Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Movie List 2013: 16 - 35

The continuing list of all the movies I watch this year.

Warning: I occasionally curse a little bit.

* = rewatched



A queen and her rebellious daughter struggle to overcome their differences before their relationshipand the kingdom itselfis torn asunder.

Genre: Animated princess tale

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Is Brave the best of the Pixar movies? No. But is it the only one I own and consistently want to watch again? Yes.

There's a lot of criticism of Brave out there and I'm not going to say it's all unfounded, but I think people went into it with a lot of preconceptions and then were disappointed when it went in another direction.

At the end of the day it's a movie meant for kids, not for 20-somethings. That's what it comes down to and Pixar's wide range of appeal makes people overlook the fact that there is a target audience and it's children.

Personally, I think the movie does a truly brilliant job of taking some complex ideas regarding relationships and putting them into a story form that all age groups can understand and enjoy. Not to mention the fact that the characters are amazing and the animation is gorgeous.


Planet Hulk

The Incredible Hulk is exiled to another planet where he is forced to be a gladiator by an evil king and a prophesied savior to the masses.

Genre: Animated excuse to watch The Hulk smash things

I'm not going to get into why this movie is pretty awful, so let it suffice to say that it is pretty remarkably bad.

However, I do have to concede that when you watch it with your friends while drunk it is extremely entertaining.


Refer Madness

Anti-marijuana propaganda film from 1936.

Genre: Hyperbolic 30s propaganda

I kind of assumed this was satire, but apparently it's legit. You know those informercials where the actors exaggerate minor inconveniences to the point of lunacy? This film is kind of like that, but for the "dangers" of weed.



Immortals are pitted against each other over the centuries until only two remain: the Scottish highlander Connor Macleod and a creul barbarian known as The Kurgan.

Genre: Epic guys-with-swords adventure

Okay, I've gotta be honest: I love Highlander. I'm not sure I love it for the right reasons, but I love it. There's something I just can't help but love about a film that's inherently ridiculous and just embraces that part of itself.

I've seen this one a number of times, but I recently bought the extended edition on DVD* and I feel the need to point out that the extended edition is loads better. I was already a fan, but the extra scenes actually fix a a couple of little things that had bugged me in the original.

Also can we talk about Christopher Lambert for a second? I think I've only seen him in this and in Mortal Kombat and loved him both times. I think he might have gone to the Christopher Walken school of acting though, because his style is both fascinatingly odd and impossible to describe.

I don't know what to say. It is just such an oddly brilliant movie.

*The extended edition was like $5 at Target. I just think that needed to be said for context.


Silver Linings Playbook

A man tries to get his life together after a forced stay in a mental institution, but in order to have a chance to reconcile with his ex-wife he has to make a deal with a strange woman who has problems of her own.

Genre: A romance of flaws

I've already seen this movie 3 times this year and, Lord help me, if I owned it I probably would have seen it another 2-3 times. What can I say? This movie has my number in a big way. I could talk about it at length, but I think what it comes down to is that it's a movie about imperfections. The movie entrenches itself in its characters' flaws, which in turn makes the characters so very interesting and relatable.

Sure, it's still a romance movie and it's still presenting a fairy tale romance, but in this case it's fucked-up fairy tale about mental illness and dysfunctional families and loving someone for their flaws not in spite of them.

And what's not to love about that?


Dale and Tucker Vs Evil

Two friends go to the woods to fix up their new summer home, but when a group of camping college kids mistake them as murderous hillbillies things take a dangerous turn for the worst.

Genre: Funny Horror Parody

To be fair my roommates were watching this and I was only half watching it while I was cooking (and subsequently eating). I did, however, see most of it and what I didn't see I heard...plus I've seen it multiple times before! So I think I'm still qualified to talk about it.

I don't really know what to say though. If you like horror movies and/or movies poking fun at horror movies then I think you'll have a lot of fun with this one. It's an excellent twist on the genre.

As a final note I will say that I would recommend not watching the trailer for this one as it shows you the vast majority of the deaths and that's a dumb thing to do. The surprise behind the bizarre ways in which people end up dying is a huge part of the fun! But that's just me. If you're on the fence, watch the trailer. If you were (like I was) sold on the premise alone, then just watch the movie proper.


La Femme Nikita

A female convict is coerced by a secret agency to be a spy.

Genre: European Spy Character Study

I saw this one entirely because it was the movie that gave birth to the brilliant Leon: The Professional. I'm not really sure how I feel about it. It was good and I'm glad I saw it, but I'm on the fence about the ending. I think I'd have to see it again before I could make a hard decision about it.

I think what I enjoyed most about the movie was that it was told in a much different way from how I'd expect a story like this to be told. It was much more involved with the character and not so much with the spy and the action elements. Those are still central parts of the movie to be sure, but the vast majority of the film is trying to get inside this woman's head. A lot of movies would straight up tell you how she's feeling and what her motivations are, but this one doesn't. It keeps you wondering and guessing and it makes the character all the more interesting because of it.



