The rants and raves of a teenage cinephile who is just a little bit obsessed with Catherine O'Hara and Hayao Miyazaki.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Review Slam 6-14-12

So, I figure, if I'm watching movies I have no reason to NOT write at least some kind of reviews for them. Thus, when I watch a few movies, I'm going to do one of these "review slams" where I just briefly list what I watched and write a short review! Let it begin.

Strictly Ballroom (1992) - Okay, I was not expecting to love this as much as I did. Something about the cliche romantic-comedy plot devices being used in the context of a dramaticized version of professional ballroom dancing just really made me fall in love. This being Baz Luhrmann's first film, it's pretty subdued when compared to like, Moulin Rouge!, But I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this is the better film. It's subtly stylized, the leads are not brilliant actors but they're remarkably charismatic, and the dancing is just exhilarating. Truly a joy to watch. 9/10


The Hunger Games (2012) - I finally saw this, after months of delay. I am a huge fan of the series, and this movie lived up to all expectations. Really, I thought it was a perfect adaptation - especially the score, which was beautiful and defied the trap that action movie scores seem to fall into of all sounding the same. I thought the film did a particularly good job of portraying the absolute horror of this society and the seamless integration of the behind-the-scenes stuff was great. As a whole it didn't hit me as hard as I had hoped, though I think this can be attributed to the fact that the book it is based on is the most expository of the trilogy. Let's see how the other two stack up. 8/10


I'm a Cyborg but That's OK (2006) - At first I thought this movie was trying way too hard, but by the end I was really pleased, and it has stuck with me quite surprisingly. I do think a lot of the plot elements are a little bit contrived, but the spectacular visuals, the risky but successful stylization, and the charismatic performances from the two leads make up for the slight missteps. My biggest problem was the score, which sounded like it belonged to a mediocre 90's film. However, it's overall very enjoyable and enrapturing. 7/10


Sonatine (1993) - I'm not sure if it was the translation, a cultural or period difference, or the haphazard way in which I watched this film, but I am sure I didn't grasp all of the subtleties of the plot. Hence, I don't really feel qualified to discuss anything but Joe Hisaishi's score, which is why I watched the film in the first place. It's perfect, like everything else Hisaishi has done, and it's fun to hear his much earlier work - it's much more electronic as opposed to the rich orchestral colors he employs in his Ghibli era work. The film itself had some great acting but I think I need to see it again to appreciate it. For now though, I'll give it a 7/10


Rampart (2011) - This film left sort of a sour taste in my mouth - in that, despite the fact that there was some brilliant writing and some absolutely fantastic acting, I felt the film didn't really go anywhere. It felt like it was trying to say something but never quite got it out completely, and thus a lot of it fell flat. The acting though, was really commendable. Sigourney Weaver is just FIERCE, Woody Harrellson is very solid, and it's really nice to see Brie Larson, who i love, getting a part in a serious movie like this - a part, which I must say, she did quite well in. 6/10


(500) Days of Summer (2009) - I've seen this movie multiple times, and it was actually my number two film of 2009 when I first made the list (it's since migrated to roughly spot number 4). Nonetheless, I love it more and more each time I see it. It's so expertly paced and aesthetically well filmed, as well as simply endearing. I understand complaints of its over-quirkiness and the Chloe Moretz character (who is the only part of the film I find less enjoyable on each viewing), but overall it's such a unique take on a romance film, as well as a film that just captures my heart in a way few films can. Also, the soundtrack is just...perfect. There's really not a song out of place and the trajectory of the aural and visual experience is absolutely marvelous. Not to mention Joseph Gordon Levitt and Zooey Deschanel, whose performances get so much more layered on repeat viewings. I love this movie! 9/10


All right, that's it for now. I'll try to keep this a recurring thing - as long as my movie input remains healthy, this post will exist. Haha! :)