Filtering by Tag: movies watched

Movies Watched -- The Big Sleep (1946)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

113 minute running time, at least 20 minutes too long. I like Chandler, lots of snappy dialogue (via Faulkner), but the story lost me, too complicated, I didn’t know what the hell was going on. I like Lauren Bacall and her sultry smoker’s voice, her sister (Martha Vickers) was cute too. A complete mystery to me why Humphrey Bogart was a sex symbol, he does nothing for me. Another noir movie from the 1940s that Criterion has put in their collection, but I wasn’t thrilled.

A lot depends on who’s in the saddle

A lot depends on who’s in the saddle


Movies Watched -- The Killers (1946)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

105 minute running time so about five minutes too long. Starring big handsome dummy Burt Lancaster with Ava Gardner and her cleft chin as the femme fatale. Story told through multiple flashbacks, which can get tiring. It’s OK, not great. Included in the Criterion Collection probably because it’s classic noir made right after the War.

If there's one thing in this world I hate, it's a double-crossing dame.

If there's one thing in this world I hate, it's a double-crossing dame.

Movies Watched -- Free Solo (2018)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

97 minutes so the perfect length. Nat Geo documentary about Alex somebody’s insane free solo climb of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. He’s a weird guy, clearly smart but also cold … has some sociopathic qualities that I appreciated… cute California-style girlfriend … it’s pretty well made, I enjoyed it.

The filmmakers are this beautiful Tibetan/American-Indian looking guy named Jimmy Chin (so he’s at least part-Chinese) and his wife, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, who is also beautiful and part-Chinese (her Dad was one of my professors at Rutgers, small world).

Cameraman can’t bear to watch

Cameraman can’t bear to watch

Movies Watched -- The Help (2011)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

137 minute running time so way way way too long, at least 40 minutes too long. Stars bug-eyed Emma Stone. Another Racism for Dummies movie, and a W.D. By (written and directed by the same guy). Lots of heartstring music and mawkish piano to make the tears flow. Jessica Chest-ain plays a Marilyn Monroe type, she’s not bad. I wasn’t super thrilled, it’s simplistic and sentimental, and it’s way too long. Yellow rating at best, but I recommend avoiding it.

Skeeeeter

Skeeeeter

Movies Watched -- Fed Up (2014)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

92 minute running time. Documentary about the obesity “epidemic.” Wasn’t super thrilled with it. Features several obese kids and their fat parents. The interesting thing to me is why aren’t the siblings of these fat kids similarly fat? They’re all eating the same crap food in the same amounts, yet only one of them is 250 pounds at age 14. It’s obvious to me that the super fat kid has some metabolic issue which is preventing him from processing the junk food in the same way his siblings are.

Everyone knows sugar is bad, processed foods are bad, Pizza Hut and carbonated sugar water in the public school cafeterias are bad. There’s nothing new here. And they didn’t explore the metabolic root of the fat kid problem, which would have been truly interesting. I can’t recommend this one.

Pass the Nutella & Go! (23 grams of sugar and 13 grams of fat)

Pass the Nutella & Go! (23 grams of sugar and 13 grams of fat)

Movies Watched -- The Hit (1984)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

97 minute running time so a good length…. a little strange, sort of a crime thriller but more of a comedy with some philosophizing … I’m sure it inspired Tarantino and others like him … it’s quirky and not bad, I can see why Criterion put it in their Collection. I’m not sure I can give it a coveted green-go rating, but it’s worth seeing.

Laura of the Sun

Laura of the Sun

Movies Watched -- On Dangerous Ground (1952)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

82 minute running time … another weird Nicholas Ray movie… starts out noirish (dark streets, burned-out cops), but turns into a love story … it’s not bad. Stars Robert Ryan who’s a big handsome bastard with a square-jaw. Great cameo by A.I. Bezzerides. Bernard Herrmann score as heavy-handed as ever.

Checking out the officer’s gun

Checking out the officer’s gun

Movies Watched -- They Live By Night (1948)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

95 minute running time, so the perfect length. This was not your average studio movie, and it was good. Noir but with a heavy romance angle … doomed lovers. Farley Granger had sort of feminine good looks with his full mouth and dark brow … Cathy O'Donnell looks like the Tiger Mom’s older daughter Sophia, a real beauty.

