cleighs's Movie Ratings - Rotten Tomatoes

Movie Ratings and Reviews

Akira
Akira(2020)

Different. Good if you want to ponder the apocalypse.

The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975
½

While it conveys a lot with it's meditative, scattered style, one must have a prior knowledge to get much out of it. Great footage and a glimpse into how awesome Sweden can be sometimes.

Battle for Brooklyn

A well-told story of a really potent political issue - the invocation of eminent domain where public subsidies are used to enrich developers (also including a stadium, real Dave Zirin territory here). The documentary stretches over many years, optimistic promises, the economic crash and the subsequent stand-still in construction, the non-existence of promised jobs and fare hikes due to the developer paying only 20% he promised the MAT. It's an I-told-you-so sort of loss, but one that's well documented and because it followed the entire process, showed that yes the pastor (who lives in New Jersey) and the self-styled grassroots representative of Brooklynites were both paid off by the developer, that the jobs never do appear and that Jay-Z may be on the developer's side but Rosie Perez, Steve Buscemi and John Turtorro are on the side of those fighting it, which is a good and kickass place to be.

Urbanized
Urbanized(2011)

While I would have made the movie different, I think it does a surprisingly good job of presenting the issues associated with urbanization. Within the first 10 minutes, after they get past some of the cool design and technical aspects of explaining cities and how more and more people are living in them, they get to slums and how many city dwellers are in fact slum dwellers. I liked the story in Chile about public transit, the one about a guy in Detroit starting a community garden and the pitched battle in Stuttgart over a development plan (that ended up costing the city historic trees that weren't even used for firewood in WWII and the conservative CDU party was booted out of office for the first time in 6 decades to be replaced by the Greens). I don't think it's a shortcoming that he allows, for instance, a suburbanite to defend sprawl. If an overly ideological movie that seeks to wrap everything up for you is going to not get seen anyway, I'd rather a competent, well-made, beautifully shot, smart movie that brings up the issues be made.

Joan Rivers: A Piece Of Work

I had no desire to see this, even though so many of my favorite podcasters raved about it, until I saw Dennis Perrin write that it made him sad. I have to agree. Comics see in her a woman who is unstoppable. But it also shows her to be shallow, obsessed with her standard of living and combating her age incapable of not talking about herself as a victim, constantly doing anything for money. Her sense of entitlement seems out of sync with the reality of show business, which is that just because you do something for x number of decades doesn't guarantee you anything, nor can you run on your trailblazer status forever. She is the kind of person you get when you give someone too much attention and too much money.

Extract
Extract(2009)

Not a good movie. Even if I hadn't entered it believing that I wouldn't care about the boss' problems (and I didn't), I didn't find it funny. What made 'Office Space' so amazing is one of the things that makes 'Extract' so underwhelming and unimpressive. I know Mike Judge and like him. I love King of the Hill and I even liked 'Idiocracy' *despite* the fact that the premise is offensive and elitist.

Doubt
Doubt(2008)
½

I liked it. I found it compelling and well acted.

Harlan County, U.S.A.
½

An amazing, inspiring, well-made film. The women are badasses. People have good instincts and understand how things work in the world just from their own experience living in it. I would be shocked if people in mining towns live much different than they were then, which resembles the "third world" - small shacks without in door plumbing. A story that needed to be told and captures the need for collective action, especially because though they won, their win wasn't what everyone would like it to have been.

Tabloid
Tabloid(2011)

This woman is positively fascinating and probably delusional. Very entertaining. Since there's so little footage it's really about story telling and you get to study her, but the lack of footage makes it at times visually not particularly interesting. But very very entertaining and wacky. A hoot.

Cave of Forgotten Dreams
½

Unfortunately did not see it in 3-D, so I fear that accounts for my being slightly bored at points. I love me some dorky documentaries, don't get me wrong, but sometimes 43 minutes IS enough. But Werner Herzog is delightfully insane and eccentric and the cave paintings are breath taking, even in 2-D.

Slither
Slither(2006)
½

A very unique mixture with its alien zombie-type hive-mind creatures and a very mixed tone. It's pretty lighthearted, but is sometimes frightening as well. My second viewing was more agreeable than the first.

Monster
Monster(2004)
½

I don't terribly mind the liberties the writer/director took with the life of Aileen Wuornos, but there's something quite sparse and uneven about the film. I think she finds a certain truth by changing the plot, but I think it makes it thinner and for such a long awaited movie about America's first female serial killer, it's a let down. It could have been a better, less true movie that missed the point about Wuornos and has no sympathy for her absolutely miserable life that would still be a much better film. But Theron is really very good in it.

Aileen Wuornos - The Selling of a Serial Killer
½

As much as this documentary is not about Aileen Wuornos' life or crimes, it does an amazing job of showing how crooked the cops were (never implicating Tyria as an accomplice, trying to sell her story, etc) and how everyone she came to trust betrayed her, either for money or just to save their own asses. After seeing Nick Broomfield's second documentary about Wuornos, I found myself thinking about how a sane person could possibly withstand her life. Her mother left, her father was a child molester and killed himself in prison, she had incestuous relations with her brother very early on in her life and then her dad blamed her for his death, she was kicked out at 14 for getting pregnant and she was a hitchhiking hooker most of her life. No one gave her support and no one seems to have cared as much or more about her than themselves. While Broomfield thought she was driven insane by a brutal rape and fell apart, resulting in the latter 6 murders, in the second documentary, this comes apart as well. I believe she killed each one of those men for nothing they did. But the fact that her hippie pothead infomercial lawyer was collecting fees for interviews and was clearly unprepared, even worse than her negligent public defender, and her adoptive mother was, as Broomfield told her in the film, deceptive and her wife, whom she was with for 5 years, turned her in and worked with the police (but not until the 7th murder had been committed) all wreaks. As much as her crimes shows what is heinous about society and the awful things humans are capable of, I think the way everyone around her and how those politicians who wanted her to die in their county jockied for her, is just as heinous. She was forgotten by society. If she had been taken in by any institution or person, things could have been different, but everyone turned their back on her and there are consequences. She showed enough signs of being dangerous before she killed anyone - her entire life was hell and no one deigned to recognize that this might end in tragedy.

Ball of Fire
Ball of Fire(1941)
½

What a delight! A Brackett/Wilder written screwball with two irresistible leads. I find these street-talkin' characters in such movies to be ridiculous, but really quite charming.

H.H. Holmes - America's First Serial Killer
½

Really terrible quality. And such good material.

The Brain That Wouldn't Die
½

Is this an exploitation film exposing the mad scientist character's and his society's sexism? Perhaps not. Exceptionally poor audio quality.

Metropolitan
Metropolitan(1990)
½

Tell me who is a Fourierist? Honestly. And he reads literary criticism instead of literature. I found it somewhat charming. Though I tire of movies about how hard it is to be rich.

Hour of the Wolf (Vargtimmen)
½

Good times! (would be a very inappropriate response to this movie.)

My Man Godfrey
½

A very interesting film to take from the 30s to today. While the main characters are all rich people, it does show one who doesn't want to live among those people, who finds them dull, petty and insufferable and would rather spend time with homeless people, who he finds to be noble and actual people. Also, its' ridiculous, hence "screwball."

The Social Network
½

It feels quite meta to review the Facebook movie on Facebook. It's well-made, everyone does a good job, it's kind of seemless and painless. But it didn't "do it for me."

The Bounty Hunter

Very very predictable. But I watched it pretty much assured that it would be bad, so that's really my fault.

La Chinoise
La Chinoise(1968)

It's almost impossible to watch this film without thinking of what happened a mere year later in France in 1968. First, a note on the actual watching experience: even a political film studies major found it to drag drag and feel at least two hours long and it feels somewhat like a thesis project and not a theatrical film because it is so obsessed with structure and so stagy. I can say that the film is difficult, but worth the challenge to watch. Godard's politics leak out by the end and upon reflection. If nothing else he says that terrorism is pointless and that these people are totally disconnected from the masses they say they care so much about. The only working class character is a woman who feels like a prop they use in their plays and is often seen in scenes doing domestic labor. Yet she is totally alienated from these people who are obsessed with the theory of making a revolution. I found her, played by Juliet Berto, to be the most fascinating and real character. If you think you'd be interested in a film that is beautifully framed and involves a lot of people walking around reading from the Little Red Book like a religious text, this might be just the movie for you! In many ways it is not that different from other New Wave era films. It's plot light and full of scenes where characters have long, abstract philosophical discussions that don't quite make sense. But rather than reflecting on universal life experiences, which makes so many New Wave films almost accessible, this one is about a particular kind of people radical people. Their passion is so great and their experience so limited that you almost pity them.

The Trotsky
The Trotsky(2010)
½

I can see people have various feelings about this film, especially radical activists and Trotskyists, in particular. I can see that the wacky plot strikes mayn as politically unserious, mocking and the whole thing perhaps as mildly to very embarrassing. What won me over about it was that the actors took it so deadly serious that they gave the characters flesh and blood. And actually, while it is still an absurd film, it is also a funny one and it's not anti-political necessarily.

Easy A
Easy A(2010)
½

I really liked this. I was confused when I saw it recommended to me. But I can say it was touching and very smart. It portrays intelligent women, teenagers who are in pain and all the older people in it are wonderful (Thomas Haden Church, Patricia Clarkson, Lisa Kudrow, Stanley Tucci, Fred Armisen, and Malcolm McDowell). I also like dumb comedies, but I really liked this. It surprised me.

Gangs of New York
½

I have a lot of feelings about this movie. The actors in it are fantastic (even Diaz didn't annoy me). Daniel Day-Lewis takes a crazy flamboyant murderer and thug and makes you think he's a human being. Someone decided it was a good idea to smash together a bunch of historical stuff and make it an American epic. I found it interesting how brutally it depicted lynchings, as well as racism in general, specifically toward the Irish (as basically "niggers," though people did draw lines, for instance in the church). The corruption was rather well depicted as well. But I also agree with others the final act is rather spectacular but not satisfying. Another thing that wasn't satisfying was that U2 song used at the end that's about "how we build America" or something equally nauseating. It's too long, for sure, but if it was inevitable that someone in this day has to spend that much money on a movie, I suppose it's not 100% wasted, only like 50%. The odd thing about really epic movies is that when they're done exactly right, you think the money is well used and when it falters a bit, it seems like a huge waste. But the chemistry of a Hollywood film is a hard thing to predict.

Fantastic Planet
½

Spectacularly interesting and well-told tale of successful revolt against much more powerful beings.

Machete
Machete(2010)
½

I actually really liked this. Wait for the last 20 minutes: the war of immigrants and their allies against racists, corrupt law enforcement and drug king pins working with them is priceless. If you can get past gratuitous nudity and violence (which is all in good fun, though the violence is spectacular, the nudity is tame and silly and only women, there's good stuff throughout though. And I think the politics are pretty good, actualy rather pronounced. Though I welcome opinions because taste and interpretation might loom especially large in assessments of this. Also, the number of significant female characters who aren't purely sexual in nature is rather impressive and in keeping with certain notions of exploitation films. Though the casting of Steven Seagal as Mexican strikes me as supremely strange. Luckily he's the least likable Mexican character. Also, there is throughout a real sense of itself and what it's doing that slightly decreases the enjoyment of cheesy/bad moments, but enough of taking itself seriously and doing it right that I think it does succeed in the end. Sort of one of those Scream type things - it's always commenting on the movies it's imitating but it's also a legitimate example of it.

The Infidel
The Infidel(2010)

I like Omid Djalili a lot.

Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson
½

Extremely long, but thorough and nuanced. The pain-staking detail and documentation makes the entire period and all the issues real and current. Also, amazing footage from 1910!

Mother of Tears: The Third Mother

Not all that bad. Will have to see all of them *as* a trilogy, as they were so far apart and I didn't see them as a trilogy, but separately. Certainly a let-down compared to something supposed to be ending the story started in 'Suspiria' and continued in 'Inferno,' but there's some good stuff there. It doesn't come together, but that doesn't bother me. Some totally awesome deaths, some nice pulling together of threads, but it was kind of easy at the end, the solution was so simple. Which could be amazing, but seemed like a cheat. Also, Udo Kier = awesome.

Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune

Wonderful tribute to a man of his times, a man of talent, absolutely shaped by the movements of the 1960s. A great time for people to get to know his music. I highly recommend (great soundtrack! ;)

The Graduate
The Graduate(1967)
½

Even though pop culture already gave away the movie, it's still great. And even though Dustin Hoffman is at youngest 28, I still want to believe he's 21. And Anne Bancroft is spectacular.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

For some reason, I believed I might read the books first. Well, that never happened, so instead I just waited a decade to see this movie. It was quite good.

Blindness
Blindness(2008)

I think it's a lesson that it's kind of impossible to depict a world without sight in a film - however it is a very interesting, compelling story that while it seems clearly geared toward showing the best and worst in human nature, it was a worthwhile experiment in dystopian filmmaking. I couldn't help comparing it to '28 Days Later,' a film I maintain is pure brilliance, but which also struggles with an ending. '28 Days Later' is more comfortable with a genre, one I think it enhances greatly, from which it can draw conventions to subvert or to adopt and a structure handed to it. I'm all for films that are kind of awkward and don't quite work. A favorite movie of mine is 'The Church', a movie I think fails in many ways and yet contains enough amazing, unique and powerful moments that I nonetheless cite it among my favorites, though it's not one of the best movies.

Hearts and Minds
½

This 1974 documentary is an exceptionally well-made and surprisingly wide-ranging, comprehensive look at the U.S.'s war on Vietnam, mainly in relation to how Americans thought about it. Weaving together shameless defenses, first-hand accounts of soldier supporters and soldier opponents, as well as spectactularly rare, natural footage from Saigon and other places in Vietnam - capturing bits and pieces of protest, official accounts from both sides and the reality of the lives of people in villages and the jungle. "Hearts and minds" makes one think it's about winning the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese, but the film cleverly turns that around, focusing instead on the hearts and minds of Americans at all levels of involvement, making it clear that the Vietnamese people were never won to our war mission. It's shocking how fresh and insightful it still is. It's also worth noting that many of the images and pieces of footage that have since become iconic are from this film. It won the Oscar for a reason, folks!

The Heir Apparent: Largo Winch

What is it about foreign action movies that make you want to like them more than American ones? It's fun to see a movie like this every once in a while to not have to think too hard, but have a bit of fun. The star, who is a French Jew,born in Germany of Lithuanian and Yemeni extract, plays a boy born in Yugoslavia, raised in Croatia and educated in Switzerland, who speaks American English with only a hint of an accent. It's all about a financial bigwig's charming, combative, drifting son who becomes his successor when he is killed - financial intrigue in Hong Kong where everyone in the movie speaks English, sometimes - with the diffusion of the theater especially - so accented it was difficult to understand and most of the other characters speak French.

Made in Dagenham
½

Really marvelous movie, highly recommended. A feel-good date movie depending on what makes you feel good and who you date. Sally Hawkins is great. The people I saw it with were pretty game for the whole thing and that made watching it better - a handful of clapping breaks were observed spontaneously and people really knew what was funny about the movie. English women have been benefiting from the Equal Pay Act, which was helped through by this strike, for 35 years. It is really always very striking to me how in successful capitalist countries things can be so much better or worse - it's not capitalism itself that mandates any particular kind of health care system or social safety net. There's something about courageous people taking a stand and making hard decisions that makes me cry, much more than personal tragedy, but I guess that's one insight into the emotional life of a revolutionary. I have to believe that there's something so utterly inspiring about the ability of regular people to do amazing things or I wouldn't be a radical at all and it so effects my life and it's very easy to let it rip during movies especially if you let movies take a hold on you and find it easier than crying about things in your own life.

