bare Clooney butt in several shots.

38. Up in the Air, Netflix DVD. Detached-turned-Sad Clooney. George is a professional downsizer who travels from one doomed company to the next telling people that they've been fired. He has no other life at all, but he likes it that way—in voiceover at one point says something like "I was on the road 323 days last year, which means I had to be at home for 42". His apartment is a closet. He meets a woman that also travels constantly, and they start a no-strings relationship. But then of course some stuff happens and George has an epiphany. Maybe his life isn't that great? No Clooney butt in this one, but some serious Vera Farmiga butt instead, so there you go.

39. Captain Phillips, HBO. Gripping. Didn't realize how much of it took place in the lifeboat. Very sympathetic towards the pirates, because really, what other choices do the pirates have? Tom Hanks is very Tom Hanks-y. I looked up the real story, and clearly the real Captain Phillips must have been a mean boss, because his crew doesn't have much nice to say about him. But it's ok—Tom makes him very heroic and smart and most people will remember the movie and not the truth.

40. The Double (2011), Netflix Streaming. This is not the highly-rated psychological Jesse Eisenberg thriller called The Double. This is the other one. I was hoping for fun/good, but I had to settle for mediocre-to-bad. Richard Gere, Topher Grace, Russian assassins and spies, FBI, every "Russian" actor we currently have working, and plot, lots and lots of plot. Richard Gere is still pretty hot. That's all I've got.

41. Get the Gringo, Netflix Streaming. Loads of fun, surprisingly. If you can ignore what you know about Mel the man, and just focus on the performance, it's good! Mel is a thieving clown in the opening scene, and he is being chased by the police right along the Mexican border. He manages to crash through the border, and since he has bags full of cash he gets taken in by the Mexican police who steal the money and hide him away in a Mexican prison. Lots of plot happens, and Mel has his charming moments. As expected, there is drug intrigue, gangster intrigue, a grubby disgusting setting, and, unexpectedly, a cute kid that Mel bonds with.

42. The Art of the Steal, Redbox. Much better than it should have been. Heist movie with the usual plot twists. Matt Dillon and Kurt Russell are brothers in crime (and also brothers) when a scheme goes wrong and Matt gets caught. He has a record and would do serious time if convicted, so he gives up his brother as a fall guy. After five and a half years, Kurt gets out and works as a motorcycle stunt driver. Then the fates conspire to drag him back into the con...there are then unexpected plot twists!

43. Veronica Mars, Amazon Instant. Ah, such a fun trip back to Neptune CA! More murder, of course. Veronica is 10 years older, a law school grad, dating the adorable Piz, and about to embark on her legal career, when she gets a call from Logan Echolls, her high school nemesis and later boyfriend. He's the son of a famous A-list actor, and he's been dating a pop star. But now the pop star is dead, and he's in the spotlight, suspected of her death. Veronica goes back home to help him screen lawyers, and gets caught up in the investigation and the corruption in Neptune. Bonus amusing cameo by James Franco as himself. Great fan service overall. No idea how it would hold up if you hadn't watched the series, because I watched every second of the series. And I watched this movie 2x back to back, because.
llcoolvad: (newer)
APRIL MOVIES
I am behind on my media consumption cataloging! Sorry. And apparently April is METH MONTH, judging by the number of movies I watched this month (4) with meth as a seedy undercurrent.

21. Captain America, Theater. See previous reviews regarding the Marvel movies. YAY! Very glad I watched this before I saw the Agents of SHIELD episode that week, because I would have been very spoilered.

22. Winter's Bone, Netflix DVD. Riveting, but just made me sad. It's obviously a worst case scenario on top of another worst case scenario, but there are a lot of poor people all over the world who face similar circumstances every day, and that just sucks. John Hawkes is as mesmerizing as always. Oh, and I had to look away during the squirrel skinning and prepping scene, of course.

