Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Film Week

A review of the films I've seen this past week.

Fun, engrossing horror flick about a poltergeist and paranormal investigators. I don't really have anything to say about it other than "It was a lot better than these movies tend to be these days," which I know doesn't sound like a compliment. It is what it is, but it is very effectively that. ***1/2

Just a touch less engrossing than the first one, mainly because--like a lot of horror sequels--it takes a few too many steps away from its horror premise into action movie territory. But I thought the way the film winds in, around and through the events of the first movie was remarkably clever. ***

Finally managed to see the original version just before Netflix dropped it. And I'm glad I did, because it's wonderful. One of the few real gems of Frank Oz's directing career. ****

Wretched suspense thriller that is not suspenseful or thrilling, with Michelle Monaghan badly attempting to Sandra Bullock her way through as a blind journalist being menaced by a hilariously fey Michael Keaton and the guy that ruined Revenge so they can find some stolen diamonds in her apartment. Really awful, very poorly made, but it can't be overstated just how bad Michelle Monaghan is in this movie playing a blind woman. Her eyes are always focused, and sometimes she just looks at stuff and the director either doesn't notice or doesn't care. It's hilarious. *

Tina Fey and Paul Rudd are engaging, and Lily Tomlin's always good, but it's just kind of a shrug of a movie. Indifferent to its own drama, the movie is too light where it needs to be more grounded, making the whole thing distant and not very memorable. Still waiting for that great Tina Fey movie to happen. I hope it does. **1/2

Sad, stunning Robert Bresson film about the parallel lives of a donkey and a young girl in the French countryside. A lot of it is about suffering; it's very minimal and naturalistic, but also a kind of spiritual allegory about cruelty. It's powerfully emotional; I'm still thinking about it, but sort of trying not to, because it really is a very sad, but very honest movie. ****


Tallulah Morehead said...

I love the original version of Death at a Funeral (Farce is so hard to do this well) so much that I've never been able to force myself to watch the gratuitous remake.

SamuraiFrog said...

I'm not sure why I saw the remake first... I think it must have just been on HBO and I'm usually interested in Neil LaBute's films (Wicker Man remake notwithstanding, because yikes). I thought both versions were very good; like seeing two different theater productions of the same play with one great actor (Peter Dinklage) reprising his role.

Tallulah Morehead said...

I haven't seen his Wicker Man remake, and shan't. I believe the unanimous chorus of revulsion the film provoked, plus I loathe Nicholas Cage and avoid his films as much as possible. Also, the original Wicker Man is a special movie to me. I once sat through a screening of it with Sir Christopher Lee in the audience who then spoke after the movie. I have a treasured photo from that day framed on my living room wall of Christopher Lee and I seated in front of the movie screen on which we'd both just watched The Wicker Man.

But I know why I saw the original Death at a Funeral first, because the remake hadn't been made yet when I saw it. I remember first learning they were remaking it, and all I could think was "Why?
1. It was made like yesterday.
2. It's perfect as it is."

Kelly Zauber said...

I truly enjoyed and at the same time got horrified by the movies Insidious 1 and 2. There's nothing more worth watching than a great horror movie. I like the Death at a Funeral too. Can't wait for my Austin home theater
to be well-furnished so that I can resume my movie marathon.