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time for more quick shots

Posted by martinteller on September 18, 2014

Rewatching Out of the Past on Blu-Ray didn’t really change my opinion at all.  It’s a terrific movie and has just about everything you could ask for in a film noir.  The dialogue is fantastic.  That said, it isn’t a movie that pushes my buttons in any special way.  I have no problem keeping it on my top 100 noirs, or holding on to the disc, but it’s not likely to get heavy rotation around here.  Rating: Very Good (86)

I actually had to look up two of the main stars in Someone Like You, that’s how forgettable Ashley Judd and Greg Kinnear were after less than a week.  Hugh Jackman and Marisa Tomei are both enjoyable, and the movie certainly isn’t offensively bad or anything.  But it is problematic.  Jane Goodale’s (Ashley Judd, and yes the character name is a poor joke) “new cow” theory is neither original enough nor clever enough to generate as much buzz as it does.  There seems to be a lack of understanding concerning how both magazines and television work.  And the most egregious thing is that instead of having an empowering moment of self-realization, Jane immediately rushes into the arms of another dude.  A film that could have provided a decent feminist statement instead presents its protagonist as another woman who can only define herself by her relationship to a man.  Too bad.  Rating: Poor (51)

I’ve seen an awful lot of documentaries about and behind-the-scenes footage of Ingmar Bergman, so perhaps it’s not fair to say that But Film Is My Mistress feels like a rehash.  But it does recycle a lot of material seen elsewhere, especially from the 3 1/2 hours of rehearsal footage on Autumn Sonata.  There are some nice contributions from other filmmakers, though, including Scorsese, Assayas and Bertolucci.  Rating: Good (78)

I’m just not that wild about Errol Morris, and A Brief History of Time didn’t do much to convert me.  The film is at its best when it concentrates on Stephen Hawking’s life.  When it tries to explain his work, the problems of condensing his complex theories to an 80-minute feature become apparent.  Half of it flew over my head, and the other half was things we now take for granted, part of the common conversation.  And Morris doesn’t identify any of the interviewees until the end credits.  Maybe it’s an aesthetic choice, he doesn’t want to clutter the screen with titles, or maybe it’s done on principle, like we shouldn’t judge anyone’s thoughts based on who they are or something.  Either way, I found it annoying.  Very good as an introductory portrait of the man, somewhat lacking as an exploration of his ideas.  Rating: Good (71)


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