Yet another resolution update

15 Sep

A film-only update to my Resolution Challenge.

NEVERENDING STORY

Yep, first time. Those of you who haven’t seen it: don’t. Those of you who have: stop laughing. My nerd of a girlfriend forced me to watch it. Grade: F

DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY

A true account of a man who wrote his autobiography, post-stroke, using a blinking system between him and his nurse. An affecting story, one made more memorable with the director’s decision to tell the movie from the protagonist’s one working eye viewpoint. Grade: B

CASINO ROYALE

This entire movie was ruined by the (seemingly?) half-hour poker scene in the middle. Is anyone on Earth still dumb enough to believe that poker isn’t mostly about luck? Like, when Bond is doing his smooth “spot me the money, I can beat this crook” act, am I not supposed to be rolling my eyes and fighting off sleep from boredom? This movie might have been better had it been made a decade ago, before we knew the truth about poker. Grade: C

THE TEN

The creators of “The State” bring an uneven collection of stories about the Ten Commandments. All are over-the-top satirical. Some are funny, some aren’t. I don’t know what else to tell you. Grade: B-

IRON MAN

I’m a dyed-in-the-wool comic book movie hater. Can’t help it. I just happen to prefer movies set on Earth. Iron Man is a bit of an exception to this rule, since the superpowers are created by modern technology and controlled by humans, rather than some extraterrestrial force. Director Jon Favreau spins a damn fine yarn that’s heavy on the action and light on the childlike comic-book crap. Good stuff. Grade: B+

BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE DEAD

One of those rare movies (that inexplicably keep getting made) wherein one false move, that could have been easily quelled from the get-go, snowballs into an avalanche of plodding, dark, awfulness. I hated this movie. Grade: D-

THE SQUID AND THE WHALE

Wes Anderson crony Noah Baumbach directed this tale of a family of four (mom, dad, two sons) going through a divorce, and, as expected, the movie is laced with quiet quirkiness. The slightly tragic subject matter is treated with a here-or-there sort of heaviness, with moments of random dark, accidental comedy thrown in the leaner moments. A black comedy that occasionally has something serious to say, I’d expect most to like it and few to love it. Grade: B-

BATMAN BEGINS

I watched this as a primer for the then-upcoming Dark Knight movie. Christopher Nolan deftly sets the stage with this backdrop of the Batman personality – it’s light on hero action and heavy on the making of the character (the development of his weaponry, et al), but in a good way. Grade: B+

PERSEPOLIS

Persepolis is a crudely animated autobiographical film detailing the upbringing of director Marjane Satrapi in and around the Iranian Revolution. Her tender years are spent in the midst of Islamic terrorism, government overthrows and the like, finding her foothold amidst a shitstorm of craziness. An engaging story with a dash of education in the mix. Grade: B

BE KIND REWIND

Hotly anticipated and warmly reviewed, I’d pegged Be Kind Rewind for a trippy look into the movie-making process, using the supernatural “all movies have been erased and need to be recreated” plot as little more than a loose basis. The movie is actually played a bit more straight-up than I anticipated, and the result is light on the lunacy and heavy on the heartwarming. Damn solid. Grade: B+

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