Friday, February 3, 2012

100/50 Super Post

From now on, I'll try not to wait a month and just stack everything up like this, but Pat and I just came up with this idea, so I thought I could get started this way. I am doing well on the movie front (as you shall see) not so much on the book front...yet. So here are the new movies I watched in January. If you happened to read my favorite films of 2011, you'll definitely see some overlap. Here we go:

Oh and to be clear for our ridiculous idea, we are taking the 50/50 challenge model and modifying us so the 100/50 model is 100 movies and 50 books for 2012 between the two of us (so 50/25 each. Why? because we know our limitations all too well)

At this pace, I might even go over in the movie category. All right, I'll stop stalling:

Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes (movies 1/50)

Surprising in that 1) it wasn't terrible, 2) it was a mainstream movie that had me basically cheering the downfall of humanity by the end. To be honest, the real meat here is the last 45 minutes of ape violence, but it wouldn't have been half as cathartic without the first part of the movie, of course, where apes and monkeys, some intelligent, through a ridiculous set of events are systematically mistreated. Oh, and I guess Andy Serkis' "performance" is good, I mean it's probably better than James Franco's, he made feel sympathetic but I am not sure an actual monkey wouldn't have done the same thing.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011) (2/50 movies)

I've already talked about this, but I will add this, I am a non-glasses wearer, but I have never seen someone pull the move that Daniel Craig does here where when he isn't wearing his glasses he sort of has them hooked on one ear and under his chin. Is this something people do? Give to Craig for introducing me to this. Maybe it's a European thing.

Shame (2011) (3/50 movies)
This didn't work for me overall, I mean it is a harrowing look into addiction, in this case sex addiction. And after a while it just became too much, which perhaps that's what they were going for. I will say this, Steve McQueen, the director, makes a beautiful looking movie, and Carey Mulligan and especially Michael Fassbender, are especially good as a brother and sister who come from some screwed up childhood, of which it is never explicitly spoken about.

Fast Five (2011) (4/50 movies)
I mentioned this before, but I really have to give it up for an action movie which does not take itself too seriously, and is just as ridiculous as possible. I also have to add that I think The Rock needs to get in touch with Jason Statham's agent, because considering his background and athleticism, and charisma (which isn't really on display here) he could be a bigger action star than he is. I stand by that.

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (2011) (5/50 movies)
I love how this also was ridiculous, and even though it is definitely high tech, it is also strangely old school, what with the Kremlin getting blown up and the rogue insane person trying to destroy part of the U.S. with a nuclear missile. I hope the producers of the next James Bond movie are/were paying attention, because this movie is doing the whole fun, outrageous spy thing in the best way possible. I am making assumptions here, but Brad Bird seemed to have brought a lot of lessons gleaned from The Incredibles  to bear here on the great action setpieces here, some which just pile on twist and turn upon on another in a way that should be but isn't messy. The one unbelievable thing? Well, two actually, 1) I had to get used to Tom Cruise playing the world's biggest badass in the beginning, but I was able to suspend disbelief (and you really need to here-but it's so much fun it doesn't matter) and 2) that the best Mission Impossible movie (or best movie in nearly any series) would be the fourth one. It made me want to go back and actually see #3.

The Ides Of March (2011) (6/50 movies)
You know, I enjoyed this mostly, I thought it was well acted particularly by Gosling, Giamatti, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Particularly the latter two basically having a gruff-off among eachother. I have to admit that George Clooney, at first, casting himself as the world's most perfect progressive candidate was a bit annoying, but that sort of sorts itself out as the movie goes on. Overall I thought it was good, but I don't know, the message in the end where the young buck learns to play politics, or is it politics are particularly ruthless, while it was mostly well done, it also left me feeling that it was sort of a well trod idea and territory.

Hall Pass (2011) (7/50)
For a present day, Farrelly Brothers comedy, it's not that bad, if not that memorable either. The actors here definitely elevate the material. But I would be lying if I said I didn't laugh at all because I definitely did. I mean, if there is nothing else on, which is why we were watching it, then it's worth a look.

Insidious (2011) (8/50 movies)

You know, for real, this, at least for the first 2/3 was some really creepy stuff. There was some great haunted house stuff a la Poltergeist. It doesn't exactly fall apart in the last part, there are still some scares, but depending on your sensibility it sort of gets a little silly. But I mean, you're already dealing with psychics, ghosts, demons, and people that have out-of-body-experiences, so your mileage is going to vary anyway. I definitely was surprised at how much some stuff wormed it's way into my head for days (and particularly late nights) afterwards.

Timer (2009) (9/50 movies)

Now this was a pleasant surprise, particularly because Tina picked it randomly to watch from Netflix Watch Instantly. I like the idea, since it never seems to happen nowadays, of going into a movie completely blind and it's even better when the movie turns out a lot better than you were expecting. It takes a silly conceit, that in an alternate future people can be fitted with "timers" which will tell you when you have met your exact romantic match. I know it sounds cornball, and to an extent it is, but good acting and likable characters elevate this one over the usual romantic-comedy dross, which is nice nowadays. It's also nice that it isn't completely predictable, which, again, is some fresh air these days.


  1. welcome to the 50/50 (or the 100/50) challenge!

  2. Only one I saw here was "Hall Pass", and I suppose "Fast Five" but that was only because I caught part of it on the bus ride to Grad Bash last spring. But yeah, I kinda felt the same way about both as you did. And, surprise surprise, I didn't know "Hall Pass" was a Farrley brothers movie until it was over. I know, you're shocked, right?