23. Out of the Furnace, Redbox. I simply love everything Christian Bale does. He just inhabits every single character he plays. Stunning in American Hustle, great in this—and so different. He's an honest but not bright blue collar steel worker with a kind heart in rural Pennsylvania who goes to jail for an accident. He's got a brother (Casey Affleck) who has got pretty awful PTSD from Iraq, and who can't stop himself from gambling. There is Trouble. And then there's BIG trouble in the form of Woody Harrellson, who plays the scariest dead-eyed uber redneck I've ever seen. It's also got Forest Whitaker who I generally loathe but didn't so much in this one, Sam Shepard, Willem Dafoe, and Zoe Saldana, so that's a pretty awesome cast.

24. Homefront, Redbox. Jason Statham is a retired undercover cop who put away a bad guy and was present when the bad guy's son was killed by the police. He now lives with his kid in big beautiful house in a dreary Louisiana small town riddled with poverty, meth dealers, and other bad things. James Franco is a meth dealer. Winona Ryder is his meth-whore girlfriend. Franco goes to scare away Statham and takes his kitty. Stuff happens, worse guys ride into town, fighting, shooting, dying. Clancy Brown is the sheriff and mostly isn't in the movie. Kitty is saved (I was nervous about that). I like most Statham movies for some inexplicable reason, and this was ok. Not any wry quips to speak of, so that's a mistake. But asses were kicked and bad guys were appropriately mauled.

25. Hours, Redbox. Paul Walker is almost the only character in this Katrina set piece. His wife dies in childbirth during Katrina, and through a series of events Walker is left behind with his ventilator-reliant newborn when the hospital gets evacuated. And the vent has a bad battery that he manages to charge manually--every three minutes. For two solid days. And he faces looters and a wandering dog and other things. It's a bit slow moving, but the sense of dread is pretty grippy. Walker and his charm is almost able to pull it off, but he was never an actor with a lot of range and this script would have worked better with a better actor. Plus the cookie cutter bad guys are pretty unbelievable. Still, I didn't dislike it. Cute dog, too.

26. Grudge Match, Redbox. Stallone and DeNiro are retired prize fighters who have a long history. Honestly, what else is there to say? It was actually kind of cute, except there were a couple of scenes where Stallone tries for comedy, and honestly, why? He's got his schtick. Let him do it. I had to look away during those parts almost as much as I had to look away during the squirrel skinning in Winter's Bone. Scary and cruel. Good casting, tho. Raging Bull vs. Rocky Balboa? Choice.

27. Junction, Redbox. I almost turned this one off. Felt like a writer/director debut production, and indeed it turned out to be so. Four strung-out meth addicts need money to score, and their dealer (Anthony Ruivivar chewing the scenery like it was taffy) cuts them a break: bring him a television for his mother's birthday, and he'll hook them up. They find a likely house, find a television right away, but poke around a little before they leave. They find out that the homeowner has a terrible secret. What to do? Hostage taking time, naturally. It doesn't end well, but it was pretty interesting and tense by the end. A Guiding Light star, some bit players, former As the World Turns AND Guiding Light star, and a couple of famous faces. I hope the soap stars weren't counting this as their big break!
(NOTE: I didn't pick this one based on that description, but on this one: "In the idyllic upscale neighborhood of Verterra Hill, a privatized community full of manicured lawns and sprawling colonials, four strangers make a choice that sets in motion a series of events that will change their lives, the lives of some not-so-innocent homeowners and a troubled police force forever. On a road full of twists and turns each group will be forced to make a decision that will send them all careening headlong into a deadly confrontation. In a place where nothing is what it seems and no one is who they appear to be, only one thing is certain: all choices come with a price." Doesn't that sound interesting? That's what I get for not surfing Rotten Tomatoes first! And seriously, they weren't strangers!)

