Friday, February 4, 2011

332 Days, 213 Movies

I watched 232 movies in the 365 Days of 2010. Here are more of them:

The Simpsons Movie
2007. 87 minutes. USA. Directed by David Silverman. Watchdate: 11/25/2010.
Given the legacy that this movie had to live up to, I was quite pleased with what was accomplished. There were actually many inspired moments, outnumbering my minor quibbles here and there by quite a few. A lot of the jokes were not only funny in that they elicited genuine laughter, but when you think back they were quite impressive in their craft. I was really happy with the story, which manages to incorporate all of Springfield as I would've hoped, while still keeping the focus squarely on the Simpson family. And it had the really top notch incisive/subversive satire one hopes to get from the show, but on a larger canvass allowing them to go after government, religion, big business, both sides of the environment issue, and movies themselves. I'd call it a really pleasant and occasionally rapturous viewing experience. I think it would've been a smart move to call it quits with the show (which has lagged in quality for years) back in 2006 right before the movie and then switched to doing a carefully constructed movie every few years with the all-star writing team that you can't hope to keep on the show indefinitely. But there would probably be less money in such an endeavor, so no dice.

2004. 87 minutes. USA. Directed by Gregory Jacobs. Watchdate: 11/25/2011.
This was a really bad remake of Nine Queens (2000, dir. Bielinksy), which I remember being a pretty decent movie when I saw it about six years ago. The main problem with this movie was the script, which was really one of the worst. I could fairly call it a trainwreck of a screenplay. The dialogue was especially clumsy and atrocious. John C. Reilly, Diego Luna and Maggie G do their best with what they're given, but it's not enough by any measure. They should have just worked by an outline, I know Reilly in particular can improvise dialogue that's about a million times better than the words he was forced to use here. I can see why Steven Soderbergh's cowriting credit is a pseudonym. I guess he tried to help out but didn't have time to rewrite all the dialogue? The director is Soderbergh's AD, so I'm assuming he got to direct a movie for all his loyal service. But he blew his chance pretty majorly, I think, considering the talented leads he got to work with.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
2010. Fucking Too Long. USA/UK. Directed by David Yates. Watchdate: 11/24/2010.
For my full review of Harry Potter and the Hundreds of Millions Riding on Continued Bland Professionalism, you can click here. It's currently the most popular article on this betamax by far. Based on my read of the stats, this appears to be the case largely because I had the foresight to include a cool picture of a monster truck in the post. Apparently, there are lots of mouth breathing mongoloids on the Internet googling for pictures of monster trucks.

1982. 157 minutes. Germany. Directed by Werner Herzog. Watchdate: 11/20/2010.
I had long planned to get going on Herzog as I thought Rescue Dawn was excellent but everyone says  his earlier work is where it's at. I can now see why. While there are a handful of dynamite scenes in first 45 minutes or so (I'm thinking about Fitzy breaking down at the swanky party, or his interactions with the kids, or even the opening sequence), the movie doesn't really shift into high gear until they leave on the riverboat. And then once the natives team up with the remainders of Fitzy's crew to drag the boat over the mountain, the movie is nearly as good as any movie I've ever seen. The agony/ecstasy moment where Fitz starts jumping and dancing right before the bloody reveal is really quite powerful. And then how he shoots the steam power section is amazing. It makes sense that Herzog also makes documentaries since many parts of this movie are shot with the look and feel of a documentary. I also enjoyed when Fitz almost loses his mind trying to stop the boat from falling into the rapids, and the ending is really superb. It's like pure joy committed to celluloid.

PS - I'm thinking I should just make this betamax about monster trucks because that's what the people really want.

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