I didn’t know any of the back story (Nick Ray’s directorial debut, etc.), but I did feel like this is a special movie, it’s unusual … someone said Ray didn’t know what he wasn’t supposed to do, which made it really fresh and interesting.

Anyway, if you haven’t seen it, you should make the effort to do so, I recommend it.

Keechie, you don't belong with that kind of people

Keechie, you don't belong with that kind of people

Movies Watched -- Gilda (1946)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

110 minute running time so at least 10 minutes too long. Weird one with no story really. Margarita Cansino is the “curvy bombshell” who lip synchs some songs and does a strip tease of sorts (skirting the old Hays Code with all the sexual innuendo) … just dumb, they try to make it thrilling by involving evil Germans, and a casino, and a tungsten cartel, and setting it in Buenos Aires, but it just isn’t, and the relationships make no sense … just another crappy studio movie from the 40s. Don’t see it.

Ms. Cansino, beaming

Ms. Cansino, beaming

Movies Watched -- We Don't Live Here Anymore (2004)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

98 minute running time so the perfect length, but it’s pretty slow, I had to watch it at 1.5x ffwd. A story about marriage, adultery, and friendship. Two youngish couples: 1) Older brother from Six Feet Under (Peter Krause) and Naomi Watts (yes, another in my Naomi Watts’ series of movies), and 2) gorgeous Mark Ruffalo and Laura Dern (Bruce’s skinny-ass daughter).

Mark and Naomi are having an affair. Both couples have young children. Both men teach at the local community college. Peter is a frustrated writer, Mark grades the occasional paper. Naomi drives an old Mercedes station wagon, so she has family money; there is a scene where she gets a check from her Mom. Laura Dern is broke, so there is a money/class angle they touch on, though briefly.

It’s a small town (Vancouver), Mark and Naomi would be found out immediately — it’s unrealistic. Later Peter Krause and Laura Dern start screwing … Bruce’s skinny-ass daughter looks like the Wild Witch of the West even when she isn’t screeching. Painful to watch these couples as they contemplate splitting up (since they have kids, otherwise I wouldn’t care). Gets complicated, arty drama, very restrained, educated white people stuff. You know, boring.

It wasn’t terrible, just sort of blah, who cares. Yellow rating at best.

Eleanor Ringel Cater got it right: “A movie as empty as its title. A lot of good acting is going on, but there's nobody home.”

It’s much easier to live with a woman who feels loved

It’s much easier to live with a woman who feels loved

Movies Watched -- Stay (2005)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

98 minute running time so a good length, but I watched it at 2-4x fast forward. Stars sock-less Ewan McGregor, playing a shrink, young Ryan Mouseketeer Gosling playing his suicidal patient ‘Henry,’ and Naomi Watts is girlfriend of the shrink, frustrated artist, at-one-time-suicidal-patient-now-girlfriend (yes, another in my Naomi Watts series of movies)… Mouseketeer Gosling can see into the future maybe? …looks like some kind of psychological mindbender, but an annoying one … Gosling’s parents killed in a car crash apparently, Henry was driving…. ah, I don’t want to spoil it, but things become semi-clear at the end, or not really, the ending may further muddy what came before.

You’d really have to be in the mood to watch pretentious nonsense like this, but I wasn’t. The critics universally hated it… Rex said, “This is the kind of flop that makes even the popcorn taste lousy.“ Roger Moore called it a, “heartless puzzle [with] many cryptic clues that don't really lead to that finale.“ Bob Denerstein says it “plays like an impenetrable collage.“ Peter Rainer may have captured it best by calling it “a great big blurry mess.“

Love that necklace

Love that necklace

Movies Watched -- Strange Planet (1999)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

92 minute running time so a good length… but the old DVD I got had poor audio and no subtitles so I couldn’t understand much and watched it at 1.5-2x then 4x fast forward. Terrible soundtrack. Another movie in the Naomi Watts series of movies I’m watching. Odd to hear Naomi speaking her native Australian English. Apparently a movie about relationships … Naomi and her two pretty girlfriends and a parallel three guys … also features the bad guy from Matrix, Agent Smith … Naomi plays a good girl, I guess. They eventually all fall in love in the end … it was probably pretty bad from what I could see at 4x ffwd, just boring, conventional, trite stuff. A chick flick. Red rating.