The Other Guys

It's easy to say this movie is uneven, it doesn't know what it's getting at, etc. However, the part that interested me most is that it was surprisingly political. The entire credit sequence at the end was an education in the dangers of increased financialization, inequality and how widespread financial fraud is - flashing the stats on the increasing gap between CEO and worker pay and how corporate taxes were basically eviscerated for the firms that got bailed out. In essence, these cops actually went after white collar criminals, treating the cheating of people out of money as an actual crime. This is what I enjoyed the most about it. I wouldn't recommend someone who has no interest in it see it for political reasons, but if you like goofy comedies, you won't find it totally empty. Ultimately I think the movie fails - it's a hugely expensive movie with lots of talented people in it, but it kind of doesn't know what kind of movie it wants to be and has a very confused tone.

Soul Kitchen
Soul Kitchen(2010)

Extremely well-executed comedy from a director known for making intense, weighty films. Cool cast (esp. Moritz Bleibtreu and Birol ļæ 1/2nel). One of the last films Monica Bleibtreu ever did and she shines in a tiny role. A movie like any Shakespearean comedy: about romance, life choices, chance and absurd coincidences. Really fun. I also love the added thrust that the whitest, most ethnically German character (many are Greek- and Turkish-German or else not assholes) is the villain and he also gets his comeuppance. The villain is the blondest, slimiest financial idiot you can think of (he buys up peoples' property and knocks it down, a perfect villain for this political period). Marvelous.

Burn!
Burn!(1969)
½

Really visually arresting, politically smart and courageous look at imperialism in the Americas set in a fictional Portuguese colony in the Caribbean. It struck me as a bit slow and plodding, but the style is not one of lightning fast action, it's a film you must sit with and absorb in all its weight. Powerful in many ways, centered around a Smedley Butler type economic hitman character played by Marlon Brando and his relationship to fomenting and trying to limit the influence of anti-colonial struggles on the island, the financial and other instruments modern capitalist states have to occupy and invade countries and control them, etc. Wonderful.

Dead Like Me: Life After Death
½

Not great, not awful. I love the show so much and I get committed enough to be curious about the characters, but it was a rather pathetic follow-up. Almost get everyone on board, that helps.

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

IT was barely noticeable that I skipped over the second movie to this one. Honestly. It just seemed like bad writing or something.

These books and movies have horrifying social and sexual politics. Crazy that it's all about and by women. I told someone without seeing them that I wasn't into the idea of a vampire series about abstinence. I mean, what's the point? Vampires are sex and death. The first film was directed by a woman, the book written by a woman and the screenplay adapted by one and starred a woman - yet it seems a consummate blacklash series - a new school backlash idea where it is all so internalized, women can be in the most powerful creative positions (not the most powerful financial ones but no one tells the author what to write, for instance) and yet essentially be telling other women they ought to all fall in line or something. Pretty gross if you ask me. I'm Team Jacob because he asks her to give up nothing, he would never tell her to hold off on sex and frustrate her desires and he is the cultural, ethnic and racial underdog. Why she should choose basically colonists over indigenous, an old man who hates sex over a man her own age who shares her desires, etc. It's all absurd. I hate HATE that young women read/watch this crap or older women. No good messages for women or anything else. The movies are impressive to look at and I would think the books are quite entertaining, but what absolute tosh is contained within.

The Last Atomic Bomb
½

Not the best documentary in quality, but the politics struck me as way above average. Questioning the necessity of dropping the bomb (something Jon Stewart couldn't even do 65 years after the fact), pointing out the necessity of education and activism, focusing on Nagasaki (which is often treated as an afterthought as if it wasn't equally horrific what happened there) and at one point a Holocaust surivor and a Nagasaki bomb survivor spoke, which was an interesting connection - no coincidence that U.S. crimes are not usually taught in schools, but when we "liberate" people, it's a part of the curriculum (I spoke to a Holocaust survivor afterward, an activist colleague of mine and she agreed and pointed out that Jews in the U.S. put a lot of pressure behind making sure it's a part of the curriculum, so that made a difference, but when we're the perpetrators, it's a hard sell). I had never heard of the Press Code, so that was educational and makes complete sense. Covers a lot of aspects and rather well, not the best in construction and many images used were distorted beyond what they could handle, but it was good.

I Live in Fear (Ikimono no kiroku)

Very fascinating and different for Kurosawa. I have to admit that I was very distracted by trying to figure out when Toshiro Mifune's age, but I don't think he did a bad job. A movie that I think is drawn out for a reason to drive home the point, to explore the nature of fear and the fact that most people do push away these kinds of reactions to very real threats.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Of course the book is better, but the film ain't bad either. I know that David Fincher will really ruin it with Daniel Craig as Mikhael? I like that this guy is kind of regular, lots of pock marks and I thought some scar tissue from facial burns. Hollywood has no ideas of it's own, instead it steals good things from foreigners (how dare they try to embarass the biggest and baddest movie-making machine in the world!) and ruin them by adapting them with pretty people in all the roles where they don't need to be and shouldn't. Interesting as always to think through the adaptation process. All in all, the choices seemed good. A thing or two was added, much was sliced, stuff that just couldn't be in there and have a 2.5 hour version make any sense. The photographs and certain visuals were pretty grisly. It's after all a very cinematic book.

Also, seeing it on film made me realize that Lisbeth is totallly a "final girl," a very different kind, maybe more complicated and not the exact definition, but she fits the profile - she's a woman who is wronged and stops the killer (and for real, not like until they get a sequel together). I have also noticed that recently, such as in 'Twilight,' they have been trying to make internet browsing seem somehow exciting or sexy. You got to show it somehow, but they try to make it so slick, when in real life it's pretty much a person sitting and staring at a screen.

The Dinner Game (Le Dīner de cons)
½

Definitely better than 'Dinner for Schmucks.' It keeps it simple and doesn't confuse you by bringing Paul Rudd in, a financial jerk-hole looking for promotions and trying to let him be the good guy. It's confusing, Rudd's not much of a bad guy, but the character on whom his character is based is totally a terrible person. I can't imagine Thierry Lhermitte has the same kind of nice guy/pretty guy thing Rudd does. This is short, simple and very European of it - has no resolution. It's just farcical and has no resolution.

La demoiselle d'honneur (The Bridesmaid)

I watched this in honor of Chabrol dying last weekend. I watched it in about 5 pieces due to technical difficulties. Pretty messed up. Good acting. Definitely pretty standard for how French New Wave directors were directing at the end of their lives - subtly odd and disturbing, but no more stylistic experimentation or huge risks. They were great craftsmen, great talent, but everyone tends to get over their experimental phase and fall into line with the rest of the biz.

Twilight
Twilight(2008)
½

So I finally broke down and watched it. It didn't feel right deriding it from hearsay and critics, even trusted ones with good politics. What it has going for it: it's pretty engrossing and the aesthetic and visual stylistics are rather distinct and appealing. It didn't move me, but it got me thinking about vampires and how many ways we have found to use them - they can mean decadence or disease or any number of things. I sort of dig the whole Native American connection, making the myth more specific to the Americas, but I have a feeling it might turn in the second installment - kind of funny the whitest men of death against Native Americans who are actual animals. One thing that was interesting is how closely the vampire family was modeled on a human family. One thing I like about True Blood is the absence of distinct monogamous units as the standard (Edward's family is like three little couples and him) and the very different family type formations. I still have to agree that it's all about abstinence. I think in the latest season of True Blood we've been seeing more of these kinds of themes about restraint and one's nature, but that's been accompanied by an increased sense that humans have no excuse for having a violent, destructive nature. The best thing were some very pleasing visuals. I was also impressed it was written by, adapted by and directed by women. Even if it's arguably socially conservative, it's not terrible seeing women in those creative positions. Maybe if they did a war movie with no women in it, they'd get an Oscar!

Mystery Team
Mystery Team(2009)
½

My sense of humor doesn't quite mesh with theirs, but it's a really well-done, sweet, fun movie. Donald Glover is perfect in it and I see why he's so wonderful in Community.

Friday Night
Friday Night(2003)
½

Very enjoyable movie. Unlike 'Chocolat' it's not full of historical, social stuff. However, what I like most about Claire Denis is that she films people when they're not talking, when they're alone and then you can really see how odd all our various social interactions and institutions are. She's like a film-poet of the mundane, of sexual and social tension and anxiety, and especially of desire.

Erik the Viking

Weird, crazy, off-kilter movie (it also fails the Bechdel test, but that's no surprise).

Date Night
Date Night(2010)

Lots of laughs, nothing really sticks, but it's a nice romp.

Head-On
Head-On(2005)
½

Intense film about self-destruction and the unstoppable way events move forward. A real gem of a German film made by a Turkish-German who has made several very good films, Fatih Akin.

Wendy and Lucy

A quiet, pretty film about the indignities of poverty and lack of control.

Dinner for Schmucks

I found this to be hysterically funny and endearing. I will have to see the original and see if this one was in fact "defanged," but it was enjoyable and ridiculous. I could have waited to see if for $1, but my mom and brother and I had a good time, a good laugh. I can see when people say it has all kinds of talent, but never comes together and has no substance - I'm torn about it in evaluating it, but I laughed a lot and one reason is because the cast is so amazing: Kristen Schaal, Larry Wilmore, Jemaine Clement, Zach Galifiniakis (who has a much bigger role than he acknowledges in interviews), Paul Rudd (who helped rewrite Role Models with David Wain to make it an actually funny movie) and Steve Carrell. It is odd we are supposed to, in the end, think this executive guy is some great person, but it also shows how shallow and cruel such people are - it's the 'freaks' who end up being the better people.

Baby Mama
Baby Mama(2008)

Great comic ladies, not quite all there, but solid.

Observe and Report

Both effectively hilarious and effectively disturbing.

Zombieland
Zombieland(2009)
½

Quite good. Not sure where this comedy-horror stuff goes, it's no Shaun of the Dead, but it does do interesting things.

The Hangover
The Hangover(2009)
½

Huh, I could have sworn I reviewed this already. 100% solid comedy. Zac is briliant, Ed Helms, Ken Jeong is awesome. All goodness.

Waltz with Bashir
½

Wow. The kind of animation combined with powerful content that I only remember seeing in 'Barefoot Gen' about the Hiroshima bombing.

No One Knows About Persian Cats (Les Chats Persans)

Quite a good film. Lots of elements: humor, seriousness, heart, a combination of deep regard and criticism for certain aspects of Iranian society (specifically the post-Revolution aspects and like the majority of its population, most of the characters have known nothing else but the kind of moral codes and various restrictions that doesn't mix well with their international consciousness and just being teenagers). Very touching and I think it might surprise many Americans that Iran, despite the Islamic Revolution, has a really decent national cinema (I mean, they prevent many imported films, so their own film artists have developed) and I think people would be less likely to casually consider bombing them if they saw an Iranian film, one which makes people realize they're human beings with feelings, complex ideas about their own society and also that it's not like Saudi Arabia just because they're largely Muslim - this film also, if I'm not mistaken, has a prominent, respected Jewish character, contrary to the assumption that Iran will instigate the next Holocaust.
I especially liked the rap group, their song was intense and talked about class. Hip hop has definitely been an inspiration in many other places and even though American hip hop is full of commercial crap now, you can't erase Public Enemy and the like from the world and it doesn't surprise me that Iranians, like people in other places with huge contradictions and disparities of wealth, would use this particular form to express their frustration. I was not prepared for that ending, but I think it is about how tragic it is how many peoples' talents and passions are suppressed, which I would add is a necessary part of capitalism, but no one could argue it isn't worse in places where many kinds of music and other expression is actually banned. That's an extreme case and one that is especially tragic. You can also tell the director just wanted to make a movie that shows people all the different kinds of music that people make even thought they're not supposed to, the richness of culture lurking underneath, just about bursting out, that he truly loves music and it therefore breaks his heart that it's restricted.
When I left the theater, one lady was talking about the headscarves and I just thought, wow, American liberals cannot ever shut up or stop thinking about headscarves (not that they research or talk to actual women about it), even women, as they are so unwilling to consider that things could always be better but people aren't stoned to death in the streets of Tehran or anything like that. As if women in this country because they can wear mini-skirts are truly liberated and empowered. Like being allowed to show every stranger you see most of your skin is a sign of progress and not a symptom of objectification and a culture that sees women as worthless if they don't look or act a certain way.

Das Experiment (The Experiment)

Wow. A "what if" story about the Stanford Prison Experiment. What makes it horrifying is we know that in the right situation, we could be a victim or a perpetrator of torture just like them - we like to assure ourselves we'd do the right thing, but we can't guarantee we aren't violent cowards in the right situation. And I think it makes a difference that these are white people - it's more affecting, a la MIA's video "Born Free" with red heads - if it was Arabs or Muslims, they wouldn't quite be human, they'd be "terrorists." While it came out before 9/11, if an American remake happens, it could be a perfect allegory. Even though it came out in Germany before 9/11, he came out elsewhere afterward and it will from 2004 or so onward be thought of in relation to Abu Ghraid, I believe. And it doesn't surprise me it's German-made, as they've been cinematically very introspective about their own painful, dark history and this very director directed The Downfall, a recently critically acclaimed film about Hitler. In the end though there is nothing specifically German about this, which is why it's based on an American experiment, but that it's a German book and a film and there is already an American film remake says something.

What if it was a legit prison set up? What if they hadn't stopped at 6 days? What if the experimenters were no longer in charge? A powerful psychological thriller about social psychology. Unlike some other reviewers I don't think it says much about "human nature" as much about power and the social power of social situations to make normal people into monsters. The man who ran the experiment, Philip Zimbardo, himself will tell you that roles and social circumstances are what makes the "Lucifer effect," not innate qualities - instead what brings out those qualities, encourages them. The film doesn't actually say that people are naturally violent, only that in particular circumstances they can become that way. I find it fascinating that people could watch this and truly believe that, what they've written in their reviews - oh, so profound, man's "violent nature," blah blah blah. They seem to miss the point.

One thing I couldn't wrap my head around was that the main character Tarek Fahd is so clearly meant to be a Turk (the story on which the film is based was written by a German-Italian writer) and Moritz Bleibtreu, as amazing as he is and with a slightly dark complexion, is most certainly not a Turk. Ethnicity was never mentioned once.

Gun Crazy (Deadly Is the Female)
½

An awesome noir, showing law-breaking and violence as sexy and exciting. Goes off in all kinds of interesting, unexpected directions. A real treasure of cinematography and one of those old movies, many of them melodramas, films like Leave Her to Heaven and Marnie, that are just utterly f'ed up.

