Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Back to the blog, back to the blog. I've been such a slacker on this blog. No more I say! Since I spend the majority of my time watching movies I figure I can at least post everything I watch and what I thought of it. I already keep a log of everything so it shouldn't be too difficult to transfer this over to the blog. Since I've already watched fourteen films this year (thirteen of which are new to me) I will probably do a few posts with a bunch of movies together and less of a mini-review to conserve space. So here we go...

It's Complicated - 2009 - Dir: Nancy Meyers
Location: Regal Keystone Park 16

This was not my first choice of films to see, but my girlfriend really wanted to see it and it didn't look too horrible. I mean, it has Alec Baldwin so there's a plus right there. After sitting in the theater I began to worry because I was the youngest man there by at least 20-25 years. A few rows up there was even a post-menopausal group that mirrored the Sex and the City girls. Come to think of it, they could have been them. They are starting too look a little rough. All of my fears were put to rest after the film began. It turned out to be quite funny and somewhat touching. Baldwin and Meryl Streep are fantastic as always and Steve Martin is usually a joy. John Krasinski added some good laughs from time to time but managed to still seem like Jim from The Office. At one point, because of the camera's placement, when Krasinski is smiling and nodding at someone by a door I could swear he was looking into the camera and smirking like Jim. Guys, if you want to earn cinematic points with the girlfriend or wife this is the movie to do it with. They will love the romantic comedy aspect of it and you get a much better film than the upcoming Leap Year.

Avatar - 2009 - Dir: James Cameron
Location: Cinemark IMAX 3D

Yes, the game changer. Cameron has been working on this film about the fantastical world of Pandora for over a decade now and finally the rest of the world can get a glimpse. Some have been blown away and others left disappointed but it's all about your mindset. No, the story of the Na'vi people versus the evil Earthlings is nothing too special or new. You have heard the same tale many times before, parallels have been made with Dances with Wolves and Disney's Pocahontas. But, if you let that inner child out from the first frame then you'll be as hooked as I was. Pandora is beautiful and wonderful in every way possible. The flora and fauna, the animals, the Hallelujah Mountains and the Na'vi are all wonderful and this is enhanced by the CG work of WETA (the team behind The Lord of the Rings trilogy) and others. Of course if you see this in 3D, as it was meant to be seen, you can no doubt attest to the glory of the format. What was once a novelty of the 80s is rapidly becoming a valid format to add depth to a frame instead of arrows flying at the audience. I was so swept away by Cameron's world that I hung on every word and frame for the entire 162 minute running time. My inner kid had a feeling very similar to that of the first time watching Star Wars and I love it.

The film may not be a total game changer in the aspect of storytelling, but as for its visual achievements it succeeds. 3D has never worked so well or been such an asset. As long as the rest of the films using this technology uses what Cameron & Co. have developed we will be seeing 3D for a long time. See this in 3D while you can, it's gorgeous.

Parents - 1989 - Dir: Bob Balaban
Location: The Comfort of My House

I missed this movie a while back at the BTSNAT movie marathon held with some fellow film geeks and had to catch up. This is a very, very dark comedy with a little horror thrown in about a boy who suspects his parents are up to some devious things, including eating people. Being set in the 50s gives the perfect backdrop to these kinds of crazy happenings. I especially love the school counselor smoking in her office around kids. HA! I would recommend this anyone, especially for Randy Quaid's utterly creepy performance as the father, but it has been discontinued on DVD but you can rent or buy from Amazon video.

Gran Torino - 2008 - Dir: Clint Eastwood
Location: The Comfort of My House - Blu-Ray

The second day of 2010 was spent on the couch with my girlfriend, Jenny, as she picked four movies for us to watch. Gran Torino was the first of the films, one we didn't catch in theaters and had been sitting on the shelf from Netflix for about a month. I'm really glad I got the chance to watch this after all this time. The script was a bit predictable but still I loved what it had to say and how Eastwood played Walt. Most every Hmong character in the movie had never acted before, which is pretty easy to tell, but I love that Clint would rather show the real people than fake it with actors. My rating of this on Facebook spawned a lengthy comment debate which is always good fun. I love to talk about film with people and wish it would play out like that more.

You can get Gran Torino on Amazon on Blu-Ray or here in standard definition.

Waltz with Bashir - 2008 - Dir: Ari Folman
Location: The Comfort of My House - Blu-Ray

This animated documentary was high on my too-see list, but I never made it to the Angelika before its run ended. This tells a story about the 1982 Lebanon War that had never been heard before, concerning the Israeli involvement in the Sabra and Shatila massacre. Each interview was done with former soldiers or experts and filmed then animated without the use of motion capture. What a fantastic way to show this flashback heavy story without have to film recreations. The message is powerful and important. One of the best serious documentaries I've seen in a long time.

Pick up the film here or here.

Clash of the Titans - 1981 - Dir: Desmond Davis
Location: The Comfort of My House

I could swear I've seen this movie before, but while watching I had no recollection of the story. Certain scenes stood out to me, so it's possible I watched it on TV or something when I was younger. This is great mythological fun for the whole family! Compared to the upcoming remake the FX are a bit cheesy looking and not as polished, but there is something heartwarming and charming about Ray Harryhausen's stop-motion creature work. Although I did laugh each time I saw the Pegasus running in the air, heh. The big budget, CGI heavy remake has a different story so I don't know how much of a remake it really is. Maybe in name only. Watch this and see the Kraken, Medusa, a metal owl and all your favorites from Greek mythology.

Buy the DVD here or wait for the Blu-Ray, out March 2nd.

Star Trek - 2009 - Dir: JJ Abrams
Location: The Comfort of My House - Blu-Ray

This was the one movie I had seen already, but we hadn't watched it since I bought the Blu-Ray. I have never been a fan of Star Trek in any incarnation. Over the years I've watched a few episodes of the original series and some of The Next Generation but never really got into the whole world. To be fair, I never really gave it a chance. When I saw the trailers for this new film by Abrams I just had to go. Lucky for me, even if you're not a fan of the source material you can enjoy this film. Great action and fun, interesting characters to follow. I thought this looked pretty in the theater, but at home on Blu it's so crystal clear that you cannot take your eyes off the screen.

Get the Blu-Ray here, or here on DVD, so you can have a film in your collection with lens flare in practically every frame!

Alright, that's all for now. This was much longer than I expected. I'll put up more later and hopefully catch up to my current watching soon.


hodgeblodge said...

So glad that you enjoyed It's Complicated. I loved the three of them (Streep, Bladwin, Martin) working together. The party seen in particular made me smile so big.

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