Monday, October 22, 2012

Alphabetical Movie List #, A-F

Reviews G-O
Reviews P-Z
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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Alphabetical Movie List G-O

Reviews #, A-F
Reviews P-Z
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Alphabetical Movie List P-Z

Reviews #, A-F
Reviews G-O
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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Alphabetical Tweet Reviews (#, A-C)

12 (2009)- It's 12 Angry Men plus everything including the kitchen sink! Long, pretentious, and self-indulgent. ** out of 5.

127 Hours (2010)- Pretty damn amazing. Maybe the most intense film I've seen in the last few years. ***** out of 5

25th Hour (2002)- Lee masterfully directs one man's final night of freedom. Extends well into metaphor for frustrations post-9/11 ***** of 5

35 Shots of Rum (2009)-Denis' sensual aesthetic sadly weighed down by predictable, disingenuous melodrama. Some great moments though. *** out of 5

44 Inch Chest (2010)- Great performances, but monotony hurts the execution of a fundamentally clever screenplay. *** out of 5

(500) Days of Summer (2009)-Quirk + Intelligence + Love= a refreshingly original take on the rom-com. Joseph GL and Zooey- great together! ****1/2

9 (2009)- All the makings for a good film are there, but this dystopian tale plays out more like a first draft. Also it's visually dank. **1/2 of 5

$9.99 (2009)- No reason for animation other than gimmick. Occasionally insightful but ultimately muddled. *** out of 5

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)- Tedious, dated artifact of a time when people laughed at comedy that wasn't funny. ** out of 5

Absurdistan (2009)- Reaches Mel Brooks level silliness. I laughed a few times, but not nearly enough to recommend this one. **1/2 out of 5

Adam (2009)- Convention & a weak subplot are forgivable in a touching and respectful look at Aspergers. Pitch-perfect ending. **** out of 5

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)- Not too much beyond its considerable camp value. *** out of 5

Advise and Consent (1962)- Absorbing & intelligent. Perfectly captures what's (still) wrong with our government. ***** out of 5

Afghan Star (2009)- Putting aside its desire to be a competition show itself, this doc showcases a country's struggles w/ transition. ***/5

Afterschool (2009)- Despite jejune moments and a cynical naivety, there are enough thought provoking questions to carry this film. ***/5

Ajami (2010)- It's Babel in the West Bank except slightly clunkier. A sad, solid look at religious tensions boiling over. ***1/2 out of 5

Alamar (2010)- Environmental message feels tacked on, but father/son story is subtly sweet, smart and sad. Lovely little film. ***1/2 of 5

Alice in Wonderland (2010)- Stale and technologically dull. Depp needs to calm down & Wasikowska needs to cheer up. **1/2 out of 5

Amelia (2009)-Bland... ummm... yeah, bland about covers it. **1/2 out of 5

Amelie (2001)- A truly original life affirming gem with just the right amount of 
sadness to balance the idealism and joy within. ***** of 5

The American (2010)- Slick, but completely predictable and painfully languid. Self-seriousness stifles any entertainment value. **1/2 of 5

American Radical: The Trials of Norman Finkelstein (2010)- Taut look at how a relevant voice can devolve into radicalism. **** out of 5

Amreeka (2009)- Heart in the right place. Screenplay riddled with cliches. Too simplistic and predictable. **1/2 out of 5

Anatomy of a Murder (1959)- Impeccably well-acted, fascinating courtroom drama. 160 minutes absolutely fly by. So entertaining. ****1/2 of 5

Angels and Demons (2009)- A conspiracy even sillier than the birthers, and Ron Howard doesn't know the meaning of understatement. **1/2 of 5

Animal Kingdom (2010)- Atmospheric and tense. Jacki Weaver is quite good. Familiar tale of innocence shattered by crime family. ***1/2 of 5

Annie Hall (1977)- Simply put- a perfect film. Hilarious, smart and so very real. Allen will never top this one. ***** out of 5

Another Year (2010)- the life of good people paying attention to those who almost deserve to be forgotten. Sad & astute. **** of 5

Anvil! The Story of Anvil (2009)- Can't say I think Anvil's talented enough for fame, but this doc is the real deal! Great film! ****1/2 out of 5

The Apartment (1960)- (second viewing) One of the great movies about loneliness ever made. ***** out of 5

The Art of the Steal (2010)- Engrossing activist conspiracy doc. Storytelling is better than one sided argument presented. ***1/2 out of 5

