Fail-Safe, Killing Zoe, Ruthless People, Suicide Kings, Postcards from the Edge, Following, O Brother Where Art Thou?
I think I need to start writing these reviews soon after watching, but post them in bunches. It's been two weeks since I saw the first of these, and having seen the other movies since, it's easy to forget.
This must have felt very different back when it came out (although, then again, it got little notice then because of Dr. Strangelove being around the same time). It felt to me like it just hammered too hard on its model of fallibility in too simplistic a way, much the way Jurassic Park did. (As in, umm, no, we computer people do actually think about these sorts of issues and account for failure conditions and what happens if triple redundancy goes wrong.) Fonda's portrayal was ok but it all seemed, oddly enough, too simple. He sends the one guy off to his jet, so he's clearly got his plan, and it's not much of a surprise when he finally reveals it later; plus the drama comes during the revelation, but the character made the decision ages earlier. 3 out of 5
I had read a little about the making of this film on Roger Avary's site, so when I happened to see it cross-referenced from another listing I decided to check it out. It was fairly impressive mechanically--that they did a fairly good job of feeling like there was production value and feeling like it could have been filmed in France. Sadly, as a heist-gone-wrong story, it wasn't very exciting; the way things went wrong wasn't that great. The pat love story, blah blah blah. The silly intercut love scene that is supposed to be so stylish and hip. The entirely irrelevent druggie underground scenes which felt off the spine of the story: the story premise is roughly 'what if some guy had a one night stand and then the next day robbed the bank that the woman worked at'--or at least, this is the ONE BIG COINCIDENCE which every movie is allowed to have, because they're supposed to be interesting stories, and yes, sometimes interesting stories follow from weird coincidences. 2.5 out of 5.
This is my first netflix rental of a movie I'd seen before (in theaters, I think). I recalled it as being one of the funniest movies I'd ever seen, so I want to test that theory, and get the chance to rate it properly to influence my netflix rating recommendations. And hey, I loved it. I hadn't remembered this was a Zucker-Zucker-Abrahams flick. Too bad they didn't do more "straight" comedies like this before splitting up. 5 out of 5.
This is such a wannabe movie. It had some cute bits and I enjoyed watching it, but it failed in so many ways. While Walken's portrayal was fine, the movie didn't do enough to really make me believe he was an ex-mob-boss or whatever. The way problems were solved offscreen was unconvincing; phone calls magically gathered information; it didn't feel like 'we know how it happens, but it's boring/uninteresting, so it happens offscreen'; it feels like 'we have no clue how he does this, so just don't think about it'. There were serious tone problems, the movie couldn't decide what it wanted to be. The two hoods in the car were such an obvious Pulp Fiction ripoff, and the lame discussion of the one guy's fish shoes made realize just how good and sparkling PF's dialogue was and makes me want to go rate it a bit higher. Once all the twists are on the table, it's not clear why anybody involved would have agreed to making the physical alteration they did. Cheap cheap cheap. 2 out of 5.
Postcards from the Edge
Kind of funny, but I dunno, the humor didn't work THAT well for me. Some nice quick Hollywood-behind-the-scenes moments, but the split between being about addiction and being about the relationship with the mother didn't work for me that well. Listening to the commentary track (by the WRITER not the director, imagine that), though, I will say Carrie Fisher is hilarious. Also, when I see actors/actresses sing so well in films like this (and I checked, it really was them), it makes me really wonder why I bother trying to sing on my own stuff. 3 out of 5.
Christopher Nolan's pre-Momento work. Pretty cool, but the non-linear narrative seems pointless, it's just there because he could. It's also all a little too clever and fake and cruel and unbelievable, although there are a few nice twists and turns along the way. 3 out of 5
O Brother, Where Art Thou
Pretty fun, although I'm not into the music so it got a tiny tiny bit tiring, although I had fun with it by trying to figure out who was really singing and who wasn't. George Clooney sure could lip-synch well. I'm giving this 4 out of 5, but I don't really know why. Something about Coen brother stuff just tickles something right.