Movie Diary

a) Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
The wife watched this and I ended up seeing a lot of it, Gyllenhaal is just the worst in my opinion so it's fun to see him embarrassing himself in this movie with that goofy haircut, and Gemma Arterton looks fine as hell but not as much as in Clash of the Titans.

b) Valentine's Day
I don't feel like my standards for rom coms are very high but this was definitely just wishy washy and forgettable. A couple of the plots were engaging but they were kind of lost in the big ensemble tapestry. Also I felt weird about Emma Roberts being by far the most attractive girl in this movie to me.

c) Up In The Air
After hearing about how divisive this movie was, I thought I'd either hate it or find it too charmingly Clooneyish to hate, but ultimately it was neither, just kind of an inert, bland movie.

d) It Might Get Loud
Weirdly I sat down to watch this the day the White Stripes breakup was announced. Not a bad idea for a documentary but I didn't really love the approach; if they were only going to profile 3 guitarists, they probably should've had a wider variety instead of having a couple guys as similar as Jimmy Page and Jack White. And really The Edge's technique is way more interesting to me anyway so I liked his parts of the movie best, but the whole thing just felt kind of flimsy and not very focused on the guitar or the way these guys play it, and a lot of the time you're watching footage of White playing piano or listening to Page talk about recording Bonham's drums.

e) Where The Wild Things Are
The book was one of my favorites as a kid, I was always kinda on the fence about whether I was really interested in seeing this or not, and maybe seeing and really liking Wes Anderson's The Fantastic Mr. Fox nudged me toward being more optimistic about the odds of enjoying this other hipster auteur version of a childrens' book. And visually I really liked it and didn't totally recoil at the stamp Spike Jonze and Dave Eggers put on it, but it was a bit precious and morose for my tastes, and the campfire folk rock soundtrack by the girl from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs was just gross. And after a while I was just sick of Tony Soprano grumbling and whining for half the movie and didn't feel much childlike wonder or anything like that at all.

f) Tell Tale
Weird little horror flick vaguely based on Poe with some really gruesome moments and some really overwrought dramatics and kind of nicely arty direction.

g) The Art of the Steal
Interesting little documentary about the Barnes art collection and all the crazy wheeling and dealing that's gone on around in recent years. Didn't really succeed in making me outraged the way docs like this seem to aim for, but it was a nice bit of food for thought and art history.

h) Table For Three
I generally regard it as a bad omen when a comedy has a cast consisting entirely of people who are better known for being good looking than being funny, but I have to say this movie starring Brandon Routh, Jesse Bradford and Sophia Bush kinda sorta bucked the trend and was, if not hilarious, then at least pretty decent and far more enjoyable than I expected. Sophia Bush in particular kinda reminded me of Kristen Bell with the kind of character she was doing, and it was nice to actually see her in something good for once since she's just amazingly hot.

i) Adopted
On some days I will actually defend a couple of Pauly Shore's movies, but this 'documentary' where he goes to Africa and makes stale jokes about celebrities adopting babies for 80 minutes is not one of them.

j) Miss March
I decided to watch this undignified teen sex romp without realizing that its directors and stars were a couple of the guys from the sometimes funny cable sketch show "The Whitest Kids U Know." It really felt like they were slumming or dumbing their style down, which wasn't exactly cerebral to begin with, and it was pretty goofy watching these 30ish guys pretend to be high school seniors.

k) Friday The 13th
My wife and I have an annual Valentine's Day tradition, which I've mentioned here before, of ordering Chinese food and watching horror movies (which originated when we were snowed in my apartment for our first V Day together years and years ago). So this is one of the movies we watched this year, just because it happened to be on HBO that weekend. I'm not a huge fan of the big '80s horror franchises, and even as those go I prefer Freddie to Jason, so I wasn't particularly excited to see a reboot of Friday The 13th, but really it did a decent job of giving you what you expected: some nice gorey scenes and lots of gratuitous nudity. Most of the discussion my wife and I had while watching it was rating the relative merits of the racks of the 3 or 4 girls who appeared topless in the movie, because my wife is awesome.

l) Outlander
I only watched this Jim Caviezel bomb for more than a few minutes because Sophia Myles, who looked really hot as a blonde in "Moonlight" and Tristan & Isolde, looked super blazing hot as a brunette in this.

m) Pontypool
I was channel flipping and not really looking to sit down with a whole movie and this just grabbed me and did not let go, really novel horror movie that flips the whole zombie genre on its ear by having most of the movie take place inside a radio station while the DJ and staff are trying to stay on the air and report on what's going on without really knowing what's happening, some really great weird twists and darkly funny moments.

n) Good Time Max
Was vaguely intrigued to see a movie written and directed by James Franco but man, this was just not good at all. Most of it was the totally weak premise but the execution didn't have much to it either.

o) Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten
Another music documentary with a lot of potential on paper that just didn't hold my interest that much, mostly because the director crammed parts of the movie full of hyperactive cuts of stock footage to compensate for a lack of video footage of some parts of Strummer's life, particularly early on.

p) Heckler
I thought maybe this would be one of those funny entertaining documentaries about the profession of standup comedy. Instead, it was Jamie Kennedy's thinly veiled score-settling against critics and people who talk about how terribly and unfunny he is on the internet (hi!), who he equates with nightclub hecklers with very shaky logic. The movie climaxes with Kennedy and Carrot Top reading reviews of each other's movies together, 'nuff said.

q) The Informers
The Bret Easton Ellis book upon this was based, featuring an interlocked collection of short stories, seems like it might've been interesting when it was published. But adapted into a movie now, it just feels derivative of all of the other movies since Pulp Fiction that revolve loosely connected narratives involving sex and drugs and violence in Los Angeles. Other than Amber Heard being naked a lot there's really not much to enjoy at all in this movie.

r) The Amateurs
It feels like there've been way too many movies about regular folks making a porno now, but at least this one instead of being the usual raunchy teen comedy is kind of an offbeat small town mockumentary full of amiable middle-aged character actors and driven by a sometimes hilarious voiceover by Jeff Bridges.

s) George Washington
This movie frustrated and annoyed me much in the same way as Brick, in that both are promising debuts from young filmmakers that seem to be bending over backwards to avoid indie movie cliches and end up with something even more preciously smugly film festival-y and off-puttingly stylized and conceptual. I really just tuned out so early in the movie and stopped caring what happened.

t) Dinner Rush
I like movies like this or Big Night or even broader comedies like Waiting or The Slammin' Salmon that really capture the particular rhythms of working in a restaurant, and this had some really nicely observed moments in that vein. I wasn't very drawn in by the actual plot, though.

u) I'm Not Rapaport
I always like watching Walter Matthau and this was just really nice and charming to watch, enjoyed the kind of stagey, talk-y aspects of it and how unpredictable the story was.

v) Hideaway
On the same Valentine's Day weekend that we watched Friday The 13th, I was browsing through the 'Fearnet' OnDemand menu of horror movies, and my wife, who was on the couch reading the Dean Koontz novel Hideaway at that very moment, pointed out that the selection included the 1995 adaptation of it, which Koontz actually disowned in an afterword in her copy of the book. Since she was just about to finish the book, we put on the movie just so she could alternately laugh at or be outraged by the various ridiculous ways it took liberties with the characters and plot of the book. But for me it was just a bad Jeff Goldblum movie with some entertaining commentary from the wife.

w) Fearless
Had heard this was one of the better Jeff Bridges movies, and he is good in it, but I dunno, this was a little bit slow and maudlin and I feel like it was trying to cast a spell on the view or put them in a contemplative state and it ended up just kinda boring and melodramatic.

x) Brewster's Millions
I love John Candy but never so much for his early goofy sidekick roles in stuff like Splash and Stripes, so I was surprised by how funny he is in this, really he gets more laughs than Pryor.

y) BUtterfield 8
I remember in high school seeing this movie on the shelf at a rental place and being kind of slackjawed at how blindingly hot Elizabeth Taylor used to be, since I grew up knowing her as the crazy old lady who's been married a million times. But I never got around to actually seeing this or any of her other movies from her prime until the other day when this came on TV, and it was pretty decent, although I feel like I've seen this story done too many times by lesser later movies that it felt a little more stale than it should.

z) Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Likewise, watched this mainly just to just stare agog at how amazing Marilyn Monroe was back then, but this was a really enjoyable flick.
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