Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Reviews - Gotta Give, Shining, Lavender Hill, Soylent Green, Syriana, Triangle, Spirited Away, Lost 2

In my haste to catch up on reviews it looks like I accidentally skipped a couple movies, so I'm adding those to this batch. This time I am covering Something's Gotta Give, The Shining, The Lavender Hill Mob, Soylent Green, Syriana, The Triangle, Spirited Away, Lost, Season 2.

Something's Gotta Give (Meyers, 2003)
Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson are both involved in May-December romances when what they really want is a December-December romance with each other.
I ended up watching this on TV recently. I am glad I saw it on TV and didn't waste any money on it. Yeah, it was refreshing for an older woman to be seen as beautiful, sexual, and desirable, and Keanu Reeves is yummy as a doctor, but the movie is just plain hokey and contrived. Nothing about it comes off as genuine. And I am still sick of Jack Nicholson playing the same damn character in every movie. It may have worked for Easy Rider, Witches of Eastwick, The Shining and even more recently in As Good As It Gets, but it gets old. And now he has done it so much, with so little variation, in his old age, it's like he's doing an impression of himself.

Netflix Rolling Roadshow: The Shining (Kubrick, 1980)
Nicholson takes on a caretaker job to watch a remote Colorado hotel over the winter. What happens next? Let's just say that one can go a little stir CRAZY when locked in a spooky hotel for months.
As some of you know, I really don't like or get Kubrick. So why would I elect to watch this movie uh-gain? Because I dig special screenings & movie events. Nothing is more fun than gathering around a bunch of super fans that erupt in full cheer when their favorite flick appears on screen. And I love seeing movies in different ways. Having grown up in Europe, where there are no drive ins, you wouldn't believe how thrilled I was when I went to my very first one here in Colorado a few years back. So when I heard that The Shining was being played outside the Stanley hotel in Estes Park (the very hotel that inspired the novel, and the location where Stephen King penned the novel) I jumped at the chance. Did it make me like the movie more? Don't think so. Was it fun? You bet. Well, I mean, it would have been if I had checked the weather report beforehand and worn more than summer clothing on a cold Estes evening.

The Lavender Hill Mob (Crichton, 1951)
Alec Guinness stars in this comedy as an unlikely bank robber with an almost perfect plan.
This was actually surprisingly funny. Even the hubby (who isn't always a fan of older movies) found himself laughing out loud. Guiness is absolutely perfect as a stuffy bank clerk who's tired of being so perfect, so trusted, and never touching any of the gold bullion of which he oversees for production and transport. And he would have gotten away with it too if it wasn't for those rascally kids. Another nice little surprise for those with keen eyes is the tiny walk-on part that a very young Miss Audrey Hepburn played.

Soylent Green (Fleischer, 1973)
Charleton Heston is a cop in a dystopic future who struggles to unravel the truth of a murder case.
This is one of those movies that you have to have seen in order to participate in political and social discussions. Like "1984" (the famous book by George Orwell), it is supposed to have all kinds of implications and relevence in modern society. Although it's nice to have another "classic" movie under my belt -- thereby giving people one less opportunity to say, "What???? You haven't seen that movie????" It's also nice to know what people mean when they say, "Oh that's just like Soylent Green." So, if you want to get the reference, maybe you should watch the movie too. Otherwise, it's a complete waste of time. It's boring, and the BIG REVEAL, is really not that exciting or shocking. And Heston didn't even react to it in the movie, so why should we? A lot of people think this movie is mind-blowing. I on the other hand think you're better off just asking someone who saw it what the big secret is, and then you can spend your time on better things.

Syriana (Gaghan, 2005)
Some bad things happen here and in the Middle East.
Sorry my synopsis is so vague, but it is difficult to be more specific about what happened in this movie without just spewing descriptions of scenes. This movie is fairly difficult to follow and therefore angers me. There are far too many characters to keep track of and so many intricate plotlines woven together that I think I am extremely lucky to have gotten the general gist of what happened. Yes, it disturbs, as any political commentary on US-Middle East relations would, but above anything else, this movie just frustrates. Maybe the book explains things better.

