January 3, 2010

Movie Monday

We watched a lot of movies while SoldierMan was here. For this week's Movie Monday, I've listed all the ones we saw for the first time. Some in theaters, some rented. All first-time viewings.

I won't synopsize and fully review every one, but here's a rundown for those of you who are interested, ranked from best to worst. Feel free to disagree, but this is my highly subjective opinion.

Up - A+
Just call this movie Mary Poppins - "practically perfect in every way." Great characters, great story, full emotional range, and beautiful imagery. If you haven't seen it, you must. Must. "Up" should be given the Best Picture award, if the elitists would ever come out of their ivory towers and give Best Picture to an animated comedy film. This was definitely the best picture of 2009.

Okay, since we know "Up" won't get Best Pic, I think "Holmes" should. A great story and great acting. My heart was thrilled to see Robert Downey, Jr. on screen again. Love him!! AND with Jude Law?? Seriously, maybe I'm just getting old, but I prefer seeing the two of them on screen to Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner. Rachel McAdams, though usually one of my favorites, was a weak link in this movie. She did fine, but just "fine." The actress who plays Mary, Jude Law's fiance, was obviously more talented, though not as recognizable. Also, while it is intense and maybe not good for little little kids, I think this movie would be safe for older children. It also feels to me like the first Batman movie - a good movie made for the purpose of establishing a series of really great sequels.

This was a fun movie. Not a classic, by any means. But just plain fun, and with a nice but unconventional ending. We've always had this joke that I can't die first, because SoldierMan would turn into the Clint Eastwood character in Gran Torino. I found who I would be if he died: the 40-year-old single crazy crossword lady living at home with my parents.

I'm not sure if I liked this film just because it wasn't DaVinci Code, which sucked. And I admit, most of my hate towards that movie (apart from Sir Ian McKellan screaming "we have to destroy Christianity" at the end and being played as a martyr) is that so many ignorant people actually think Dan Brown uses facts. Here's a hint: if Dan Brown names a specific person, place or date, he's lying. Look it up. Anyway, the story in this was way more original (No, DaVinci Code wasn't. Google "Archangel" starring Daniel Craig. A better version of the same plot.) and the acting was better. So an improvement overall.

I really liked this movie. I related SO much to Julie, it was painful at times. Meryl Streep was only slightly annoying (as opposed to mostly annoying in everything else she's in). I think Amy Adams is adorable. Not sure why they had to have 10 solid minutes of "good people hate Republicans, bad people are Republicans" slapping you in the face right in the middle. There's a scene Julie is found out by her employer to have fake called-in sick to work to stay home and cook. He tells her that he's disappointed, not to do it again, and to consider herself lucky because "a Republican would fire you, you know." Not sure that that was supposed to convey, exactly. Only Republicans object to lying to your employers? Only Republicans are in upper-level management positions? There was no point to that line except to be politically preachy. I don't like being preached at unless I'm in church. So this one lost a whole letter grade for that. Otherwise, a very good movie.

This was decent. Good acting, funny story. Probably won't watch it again, though. Not worth reliving the experience of watching two friends spend 90 minutes seeing who can hurt each other the worst.

Avatar - D-
Oh, Avatar. The current thorn in my side. What's to say about Avatar? Bland acting. Unoriginal storyline (accurately described elsewhere as "Dances with Wolves" meets "Ferngully"). Contrived plot path. Preachy politics at every scene break. Boring as all-get-out. The only thing that saved this from being an "F" was the special effects, which were (at best) on par though more colorful than every other 3D movie that came out in 2009. Seriously, if you haven't yet, don't waste your time. It's not worth 3 hours. I could go on and on about this, but I won't. What a waste of 14 years.

I wish I knew multiple languages so I could say "total and utter crap" in as many ways possible. Jack Black is not meant to carry films. He's just not. And while I can handle a little bit of irreverent humor, what they did to the Bible was beyond irreverent and was downright spiteful. Plus it was just gross. Every possible bodily function was parodied. Really, guys? That's the best you can come up with? And it still wasn't funny. Even SoldierMan didn't laugh. Not once.

Crap yet again. Anytime a director uses gratuitous language and gore, it's an obvious tactic to cover for a weak plot and flat characters. This movie only got any traction at all because, later, Jackson claimed it "wasn't really about aliens, it was about Apartheid." Whatever. Even if that was true, having a political metaphor is no excuse for lazy writing, which this was.

I hate Tarantino. SoldierMan likes him. We both fell asleep (in the middle of the day) 20 minutes in. Never had the desire to turn it back on. Blah.


  1. I cannot wait to see Sherlock Holmes!

  2. I have been really excited to see Sherlock Holmes so I am glad you liked it so much.

  3. Wow, that's the first time I heard someone say something bad about Avatar. I was beginning to think I was crazy for not wanting to see it. Ah ha ha

  4. I really liked UP too :) I want to see Sherlock Homes really bad!

  5. I didn't enjoy Inglorious Basterds either.

  6. I am so glad I finally found someone else not on the Avatar bandwagon! I haven't seen it yet and really have no desire to do so. I'm sure I'll see it because someone else wants to.


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