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Monthly Report: April 2013

02 May

I didn’t end up seeing many movies this month. I get into these slumps once a year or so where I just don’t feel like checking much stuff out. Maybe it’s some way for me to recharge my internal movie battery or something. I’ll probably snap out of it within the next month or two.

For those keeping track, I broke one of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2013 this month by failing to watch a Swedish film. It’s unfortunate, but it happens. I’ll try to make up for it later in the year.

Bachelorette (Leslye Headland, 2012)
Yeah, it seems unlikely that this would have been made if not for the success of (the superior) Bridesmaids. That doesn’t mean that Bachelorette isn’t pretty damn funny in its own right, though. I much enjoyed Kirsten Dunst as the alpha bitch. I liked how Rebel Wilson‘s character was treated as a human being rather than someone to laugh at – I prefer how she’s handled here to Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids, for comparison – and both Isla Fisher and Lizzy Caplan nail their respective characters. I had a lot of fun with this one.
4/5

Better Off Dead (Savage Steve Holland, 1985)
Wacky absurd humor proves an ill fit for this formulaic high school rom-com plot. I did get a kick out of the kid riding around on his bike trying to get his two dollars from John Cusack, but the rest of the film was a bit of a dud.
2/5

bully-bus

Bully (Lee Hirsch, 2011)
This documentary packs a heavy emotional punch. I found myself getting angry during parts of this one: angry at the bullies, and angry at the teachers who fail to do anything. The film presents its stories in a compelling way, switching between various persons with their own experiences with bullying, and it’s shot in a nice and varied way. I would have liked a bit more depth to it all, though. Why not try to find out what makes some kids into bullies, or show what effects being bullied can have on someone when they reach adulthood. Still, this is a very affecting film, and one that avoids usual pitfalls of the genre. See it.
4/5

Holy Motors (Leos Carax, 2012)
It was cool to look at, and the multi-faceted performance by Denis Lavant is impressive, but as a whole, this film did little for me. I like my movies a bit more accessible.
2/5

Cassandra’s Dream (Woody Allen, 2007)
What I liked most about this Woody Allen murder-drama was all the little ironies that kept popping up. It’s a very well-written movie with characters acting in ways that make sense, even though the situations may be extreme. Colin Farrell and Ewan McGregor are both competent co-leads, but it’s Tom Wilkinson who really shines in a supporting role.
4/5

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Whale Rider (Niki Caro, 2002)
Simple but sweet story about tradition and progressiveness, aided by its exotic setting and moving performances. Young Keisha Castle-Hughes in the lead is the obvious stand-out, surpassing most actors her age and delivering quite the money scene at around the 2/3 mark of the film.
3/5

Duck Soup (Leo McCarey, 1933)
My first Marx Brothers film. As with my other sampling of old comedies, this one took quite a while before it enveloped me in its groove. I did end up liking it though, largely thanks to Groucho and his motormouth. I’m not sure if I’ll watch more of them or not, though. I’m more intrigued by Chaplin.
3/5

Dredd (Pete Travis, 2012)
There are some obvious similarities to The Raid here, especially that the two films share the same premise of a small group tackling a towering apartment building filled with criminals. But whereas The Raid focused on martial arts, Dredd opts for a more old school American action vibe. It works on its own merits, and it does enough things differently to hold up nicely even next to the superior The Raid. That said, I get the feeling that more could have been done with the Judge Dredd character. I don’t know for sure, as I haven’t read the comics or seen the Stallone flick, but there seemed like there was unexplored territory here.
4/5

Total # of new films seen: 8
Average score: 3.3 / 5
Best film of the month: Bachelorette
Worst film of the month: Holy Motors

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11 Comments

Posted by on 2 May, 2013 in Monthly Report

 

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11 responses to “Monthly Report: April 2013

  1. Movies - Noir

    2 May, 2013 at 17:28

    Hmm, haven’t seen a whole lot of those movies, but here goes.

    Better Off Dead – Typical 80’s teen comedy. Not one of the best, but I like the genre so 3/5.

    Cassandra’s Dream – Didn’t quite do it for me, but wasn’t bad either. 3/5.

    Duck Soup – I also believe this was my first Marx-film. It had some good scenes, but not more than +3/5 at most. I’m a Laurel & Hardy fan :)

    That’s it.

    I haven’t seen Holy Motors, but I thought you’d like it for some reason. Bully sounds interesting. I’ve heard about it before. I’ve only seen the Larry Clark film with the same name from 2001. Dredd I’ve heard good things about, so maybe it’s worth a look?

     
    • Emil

      3 May, 2013 at 02:20

      I didn’t know what to expect when I sat down to watch Holy Motors. It seemed like a film I could go either way on based on what I had heard about it. DIdn’t do it for me.

