Sunday, March 09, 2008

Everyone's A Critic

In response to a recent inquiry regarding whether I ever rent anything from Netflix that will cheer me up instead of make me cry, here is my rental history from the last 90 days (not including on-line viewing):


Half Nelson
I had this one at home for almost two months before I made the time to watch it, but it was worth the wait. Ryan Gosling is one of my favorite actors, and not just because he's smoking hot - he can actually act. He looked like hell in this movie, in which he played a high school teacher whose addiction to crack is discovered by one of his students, but he gave an incredible performance, as did Shareeka Epps.

The Fountain
I had really high hopes for this one, since Pi, director Darren Aronofsky's first movie, is one of my favorites. However, it fell short for me, in part because of the disjointed narrative. I think anyone who enjoys experimental films would enjoy it, though. It was visually stunning, and in its own way, a powerful love story; despite that, it was a little hard to follow.

This started out kind of slow, but quickly became enjoyable once Mark Wahlberg removed his shirt.

The Host
I totally dug this Korean movie about a mutated fish-creature that drags off a little girl, whose family then tries to save her. I don't like scary movies, but monster movies rock; this was one of the best I've ever seen. Also, I had seen Cloverfield a couple of weeks before I saw this, and the monster from The Host was waaaaaay cooler.


Away from Her
This was a sad and beautiful love story. Julie Christie gave a stunning performance as a woman suffering from Alzheimer's; Gordon Pinsent, as her husband of fifty years, was amazing in his role. It was heart-rending to watch him first witness her drift away from the present, then her remembrance of painful times in their marriage, and finally, her inability to recall him at all.

We Are Marshall
I probably should have paid more attention to the plot synopsis, as I thought this was a football movie, not a depressing, heartbreaking football movie. Ostensibly about a team rebuilding from the ashes of tragedy, it also illustrated the many different ways people deal with loss, which made it hard for me to watch. Nonetheless, I actually thought it was really good.


The Kingdom
This movie was like a punch in the gut. The title sequence quickly and accurately outlines the history of Saudi Arabia's relationship with the United States. The movie then starts off violently, showing a massive terrorist attack on an oil company employee compound in Riyadh. The acting left a lot to be desired, though I liked Ashraf Barhom in his role as Colonel Faris Al Ghazi and Ali Suliman as Sergeant Haytham. Several aspects of the movie weren't believable at all (um, is the best FBI team to send to Saudi Arabia one that includes a white woman with a penchant for showing cleavage and not a single member that speaks Arabic?) but despite all that, the movie was worth watching.

Wow. This sucked so bad I stopped it after about the first third. I loved Super Troopers and Club Dread...oh, Broken Lizard, what went wrong?!?

Next up, The Darjeeling Limited...I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this is one of Wes Anderson's good ones.

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