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2004 Mini Reviews


This section is temporarily on hiatus.

7/9: Straw Dogs (1971): 9/10

7/7: Seeing Other People (2004) - 7/10

7/5: Exotica (1995) - 8/10

7/4: The Terminal (2004) - 4/10

7/3: Bad Santa (2003) - 7/10

7/1: The Weather Underground (2002) - 7/10

6/29: Before Sunset (2004) - 10/10


6/28: Rear Window (1954) - 8/10 second viewing

6/26: Before Sunrise (1995) - 9/10

6/25: Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)


6/23: Spartan (2004) - 5/10

Mamet may have lost a step.

6/22: La Vie Promise (2002) - 7/10

Stands out mostly due to the interesting direction and the performance by Isabelle Huppert. The script was bland and the pacing was unnecessarily slow, otherwise this could have been a masterpiece.

6/20: Touching the Void (2004): 7/10

One of the most scenic documentaries you can see. The real voices narrating the events over recreations was very effective. My only complaint is that I felt I only received half the story. I didn't really learn a lot about them as individuals, but only about the incident itself.

6/18: The Mudge Boy (2004) - 5/10

Just strange. There isn't too much wrong with the writing, the production, or the acting. It's just a little too strange for its own good. When Duncan Mudge first inserts a chicken into his mouth near the beginning of the film, it's funny. As it progresses and Duncan's actions get even stranger, it becomes difficult to watch.

6/11 - 6/20 - Atlanta Film Festival

See my journal here.

6/10: Along Came Polly (2004): 5/10

This was a lot closer to a good film than I expected. I think a lot could be said in film about risk and commitment, and this movie came close, but some poor characters and conventional plot caused it to implode towards the end.

6/9: City of God (2003): 10/10 - second viewing

Among the best films to come out in the past ten years or so.

6/7: Two Brothers (2004): 6/10

Review coming soon. Great tigers, not so great people.

6/5: Stray Dog (1949): 8/10

Good early Kurosawa picture. I'm currently working on a Classic Film Spotlight, which I may complete soon. I'm a bit behind on writing though, so need to finish a couple other projects first.

6/4: Life of Brian (1979): 10/10 - eighth viewing?

Life of Brian is one of my favorite comedies ever, but I had never seen it in a theatrical setting. Even though I hated the Passion of the Christ, I must thank Mel Gibson for paving the way for a new Brian theatrical release. There is nothing like seeing Monty Python at their best with a full audience - the hilarity is infectious.

6/3: Eurotrip (2004): 4/10

I am really, really sick of the whole teen movie craze. I rented this one based on some recommendations outside the critical world. It had some cute moments, such as the robot fight and the Vatican sequence, but most of the picture wasn't funny, wasn't interesting, and was a complete waste of time.

6/2: Welcome to Mooseport (2004): 3/10

I don't watch a lot of TV and had never seen Everyone Loves Raymond. Now I know why. I really don't love Raymond, but I do love Gene Hackman, and this seemed to be a cute premise, if completely unrealistic. The premise and the stiff acting of Ray Romano turned out to kill the film. It was mildly entertaining at some points, but that's about it.

6/1: America's Heart and Soul (2004): 7/10

Quite good, actually, and I really didn't expect much from it. I think I'll review this one too. Coming soon. You know the deal.

5/30: The Day After Tomorrow (2004) - 4/10

Idiotically beautiful. I'll post a short review soon.

5/26: Napoleon Dynamite (2004) - 6.5/10


5/23: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939): 7/10

I'm not sure what it is about Capra films, but I find usually disliking them. I think he stretches the bounds of reality too far and his characters are either unbelievably good or unbelievably bad. Mr. Smith is one of the better films I've seen of his, thanks to the performances more than anything, but it isn't close to the classic territory that it commands.

5/22: Super Size Me (2004) - 9/10

Review coming soon.

5/20: Shrek 2 (2004) - Adults 6/10, Children 9/10

See Review.

5/19: Taking Sides (2004) - 7/10

Some great character conflict make this a film well worth seeing. There is a lot of dialog and most of the film is set during a single location, an interrogation room, but Skarsgard and Keitel, two of the finest actors working today, armwrestle for each scene together. Their performances make an otherwise dull film easy to watch.

