Friday, February 28, 2014

February Movie Status

I saw 11 new movies in the month of February and I had 1 re-watch.  As I expected, my new job, coupled with the book I am working on, severely curtailed the amount of movies I ended up watching.

I am semi-actively working on the following lists: Oscar Best Picture Nominees, the six 101 [Genre] Films You Must See Before You Die lists, and They Shoot Pictures Don’t They.  Some of these overlap, but I am showing films under only one list’s count in the details below.  I also have a few more films left that appeared for the first time on IMDB’s 2013 year ending Top 250 list.  All of these different lists can be seen by clicking on the names of them.  They link to my Lists from Chip posts on them.

Here are the 11 new movies and 1 old one I saw in February.  Highlighted movies are ones to which I would give at least three stars out of five.  I will single out the four and five star films, as well as the worst films, in the paragraphs below the lists.

IMDB (0):

Oscar Nominees (2): Nebraska (2013), Philomena (2013)

101 Genre (0):

TSPDT (1): An Angel at My Table (1990)

Other Movies (8): 2 Guns (2013), Getaway (2013), We’re the Millers (2013), From Up on Poppy Hill (2011), I’m So Excited (2013), Ender’s Game (2013), Riddick (2013), Blue is the Warmest Color (2013)

Re-watches (1): The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

I saw so few films this month that I will just write a bit about each.

For Nebraska (3 stars) and Philomena (4 stars) you can click on those titles to read my full reviews of them.

An Angel at My Table (1990) – this is an early film from Jane Campion.  It tells the true story of writer Janet Frame from her girlhood in New Zealand in the early part of the 20th century up to her adulthood in Europe.  3 stars

2 Guns (2013) – pretty standard mindless action flick with Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg as the leads.  2.5 stars

Getaway (2013) – mindless action flick, but with some great driving stunts in it making it worthwhile.  3 stars

We’re the Millers (2013) – the trailer ruined some of the laughs, but there were plenty more in the film.  A man has to smuggle tons of pot across the American/Mexican border so he hires three people to pretend to be a family on vacation in an RV to do it.  3 stars

From Up on Poppy Hill (2011) – not the best film from Studio Ghibli, but even one of their “not the best” is still better than a lot of other films.  3 stars

I’m So Excited (2013) – horrible title (it sounds like a movie for teenage girls) for Pedro Almodovar’s comedic follow-up to his horror film The Skin I Live In.  People who just discovered the director through the latter film basically have had a WTF reaction to I’m So Excited.  Long time fans will enjoy Almodovar’s return to some of the zaniness of his earlier films.  3 stars

Ender’s Game (2013) – does an okay job adapting one of the best science fiction novels of all time.  The medium just doesn’t support what makes the book great (character development), so we are left with a flawed, but still watchable story of a young tactical and strategic genius trained to win humanity’s last battle with another race. 3 stars  (read the book, trust me.  Here’s my review of it.)

Riddick (2013) – this film assumes two things: that you have seen and remember the first two films; and that you have half a brain and don’t need everything spoon fed to you.  In other words, it assumes that you actually watch films instead of have them on while you play with your phone.  This is a decent addition to the Riddick films.  It is more in the style of the first one than the second one. 3 stars

Blue is the Warmest Color (2013) – this film deserves more than a bit.  3.5 stars

Yes, there is a sex scene in it, more than one, in fact, but it is not 10-12 minutes long.  The people screaming about that need to get their watches checked.  Total all the sex scenes in the movie together and you might make 10 minutes.  Maybe.  And that's across 180 minutes of film.  The fact that so much time (including this paragraph) has been spent discussing a relatively minor part of the film shows just how obsessed with sex everyone is.

So, the film itself.  The two actresses did a fantastic job, especially Adele Exarchopoulos.  She really deserved a Best Actress Oscar nomination, and maybe even a win.  Some of her scenes were heartbreaking.  Yes, "heartbreaking".  Anyone who thinks that professional film critics will go gaga over a romance film that has an "and they lived happily ever after" ending doesn't know much about film critics.  And the fact that both actresses have had to publicly disown the director, who got such great, multiple-award-winning performances out of them, in order to stop the near-constant attacks on them for doing a “pornographic” film is a really sad comment on our society.

This film doesn't get four stars from me simply because the director doesn't know how to edit out extraneous stuff.  It's not just the one sex scene that stretches out.  There are many minutes devoted to watching people eat spaghetti, to seeing Adele teach children, to seeing Adele sleep, to a party that drags out far past the time it's made its point, etc.  There are a lot of great scenes in the film, interspersed with periodic bits where the director indulges himself.  This would make a fantastic 2-2.5 hour film.


  1. For me, Ender’s Game movie was a let down, I just didn't care about the chracters in the same way as in the book.

    Agree Adele Exarchopoulos deserved Oscar nom/win. At least she won the Palm d'Or.
    I wasn't bothered by the sex scenes. To me it felt correct, because of how passionate the relationship is. I had issues with other aspects, especially the storytelling, Do her parents know she is lesbian, and what do they think about that? Considering the film is 3 hours, it's odd this is so vague and underdeveloped. Apparently a scene where Adele's parents kick her out for being with Emma wasn't used in theatrical cut, that partly explains it. The film feels open-ended, do you think there should be a sequel?

    1. At one point during the spaghetti dinner Adele's mother asks Emma about her boyfriend and Emma makes up a story about him. That lets us know that Adele's parents have no idea that the two are a couple.

      I agree that it felt like sections were getting skipped over. I suppose they'd have to do that to cover the 10 years over which the story takes place. I've read that the director wants to release a four hour version of it.

      I've also read that this is based on a graphic novel and that there is more story that occurs after what we see in the film. I don't know that they'd ever make a sequel to it, though.