Monday, February 9, 2009


So I forgot to do last Monday's update (surprise surprise) and so am combining the two.

January 26th - February 9th, 2009

1.  Scarlett Street (1946) - 4/4
Edward G. Robinson embodies a feminine persona, the movie makes me want to paint regardless of how terrible I am, Fritz Lang somehow takes us from hilarious comedy to high tension drama to terrifying horror.  This movie was one of the best classics I've seen in a long time.

2.  Vera Drake (2003) - 4/4
My third indulgence of Mike Leigh and expectedly another amazing film.  Regardless of me being anything but in the mood for a period piece Leigh triumphs with sucking me in through his beautiful style.

3.  For the Bible Tells Me So (2007) - 4/4
As if my attitude towards Conservative Christians couldn't get any worse this movie reveals the anti-gay sentiments being preached in the church on false pretense.  It has a very interesting structure involving families who condoned homosexuals until their own children came out to them.  Ah...hypocrisy. 

4.  On the Waterfront (1954) - 4/4
This is the second time I've seen the movie; we watched it for my History of American Society on Film.  First, read the story of Elia Kazan selling out his friends during the HUAC trials, how many of the Hollywood elite protested his honorary Oscar in 1999 because of this and then see how Brando embodies this whole story. Amazing movie.

3.  RocknRolla (2008) - 3.5/4
Maybe it was because of Tom Wilkison, but I haven't seen a movie this badass since There Will Be Blood.  Since the credits rolled I have been playing Bankrobber by The Clash before every shower.

4.  The Visitor (2008)  3.5/4
For some reason every time I saw the cover of this movie I envisioned a terrible attempt by Greg Kinnear to recapture the wholesomeness of Little Miss Sunshine - yes, I know its not him.   Well, its definitely not that at all.  Yet although it starts out really strong, near the last third it falls in and out of dramatic cliche.

5.  Waltz With Bashir (2008) 3.5/4
Israel's nomination for the Best Foreign Film Oscar is an extremely original take on documenting the horrors of the 1983 Palestinian/Israel war. It could have been a documentary, but come the end you understand why it wasn't.

6.  The Class (2008) 3.5/4
The Palm d'Or Winner at Cannes Film Festival is about a teacher and his inner city class, played by a real teacher, based upon his book about teaching the inner city class.  The kids all play themselves, yet have admitted they created their own characters.  Explores a lot of interesting questions of the relationship between kids and teachers.

7.  Gates of Heaven (1978) - 3.5/4
This is one of Roger Ebert's top 10 films of ALL TIME, and perhaps that's why I didn't really think it was THAT good - too built up.  But I can agree with the man, it takes a genius to make an amazing documentary about Pet Cemetery owners.  

8.  In the Mood for Love (2001) - 3.5/4
I've had this movie in my Netflix Queue for about three or four years.  I was hoping it'd be one of those amazing gems like Naked turned out to be.  It was good, but not great.  

9.  Vernon Florida (1981) - 3.5/4
I read a lot of posts by people saying that this movie exploited the people of the South in a horrible manner.  I disagree.  I think these people say some of the most profound things I've ever heard in a documentary, namely, the old man on the boat regarding the Atheist.  

10.  Gran Torino (2008) - 3/4
First off, Clint Eastwood is badass, but it came dangerously close to pulling a Crash (the movie) with the not-so-subtle themes/cliches:  Walter being an obscene racist, he hates everyone, everyone hates him, the obnoxiously rude grandchildren and for that matter all kids in general and naturally the ethnic boy who challenges his attitude. Wait, more cliches: Walter being a Jesus character, he's a good man in the end, everyone likes him.  Eh...

11.  Sands of Iwo Jima (1949) - 3/4
John Wayne is becoming the new Chuck Norris to me, but at least this movie had better special effects than Mr. Eastwood's Flags of Our Fathers - i.e. no CGI

12.  I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (2008) - 2.5/4
Jessica Biel.
13.  Home Movie (2001) - 2.5/4
With Chris Smith just coming back from American Movie I will cut him some slack, but overall this movie SUCKs.  He's trying to capture the Mark Borchardt persona, but none of these characters come even remotely close to him (who would?).  It seems like Smith is trying to pull an Errol Morris, but where Errol Morris can show the beautiful, enlightening moments of people's lives, Smith is too caught up in the quirky and weird rather than the story.

Double Indemnity (1944) - 4/4
Considering how many times I've seen this movie I figure I shouldn't be ranking it.  Its one of my favorite film noirs, but its becoming like a song I've heard too many times.


Tim said...

It was Jessica Beil in I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry.

Let's change that, let me buy you a Heineken.

Jonathan Cvack said...

thanks buddy!