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2004 Mini Reviews

January and February Screening Log (2004)

2/28: Broken Lizard's Club Dread (2004): 5/10

Club Dread was okay. It was a slightly better movie than Super Troopers, but didn't have a lot of the great comedic moments. There were some funny lines and a few laughs here and there, but even for a guilty pleasure it was somewhat disappointing. I give it a 5, and that's generous.

2/28: The Dreamers (2004): 5/10

In a word, messy. As much as I disliked the film, I have to admit that I loved the soundtrack, which seemed to be more of an homage to the time than anything else in the film. The sex and incestual bits didn't really bother me too much, but the problems were really in the character development and messy plot.

2/27: Seven Samurai (1954): 10/10

Another film who many others have raved about before me. Still, this was probably the quickest 3.5 hours I've spent in a film, and that includes the Lord of the Rings experience. Toshiro Mifune really was fantastic.

2/26: The 400 Blows (1959): 10/10

It's hard to say much about films that have already been written about endlessly. This film definitely deserves its masterpiece status, and Antoine is one of the more interesting characters I've seen in film.

2/25: I am Trying to Break Your Heart (2002): 7/10

This is the Wilco movie about their troubles recording Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. It's a well-done film, probably more oriented towards fans of the band. I didn't care for the pot shots they took on former guitarist Jay Bennett, or for the David Fricke insights, but it was still a good film.

2/24: Vertigo (1958): 10/10 - second viewing

Many consider this to be Hitchcock's masterpiece. I still think that Rebecca deserves that title, but this is definitely up there.

2/23: Once Upon a Time in the West (1968): 10/10 - second viewing

Cheyenne's (Jason Robards) comment about the hero late in the film seems to sum up Leone's directorial style. "He's whittlin' on a piece of wood. I've got a feeling when he stops whittlin'... Somethin's gonna happen." Something does indeed happen, but the pacing is very deliberate, almost as if Leone were whittling some wood with his characters, as the story worked itself to the final conflict. This film, simply put, is a masterpiece.

2/22: The Twilight Samurai (2004): 8/10

Instead of a sweeping epic with momentous battles, this is a character-driven film set during the beginning of the Meiji Restoration. It's a little melodramatic, obvious, and a bit tugging, but I found it to be a wonderful tale about complicated people living during a period of transition.

2/19: The Graduate (1967): 9/10

2/18: Aguirre, The Wrath of God (1972): 7/10

2/17: Glory (1989): 10/10 - second viewing

One of the greatest war epics ever. It's as simple as that.

2/17: Lucia, Lucia (2003): 3/10

Pretty poor writing really dragged this film down. Towards the end, I really didn't care anymore what happened to any of the characters.

2/16: Waiting for Guffman (1996): 7/10

Probably the weakest of all the Guest films, but still extremely funny with some classic dialog. "We consider ourselves bi-coastal if you consider the Mississippi River one of the coasts."

2/16: Tokyo Godfathers (2004): 6/10

After seeing the brilliance of Kon's last film, Millennium Actress, this was a little disappointing. The story chugged along, and at times it was quite dull, but the end was strong enough to warrant a positive rating.

2/15: Under the Tuscan Sun (2003): 5/10

This movie really looked good, and had some terrific elements. I haven't read the book, but I think it suffers from too faithful of an adaptation, when the boo isn't fiction to begin with. The story was not very interesting, and there wasn't much else to keep one's attention. I was disappointed that there weren't very many shots of scenic Tuscany, which in itself would have made the film much more visually interesting.

2/15: Secondhand Lions (2003): 3/10

Robert Duvall was the only thing that made this film even watchable. Michael Caine was disappointingly hideous, and the writing was some of the worst of the year. If you're thinking about watching this film, go see Big Fish instead. Similar story, but 10 times better.

2/14: Lost in Translation (2003): 10/10 - third viewing
This film just gets better every time.

2/13: The Triplets of Belleville (2003): 8/10
Everything about this film is unique, from the animation style, to the plot, and it is the only film I have ever seen that has a steady narrative without dialog. About halfway through the movie, I noticed that I had a constant smile on my face, which is very surprising for me. Maybe it's because this was so unique and visually impressive. Maybe it was the constant train barking, which never got old.

2/12: Intolerable Cruelty (2003): 8/10 - second viewing
This isn't the Coen's greatest film, but any stretch. It does still have a lot going for it, such as some of their best dialog (of course that is always a strength) and some memorable characters.


2/10: Sunset Blvd (1950): 9/10 - third viewing
2/09: Battleship Potempkin (1925): 8/10
2/09: Johnny English (2003): 3/10
2/08: Freaky Friday (2003): 6/10
2/08: Le Divorce (2003): 2/10
2/08: Kitchen Stories (2004): 7/10
2/07: City of God (2003): 10/10
2/06: Blue Collar Comedy Tour (2003): 4/10
2/05: Against the Ropes (2004): 5/10
2/04: American Splendor (2003): 9/10 - second viewing
2/03: The Fog of War (2003): 9.5/10
2/01: S.W.A.T. (2003): 6/10
2/01: Dancer in the Dark (2000): 4/10
1/31: Girl with a Pearl Earring: 7/10
1/29: Blind Spot: Hitler's Secretary: 5/10
1/28: Capturing the Friedmans (2003): 8/10
1/26: Dr. Strangelove (1964): 10/10 - third viewing
1/25: I Capture the Castle (2003): 5/10
1/25: The Rules of the Game (1939): 10/10
1/24: Lost in Translation (2003): 9/10 - second viewing
1/23: American Wedding (2003): 5/10
1/23: Citizen Kane (1941): 10/10 - second viewing
1/22: Spellbound (2003). 8/10
1/21: Anything But Love (2003). 0/10
1/18: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (2003). 6/10
1/17: The Cooler (2003). 4/10