Saturday, November 13, 2004

Don't Call It a Comeback, Part 2 

I was sitting here making a list of all the films I've still got to review on this blog. It started getting ridiculously long, and I realized that the only way to knock them out now was to provide a super-condensed comment for each. I profusely apologize for this . . .

Now in alphabetical order (because I really don't remember when I saw a lot of these):

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (Adam McKay, 2004) - Laughed my ass of is all; it's consitently, wonderfully insane, truly off-the-wall stuff. Steve Carrell rocks my socks ("I love lamp."). B+

Before Sunset (Richard Linklater, 2004) - Never seen Before Sunrise, and it absolutely didn't matter. A delightful film with no purpose but to put us in the company of two intelligent, endearing people for 90 minutes, imbued with Linklater's typically generous worldview. A-

Collateral (Michael Mann, 2004) - A little disappointing (beware the third-act plot contrivances), but still pretty good. I always knew Jaime Foxx had it in him. B

Fahrenheit 9/11 (Michael Moore, 2004) - Look, I agree with the guy's opinion of Bush, but Moore is very quickly over-exposing himself. I'll grant that some of Moore's old populist humor n' pathos still comes through, but Moore's content doesn't lend itself well to so much lecturing. B-

Garden State (Zach Braff, 2004) - Braff has some potential, but his keen audio-visual sense is torpedoed by his own shallow script (Natalie Portman's character is lacking in motiviation, oh, pretty much all the time). Props for the awesome soundtrack, though. C+

Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (Mamoru Oshii, 2004) - I dig me some anime, but even I have to admit that several animators of the Japanese persuasion tend to indulge in the philosophical mumbo-jumbo a bit too much, at the expense of things like the character and the story. This is another example of such. C

Hero (Zhang Yimou, 2004) - Some find this film's politics troubling, but I'm still willing to extend the benefit of the doubt that the message is more ambiguous than imperialistic. Not quite to the level of Zhang's early masterpieces, but still pretty enthralling for long stretches, and undeniably gorgeous. B

I, Robot (Alex Proyas, 2004) - Yeah, you thought it was gonna suck too, right? Well, it doesn't suck, and it isn't the horrible demolition of Asimov's ideas we all expected, though the cop-movie formula is followed a little too closely for me to take this film seriously (will Chi McBride ever get to play something other than a school principal or police chief? Stay tuned!). B-

King Arthur (Antoine Fuqua, 2004) - One good scene (on the frozen lake). Otherwise, it's a dull, nonsensical, ugly mess, so self-serious it's impossible to even enjoy as camp. C-

Open Water (Chris Kentis, 2004) - The opportunities for an incisive critique of man's relationship to nature or in-depth character development of a couple reacting to crisis are jettisoned so the director can just throw some people in the water and give them threat after threat to pad the movie to 90 minutes. Doesn't work as verite either, with all the self-conscious cutaways to Indifferent Nature and so forth. C

Resident Evil: Apocalypse (Alexander Witt, 2004) - I don't think I even need to explain why this sucked. D+

Shaun of the Dead (Edgar Wright, 2004) - Clever, just-this-side-of-serious parody of zombie movies. All this, and some touching moments too -- good times. B

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (Kerry Conran, 2004) - Everything is in place here to make a terrific adventure: Fast-paced story? Check. Cool effects? Check. Some good action sequences? Check. Memorable characters? Well, you can't have everything. B-

The Village (M. Night Shyamalan, 2004) - Night, you're a swell director, and you always deliver some terrific atmosphere and at least one brilliant sequence. But dude, it's time for an intervention about the plot twists; this movie could've been so much better if you weren't so addicted to the darn things. C+

We Don't Live Here Anymore (John Curran, 2004) - Jill Cozzi nailed it pretty well over on the Cinemarati boards, so I'll let her take it from here: "You self-indulgent twits, get the fuck over yourselves already! You have kids, dammit!" C

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