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This one is the big one! A lot of overlap with Emily’s list due to MOVIE NIGHT (which stopped at around the same time I stopped my list… COINCIDENCE? Anyway let’s revive movie night)
- “Faking it” - this is a Channel 4 series but it’s documentary style and I’m counting it for this list. Cellist to DJ and Burger flipper to Cook were good
- Octopussy - New Year’s Day! This movie is ridiculous; the British Secret service hires its agents on their pun-making abilities and pun appreciation
- Centurion - Jeremy got it in the Dino Comics secret santa, the best parts are Ms. Imogen Gay Poots (even if there’s no sideboob).
- Sympathy for Mr. Vengance - Wow. Intense, sharp, stark and brutal. One crime sets in motion events that end up killing many people, all through revenge. Really enjoyable but also hard to watch in places (which was good)!
- Short Circuit - I think I’d only seen Short Circuit 2 as a child, because I always knew the robot as “Johnny 5” and not “Number 5” (he renames himself at the end). It was a fun movie with a robot that makes annoyed grunts when it’s annoyed. A good movie to watch with friends.
- Whisky Galore - our second movie for “80s Family Robot Movie night” was “Batteries not included” (technically “*batteries not included”) but that didn’t work and it turned out my Dad had a copy of this, something Emily and Jeremy had wanted to see for a while! A boat full of whiskey sinks offshore a Scottish island where there is a whiskey shortage. Entertaining, and the ending (where in a text crawl we’re informed that everyone who salvaged the whiskey, despite the happy ending, was sad again when the whiskey ran out and things were worse than before) seemed to be a pretty awesome way to have a “crime / drinking never pays” message after the rest of the movie had the exact opposite message.
- Mr. Bean’s Holiday - it was okay, I guess?
- Chariots of Fire - I completely, 100%, not a word of lie thought this movie was about chariot racing. It’s about 1920s dudes who run fast. It was pretty okay but I was expecting chariots, possibly made of or on fire!
- Mouth of the Wolf - part of the Doc Soup subscription we’ve got, this movie, a blend of documentary and fiction, was pretty terrible. It was experimental but gave you nothing to hold on to, so the result was a confusing and interminable two hours that emptied the house by easily 20%. Maybe 25%. It was incoherent and messy and basically pretty terrible.
- The King’s Speech - good movie, but Churchill was 100% left over from an earlier draft of the film when it was a farce. He was RIDICULOUS.
- Cedar Rapids - an forgettable, enjoyable comedy about a small-town insurance salesman at a big-city insurance convention. Fun enough while you’re watching it, which is not a bad thing!
- The Exorcist - So I watched The Exorcist last night with Joey (first time I’ve seen it!) and I was surprised! I thought it would be HORROR MOVIE LOOK OUT FOR THE SPOOKY THINGS, but it was really more a character study and - exorcism procedural? It was not what I expected but it was good.
- Blue Valentine - a movie about the end of love, rather than the beginning. Really good, super effective and brutal. I liked it but I don’t REALLY want to see it again, which shows how effective it is. Recommended, but you should go see it with a friend instead of your sweetie.
- Hall Pass - forgettable but fun comedy about two couples who give each other “hall passes”, ie: one week off marriage. Of course the moral is “stay with your wife”; the most confusing thing is why they called the movie “Hall Pass” when the characters spend most of the first half of the movie explaining what a hall pass is to each other and to the audience. They should’ve called it “One Week Off Marriage: THE MOVIE”.
- The Bridge - Continuing Emily and my sad movies bender, this one is a documentary about the Golden Gate Bridge and the suicides-by-jumping there over a few months in 2006. The image in the film that lingers with you afterwards is that of the bridge shot from a distance in summer, silent, held as birds fly by, boats chug along, and finally punctuated by a small splash in the water.
- Drive Angry In 3D - ridiculous but not as terrible as Joey thought. The 3D was ridiculous though: one shot of the moon had it had a giant sphere. Nobody has looked at the moon from earth and perceived it as that round. The only conclusion possible is whoever did the movie had never seen the moon before? I know this is probably the most ridiculous complaint about a movie where a guy steal a car and drives it out of hell. He drives it out of hell… ANGRY.
- A Town Called Panic - adorable stop-motion animation, not as madcap as I was expected, but still totally charming and I’d watch it again. UPDATE: I did watch this again and it remained totally charming, and now I say “cowboy” like Indian in the film does. I’m all, “cowBOAYYEE”.
- The Arbor - documentary film with a really interesting conceit: the filmmakers did audio interviews with the people involved, all talking about one person. And then the film itself is actors, lipsyncing to the audio of the interviews, to tell the story. It brings the artifice of film to the forefront, but also lets you get into the story more than you could with a talking head. The emotion of the voice is reflected in the emotion of the actors, trained to bring things like this to the forefront, so it’s almost like heightened reality. Quite interesting, and something I’d never seen done before. It sustained the film.
- The Simpsons Movie - I saw this in theatres when it came out and really enjoyed it - everyone in the audience was a Simpsons fan, and movies are funnier when you’re with an audience that’s loving it. OR SO I THOUGHT: to test this theory I watched it alone and still enjoyed it! It was well-animated and the story was good!
- Darby O’Gill and the Little People - a Disney movie about leprechauns that was entertaining and ridiculous and a good choice for St. Patrick’s Day.
- Typhoid Mary - The Most Dangerous Woman In America - a competent documentary that featured a ridiculous moustache and fake accent but a very real and very sad story.
- Dirt: The Movie - a documentary that had adorable cartoon dirt but also corpses? And really sloppy/flakey thinking that made it really unsatisfying.
