Saturday, January 27, 2007

Catch and Release (*1/2)

Catch and Release has been sitting on the shelf for at least a year now, and that coupled with its January release date should tell you something about it's quality. And as big a fan of Jennifer Garner as I am, the script here doesn't really do her any favors. It's a muddled, meandering time waster of a film where supposedly interesting characters are supposed to tackle real life problems and grow and learn and blah blah blah. It mostly just plays as a bad WB television pilot that if you hadn't paid ten dollars to see, you'd probably just switch channels at the first commercial. I'm all for character pieces but not when they're as poorly written and directed as this one. It's not really the cast's fault--everyone is likeable enough--and I suppose it plays better on a small screen, but still, this one's no "Catch."

Letters from Iwo Jima (***)

Many have been saying that Clint Eastwood's latest picture is a "masterpiece." And while it certainly isn't that, it is a very good movie that deserves the praise it's been getting. Letters from Iwo Jima tackles the Japanese perspective of the Battle of Iwo Jima and does so with greater clarity, drama, and richness than Clint's companion piece, Flags of Our Fathers. Flags was a sappy, thematically repetitive film, whereas Letters is non-gimmicky and shows us a perspective of war we've never seen before. The Japanese soldiers fighting in Letters are really no different than the American soldiers depicted in so many war films. Letters is a dark film and it's very violent at times, but I think it ultimately says more about humanity and war itself than so many other war pictures that have come before it.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Films Seen in 2007

  1. Knocked Up (***1/2)
  2. Hot Fuzz (***1/2)
  3. Hairspray (***)
  4. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (***)
  5. Sicko (***)
  6. Ratatouille (***)
  7. Once (***)
  8. Grindhouse (***)
  9. The Lookout (***)
  10. Letters from Iwo Jima (2006) (***)
  11. Zodiac (***)
  12. Breach (***)
  13. Talk to Me (***)
  14. A Mighty Heart (***)
  15. Music and Lyrics (***)
  16. Ocean's Thirteen (***)
  17. 28 Weeks Later (**1/2)
  18. Blades of Glory (**1/2)
  19. Live Free or Die Hard (**1/2)
  20. 300 (**1/2)
  21. Rescue Dawn (**1/2)
  22. Spider-Man 3 (**1/2)
  23. Notes on a Scandal (2006) (**1/2)
  24. Waitress (**1/2)
  25. Disturbia (**1/2)
  26. Reno 911: Miami (**1/2)
  27. 1408 (**1/2)
  28. Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (**1/2)
  29. Mr. Brooks (**)
  30. Shooter (**)
  31. The Host (**)
  32. Transformers (**)
  33. Black Snake Moan (**)
  34. Smokin' Aces (**)
  35. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (**)
  36. Hostel Part II (**)
  37. Evan Almighty (**)
  38. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (*1/2)
  39. TMNT (*1/2)
  40. Catch and Release (*1/2)
  41. Shrek the Third (*)
  42. License to Wed (*)
  43. Ghost Rider (*)
  44. I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (**1/2)

Perfume is a well-directed (by Run Lola Run's Tom Tywker), stylish tale with a strong beginning and ending, but a muddled-up middle section that can't sustain the proper tone. It's definitely a weird film that takes chances, and does a decent job of capturing smells on screen, but it never really connects with the audience. Dustin Hoffman is really out of place here, hamming it up as the lead character's mentor.