Yes Man
Yes Man(2008)
½

I do find Jim Carrey's movies to be all very similar, though I also think he's a good actor. However as an avoidant, lonely person I did appreciate this in a way that has nothing to do with the quality of the film.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas)
½

I found that this film was extremely well-made and honestly did show us an aspect of the Holocaust that is new and interesting. Every time you see a fine film about this dreadful war and its dreadful consequences, you realize that there really is no limit to how many stories and aspects to what happened, in particular from 1942 to 1945. It's the most contemporary and the most first-world human catastrophe we have. Others seem more comprehensible and I don't appreciate at all how the Holocaust is taken out of history and out of context. This movie does that a bit, but I think it's a rather good morality tale: don't do anything to other people you wouldn't want done to your own children.

Hot Tub Time Machine
½

Like a lot of comedies lately, this one is equal parts: funny, unlikely, dude-centric, crude and sentimental. I definitely see Cusack's attraction to it (he was some kind of producer, which means he sunk money into it) and his willingness to skewer but also admire the 80s. One thing I appreciated was the wackiness and the cast, I mean, Crispin Glover and huge, excellent roles for Craig Robinson and Rob Corddry - good ideas. Yes, it's certainly "Back to the Future mixed with The Hangover." Fun, worth seeing for 99 cents.

Der Baader Meinhof Komplex (The Baader Meinhof Complex)
½

Fascinating look at the infamous German terrorists, presenting a portrait of the time period and a time line of the events having to do with them. Interesting to try to figure out exactly what it was trying to say and what it wants us to think of them. I have a feeling someone who is not sympathetic to their stated principles (while rolling my eyes about their methods and attitude) does give me a slightly different interpretation. It seems all a huge strategic failure, though they succeeded very much in making people afraid of them and sympathize with their aims and the like. Quite an experiment. A very ambitious film about a topic that must still be painful for some. I especially liked how context was provided with strikes and mass marches and tanks rolling in to crush demonstrations in Mexico, the US, Czechoslovakia, France, etc. It's very long and feels sometimes like just some action movie, but I think it really cares about the subject and respects the characters a great deal, also great performances. I saw posters for it the one time I was in Munich for a month (the sum total of my traveling experience) and they were rolling out the publicity machine for it being the Oscar submission for Germany. And I love Moritz Bleibtreu, he's kind of the best.

Here and There
½

I liked this. It was a pleasurable viewing experience. Somewhat like an early Jim Jarmusch film. Great acting.

All About Steve
½

You gotta love she won a Razzie for worst actress and the next night accepted the Oscar for Best Actress. Somewhat sweet - I like that the way the happy ending isn't a coupling. However, yes, it is a complete movie disaster - it is a almost always unsettling in tone and execution. Ken Jeong is funny, there are some moments, but not enough to hold it together. Thus - Razzie-award-winning. Also Sandy was a total class act accepting hers and actually having a sense of humor about it, way better than the MTV Movie Award acceptance.

Jenin, Jenin
Jenin, Jenin(2002)
½

Absolutely heartbreaking document of the 2002 IDF bombing of the Jenin refugee camp (the so-called "Battle of Jenin" or Jenin massacre) - in which no single building was left standing in a camp of 15,000 residents. Some moments: children explaining that a disabled man comes to the cemetery every day because his disabled friend was killed, the children said he was very sad. An old man who was shot in the hand and foot. One man describing how they were all ordered to strip naked to look for weapons, not for humiliation. One man's political and social commentary held the movie together. A young girl, maybe 8-10 years old, also said some extraordinary things about how IDF soldiers are cowards - she let me know that Palestinian children must be the saddest children on the planet - not because what they suffer day-to-day is absolutely the worst condition of any children at any given time, but because for decades they have been abandoned by much of the world and their hopes for a normal life, for peace and security, are so slim - all they see everywhere are confirmations that hope is as illusory as any dream. It makes perfect sense little boys throw stones at tanks - it's way of declaring their humanity, saying we exist and will continue to exist even if you have tanks paid for by the American empire. A very moving description of merely one massacre of Palestinians by the world's "most moral army."

Netherbeast Incorporated

A sort of mixed bag - great talent, original idea, doesn't quite hold its own, but it's interesting how vampirism and corporate white-color work is brought together in the context of a funny movie, like an 'Office Space' with a crazy backstory. Dude, the star is the original Blues Clues guy. Lots of great elements, definitely a worthy undertaking. Definitely would be worth looking at in the context of a wave of comedy-horror films.

Defamation
Defamation(2009)

Thought-provoking indeed. Basically, Yoav Shamir, who has a pleasant, almost sing-songy way of speaking English, approached the topic of anti-Semitism in this day in age as being an integral part of a Jewish identity, especially in Israel, as a force of nature, as a constant buzz - starting with the fact that he had never actually experienced it himself! One thing I found really interesting to see played out was when the Israeli "kids" (high school kids) went to Poland to visit Holocaust sites, memorials and museums and one in particular was so convinced that Poles would be anti-Semitic that a question about where she was from (which she actually couldn't understand) got embellished by her and her friend to the point that attributed to this man was calling bitches and donkeys because they were from Israel. While I could accept the everyone-is-an-anti-Semite argument from a Holocaust survivor, it seems demented coming from such young people. Just like Norm Finkelstein compared his upbringing where everything was compared to Auschwitz, everyone calls everyone else a Nazi in Israel. A fascinating phenomenon. I was very impressed with how he let people speak for themselves without shying away from asking certain questions - of the left critics and the objects of their criticism. Even when some Black residents of a "mixed" Black and Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn slipped into anti-Semitic stereotypes, I felt that the whole problem there was segregation and a lack of understanding - there seemed to be no malice, just bewilderment and I am inclined to believe that clashes between Jews and Blacks do not happen all that often and agree with that one rabbi that it's absurd to take any conflict that involves a Jew and call it anti-Semitism. Uri Avnery said you'd have to use a microscope to find anti-Semitism in the U.S., where Jews have never had it so good. Norm Finkelstein pointed out that when there is so much hunger, starvation, humiliation, war, death, destruction - when all this exists, it is offensive to go on the hunt to find anti-Semitism as if it is more than usually ignorance, especially in the US - but religious Jews in Moscow seemed to offended at the idea brought from Israel by Shamir that people are so anti-Semitic in Russia - one interesting idea was that secular Jews cling to anti-Semitism and see it as a part of their identity, whereas religious Jews aren't all that bothered by it, they're too busy practicing Judaism. The one tour guide in Poland said some interesting things about Israeli culture emphasizing death so much, living in that feeling so much that they can't be a normal people. Two "kids" spoke about having such a high threshold for suffering (comparing everything to the Holocaust, the most incomprehensibly cruel event in modern history) and that when they see Arab homes demolished on TV it seems like nothing compared to gas chambers, etc. Really interesting insights. In the end, it only benefits the State of Israel for their young people to be imbued with a sense that the entire world is populated by anti-Semites, to routinely bathe in the blood of the Holocaust - it doesn't benefit Israelis to define themselves as victims. It must be crippling for some and there are plenty of cultural-political criticisms that say it has a culturally deadening effect on Israeli society. It's tragic that people so earnestly believe that everyone is out to get them; the fear is as real as a white woman thinking any Black man she meets on the street at night will rape her, but it's every bit as paranoid and unreasonable. One tenet of Zionism is that anti-Semitism will always exist and that Jews can never assimilate, which like the disturbing idea about patriarchy that men have always and will (presumably) always oppress women has no hope, no future in it. A number of the people in the film, many religious Jews and Israelis, expresses this sentiment in merely the title of his book, The Holocaust Is Over: We Must Rise From its Ashes. That it is detrimental to Israelis to see Nazis everywhere and a Holocaust always on the way - it can keep people in Israel (not those thousands of migrants moving to Germany, Poland and elsewhere), but it has to be harmful.

Get Him to the Greek

Extremely funny, a bit uneven, that combination of crudeness and heart that we've come to expect from Judd Apatow - plus Paul f'ing Krugman makes a small appearance in it!?!? Also odd is that it's actually a spin-off of 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall' by taking Aldous Snow, the insufferable companion of the title character, and making him an actual person. Odd how that worked out, but it wasn't really advertised that way - there was just a reminder when Sarah Marshall/Kristen Bell appeared on the screen.

Jennifer's Body
½

Still not sure exactly how I feel about this movie. Very interesting, especially from a horror film studies point of view. I think the black comedy aspects mostly fell flat, which was unfortunate, because it seemed like things just didn't quite come together - not that the elements just weren't there. I was actually really surprised - I thought, well a vampire hot girl killing boys. But I didn't see the succubus thing, which is a really interesting angle. Also, I didn't think that the classic avenger character (the one who is tortured by the serial killer/monster and finally destroys them, especially the final girl who is chased by the killer and kills the killer on behalf of the other especially female victims) would be herself female - and to complicate that becomes something of a monster herself! I am mostly positive about this, but very aware of its limitations and open to serious critiques that go beyond taste and feelings. And rather than thinking the movie was an excuse to have the entire audience worship Megan Fox's body, I found I respected that she did this rather than a traditional ditz character who could show off their body without challenging any kind of ideas about gender and victimhood.

The Great New Wonderful

I quote another Flixter user: "Films that are completely unpredictable without being self-indulgent are rare these days." Great actors, including a number of comic actors and comedians - which makes me happy, they often excellent actors. I thought the 9/11 stuff wasn't bothersome, preachy or any of the things that recalling 9/11 way too often is. Great character studies.

Inglourious Basterds
½

I was determined not to like this and surprised myself. While the length and grandeur may point to self-indulgence on Tarantino's part, I found this actually rather restrained for him. I thought he respected the story and characters in a way that made me agree with Dennis Perrin that this is a 'mature' film for him. Tarantino's trademark over-the-top-ness was more or less restricted to effectiveness - who woulda thunk it? Many directors, especially those tiny handful that Americans actually know, get really fancy for no reason. But I found this film well-constructed and skillfully executed. It wasn't as flippant as many of the commercials relying on Brad Pitt's character would lead one to believe. Also, if you are a film nerd and have a chance, please watch the extra of the 'Nation's Pride.' It's only 6 minutes long and still has two direct allusions to 'The Battleship Potempkin' Odessa steps sequence, clearly put there just for fun, as I don't remember either appearing in the film itself and even if they did, they would only be there for film students.

Idiocracy
Idiocracy(2006)
½

Extremely problematic premise, but funny follow-through.

Leap Year
Leap Year(2010)
½

Pretty well-trod territory, but with a gorgeous Brit (taking a job away from an Irishman) and an even more gorgeous landscape. And Adam Scott got to be the wrong guy, how fun. I see why the Irish Film Commission sunk money into this, it's like a 90 minute tourism commercial. But I saw 'Daybreakers' the same night and it's a little less clear why Australia sunk money into that one.

District 9
District 9(2009)
½

Amazing. Some found it thrilling, I found it unbelievably depressing.

Shutter Island

I'm sort of glad that at least I saw it on the big screen, which considering how over-indulgent it is in a "filmy" kind of way, it worked out. On the small screen, it's easier to size up a movie, I find myself easily confused by spectacular films that aren't really that good when I see them in the theater. One thing I definitely liked was the moral ambiguity added to the Allied liberation of the Nazi concentration camps - questioning how morally superior the 'good guys' really were - and I think this is not an historical question, but can still apply to soldiers coming back now. He clearly had post traumatic stress disorder. The dream sequences were a bit much. The entire concept of the film was not at all original, but I loved the period aspect. It certainly isn't totally inadequate when it comes to showing insanity, it's just kind of an old concept done up in a stylish way. Not entirely impressed, but I did enjoy it. I would have liked it more if it came in at about 100 or 110 minutes instead.

He's Just Not That Into You
½

Not terrible as far as these go - even most 'different' romantic comedies fall into distinct categories or follow distinct patterns. I find the comparison to 'Sex and the City' unwarranted, but it is not quite to the level of ''Love Actually,'thought it does try to cover a gamut of people in different kinds of situations and not everyone ends up coupled at the end, just in the right state for them at that moment. As always, it's not feminist or ground-breaking, but it's also not god-awful. It spends a lot of time with the characters and there are interesting points with interviews on subjects from non-characters and the scenario between Ginnifer Goodwin and Justin Long is sweet and believable. I think it was appropriate for it to focus on so many people, but that also helped to forestall boredom and questioning of how realistic any given situation was.

Trick 'r Treat

Exceptionally good cast, extremely interesting structure - very good. Good to know BSol doesn't lie.

The Men Who Stare at Goats
½

As a film it never really comes together or falls flat, narratively, tone-wise, comedically and politically it's very light-weight. But watching things with good people make all the difference and can suppress the snob in you until you get home and write a review on Facebook.

The Invention of Lying
½

I've avoided seeing many of his recent movies for fear I would not like them. This is one of those movies that has all the right ingredients but never quite comes together. It's creative, well-written and has an objectively pretty great cast.

Sherlock Holmes
½

An explosion-filled shame

The Ugly Truth
½

Post-feminism oozing from every pore

The Hurt Locker
½

I didn't hate it as much as I thought I might, but that's only because it is indeed well-made But the content is virtually non-existent and if it bases itself on being 'realistic' and isn't, then it should go ahead and be about something else. Politics is not what it's about and depoliticizing a hugely unpopular war is kind of impressive, actually. I almost watched the behind-the-scenes feature until I heard Kathryn Bigelow waxing philosophical/political/historical about what makes the Iraq War different from past wars - the IED. Better answer than it's different because it's illegal, immoral and begun upon false pretenses, but equally hollow. I was overwhelmed with this sense that war is natural, that all sides suffer, that it just happens and isn't that a shame, but it's natural like disease and death and just as much a tragedy. But no blame, no disproportionate suffering, no political implications, just killing. There are plenty of movies that look at what war does to soldiers, how it destroys the people who do the fighting, not just the people who die on either side. This one is all style, little substance and plenty of liberals declare it the very best movie about the Iraq War - the best one also happens to be consciously, self-declared apolitical (which just means it accepts certain conservative notions, even though the majority of people are against the war).

In the Loop
In the Loop(2009)
½

An apolitical movie about politics. It's not a satire and it bears no resemblance to 'Dr. Strangelove.' The moment depicted is worthy of such a satirical treatment, but this is not it.

Kick-Ass
Kick-Ass(2010)

I have real difficulty processing this film, which as someone who seriously considered being a film scholar means something. I think it's easier to see certain films on the small screen because I've found that sometimes seeing spectacular films in the theater make me somewhat blind to the serious problems lurking beneath (like the Dark Knight, which is a film like this one with many problems and many complicating factors). The fact that I *feel* like there's something seriously wrong with this movie makes me take pause. First of all, the ad campaign is deceptive, overemphasizing comic aspects, when it's an action movie with slightly more comic relief than most. The Tarantino aspects made me dislike it, even though it was stylish and impressive, it felt very shallow because of some of this and some of the cheap shocks. There were things about it that were almost unambiguously awesome, but it was also disturbing - not just for what it showed, but the manner in which it showed it. If it's a satire, I'd like to hear the argument for that - it's not that I'm unwilling to accept that it is satirical, but that if it is, I'm not sure that's coming across, in which case the satire would be a failure. I certainly would love for this to be true: it "succeeds as a violent fantasy about our perilous and fretful times, where regular citizens feel compelled to take action against a social order rotting from within" (Peter Howell, Toronto Star).