5/18: Japanese Story (2004) - 5/10

There were some breathtaking images of the Australian landscape, and this was a well-acted movie, plus it is brave for the thematic territory it explores in the second half -- a taboo topic that most directors shy away from. The last 20 minutes were too heavy, as the theme was shoved down our throats and the camera movement slowed to a screeching halt. This movie would have been a lot better if about 10 minutes were trimmed off the ending.

5/17: Aparajito (1957) - 6/10

This was my first experience with the Apu trilogy and perhaps I began with the wrong film. This is the middle of the trilogy, and is more of a coming of age film than anything else, although that doesn't always seem to be the focus. The photography and direction was superb throughout, but there didn't seem to be enough direction.

5/16: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter.. And Spring (2004) - 8/10

This is a hard film to write about without throwing a lot of adjectives out there. For a two hour film with little dialog, I found that it flowed really well, mostly because of the excellent shot selection. Some of the symbolism was lost on me, but re-exploring is what makes this type of film fun.

5/16: Valentin (2004): 7/10

Another day, another foreign coming of age story. This one pales when compared to I'm Not Scared, but approaches the subject from a cutesy comedic perspective. I didn't care for the film as much until I found out how much it was autobiographical and personal to the director. His story made certain scenes great, such as Valentin's day in the park with Leticia. And my, was she gorgeous or what?

5/15: Cool Hand Luke (1967): 8/10

What we have here is an anti-establishment picture. Not a bad one, at that. I'll take this over Bonnie and Clyde anyday.

5/14: Troy (2004) - 5/10


5/13: The Godfather (1972) - 10/10 - second viewing

5/13: Van Helsing (2004) - 3/10

This was not a movie. It was a CGI pinball game.

5/11: Schindler's List (1993) - 10/10 - second viewing

Second viewing in 10 years. I love the film just as much, but appreciate it more because my taste in film has matured. Thanks Stephen for finally giving us a nice DVD.

5/10: The Lady Vanishes (1938) - 9/10

This was a highly enjoyable light thriller, with plenty of jabs at his own nationality, and the obsession with a silly sport like Cricket. I particularly liked how the plot wasn't set in motion until approximately a third into the film, but instead we spent some time enjoying the character nuances. All this exposition pays off with a clever finale.

5/9: Annie Hall (1977) - 9/10 - second viewing

5/8: Win a Date With Tad Hamilton (2004): 3/10

I'm surprised that this film received such a positive reception. It could have been a lot worse, for sure, but I thought that it summed up the lowest points of the current "teen flick" genre. All the characters were about as cliche as can be, and we've seen the same plot, in some form or another, several times before.

5/7: Ikiru (1952) - 7/10

This was a slight disappointment, especially for Kurosawa, and knowing how many people consider this his best film. I found it a bit obvious and overdone. I don't think the extra hour was necessary, since all they did was hammer the theme home. I would have preferred if they kept the chronological order of his life, without reverting to flashbacks and discussion as a narrative device. There are some terrific scenes and great relationships. I wish I could have enjoyed it more.

5/6: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920): 9/10 - third viewing

This was my first theater experience of the film, and boy, was it something. A live 3-piece band scored the film with a synthesized psychadelic sound that blended perfectly with Wiene's influential film.

I've seen a lot of films this week, plus I'm going through finals, so I hope to catch up with the comments soon.

5/5: Rhinoceros Eyes (2004): 6/10

This was the first feature for Madstone Films, the same company that owns Madstone Theaters, the indie theater chain. It was shot all on DV and starred Michael Pitt of Hedwig and The Dreamers. I liked the dark look of the film, and the setting of a prop-shop was unique and provided for a lot of interesting details. The story was a little too surrealistic for it's own good, and a little too derivative of Donnie Darko, but there were still several memorable moments.

5/4: Stuck On You (2004): 5/10

5/2: Shaolin Soccer (2004): 6/10

Silly, over the top, mindless fun. There's really not a whole lot to say about the film. If you like slapstick humor, you'll love the film, and even if you don't (like me), you should at least enjoy it.

April 2004 Screening Log
March 2004 Screening Log
January and February 2004 Screening Log