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Tuesday Media Roundup #37

I’ve fallen behind and I have more movie watching time right now…

This Film is Not Yet Rated – A documentary about the MPAA rating system. I knew a good bit about it from following movies over the years but still there were a lot of new information and a lot of it was surprising. I think it’s worth watching for any movie fan.

Vacancy – This one started out with some good tension but it ended up with a good bit of comedy in it by the end. Not really laugh out loud, but definitely not so serious as early on. Come to think of it, that humor was early on too but the mood wasn’t set yet so it didn’t really fit in.

Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins –  This is kind of an odd coming home story with not as much humor as you would hope, but enough entertainment to make it through. This is one of those you might watch when nothing else is on.

Mad Money –  This is a pretty smart heist movie with average characters. Not that the portrayal is average, but the character’s background is from the common person. I like house this is put together from start to end.

Igby Goes Down –  My favorite Culkin, Kieran Culkin, in a disfunctional family comedy/drama. It reminds me in some ways of Catcher in the Rye.

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford –  This movie is compelling and it pulls you into the time and characters. I’ve heard that the original cut was five hours and I want to see that cut.

Lawrence of Arabia – This film is beautiful. The story is good. The acting is sometimes laughable as you see Lawrence appears as always happy-go-lucky. I’ve read that after it came out someone said he were any prettier he would have been Florence of Arabia and the prettiness of Lawrence is part of the laughability. The rest of the cast is great though and the photography on all the locations is awesome. If this film is remade the one area it won’t improve is in the photography.

Dreamgirls –  I thought the filming style on this was odd until I realized that it’s a film version of a stage musical. I don’t know why I didn’t know that before but the context helped. Anyway, I really enjoyed it but I enjoy musicals in general. There were no weak performances here.

Europa Europa –  This was an interesting Holocaust story I hadn’t seen before. How he kept his identity secret and how he was able to integrate himself with all those he encountered.

High Anxiety –  So now the only Mel Brooks movie I haven’t seen is Silent Movie. This ones has some great moments but on the whole it isn’t so much funny as it is a set of references to Hitchcock. Very well done and clever references. My favorite is that since many remember the shower stabbing scene in psycho having the blood going down the drain in color. In High Anxiety the stabbing is with a newspaper so though it’s in color it’s black going down the drain.

Good Night, and Good Luck –  I was totally unaware of the battle between Ed Murrow and Senator Joseph McCarthy. I liked the weight given to the subject, the portrayal of the time, and the older look to the film.

The Strangers –  Another home invasion movie, but this one is a lot dumber than Vacancy. It’s portrayed tat the attackers are normal humans and yet things happen that wouldn’t be happening with normal people. Especially with as it turns out in the end, it was their first time and they indicated it didn’t go that smoothly. Well they had the most elaborate plan and were ready for any event for it being their first time. Another thing I decided is that I dislike the person in the distance that vanishes on the next look. Close up, ok, because they could see the target of the soying and dodge. The far away spooking I can’t get behind.

The Librarian: Quest for the Spear – We checked this out because the third one was being advertised a lot. It’s a pretty good tv movie. The cast is good and a lot of fun with Noah Wyle, Bob Newhart, and Jane Curtain. The premise is fun and the humor works well with the characters and the story. The effects are lower budget than a big budget picture but they do the job. Think of this as a kin to the National Treasure movies.

The Librarian: Return to King Solomon’s Mines –  Another adventure with the addition of Gabrielle Anwar. Jonathan Frakes is the director this time and aside from that it upholds the standards in the first movie.

The Librarian: The Curse of the Judas Chalice – The latest installment of the Librarian series and I hope it isn’t another two years before the next one comes out.

Woman of the Year – You look at the women in this movie and the level of their careers and recognition and you wonder why there was such a leap away from it after WWII until more recent times. The chemistry between Hepburn and Tracy was excellent and this plays as well today as it did back then.

The Three Musketeers (1973) – I always thought this would be some cheesy 70s movie. I certainly didn’t expect good costumes, good sets, and more realistic fight scenes than probably any version. This now ranks up with the 1948 Gene Kelly version for me. The 1948 for it’s energy and playful sword fights, and this one just because it’s good all the way around. There is still humor here but it’s a not the same as in the 1948 version. Now I have to track down The Four Musketeers and see how I like that follow-up.

Get Smart – Yeah, it’s not the original but I think this fits well as an update to the old series while still referencing it. I think the cast is as good as you’re going to get for this and I liked the whole thing quite a bit being a fan of the old series.

Grindhouse –  Planet  Terror was the more entertaining of the two, but when you compare Robert Rodriguez to Quentin Tarantino, Rodriguez make more entertaining popcorn kind of films. Planet Terror was also far more gory, but it really captured the B-movie feel. Death Proof was half Tarantino dialog scenes and the rest was car duel. Both were fine on their own but they didn’t really flow well together.

Shrek the Third – So here’s something unusual, I liked this one better than the second Shrek film. Usually when something starts going downhill it just continues, but this I felt was a definite improvement. The story had more feeling and the look was a definitely improvement throughout.

Ratatouille –  This film made me feel like Pixar is growing up both in the story telling and the look. Everything used to be bright and have a halo. Now the characters still have a cartoon look to them but not like they glow. The effects for looks for the environment were fantastic with the water. The story was more complex and directed to an older audience than the usual Pixar film and I’m not sure I’m completely happy with that but it works for this film.

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