The Triangle (Baxley, 2005)
A TV mini-series with many recognizable faces that attempts to dramatize & solve the big mystery of the Bermuda Triangle
This was fun. Yeah, some of it was a little silly, but not unforgiveably so. The first two parts were fun and sometimes exciting. The final part did leave a little to be desired, but overall it was fun. Of course it did end up going into issues of time, and they end up having problems with a grandfather-type paradox. It's definitely not a Lost or 4400, but it's passable. It's biggest flaw is how quickly the big mystery gets answered. I think it would have been a much stronger show if it had been a series that explored other theories thoroughly. It would have been a bit more believable and probably more compelling.

Spirited Away (Miyazaki, 2001)
The much beloved surreal, Asian animation.
I think I don't really do children's animations quite so much anymore. Everyone loves this movie it seems. But I really didn't get it, and I was impatiently awaiting its ending from about 20 minutes in. It's very creative. The imagination it took to come up with the story astounds me. But I think I am done with these asian animations. Not that the American ones are soooo great. I am kind of tired of computer animated features. But I have been known to really enjoy an animated flick now and then. And I love working in animation myself, so you'd think I'd be all over the genre. But this one seemed kind of silly, maybe juvenile, and the story seemed almost unbearable to wait out. I shouldn't blame the genre for that though, right?

Lost, Season 2 (Abrams, 2005)
A TV series about a group of plane crash survivors who must adapt to live on a strange, supernatural island.
Oh my gosh, I just love this show. I am so addicted, you wouldn't believe it. The hubby and I watched the entire second season in 4 or 5 days. This season is deeper and grittier than the first. And people are starting to get a little darker, and a little crazier. Some answers are finally given this season, but leave you hanging just enough to completely salivate over what may be revealed in season 3 which airs October 4th. I do think we're moving away from some of the supernatural that we had in season 1 and I am missing it a tad. But it's still and incredibly exciting show, and quite possibly one of the best (if not the best) ever put out there. I think the show's producers are going to have a helluva time not disappointing us when they give us the big finale for the show. Any clear cut and full answer at this point seems like it couldn't live up to the tantalizing mystery they've built up.

Well that's it for now... Until next time, happy watching!

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Teddi said...

Does that mean Lost is now open for discussion? I bumped it to the top of my queue so that I have the show fresh in my memory. It's been so long.

Maria Eugenia said...

Thanks elizabeth! i'm glad to know your blog!

Elisabeth said...

Yep Teddi! Let the discussions begin! We're all caught up and can finally read what people are saying online without worrying about spoilers. What a thought! Now we will be mere mortals like the rest of you and have to wait a full week (or more) between episodes, and sit through commercial breaks, and everything!

It is fun to see some of the theories out there. We shall have to get together and compare notes and come up with some theories of our own, eh?

I can't wait for October 4th!!! Know what though? We may not be here!!! We may be out of town for our anniversary/honeymoon/babymoon. Ahhhh!!!!

Teddi said...

Well then you must record it!!! If I can stand it, I will record it each week so I can ff through the commercials and rewind and review at my leisure :).

Peter Esbensen said...

I was telling George that I was feeling uncool because I noticed that your netflix ratings seem to be diametrically opposed to mine. So I'm happy he pointed me to your blog where you explain your movie thoughts in more detail. I am very glad to hear that I don't have to watch Soylent Green, although I have to say I really enjoyed the SNL parody of it 10-15 yrs ago.

Elisabeth said...

Uncool???? I love people that disagree with me... Much more fun (and cool!) ;) It's funny. So many people see my ratings and think that i disagree with them on everything. And while i love to disagree, i look at their ratings and think we are really pretty similar. If you have any questions about any specific ratings i did, or if you want to discuss any movies in particular, let me know. Always love a good movie discussion. Also, welcome to the blog, I hope you come by again. I have been crap at keeping up with it, but I am hoping to update it more regularly again soon.


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