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[Disscusion] What I Watched...

Well I'm back and back by popular demand (yeah, can't you see all these comments here demanding that I bring back What I watched?) is the weekly installment of What I Watched. Since I didn't keep track of what I watched I'm sure that I might put things down that I watched last week on accident.

-The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert: I was actually kind of disappointed with this one. For ever I've been hearing how great this movie is and how funny and amazing it is. I finally sit down to watch it and it fell very short of my expectations. I think my biggest problem is that I thought it was going to be more along the lines of "To Wong Foo...", which I love. "To Wong Foo..." is just a funny movie with well known actors in drag. "Priscilla..." is a lot more serious and it tries to tackle big issues like acceptance and consequences for your actions. It's a lot more gritty and a lot less funny. The best moments in the movie are when they're doing their lip syncing routine, which you can't even enjoy that much because the people they're doing it for are disgusted by them. I thought this movie was supposed to be a comedy, but it turned out to be a drama with a little bit of comedy, so I was disappointed. Still...it had its moments and everyone was likable and very fabulous. So, it gets a solid 3 Stars.

-Premonition (2007): Premonition turned out a lot better than I thought it would. I was under the impression that this was a horror movie (that's how it was marketed), but it's actually more of a thriller. I'm very testy about labels, but I'll save that rant for another day. Overall "Premonition" was good, but not great. The one thing that really bothered me about the whole movie is that Bullock's character never tells her husband about her dream. She's acting all crazy and he keeps asking her what's wrong and she never tells him. How hard is it to say "I had an incredibly vivid dream where you die and I can't shake it off." There. Now you're not crazy. On the DVD there are two featurettes, one is about people who are not psychic, but they had one premonition of something major and how it affected their lives. The second one is about people who are psychic. Both of these featurettes were better than the movie. Not a bad outing, but remember it's a THRILLER not a HORROR movie, so don't get this one with the purpose of being scared. Won't happen. 3 Stars.

-Shutter (2004): Review Posted. 3 Stars.

-Entourage: Season 4: Season 4 was kind of annoying. It's kind of like what my friend said about Prison Break. The show isn't that great anymore, but I've invested so much of my time into the show I can't not watch it. My three favorite characters (who I think make the show), Ari, Lloyd, and Johnny Drama aren't in the show very much and instead the show revolves around my three least favorite characters Vincent Chase, Eric, and Billy Walsh. To make it even worse the entire season seems to focus on Eric and Billy fighting. Vincent Chase is also a complete douche bag. Plus, after all the drama with Eric and Billy and all the bs they had to go through for the movie the ending is completely unsatisfying. Why do I still watch this show? 3 Stars.

I also watched: Sex and the City: The Movie, Weeds S3, Bring it On, Storm of the Century, Medium S4, Time After Time, Family Guy: Blue Harvest, Baby Mama, Breakdown, and The Eye, which I'll review at a later time.

On Wednesday I'm starting my horror movie month or as I like to call it "31 Days of Halloween." Everyday for the month of October I will watch a horror movie. I may watch more than 1 a day, but my goal for now is one a day. Hopefully I can do it, but between netflix and movies from my personal collection I think I can do it.

[Review] Shutter (2004)

Netflix Synopsis:

Tun (Ananda Everingham), a photographer, and his girlfriend, Jane (Natthaweeranuch Thongmee), run over a young girl after a night of drinking and decide to flee the scene. The couple is haunted by the memory of their deadly choice, and soon, they notice their photos contain strange ghostly shapes. When several of Tun's friends die in mysterious circumstances, they realize that they may be haunted by more than just bad memories.

