Digital Monkey Shines

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Weekend Movie Report 1

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I watch a lot of movies, most of which are not part of the cineplex-delivered-made-for-idiot-teenagers modern movie experience.  Periodically, I’ll report on my recent viewings in short capsules.

Weekend Winner:  Temple Grandin (2010)

Made for HBO, this is what a biopic should aspire to be.  It features an important person with whom I was only a little familiar, adds a very strong performance from Claire Danes, and has a triumphant ending.  It’s easily available in the used DVD market right now and definitely worth a buy.

Weekend Loser:  The Limits of Control (2009)

I haven’t seen a film worse since Vortex and I like Jim Jarmusch.  There’s plenty to dislike in this film:  silly sexual content, disconnected “dialogue”, and a general lack of plot or coherence.  I’d rather watch Kiarostami’s The Wind Will Carry Us five times in a row than be exposed to another frame of The Limits of Control.  The only thing entertaining about this film is watching fools try to defend it on the IMDB message board.

Honorable Mentions

The Social Network (2010)

It’s not as good as the critics would have you believe.  Fincher makes competent films, but he’s not god’s gift to cinema.  At least this biopic doesn’t get stuck in biopic-checklist syndrome.  Eisenberg and Garfield are strong performers and it’s interesting to get a peek at Mara Rooney, who is slated to play Lisbeth Salander (the heroine of The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Shopped at Ikea, and The Girl Who Sleeps With Old Guys).

Easy A (2010)

I’m convinced that 75% of Emma Stone’s acting peers couldn’t pull off the smart-sexy role she chews through in Easy A.  This film is pure entertainment and has a solid supporting cast that once again proves Tucci makes everything better.  Minor demerit for letting Lisa Kudrow out of her coffin.  Also, this is the last teenage film allowed to explicitly cite John Hughes.

They Made Me a Criminal (1939)

Great!  A Busby Berkeley film.  I can’t wait for troops of show girls showing off their gams… wait…  Never mind.  It’s not a bad film, despite John Garfield’s one-note-aw-shucks characterization.  Now I know why you don’t swim in irrigation tanks.

Mademoiselle (1966, French)

If you’re a sexually repressed school teacher, perhaps the best way to get the attention of the husky and sexy Italian lumberjack is to become an arsonist.  Considering how much difficulty I’ve had with French films from the 1960’s, this wasn’t too static nor too inaccessible.  It is quite romantic despite being utterly crazy.

Dishonorable Mentions

Love, Etc. (1996, French)

I may have been put off by the particularly muddy soundtrack on this one, but it doesn’t help that the eventual “winner” in the lover’s triangle is an utter tool.  Interesting for an early look at Charlotte Gainsbourg.

Love Songs (2007, French)

The French may have “invented” cinema, but don’t forget that Americans perfected the musical.  Outside of Bollywood, I don’t recall ever seeing a foreign-language musical until I ran across Love Songs.  Being French, it features romantic situations beyond the Hollywood standard.  Musically dull, although some lyrics pop.  Ludivine Sagnier is her usual pop-eyed self, but not enough to save it.

Written by Bill

October 5, 2010 at 8:30 pm

Posted in Movies

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