June 27, 2007

Glenn Presents 21 Not-Quite-Reviews

Yeah, I've been watching a lot of movies these last few weeks and I've barely haven't mentioned any of them except the theatrical ones (and they weren't anything to get really excited about). I've been a movie-watching mood lately (the biproduct of having limited work hours, hence plenty of spare time, grrr), thing is, my Quickflix membership is only for two DVDs at a time so I've been watching a lot of movies I have already seen because I've found myself in the mood to watch them (so, a lot of these "reviews" are very positive).

"Sister Act followed by Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit? I say... WHY NOT?!"

Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, 1962, dir. Aldrich
This camp classic didn't disappoint. It's utterly bonkers, but I really liked it. Bette Davis was a true champ as the title character (well, I guess) but I also thought Joan Crawford as her disabled put-upon sister was terribly too as well (even though nobody ever seems to mention her). It was a tad too long I think, but it's great and I can't help thinking what audiences must have made of Baby Jane during it's release in the '60s. B+

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, 1966, dir. Nichols
This was a movie I had been wanting to see for eons and I loved it. I have a weakness for movies that have a great use of dialogue and language (I've studied it enough, thank you) - that was part of the reason I loved last year's Jindabyne so much, the way it used it's words. Elizabeth Taylor was amazing and it's weird thinking this was Mike Nichols' first film. Crazy, right? A

Rosemary's Baby, 1968, dir. Polanski
Holy Jesus! This was so scary. Mia Farrow was just as amazing as I had been lead to believe. But... aaagh! Scary. A

Idioterne, 1999, dir. von Trier
I briefly mentioned this in passing a while ago by saying "I don't think I liked it" (or something to that effect), and with a while between now and my initial viewing I can confirm that it's easily the lesser of the von Trier films that I have seen. There were great moments and the performances for the most part are spot on, but I just don't think the story was strong enough (obviously a limitation of the Dogme 95 restrictions). Doesn't help that it's an incredibly unsettling topic, but that was entirely Von Trier's intention I know, still doesn't mean I have to like it. C+

Double Indemnity, 1944, dir Wilder
I finally got to see this movie and it's been a long time coming. Y'all all know that this movie is amazing and is a classic so there's no point discussing it. A

Zodiac, 2007, dir. Fincher
This one has continued to ruminate in my mind about a whole month after I saw it. I quite liked it at the time, but was unsure - I had issues. But mostly those issues have been thrown away, because what's on the screen is so strong. I wouldn't consider it my favourite Fincher film, but I would place it right in the middle of his five films (1. Seven, 2. Panic Room, 3. Zodiac, 4. The Game, 5. Fight Club - I'm not a fan of Fight Club). Visually it's stunning and the performances are all top notch. I wish there was a little more to do with the puzzles and such (I love that shit), but it's still a great little movie. B+

Priest, 1994, dir. Bird
I have a weakness for these small British films that deal with GLBT themes. They're made on the cheap, and they look it too, but I think that gives them an intimate rawness. I'd rather watch something like this than a silly bright and shiny American queer film, that's for sure. I dunno. It was good. Raised good questions and ones that are still being dealth with in a rather passive way today. B

The Children's Hour, 1961, dir. Wyler
A smart and moving film about how rumours can destroy. Sure, Audrey Hepburn's character reads as homophobic as the naysaying townmembers, but that's a biproduct of the time it was filmed in and I can't hold it against the film. What is it with lesbians on film and that desire to kill themselves? Crazy. A-

Bus Stop, 1956, dir. Logan
I liked this Marilyn Monroe vehicle and I thought Monroe was excellent in it (her desperate "Oh no!"s were a hoot), definitely right up there with her best performances - I have The Misfits at the top of my DVD queue, and that's apparently her very best so I can't wait. I wasn't a fan of Don Murray, who was subsequently the film's only Oscar nod, but that's because his character was so unlikable. Still, Monroe is great. B

Naked Lunch, 1991, dir. Cronenberg
This is only the third Cronenberg film I've ever seen - after The Fly and A History of Violence - and I guess I wasn't quite sure what to expect. Definitely far out and bonkers and I'm not entirely sure I understand it all (I didn't know anything about the film or the novel it's based on), but as a purely visual experience it's pretty hard to beat. I'm willing to dive into Cronenberg territory, with Videodrome, Crash, Scanners, Dead Ringers, eXistenZ and The Brood on my DVD queue. B

The Hills Have Eyes Part II, 1985, dir. Craven
As I mentioned the other day the movie is sort of blah but THE DOG HAS A FLASHBACK. Hence, it's the greatest movie ever. Or, not really. C+

Material Girls, 2006, dir. Coolidge
Oh god. This wasn't even fun to pay out like other Duffster movies such as Raise Your Voice. D-

Now for some movies I had already seen.