An high school student tries to unravel the mystery behind the murder of his ex girlfriend.

Genre: Film noir

A while back I asked my friends for some movie recommendations. More specifically I asked for movies that they liked, but that other people have rarely heard of. And this is one of the ones mentioned.

I had heard it was a detective story, but I definitely wasn't expecting it be done in a film noir style and I found the whole thing to be fascinating because of it. Much to my surprise the film noir style seems to fit a high school setting extremely well. Actually in a lot of ways the stereotypes of the genre fit better with the world of high school than the usual world of crime.

If you're a fan of Veronica Mars then this strange mash-up won't be completely foreign to you, but Brick definitely entrenches itself much deeper in the film noir style than Mars did.

It's such an unusual movie, but such a great one. Did I mentioned the star of the movie is a young Joseph Gordon-Levitt?! And he nails it (like usual).



A centuries-old battle wages between the Vampires and the Werewolves. A seemingly unimpressive human finds himself in the middle of their war when the wolves take unusual interest in him and a special agent vampire tries to figure out why.

Genre: Supernatural Action

References to this movie keep popping up so when one of my roommates suggested watching it I was all for it.

I think I understand why people like it, and I've gotta admit that they've definitely created a world with a rich backstory. Most people would have just taken the premise of Vampires vs. Werewolves and slapped on just enough story so they could show a lot of action. The fact that they bothered to flesh it out shows that they really cared about the project, but in the end it just wasn't my kind of thing. The romance seemed forced and I didn't really like any of the characters.


Shadow of the Vampire

A fictionalized account of the making of Nosferatu. The filmmakers are trying to to make the movie, but the lead seems to be taking his role a little too seriously.

Genre: Faux Old-timey Horror

This movie is definitely an odd one, (is John Malkovich ever in  a movie that isn't a little odd?), but it was enjoyable. You gotta love quirky movies that tell offbeat stories. I've never actually seen Nosferatu so I'm sure I'm missing out on a whole additional level to the movie, but the way the story is told you don't really need to have seen it.

A very unique vampire movie, that's for sure. I'd definitely be up for watching it again at some point. If nothing else you'll love the cast: John Malkovich, Eddie Izzard, William Dafoe, it's even got Cary Elwes!


Jiro Dreams of Sushi

A documentary about Jiro Ono: the man regarded as the greatest sushi chef in the world.

Genre: Documentary

A documentary about sushi? And it's on Netflix? Oh, you know I'm there.

The title comes from the fact that sushi is pretty much the only thing Jiro thinks about, thus when he sleeps it's also all he dreams about. You've gotta respect someone who is dedicated to their craft at such an extreme level. But at the same time that's a dedication I will never have and don't really want to have.

I've had people ask me how the movie was and I never really know what to say. It's essentially exactly what it appears to be. If you like/are interested in sushi then you'll definitely enjoy it. If you don't really care then you're probably going to end up a little bored.


Safety Not Guaranteed

A team of magazine writers investigate a bizarre classifieds ad only to find the story leading them in directions they didn't expect.

Genre: Romantic drama with a Sci-Fi twist

I relate to every single character in this movie. It's rare that such a thing happens, but there you are. I don't even know what to say I like it so much. It's just impossibly cute, and weird, and wonderful.


The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

An aging magician tries to revamp his dated act, but in order to do that he's going to have to remember why he fell in love with magic in the first place.

Genre: Goofy comedy

I went and saw this one with a couple of my friends and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It wasn't as good as I had hoped it would be, but it was still fun. Jim Carrey should have gotten more screen time because he was brilliant as always. I also have to give it a lot of credit for having Steve Buscemi as Burt's sidekick. It was such a weird choice and yet such a brilliant one.

Sidenote: The movie features an absolutely hilarious Mandy Patinkin reference that cracked me up something fierce, but no one else in the theater laughed! Just me and my friends. What is the world coming to when no one laughs at Mandy Patinkin jokes?


Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

A queen tries to have someone remove the heart of her step-daughter, because the girl is prettier than she is, but more accurately BECAUSE THE QUEEN IS INSANE! The hired gun, however, realizes that he can't bring himself to kill and remove the heart of a young girl, BECAUSE HE'S A DECENT PERSON. Anyways, Snow White breaks into a cottage in the woods and the dwarfs who live there decide to let her live with them.

Genre: Classic Animated Fairy Tale

Okay, so there's a slew of Disney movies coming up here and I feel obligated to explain. You see, I realized that I haven't seen any of the classic Disney movies in many, many years and decided to do something about that and had a little Disney movie marathon. It was a pretty gosh-darn good night. But who cares about me? Not me! Let's talk about movies.