Avatar (2009)- Great visual effects blah blah blah stupid story blah blah blah. *** out of 5

Away We Go (2009)- Mendes overdirects another one. A hipster indy facade can't hide a complete lack of emotional truth. **1/2 out of 5

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009)- Cage is great, but Herzog's whimsy within convention sabotages an overall cohesion. Unique. ***/5

Ballast (2009)- I'll keep embracing these poverty line neo-realist films as long as they hold onto their intimacy and humility. ***** of 5

Bandslam (2009)- With its feet planted firmly in the teen music film genre, this overlooked winner may be the best one yet. ***1/2 of 5

Basic Instinct (1992)-Like wading knee-deep into the libido of a misogynistic, idiotic adolescent. Ending made me smile though. ** out of 5

The Beaches of Agnes (2009)- Eclectic, eccentric & entertaining self-meditation of a cinema legend & creative genius. ****1/2 of 5

Beeswax (2009)- Funny, frustrating and dark, Bujalski's intriguing look at two passive twin sisters is solid mumblecore. **** out of 5

Before Sunrise (1995)- So refreshing to spend time with two smart, decent people just enjoying each other. Honest & poignant. ***** out of 5

Before Sunset (2004)- Quite different, yet just as good as Sunrise, though much more grounded, melancholy and mature. ***** out of 5

Being There (1979)- One of the best endings in all film. Saves an otherwise cloying, manipulative gimmick that goes on too long. ***1/2 of 5

Best in Show (2000)- Hit or miss comedy with more than enough hits to carry the film. ***1/2 out of 5

Best Worst Movie (2010)- Surprisingly sweet, if a bit meandering, look at a modern cult classic. *** out of 5

Big Fan (2009)-Such a smart, sad character study that's slightly hampered by an over-the-top plot. ***1/2

The Big Lebowski (1998)- Perfect blend of fully baked cinema with a peppering of acid flashbacks. Coens at their most audacious ****1/2 of 5

Big Man Japan (2009)- 3 or 4 inspired moments in this faux-documentary that's way too silly for its own good! Destined for cult status! ** out of 5

Black Dynamite (2009)- First ten minutes & last ten minutes are hilarious. Rest is hit & miss. All involved not on the same page ***1/2 of 5

Black Narcissus (1947)- A bit rushed and unfocused, but it's gorgeous, well-acted and truly disturbing. Burrows under the skin. **** of 5

Black Swan (2010)- Not as much burrowing under the surface as under Ms Portman's skin. Impressive telling of a preposterous tale ***1/2 of 5

Blessed is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh (2009)- Amazing, well told story of a dynamic heroine. **** out of 5

The Blind Side (2009)-A condescending, cardboard-cutout of a crowd-pleaser. Subtlety stomped to a gory death. **1/2 out of 5

Blue Valentine (2010)- Gosling & Williams are amazing! Devastatingly sad tale of what often happens after the honeymoon phase. ****1/2 of 5

Blue Velvet (1986)-It's important every once in a while to pull back the perfect facade of this world to find a rotting severed ear. *****/5

The Book of Eli (2010)- What a pleasant surprise! One of the more satisfying popcorn movies I've seen. **** out of 5

The Boys Are Back (2009)- Not bad, though unseemly pangs of self-loathing in this simplistic drama based on a memoir. *** out of 5

Breathless (1960)- Brilliant and effervescent glimpse at young people living in a grand city during a grand period of history ***** out of 5

Bright Star (2009)- Though buttoned-up and plodding, this historical romance proves that poetry can be cinematic. **** out of 5

Broken Embraces (2009)- Only Almodovar could imbue the trashiest soap opera melodrama with such sublime visual splendor & coy humor! ****1/2 of 5

Bronson (2009)-Despite blatant Clockwork Orange ripoffs & unclear judgment of Bronson himself. this packs a punch. Brady=fantastic ***1/2 of 5

Brothers (2009)-Who knew Gyllenhaal could act? He's great. It's heavy handed with an unfocused plot, but still this drama works well. ***1/2 of 5

Brothers at War (2009)- Impressive troop access by a vain, insecure filmmaker. Doc is equally interesting and disappointing. **1/2 out of 5

Bruno (2009)-Message against homophobia feels tacked on. Thrives on audiences' discomfort. Laughed hard but I didn't have a good time. ** out of 5

Burden of Dreams (1982)- One of the great filmmaking documentaries showcasing one of the great filmmakers. ****1/2 out of 5

