not a beautiful or unique snowflake (nothings) wrote,
not a beautiful or unique snowflake

movie log

Hey look, I went forever without posting movie reviews again. Let's see what I can remember. Scores from -4 to 4.

  • The Anniversary Party: 0
  • Atlantic City: 0
  • Take the Money and Run: 1
  • Sexy Beast: 0
  • Hot Shots: 1
  • Far From Heaven: 0

The Anniversary Party

Jennifer Jason Leigh and somebody I don't remember host a wedding anniversary party with all their Hollywood friends, And "Hollywood friends" refers to both the actors and characters. Way too melodramatic; full of big character moments and revelations but very little meat. I really enjoyed Leigh's half-sister as the next door neighbor--credit both acting and the writing--since she was the only really sympathetic character (her husband a horrible caricature). But sadly, all that acting is thrown at the simplest, naivest little story; surprises are rare and rarely unpredictable. Rating (-4 to 4): 0

Atlantic City

Aging numbers runner Burt Lancaster spies on neighbor Susan Sarandon and schemes to make one big score Yeargh. Dumb plot, not-quite-believable interactions. A great set-piece on the autopark, except it goes nowhere at the end. Some of the acting is enjoyable enough thought to raise the score to a 0 (out of -4 to 4). It's interesting how even in a "bad" movie like this, how some careful screenwriting goes on; for example, Lancaster has to get found out by Sarandon, so it's set up so the sister witnesses it and can transfer information, and it plays out very naturally.

Take the Money and Run

Woody Allen portrays a notorious hoodlum named something-or-other in a faux-documentary format. Some really funny bits--the cello and the marching band singlehandedly raises this from a 0 to a 1--but unfortunately an awful lot of stuff that doesn't really do much for me. There's a lot less of the crazy one-liners and a lot more physical comedy and sight gags, which I think is a good thing in general--except they so often don't work. Still, watching Woody play with a shirt-folding-machine (?) is actually fairly entertaining, as is his glass-cutting excursion.

Sexy Beast

Retired hood Gal, living in Spain, gets a visit from old leader Don trying to convince him to do one last job. I have a total love/hate relationship with this movie. First of all, after about ten minutes, I gave up and turned subtitles on, because the accents were flying too fast for me. It turned out that half of that was simply confusion over the fact that the frigging protagonist's name was "Gal", which I had just thought was being used as pejorative much like the stronger one Don is fond of. Also, Don is so feared before we see him, and it is so long before we see him, and he is called Don, that I was expecting a mafioso boss. I guess that doesn't exist in England. With all those confused expectations, you might figure it's my fault I didn't like it, not the movie's fault. But see, Kingsley's acting is great, as is the actor playing Gal. And the premise is great: one last job, except "I won't do it. No, Don." Awesome. And then we get a confrontation. Totally great.

And then the third act goes to London, and that's just all wrong. At first, I sat back stunned, because it made no sense at all. And then there were hints, and I immediately realized what the hints meant, and got it. But it didn't matter; the movie was dead at that point. The goings on in London just don't fit the story at all, the setup we'd had. It's not a big payoff to what went before. It's also a stupid job, and the whole idea that he thought he had to go through with this for the reason he thought isn't particularly believable and so it's not much of a surprise when he learns what he learns near the end. Incredibly disappointing third act. Rating (-4 to 4): 0

Hot Shots

Charlie Sheen is a top pilot out to prove he's not a failure like his dad. Silly "Airplane!"-style thing done by Abrahams without the Zuckers involvement. It's pretty funny, although some jokes get milked way too far. Gee, I can't remember anything about it now except that I enjoyed it a little. Rating (-4 to 4): 1

Far From Heaven

Julianne Moore and Dennis Quaid have a perfect fifties marriage with perfect fifties kids and a perfect fifties home. Written and directed by the maker of the notorious Karen Carpenter "Superstar" movie, I don't know how to judge this movie. It milks some of the same thing as Pleasantville--what lay beneath the surface of how those times were portrayed in movies and TV. Pleasantville made that explicit in the fiction; it's less clear that Far From Heaven is intended to be explicitly that, as opposed to simply a study of prejudice at a crucial time in the history of prejudice. On the other hand, it's so awfully melodramatic and over the top that it's hard for me not to see it as parody, as humorous. But the rest of the audience in the theater wasn't lauging--oh sure, they laughed at the "daquiris" bit, but I was constantly giggling as an outrageous music cue drove home the melodrama of a situation. So, I dunno. It was also very episodic and seemed to lack any real thrust as a story. And I'm not sure how much credit Julianne Moore deserves for her acting; it seemed to me like she was doing very little, and that a lot of the character came from the writing--e.g. how she would choose to respond to the actions of her husband. Not only does it fail the "would I want to see this again" test, but it fails the "would I recommend other people see it" test. Rating (-4 to 4): 0
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