X2: X-Men United: Dare I say it was X-cellent. In several ways I think it is the best "comic book" movie yet (though a good deal of that can be attributed to the fact that the X-Men are my favorite comic characters to have had a movie made of their exploits). I only wish we could see X3 immediately. The Phoenix stuff is perfect. The only problem I see is that it won't mean nearly as much to the casual viewer because the movies have spent very little time showing Jean and Scott together. She says she loves him several times, but its Wolvie and Jean that have all the screen time. Whereas readers had 100 issues of Jean and Scott's relationship. But its much better to have something made for the fans like this, than completly compromised like the latter Batman movies or The Punisher.
The acting is mostly superb, the pacing is just right, and the action and fights pulled off with aplomb, unlike The Hulk (see below). A-
Elephant I appreciated in theme and technique, but I didn't connect with it emotionally the way I did with Van Sant's Gerry. A good movie for how it depicts the unpredictability and unexplainability of the violence that surrounds us, but for me, not an outstanding one. B+
The Hulk I enjoyed the multi-split screen editing and a few of the weighty dramatic scenes. There are some good concepts but the movie doesn't work for me due to several factors. 1. The CGI Hulk looks stupid and the fight scenes look like video games 2. I've never liked the Hulk that much because he's too tough and I never took to Banner 3. The military/evil corporate foes are simply unexciting. Give me a good supervillain any day. Where's "The Leader"? He can't be too busy these days. C+
and the gem of the weekend:
Tibet: Cry Of The Snow Lion a moving and painful documentary about the Chinese subjugation of Tibet and how the Chinese are virtually expunging Tibetan culture. Chinese rule has resulted in the death of 1 out of
every 6 Tibetans. If it shows up in your area, I highly recommend it. A
Updated with 2 in the "pretty good" file, and 1 in the "best in class" category: School Of Rock... Man, I wish I hadn't waited for the second-run on this one. One of the funniest movies of the year. (It's been kind of amusing watching the local alterna-rag try to justify liking a PG-rated mainstream comedy by claiming it's something subversive)
¾ Pieces Of April is the most watchable film I've seen out of InDigEnt; someday I'll understand why they hire name actors and procede to make a film that looks cheap. Like many of its Winick-produced siblings, it's talky and seems to pad its runtime out, but does have enjoyable characters.
Bad Santa is good, but unfortunately not as brilliant as I thought it could be with some of the talent inolved. Still a good antidote to the sugary stuff that the holidays bring out.
Oh, and since I haven't gotten any response to the the thread in the Bargains forum - would anyone be interested in splitting a book of Loews "Weekday Escape" tickets with me? $5 a pop for any movie - including those released that day - and a small popcorn Monday-Thursday is a pretty good deal (I just can't quite swing 50 at once). Email/PM me if you'd be interested.
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
9.5 of 10
I mulled this score over quite a bit. It felt a bit more like a 9 based on the power of the film on my emotions, but I really couldn't spot anything wrong with it to any great extent.
The one problem the film has is that the script is a little troubled in trying to identify the flow or direction of the primary narrative theme. This is a very minor flaw however, as the film does have a sense of basic focus in a couple of areas: the idea of experiencing the time and place and the idea of seeing these sailors mature with their experiences so that the skills and talents are passed down the line.
But it also firmly plants in a relationship between the warrior captain and the naturalist doctor. This is also well done but it shows how the film takes on a bit more primary themes than it can perfectly handle.
I only wish this was the "major" flaw of most films. Everything else about this film was outstanding. The script is well-written in terms of individual scenes, and those scenes are very well acted, easily on par with what you saw in A Beautiful Mind between the two leads. Art direction, effects, costumes, et al are incredible and involving.
While it didn't change my life or grip my soul like my favorite films have done, the highest praise I can give is that I am more than ready to see a few more of films following the adventures of the captain and his crew. This film seems quite likely to gain a Best Pix, Director and perhaps 2 Acting Oscar noms among others.
Not a great (Kurosawa level) movie but a very, very enjoyable one. With Minority Report along with this movie, Tom Cruise is showing why he is a top actor, great roles and movies.
Also added some rentals and changed POTC rating.
Updated with: Master & Commander - This was such a surprise for me, i'm not familiar with the O'Brien novels and I wouldn't call myself a fan of Crowe either. But this film delievered big time, I was totally immersed in the world Weir created. The film was such a great visual experience and simply gorgeous to look at.
and Cabin Fever - I saw this just before M&C, definitely one for fans of the genre (I count myself as one). Plenty of gore, laughs and homages to be found here. It delievered exactly what I expected.
Note: I also changed my Film List to something simpler. I got sick of getting lost in a sea of HTML.