Saturday, January 12, 2008

Seven Reviews for Seven Movies

So I'm way behind in movie reviews. So far behind, in fact, that there's no hope of catching up if I don't summarize my opinions of each in one paragraph or less.

And now, without further ado, in order of preference...

No Country for Old Men (2007)
As a fan of Coen Brothers films, I'm well-accustomed to their dark sense of humor. Even still, I couldn't for the life of me imagine what they'd do with the very serious, very dramatic book by Cormac McCarthy. And while there is a (very subdued) sense of humor to this film, it's delivered in traditional Coen Brothers style without sacrificing the nature of the book. The end result: a decent storyline with a little too much gore and some inconsistencies that didn't quite add up... and yet, it's an altogether compelling film that captures the goings-on of the creepiest villain since Hannibal Lectar. FINAL GRADE: A-

Juno (2007)
This movie is funny and touching — even if the lead character's precocious demeanor isn't entirely believable. Ellen Page stars as Juno MacGuff, a two-smart-by-half high school junior impregnated by her best friend — a boy who's smitten with her, even if she refuses to acknowledge the same. Unable to follow through with an abortion, Juno scours the classifieds for couples looking to adopt. An altogether lovely story that'll make you laugh — and think twice about love, family and relationships. Think of it as this year's Little Miss Sunshine... with a soundtrack you'll want to download the moment you get home. FINAL GRADE: A-

Kite Runner (2007)
I saw this one by chance when my preferred film (The Savages) was sold out. What a pleasant surprise — light-hearted in some scenes and all-out traumatizing in others, this film chronicles the life of a Afghani boy whose father brought him to America after the Soviet invasion. Said boy grows up to become a writer still grappling with his past — a battle that culminates in a return to his home-country just weeks before September 11. FINAL GRADE: A-

I Am Legend (2007)
I enjoyed about the first 2/3 of this movie. It was, up until a point, well-written and fairly compelling. But then the storyline completely falls apart in an attempt to tack a "happy" ending onto an unhappy film about humans infected with a rabies-like virus that virtually kills and/or infects everyone on the planet. Deus ex machina is put to despicable use here, and I walked away thinking a decent film had been ruined by its final 25 minutes. However you look at it, though, Will Smith's performance is pretty dern impressive. FINAL GRADE: C+

Strings (2004)
This is a fairly serious war-time drama wherein the people are entirely played by puppets, in which case I had a difficult taking it seriously because — I'm sorry to say — comedic scenes from Team America (a far more sarcastic/humorous "puppet" movie from the creators of South Park) kept popping into my head. Still, the film itself was interesting and rife with metaphor — though sometimes a bit overdone. FINAL GRADE: C+

This Film is Not Yet Rated (2006)
Critics loved this documentary. I didn't. I mean, director Kirby Dick makes a compelling point insofar as the MPAA — which decides which films get which ratings — is clearly unjustly influenced by big name production companies. But beyond that, he didn't really make me care about the issue at hand. FINAL GRADE: C-

Hairspray (2007)
I seldom fall asleep while watching movies, but I certainly did in this one. To be fair, I've never been fond of musicals, but with all the hoopla surrounding this one, I'd hoped it be an exception. It wasn't. FINAL GRADE: D


David said...

I appreciate your insights, especially for Juno, which I had planned to see. You say that you don't like musicals, but have you seen Once? It is my favorite movie right now.

M@ said...

Thanks for helping me w/ my Netflix queue.

I'll have to wait on The Kite Runner, however, until I finish the book.

thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy said...

David - I was actually sorry to have missed "Once" when it was in the theatres (I loved the songs I heard played on "Sound Opinions"). Suffice it to say it's in my Netflix queue and after it was released on DVD, I even moved it to the top. Now, if only I could watch the other blasted films sitting atop of my DVD player...

Matt - Must admit I wish I'd read the book first. I'm told the film is a fairly decent adaptation... cutting out some parts as necessary for length, but otherwise close to the original.

Woodrow said...

I very rarely have the desire to watch a movie. However, this weekend I had a sudden strong desire to go see No Country For Old Men. But then I couldn't find it playing anywhere. Guess I'll wait for the rental release.

Beth said...

Your A-rated films are at the top of my list. I haven't had a hint of a desire to see Hairspray; I love the original John Waters film too much.

Stacy said...

I agree with you on all of them except for "No Country" which is the only one Ive seen. I loved it and when I close my eyes I can still see Javier, whatsisname. Think about it, a character that brutal and you still walk away thinking about how striking he is (in a rugged sort of way). I'd give it an A+.

michele said...

I'm interested to hear you say you thought _I am Legend_ fell apart with the tacked on happy ending. That was my feeling as well, but I was just so terribly disappointed that they didn't follow through to the book's much darker end. So I thought my disappointment was just because I knew what it could be. So I'm glad to hear that others saw through the lame ending too!