My Thoughts

Personally I think that vengeful, wet, stringy, long haired Asian girls are long dead and filmmakers are just flogging a dead concept into mush. However, I found Shutter to be a somewhat original in their interpretation of the angry dead girl. It starts off promising, albeit a little slow. A couple hits a girl while driving home late at night. They panic and leave her there to die. Not long after strange wisps of smoke and faces appear in their photos. As the couple starts to discover the truth the movie takes a turn for the worse. The entire hotel scene was every angry Asian girl cliche that they could fit into one scene. She appears, she disappears, she's at the end of the bed, she crawling, she's hanging upside down, her hair's in her face, he runs, he screams, he falls out a window. I think I just described Ju-on, Ringu, Phone, and all of their remakes and copycats in one run-on sentence. However! The last 10 minutes of the movie completely redeems itself. As soon as all the questions have been answered and the final pieces of the puzzle fall into place, Shutter takes a genuinely creepy turn. In the end it factors into an average movie, but I think it was a good try. Maybe if they had picked up the pace a little in the beginning and tried to be a little more original it would've been a 4 star movie at least. I think the last 10 minutes of the movie are really worth plodding through the rest of it because it actually gave me chills.

[Disscusion] What I Watched...

Look at that two weeks in a row. After I posted my last one I realized that if I did Sunday to Sunday I would be overlapping. So, instead I'll do Monday to Sunday. Also, I probably won't do this for the next two weeks because I'm flying to Vermont while my Dad gets open heart surgery.

Weeds: Season 3: (5 Episodes) So far the same caliber as season 2. For some reason season 2 really didn't click for me like season 1 did. I loved season 1 a lot while I thought season 2 was good, but not great. So far season 3 looks like it's shaping up to be the same. It certainly has time to pick up and her kids aren't quite as annoying as they were last season, which is always a plus. As of right now: 3 Stars.

Law and Order: Criminal Intent: Season 5: (9 Episodes) I still feel the same about it as I did last week. There was a really great 2 parter that had both teams come together, but it still feels like 2 separate shows. 3.5 Stars.

Inglorious Bastards: Surprisingly good! A lot of people were talking about how cheesy it was, but I enjoyed it. I guess Tarantino is remaking this in 2010 (?), but it sounds like he's changing the story completely. I liked it as is. 4 Stars.

Magnum Force: Just as good as Dirty Harry. 4 Stars.

Prison Break: Season 3 (5 Episodes -- Finished). 3.5 Stars.

The Enforcer: 3rd installment in the Dirty Harry series. As a movie on it's own it's not that great, but as a Dirty Harry installment I enjoyed it. 4 Stars.

Dexter: Season 2: (3 Episodes). Already amazing! The first season took me a while to get into, but the second season grabbed me right away. I can't wait to see more. 4 Stars.

The Nanny: Besides getting a few key parts of the movie wrong (as in who dies), the synopsis given here also ruins any sort of suspense that the movie could have used to keep the story from dragging. There's no mystery as to why the kid hates the nanny, or why Joey was "away" for 2 years. Joey does nothing to make himself look anything but guilty, which I assume was an attempt to throw the viewers off. However since the synopsis here (and the trailer) leaves nothing to the imagination you simply spend the 92 minutes waiting for the nanny to get caught. No suspense, no build up, no big release. This one was average all around. If you want to see Bette Davis play a creepy character watch "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane" instead. 3 Stars.

Adventures in Babysitting: Cute! Pretty unrealistic, but a good way to spend a couple of hours. OMG...did anyone else see Vincent D'Onofrio? He used to be freaking ripped...and very cute. Haha. 3.5 Stars.

[Disscusion] What I Watched...

In an effort to make myself more productive in my own community I'm adding a new weekly feature: What I Watched! On Mondays I will post what I watched in between Sunday and the previous Sunday. As a warning, before anyone gets judgmental...keep in mind that I am unemployed and I am alone a lot due to my husband's schedule!

What I Watched: 8/10-8/17:

-9 to 5: Average movie. The way everyone talks about it I was expecting it to be hilarious, but it wasn't. I had its moments, but for the most part it was a little dull. I think you have to be an older person to appreciate the humor. 3 Stars.

-Copycat Average, Average, Average. Copycat was just like every other thriller from the 90's that I've seen (like Hush or Hand that Rocks the Cradle for a few). Weaver seems to just be going through the motions and everyone else is either over acting or doesn't know what acting is. I didn't once feel thrilled. Not a bad movie, but not a good one either. 3 Stars.