It's most assuredly a film for genre scholars to discuss, but even there it seems like it fails to truly subvert the generic conventions and becomes indistinguishable from any other superhero film (at least the final portion). The one thing that seemed really interesting was that with new superheroes, not ones we are already familiar with, I think it does show how disturbing the whole vigilante thing is, in a way that The Dark Knight can't because people go in believing Batman is a good guy and therefore think that he 'slips' into being something like a bad guy, but is not truly a bad guy. There's a certain way in which this film reveals how psychotic the premise of the superhero film is, how utterly upsetting it would be if 'good guys' really slaughtered the 'bad guys' - yet it does this in the context of letting them do that and celebrating it.

I have mostly negative feelings about Hit-Girl and find her character generally pretty unappealing and upsetting, especially because her wack-job dad has stolen from her any semblance of childhood and we're supposed to be happy with a pint-sized killer. The idea that it's somehow feminist to have an 11-year-old be capable of killing a dozen armed guards strikes me as going too far and while I have no problem with cursing, I found her cursing to be not actually funny or shocking, which was almost entirely the reasons or having her say such words as c*nt, which is not a word that I feel the public must be primed to accept.

While watching the film, I was furrowing my brow, but it's true I generally enjoyed it.

CSA: The Confederate States of America
½

Definitely interesting and thought-provoking, especially the part at the end which clarifies what was actually true (product names, historical figures, concepts). Not surprised Spike Lee was involved, especially after 'Bamboozled.' I don't think it quite works, but of course once something HAS happened, it always seemed inevitable it would - like the ending of slavery, voting rights, etc. It only seems impossible until it happens, and it's interesting to think how society would be different, especially considering how proud people are of the confederacy. Like the North was describe din the film, it is this 'Well they lost their way' kind of thing going on with the Confederacy too. But I still don't think the US (or CS) would be the world's most powerful empire with a slave economy - as the man said at the end it, would hinder the economy, which is the basis on which the empire sits. But really puts you in the mindset of this strand of imperialism and racism in an admirable way, but doesn't quite come together as a film.

Rope
Rope(1948)
½

They never mention that the historic men were gay and apparently there's an academic paper out there that looks for the gayness and finds it in the way the cut aways (to hide the end of the shot, as there are only 8 or 9 shots) are often on men's backsides.

Sin City
Sin City(2005)

I soooo don't get why everybody loves this movie. Except for the general look of the film, there was not a thing original or interesting about it. Why is it that in order for women to be badasses in these movies, they also have to look like high-class hookers? True, they are hookers in the film, but I found it to be basicall: stylized violence + sexism + all story/no characters, which in my book equals = sucks. Why everybody loves Rodriquez and Tarantino, I will never understand. I understand Tarantino more, but they are the most trashy, sexist, violence-obsessed, derivative pieces of shit I've ever seen. That is their only true distinction.

Sarah Silverman: Jesus Is Magic

I like this from another user: "Sarah Silverman: Who cares?"

Daybreakers
Daybreakers(2010)

Talk about resource depletion! Not sure how I feel about it, but interesting stab at capitalism, coupled with attention to resources and the running out of them. Also, don't ever let anyone tell you blood is not an issue of class ;)

Avatar
Avatar(2009)

I saw this in I-MAX and it was admittedly spectacular and the word was the politics are good. Having been a film studies major, I can say there are two extremes in left-wing film criticism: the culture industry approach that says all entertainment is toxic ideological sludge and another that says everything is secretly subversive. I think both of these approaches are inconsistent with interpreting things that reach so many millions in so many formats in a complex society, especially one with such mixed consciousness. I found that some elements of the politics were indeed not very progressive at all, though I felt vindicated sometimes also. For instance, the 'noble savage' idea, that these people were like Native Americans in a way that is almost mocking in tone. On the other hand, the way the military is portrayed, especially the head honcho, is very helpful, as is a view from the other side of the rifle and the acknowledgment that people have a right to resist. At this point I am very ambivalent to this film, but there's enough good things and the 3-D experience was pretty awesome.

Happy-Go-Lucky
½

She certainly grows on you and like any good slice-of-life, character-driven movie, it shows her in all kinds of interesting situations, like with a racist driving instructor and talking with a homeless man who has mental problems. I found it engrossing and charming, Mike Leigh just has a way with characters, though I wouldn't necessarily say it's strength is in it's comedy.

Funny People
Funny People(2009)
½

Great supporting cast and heartfelt vulgarity the way only Judd Apatow can present it.

The Messenger

Very powerful, lets you read your own political ideas into the wars (but does seem to tip against them).

Somers Town
Somers Town(2009)
½

Pretty goddamned adorable. Even uninformed people know the Muslims are crawling all over Europe, but it takes a bit more information to know that England has a lot of Polish immigrants right now and that England isn't populated by royalty and rich people.

Religulous
Religulous(2008)
½

I think there is a serious ethical issue related to comedy documentary that has yet to be dealt with, but presents itself in Borat and even in the Daily Show. This documentary is exactly what I expected. It was sometimes amusing, sometimes clever, but generally disappointing. People who approach religion in this way, philosophically, find all other explanations insufficient. He pretends to care about history and material reality, but ultimately goes the route of hardcore Atheists like Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins. I'm an Atheist and I even found the way he portrayed religious people as being not particularly helpful to understanding why people are religious. He seems to with one breath say he has the luxury of agnosticism and in the next say all wars are because people believe in religions - I don't get his politically ignorant way of approaching religion and having it explain politics. I found Maher to be particularly dismissive of Muslims, choosing to show Muslims engaged in violence and only briefly flashed an IRA gunman once, never showing any other Christians or Jews (since he only focused on the big three) engaged in violence. When all the Muslims he was talking to said politics were why people are terrorists, he wrote them off and cut off a man who seemed to be making the point that a fatwah is a man-made pronouncement and not something all Muslims must believe in - I can only assume. He understands this intuitively about Christians and Jews, but puts more pressure on Muslims because he is a typical liberal imperialist at his core and uses his knowledge of the religions as a substitute for his knowledge of history and politics. This movie says that Islam is a particularly violent religion and barely challenges or mocks the Danish MP who says so. And Maher made the anti-Zionist Jew look like an idiot and therefore revealed his soft, liberal Zionism (which leads to real, hard death and misery) by saying that Israel was established for the safety of the Jews - his ignorance of Zionism becomes a test case of his inability to apply doubt and skepticism to all accepted concepts equally. Also, he showed this anti-Zionist Jew met with Ahmadinejad, basically calling this orthodox Jew self-hating for a being an anti-Zionist and continuing this liberal campaign against Ahmadinejad.

The Baker
The Baker(2007)

I don't know what one might call it, but this is very much like a lot of other British comedies that deal with serious topics: layoffs, bigotry, etc, and end up kind of feel-good, cute comedies where everybody comes together to support each other.

Potomok Chingis-Khana (Storm over Asia) (The Heir to Genghis Khan)
½

Beautiful and one of the oldest films and one of the few Soviet films I've seen featuring non-"Great Russians" (European-looking Orthodox).

Capitalism: A Love Story

Overall, this was a fantastic movie and pulled no punches in terms of criticizing the economic system that is capitalism. I personally did not know about these death insurance plans by employers. My complaints mostly surround the way he is unable to coherently connect this critique with political action, since he shows Obama voters in ecstasy at his win and doesn't criticize him directly. He's a lesser-evilist to the core even though he was amazing at criticizing Clinton. At the end, it seemed his solution was to reanimate FDR, who was such a great guy that his cabinet members around the world writing the constitutions of countries we conquered in WWII, which was taken as if it was a good thing, rather than an imperial act. Moore is emblematic of the confusion of the broad Left in the US about the two-party system and there is a disconnect which is very common between believing certain things and yet still supporting the Democrats, even if they in no way seem to support those things. It's a movie well worth seeing and I am glad millions of people will see it. It's typical in that it's funny, clever and he meets a lot of security guards who aren't game, but it's very important that it come out now, I think.

White Light/Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
½

On the technical and humanist fronts, this film hits it out of the park. It's exceptionally moving. However, I was a bit disappointed by how the event was framed by the terms determined by the United States military. I don't expect your average HBO documentary to answer the questions and conclude that Truman was a war criminal or that it was an inherently racist act because an A bomb would NEVER have been dropped on white Europeans. I don't find footage of Truman or accounts of technicians, scientists and military personnel in establishing the 'Why' of the bomb to be sufficient. Clearly, that's not the focus of the documentary, but it's effectiveness is watered down by such a powerful and clear-eyed view of the human cost without exploring how it was allowed to happen. One of the worst things about war and war-time documentaries is the tendency to present it all as natural. War just happens, like death just happens. Even if no one is pinned with the blame, war doesn't just happen. To its victims, war does just happen, but this naturalization is really dangerous, especially because I'm fairly certain that this view of war is directed almost exclusively toward Westerners, people whose governments start and wage wars. This oversight or lack of courage contributes to an ability of the citizens of the "free" world being able to sympathize with the victims of our militaries, while feeling that our countries are guiltless in causing suffering. It's an ideological coup, combining personal sentiment with political passivity and establishment thinking.

Year One
Year One(2009)

I actually really liked this. Don't ask me why, but the cast definitely made me think better of it than I would otherwise. As much as the film didn't really quite come together, it didn't do a terrible job of trying to pull together interesting and cinematic events, people and places. I don't know, I wouldn't defend it against heavy criticism, but I liked it and I'm a sucker for bad comedies sometimes just because I love the people and I love goofiness.

Bruno
Bruno(2009)

Pretty underwhelming. I thought the same thing after I saw the last one - the characters just work better in a TV program format. Not one of his characters can sustain a single movie. As much as he was able to tell us something about homophobia, most people didn't like him because he was obnoxious, not because he was gay. The wrestling event was pretty crazy. Women shouting "faggot" blows my mind and in interviews he said he never felt more fear for his own safety than in front of that crowd. Also, I saw it with my mom and two other women (at the dollar theater), who were not there when the credits started rolling and may have left very early, so the sociological experiment that is watching the movie was lost on my own experience.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
½

Very funny, concentrates a lot in several extended scenes and collections of scenes. It's been so long since I read the book, I only noticed that the last scene in the book was missing and dealt with otherwise.

Slingshot Hip Hop

A must-see. I saw this on Sundance on DocDay and interestingly it came after a documentary I didn't watch about the kipputzim system?!? Wonderful documentary. I love that they tell us they have no use for our pity, only our solidarity. Hip hop is such a perfect fit.

Drag Me to Hell
½

I unfortunately saw this with a crowd of low income folks such as myself but they were all pretty set on discussing various aspects of the film and plot during the showing (but hey, it was released a while back and I did only pay 99 cents to see it), plus I missed at least 5 minutes at the beginning. I think it's just brave to make supernatural horror films when they seem to have no future. People at various times laughed (though I don't doubt that was intended, whereas they didn't think so) and said how stupid or silly things were. Then again, they're the ones who went into the movie. It's like the fact that everyone thinks commercials and advertisements work on OTHER people and never themselves. Fun social psychology. I think the choice of Justin Long was great and I really liked the seer, but I have a thing for hairy brown guys, what can I say? (I blame it on the "War on Terror"!) Back to the movie. Well, I really appreciated the humor thrown in and since 'Suspiria' is one of the most amazing things I've ever seen and it has a really dumb witch plot, I don't hold a supernatural plot against any film on principle. This is no 'Suspiria' but the handling of mood was great and she was neither helpless nor in the end saved, which is sort of bold. I think that in the end her not being saved really lended legitimacy to the entire supernatural basis of the plot even though it's not always clear exactly how seriously we're supposed to take it. Plus, she denied her own fault in denying a woman her house. So, it was kind of hard to feel sorry for her.

Monty Python's The Meaning of Life

Many a person has seen this before, but I highly recommend it in light of our financial kerfuffle, though mostly just the first sketch, which is before the "feature" presentation. It's wonderfully absurd and aside from what seems to be an anti-Communist jab thrown in at the very closing of the sketch, I really appreciate the vision of old bank workers taking off in their building as a ship and attacking Wall Street!

X-Men Origins - Wolverine
½

It wasn't terrible. Too much action and I still couldn't figure out how and why Wolverine was in the Civil War and the World Wars, there's no explanation as to why he'd be immortal (for instance, when did he stop aging?). A fair bit of humor in it, especially with Ryan Reynolds' character. But their military thug squad was also never placed. Why did it take Logan so many wars to get sick of it? Surely he witnessed and participated in atrocities before.

Run Fatboy Run
½

In the grand scheme of movies like this, it doesn't get much better. Simon Pegg is amazing and Dylan Moran is appropriately well-featured being hysterical.

I Know Where I'm Going!

I like that at least Pressburger and Powell they tell you straight up that it's going to be a fairy tale.

Hunger
Hunger(2008)

Stark, intense, unforgettable. A masterful use of silence, long takes (uncut shots) and a story held together by immersion in the sights and sounds of prison torture. Michael Fassbender was amazing and had at least 5 people looking after his health so he wouldn't die. I can't believe Bobby Sands was on hunger strike for 66 days - and 9 other people showed that same commitment. No political sermon, no sentimentalizing or moralizing, just the images and sounds.

Trasgredire (Cheeky) (Transgressions)
½

Definitely the lightest Tinto Brass film I've seen so far. Pretty ridiculous. And what's up with the jealous boyfriend who has puritanical expectations of his girlfriend who wears short skirts without underwear and little tops without a bra. Exactly what does he expect of her? Silly movie.

Etz Limon (Lemon Tree)

Beautiful, tragic, highly recommended.

Adventureland

Sweet and funny movie. The highlight for me was the references to Pittsburgh and the fact that it was filmed and set in Kennywood! Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig seem a bit underutilized because they serve as a backdrop to the love story, which takes up more screen time than seems necessary. But Martin Starr is PERFECT. I love him. He is the perfect anal retentive, sweet geek who never gets the girl.

Blow-Up
Blow-Up(1966)

It's interesting because it absolutely feels like an English-language version of a European art film - and it is! Still satisfying, but does feel like it was adapted for a particular audience.

Star Trek
Star Trek(2009)

Pretty good. The action and shouting gets a bit grating though and I could have sworn it was longer than 2 hours! Thank goodness for Simon Pegg, he almost came too late. Zoe Saldana is perfect.

Candyman
Candyman(1992)

Pretty spectacular. Not only does it pre-date 'High Tension,' as many films do in its twist, but it deals quite directly and with a complex view of urban myths. Not just the urban myth, but the site of the urban myth - the projects, where no one found the baby because no "authorities" gave a shit about helping anyone there, only punishing. Some may not like the story or its arc, but it also holds up quite well for a film that's 17 years old.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall
½

A really smart, surprisingly tender, solidly interesting romantic comedy. I can't believe Jason Segel wrote it. Dracula musical, bitches!

27 Dresses
27 Dresses(2008)

A pretty solid romantic comedy. If you love them like I do and find yourself sucked into stuff like 'Sweet Home Alabama,' you will like this movie. I actually only saw the second half, but I did see when Mr. Right entered the film and these movies are pretty formulaic, so you can usually get away with watching about half of it. Katherine Heigl is so pretty. Also, James Marsden is way sexier when he's not annoying and doesn't have laser eyes.

