Friday, January 06, 2012

What I Watched In December

December is usually a very busy month for me with Christmas parties and other social events taking much of my time. The annual gift giving season finally became that thing I've dreaded since I was old enough to notice my parent's holiday stress levels- a time wished to be over with soon. That's not to say that I didn't enjoy myself. Any month that includes extra time with friends and family is going to be a good month, but the constant tug of often conflicting responsibilities and expectations can be rough. Luckily I saw several good movies.

The first theater visit was with my girlfriend to see the excellent new Muppet movie. The first new adventure of Kermit and friends in years was a return to greatness. The story was touching, the songs were funny and seeing the characters onscreen again was one of the best events in movies all year. The clever humor of the film includes commentary on selling out personally and professionally, ruminations on what it means to be a friend and reflections on the perils of love all with a smile inducing energy that keeps everything moving. And I can honestly say I never expected to see veteran character actor Chris Cooper rap and dance but now that I have I can report that its the funniest thing ever. Ever! Its even funnier than the sly song about the sad joys of masturbation.

The fourth MISSION IMPOSSIBLE film proved that given enough tries the producers can eventually bring the series up to the level of 'good' even if I still dislike the impossible aspect of some of the over the top stunts. The final, tense action scene in a high tech car garage is one of the best fist fights I've seen in a big budget movie in years. The second Guy Ritchie SHERLOCK HOLMES film was almost as much fun as the first although I felt the plot took too long to kick into gear. That impression may have more to do with my preference for the BBC TV production SHERLOCK than the flaws in this souped-up version of Holmes, but the emphasis on action sometimes works against the story. The cast was fantastic with Jared Harris turning in one of the all time great Moriarity performances and Jude Law showing real flair as a very fine Watson. I also liked Stephen Fry as Mycroft and his habit of calling his younger brother 'Sherlie' was a nice touch.

BATMAN: YEAR ONE (2011)- 8
HORROR EXPRESS (1972) - 8 (rewatch)
STUNT ROCK (1978)- 5 (plot less combination of hard rock, stunts and stage magic serves as a love letter to Grant Page)
WILDERNESS (2006) - 6 (solid British revenge/survivalist tale)
RED STATE (2011)- 8 (surprising film from Kevin Smith)
MARY SHELLY'S FRANKENSTEIN (1994)- 8 (rewatch)
THE MUPPETS (2011)- 8 (They're back and awesome)
WALL-E (2008)- 8 (excellent Pixar tale)
THOR: TALES OF ASGARD (2011)- 6 (good animated 'Young Thor' story)
WAKE WOOD (2010)- 8 (damned good horror story from Hammer)
A CHRISTMAS CAROL (1984)- 8 (very good version with George C. Scott)
THE RACKETEER (1929)- 6 (gangster love story)
JUJIN YUKI OTOKO (1955)- 6 (Honda's Abominable Snowman film)
CURSE OF THE DEVIL (1973)- 7 (rewatch)
ALIEN (1979)- 10 (rewatch)
GODZILLA VS. HEDORA (1971)- 3 (terrible but still fun in a silly way)
BEGINNERS (2010)- 8 (touching and funny drama about what makes us)
SLITHER (1972)-8 (amazing, funny road film with James Cann as a hapless ex-con)

No comments: