Thursday, December 28, 2006

A Year in Movies, Briefly

Particularly next to my film studies major friends & neighbors who know every line of Federico Fellini's work by heart, I don't know much about cinema. Still, blogging is all about contributing your own largely-unnecessary, largely-ignored opinions to the wonderful institution that is the internet, and it would be a shame to ignore tradition. Admittedly, I have not seen The Science of Sleep or Babel or Volver or The Departed or Children of Man, all of which I've heard are really good, but what can you do.

* * * * *

Little Miss Sunshine
Between a Nietzsche-obsessed silent brother and a suicidal Proust professor uncle, the characters of this movie are amazingly bizarre but somehow still strangely lovable. It's black comedy in the extreme -- and at times feels a little too tragicomic (how can so many bad things happen to any family at once, in manner of Meet the Parents?!) -- but all in all unique and enjoyable in its oddity.

* * * *

Casino Royale
My father had a minor heart attack when I told him that Casino Royale might be my favorite Bond movie yet, but there you have it: it's sarcastic, witty, the opening credits are amazing, and best of all the movie constantly pokes fun at the old Bond stereotypes (Bartender: Shaken or stirred? Bond: Does it look like I give a damn?) and is a general modernization of an old classic (Mathis: It's amazing what you can do with Photoshop nowadays). I went in with low expectations -- which always heightens enjoyment if a movie is anything above mediocre -- but still, I thought it was quite wonderful.

The Devil Wears Prada
Meryl Streep plays the Cruella De Vil of New York City and carries off the role fairly efficiently. Though a little too happily-ever-after at its conclusion for my tastes, it's a thoroughly entertaining two hours. For about two days after seeing it I was also plagued by a horrible desire to go shopping, which I think is vaguely antithetical to the movie's raison d'etre, so to speak, but I can't help that.

* * *

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
Admittedly, there were many absolutely hilarious moments -- most of which, unfortunately, were effectively ruined since I'd already seen them on YouTube -- but those were far outnumbered by "oh my god please make it stop auuurrrgggh" moments. Even worse, a subsequent string of revelations that proved scenes were either staged or coerced made the entire premise seem even more horrible.

* *

The DaVinci Code
Suffers greatly from "not as good as the book" syndrome -- which is a little sad, considering that the book wasn't that great to begin with. Also, Tom Hanks and Audrey Tatou (two of my favorite actors, no less) both look vaguely nauseated throughout the entire film.


Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
What were you thinking, Disney? Almost as shameless as the second Matrix film -- and anyone who knows how much I hate those movies understands the gravity of that comparison. Honestly, I only bothered for Johnny Depp.

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
Well, I suppose I can't really judge this obscenely offensive excuse for a movie since I walked out of the theater about 20 minutes in. I'm returning to my "no Will Ferrell, under any circumstances" rule.


nicholas said...

oh god no, babel is horrific. plays up just about every cultural stereotype available - the incompetent arabs, the lazy mexicans, the dysfunctional asians, the culturally insensitive brits and, of course, the heroic americans. and naturally, all the mishaps that occur in the film - so ridiculously extreme that it truly borders comedy - are all the faults of everyone's incompetence EXCEPT the americans who are at the butt of all of it. stir in heaps of plot holes, irrelevant narrative, pseudo-artsyfartsy editing, and last-minute references to current political debates, and you have one masterpiece of a film!

science of sleep, on the other hand... BRILLIANT! extremely charming and clever, beautiful scenes and great characters. see it! plus from a sleepless architecture student's perspective, it's sadly very, very easy to identify with the main character's hallucinations, hahaha...

Daniella said...

Really?! I'm doubly surprised, since Iñárritu is Mexican. (Have you seen his earlier movie Amores Perros? Amazing.)

I love Gondry, I just haven't had time... thank goodness for break!