Student Naomi

Student Naomi

Movies Watched -- Flirting (1992)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

99 minute running time so the perfect length. I really enjoyed this one. From Australia so subtitles, which my DVD thankfully had, are required to understand the English. I spent the whole movie thinking I was watching young Ben Mendelsohn, but the lead was another guy from Melbourne born in 1969 named Noah Taylor. I got this one because it’s another in my series of Naomi Watts movies … Naomi was born in 1968, Nicole Kidman in 1967 — features all these talented young Aussies when they were in their early 20s.

The female lead is a stunningly beautiful mulatto girl named Thandie Newton (born in England in 1972), the daughter of an actual Zimbabwean princess (I believe it) and an English father.

Teenage love story with an interracial spin, set in the boarding schools (one for girls, one for boys, separated by a lake) of 1965 Australia. Racism, honor, jealousy, friendship, and the usual boarding school horrors.

Sweet story, good writing, good acting. Jonathan Rosenbaum wrote: “a winner of many prizes in Australia, this lovely feature deserves them all,“ and I agree! Green rating.

Just flirting. (Young Naomi second from the right)

Just flirting. (Young Naomi second from the right)

Movies Watched -- Persons Unknown (1996)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

99 minute running time, which is the perfect length, but this was a terrible movie. Continuing my Naomi Watts series of movies … she’s good in it, but the story is so bad and the writing is so bad and the acting is so bad and the budget is so low — just awful, it wouldn’t even be shown as a made-for-TV movie, straight to the dumpster. Made in 1996, but it feels so out of date, like it’s 100 years old, not twenty. Red rating, avoid like the plague, unless you want to see Naomi tear up on demand in scene after scene.

Nerdy 70s glasses with matching VW bus .. shadow created the pencil mustache

Nerdy 70s glasses with matching VW bus .. shadow created the pencil mustache

Movies Watched -- Eastern Promises (2007)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

100 minute running time, so the perfect length. The second in my Naomi Watts series of movies. This one wasn’t terrible like The International, but it also wasn’t very good — it’s slickly made but the story is kind of lame. Stars Aragorn, Son of Arathorn, who plays a Russian mobster (with a twist, no spoilers). It’s based in London so Naomi gets to work on her British accent, and Aragorn speaks Russian at length, I wonder how well?

There’s one great fight scene in a bathhouse which Aragorn does completely nude. There’s always been a double standard when it comes to full frontal nudity in the movies, so I was glad to see Aragorn willing to put his uncircumcised dingle-dangle on display. The guy who plays Kirill, the main mobster’s son — an old guy with bright blue eyes, really eats up the role. It’s a pity that the lack of long winters in London has turned him into a homosexual. Orphan baby rides off into the night on an old Ural (without sidecar). Yellow rating.

Peter Bradshaw said it was “clunky and inauthentic,” and Tony Lane asks “Must [Cronenberg] cling to his schlocky reputation at all costs?“

Goodbye, Anna Ivanovna

Goodbye, Anna Ivanovna


Movies Watched -- The International (2009)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

119 minute running time so at least 20 to 30 minutes too long. I’m on a Naomi Watts kick, trying to watch every movie she has ever been in, which may be a mistake. I think she’s super talented and she looks just like the Australian version of one of my closest Chinese girlfriends from back in the day.

This movie was terrible. Clive Owen can’t act, but he has the designer stubble, cleft chin, and deep brown puppy dog eyes that got him some work for a time. Dumb story, badly written. No one is interested in criminal banks, even if they are led by Kai Proctor (god, I loved Banshee). One interesting thing they did was build a Guggenheim Museum set and shoot it up, but this was so idiotic, so incoherent, so pointless. Poor Naomi having to take roles like this with embarrassing expository dialogue. Lots of drone shots of fabulous locales, but just lousy, not thrilling, not interesting … a total waste of time. Red rating, avoid.

