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another big dump of little reviews

Posted by martinteller on March 14, 2016

The Wolfpack – This is an interesting story, but it seems like it should have been more interesting. The buzz around the film was that “these boys learned everything they know from the movies!” so I expected the movie-watching to figure more into how the Angulos’ minds and personalities were shaped. But either that wasn’t a big factor or it wasn’t touched on. The movies were just their entertainment. And as a cinephile, I guess I was disappointed that their cinematic obsessions appeared to be mainly Tarantino and Batman. I guess overall it was engaging but it wasn’t what I’d imagined the story to be, which is why expectations are bad. Rating: Good (73)

Call Me Lucky – I don’t think Barry Crimmins is an especially funny comedian (he’s okay) but he is a compelling individual. I’ve really got nothing else to say about this. A solid doc. Rating: Good (75)

Riffraff (rewatch) – I don’t buy as many DVDs/Blu-Rays as I used to, but I still sometimes make hasty purchases for movies I don’t really need to have in my collection. Riffraff is right on the edge. It’s very entertaining, and I enjoyed my second viewing. But will there ever be a third? When am I going to wake up and say to myself, “Man, I really want to watch Riffraff today”? I can’t picture it, but for now I’ll hold on to it. Rating: Very Good (86)

The Wrong Man (rewatch) – On the fence about this one, too. I’ve always maintained this is underrated Hitchcock, and I still do. It’s not edge-of-your-seat thriller stuff, but there’s a lot of noir and new wave atmosphere to it. But having seen it three (maybe four?) times now, I’m not sure I would gain anything from an additional viewing. Another one I’m keeping “for now”. Rating: Very Good (85)

Mukhsin (rewatch) – No doubts about keeping this one, I just wish I had a decent copy of it. Sadly, it looks like Yasmin Ahmad’s “Orket trilogy” (as well as the director herself) is going to fade further into obscurity, without ever getting a proper release. The third film in the trilogy is the lightest and loveliest of them, even if one can’t help missing Sharifah Amani (though her sisters do an excellent job). I don’t like “championing” movies and telling people they “should” watch this or that. But it would please me if the trilogy (starting with Sepet) gained a wider audience, and maybe attracted the attention of a studio willing to do a worthy home release of the films. Rating: Very Good (88)

About Elly – One of Farhadi’s best, almost up there with A Separation. I would try to avoid reading anything about the content of the film. In fact, I shouldn’t say any more myself. An excellent study of human behavior and relationships. Rating: Very Good (87)

Zoolander (rewatch) – I got Carrie to rewatch this with me, even though she’s not a fan. She is still not a fan. I’m slightly less of a fan. There aren’t as many big laughs as I thought there were. On the other hand, very very little about the movie bugs me, and almost everything is worth at least a smile. It’s a stupid movie, but it’s a stupidity that speaks to me. It’s a comfortable stupidity. Rating: Good (77)

Bedazzled – On the flipside, this movie (the Harold Ramis remake, not the original) is the stupidity that speaks to Carrie… and not to me. I tried to embrace the absurdity of it, get into the spirit of what they were trying to do. It didn’t happen. I had one good laugh, when Fraser is talking with all the sand in his mouth. The rest of it just didn’t do it for me. I can’t decide if Brendan Fraser is the worst choice or the best choice, but one thing I’m sure of is that they tried to nerd him up waaay too much in the beginning. It doesn’t work for Fraser, and it doesn’t work for where the character ends up. Rating: Poor (52)

Edge of Doom (rewatch) – Ah, we’re back to Noirs I Probably Didn’t Need to Buy. EoD is great, it’s a dark as hell movie with real tension and real bitterness. If I was building a library of Film Noir You Should See, it would have a spot. But for my personal collection? Do I need to see it a third time? I don’t think so. Besides, it can get kind of annoying after a while to watch Farley Granger run around and getting mad about a “I want a big funeral!” Because even though this is his best work besides They Live By Night, Granger is a lousy actor. Rating: Very Good (86)

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