-Psych Season 2: (8 Episodes -- Finished Season). Psych season 2 started out just as strongly as season 1 ended. Unfortunately, it didn't last. The last 4 episodes were average at best and was not a good way to end the season. It really seemed like it was building up to something (something about Sean's mom), but trying to make a plot arc brought down the shows natural flow. Since it ended abruptly (most likely due to the writer's strike, or maybe not) it didn't give itself time to flush out the story arc or redeem itself. It simply just ended leaving a bad taste in my mouth. Also, it bothered me that in the last half of the season many of the main characters suddenly became jerks. Especially the episode when O'Hara gets in trouble for harassing an officer. This is a comedy people! Leave the drama out of it. If I wanted to watch a dramatic cop show I'd watch Law and Order or CSI. However, up until those last four episodes season 2 had surpassed season 1 in hilarity and up the ante on the types of shenanigans they got into. So, it still gets a good rating from me. I just hope that in season three they go back to the formula that they were using before and leave all the wannabe deep stuff out of it. 4 Stars.

-Dirty Harry: Surprisingly good! I'm not much for machismo movies from the 70's, but this one surpassed my expectations. Clint Eastwood is amazing as an inspector who is more interested in getting the bad guy than bending over backwards to let the law accommodate them. Andy Robinson, who played the Scorpio killer was also amazing. He played evil to a T. His character exuded evil and genuinely creeped me out. I rarely feel strongly about "bad" guys, but the Scorpio was scary and on top of that smart, which made him even scarier! I'm sure the rest of the Dirty Harry series isn't going to be as good as the first one, but I definitely want to check them out. 4 Stars.

-Law and Order: Criminal Intent: Season 5: (3 Episodes). This is the infamous season where Chris Noth joins the cast and Vincent D'Onofrio began only appearing in half the episodes due to exhaustion. So far I'm not feeling it since it basically it plays out like two completely different shows. I don't like to judge quite so early in a season though. It took 9 episodes for season 1 to finally hit its stride and finally click with me. So, I'll leave it at that until I've seen more. Hopefully it just needs to hit its stride and will do so quickly. 3 Stars.

-Prison Break: Season 3: (8 Episodes). Prison Break is another one of those shows that takes me a while to get into. As of right now it has only 5 more episodes left to wow me. While it's good and suspenseful something about this season feels off to me. The story seems to be plodding along slowly and not as action filled as the other two seasons. Also the characters surrounding the main ones are boring and 2 dimensional. Hopefully it'll pick up. 3.5 Stars.

-Never Back Down: Awful, AWFUL movie. This might have been an inspirational and good Rocky-esque movie if they didn't make everyone in this movie an asshole. The mom's an asshole, the "bad" guy is an asshole, the chick, and even the main character is an asshole. Isn't the whole point of these movies is to root for the underdog to persevere? This kid was such a dick to his trainer and everyone else it's no wonder he got the crap kicked out of him. Also, what was up with the "bad" kid? Just one scene would explain everything and maybe make the movie a little better. They deleted the scene of the bad kid doing steroids. Okay, okay...he didn't do steroids, but seriously that would explain what this kid's problem is. It would also explain how he has abs from the neck down. Anyway, the fight scenes were cool, but the whole thing played out like a made-for-MTV movie. Basically it was a music video with a little bit of talking. If this is all that the youth of today can pay attention to then I feel sorry for them. 1 Star.

[Review] Cobra

Netflix Synopsis:

Marion Cobretti (Sylvester Stallone), a grizzly, loose-cannon cop, is on the trail of a dangerous serial killer who calls himself the "Night Slasher" (Brian Thompson). Now, Cobra not only has to catch the bad guy, he also has to protect the one woman (Brigitte Nielsen) who knows the killer's identity. The body count rises as Cobra takes on an evil cult -- and liberally doles out justice -- in this fast-paced action-adventure.

