Archive for the 6/10 Category

The Nativity Story (Hardwicke, 2006)

Posted in 2000s, 6/10 on December 28, 2012 by chrisfilm

The Nativity Story (Catherine Hardwicke, 2006)

Last weekend at church they played a video using scenes from this film and it was poetic, moving, and visually striking enough to interest the wife and I to watch the whole movie. Sadly, in the end, I found my church’s video to be closer to what I like in film than the actual movie. Joseph and Mary’s travels to Bethlehem are the highlight of the film. It is here where the time period feels most authentic, and where their relationship develops at a real pace. But without fail, every time the poetic goosebumps started to kick in, the scene would cut to the three wise men’s tale who were, unfortunately, presented more like the three stooges. More of Mary, Joseph, and the circumstances in which Jesus Christ was born (with maybe a little less hokey spotlighting), and less sideplots please. It could have been a uniquely serene film if told purely from their perspective.  6/10

Nativity

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The Dead Pool (Van Horn, 1988)

Posted in 1980s, 6/10 on December 3, 2012 by chrisfilm

The Dead Pool (Buddy Van Horn, 1988)

And this wraps up my adventure through the Dirty Harry series. This one is closer to stinker than masterpiece with more of an afternoon television special feel to it as opposed to a frightening crime underworld feel. The bad guys make audible ‘oof’ sounds when shot, the killer mystery is strung out through the entire movie with several obvious red herrings, and all attempts at suspense are childish (though I want to high-five the guy who thought a chase scene with a remote control car was a good idea). At the same time, it’s not a complete waste of time. Harry’s relationship with the news reporter takes its time to set up and unfold, which leads to a worthwhile finale and possibly the best bad guy takedown of the entire series. And the cinematography isn’t lazy – good use of dark spaces. But it’s mostly ‘meh’.  5.75/10

the dead pool

Lure of the Wilderness (Negulesco, 1952)

Posted in 1950s, 6/10 on August 28, 2012 by chrisfilm

Lure of the Wilderness (Jean Negulesco, 1952)

It’s been an up-and-down relationship with Negulesco so far for me. Here we have, on paper, what I thought might be my favorite from him yet – a love story set in the swamps of Georgia. Considering this film was shot on location, I was surprised at how unauthentic it felt. Perhaps it was the folks playing the father/daughter tandem who were a bit domesticated feeling for having spent the last eight years in the wild. Or perhaps it was the wooden performance from Jeffrey Hunter which made the central romance void of any real emotion. Something doesn’t click here, and instead of being some type of precursor to the fabulous The New World, it was much more average than I had hoped.  6.25/10

Over the Edge (Kaplan, 1979)

Posted in 1970s, 6/10 on July 23, 2012 by chrisfilm

Over the Edge (Jonathan Kaplan, 1979)

Following an incident where Carl is taken in by the police for questioning and released to his father, he asks his father when the drive-in and bowling alley are going to be built in their town. While sad puppy dog eyes beg for an answer, his father sternly informs him that the town has other needs that will supersede those projects. Aha – so that’s why these kids can’t stay out of trouble! At this point, it was obvious that Kaplan was taking a  ‘deprived youth lack resources to distract them from havoc’ angle. Overall, it’s really not a bad movie. In fact, it’s quite an interesting look at rebellious youth from a generation before my own, mostly as a glimpse into the way they relate to one another as friends, love interests, and/or enemies. But with most of the focus on the battle of youth vs. authority, I felt like the good relational stuff was wasted and criminally overshadowed.  6/10

Rock of Ages (Shankman, 2012)

Posted in 2010s, 6/10 on June 25, 2012 by chrisfilm

Rock of Ages (Adam Shankman, 2012)

I feel like a lot of movies I’m seeing have been falling victim to this recently, but again, this is a case of a movie taking itself too seriously. What starts as a hilarious over-the-top musical spoof ends up as a failed attempt to peel layers off of stereotypes from this era. Shankman wants to dig deep into the prima donna lead singer, the small town girl in the big city, and the bar worker turned big star, but all he does is create extended clichés and a schmaltzy ending. I really can’t understand why he didn’t just go all out by recognizing how ridiculous the premise of this movie was, and following through with complete craziness and lunacy. The best part of the film was the sidestory involving the mayor’s wife and her conservative clan trying to bring down rock and roll. This group was true to its over-the-top-ness, and Catherine Zeta-Jones was hilarious as a result. So while kind of fun, and a nice trip down memory lane music-wise, it gets in its own way too often.  5.75/10

Thor (Branagh, 2011)

Posted in 2010s, 6/10 on June 19, 2012 by chrisfilm

Thor (Kenneth Branagh, 2011)

Thor, knowing nothing but the world of Asgard, is sent to timeout on Earth by his father to think about what he has done. With this big burly warrior knowing nothing about the trends and customs of this new planet, we’re treated to a delightful Enchanted-esque barrage of amusing ignorance. At this point I was happily enjoying what seemed to be almost a superhero movie spoof. But, alas, the film eventually begins to take itself too seriously and is ultimately unwilling to play to its key strengths. Heck, the misogynic treatment of Natalie Portman’s character even could have been funny if they would have gone all-out parody. As is, it’s a fun movie, but not a good one. 6/10

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (Madden, 2011)

Posted in 2010s, 6/10 on May 16, 2012 by chrisfilm

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (John Madden, 2011)

Often genuinely humorous and featuring two excellent performances, in the end The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel finds itself far too guilty of safe and oftentimes ridiculous storytelling, as well as what seemed to be a fear of characters being real people. Out of the seven main characters, not one of them is without an eccentricity. Some of these quirks are introduced right away and dropped almost as quickly (thank heavens), but most remain throughout the entire film. It’s as if Madden was worried we’d get bored having a few of these folks just deal with common troubles.

Judi Dench and Bill Nighy shine in their performances, both on their own and (despite having a poorly written and hackneyed relationship arc) in scenes together, working off of each other. They are easily the highlight of the film, and luckily they dominate the screen time. It’s a good thing, because every other character is either thrown in whatever direction benefits the plot or treated in an overly sentimental fashion.  6/10