Burma VJ (2009)- Impeccably well-crafted look at Burmese injustice as well as the reporters who risk their lives to show it ****1/2 out of 5

Camera Buff (1979)- Wholly personal and devastatingly sad exploration of the responsibilities and sacrifices of an artist. ****1/2 out of 5

Cannonball Run (1981)- Raucous car chase comedy with real laughs and a crowd-pleasing sense of joy and fun! ***1/2 out of 5

A Canterbury Tale (1949)- Would you put glue in people's hair in order to force appreciation of history? The Archers would. ***** out of 5

Capitalism: A Love Story (2009)- Moore is a gifted filmmaker. Argument made well, which makes me beg Moore to stop the gimmicks. ***1/2 of 5

Carlos (2010)- Epic, bloody and fascinating look at an insecure man's rise and fall as a terrorist. Ramirez=brilliant. 330 minutes fly by. *****/5

Cars (2006)- Doesn't reach the stratosphere of other Pixar films, but Cars looks amazing & it's really entertaining. **** out of 5

Casino Jack (2010)- Watchable, but brutally sarcastic tone invites viewers not to take serious crimes seriously. *** out of 5

Casino Jack and the United States of Money (2010)- First half is clear and the
overall scope is impressive, but this doc is scattered. ***/5

Castle in the Sky (1986)-Beautiful background animation w/ old-school crude foreground animation. 3-way chase plot=typical fun. ***1/2 of 5

The Castle of Cagliostro (1980)- Old school Miyazaki anime fantasy adventure with Lupin who's as cool and charming as Bond! **** out of 5

Catfish (2010)- Painful outcome is inevitable. Fascinating expose on the victims of the anonymity of the internet. Unforgettable. ****/5

Cat People (1942)-Halle Berry has nothing on the original Catwoman Simone Simon. Chillingly effective early horror staple. **** out of 5

The Cat Returns (2002)- How can a 75min film that rushes character development have action scenes that seem to never end? **1/2 out of 5

Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2011)- Found Herzog an unwelcomed distraction from works of art/history that speak for themselves. *** out of 5

Certified Copy (2011)- Life as imitations on top of imitations. Open to interpretations, all of which hold up perfectly. Fascinating *****/5

Cheri (2009)- Frears was naive to the fact that, despite being visually stunning, Cheri could never have been anything more than trash. ** out of 5

Children of Paradise (1945)- Breathtaking scope & gorgeous to look at. Shakespearean-esque tragedy is rich and satisfying. ***** out of 5

China Syndrome (1979) Crisp liberal thriller about bureaucracy worsening an already risky energy program. Compelling stuff! **** out of 5

Chloe- Fatal Attraction meets Skin-a-max. I could write a better script after a lobotomy. Yet, Moore saves it from train wreck status. **/5

A Christmas Carol (2009)- Classic story told well, but technology still washes out emotions. Too many chase sequences for Dickens. *** of 5

Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer (2010)- Totally one-sided and totally fascinating. Gibney's presentation is great. **** of 5

Climates (2006)- Compelling story & stellar direction, yet I'm not exactly sure what everything's supposed to add up to. ***1/2 out of 5

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009)- Take some Ritalin & Pepto and watch. Might just have some mindless fun. *** out of 5

Coco Before Chanel (2009)- One would think there's not a movie to be made from this woman's early life. Wrong. Wonderful. ****1/2 out of 5

Cold Souls (2009)- Giamatti's fun to watch, but this is dull Charlie Kaufman-lite. **1/2 out of 5

Collapse (2009)- The sky is falling! Did I say the sky, I meant the clouds... no wait, the sun. WHY WON'T YOU BELIEVE ME? ***1/2 of 5

The Company Men (2011)- Wealthier victims of the economy make for a somewhat compelling watch. At times way too earnest. *** out of 5

The Country Teacher (2009)-Spoiled by an ending that's morally problematic. I can imagine sexual abuse victims appalled by this film. ** out of 5

The Cove (2009)- Sincere & graphic activist doc which won me over despite its presentation of only one side of an argument. **** out of 5

Crazy Heart (2009)- Bridges' performance overcomes a lackluster script and a subpar Maggie Gyllenhaal to offer a solid drama. ***1/2 of 5

Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)-Is there meaning to the universe or is it just a cold void? Allen's exploration=brilliant! ***** out of 5

Cyrus (2010)- All the laugh out loud moments are at the service of a false, lazy and empty movie. **1/2 out of 5