My Thoughts:

Cobra is another entry in the 80's action, "loose cannon" cop genre. As an action movie it's pretty standard. The loose cannon cop that no one but his partner understands goes after a serial killer/cult. He makes progress in the case and comes closer to finding out who the leader is because he can bend the rules, blah, blah, blah. Sound familiar? The action is decent...there is one car chase scene in the middle and of course the "climatic" ending that's filled with fire, molten metal, grenades, and an array of weapons that are quite obviously non police issue. Stallone, and this movie, take themselves way too seriously and not unlike Lethal Weapon the heavy bad-ass, loose cannon, wannabe deep message atmosphere brings down the movie. Especially when you say cheesy lines like "You're the disease, and I'm the cure" without any irony.

Still, Cobra is an entertaining movie. It had quite a few unintentional laughs like the homeless guys and streetwalker/robot montage or the Night Slasher meetings where they knock together their stainless steel killing utensils in unison. You think when they first started up the cult the founding members sat around and thought up cool things to do at their meetings?

Founding Member 1: "Hey, how about we knock our axes together. That would be SO cool!"
FM2: "Hmm...How many times?"
FM1: "We'll just do it as many times as it feels right... C'mon how cool would that be?"
FM2: "It WOULD be cool... Okay, okay...how about this: Do we provide the killing tools or does everyone have to bring their own?"

Or how about Cobra eating pizza and apples with leather gloves and mirror glasses on...at night...in his own home?? All of these things were pretty golden. Unfortunately when a movie demands to be taken seriously it makes it harder to suspend your disbelief and enjoy the cheesy action movie. Like, it's hard to believe that this crazy cult leader couldn't keep his knife in his pants and go without killing for 10 minutes while he was sneaking around a hospital which contained ONE person who could positively id him. I mean he's not so entirely off his rocker that he didn't think to disguise himself while in the hospital, so he's not so insane that he can't chill on the senseless murder of others to take out one person who is a real threat to him. I'm just sayin' is all. Anyway, Cobra is a decent action flick and certainly not a bad one. It's not too long, there's a good body count, and is overall entertaining. Not a bad way to spend a lazy day.


[Review] Jackie Brown

Netflix Synopsis:

Director Quentin Tarentino added his deft touch to nicely placed wry humor, combined that with an all-star cast (including Samuel L. Jackson, Pam Grier and Robert De Niro) and delivered the action-crime caper Jackie Brown. Jackie is a flight attendant who smuggles cash on the side. When busted and pressured to help with an investigation, she plans to play the opposing forces against each other and walk away with the dough.

My Thoughts:

I’m not quite sure what I was expecting going into this movie. I suppose I was expecting to not like it, which is strange because I love Quentin Tarentino’s movies. Maybe the reason I didn’t think I’d like it is because it’s supposed to be a tip of the hat to black-sploitation films of the 70’s and since I have never watched a black-sploitation flick I figured I couldn’t relate to it and thus not be able to enjoy it. Interestingly enough I used the same line of thinking when it came to Grindhouse: Death Proof/Planet Terror and guess what, I loved both those movies too. Go figure. Anyway, the point at hand here is this: Jackie Brown was AMAZING. It was pure Q.T. with the music, the monologues, and conversations about nothing, but something (I suppose the actors; Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, and Robert de Niro who were all amazing) kept the movie more grounded and didn’t start treading on pretentious (as Q.T. has a tendency to do). I certainly have to give Mr. Tarentino his props because he knows how to make Samuel L. Jackson shine like no other.

I suppose that the lesson learned here is that I shouldn’t question Quentin Tarentino’s movies and while he may be a pompous jackass, he makes a damn fine movie. So, if you don’t normally enjoy Tarentino movies then it’s probably safe to say that you won’t enjoy Jackie Brown, but if you do like them then I believe that Jackie Brown is a sleeper hit and quite possibly one of his best movies to date. In fact I'm going to go out on a limb and say it was better than Pulp Fiction...but not too much better. Also like any good movie it makes you want to see what inspired it, so I’ll be sure to check out Coffy and Foxy Brown.

[Review] The Seven Year Itch

Netflix Synopsis:

After packing off wife and son for the summer, doughy middle-aged publisher Richard Sherman (Tom Ewell) lets his imagination run wild, fantasizing about erstwhile ladyloves -- and his curvaceous new neighbor (Marilyn Monroe). Inviting her over for a drink, Richard plans to sweep her off her feet and into the bedroom. But then he imagines that his flights of fancy are airing nationwide, with his wife in the audience.