Edelstein called it a “slow road to nowhere,” and Rex (sorry, no link) said it “makes no sense at all.”

Teary on demand

Teary on demand


Movies Watched -- Green Book (2018)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

129 minute running time which means it was at least 30 minutes too long … I would cut out the punching the cop scene / Bobby Kennedy phone call and the YMCA rescue scene, since they were both no doubt fictionalized to give the movie a little more drama, but frankly it didn’t need it and moviemakers should always be looking to cut cut cut.

Stars Aragorn, son of Arathorn (who has put on 50 pounds in around 15 years), and Remy Danton, acting ever effete … never forget that Jimmy Breslin called Mayor Dinkins "a fancy shvartzer with a mustache."

This wasn’t badly made, but it was pretty heavy-handed (Barry Hertz called it “Racism for Dummies,” which made me laugh) and also didn’t spare the heartstring music, which annoyed me. Nice to see Linda Cardellini get some movie work (I loved her in Bloodline … well, I loved everything about Bloodline). The Negro Motorist Green Book itself does interest me, it was more than the black AAA guide, it was a directory to all the service providers who didn’t discriminate based on skin color, put together by a black postman and his network of other black postmen. That’s fascinating.

Solid yellow rating for sure but doesn’t get the coveted green go.

Dick Brody hated it and called it a “bland, regressive flip on ‘Driving Miss Daisy,’” which may seem overly harsh, but I see what he’s saying and largely agree with him.

Christ, I’m blacker than you are!

Christ, I’m blacker than you are!

Movies Watched -- Siberia (2018)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

97 minute running time, which is a good length, but this was a terrible, terrible movie. I got it out of a Red Box on a lark, and regret it. A Rotten Tomatoes score of 11% (which I learned after the fact) is generous.

An idiotic non-story, badly written. Multiple gratuitous sex scenes, completely unrealistic for a 51-year-old guy (even if he is fit), except for when he was performing Keanulingus. His Russian (actually Romanian) lover was sort of different because she had buck teeth and weird bones — I liked that.

Keanu still can’t act, everyone knows this, including Keanu, but he looks good with his stubble and no eyelashes (1/4 Chinese after all), and thankfully doesn’t open his mouth much, except to perform Keanulingus.

Blue diamonds, private jets, jacked-up Range Rovers, comical Russian gangsters … these are things that might appeal to a certain kind of teenage boy, but even he would throw up his hands about this one.

It’s a complete mystery to me how movies like this get made. Who funds them? Taxpayers in Manitoba? God almighty.

Rex hated it (“direction looks phoned in from a toll booth in the Ukraine … the screenplay is incomprehensible”) along with everyone else.

Burn the house down (with the movie producers trapped inside)

Burn the house down (with the movie producers trapped inside)

Movies Watched -- Battle of the Sexes (2017)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

121 minute running time so at least 20 to 30 minutes too long. I didn’t hate this one. The story of the World Tennis Association is interesting, though they whitewashed Bille Jean’s relationship with Marilyn (which ended badly). The girl who plays Billie Jean King is much more attractive than Billie Jean ever was, and Steve Carell is good as Mike Myers playing degenerate gambler Bobby Riggs. Good production values, slickly made. Also works in some pro-homosexual propaganda, as Hollywood likes to do these days. Not a green rating since it’s overly long, but a solid yellow for sure.

My favorite old fag and brilliant movie critic, Rex Reed, predictably loved it.

Dorky 70s Eyeglasses

Dorky 70s Eyeglasses

Movies Watched -- The Disaster Artist (2017)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

103 minute running time, which is a good length, but I found it sort of unbearable and watched it at 1.5x. Tells the story of a brain-damaged guy named Tommy Wiseau who, along with his friend Mark, made a movie called The Room, which is apparently so terrible that it became a cult classic — I’d never heard of it. It’s a sad story, an awful story really about this deranged guy and his efforts to write, direct, and star in a movie. Maybe Tommy got the money from a medical malpractice lawsuit? He spent $6 million apparently, and the people who helped make the movie were happy to take it, the lowlifes. Red rating, avoid.

Dick Brody also wasn’t thrilled.

I feel you.

I feel you.