28. The Last Days on Mars, Redbox. So, common opinion is that any movie with Mars in the title, with the possible exception of Veronica Mars, generally sucks. I have liked almost all of them, but that is perhaps because I am a glutton for punishment. This movie is basically zombies on Mars, and for all of that it's pretty claustrophobic and awesome. Liev Schriber, Elias Koteas and a mean Olivia Williams are part of a scientific crew on Mars. They have JUST ONE DAY left before they are to leave, and one of them has made a discovery. Instead of sharing that information with his crew, he goes out with one other person right before dark to get another core sample. Bad idea, science boy! One by one the crew gets cray-cray and the suspense builds as they destroy the habitats that the remaining crew needs to survive. Will anyone make it out alive? Big ups to the makeup crew for the shuffling frozen no-atmosphere almost-skeletal faces of a couple of the undead. Nice job!

29. The Bag Man, Redbox. Another John Cusack movie. He either must owe the mob money or have an inability to sit still, because he just works and works and works. This was pretty good for the recent crop of Cusack movies. Cusack plays a delivery guy who has to deliver a bag to his boss, Robert DeNiro (who seems to have his own issues with taking any damned movie at all—are they both vying to be the new Michael Caine?) with the stipulation that he not under any circumstances look in the bag. He has a prearranged meeting spot at the creepiest motel in the world run by the always creepy Crispin Glover. All kinds of messed up stuff happens, with Cusack grimly keeping the bag throughout. (All kinds of stuff. Midgets with pistols. Russian hookers. Dirty cops. Crispin Glover in a wheelchair. Oh, and LOTS of murder) Then the denouement and more mayhem. Fun in a grim kind of way. Not Grosse Pointe Blank fun, but still fun.
llcoolvad: (newer)
MARCH MOVIES
11. Cold Comes the Night, Redbox. Gritty low-budget noir. A single mom runs a pay-by-the-hour motel in somewhere dreary. Child Protective Services thinks that's maybe not the best environment to raise a child in. Single mom doesn't have enough money to walk away from the no-tell. Then, suddenly, blindish Bryan Cranston, inexplicably playing an ethnically untraceable accent, decides to stop at the motel and there's violence and betrayal and mayhem.

12. Oldboy, Redbox. Joe Doucette is a pretty vile guy, and one night he's kidnapped and then kept captive in for 20 years in a fake hotel room with cheesy tv, booze, and junk food. Then suddenly he's out and he has to figure out who kidnapped him and why. Not great, but certainly interesting. And the themes end up being pretty dark.

13. Thor: The Dark World, Redbox. Fun! I am a big fan of all the Marvel movies, so I am not really the best judge. But how can you not like a movie where Tom Hiddleston gets to camp it up and play both the bad guy AND the hero? I'd watch Tom Hiddleston eat his lunch. But really everyone was pretty excellent. Fun fact: Redbox didn't get enough copies of this title, so it is out of stock everywhere. I found one in nearby town, and while I ran in to get it out of the Redbox machine, I paused in the fire lane at Stop & Shop for like 30 seconds and got a parking ticket. So I'm not sure that it was worth $40. But there you go.

14. American Hustle, Redbox. Excellent. Christian Bale is my favorite part. He's just flawless. Bradley Cooper is great, too. Really, there's nothing to complain about at all. They're all excellent, and the movie is a fun scam. I love capers, and this is a pretty complex and yet bumbling caper. Highly recommended.

15. Odd Thomas, Redbox. MUCH better than it had any right to be. Really enjoyed this. I'd read the first handful of books, and had no idea there was a movie. And it was good! The basic plot is the main character, Odd (played by Chekov from the Trek reboot, but minus the heavy Russkie accent), can see dead people. And they try to tell him things. And he tries to fix things for them. Very quirky, interesting cast, funny, but also filled with violence and horror. Pretty much captures the book's tone.