The Love Guru

Obviously a terrible, terrible movie. BUT many of these are nothing if not an opportunity for comedians to be in movies. In this one, Stephen Colbert and Jim Gaffigan (Colbert is really great) hit it out of the park and for John Oliver fans, he's around a lot, but doesn't have much of a character, he's just the British manager, essentially. Justin Timberlake isn't terrible, to be honest. The only way he works is if he's meant to be ridiculous, because he is. And Ben Kingsley should really not have been in it. Plus, you get to see Val Kilmer and Law & Order: SVU's Mariska Hargitay. Worth seeing to the comedy fan. Yo, what is up with Romany Malco not being listed in the cast? He is one of my new favorite comic actors (distinct from comedian actors). Cute and delightful.

Caffeine
Caffeine(2007)

Cute movie and all the Americans with English accents isn't really annoying.

Inside Man
Inside Man(2006)

It's odd that through the auteur lens, one really CAN get meaning out of seemingly plain films. I was convinced that both this and 25th Hour were completely bland movies and they are not, by any stretch of the imagination, Spike Lee's best, but they aren't a complete departure. I was hostile to the concept of this movie, but it seems that despite itself, it actually does bring up really important issues about the post-9/11 world. I can say for sure that I have never seen or even heard of a heist film that does not really involve a heist. It basically asks us to question what constitutes a criminal and a crime. In the light of the banksters being seen as serious criminals these days, this is obvious. It's sort of asking, Who's the real terrorist? I am surely reading a lot into this, but that's what you do in film studies. We do it so you don't have to. Even without the fact that there's no heist, the way everyone is dressed and hooded is almost clearly a reference to U.S.-sanctioned torture and the fact that they all look the same brings to mind terrorism and guerrilla warfare. Then there's the way every hostage forced out of the bank is treated as a criminal. Maybe because there are so many holes in the plot (making it impossible to catch the "real" criminals) it seems to not really be abut that. Sure, it's a slick, star-studded movie about a bank robbery it seems to really be about torture, racial profiling and asks us to look more closely at rich "humanitarians" because even though it's usually not that huge, they have indeed built their wealth on others' suffering.

Bamboozled
Bamboozled(2000)
½

A mixed bag. The premise, the idea is fantastic, but the follow through is quesitonable. The melodramatic turn at the end, for instance. Plus, he picks on the Mau Mau, seeming to put independent, radical hip hop in the same category as commercial rap, which is really not cool to me.

Dressed to Kill

Very problematic film for its depiction of female sexual fantasy and transsexuals. Frankly, I could live without it. It's very nicely done. The long takes, the scenes that build for eternity, I can dig that. I understand why anti-pornography feminists made a fuss.

Purple Rain
Purple Rain(1984)

Absurd excuse for Prince songs. The plot makes no sense and it can be slow, but much of it is highly entertaining, especially the parts that one wonders whether one is supposed to laugh at or not. My teacher insisted that we prepare for a "religious experience," but I've never really "got" Prince. However, after seeing this, I can appreciate him.

The Dark Knight
½

I am very easily manipulated by film emotion, so it is no wonder I was wowed by this, if only because I see few films in the theater, least of all this kind. Quite a feat, to put two movies into 2.5 hours - this is probably why my mom got a headache. The time is ripe for superhero movies to be very popular because entrusting a single person with our rescue is easy. The Joker was amazing and Heath Ledger deserves anything he might win from the role. I couldn't help but think about terrorism and I would have to see the film again to come up with an analysis of what it says about the subject. The Joker character is, in many ways, the key to unraveling the whole film and some of what he said was pretty interesting. I always worry about villains - especially if they seem to have no reasons for what they do. I fear that a connection between someone like the Joker and Islamist terrorism may be made, which could encourage people to think that suicide bombings are malicious and without purpose, for instance, rather than a reaction to concrete circumstances.

Mark of the Devil
½

Nothing like old-fashioned God-loving barbarism. I wish more horror films would take the medieval and colonial periods as their starting points because then there is at least something behind the torture and murder. And given it is from 1969, it's not surprising the kind of ending it has. There was certainly a faith in the power of the "mob" to right society's wrongs.

Be Kind Rewind

I don't know what it is about comedy, but it really allows for some often unintentionally radical visions. In this film, it's the vision of participatory, community art and entertainment. In Accepted, it's a radical model of education. Some people thought this movie was underwhelming and sort of let them down, but I was pleasantly surprised by its larger message.

Snow Day
Snow Day(2000)

I think I saw this by accident....somehow

Undercover Brother
½

Not a good movie, but an awesome movie

Chicken Little
½

Worker's uprising, yes!

Phantom of the Opera

Chaney's make-up is incredible

Aladdin
Aladdin(2002)

And you wonder where all this hatred of Arabs and Muslims comes from....

The Passion of the Christ

Sadistic and sensationalistic. Mel Gibson has officially snapped

Skins
Skins(2002)

Fucks yeah. Watch for the last thing - the stuff on the thing. Awesome.

Cabin in the Sky

Pretty crazy movie. It was enjoyable, but problematic in its racial representations. Everyone seemed to be smiling ALL the time, especially Ethel Waters, even when singing. It felt like they were maintaining a relentless creepy happiness and that this was to not scare off white people, by holding to the "happy darkie" stereotype that African Americans are always happy.

Diary of a Chambermaid (Le journal d'une femme de chambre)
½

Very awesome movie. A bit like 'Viridiana' - set out in the country in a house full of weirdo. Playful, naughty, bizarre. I found Moreau, whom I've never seen i n a whole film before, to be very plain-looking - which comforted me because she is one of those French beauties, but she is classic. Then who did you? That's what I was left with - and a weird feeling that she married that guy.

The Bitter Tea of General Yen
½

Pretty crazy movie with a Swede playing Yen, a brutal Chinese general and exotic male prospect. Really strange and sometimes offensive. The message really comes out that it's impossible to help the Chinese because they're busy killing each other for no reason and Christian missionaries are wasting their time and risking their lives. But it does have a certain contempt for their misplaced efforts.

The Invisible Man

Una O'Connor has the greatest hysterical scream. And 'Bride of Frankenstein' and probably 'Frankenstein' also are left out of her filmography.

Crooklyn
Crooklyn(1994)
½

It didn't really do it for me, but I did appreciate it. And the whole thing at the end really got to me because of my own experience with that at roughly the same age.

Body and Soul
½

Pretty fascinating film. The ending is a bit odd, but in class we found a number of reasons why it might not suck.

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
½

Totally solid. A dying way of life, an increasingly inept hero fades away.

Una Breve Vacanza (A Brief Vacation)
½

It's interesting when directors who led film movements keep making movies for 40 more years because when the movement is over, it's not like they keep doing that stuff. So, this film was directed by DeSica and penned by Zavvatini - they wrote a slew of the most important Italian Neorealist films in the 1940s. I can definitely see the similarities in terms of the subject matter (working people) and the frustrating and open ending, but it's the formal elements, those revolutionaries techniques that he used. Same thing with watching later Truffaut or Chabrol - they have a certain personality and gravitate toward the same kinds of things, but any of the stylistic devices that could be were coopted by and incorporated into Hollywood and/or prestige/big budget films elsewhere - all the rest is just for the archives, unfortunately. I found this film deeply affecting and, closer to real life, these characters aren't as impulsive as people in movies too often are.

Malcolm X
Malcolm X(1992)
½

Does a good job at showing a human being who reinvented himself constantly, but not shying away from his increasingly radical left ideas. A beautiful, compelling and sympathetic portrait. And when they show real footage and photos of Malcolm X, you see how much Denzel Washington actually looks a lot like him, aside from his slightly darker hue. The amount of time dedicated to speeches is pretty astounding and usually lean toward emphasizing the best parts of his ideas at any point, whether in the conservative Nation of Islam or otherwise.

Locked Up
Locked Up(2004)
½

I'm sure it surprises no one that I loved this movie. If the characters were women, the amount of flesh in the movie would be utterly ordinary, but it's well-known that Europeans are much more equal oppurtunity (but not equal, to be sure) when it comes to nudity. The film goes from brutal to sweet in a rather short time span. I compare it to 'Green Fingers,' which stars a bunch of British people, in which there is no nudity whatsoever, because it shows prisoners as human beings and the prison to be quite inhumane. Also, is it possible that Mike is really American? Because he sounds British, perhaps he's from the Virgin Isles or something. While the film is essentially a tender porno, there was something very geniuine about the characters that made the plot much more believable. Very recommended to folks who like this kind of stuff - European porn-fiction, perhaps one could call it. That would include everything Catherine Breillat has ever made, Tino Brass' films (like Salon Kitty, that is so messed up in so many ways), people who didn't hate 'The Dreamers.' But the essence of this porn-fiction is that it takes a fictional relationship, one that you might come to care about as in any narrative film and takes it from there. It's almost like women's porn, in that it gives you a reason to care, not just the images and I can say personally that the way I conceive of attractiveness, personality is king. I don't think Justin Timberlake is goodlooking, I can intellectually recognize why others do, but he is so uninteresting it's crazy. Another interesting aspect of these films is that most of what they show is real. It blurs boundaries the way real person slash fan fiction does.

The Bride of Frankenstein

It's not an overstatement to say that it doesn't get much better than this. In a class of mine, we talked about how sympathetic the monster is, as compared to other movies during the monster movie craze of the 1930s. It's true, we see that he didn't undestand the little girl wouldn't float, we see his face when he hears the blind man play the violin, etc.

Punish Me
Punish Me(2007)
½

It's not just the French who make these kinds of movies. I think it's very well-done, sincere and the ending is very unclear. Also, I like that the man is the one that is incredibly young and that a middle-aged woman could be a sexual subject. In Hollywood, when a woman turns 35, they can't be full women in films anymore. Whereas men are men until they die. A much more realistic scenario than 'Secretary.'

Tropic Thunder
½

I'm really torn about this movie. It certainly exceeded my expectations: it was much funnier and crazier than I thought it would be. However, there is a certain undercurrent that I really don't like and that's the fact that it's a comedy about the Vietnam War, essentially and that's not funny - at all. There is a certain line, I'm not sure where it is exactly, that the Daily Show sometimes crosses (esp. when there is no campaign to lambaste) where joking about torture and war serves no end and actually fits really well in a war-like culture. Rather than pointing out the truth, it exploits it. However, without a doubt, Tom Cruise's performance was totally out of left field. I could have never expected I would ever appreciate a performance of his as a performance, rather than appreciating him in 'Magnolia' as not fucking up a fantastic film. It's outrageous and...quite satisfying. Also, the cast is pretty impressive. Why Robert Downey Jr. is there, I couldn't tell you and I don't mind Matthew McConaughey when he's not cast as the hottest guy alive, which is isn't. He didn't even have a love interest. Actually, there were barely any love interests, except a couple of funny couplings in the epilogue portion of the film. Certainly worth watching, even though Steve Coogan is not in it nearly enough. I am very conflicted about Ben Stiller because he really has something amazing to give, I just think sometimes his movies are annoying as hell. He should really channel the 'Zoolander' spirit, which I think this does, rather than the 'Meet the Parents' one.

Yes
Yes(2005)
½

I give it most credit for being experimental in a delightful way. The poetic language, the use of very small interval time-lapse photography, whispers as thoughts. The content, spurred by an almost entirely physical connection between two people, is very philosophical and actually even gets political. There's an almost jungle fever kind of tinge to it because they know so little about one another. I can honestly say I could not predict where the plot would go. Dealing with culture clash and the tension between achievement and fulfillment, I think the film comes together to a certain extent, but not all the way. I expect the female writer/director to find her voice and make that wonderful film that any good filmmaker has in them.

Stagecoach
Stagecoach(1939)
½

Crazy, but watchable and enjoyable.

School Daze
School Daze(1988)

Really fascinating. A bit uneven, maybe doesn't quite achieve it's aim, but the combination of politics and song & dance is very impressive.

Top Hat
Top Hat(1935)
½

Aside from the weak final number, it's almost flawless.

Charlie Chaplin
½

Fantastic little short about the Progressive era and its social/political issues. It's practically a visual list of all the social problems, that Progressive reformers sought to alleviate, arising from rapid industrialization and urbanization: overcrowding, alcoholism, drug use, delinquency, domestic violence - you name it. As a straight comedy is alright, I mean it is Chaplin, but in an historical context it's quite compelling.

Traffic in Souls
½

Very melodramatic film about the so-called "white slavery" deal (a moral panic about forced prostitution, surrounding the increased visibility of young women in jobs of retail, etc.). Extraordinary film, historically and socially very important, but it ultimately says: Don't worry, the police have it covered.

Happy Endings
½

Great cast. It's interesting in tone because it's comic but not too serious or silly. Let me repeat that I love Steve Coogan.

But I'm a Cheerleader

RuPaul plays a male counselor in a gay deprogramming camp - it's hysterical. Very smart, colorful film.

King Kong
King Kong(2005)
½

Even more racist than the original. Bad, Adrien, bad!

Tommy Boy
Tommy Boy(1995)

Spade and Farley are perfect together

Twins
Twins(1988)

Family favorite, but totally ridiculous

Anastasia
Anastasia(1997)

I love how they take a few historical figures from this period and construct a narrative around them because they're royalty and NOT because that was the most important thing occurring at the time. Who cares about Nikolai and his hemophilia?

Orange County

Jack Black is perfect in this. I say his, "I'm an expert at exscaping" - way too often.

Disturbia
Disturbia(2007)

I accidentally saw some of this because my mom was watching it. Shia LaBeouf can kiss my ass. He's no Jimmy Stewart, times infinity.

Gothic
Gothic(2002)

Very cool. The "Movie Info" is right. It's kitchy, over the top and the dialogue is not so great, but the themes are awesome (especially if you've ever studied horror films) and some of the images are pretty awesome. I find that Gabriel Byrne can do no wrong. Like the way I feel about 'The Church,' but perhaps a little less so, I think this movie aims way higher than it is able to achieve, but has too much awesome stuff in it to totally disregard. I'm going to go re-watch 'The Church' right now.

I Spit on Your Grave (Day of the Woman)
½

I have to say, that though this is a terrible film, there's something one must tip one's hat to, in that the entire last half of the film puts the "revenge" in "rape-revenge." Although I wouldn't go as far as to call it feminist, as a female horror fan, I felt strangely satisfied. Whether or not it makes sense narratively or not, it was like revenge on behalf of so many women in horror films who have no agency.

Love's Labour's Lost

I've seen enough to give it two thumbs down.

Help!
Help!(1965)

Roughly half as good as 'A Hard Day's Night'

Spice World
Spice World(1998)
½

Hysterically bad

Hostel
Hostel(2006)

Just the idea of two white Americans going to a foreign country and being the object of such creative and systematized torture allows me to defend this film. There's something very brilliant about that and I love watching guys get tortured - your turn, fellas! Of course Americans would be the most in demand nationality of people to be killed for profit. It's a business that I thought only Americans could think of...

Jingle All the Way

One star for the Governator being ridiculous

Shallow Hal
Shallow Hal(2001)
½

Bad movie, but sweet message. I appreciate the thought, but the Farrelly Brothers just don't make good movies.

Planet Terror (Grindhouse Presents: Robert Rodriguez's Planet Terror)

Not nearly as bad as I thought it would be.

Stripes
Stripes(1981)

Childhood memories, good times with family. Classic Bill Murray.

