See You at The Movies

Yesterday’s comments on Midnight in Paris constitute the last movie review type thing I’ll post to Steel White Table. About a week from now, I’ll be done with this blog altogether. Probably. Anyhow, if you really can’t stand missing out on what movies I’ve been watching, I offer you my two big movie lists available through the Internet Movie Database.

List #1: All the most recent movies I’ve seen with a rating out of 10 (click the image to view the list).

I’m not too stringent with the 10 star rating scale. I was used to thinking within the 4 star scale with no half stars (because then it would just be an 8 point rating system, and if you’re using 8, what not just use 10?). So for me 8, 9 or 10 stars = a 4-star movie. Most movies are such a total waste of time and brain energy, when I come across something that engages me, makes me laugh, makes me cry, makes me think or feel something I wouldn’t have otherwise thought or felt (besides annoyance), then it’s a 4-star movie. A 3-star movie, an average okay kind of flick, is 7 stars using the IMdB rating system. Anything lower than that is pretty much crap. Okay then…

List #2: Movies that, according to my brain, aren’t too shabby — the more or less 4-star movies (click the image to view the list).

My current favourite or most recommended movies (and television series) will show up near the top of the list (the first 10 or so), but the list can be ordered according the release date and other criteria.

I might add comments to some of the movie descriptions and I might create a list of guilty pleasure movies some day. But otherwise, that’s it. See you at the movies.

“Hanna” Just Misses the Mark

  Hanna is about a girl raised in the woods by her former super secret agent father who has trained her to be the ultimate soldier and killing machine. But really she’s just sad and lonely and misunderstood. Or something. Watch the trailer to see all the best parts of the movie.

“Hanna” could have been tense and emotionally engaging, but I began to lose interest about 10 minutes into it because all the musical cues and the editing were too obvious. Quiet music or no music + slow edits = empathy. Loud music + frantic edits = tension. Repeat and rinse, then fade to black. The elements for an exceptional action thriller are there, but they’re diminished by unimaginative choices made in post-production.

The “Super Size Me” Guy’s Other Docutainment Flick

  I just made that up — docutainment. But that’s what Pom Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold boils down to — an entertaining documentary, edging more towards entertainment than documentary. It’s about Morgan Spurlock‘s attempt to get the movie made through product placement. We see him make pitches to various companies. Finally a company, Pom Wonderful, agrees to finance the movie, and they don’t seem like such a bad company, but not looking bad is probably part of their deal. Other minor sponsors get in on the action. The rest of the movie is filled with product placements. In every scene, someone is drinking Pom Wonderful. Every interview takes place in a specific restaurant chain. Everyone in the movie drives a Ford, etc. — and it’s all blatant. Most blockbuster movies are vehicles for selling other products. No big revelation there, but the movie is humorous and informative, and Pom Wonderful does seem like a healthy alternative to soda pop.

Johnny Depp the Lizard

  Jenny and I saw the CGI animal western, Rango, in a theatre on Friday, and like everyone else in the audience, we didn’t laugh. (And I don’t think most of the kids there got into it.) The quality of the animation gives Pixar a run for its money. But the difference is in the storyline. Most Pixar movies are engaging from the start. “Rango” never rises above being clever and amusing.

Astro Boy: The Movie – A Review

astro boy movieI hadn’t heard of Astro Boy before this movie, but apparently it’s popular somewhere – was even a TV series.

Astro Boy the movie is a computer-animated movie about a robot kid. The movie has a dark tone similar to Wall-E, where humans abuse the environment and are complacent about their comfortable life style. Robots are self-aware but are predictably treated as inanimate objects. The movie’s about the kid robot acceptance AS a robot and his place in society.

My nine year old daughter enjoyed it, but she found some scenes a bit intense: intense action, characters in dire situations, and uncomfortable moments for characters.

Roger Ebert thought Astro Boy was better than Kung-Fu Panda, but I disagree: Kung Fu Panda was funny, exciting, and thoughtful. Astro Boy wasn’t funny and not too original. Astro Boy’s interaction with the other kids and his dilemma about being different (i.e. his robot-ness) was interesting and well done, but it was the only thing that engaged me. The action scenes were too over-whelming, like most action movies these days (although the scene in the stadium where Astro Boy has to combat other robots was cool).

Astro Boy fans may like this (I don’t know any) and kids will enjoy the robot-side of things, but adults may just find this ho-hum.