16. The Departed, Cable. I've seen this several times already, but this version had pop-up factoids about the movie, which added a bit of interestingness. It's perhaps my favorite Boston movie. A few terrible accents (Sheen, Nicholson), but everyone's performance is just so good and the plot is great and it's all just great. Major props to Leo here. He's just so good. Did I mention that it's good? Because it is.

17. The Counselor, Redbox. Interesting. Not sure if I liked it. Very appealingly filmed, gorgeously rich sets/scenes, Ridley Scott directs, Fassbinder and Javier Bardem star, Cormac McCarthy wrote it. Should be good, right? And a lot of it was interesting, but some of it was trying way too hard (like basically all of the dialog). A lot of obsession with sex across all the characters that seems unlikely, considering how much they all get. There is a delightful pair of cheetahs in the movie that I worried about from the first second I saw them on screen. I hate that. But Brad Pitt dies in a spectacularly foreshadowed way, so that part was fun. And since there's no one to like at all in the whole movie, except possibly Penelope Cruz, it's pretty satisfying to see what happenes to everyone, except possibly Penelope Cruz.

18. Dallas Buyers Club, Redbox. Powerful. Great performances, fascinating story, relentlessly sad. Watching that time in so-recent history, where people were just dropping like flies and no one had any answers, was very sad.

19. Extract, Netflix DVD. So I decided to cancel the DVD side of my Netflix, and I returned the movie I've had out for months (dumb) and forgot to actually stop the DVDs coming. Somehow this was at the top of my DVD queue. So I watched it, since it's Mike Judge. But perhaps I have aged out of the Mike Judge audience? Because it's a comedy, and I didn't laugh much. And I'm a Jason Bateman fan! There were a few funny bits at the end. I liked Judge's cameo (totally knew it was him because of the voice). The neighbor was amusing. But overall I gotta give it a meh. It's certainly no Office Space. And Ben Affleck was really meh.

20. Non-Stop, Theater. "Taken" on a plane. Except the entire time Liam Neeson plays an antihero instead of a hero. But it's a decent little thriller, if forgettable. Lots of red herrings, but ultimately the whodunnit and why part is completely unimportant.
llcoolvad: (newer)
FEBRUARY MOVIES
3. Prisoners, Redbox. Grim. Two girls disappear, one comes back. There is a creepy kid that's clearly mentally challenged in some way that seems like a likely suspect. Desperate dad does desperate things. Truth is eventually revealed. Honestly, too grim for me. Unrelenting. A meditation on desperation and taking things too far, but it's not one I really needed to see.

4. Rush, Redbox. James Hunt, played by Chris Hemsworth, is a glamorous race car driver who bangs a lot of chicks. His nemesis, Niki Lauda, is not glamorous and does not bang a lot of chicks. They race each other. Eventually Lauda gets hurt during a race, then time passes and he sort of heals and they race again. James wins, but then retires and Lauda has the last laugh through his fairly horrible scars. (not really a spoiler, as this is a true story) Great storytelling and acting. No one is truly good, no one is truly bad. Thumbs up.

5. Closed Circuit, Redbox. Mostly slow moving British terrorism/courtroom/conspiracy drama. Good while you watch, largely forgettable after. Eric Bana is mostly inert. There's some running and stuff, but mostly it was a gorgeously filmed something about something? Pretty people. Glossy haircuts. Great clothes. And plot. I think.

6. Fruitvale Station, Redbox. So sad. We watch Oscar live the last day of his life. He tries to get his job back. He picks up supplies for a party with the family. He throws away his stash and doesn't sell it even though he has a buyer. He spends some good time with his daughter. He's pretty charming and he's trying to get his life together, but he's definitely a work in progress. And then he gets into a fight on a train with a guy he brawled with in prison, and the police take him into custody and shoot him. And it's clearly a horror and a huge injustice. And of course it's a true story. Big thumbs up. Excellent.