Fahrenheit 9/11

I was just sad he went all LesserEvilist, but it was good on a lot of things. Seems the most likely to include elements of untruths and half-truths.

The Prestige
The Prestige(2006)
½

I was unsure about Nolan going so Hollywood, but I think it's working for him and the fact that I was discussing and trying to figure out exactly what happened reminded me of 'Memento' in a wonderful way. Christian Bale's real accent....drools...

American Psycho

One of the best allegorical representations of capitalism I have ever seen. The moment I realized the reason it was set in the 80s, Reagan appeared on the screen. Brilliant. He is emotionless, when he tells the truth no one listens, he is above the law... And the absurdity and black comedy is quite enjoyable and complicates the tone of the film - the entirety of which the MPAA objected to!

Pocahontas
Pocahontas(1995)

Shameful erasure of colonialism. And unfortunately, children aren't usually equipped to reject this.

Juno
Juno(2007)
½

Saw it dubbed in German, would need to see it again.

Good Night, And Good Luck
½

Somewhat underwhelming, but well-made nonetheless

The Sixth Sense

How to make the alcoholic beverage known as the "M Night Shyamalan" = nothing with a twist (stolen from John Mulaney)

Aladdin
Aladdin(1992)
½

One of the reasons it's possible for Americans to kill all them damned hajis - shameful racism from the minds of those fucked up Disney folks who have taught us so much about romance and the peoples of the world!

The Birth of a Nation

I have yet to even finish this movie. It's essential, blah blah. But it's amazingly accurate, I think, that the first real American narrative film is based on a book called 'The Klansmen.' It's horrificially offensive and if I had been alive, I think I would have been protesting it like Eugene V. Debs did. I can appreciate it just like I can appreciate 'Triumph of the Will,' but I don't go along with the idea that there can be truly great art that is also racist, etc. The thing is, it's influenced films ever since and it presented an historical narrative that is utterly false. Folks don't know much history in the U.S. of A., so such representations carry a LOT of weight. I always figure, there are enough amazing, beautiful, skillful movies that aren't offensive. But it's true that this film just had the decency to be offensive on the surface rather than be coded, the way most racism and sexism is in American culture these days.

Trouble in Paradise
½

Definitely has the 'Lubitsch touch' - though I'm not entirely sure I'm a fan of said touch.

Crash
Crash(1996)
½

Car crash fetishism, indeed. I watched this again, the other day. Oh my god. James Spader did the most ridiculously sexy, fucked up movies. And Elias Koteas, ugh. I felt voyeuristic while I watched this. Though it's an odd David Cronenberg film in certain ways, it's still all about violence, sex and body. Brilliant! Most NC-17 movies I see are sort of silly like Pink Flamingos, Orgazmo, A Dirty Shame, but this is practically porn, but kind of philosophical.

Sideways
Sideways(2004)
½

Certainly not my favorite Giamatti movie

La sindrome di Stendhal (The Stendhal Syndrome)

Very intense for a more thriller-style film. The obviously German stalker is perfect at being both incredibly creepy and epitomizing the privileges accorded to men such as himself. Asia Argento is fantastic in this.

The Governess

Except for 'Bend It Like Beckham,' Jonathan Rhys Meyers is always prettier than his love interest/female lead.

Raging Bull
Raging Bull(1980)

This is an example of a film whose greatness I can recognize and appreciate, but doesn't really appeal to me personally.

No Country for Old Men

Despite the story, this film plays in a really interesting way without being too centered on any one character and moving between scenes sometimes like vignettes. But it didn't really do much for me.

Blazing Saddles

Great on the ways movies work. It's funny, I told my mom I saw it and mentioned Cleavon Little and before I said anything, she just said, "Wasn't he sexy?" That certainly checks out. I love Marilyn Kahn's whole Marlene Dietrich-Destry Rides Again thing.

Synecdoche, New York
½

Amazing cast and certainly a very fascinating and unique approach to time, for instance. However, I found it overall incredibly self-indulgent. I sort of thought, This is very well-made, but is it important? And ultimately, I'm not sure it is. I appreciate a meditation on loneliness, dread and regret as much as the next gal, but it was SO removed from society and history, which is perhaps close to how many people live their lives - focusing only on the personal, but no one is unaffected by the big stuff. You can't have a movie about life that leaves out so much of that and really succeed. The first hour or so is hilarious in a sort of uncomfortable way. That's the best part, I think.

Romance
Romance(1999)
½

I saw that this film was described as "clinical," but it had a lot more feeling in it that 'Anatomy of Hell.' Catherine Breillat makes very sexually explicit films about women and relationships. Compared to 97% of all films, hers are extreme uneven, seemingly sensationalistic and carry with them this odd, but overwhelming current of psych-philosophical inquiry. On the DVD extras of "Anatomy of Hell," a film even less anchored in characters and story, there was an interview that was almost as long as the film. Breillat, according to her, doesn't not seek to create pleasure in her films, but instead examination. Many people think her films are obnoxious and fake. I find them fascinating because no one else, probably for good reason, makes films like this. Besides, there are so few female auteurs. The ending is also really bizarre, but that's what you sign up for when you watch a Breillat film.

Salon Kitty (Edited Version)
½

First point: Don't watch the edited version of anything if you can help it. The movie: WOW! I looked at the synopsis and thought: Hmmm, this looks like some potentially interesting paracinema. I mean, whores for Hitler, doesn't really sound that great. But it was at least good enough to convince me that it was legitimate film, like an actual movie. It's no Fassbinder, but despite my doubts, the characters, story, acting - it actually hangs together. It certainly has a lot more nudity than most legitimate cinema, but it's actually a fine piece of work that manages to legitimize its most of its excesses. I wonder if anyone ever saw it because it's politics are obviously worth studying, but I agree with another reviewer that it shows Nazi Germany "as a rotting carcass," which is not a terrible start.

The People Under The Stairs
½

BEST HORROR FILM EVER. It manages to include all kinds of awesome social justice and still be scary and especially twisted. Craven is pretty unbelievable when it comes to politics. Black people and poor people in a horror film and they aren't the ones that are going to kill you! The cops won't save you and some white people only want to steal your money. Those are the kinds of messages we need in horror films. What's the point in that Rob Zombie kind of crap? If you don't invest these severely unhinged white people, who have these lairs with skulls in them and pits with body parts in them, with any other crime, why should we care? I only hope that American horror digs into its glorious past at films like 'White Zombie' (1934) and 'Night of the Living Dead' (1968). I kind of liked 'Hostel.' I mean, if you're going to torture people, why not heterosexual, white American men wandering around in Europe like its some amusement park? When I saw that, with Americans being the most expensive people to be allowed to kill, I thought they might be onto something. Horror has got to reconnect with those roots that are planted in social injustice and outrage. If you're going to have someone encircled, why not by the products of their own greed? Even if it seems absurd, I think we need more stuff like this and like 'They Live' (which I've heard is being remade, a somewhat silly alien movie about....ideology). Because, you know, I'm really not that interested in the fates of middle class suburban teenagers. Their parents (or grandparents) are the ones who moved out there to escape all the Black people, they should blame them. Suburban white people scare me. Anyway. Hooray for Wes Craven. I can think of few other directors who make such conscious choices not to make reactionary horror films.

Last Night
Last Night(1998)
½

I can't believe it took me so long to see this. I love how there is no real explanation of why and how the world is ending. There are hints. They have no night any more, which is interesting, especially because it is the last night. I like Tracy Wright's character, I'm like a combination between her and Don McKellar's. Fantastic cast, including David Cronenberg?!?!?

Cat People
Cat People(1942)

The pool scene is classic. Shadows, editing, it's almost Hitckcockian. Very interesting psychological stuff. Today, rather than assume he was in love with another woman, I think many of us would think it was a man because he was patient to the point of absurdity. Eastern European immigrants - they'll try to kill you, apparently.

How to Lose Friends & Alienate People
½

Very sweet and charming. Simon Pegg can do no wrong.

The Thin Blue Line

Some interesting facts: In 1988, there was a 5-month-long film and television writers' strike and in response to that reality television was born, such as true crime shows. Having grown up on this stuff, there were certain aspects of the film that were very familiar, but I wouldn't be surprised if this is what people are aiming for when they do reentacements and other ways of mixing in interesting imagery to make it more entertaining. I'm so glad Randall Adams was released after this because it would just be one in a million other travesties. The names, faces and dates change but anyone who is called a "cop killer" in the newspaper is almost definitely going to be convicted, regardless of the truth. It's the police and state's ultimate weapon. The sickest part is to think about these prosecutors, judges and the like, like the psychiatrist Dr. Death who would always testify that the person in question needed to be kept out of society for life. How fucked must we be that there are people, like George W. and Alberto Gonzalez most likely, who feel a certain amount of honor by killing people - legally. I found the end of the film very sympathetic to the trauma and likely damage down to the killer himself - I thought that was a nice touch, rather than painting him as a monster. Excellent film. Philip Glass did the score and the cinematography is of course phenomenal. The reenactment idea is really complex, the way Morris shows it. Two or three scenarios look just as natural when you reenact them, but that doesn't make them all true.
Just look at this map and tell me that the U.S. is the most civilized nation on earth: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Death_Penalty_World_Map.png) Every country on there in red is a country that Americans would be ashamed to be compared with. People would be shocked to learn that substantial portions of Africa and most of the rest of the Americas are so far ahead of the U.S. And that the U.S. has the dubious distinction of being one of the two only countries that hasn't signed onto the UN's treaty promising not to execute minors. Freedom isn't free. These colors don't run. America - Love it or Leave it.

The Planet of Junior Brown (Junior's Groove)

Decent adaptation of the great book. Some movies, like 'Holes' for example, Hollywoodize the main character if not all of them, but this one can't do that because the story is about a wide group of people and all of them have problems. Whether they are homeless or psychologically-strained, each has challenges to overcome and legitimate problems. Like the book, I think the film conveys the centrality of Buddy as the character that would be expected to be the most damaged, but actually keeps people from falling apart. Very sweet, sympathetic film.

Existenz
Existenz(1999)

Looking at the reviews, it seems you either love this movie or think it's crap (if only because it doesn't live up to what Cronenberg is capable of). I found this film intense and strange and because, perhaps, it was "badly paced" I couldn't predict what was going to happen. The bio-technology idea is pretty amazing and not surprising given Cronenberg's career-long obsession with the horrific body. Oh Don McKellar, how I adore you and all your talent and Canadian-ness. I think it's easier to dismiss if you disregard it's historical place and judge it alongside movies made since then. And NO other futuristic film questioning the nature of reality and virtual reality integrates our bodies into it. It's truly unique. Canadians! They may be "our retarded cousins to the North," but they make good movies, especially because they, like the UK and Germany and Japan don't get the unique privilege of being the worst imperial power, even though they do nearly as much and get most of the rewards without risking their image much.

Jesus Camp
Jesus Camp(2006)

Terrifying. School vouchers/home-schooling is code for: let's fork over federal money to Evangelical Christians who want to brainwash their litters at home and shelter them from other opinions. The film itself is pretty neutral and just shows you this stuff. But, watching this is like reading about the ways the Nazis campaigns in this sense: you want to learn from them how you use their tactics to good ends. Also, Megachurch "President" Ted Haggerty was in it before he got busted. The crazy part is he does something of a stand-up routine. An abuse of the art form.

The Goebbels Experiment

Very interesting. I like the fact that he's this little, chronically ill man who for much of his adolescence and early adulthood was plagued by suicidal thoughts and wracked with self-doubt. If only he HAD killed himself.... Terribly intelligent man. It was interesting that there was no mention of the 'final solution' in the film, there must be in the diaries. He hated Leni Riefenstahl so much - can you say hilarious feud? She claims that they met in an elevator and she refused him, for which he never forgave her. The Party first, family second. I was upset that his death was not actually explained, but the real footage and real thoughts were pretty haunting (plus little comments were added that weren't mentioned in the diary).

Year Zero: The Silent Death of Cambodia

Year Zero: The Silent Death of Cambodia

Horrifying. Millions of people condemned to such undignified deaths just because Nixon wanted to show Vietnam and the Communist powers not to fuck with him. Henry Kissinger deserves a long, painful, humiliating death but he'll probably die in his late 90s peacefully in his sleep. With the stroke of a pen, he killed about 3 million people with no justification. He and Nixon. Of course, Nixon wasn't impeached for THAT, he was impeached for covering up a robbery. Big deal.

Delirium
Delirium(1972)
½

Pretty uneven, but has some really spectactular imagery and it's really fucked up. I couldn't predict the ending, which is a compliment to the film.

Death of a Nation: The Timor Conspiracy

Heartbreaking, infuriating and disturbing. If you think the U.S. WASN'T killing people 1975-1998, think again. This documentary meticulously documents the knowledge of the major Anglo-American forces who gave a nod and a wink to Suharto while he invaded East Timor and proceeded to slaughter about 200,000 - same number as Darfur. Kissinger and Ford got the heads up before Suharto did it and the only thing these powers did was cover it up and secretly ship tons of weapons to Indonesia.

It's great to say we've only been in these wars since the beginning of the 20th century: WWI, WWII (support of White Army in Revolutionary Russia), (Korea), Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iraq. Since the 70s, the U.S. has been funding the Israeli Defense Forces' eternal war on the Palestinian people. It has been funding and arming Colombian death squads since 1978. Most of the U.S.'s most medieval crimes were essentially those situations where the G8-type imperial nations all kept quiet while a brown dictator slaughtered brown civilians. Most of these incursions happened during the period between 1975 and 1991 (when the existence of the USSR made it impossible/difficult/unwise to make small incursions into territories) and 1991 and 2001 (almost all "humanitarian" interventions). Lebanon, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Panama, Somalia, Yugoslavia - to name only the largest operations. Also, did you know the US has supported (seriously, look this stuff up - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_foreign_interventions_since_1945#1945-1949). No wonder the military budget has grown almost unabated since WWII even though much of that time was "peace time."

John Pilger is a hero of mine, a man who will not accept the official story and refuses to kowtow to this fake journalistic notion of "objective" reporting, because it really means establishment reporting. His documentaries are amazing and most are available on the internet. I highly recommend them: they all document all those crimes your and my government has been perpetrating and the press has NOT been reporting, as a courtesy I suppose.

The Piano Teacher (La Pianiste)
½

For some reason, I expected this film to be lightweight fare about the common tabu of teacher-student romance. But that's the least interesting part about it. And it's not presented in some Hollywood-y voice-over kind of way, you get to know the characters and only understand anything about them at the end. Haneke, as usual, delivers an upsetting, entrancing, intensely emotional journey - the kind that sticks in your head afterward. Huppert has not done a Binoche, she still does this kind of stuff and for that I salute her. Her work is always challenging.

