Wednesday, January 6, 2010

2009 Movies, Part 2

I forgot to mention some movies in my last blog. Here's some of them:

Public Enemies

This movie was pretty forgettable. In fact, even after I remembered some of the movies that I forgot to add on the last list, this one didn't even register until I saw an old magazine with a cover story on it. Johnny Depp does a decent job, but the entire thing seemed so lifeless, even with all the shooting. There were a few scenes where he's almost going to get caught that are interesting, and watching one of his escapes from jail was particularly good, but other than that, this film didn't really stick with me.

Precious, Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

Aside from having one of the worst titles I've ever seen, this film was surprisingly good. I DETEST Mo'Nique, but she had a performance that at the very least deserves an Oscar nod, if not a win. The lead was also great, and the story was sufficiently dark to keep my interest. The best thing about this film were the fantasy cutscenes, which made the film seem like a twisted, ghetto version of Amelie at times. It's also one of the most depressing films I've ever seen, and even though the ending is kinda sorta maybe a little upbeat, it's still one hell of a downer. The only thing I don't get is why Mariah Carey is getting all this praise. I mean, she did a decent job that any actress should be able to perform. Praising her for this is almost as bad as praising Palin for that debate she was in because she didn't fall on her face.

Bad Lieutenant Port Of Call New Orleans

I did not know how this film was going to be, since I'm not the biggest Nick Cage fan. Plus, this had the appearance of an action film, which made it a strange choice for Herzog to direct. Regardless, this film was incredible. Cage gives the best performance I've ever seen, and his creepy hunching walk during certain scenes reminded me of Kinski in Aguirre. Plus, there are a number of incidences that occur in this film that are just flat-out insane, like a breakdancing scene that comes out of nowhere, and a fantastic "assaulting the elderly" scene. Aside from the creepiness, this is also a very funny film. Hearing Nick Cage using some atrocious street slang was beyond delightful.

Adventureland

A boring comedy about some hip college students working at an amusement park, a lead that's hard to care about, and a love interest who isn't interesting. Ryan Reynalds was the only good thing about this film, even though I'm not a fan of his. I expected some Apatow-esque guffaws in this film, and I didn't get them. Plus, these kind of films hang on how much you care about the characters. I didn't, and therefore I disliked this film.

Humpday

Yet another "bromance," this one about two friends who haven't seen each other in years, and then for an extremely weak, half-assed reason, decide to do a gay porn together. This film was OK. The lead was more annoying than he should have been, and the friend's hippie party friends got on my nerves, but pretty much everyone reacted as they probably should have given the circumstances, so it was at least somewhat believable. I just wish that it was funnier, even though it wasn't a bad film by any means.

Loss of a Teardrop Diamond

This was a very, very strange movie. I mean, not so much the content, but the presentation of it. This film comes from a lost screenplay by Tennessee Williams, which is the only reason why I saw it. It involves many of the themes that I love the man for, including overbearing women, alcoholism, insanity, and drug addiction. Strangely enough, another one of his hallmarks, the gay undertones, were absent. Anyhow, while I enjoyed the film and think that it is a good addition to his filmed work, it definitely feels like something that was written in the 50s or 60s. The script is not modern in any sense, and the director seems to have followed the script as closely as possible. The acting style, the way it was filmed, the way lighting was used, all of it feels very much like it belongs to a different era. I don't think I have ever seen a modern film that had this kind of feel before, like the language, the very syntax of the screenplay was completely out of place. If this were filmed in black and white with old orchestral music, it might have been mistaken for a lost film of that time. Anyhow, I liked it, but I can understand why certain people think that this film felt a little "off."

Coraline

Another great stop motion film that came out last year. Not nearly as great as Fantastic Mr. Fox, it was still a fun, creepy film. I cannot express just how scary those fucking people with buttons for eyes looked. There's actually a lot in this movie that deserves to be discussed, such as what it says about neglectful parents, why children need to escape into their imaginations, etc., but I'm too tired to go into this. Aside from the story, it was also fucking gorgeous to look at. Coraline's garden in that other world was beautiful. The stop motion itself looked great, too. With this, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Up, last year was definitely a good year for animation.