7. Escape Plan, Redbox. Sylvester Stallone is the foremost authority on prison security: he basically gets paid a lot of money figuring out how to break out of prisons. Then he gets a real challenge. He's to be dropped into a new prison that he doesn't know anything about--where it is, how it's set up. Treachery follows, and he's forced to team up with another con to survive. That con? Arnold! And "Person of Interest" Jim Caviezel plays the evil prison warden, so that's fun. It was ridiculous, but really kinda good. Arnold and Sly have good chemistry and feel like the old pros they are. Good to see them both shine, really.

8. Wolverine, Redbox. Better than I thought it was going to be, but my expectations were not high. Logan heads to Japan to say goodbye to a man whose life he saved decades before. There is a bunch of plot, pretty girls, and rock 'em, sock 'em robots at the end. And of course a fabulously old sword, because Japan. Also some sciency mumbo jumbo. And running on rooftops. Ok, I think that's everything.

9. Europa Report, Redbox. So a mega corporation decides to fund a trip to Jupiter's moon, Europa, to discover if there is life inside Europa's frozen seas. Various things happen and the crew gets whittled down, but they eventually discover the answer to the question. It was much better than I expected. Cast was good, Sharlto Copley and Michael Nyqvist especially. And the storytelling style is interesting; lots of documentary style combined with regular filming. Good tension, decent science, and lots of realism. Big thumbs up.

10. Enough Said, Redbox. One of the last things James Gandolfini filmed. Romantic comedy, but a grown-up, low-key quiet comedy about dating in your 50s and previous baggage. Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Gandolfini have a surprising chemistry, and she's uncertain and nervous and he's easygoing and calm and somehow it's just all excellent. Big thumbs up.
llcoolvad: (newer)
JANUARY BOOKS
1. Never Go Back, Lee Child, Thriller. In "61 Hours", our hero talks to Army Major Susan Turner, new commander of his old MP unit, on the phone and finds her very appealing as she helps him solve a problem. He decides to get himself a looksee at her and makes his way across the country to DC to say hello. Then suddenly they're both facing trumped-up charges and serious jail time, so Reacher busts them both out of military jail and they hit the road, trying to figure out what's the real story behind their troubles. Fairly typical outing, except this time both Reacher AND Turner get folding toothbrushes and don't carry so much as a backpack.

2. Fractured, Karin Slaughter, Audio, Crime. I've been reading these mostly out of order. This is the second in the "Will Trent" series by Slaughter. I had started reading her with the "Grant County" series, but the two have since combined two main characters in book 4?, 5?, so I went back to read this series. Anyway, all of Slaughter is pretty dark, with usually fairly brutal crimes and dark motivations. In this case a woman comes home to find her daughter brutally murdered and apparently raped, and a man standing over her body. She manages to kill the man, but there is evidence that there were other people at the scene when the murder happened. What is the motivation, here, and who are the others—witnesses? Other victims? Perpetrators? Will Trent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has to face a bully from his childhood orphanage, a new partner who has very good reason to hate him, and his own dyslexia to solve the case.

3. Tularosa, Michael McGarrity, Crime. Santa Fe ex-cop Kevin Kerney had to stop being a cop when he was badly injured on a stakeout, thanks to his partner's inattention. When that same ex-partner shows up two years later to ask Kerney to investigate his son's AWOL from the Army, Kerney only agrees because he likes the son. He really wants to go back to being a rancher, and is trying to save money to buy his own spread and cows and whatnot. His old cop buddy Andy gives him a temporary job so he'll have some legit credentials while he's investigating. There's an attractive Army Captain that helps him, and the crime ends up being quite complicated and involving insane Mexican drug lords. A decent read. I'll continue this series.

4. Mexican Hat, Michael McGarrity, Crime. Book 2 in the Kevin Kerney series. Kerney has shuffled on to another temporary gig. He's working for the Park Service for the season, and he has stumbled into a poaching ring and a couple of murders. He manages to solve them all, somehow, and meet a new attractive lady and make some new friends in the process. And solve a decades-old family feud. Busy!