Aristide and the Endless Revolution
½

Excellent, and infuriating. It's interesting that there's a review that says this movie is balanced because I think the anti-Aristide people look like fools. And Aristide is so cute....his eyes....oh it's like Thom Yorke from Radiohead. "Philippe is more American than Aristide, baby / Despite the fact that Aristide was elected / Philippe recognizes the voice of power and he respects it" - Son of Nun

Anatomy of Hell

Certainly an experience to say the least. Breillat, a novelist and filmmaker of clinical films about sexuality and gender, gives a 65 minute interview on what this 72 minute long film means. And it's necessary. There are aspects of, say, 'Crash' (Cronenberg) in it in the way that it's so philosophical about sex and pretends it's not a soft-core porno. It's about what about a woman's body is supposed to be dirty, disgusting and hidden from view. Breillat (who wrote the novel) explains it as a sort of Adam & Eve story. If you want to see a porn actor with a menstrual-blood-soaked tool - this is the movie for you! But, be aware, Breillat does not make films about enjoyment, that's why everyone calls them clinical, they're very abstract while showing anatomy close up. The actress is a real actress and all the close shots and shots of penetration are done by a body double, but the actor has got to be a pornographic thespian because he's like this amazingly strong fellow who is unusually talented in the area where male porn stars are and that is having a great deal of command when it comes to his erections. But it's pretty impressive when he gets sort of intense and emotional. That's gotta be 3 or 4....or more talents that he has. Apparently, 'Romance' is her big movie, but Breillat has created a uniquely modern (or postmodern, for those of you without souls) film genre. And like the infamous 'Salo' film in that there are some things you just can't un-see and what makes them disturbing is that you know it's real and you think about the people involved. 'Anatomy of Hell' is like euro-trash erotica but scarrier and intellectual. What is up with sex-obsessed French directresses? I guess Claire Denis is sort of the opposite, because she also does female-centered films with very little dialog, but they're all about sexual tension and desire. I'd suggest watching a Breillat and then washing it off your eyes with a Denis, so you know you can still feel.

24 Hour Party People

A bit uneven at times, but a great subject matter and an unbelievable performance by Steve Coogan.

My Night at Maud's (Ma Nuit chez Maud)

Eric Rohmer's Six Moral Tales - yum!

Dan in Real Life

As I (now) always say, If Juliette Binoche is in it, it can't be terrible. And Steve Carrell is also wonderful, despite the movies he is sometimes in.

99 francs
99 francs(2007)

I would have to see it again, however, to really decide what I think of it because although I absolutely know what happened, I saw it dubbed in German. In German, the title of the film is "39,90," so I think they converted the francs into Euros, which is friggin weird.

But on the film. I like the moral. Indeed advertising is an enormous waste of money. And I found it funny, clever and entertaining. I wonder how most people react to such a clearly stated moral. Is it a joke, too? I think not, but it's a strange way to end a film, especially when the "ending" presented was so patently false.

Soldier's Girl
½

Not the best film, but a very powerful one - if only because it is a true story.

It Is Not the Homosexual Who Is Perverse, But the Society in Which He Lives (Nicht der Homosexuelle ist pervers, sondern die Situation, in der er lebt)
½

You just have to see it. Wow. Experimental form and thought-provoking content.

Winter Soldier
½

An unbelievably important document of GI resistance during the Vietnam Anti-War Movement. Upsetting truths

The Lynchburg Story

Disturbing story of sterilization and eugenics in the U.S

Carrie
Carrie(1976)
½

As a horror film, 'Carrie' is really different. I loved the presence, absence and choice of sound. Slow motion was used in the kind of way it ought to, not to dramatize a stupid kiss or something. I thought Carrie's mom was just about the scariest woman in the world.

The Hills Have Eyes

I must say, considering it's 30 years old, I still found it to be effectively scary. [A nice balance between atmosphere and shocks] Man, that dog kicks so much frigging ass.

The Holiday
The Holiday(2006)

I gave it 2 stars because only Kate Winslet's story line is at all interesting because of the characters. Otherwise, it's pretty bland and unnecessary.

The Littlest Rebel

Wow. This movie is so messed up in that Freudian way. First thing Shirley Temple is this spunky little girl who's for the Confederacy, the Black servants are totally infantilized, she meets with President Lincoln (?) and she wants to marry her dad - messed up!

The Prime Gig

Very disturbing for a Vince Vaughn movie

Mumford
Mumford(1999)

Oddly twisted for a romantic comedy

The End of St. Petersburg

Great, especially in comparison to Eisenstein's 'October.' Character-driven and less painstakingly historically comprehensive, it's a welcome addition to cinematic accounts of the October Revolution, which was not a terribly dramatic one.

Tretya meshchanskaya (Bed and Sofa)

Nikolai Batalov - my favorite silent Soviet film actor! Interesting and strange.

The Atomic Cafe

You have to see it, it's very difficult to adequately describe.

Aelita - Queen of Mars

A magical film. Yes, Protazanov is bourgeois, but there are some fantastic elements and the visuals are divine.

Terrorists
Terrorists(2004)

Totally solid satire. It impressively carries the premise for 70 minutes. Brilliant and hilarious portrayal of ignorance, hysteria and how preconceptions shape the way we interpret things. I was very impressed. Great performances. I swear comics are the best actors. One would expect that this guy would only be beat up because he's a total geek. If the actor (Mantzoukas) is a Canadian, I will allow myself to buy myself a Coke.

Niagara, Niagara

I cannot find this movie anywhere. I'm just glad I taped it from Sundance, but the transfer is pathetic.

Glen or Glenda?

Fascinating, but horrible

Fox and His Friends

Some believe that this film is homophobic. I totally disagree. I think this film is about class. There are gay exploiters, as well. The whole problem with Fox is his working-class-ness. I don't think he's stupid, I think he was blinded - which happens to everyone. This film is amazing because homosexuals are not just victims of heterosexuals - not in a world powered by exploitation and oppression.

La Jetée (The Pier)

It's very much a cliche for a film student to love this film, but it is marvelous. I love the beginning footage of the aftermath of WWIII with that intense music. Brilliant.

A Day in Black and White

I need to watch this again. Yay for Harold Perrineau.

To Be and to Have (Etre et Avoir)

I watched this in my French 1 class, luckily, the subtitles were on. Very touching, intimate look at a lifellong elementary school teacher and his smalltown students.

Onibaba
Onibaba(1965)
½

Unbelievably gorgeous, poetic

The Smiling Madame Beudet (La Souriante Madame Beudet)

I saw this on film and it kind of hypnotized me - I had a hard time remembering what happened

Broken Blossoms

Griffith always misses the mark on being socially conscious...by quite a bit

Chavez: Inside the Coup

Exciting account of the US-backed attempted coup in Venezuela.

The Widow of Saint-Pierre (The Widow of St. Pierre) (La veuve de Saint-Pierre)

Binoche and Auteuil are wonderful together

Earth
Earth(1999)
½

Awesome, but trying - you have to put some work into this one

It's My Party
½

Incredibly depressing, touching

Phantom of the Opera

That make-up is truly amazing (or amazing enough that the quality of the image obscures any imperfections). Wonderful.

Full Metal Gokudō (Full Metal Yakuza)
½

Fascinating, but somewhat uneven. Great idea!

Triumph des Willens (Triumph Of The Will)

I give this a 3 because there is some stunning images and then fauning Hitler youths and a bunch of disgusting speeches.

Blades of Glory
½

Perfect on its own terms.

Adam & Steve
Adam & Steve(2005)
½

"If I eat that, I unleash the beast"

Inland Empire

I couldn't tell you what happened, but whatever did, I liked it. A film prof told me a student wrote a paper about how the film is all about the sound design and can be understood that way. Intriguing.

A Bucket of Blood
½

Brilliant! And doesn't the lead actor, who's supposed to be about half his age, look like James Dean on crank? Someone said that and I've stolen it for myself.

The Truman Show
½

Solid film, clever, an uncommonly decent movie from Jim Carrey

About Baghdad
½

Excellent documetnary. One story that got me was of how this university library was destroyed and they lost all the dissertations since the 70s. I think it just showed how the military has no scruples about destroying cultural history.

Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers

This is a decent documentary. Unfortunately, it suffers from the fact that it is NOT anti-war - it is against the privitization of war. The conclusion is that if CACI and KBR weren't there mucking everything up, we would have freed those Iraqis already, which is totally untrue. Worth seeing, but a bit of a let down.

July '64
July '64(2006)

Incredibly powerful look at so-called urban riots. Amazing footage.

Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired
½

Very thorough, compelling documentary telling the untold story behind why Roman Polanski fled the US. I think having sex with a 14-year-old is stupid and wrong. However, it seems that his judge was looking for publicity and having declared he would make Polanski do time continually harassed and tried to railroad him - despite the fact that all instutions recommended he ought to be put on probation and serve no time. Since then, he's a respected filmmaker in France. People do bad things, but the hysteria around this case has obscured the fact that he didn't murder anyone. His parents were killed in Nazi death camps, his wife and unborn child were murdered by Manson family members - he had issues, to say the least. But he's made brilliant films.

The Divorcée
½

Though totally tame by today's standards, this film falls into the category "pre-code" - between south and 1934, when the Production Code began to be applied stringently. It's pretty impressive in that light.

High Fidelity

Jack Black's performance is perfect.

Sir! No Sir!
Sir! No Sir!(2006)

Fantastic account of the movement that helped ended the Vietnam war.

Shaun of the Dead

Very clear alignment of regular people with zombies. The whole thing about zombies being well-made for the service industry is pretty brilliant.

Disco Pigs
Disco Pigs(2003)

It is indeed "90 minutes you will never foreget." The acting is phenomenal and though the story itself is not particularly impressive, the language is this marvelous Shakespearean Cork slang mixture. It's really gorgeous, even if you can't quite figure out what they're talking about. This is why Cilllian Murphy is clearly a great actor.

Bend It Like Beckham
½

A chickflick guilty pleasure. I get way too much satisfaction from seeing Keira Knightley as the rejected one. Parminder is, however, clearly gorgeous and she is plain.

Love & Sex
Love & Sex(2000)
½

Good, smart, funny film, and directed by a woman or an unfortunately man.

Open Your Eyes (Abre los Ojos)
½

Don't watch 'Vanilla Sky' - watch this.

The Secret Lives of Dentists
½

Campbell Scott looks like a rapist when he has a mustache. However he and Hope Davis are great together (acting opposite one another)

The American Nightmare
½

Adam's story is so cute. I kind of know two of the people repeatedly interviewed! Very smart documentary

Marty
Marty(1955)
½

I think this movie is great. It seems to be one of the origin movies about awkward people finding other awkward people. They both think they're ugly, uninteresting and they're both shy. Very sweet and well-done.

Greenfingers
Greenfingers(2001)

Very sweet and I like the idea the rehabilitatioin-oriented prison.

I Am Legend
I Am Legend(2007)
½

As someone on one of my RSS feeds wrote, "Where did all the awesome go?"

All That Heaven Allows

Why did ANYone ever think that Jane Wyman and Rock Hudson were a good pair. A classic of melodrama (potentially progressive).

Rasputin
Rasputin(1996)
½

It's so smart to have Alan Rickman play Rasputin, because no one can understand why anyone, let alone hundreds of anyones, would ever have sex with Rasputin. But Rickman is sexy, so we can kind of understand it more. Plus, we know that in real life he does bathe and brush his teeth, which we don't know about the real Rasputin.

Blackballed: The Bobby Dukes Story
½

Great performances. The Robs are unstoppable (Corddry, Riggle, Huebel). Paul Scheer/Lenny was so sweet and pathetic. Riggle really scared me because he was really a Marine.

Story of Women (Une Affaire de Femmes)

Somewhat similar to 'The Marriage of Maria Braun,' this film explores the burdens borne by women during WWII.

Permanent Midnight
½

Stiller in a serious role and yet Owen Wilson still plays a stoned side-kick.

Bulworth
Bulworth(1998)
½

I need to watch this again

The Cooler
The Cooler(2003)
½

Great indie comedy/drama

Arsenic and Old Lace

Silly, feels like the play that it is

Peggy Sue Got Married

The Nicolas Cage/Elvis connection begins...

Exotica
Exotica(1994)

Yum. Elias Koteas, Don McKellar & Atom Egoyan. Great combo. I love it that you don't know what's going on until the very end, when all the strands come together. Atmospheric, powerfull film.

State and Main
½

Solid indie comedy/drama, great cast

Dave
Dave(1993)

A classic romantic-comedy about that idealistic man who suddenly gets thrust into a political leadership role....

Hannah and Her Sisters

I'm rather unimpressed by this movie and resent the fact that 'My Beautiful Laundrette' didn't get the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Woody Allen does not impress me very much. I've never really understood his appeal. I can give him 'Annie Hall' and 'Everything...Sex...' and 'Love and Death' and maybe a couple of others.

Sgt. Bilko
Sgt. Bilko(1996)
½

Kind of like the Reno 911 treatment of the military

Airheads
Airheads(1994)
½

This is a total classic. Buscemi!

Mixed Nuts
Mixed Nuts(1994)

Strange holiday ensemble, situational ...thing. Jon Stewart plays Roller Blader 1. Pretty good movie.

Blankman
Blankman(1994)
½

David Alan Grier is severly underutilized

House Arrest
House Arrest(1996)

It's really sad how many times I saw this. I liked that kid a lot at the time.

Simone (S1m0ne)

What a good idea and what a terrible execution

RocketMan
RocketMan(1997)
½

It's only not unbearably annoying if you like Harland Williams.

Amos & Andrew

I remember this being horrible. Luckily, I chose to forget most of it.

Six Degrees of Separation
½

Upsetting, but an admittedly great film. This is the one in which Will Smith proved that he could act.

The Million Dollar Hotel
½

This was pretty interesting with a great cast. But it's not much coming from Wim Wenders.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

Oh man, I watched at least half of this. The Bee-Gees and Pete Frampton in a movie structured by Beatles' songs. It's wrong on so many levels.

Red Dragon
Red Dragon(2002)
½

Guess what, you can't make Ralph Fiennes ugly with a hair lip.

Space Jam
Space Jam(1996)

Oh, my childhood

Yentl
Yentl(1983)

Why the singing? Mandy Patinkin is pretty great, though.

Santa Sangre
Santa Sangre(1989)
½

Fantastic reworking of "Psycho" - perverse and lovely. The kind of crazy mixture of deliciousness only Jodorowsky could pull off. That son of his is really attractive. He has about a billiion of 'em, which is convenient when you need actors.

Reno 911!: Miami
½

So awesome if you considered that besides the general plot, it's improved. It's a lot better than most movies that are scripted!

Spellbound
Spellbound(2002)

So American that it's kind of sad

Twelfth Night
½

Decent adaptation of a truly amazing Shakespeare play

Mr. Holland's Opus

This one really gets me

French Kiss
French Kiss(1995)
½

I think it's Kevin Kline and his faux-Frenchness that at fault for me liking this movie. The idea that anyone would worry themselves about that Timothy Hutton is absurd.

Sabrina
Sabrina(1995)
½

I'm ashamed of how many times I watched this when I was 11.

Good Burger
Good Burger(1997)

Keenan and Kel. Keenan and Kel. They were the best. They were like the Bob & David of Nickelodeon.

Pootie Tang
Pootie Tang(2001)
½

Cult favorite of comedy geeks. Louis CK disowned it when my brother and I met him after he did a show at CMU. We all secretly love it. Chris Rock is awesome in it

Bio-Dome
Bio-Dome(1996)
½

I have seen this a shameful amount of times (btw, Kylie Minogue is in it)

Picture Perfect

Not bad [Note: I've seen it about 4 times]

Corky Romano
Corky Romano(2001)
½

A family favorite

A Simple Twist of Fate

Very sad for Steve Martin

Josie and the Pussycats
½

It gets this much only because of Alan Cumming and Parker Posey.