My Thoughts:

Before I say anything I have to say that I absolutely hated the main character Richard Sherman. Not only was he a detestable human being, he was an asshole, annoying, and I'm pretty sure mildly retarded. At first he just seemed quirky...you know talking to himself and having an over active imagination, but the minute he started to profess that he was god's gift to women and his ridiculous fantasies about seducing the girl upstairs he became intolerable. This change happened a mere 15 minutes into the 104 minute running time. That made for 89 very painful minutes on my part. As long as Sherman wasn't alone on screen (and unfortunately he was quite a bit) it was a really good movie. I was very pleasantly surprised by Marilyn Monroe's acting. This is the first movie of hers I've ever seen. Her character and the hilarious psychologist were worth watching the movie and its only saving grace. I kept jumping between giving the movie 4 stars because of M.M. or giving it 1 star because I truly hated the protagonist and the storyline. Not all bad came out of this however, since I will definitely make an effort to watch another Monroe movie, but I would not recommend this movie at all. At one point I literally wished that I could kill the main character. I figure that's never a good sign. Even though this is my first Marilyn Monroe movie I have a feeling it's more for people who are big fans of Marilyn and not for the casual movie goer. Not really recommended.

(And a generous 3 Stars at that)

[Review] Black Dog

Netflix Synopsis:

Patrick Swayze is at his good-ol'-boy best as renegade (unlicensed) trucker Jack Crews, who's been coerced into transporting smuggled weapons with the help of his partner, Earl (Randy Travis). On his tail is Red (Meatloaf), a religious fanatic who wants to get his hands on the goods. Filmed in Charlotte, North Carolina, Black Dog delivers gear-slamming action courtesy of director Kevin Hooks (Passenger 57).

My Thoughts:

Ever since Maximum Overdrive graced the big screens people have been clamoring for another film featuring big rigs. Okay, that’s probably not true considering 12 years has passed before semi’s had another film in which they could shine. As an action movie Black Dog is pretty average, but very solid. In an 87 minute running time there were four major action scenes (all resulting in a semi or another vehicle exploding). While all these action scenes were well done and exciting, the lulls in between them were kind of boring. If you can’t stand country music I would suggest you skip this one since the entire soundtrack is mostly manned by Randy Travis (who co-stars). Randy Travis actually does a decent job of acting and holds his own against Swayze. Meatloaf is amusing as the verse spouting, coupon collecting psychopath who just won’t die. The ending is quite ridiculous in how they tie everything up in a nice neat little package, but I’ll assume if you’re watching a movie with Meatloaf, Patrick Swayze, and Randy Travis then you know to check your brain out at the door and just enjoy the ride.

Although it's kinda stupid and definitely sounded like it was tacked on at the last minute...Black Dog also scores a point for using the title of the movie in the movie. I think they would've been better off just calling the big rig "Black Dog" instead of a ghostly apparition of a dog that comes and ruins your life when you've been on the road too long (I shit you not that's what they say). Anyway, there are plenty of insanely better action movies out there, but you could do a lot worse than Black Dog. Enjoy it for what it is.


[Review] In My Skin

Netflix Synopsis:

When she receives deep lesions to her leg after a fall, Esther (Marina de Van) becomes obsessed with her wounds. At first, the obsession is innocent, comparable to a body-image issue, but soon she's harming herself more destructively. Esther's boyfriend (Laurent Lucas) becomes justifiably disturbed and outraged but can't understand what she's going through, which causes her to delve further into despair and her destructive pattern.