      Bully could have used a bit more depth to really become a great documentary, but it’s certainly powerful in what it does.

      Dredd is just a cool action film. Nothing more, nothing less. It feels sort of refreshing next to most American action films that have shown up recently, though, since it keeps everything contained in one location. Gets kind of intense in that way.

       
      • Movies - Noir

        3 May, 2013 at 13:53

        Ok, thanks. Sounds more and more like I should check out Dredd when I’m in the mood for some action. I don’t remember much from the original with Sly, but it wasn’t very good.

         
  2. Chris

    4 May, 2013 at 20:22

    Seen a coupe from your list. I was let down by Better Off Dead too, it was quite average, John Cusack in 80s, I prefer Say Anything (1989).

    Holy Motors is an odd & unpredictable ride, didn’t connect with it emotionally, because Lavant keeps changing. I gave it a 7/10.

    A Swedish film a month…have you seen any Roy Andersson comedies? They are not for everyone-I absolutely love the dark humor.

    Marx Brothers are a blind spot for me also, I have a few of those to watch this year. No idea if I’ll like them

     
    • Emil

      5 May, 2013 at 18:33

      I still haven’t gotten around to seeing Say Anything. I keep hearing good things about it, though.

      I don’t think Holy Motors is going for any emotional connecting, at least not on face value. It’s a film about ideas and concepts.

      Roy Andersson is a blind spot for me, but people keep recommending him to me, so odds are I’ll see something by him before the year is up.

       
  3. Travis McClain

    6 May, 2013 at 07:46

    Dude, I only saw four movies in all of April, and only two of them were first-time viewings. The repeats, incidentally, were Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (to finish off the Blu-ray box set, which I began making my way through at the end of March) and Pure Country because I went on a George Strait kick.

    As for your viewings, I can only comment on Duck Soup. I liked Groucho’s quips, but Harpo’s physical comedy just dragged on and on and on and I lost any enthusiasm I may have had for the film. I’ve no real compulsion to explore The Marx Brothers much further, in all honesty. I’m a Three Stooges guy.

    Which, incidentally, brings me to the question why you would cite Chaplin as your preference to the Marx Brothers? Typically it’s Chaplin vs. Keaton (Keaton) and Marx Brothers vs. The Stooges (Stooges). If I had to rank the four, based on what I’ve seen:

    The Three Stooges
    Buster Keaton
    The Marx Brothers (Groucho content)
    Charlie Chaplin
    The Marx Brothers (other content)

     
    • Emil

      6 May, 2013 at 09:37

      Harpo didn’t do much for me either. I liked his energy, but his running gag of cutting things apart with his scissors was just strange.

      I agree that Chaplin/Keaton and Marx/Stooges make for more fitting comparisons, but even so, they’re all comedians from a long time ago, and if I had to cite a preference for one of those acts at this point, it would be Chaplin.

      That said, I haven’t seen anything by the Stooges.

       
  4. Nostra

    6 May, 2013 at 11:07

    Surprised by your high score for Bachelorette, decided to skip it, but maybe I should give it a chance.

    Bully was good, but like you say it lacked some depth and solutions.

    Feel the same as you about Holy Motors. It had some great acting, but it was too weird for my liking.

    Cassandra’s Dream I saw ages ago and don’t remember much about it except who was in it and it had to do with a boat. Don’t even know anymore if I liked it or not.

    I really enjoyed Duck Soup and have been checking some of their other work. Duck Soup is still my favorite of theirs although I wouldn’t consider myself a Marx Brothers fan.

    The similarities with The Raid is what really spoilt the movie for me. If I hadn’t seen The Raid before this movie I might have enjoyed it a lot more, now I really didn’t like it.

     
    • Emil

      7 May, 2013 at 07:45

      Some people loathe Bachelorette. I can see why. The trio of main characters are all pretty dislikeable, and most of the humor is, if not always crude, then at least based on crudeness. I had a blast with it myself, but it’s not a film I’d recommend to everyone.

      From what I’ve heard, Dredd and The Raid were both in production at the same time. The Raid was released first, but apparently Dredd wasn’t copying it. Just one of those weird coincidences. I do think Dredd had enough cool stuff of its own – I dug how the Slo-Mo drug was utilized, for instance – to not feel like a total retread.

       
  5. Movies - Noir

    12 May, 2013 at 14:28

    I saw Dredd yesterday and I’m glad I did. It wasn’t great or anything, but it had a dark and pretty brutal feel to it that I didn’t expect to find. Not perfect, but better than a lot of rubbish out there in the genre.

     
    • Emil

      13 May, 2013 at 07:12

      Glad you liked it.

       

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