Juwanna Mann
Juwanna Mann(2002)
½

This one grew on me

Closer
Closer(2004)

Not predictable like I thought it would be. The chatting thing almost scandalized me only because of all the respectable folk in it. Oh Clive Owen...

Out Cold
Out Cold(2001)

Awful movie, thank goodness Zach Galifiniakis is in it. He needs to come to Pittsburgh because when The Comedians of Comedy came neither him NOR Patton were there and now they're breaking up! Poo,

Secretary
Secretary(2002)

Behold, James Spader, master of all kinky movies (pun intended)

The Wings of the Dove
½

The guy in this is elegant and irresistable and seems to be in something that might be considered the "woman's" position vis-a-vis Helen Bonham Carter.

Good Bye, Lenin!

That Daniel Brühl has done some cool, political movies.

Adaptation
Adaptation(2002)

Original, another mind-fuck from Kaufman and Jonze.

The Wedding Banquet (Xi yan)
½

Great. Almost like a screw-ball comedy

Dead Man on Campus
½

Black comedies the way they ought to be and Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Zack Morris) being actually funny.

American Movie

I feel ashamed that I laughed so much. It seems the entire movie's appeal is in pitying them, but I did have to watch it for my Film Analysis class.

Happy Accidents
½

Very sweet, interesting romantic comedy

The Ladies Man

Tim Meadows is so underrated, he was on SNL for about 10 years

The Tao of Steve

Donal Logue is great. One of the most interesting romantic-comedies I've seen in a while

The End of the Affair

I'm pretty sure this one is depressing, need to see the entirety

Get Real
Get Real(1999)
½

I love this movie!!! British boys, they're irresistable. And yes I do watch Logo Movies too much. I saw this one before Logo existed though.

Before Night Falls
½

I saw this before Bardem was all the rage and was totally thrown by the fact that Johnny Depp was in it

Sorority Boys
½

It is worth seeing the Smallville Lex Luther in drag

The Broken Hearts Club
½

Wonderful cast, portraying gay men just as miserable as the rest of us

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

If you thought that after seeing Daniel Day-Lewis as Bill The Butcher and Daniel Plainview that it was impossible for him to be associated with sex at all, watch this. It's kind of fun because he's a total womanizer and even though his hair is terrible, he is sexy. Plus, look for a 20-year-old Juliette Binoche and Lena Olin, who is eternally sexy. My favorite part is the middle where the whole thing about 1968 actually comes up! I'm sure the book emphasizes that a lot more!

Mambo Italiano

I need to see the beginning of this, because I've seen the last half at least 3 times. I assure you Luke Kirby is even more adorable without that curly hair (see: Slings & Arrows Season 1). I like the realistic ending.

My Life in Pink (Ma Vie en Rose)

Belgian comedy/drama about the struggles of a boy who dares to refuse to be a boy. Fantastic fantasy sequences.

Total Eclipse
½

Marvelous performances by a very young and not yet famous Leonardo DiCaprio and David Thewlis. Bitter-sweet drama.

Kissing a Fool

I must admit that I like this movie a lot. Jason Lee's character is great.

Max
Max(2002)
½

Fascinating film, with a great cast. I think the idea of insisting that Hitler be seen only as 'evil' is hysterical and nonsensical. After all, it is the fact that Hitler was human and the idea that people are capable of such horror that makes people so quick to other him. Things like that happen when people don't study history and don't take power-hungry populist leaders seriously. Thought-provoking film, not as good at looking at history, but good at showing Hitler in a context that prevents people from casting him as some kind of demon from cradle to grave, thus DENYING the fact that there were circumstances that allowed someone as pathetic as him to have so much power. In terms of Hitler movies, this one is going in the right direction

Bootmen
Bootmen(2000)
½

= working class characters + dancing movie + Australia + Adam Garcia

Manic
Manic(2003)

Decent movie, very good cast

The Red Violin (Le violon rouge)
½

Lovely vignettes + Don McKellar

Walking and Talking
½

Awesome indie ensemble cast. Solid independent comedy/drama

The Tesseract

Pretty cool movie (but not as good as a film as The Beach, an adaptation by the same author, who now writes for the screen - 28 Days Later and Sunshine). This proves that like Ralph Fiennes in that Hannibal Lector movie, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers is impossible to 'uglify' unless he doesn't have a nose (Voldemort), J R-M is entirely too pretty to pass as an average person, not even with messy hair!

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

Australian drag queens - can anything be more awesome?

Lucky Numbers

This was kind of funny, if I remember correctly

Casual Sex?
Casual Sex?(1988)

Dice? Come on. I think the answer is 'No.' The only thing funny about Andrew Dice Clay is the Sklar Brothers' routine about him.

The Hebrew Hammer
½

I love this movie! Because I'm a Semite-oplhile, I love Adam Goldberg and it's ridiculous. It's not even that funny.

Psycho Beach Party
½

Crazy and weird, need to see the whole thing

The Lady Eve
The Lady Eve(1941)

I can never hate Barbara Stanwyck.

Plan 9 from Outer Space

Another unbearable cult classic, that hipsters love to watch ironically.....[rolls eyes]

Pillow Talk
Pillow Talk(1959)

The basis for that train wreck "Down with Love." Notice several things that wound up in Austin Powers. Kinda fun

Eddie Izzard - Dress to Kill
½

Maybe it DOES take a foreigner to properly criticize American arrogance - no nonsense recounting of the history of Western civilization.

The Shop Around the Corner

Not a good enough movie to warrant the remake 'You've Got Mail'

Russian Ark
Russian Ark(2002)

Overrated but worth watching as it is a feat of filmmaking

The Birth of a Nation
½

Unfortunately, this film is one of the foundations on which American cinema stands. It's awash in hysterical racism and all the stereotypes of Black men who only want to rape your pretty little lily-white daughter. I'm proud to be a socialist because Eugene V. Debs was instrumental in a demonstration against this film, even though the Socialist Party was very mixed up about how to fight racism.

Sullivan's Travels

Very revealing and somewhat bold movie about poverty (and Hollywood)

Wandāfuru raifu (After Life)

This movie was sooooo good. Fascinating premise, which is expanded quite effectively.

I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang

Excellent, has pretty good politics, all things considered.

Nanook of the North
½

Amazing, but also a controversial and an act in exoticizing.

High and Low (Tengoku to jigoku)
½

Toshiro Mifune as a not-sexy bourgeoisie guy getting his comeuppance. Actually a good version of this hostage plot.

Imitation of Life

This movie does not star Lana Turner. It stars Juanita Moore, unfortunately as a racial martyr of sorts. A very affective Sirk melodrama.

The Battle of Algiers (La Battaglia di Algeri)
½

Marvelous. Beautiful, tragic, desperate people. So well done, it looks real. CIA/DOD folks showed this to strategists for the Iraq War - you know, as preparation for a resistance. It's quite convenient that Algeria is also a largely Arabic-speaking, Muslim country. Makes it easier to know exactly how to humiliate "our" "enemies".

Everyone Says I Love You
½

Pretty annoying, but perhaps worth watching

Los Olvidados
½

Fantastic use of melodrama and confused designation of the moral center. That young man, he's just gorgeous and surprisingly sympathetic.

She Done Him Wrong
½

Fucking sweet. Mae West was one of hell of a woman. And look at a young Cary Grant - with make-up!

Saved by the Bell---Wedding in Las Vegas

Hahahaha! Oh man. Like an episode of this godawful/hilarious show needed to be any longer!

Kickin' It Old Skool
½

This is a really bad movie - but cute at times.

Sleepless in Seattle
½

Apparently, there's nothing that makes a romantic-comedy more than Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks - this is one of at least three of theirs.

The Fugitive
The Fugitive(1993)

If you are a loser and watch 'Scrubs' on Comedy Central as much as I do (less now because they're all repeats) - you will know that the brilliant improv sketch comedian that plays Janitor/Jumpsuit really was in this. Plus, the wonderful John Krasinski did a hilarious fake PSA about this movie.

L'uccello dalle piume di cristallo (The Bird With the Crystal Plumage)

Great. Those images of the woman, where he's forced to watch but unable to help her - classic Argento.

The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie

Hasselhoff has totally reinvented himself as a parody of himself.

Spider-Man 3
Spider-Man 3(2007)

Oh my goodness, finally, Tobey Maguirre is shown to be the dork he really is - when he turns bad, it's really funny.

Accepted
Accepted(2006)

Within this rather silly film, is the kernal of radical education! There's really a lot going on, surprisingly enough.
Lewis Black + Justin Long + Jonah Hill = funniness

Suspiria
Suspiria(1977)
½

[drools] The plot makes no sense, but the atmosphere is delectable

Bad Santa
Bad Santa(2003)

Actually kind of good. Tony Cox (the 'elf) really needs to be in more movies. He's unforgettable as "the colored elf" in 'The Hebrew Hammer.' Yay, Ajay Naidu (Samir in 'Office Space') is back!

The Usual Suspects
½

To think, if Obama wins, Stephen Baldwin vows he'll leave the country....

28 Days Later
½

All horror/psychological thriller/disaster films should aim to be as good as this. Great politics, haunts you.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2
½

Dennis Hopper. Stretch, Leatherface and sex and the successful business was interesting. And I liked that it was the family that was being hunted. But that cavernous vagina of a home was entirely too elaborate to be believable. That was clearly made by two dozen talented craftspeople and not three cannibals.

25th Hour
25th Hour(2003)
½

Decent, but nothing extraordinary from Spike Lee

Primal Fear
Primal Fear(1996)
½

Edward Norton is unbelievable in this. I highly recommend the book because it gets a lot deeper into his character's past.

Secret Window
½

Predictable. But the fact that John Torturro is in it, only helps it.

Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn
½

Wow. The first one was like a rough draft for this one. Unpredictable and full of totally, absolutely unnecessarily fancy camera tricks and animation. Fantastic and indulgent!

Children of Men
½

Very smart movie on politics. Very smart. Crazy-awesome. And you'd have to be dead to not love watching Clive Owen - especially when he's not annoyingly suave.

Spartacus
Spartacus(1960)
½

The middle hour is the triumphant one.

America: Freedom to Fascism

Conspiracy theories about the internal revenue service - recommended for libertarians

Ali G Indahouse

Cohen can be really brilliant, but he should have gone at last partially non-fiction

Black Beauty
Black Beauty(1994)

I watched it because David Thewlis was in it. Luckily, no one recommended it - I only have myself to blame.

Jawbreaker
Jawbreaker(1999)

The best part of it - Marilyn Manson playing a really creepy guy at a bar (and with eyebrows, if I remember correctly),

The Wedding Planner
½

I have seen this 2.5 times for no reason

Dead End Drive-In

Awesome, awesome idea. Poor execution.

The Mask
The Mask(1994)

The moment I started to hate Cameron Diaz

Bedazzled
Bedazzled(2000)

I kinda dug this one, but I can't substantiate that

The Da Vinci Code
½

Why did you do it my dear sweet French baby doll? Why? Audrey, you needn't stoop, dear.

In the Cut
In the Cut(2003)
½

I need to watch this again - for the politics

The Mexican
The Mexican(2001)
½

Gandolfini as gay is pretty awesome

The Machinist
½

A combination of Memento and Fight Club, but well done. I must give Christian Bale snaps for losing a person's worth of weight and eating only dressing-less salads, smoking cigarettes and drinking plain coffee for a while. I think it was probably unnecessarily, but may be one of the best parts of the movie.

Love Actually

Fantastic cast of British people and people who are as awesome as British people

Meet the Fockers

I actually liked this one a lot more than 'Meet the Parents' - it was probably because of Dustin Hoffman and how Bobby D's character was cut down to size.

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
½

Sketches clearly work better and the satirizing of Americans and American values doesn't quite make up for the portrayal of Kazakhs and Muslims as backward, which unfortunately, is not totally clear to all people.

Marie Antoinette

I so don't get why Sophia Coppola is so impressive. I was fairly certain that another film about these people was totally unnecessary. They're really terribly uninteresting. Though, the honesty of the portrayal of her as totally out of touch is appreciated.

The Lady From Shanghai

The best part about this is the fun house stuff.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Watch out for the gay body-builder scene and how they ignore Jane Russell, it's fantastic.

Showgirls
Showgirls(1995)

Too many boobs. And Kyle McLachlan? Ridiculous film, just ridiculous. Clearly a horrifically bad movie and also irresistable

Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss
½

Some great elements, some eh ones

Hocus Pocus
Hocus Pocus(1993)
½

Classic. Everything about it that is bad is delicious

Anders als die Andern (Different from the Others)
½

Wow. One of the first films to ever address homosexuality - and of course Magnes Hirschfeld is involved (my favorite gay, Jewish, socialist sexologist!)

Iran: A Cinematographic Revolution
½

They interviewed a female director and no one even mentioned she was a woman - and we're the ones that don't oppress women!

A Foreign Affair

Unever, but fascinating. Poor Jean Arthur.

The Tarnished Angels
½

In the context of Douglas Sirk, Rock Hudson and melodrama this movie struck me thusly: Huh?

Let's Go to Prison
½

Chi McBride + Will Arnett
Need I say more?

Mother
Mother(1926)
½

Join the revolution, y'all!

Sade
Sade(2000)
½

Subtle, fascinating take on the Marquis. Erotic and thought-provoking.

The Mummy
The Mummy(1932)
½

Boris is king

Bram Stoker's Dracula
½

For once, Stoker's hideous Dracula is shown, but then he becomes a really hot Gary Oldman.

Freaks
Freaks(1932)

A monster movie that makes you think about what a monster movie is

Dopamine
Dopamine(2003)
½

Very original take on romance

Cecil B. Demented
½

Guerrilla Filmmaking!

Flirting
Flirting(1992)
½

I love this movie

Mumia Abu-Jamal: A Case for Reasonable Doubt
½

This pissed me off so much because it's now been another 11 years. I always wonder if these prosecutors (people on the side of "the man") and such are aware of how naive and silly what they say is. I don't know what's worth - being so indoctrinated that you can seriously endorse this injustice or else being total fucking liars. Black radicals and journalists beware, the cops will stoop to anything.

Hot Fuzz
Hot Fuzz(2007)

That's the bourgeois mentality, there.

This Film Is Not Yet Rated
½

About the MPAA, an unelected, unaccountable and secretive organization that determines which films we won't see.

Shall We Dance? (Shall We Dansu?)

A window into the mind of a typical salaryman. Beware of the Hollywood remake.

Salņ o le 120 giornate di Sodoma (Salņ, or the 120 Days of Sodom)

Probably the most disturbing film I've ever seen. What parents would let their children even be on the set of this movie?

Deep Red (Profondo rosso)

Great giallo murder-mystery. One thing that was distracting was that maybe 1/4 or 1/3 of the dialog was in Italian for no reason I could discern and most of these movies aren't on Criterion or anything fancy, so there are no subtitles, at least I couldn't get any. Crazy-awesome camera movement, fantastic camera angles (are they POV shots? you never know), great score by Goblins - who I'm starting to kind of dig.

Silkwood
Silkwood(1983)
½

Powerful look at the consequences of bad working conditions

They Live
They Live(1988)
½

Great way to teach the Marxist concept of ideology

Avalon
Avalon(2001)
½

Fascinating, lush