My Thoughts:

When I watched In My Skin I didn't find it to be the "disturbing" flick many made it out to be. Don't get me wrong...I thought it was WEIRD and the things Esther did were messed up, but I think if they had spent more time letting us get to know Esther prior to her accident the whole situation would be a lot more heartbreaking (and interesting). The biggest problem for me was that they provided no background on the characters. They also didn't explain or help you see what Esther's motives were. She seems normal, doesn't have a bad life, and seems well liked. She's at a party and goes wandering around the host's backyard (another thing they never explain) and she falls. She doesn't notice she's profusely bleeding until hours later and even then goes out for drinks with her friends before heading the the hospital. That's something else they never explain. All this is well and good but she goes from zero to bat shat crazy in mere seconds. At first her wound doesn't seem to bother her and then suddenly she's down in her work basement with her pants off cutting her legs with rusty tools. I don't know if it was just lost in translation, but I didn't get it. I spent the first half of the movie waiting for her to eat her skin and the second half waiting for it to be over. It's something to see if only for the shock value, but it really didn't play out how I hoped.


Mini Review Roundup!

For the month of October I have been trying to watch only horror movies! So far all the ones I've watched I haven't had enough to say about, but I thought I'd do a bunch of mini reviews.

Netflix Synopsis: El Wray (Freddy Rodriguez) and his ex-girlfriend Cherry Darling (Rose McGowan) fight an army of zombies infected with a biochemical weapon unleashed by a psychotic Army lieutenant (Bruce Willis) and an opportunistic scientist (Naveen Andrews). Cult favorite filmmaker Robert Rodriguez directs this extended version of his segment from the double-feature homage Grindhouse. Marley Shelton, Josh Brolin, Michael Parks and Jeff Fahey co-star.

My Thoughts: This movie was surprisingly good. I don't know anything about Robert Rodriguez, so I wasn't sure what to expect and a lot of people said that this movie didn't have enough substance to be on its own. I think its major flaw was that it went on a little long...the added length started to expose the characters as more annoying than hilariously bad. I was ready for it to end about 10 minutes before it actually did. It was still a great movie though, over the top gore, great one-liners, and ridiculous characters. It also didn't take itself too seriously, which I think Quentin Tarantino has a tendency to do. By the way...they need to make a movie for Machete. That looked so awesome. Haha.

Netflix Synopsis: After pulling off a major heist, a group of ex-military outlaws commandeer a plane for their getaway. But when one of the group betrays them by parachuting out with the cash, the rest follow -- and find themselves in the middle of a nightmare. They take shelter in an abandoned farmhouse set in a cornfield, where sinister scarecrows soon come to life and start taking them out one by one in this spine-chilling cult classic.

My Thoughts: I had high hopes for this movie. The story sounded awesome, it was made in the 80's, and everyone on netflix was singing its praises. Well, they took the story and made it as slow and boring as possible. Then they made the characters incredibly annoying. Next they got the worst actors they could find. They added all these ingredients and topped it off with poor special effects and hardly any action (and no, I don't think that sudden close ups of scarecrows is action). I also think that people are looking way too much into the film. They're claiming there's some deep philosophical meaning to this movie about death and being in limbo and I think that's a reach. I think it comes down to people trying to justify why they like such a bad movie. Avoid this one. I spent the entire 80 minutes (which felt like a lifetime) waiting for it to be over.


Netflix Synopsis: In the wake of a devastating tragedy that killed every member of her family, Christian missionary Katherine Morrissey (Hilary Swank) loses her faith in God, devoting the rest of her life to debunking religious phenomena with the principles of science. But when she's called to a small Southern town to investigate a series of strange occurrences that appear to be biblical plagues, she runs out of logical explanations.

My Thoughts: When I saw the previews for this movie in theaters (over a year ago) I thought it looked interesting, but I had a hunch that it was going to be one of those movies that takes a good, fairly original idea and make it boring/annoying/stupid/cheesy/not-at-all scary *cough*scarecrows*cough*, so I was kind of reluctant to pick it up. I actually hadn't heard anything about it either. I was pleasantly surprised. Now, I don't know if I liked this movie as much as I did because I was expecting pretty much crap or if it's because it was good. I can't really tell. Anyway, the storyline was solid, the characters were likable and real, and the thing I appreciate most is that it didn't stoop to cheap scares. It build suspense with character development and good acting -- not having people jump out of the dark with strong violin music. The twist at the end isn't very shocking, but interesting. All in all it was a good effort. A rare breed these days.

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