5. Serpent Gate, Michael McGarrity, Crime. Book 3 in the Kevin Kerney series. Kerney has once again changed jobs (dunno yet if this authorial trick is going to wear on me), and is working for the New Mexico State PD as a detective on temporary assignment. Things quickly take a turn when a large amount of priceless art is stolen out of the Governor's office. Kerney's cop buddy Andy, who now happens to be the Chief of the New Mexico State Police, moves Kerney into the Deputy Chief position and puts him in charge of the investigation. Because who else could he trust?! Kerney does his thing, meets a new attractive lady who he puts in jail instead of sleeps with, shacks up with an old friend who's a gay artist, delivers a foal, and makes a new friend who's a raving schizophrenic.

I also finished two of the books (The Bat, and Slow Horses, both quite good!) that I hadn't quite finished last year.

JANUARY MOVIES
1. Fast and Furious 6, Redbox. Loads of fun. Made me sad about Paul Walker all over again. I mean, he was no genius actor, but he was fun to watch and seemed like a genuinely nice person outside of his fame. Poor Vin. They were obviously pals.
2. Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters, Redbox. Lacked the sense of wonder and fun of the first one (kind of like Harry Potter 2. Not enough of the 'dear god how is all of this real?' feeling). Percy finds out he has a half brother who's half cyclops, half son of Poseidon. They need to go on a quest to retrieve the Golden Fleece. There is mayhem. There is anti-cyclopsism from Percy's pals. Percy's brother is a nice kid. After tribulations, they succeed. Oh, SPOILERS! Sorry.

I rented The Family and The Wolverine, but returned them both unwatched. The Wolverine had some kind of defect so I couldn't play it, and I just wasn't in the mood for The Family, after all. Next time!
llcoolvad: (pretty)
I need to make some progress on things. One of those things is my obsessive list-keeping, so here's the movie part. Movies watched either in the theater, from Redbox on DVD, from Amazon Prime on streaming, or on HBO. January and February I'm not certain of the source, because I am too lazy to look that far back. I don't count movies that air on regular cable or that I just watch part of, or that I've seen a million times. I don't think I used Netflix much this year. I wish Redbox and Amazon Prime showed viewing history. Redbox does, but it only goes back 45 days, not all time. Amazon Prime only shows what you bought or rented, not what you viewed for "free".

Movies Watched 2013 within )

...I think that works out to 95? 15 in the theater. Redbox costs $1.20 or $1.50 for Blu-ray plus tax each, so I spent about a hundred there. Which is amusing, since I spent way more than that on the 14 in the theater! I did do a bunch of matinees in the spring, so I saved a little. There will probably be a few more in the theater before the first. I hope.

My favorites: Beasts of the Southern Wild, Mud, Argo, Silver Linings Playbook, Pacific Rim, Stoker, Warm Bodies. Second tier: Bourne, Looper, Ted, Seven Psychopaths, The Descendants, Oblivion, Hansel and Gretel, Elysium, Gravity, World War Z, Hunger Games 2, The Hobbit 2.

WORST EVER: Alex Cross/Universal Soldier Day of Reckoning/Force of Execution. Honestly, it's a three-way tie. Alex Cross was just unspeakably bad, why is Tyler Perry allowed to make movies? Universal Soldier is incomprehensible mush. And Force of Execution? So bad. No one to root for, no one does what people would do in those situations, ridiculous waste of Danny Trejo. Ugh.

Special mention for sucking: pretty much everything John Cusack did lately (The Raven, The Numbers Station, The Factory, and The Frozen Ground). They weren't TERRIBLE, but lord, they weren't good. The Raven was the best of them, but someone must have told him "less, John, less!". Talk about understated: he was barely awake in any of these.

2013 Books read to follow.
llcoolvad: (new)
The stuff I read within )
llcoolvad: (pretty)
Media tally to date within )

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