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John Sciacca Writes...

Features, Reviews and a Blog by John Sciacca

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Quick Take: The last 10 films we've watched

Posted on June 15, 2010 at 4:16 PM

Have I mentioned lately how much I love my home theater? Yes? Good. Because of all of the things that I’ve purchased, that is one that never fails to please me whenever we use it and it asks for virtually nothing from me in return (unlike my pool which lurks in the shadows waiting to break at THE most inopportune moment...).

So, we’re a big NetFlix household, and now that the TV season is taking a hiatus until Fall, we’ve been watching lots of movies, so I thought I’d give a quick review of the past 10 films we’ve watched, listed in most recent (last night) to oldest. (Total spoilers inside each review, so skip the ones you don’t feel like having spoiled...)


1)    The Red Baron. This was something I stumbled across while browsing NetFlix on-line using a new Media Center I’m testing. I’ve always been fascinated by the RB and this looked like a pretty decent production value move even though I’d never heard of it. The most off-putting part was that nearly every “German” spoke with a decidedly clipped British accent. A very romanticized portrayal of the RB, but enjoyable none the less. 7 out of 10.


2)    Leap Year. I like Amy Adams. I think she’s cute (possibly the best looking red head out there right now) and funny and so far she’s been a hit in everything I seen. Everything I’ve seen up until this, that is, because this was a real disappointment. They seemed tasked with putting in as many zany and whacky road movie shticks that it just became one screwball thing after another. Then the guy she “accidentally” falls in love with in Ireland shows almost zero redeeming qualities and is actually totally unlikable for the majority of the movie. (He was also no where near the same league of attractiveness, but Dana says that the Irish brogue covers over a lot of ugly.) Also, her fiancé who had been decent throughout the whole movie becomes a complete 180-degree ass in one scene, basically “allowing” her to leave him and marry the Irish guy. 5 out of 10.


3)    Dear John. Another decidedly chick-flick, however it had a war element and the lead character was a Green Beret, so it was entertaining. Three comments: First, I don’t know of any Special Forces guys that wear a ring or any other kind of jewelry that announce what branch they belong to. By their very nature, they try to blend in and lay low. Two, there was one of the most realistic fight scenes I think I’ve seen. Not "best" but most realistic because it was fast and brutal and over in like 3 seconds and is probably exactly how a fight between an SF guy and 3 total drunk college guys would actually go down. Third, that he sold all his dad’s coins and then gave the money to help the guy that stole his woman? No. NO!!! 7 out of 10.


4)    Motherhood. This was the Uma Thurman train wreck movie that grossed like $130 its opening weekend in the UK. I was thinking, "Come on! How bad could it be?" The answer: Bad! And it isn't like there wasn't some talent. Besides Uma it had Minnie Driver and Anthony "Goose" Edwards. The meandering story follows the horribly miserable, struggling life of a couple and their two kids living in NY and it was just a tedious chore to sit through. Uma is some kind of blogger who spends the movie trying to churn out clever one liners, but the dialog is just SO clunky and strained and fake that it was impossible to see these as "real" people. I think this is classified as a "comedy" but I don't think it merited even a smirk. Perhaps it would be better branded in a new genre: film's stars wish they could remove from their resume. 2 out of 10


5)    No Impact Man. Part of a documentary kick, this is about a guy who decides to live for a year without making ANY impact on the environment. No meat, no food not grown near his home, walking and biking everywhere, no trash, nothing that comes in any kind of container, and he even cuts off the electricity. Some hard core, pipe hittin' Green. I just felt sorry for the guy’s wife the whole time who seemed to be a semi-willing participant in this experiment that kept getting harder and harder and by the end I wondered why she was with this guy at all. In one scene he comes out and declares that he’s decided that it’s time to get rid of all her cosmetics and she just quietly cries in the bedroom. Definitely makes you think about how you can make changes to save the planet. Sure, I felt a twinge of guilt watching this guy saving the plant on a 60-inch Plasma, but after a tall, freezer chilled martini, it went away. 7 out of 10.


6)    The September Issue. A documentary covering the production of the September issue of Vogue, their largest issue of the year. This was back in 2007 (I think) and the issue was like 850 pages! (That’s more than S+V does in an entire year!) I thought this movie was incredibly interesting, maybe because I’m somewhat wrapped up in journalism myself. But it was well paced and kept it interesting. There is this one EXTRAVAGANTLY WAAAAAY over-the-top gay black guy who’s personality simultaneously repelled me and yet forced me to watch. He would say things like, “I have these custom nightshirts made at Charvet in Paris. I only wear them when I am at Mr. Karl Laggerfield’s summer house vacationing. For if you pass Mr. Karl Laggerfield in the hallway, you must be appropriately attired at all times!” He also wears this outrageous ensemble to play tennis. 8 out of 10.


7)    Michael Jackson’s This Is It. The whole time I was watching this I just kept thinking that I *wish* I could have seen this concert. It would have been epic. The Michael Jackson in this film is not the weak, weirdo MJ that we saw towards the end of his life but a vibrant, commanding performer who is in charge of the show. The dancing and choreography and sets were awesome, and this would have been a show you would have considered paying $500 to see. Of course, one of my favorite moments was Michael’s, “I’m saying this with love. L-O-V-E, love. But, it's like someone's shoving their fist in my ear! With love!” rant to the guy running his in-ear mix. 8.5 out of 10.


8)    Coco Before Chanel. Pretty much got this movie because Coco was being played by Audrey Tatou and I’ve tried to watch all of her films since Amelie. (If you haven’t seen Amelie, scrap all these other things and just head straight for that.) It was interesting, but kind of slow, basically showing how she made her way from orphan to possibly-prostitute-cabaret-worker to quirky hat maker to the social set. 7 out of 10.


9)    Sicko. This is actually the first Michael Moore film that I’ve seen, so I’m neither a fanboy nor hater of his. (Though, for me, I prefer the style of Morgan Spurlock and would recommend that you rent Supersize Me or 30 Days. With Morgan you just feel like he hasn’t gone into the project with his mind already made up, he lets the information take him wherever it does.) This is about the (horrible, decrepit, barbaric, uber-commercial...) state of health care in the US. And I have to say, after watching, it makes me want to fill Allstate’s offices with the raw sewage gathered from construction site port-a-potties in the hottest/spiciest parts of the country and then move to France. Best scene is when he takes a group of 9/11 volunteers (police, fire, medics) in a boat to Guantanamo and over a PA shouts that he just wants to get these heroes the same care that we’re providing the Al Qaeda terrorists. 8 out of 10


10)    Pride and Prejudice. This was a Blu-ray loaded onto the Kaleidescape system I was reviewing and since I hadn’t watched it (and Dana is *always* up for watching it) it seemed like a decent choice. After watching it, I can *totally* see why Dana loves Keira Knightley. I mean, she is quick and smart and clever and brash and...wait? What? Oh, I mean why Dana loves the character of Elizabeth Bennet which is played by Keira Knightley. The Blu-ray really displayed the beautiful scenary, in particular one scene in a room of marble sculptures where you could practically feel the gauzy texture of the stone. Even though I generally avoid Victorian-era period films, this movie -- even the non-Keira Knightley parts -- was suprisingly entertaining. 8.5 out of 10

Categories: June 2010, 3D TV, Reviews

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1 Comment

Reply Dana
10:33 PM on June 15, 2010 
Not to mention Matthew MacFayden ? oh, I mean Mr. Darcy.