- Art and Copy - Martz recommended this documentary about advertising and it was okay but not great, Emily asked me the name of the movie we’d seen three hours after seeing it and I blanked on it entirely. NOT A GOOD SIGN
- Source Code - I was excited to see this because Joey said it was really good, and when I watched the trailer it seemed really close to Hitman: Blood Money, which I’ve been playing (SEE PREVIOUS POST). The dude keeps reliving the same eight minutes, trying to figure out who put a bomb on the train he’s on. To me, it seemed directly inspired by games like Hitman, where you keep playing the same scenario over and over again, learning more each time, trying to get perfect completion. In fact, at the end of the movie the dude figures out who put the bomb on the train, but then goes back again and tries for 100%. It seemed pretty obvious but I haven’t seen any reviews mention this video game / save game connection; maybe they should!
- Schindler’s List - I hadn’t seen it since I was a kid, and I think like most I hesitate to review a movie about the Holocaust lest it seem like I’m reviewing the Holocaust itself?
- JCVD - watching this the second time after seeing it at TIFF 2008. Jean-Claude Van Damme stars as himself, he is in a bank while it’s being robbed and everyone’s like, you’re Van Damme, why don’t you do something?? TURNS OUT I still really like this movie: it’s an action movie influenced by Godard, beautifully filmed, hilarious, awesome, AND has a monologue in the middle of it. It’s kinda brilliant.
- Ip Man - kung fu action based on historical events! Only the historical events are pretty much made up. I watched this on the train and was glad to have it! There were some good kicks to be had.
- HOT DOCS STARTS HERE:
- Love Arranged: a documentary about arranged marriages in India, but rather than dealing with any large issues, it just focuses on two women (one rich, one chubby) who are trying for an arranged marriage. Neither gets them before the documentary finishes, the end.
- The National Parks Project: 13 short films about parks in each province and territory, but unfortunately super disappointing. There were great moments, but a lot of repetition and pretension. The Ontario one featured shots of lakes while campers talked about “dude, energy can’t be created and destroyed, and what if we find out emails are taking up space somewhere, and then something really important can’t get created?”. Disappointing.
- Bobby Fischer Against The World - history of Bobby from birth to death. Entertaining but not too deep. I liked it!
- Superheroes - a documentary of the Real Life Superhero Movement: folks who dress up and go out and fight crime. The movie spends the first 2/3rd making fun of the RLSHs every chance it gets (ie: one guy talks about how he trains, cut to a shot of him failing to land a flip and falling on his ass). The crowd loved it but it seemed - mean? In the last third the movie says “Oh yeah by the way these guys do make a difference in their communities and especially to the homeless” but by then we’re already thinking these guys are clowns. It was too bad, a lot of them seemed like really interesting, driven people.
- Buck - a character study documentary of a man who is really good with horses. Entertaining and thrilling (I didn’t know horses could be so MEAN when they have problems).
- Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles - really good! A bit rough around the edges technically, but an investigative documentary into the amazing and creepy Toynbee Tiles. I’d read about them on Wikipedia a few years back but this doc looked into who was making them, and actually came up with a compelling answer! Take THAT, Wikipedia (PS: Wikipedia probably has been updated to include this new awesome information by now, but wasn’t when I left the theatre).
- How To Die In Oregon - a documentary about the assisted suicide law and the people who take advantage of it. Super well done.
- Project NIM - a documentary about Nim Chimpsky, the chimp raised as a human and taught sign language. Again: super well done and super interesting. It was nice to end Hot Docs on a high note!
- Thor - I actually really enjoyed this. I think Thor as a character is kinda ridiculous (you have an ACTUAL GOD running around NYC and this doesn’t cause a crisis of faith for anyone?) but this was fun and good-ridiculous.
- The Treasure of the Sierra Madre - some prospectors go out and find gold and then the gold makes them weird. It was OKAY but I felt it was a bit long! Maybe I was a bit tired, maybe THAT is the solution to this mystery
- 7 UP and 7 PLUS 7 - a re-watch of the two documentaries that started the UP series, my favourite series of documentaries ever. A new one is due out in 2012! 14 children are visited by a documentary crew at age seven, and in 7 PLUS 7, re-visited again now that they’re seventeen. After that the same director has been visiting them every seven years to make a new film. Amazing and wonderful. I’ve got a date with Jenn to watch the new one
- Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides - lots of fun, and using mermaids like you’d use zombies in a movie was great. This movie got bad reviews but it is a movie about pirates, and it totally delivered on being a movie about pirates. Joey and I both enjoyed it! TWO WEBCARTOONIST THUMBS UP.
- Exit Through The Gift Shop - fun to see all the street artists! Entertaining but suspect.
- Who Framed Roger Rabbit - I hadn’t seen this since I was a kid, but I remembered being big into it. This time through I got more of the jokes and could quote some of the lines out loud (nobody was more surprised than me) but I fell asleep in the middle and woke up for the ending, which scared me as a kid (dude gets run over by a steamroller, screaming the entire time). Anyway: FUN (nap was good too).
- X-Men First Class - a lot of fun and really good up to the last five minutes, where prequelitis sets in and we see a bunch of Really Important Firsts we didn’t actually need to see in rapid-fire succession
- True Grit - I watched this on the plane and didn’t realize it was Coen Brothers! I liked the Old West Nobody Uses Contractions And Everyone Talks Straight setting and the story was entertaining, and the bittersweet ending I actually liked quite a bit. Nicely done!
And that’s where my list stops! I watched more movies in the year but didn’t take notes afterwards, so - no reviews for those ones OH WELL?
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- lowefficacy said: My dad cleans Octopussy’s pool.
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- vectorvector said: Chariots of Fire isn’t about chariot racing??!!? I had no idea either!
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- baxtavius said: A Town Called Panic is one of the best films ever to be a film.
- swordid said: I totally agree about Blue Valentine. I liked it, but I never ever ever want to watch it again. THE FEELS
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