Thursday, January 10, 2013

Thursday Review: Movie Catchup

I stopped actively writing near the end of October, so I needed something to do on Saturdays.  I decided, why not go watch movies?  So here are some mini-reviews of movies I watched on those Saturdays.  Many of these I'm sure you've already seen.  Most are probably not in theaters anymore, but should be on DVD in coming months.

  1. Looper:  I liked this more than I thought I might.  Thanks to some blabbermouth I already knew the twist at the end, but that didn't really matter as much as the twist at the end of "The Sixth Sense" for instance, which was also another Bruce Willis vehicle.  Really what the twist at the end helped demonstrate was the circular nature of time, as evidenced by the "Loopers" who end up killing their future selves.  It was a fun movie to watch, made even more fun because I had the theater entirely to myself that morning, which has always been a dream of mine.  (3/4 stars)
  2. Argo:  A lot of people give Ben Affleck shit but I have never been one of those, which I always attribute to I'd seen him in "Mallrats" and "Chasing Amy" before movies like "Armageddon" came along, plus that whole thing with J. Lo.  Anyway, it's time to give Affleck some props because after the decent "Gone Baby Gone" and "The Town" he follows it up with "Argo" which is a great thriller about something no one really knew about.  The only drawback is like with most historical movies I could never buy that things happened precisely as they did in the movie.  I'm skeptical that there was really that much split-second timing at the end.  I think that was more to punch up the drama.  For fans of "Star Wars" and the like you have to enjoy the parts about the fake movie.  This will probably get some Oscar buzz because as "The Artist" showed, Hollywood loves movies about Hollywood.  (3.5/4 stars)
  3. Seven Psychopaths:  I watched this mostly because of the title and because I liked the director's previous movie "In Bruges" which also starred Colin Farrell, whom I do not enjoy nearly as much as Tony Laplume.  Anyway, I don't think it's as good as "In Bruges" but it is a fun, quirky action movie.  The best part is when Sam Rockwell narrates how he'd end Colin Farrell's script, which is chock full of action movie cliches.  The director is smart enough not to bring all those cliches to life later.  It is the kind of movie where I'd have probably waited until the DVD came out if I weren't bored.  So when it does come out on DVD, go splurge on it at the Redbox for $1.25 or whatever.  (2.5/4 stars)
  4. Skyfall:  Best Bond ever?  Well I wouldn't go that far, but it was a significant improvement over "Quantum of Solace."  All I remember of that movie was it involved a lot of chase scenes, except when he fucks the hot redhead who of course dies thereafter.  My thought after that was I wish they would just slow things down a little to actually let Daniel Craig do some acting and not just running around beating people up.  (Incidentally that's also why I hated the last two Bourne movies with Matt Damon.)  This time they do slow things down a little and actually give you a few slight insights into Bond's past before he became 007.  Of course there are still plenty of chases and fights, but the big action scene at the end is more like a Western than most of the Bond movies.  Of course with how badly mismanaged the franchise has been, the next one will probably be 5 years from now with Ryan Reynolds as Bond and directed by Uwe Boll. (3/4 stars)
  5. Lincoln:  I liked this movie.  I thought it was really good, but not what I would consider a GREAT movie.  Of course Daniel Day-Lewis does an amazing job at portraying Lincoln as a many-faceted character, someone who could sit around telling funny little parables or stare down irate Congressmen or Confederate diplomats, someone who wanted to get rid of slavery on principle but wasn't above bending certain laws if he needed to.  Tommy Lee Jones is great too as the elderly, wig-wearing abolitionist Congressman Thaddeus Stevens who likewise has to sacrifice some of his principles in order to get the job done.  I watched it in the middle of the "fiscal cliff" crap, which really makes most of our current "crises" pale by comparison.  I mean back then the nation was literally at war with itself with over a half-million dead and many more missing limbs for the rest of their lives.  (One of the grossest scenes shows what they do with all those limbs that got cut off.)  Compare that to all the pissing and moaning about raising taxes on rich people by 3%.  Um, yeah, there's no comparison there.  Anyway, while I said it was really good, I never really got any chills or was close to tears or anything, so I can't say it really MOVED me.  Part of that might have been some irresponsible twit brought a fussy baby to the theater, to the showing of an R-rated movie.  Great parenting!  Really people, use some freaking brains would you?  (3/4 stars)
I wanted to watch a movie over my holiday vacation but then I looked online and there was nothing I wanted to see.  I didn't want to spend four hours in the theater to watch "The Hobbit Part 1 (of 99)" and other than that it was like "Jack Reacher" or "This is 40" and so on.  Meh.  Of course January is another period when Hollywood empties out its dumpsters on the gullible public (except those art films that finally get into wide release) so I don't expect that situation to change much in early 2013.

If you haven't got enough of movies, tomorrow is the first Box Office Blitz, where you get to guess who will win this weekend's box office.  Since it's January, I'd guess a lot of shit...


  1. Good job reviewing all those movies. I'm sure the Lincoln movie would have been better with a car chase at the end.

    Movies can almost always use at least one more car chase.

  2. I wasn't as impressed with "Lincoln" as most people seem to be. Amistad, another Spielberg effort which I enjoyed again recently, is better in every way. If you haven't seen Amistad recently give it a fresh viewing and you'll see what I mean.

    Argo was wonderful in spite of the fact that I knew the outcome.

    Skyfall was a B at best.

  3. As I said in my review of Skyfall, it's a great movie all by itself, but I don't think it stands well with the other Bond films.
    I think both Argo and Lincoln more than deserved their best picture noms. I hope Day-Lewis gets best actor, because, even with some other great performances, his portrayal of Lincoln was astonishing in its realism.

    (Just to say it, your collaborative flash fiction book had nothing to do with my post today. I had actually forgotten about it when I was writing the post, although it is on my "to read" list. It was a completely different collection of flash fiction and that stupid comment about the grand tradition of flash fiction that set me off.)

  4. Argo is a tiny bit overrated. I'm still waiting for Ben Affleck to truly be great as a director, though I appreciate his efforts so far.

    I'm secretly Colin Farrell.

    I've been fearing that Lincoln isn't quite as rousing as people have been suggesting. I mean, what it really seems to try and do is make a saint out of him. I like more subtlety.

  5. Okay, great reviews, I state ever so vaguely. Anyway, I'm waiting for my chance to do a review on the movie of your life!

    Gosh, why don't we have a blogfest about that....

  6. I haven't seen any of these. I wanted to see Argo and Lincoln - will probably catch them on DVD. When I saw Avengers with my older kids, someone brought a three-year-old with them. He had a giant bunny the size of his bunny for when he was scared. I agree - skip the movie if you can't find a sitter for the little ones.



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