Movie Diary

a) Season of the Witch
I like to go out for dinner and a movie for my birthday, but since it's in January there's usually not a whole lot of particularly exciting stuff playing. But my wife and I went and made a go of it over the weekend, and decided to just role the dice and see what was playing, and since the next showing of True Grit was over an hour away, we defaulted to this, which she was much more excited about than I was. At the end, she turned to me and said "I'm sorry that was so bad," but I pretty much enjoyed it. I mean, it's a Nic Cage movie! You've gotta adjust your expectations, and half the time he and Ron Perlman were basically playing this like a buddy cop movie. Also one of those movies where the quality of the CGI and visual effects veered wildly between awesome and embarrassing.

b) Joan Rivers: A Piece Of Work
This is kind of like Tyson in that it's just interesting to see a documentary that makes me rethink, or really just think at all about someone who's been a pop culture fixture for pretty much as long as I can remember and never actually formed any kind of strong opinion about, but it's also obviously not nearly as good or as fascinating as Tyson. It manages to feel kind of like a puff piece sometimes even with its warts-and-all approach, and when a few minutes are given over to really serious discussion of "Celebrity Apprentice" I kinda tune out, but a lot of the time this is really interesting and sheds a new light on Rivers and makes me appreciate her style of comedy and the story of her career more.

c) Death At A Funeral
I watched the original British version just a few weeks ago, and enjoyed it well enough, but it didn't stick with me enough that I could even totally tell how much they changed it for this remake and how much they kept the original dialogue and jokes. Kind of odd for Neil LaBute to direct a remake of this starring Chris Rock, but it works, especially considering that there are about a dozen people in here that are never not funny -- James Marsden in particular has been gaining my respect as an underrated comic talent. Overall it was more silly and entertaining than outright funny, though.

d) The Book of Eli
Getting some serious post-apocalytic fatigue ennui here, and this movie ain't helping. The other night there was a question about this movie on "Jeopardy!" and the answer was totally a plot spoiler, I thought that was kinda fucked up.

e) The Fantastic Mr. Fox
Watching Darjeeling Limited recently reaffirmed for me how much of a rut Wes Anderson had dug himself into by his 5th movie, so I was pleasantly surprised that the gambit of applying all his familiar tics and themes to a stop motion animated film actually totally worked. Part of it was just that it was visually dazzling and charming, but it also just had a strong story, great voice performances, really a movie I'd be happy to show to my son.

f) The Boys Are Back
Kind of refreshing to see Clive Owen in a kind of low key domestic role after being a dashing man of action so much, and being a stay-at-home dad now tends to make these kinds of meditations on hands-on fatherhood a little more resonant with me than they might be otherwise. A sad story but a nice one.

g) Post Grad
I feel like there's been a lot of lingering goodwill for Michael Keaton over the past decade or so that he's barely been in anything, and had kind of hoped he'd back out of hiding with some great role that would justify how much people have missed him. Instead, he's part of one of the most overqualified supporting casts I've ever seen (along with Carol Burnett, Jane Lynch, and J.K. Simmons) in this lightweight comedy that rests uncomfortably on the shoulders of Alexis Bledel and her dialogue-flattening blank little girl voice and total lack of convincing emotional expression.

h) A Perfect Getaway
The kind of movie about a mysterious killer where your enjoyment pretty much hinges on how stupid or clever or predictable or shocking the identity of the killer turns out to be, and for me this was pretty much idiotic. Up until the reveal there was some pretty good tension, though. Also totally weird and surprising to see Milla Jovovich play a normal human being with lots of dialogue and actually pull it off and be believable.

i) Away We Go
I kind of took it as a given that I would hate this and really kind of turned it on being bored and expecting the bile to just come spilling out, and while it was kind of precious and earnest in the way that Dave Eggers stuff usually is, it wasn't nearly as bad as I'd thought it would be. Again, being a parent makes me kind of identify with and go easier on these kinds of movies maybe, but from a storytelling, comedic or dramatic standpoint, it's not like it was very good either, it just kind of sat there.

j) The Great Buck Howard
Saw this on TV a while ago and kinda forgot to mention it in this space, which is a shame because it's pretty good. Really feel like Malkovich doesn't get to have fun playing light characters liek this enough, would love to see him do more stuff in this vein in the future.

k) The Shortcut
Goofy horror movie starring James Franco's skeevy-looking little brother and my crush from "The Riches" and "Raising Hope," Shannon Marie Woodward. The whole premise and the way it unravelled was kinda dumb, but there were some nice creepy moments.

l) Sex And Breakfast
Pretty stupid indie dramedy about relationships that I mainly watched for a decent amount of Eliza Dushku sex scenes, was also pleasantly surprised to hear Baltimore's The Oranges Band pop up in the soundtrack.

m) The Touch
I was scrolling down the OnDemand menu looking for a movie to watch and found this 1997 Elmore Leonard adaptation co-starring Chistopher Walken that I'd never even heard of and decided to roll the dice. And hey, it was pretty good. At the very least, it lived up to my expectations for some vintage Walken speech mannerisms and body language. When that guy is on he's just amazing to watch.

n) My Dinner With Andre
I'd heard about this movie and references to it so many times over the years without really seeing any of it or knowing much about it, and damn, this is just remarkable, lightening in a bottle.
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Book of Eli made me go ---- huh thats some bullshit at the end. But I'm not to sure I want to watch it again to check to see if it was actual bullshit.

the Perfect Getaway was interesting it wasnt good just interesting
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