Friday, January 7, 2011

Shorthand

I've been watching a lot of movies lately. Rather than post about each individually, I'm just going to give a few sentences on each. NO SPOILERS, I promise.

A Perfect Getaway (2009)
Cast: Milla Jovovich, Steve Zahn, Timothy Olyphant, Kiele Sanchez
Genre: Thriller/Mystery
IMDB's Synopsis: Two pairs of lovers on a Hawaiian vacation discover that psychopaths are stalking and murdering tourists on the islands.
My Thoughts: I can't help it. I love Steve Zahn. Somehow, whatever he's in, he manages to be unbelievably hilarious. Even in a film like this, a thriller, he's rife with perfect comedic timing and just the right amount of goofy endearment. Milla is his (should go without saying) sexy-as-hell wife. Sweet, innocent, and infatuated with normalcy. Timothy and Kiele are much more badass, but still just as sweet and lovable.

Black Swan (2010)
Cast: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis
Genre: Drama/Thriller
IMDB's Synopsis: A ballet dancer wins the lead in "Swan Lake" and is perfect for the role of the delicate White Swan, but slowly loses her mind as she becomes more and more like the evil twin sister of the White Swan, the Black Swan.
My Thoughts: Holy fucking shit. That's pretty much it. It was super awesome, a little hard to watch, and endlessly entertaining and mystifying. Maybe not a film for everyone (definitely not children), but a must-see for anyone who's a fan of dance, Natalie Portman, psychologically driven films, or Swan Lake.

Hide and Seek (2005)
Cast: Robert De Niro, Dakota Fanning, Famke Janssen, Elizabeth Shue
Genre: Horror/Mystery/Thriller
IMDB's Synopsis: As a widower tries to piece together his life in the wake of his wife's suicide, his daughter finds solace -- at first -- in her imaginary friend.
My Thoughts: I've heard a lot of people bad mouth this movie, but I have to disagree. I actually quite like it. Pretty much every complaint I've heard about the film, however, states that the plot's too predictable. I don't remember if, on my first viewing, I figured it out before the end, but considering I bothered to track it down and watch it again, I don't think that factored into my enjoyment of the film. Someone pointed out that maybe I only like it because De Niro's in it. To that I say, "So is Elizabeth Shue, and she's an insufferable, torturous, vacuous bore." Yeah, I'm kind of bitter. Again, I don't remember why. But as it stands, I loved it.

In A Dark Place (2006)
Cast: Leelee Sobieski, Tara Fitzgerald
Genre: Horror/Mystery
IMDB's Synopsis: The arts teacher, Anna Veigh, is hired by Mr. Laing as a governess to raise Flora and her brother Miles. Anna begins to believe that the ghosts of the former governess, Miss Jessel, and housekeeper, Peter Quint, are in the property haunting the children after seeing them roaming the grounds. She is determined to protect the children and decides to help them to face the spirits and get their souls free.
My Thoughts: Okay, I admit it. I edited IMDB's synopsis. It was rampant with spoilers and what fun is watching a movie when you know exactly what's coming? Then again, I suppose preventing spoilers for this movie is silly. My exact words as the credits rolled were, "Well, that was retarded." I apologize for my callous use of such a word, but watch the movie and I'm sure you'll forgive me.

Joy Ride (2001)
Cast: Steve Zahn, Paul Walker, Leelee Sobieski
Genre: Horror/Thriller
IMDB's Synopsis: Three young people on a road trip from Colorado to New Jersey talk to a trucker on their CB radio, then must escape when he turns out to be a psychotic killer.
My Thoughts: Two things. 1) Yes! More Steve Zahn! I really do love him, and on occasion, I even love Leelee Sobieski. 2) There is no possible way to edit that synopsis to remove spoilers. The plots just that straightforward. Joy Ride isn't the best film ever, but it is entertaining in a guilty pleasure sort of way. It's just a fun slasher film with a few twists.

Population 436 (2006)
Cast: Jeremy Sisto, Fred Durst
Genre: Drama/Horror/Mystery
IMDB's Synopsis: A census-taker (Sisto) is sent to investigate why a certain small town has had the same population -- 436 residents -- for the last 100 years.
My Thoughts: If you've never heard of this (or Jeremy Sisto), don't feel bad (he was the guy from Clueless -- the movie -- that Cher tried to set up with Tai -- Brittany Murphy). Also, ignore Fred Durst. Everyone else does. In the end, and despite some questionable casting choices (okay, it's really just Fred Durst -- I like Jeremy Sisto), it's actually a pretty good film. It's interesting and weird and definitely better than other films I've found at Blockbuster and thought, "This should be good for a laugh."

Orphan (2009)
Cast: Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard, Isabelle Fuhrman
Genre: Drama/Mystery/Thriller
IMDB's Synopsis: A husband and wife who recently lost their baby adopt a 9-year-old girl who is not nearly as innocent as she claims to be.
My Thoughts: I mostly watched this for Peter Sarsgaard. I fell in love with his acting in The Stepford Wives (the Nicole Kidman one, not the Katharine Ross one) and now I delight in watching him in any number of similarly widely disliked films. And just as I was the only one who actually liked the new take on The Stepford Wives, I'm also the only one who seemed to actually enjoy Orphan. Taking into consideration all of the trivia that IMDB supplies about the film (which I totally just read), the movie has far more layers than just a thriller. It really earns the titles of drama and mystery. Not that the film can't be enjoyed without doing extra reading. This isn't Cloverfield, after all. (Yeah, I hated that.)

That's it for now. I hope this wasn't too long. The next instalment of my mini-reviews will include Case 39, the Feast trilogy, Julie and Julia, Natural Born Killers, The Cave, The Devil Wears Prada, and the Boogeyman trilogy. I've seen them all, minus the Feasts and Natural Born Killers. I'm thinking I may write a full review of True Romance, which I've finally seen (at Jordan's insistence), and the Grindhouse films.

2 comments:

  1. If you like Peter Sarsgaard, you should check out An Education, Shattered Glass, Kinsey, or Boys Don't Cry sometime. Those are really good movies with him in it, especially An Education and Boys Don't Cry.

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  2. Thanks for the suggestions, mfan! I'll have to check those out. I've been meaning to watch Boys Don't Cry for a while.

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