Archive for the 6/10 Category

Authors Anonymous (Kanner, 2014)

Posted in 2010s, 6/10 on April 7, 2014 by chrisfilm

Authors Anonymous (Ellie Kanner, 2014)

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.  –1 Thessalonians 5:11

I fully expected this to be awful, so I was pleasently surprised when it was truly humorous and uninsulting. While the fake documentary approach is becoming a bit overused, it works here because they truly stick to it. Side characters question the presence of the cameras, attempts are made to privatize conversations; it’s just an all-around good effort to maintain the documentary atmosphere. And while the humor isn’t overly intelligent or real-life, it’s not crude or forced either. I laughed, I enjoyed myself, I rolled my eyes at the awful ending. But, hey, it’s far and away better than the few high selling comedies that I’ve had the pain of sitting through.  5.75/10

authors anonymous

Monsters University (Scanlon, 2013)

Posted in 2010s, 6/10 on November 27, 2013 by chrisfilm

Monsters University (Dan Scanlon, 2013)

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:  If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!  –Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

The origins of Mike and Sulley, and like a lot of best friends, their relationship starts at college. The two come together in the most unlikely of scenarios all centered around both of their abilities and inabilities to be adequate scarers. The movie does a very nice job of playing up collegiate, and especially Greek, stereotypes and the humor that results is delightful (especially for someone who was in a fraternity that was remarkably similar to the Oozma Kappas). Beyond that it’s a weak prequel, tossing around tie-ins to the first that are sometimes forced and/or that cheapen what we know. Couple that with the rather formulaic beating-all-odds storyline, and this is not one of Pixar’s best. What they did with Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3 is remarkable, but this is more in line with what usually happens when you try to extend a franchise unnecessarily.  6.5/10

MONSTERS UNIVERSITY

71 Fragments of a Chonology of Chance (Haneke, 1994)

Posted in 1990s, 6/10 on October 22, 2013 by chrisfilm

71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance (Michael Haneke, 1994)

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.  –Psalm 116:15

One of Haneke’s most highly regarded films according to a number of people that I trust, but I just don’t get it. I think it’s safe to say at this point that Haneke is just not for me. It seems that he is always so concerned with seeming self-important that his films have the tone of complete unimportance. I’ve never been a huge fan of films that follow a ton of different people and try to connect them at the end. Even with Haneke’s subtle approach to their connection and his avoidance of making it a big dramatic spectacle, there is still not enough time to give every character enough exposure. I didn’t feel involved; I didn’t more than mildly intrigued; I only felt appreciation for his handling of this type of film. I wanted more than that.  6/10

71_Fragments_of_a_Chronology_of_Chance

The Lone Ranger (Verbinski, 2013)

Posted in 2010s, 6/10 on July 8, 2013 by chrisfilm

The Lone Ranger (Gore Verbinski, 2013)

At times a great adventure mixed with some interesting mythology, but too often interrupted by poor attempts at comedy relief. I really think it’s time for Johnny Depp to retire. He hasn’t been a good actor is almost a decade and is more or less a caricature of himself at this point. He spends most of the film as a distraction from not only everything and everyone around him, but even from his own character. What could have been a haunting backstory was instead just trampled over by goofy ole Johnny. (Granted, the screenplay and the awful 1933 ‘storyteller’ timeline were probably large contributing factors to the terrible treatment of Tonto’s character too.)

the lone ranger

But the film isn’t without merit. The beautiful scenic lands that accompany a western are captured elegantly; there are hills, rocks, sands, rivers, and mines all drenched in a mixture of sunlight and shadow, dawn and dusk, tranquility and action. And the last 30 minutes of fast-paced wild ride is exactly how the film needed to end. An all out fantasy train chase where the laws of physics are thrown away and everything becomes so over-the-top that you can’t help but smile. So much happens, but it all happens with such grace, control, and self-awareness – like watching an actual roller coaster on screen. This makes the movie worth seeing.  6.5/10

Young America (Borzage, 1932)

Posted in 1930s, 6/10 on April 23, 2013 by chrisfilm

Young America (Frank Borzage, 1932)

Lot of cheese in this one. Much of the film is a strong, honest, and harrowing presentation of the highs and lows of adolescent friendship, though there are sprinkles of a corny ‘poor misunderstood youth’ message throughout. Luckily, these instances are somewhat subtle and mostly fitting to the dynamic of the central friendship. These friends are like brothers; they fight for each other, sometimes get the other in trouble, but always ending up having each other’s backs. As a result, there last two scenes together are heartbreaking and set up a sorrowful but fitting ending. But at this point the corny message comes out in full force which results in a theme shift, awkwardly forced dialogue, and a jarringly misplaced tone. This has to be Borzage’s worst.  6/10

young america borzage

Mystery Street (J. Sturges, 1950)

Posted in 1950s, 6/10 on April 10, 2013 by chrisfilm

Mystery Street (John Sturges, 1950)

Bummer – a police procedural. With John Alton behind the camera, it’s definitely a visually impressive police procedural, but overall it’s a dull experience. Outside of the eccentric landlady, the other characters were just cogs in a machine plugging away to show viewers the ins and outs of due process. Think Law & Order only without any entertaining twists or gruesome revelations. It’s a beauty to look at and ends on an upnote with a tense chase scene through a railroad yard that relies exclusively on images to supply its tension and tone. Other than that, it’s not special, daring, poignant, or ambitious at all. It’s safe in all the wrong ways.  6.25/10

mystery street

Remorques (Grémillon, 1941)

Posted in 1940s, 6/10 on April 8, 2013 by chrisfilm

Remorques (Jean Grémillon, 1941)

This had potential. The story of a married sea captain falling from grace as he chases after a woman he meets at sea could have been an interesting topic if for no other reason than the reality I’m sure this situation presented at the time. But this doesn’t make a lick of sense. I hate for that to be my critique, but I can’t avoid it. Despite beautiful uses of fog, natural light, and sweeping camera movements to pull it all together into an atmospheric treat, none of what happens matches this level of quality.

remorques

The film introduces a happily married man who for no logical reason falls for a woman who ends up on his boat by chance. Strangely, he doesn’t even begin to fall for her until he runs into her on land in the following days (and then, BAM, he’s ‘in love’ with her). It was such a random and forced affair given the context. Though what I’m mostly perplexed about is why Grémillon didn’t just tweak the context to fit his idea. It could have worked with a little more depth! Sure, it might have been more clichéd, but at least it would have been reasonable. Instead it’s a rushed and underdeveloped oddity.   5.75/10