Bring It On, 2000, dir. Reed
God this movie is amazing. Everything about it. Even the fart jokes are funny! I've only grown to appreciate it more on my many many viewings. A-

Sister Act, 1992, dir. Ardolino and Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, 1993, dir. Duke
Where has Whoopi Goldberg gone? And Kathy Najimy for that matter. Oh well, these two movies are still incredibly entertaining. I know the second one gets a bum rap for being a teacher-reforms-kids-from-the-wrong-side-of-the-track but it's all about music and said music is really good and it's got Lauryn Hill and I love Lauryn Hill. B+ and B+

Xanadu, 1980, dir. Greenwald
I was gonna write something about this it it's own entry, but really Nat said it all a few months ago (speaking of which - another entry please, Mr Rogers!). B

Drop Dead Gorgeous, 1999, dir. Jann
Okay, so I find this movie hysterically funny. Do you have a problem with that? B+

Batman Returns, 1992, dir. Burton
It was on some peoples minds recently and I was bored when I got home from a heavy night of drinking so, naturally, popped it into the DVD player. Man, I love this movie so much. Visually it is amazing, but Michelle Pfeiffer and Michael Keaton are what makes it transcend. "How could you hit... a woman?!" *bam* teehee. Michelle here is the greatest superhero film performance of all time. A-

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, 1994, dir. Elliot
I'm so glad Stephen Elliot (the director) is back to directing after that disastrous flop Welcome to Woop Woop back in 1997 (and I never did see Eye of the Beholder) because Priscilla is so wonderful. Definitely one of, if not the, funniest movies of the 1990s. A

Now listen here you mullet. Why don't you go light your tampon and blow your box apart because it's the only bang you're ever gonna get, Sweetheart!

Cat on the Hot Tin Roof, 1958, dir. Brooks
Dreamy. A+

Pixar Films
I also watched a whole swag of Pixar films - the only two I didn't watch (because I don't own them) were A Bug's Life and Cars. I wish I did own them. But, man, they're all so good.

Toy Story, A-
Toy Story 2, A
Monsters, Inc., B+
Finding Nemo, A-
The Incredibles, A

Phew. Now that I've got all them out of the way, I can move on and stop reminding myself "write about all those movie I've seen lately!" Oh! I did also manage to fit in the entire first season of The Closer for the third time and have since ordered Season 2 on DVD so that should arrive later this week. YAY! I'm too tired to add pictures though. Maybe tomorrow.


J.D. said...

A very long post. I guess you're in a Pixar mood? For pointlessness, my rank:

1. The Incredibles
2. Finding Nemo
3. Toy Story 2
4. Toy Story
5. Monsters, Inc.
6. A Bug's Life
7. Cars

Love them all and I cannot wait for Ratatouille.

Dave said...

I LOVE Sister Act (guiltily, mind) but I've never seen the sequel. I do miss Whoopi Goldberg.

SO glad you loved Rosemary's Baby. It's one of my absolute favourites. I couldn't believe how committed Mia Farrow was.

I'm afraid to admit it but: I think Double Indemnity is overrated.

I admired Idioterne much more on a second viewing recently- I hated it the first time, though I think I actually fell asleep during it.

I've always wanted to see Priest, but, would you believe, it's not on DVD. In the country where it was frickin' made. Does that make sense to you?

Always wanted to see Bring It On, too. And Drop Dead Gorgeous was surprisingly funny, so no, I don't have a problem.

Is this comment too long? Yes. Yes it is.

JA said...

Did I know you'd never seen Rosemary's Baby before, Glenn? Because I'm sure if I had known that I would've gotten onto an airplane, flown to Australia, and sat on your doorstep with a copy of the DVD and forced you to watch it right that moment in my presence. So seeing as how I had not done that, I am assuming you'd kept this horrid fact a secret from me. But good on you for getting around to watching THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER MADE. Honestly, I know my love for RB is out of proportion, but I can't help it, I love it SO SO SO much. Tannis anyone? Sigh.

Your letter grades for the Pixar movies are exactly where I'm at; Toy Story 2 and The Incredibles are perfect movies.

My mother is a massive Sister Act fan so, as weird as it is for me - I mean how it doesn't fit into what I normally appreciate - I was forced to watch it pretty much on a weekly basis as a kid and was brainwashed into loving it. And I do. I DO! I love Sister Act. And I honest-to-God have half the movie memorized. But, strangely enough, Lauryn Hill fan that I am, I've never seen the second film.

And to finish off my own extremely long comment, I am SO jealous of you for getting to watch Cronenberg movies for the first time. I'm not sure what your reaction will be to a bunch of these movies - there's a cheap feeling to most of his early work, and a lot of the acting is really, really straight-up BAD - but his ideas are so interesting and so HIS - nobody would ever confuse a Cronenberg movie with anybody else's - that I don't care about their faults, I just love them all.

rural juror said...

Don't you EVER feel ashamed at laughing at the funnies. movie. ever....Drop Dead Gorgeous

rural juror said...

oh my god oh my god....THE CLOSER! That show is quite simply like watching Jesus solve crimes in LA.

Kamikaze Camel said...

Very true RJ. It's addictive.

JD, I forgot A Bug's Life! I'd give that a B+ too. And, apparently, Ratatouille is their best yet! Crazy.

Dave, There are many Australian films that aren't available on DVD here and it's absolutely ridiculous.

Ja, I've mentioned it before! I had mentioned that it was one of those movies that I have wanted to see for ages but they just wouldn't send it to me but then I changed DVD services to a much better one and I've seen a whole bunch of those classics that I hadn't seen before. Yeah? Yeah.

It was amazing though, so I'm glad.

RC said...

i know you're not much of a reader...but you've got to read Ira Levin's book Rosemary's Baby...obviously the punch was taken out of the movie for you, but his books (boys from brazil, this perfect day, sliver, stepford wives) are incredible and some how don't transition as well to film.