Here's something you might not remember about Snow White: it looks terrible compared to the other Disney movies. It was rotoscoped all up the wazoo and the effect is super creepy. I appreciate all the advances it made to animation and its role in animation history, but that doesn't change the fact that it's a little weird. Especially when you're used to a certain style from Disney. It's much more similar to other old cartoons of its era then it is to the Disney films I grew up on.


Beauty and the Beast

A prince acts like a jerk to a witch and is cursed into the form of a super-strong but scary-looking beast until he can find true love. His servants, however, are cursed to be furniture because...I dunno. F#% the lower class, amiright? In an attempt to break the curse he blackmails a girl into being a captive at his house. This is met with mixed results.

Genre: Classic Animated Fairy Tale

If you ever get the opportunity to watch Disney movies with 2 animators and a composer I highly suggest you take advantage of it. You learn all sorts of interesting things. Did you know that when Gaston is falling to his death there's a brief moment where skulls appear in his eyes? I DID NOT KNOW THAT! Seriously, go watch it and try to catch it. Amazing.

I don't really need to do proper reviews of these ones, right? You've all seen them. You all already have your own opinions on them. But I like this one. It's one of my favorites. Although it would be made a lot better if the Beast's human form didn't look so goshdarn awful. I mean honestly, whoever made the decision to use that character design should be severely reprimanded. Someone told me that when they saw it as a kid they cried when they saw the Beast's human form.

Which is an understandable response.


The Great Mouse Detective

A detective takes on a case to find a girl's missing father when he suspects that his arch-nemesis might have been involved, however, it seems that the case might be more dire than he first suspected.

Genre: Animated Detective Story

This is my 2nd favorite Disney movie right here. I love it. It's an animated Sherlock Holmes story, Vincent Price is the bad guy, it's got some parts that are legitimately creepy/of questionable appropriateness, it's got everything!



A crew of assholes sail to North America in search of gold, but when they don't find any they decide to act like dicks to the natives instead. Oh, and one of the native girls falls in love with one of the assholes for some reason.

Genre: Animated musical

Disney really loves their stereotypes don't they? While watching this I found that I can no longer hear the character John Smith without imagining Mel Gibson in the recording booth. Which is generally why I hate when studios try to use big name actors in animation.

Ugh, I couldn't even begin to think about the merits of this movie because one of the lead characters was so distracting, but I'll try anyways: it's not very good. "Colors of the Wind"? Brilliant. An absolutely amazing scene. Most everything else? Kind of meh? It's another one of those romance stories where I cannot figure out why they love each other. Sure, I could see why they could be friends, but not people so in love as to risk death over.



A parasitic alien slug crash lands in a small town and attempts to infect the populace.

Genre: Profoundly weird Horror with Humor

I've been wanting to see this movie for quite some time. I mean it's a horror movie starring Nathan Fillion! How could you not want to see that?

I don't even know what to say about it though. It is wholly bizarre. Like...a combination of Army of Darkness, The Fly (1986), and The Crazies? I'm actually a bit disappointed that I watched this by myself as this definitely strikes me as one to watch with someone else. If for no other reason than to have someone who can relate to the strangeness of what you just saw.

So yeah. It was good! I'd watch it again, but only if someone else was with me to share in the insanity.


Thir13en Ghosts

A family inherits a house that turns out to be home to a rather unique collection of ghosts.

Genre: Haunted House Horror

Is it weird to say that I really enjoyed this movie despite the fact that most of it isn't very good? The thing about it is the parts that are good are really fun. The visuals of the house are very unique, the multiple distinct ghosts are all quite interesting, the idea of being able to cage ghosts and the expansion of that idea into a collection of ghosts is extremely intriguing, and to top it all off the practical effects used for the ghosts just makes them all the better.

The big problem is that the reveal of the purpose behind the house is just silly, and that most of the actors are not a great fit. Pretty much everyone plays these impossibly bland characters. A lot of them disappear at some point in the movie and you hardly even notice because they were adding nothing to the movie at all. The notable exception to this being Matthew Lillard who was amazing. I kind of want to see the movie again just for him. I am a big Lillard fan though, but even with my bias I still think it's pretty obvious that he steals the show. Plus his character was the only one who had realistic motivations.

Anything else I would mention about the movie was already summed up much more eloquently in Joey Comeau's review.



When a giant asteroid is found to be headed towards Earth the planet's only hope lies in a roughneck team of oil drillers.

Genre: Explosions

Armageddon gets a lot of flak for being ridiculous and physically impossible and all sorts of other things and you know what? Those people are 100% correct. HOWEVER, they are missing the point entirely. The point is that the movie is ridiculous and over-the-top! That's exactly what makes it so much fun. No one is watching this for the cinematic artistry. They're watching it because it's full of explosions and hilarious one liners and if you like explosions and one-liners then you will not be disappointed.

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