The Shapiro Files

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Netflix Wrap-Up #13

Previous installments: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12

In the midst of all our many activities over the past couple of weeks, Marcie and I still managed to get through several more Netflix DVDs of films we missed last year. So without further ado, here’s what’s been playing at the Shapiro household lately:

Elizabethtown (2005) - I’m a big fan of writer/director Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous and Say Anything. So despite mixed reviews, I thought this film would still be worth checking out. As expected, the soundtrack was excellent (Crowe always uses great music in his films) and there were some very funny individual moments sprinkled throughout. But overall, the film was a bit of a mess. It’s hard to say just what movie Crowe was trying to make, but I have a feeling this wasn’t it. Perhaps a couple more drafts on the screenplay and he would have had something much better. My Netflix rating: 2 stars

Nine Lives (2005) - Nine short vignettes about nine different women (with some story overlaps), each shot in a single take. Excellent writing and wonderful acting all make for what was often a very moving experience (especially the devastating final vignette). Highly recommended. My Netflix rating: 5 stars

Everything is Illuminated (2005) - I have a feeling that if I had read the original Jonathan Safran Foer novel on which this film is based, I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed the movie as much as I did. My understanding is that book is much less linear and goes much deeper into the subject matter — particularly on the subject of the Nazi invasion of Russia in 1941. But taken on its own, I was pleasantly surprised by this quirky little movie. My Netflix rating: 4 stars

Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic (2005) - As much as I always enjoy Sarah Silverman’s work, I was a little disappointed by this film. Comedy concerts are supposed to build momentum, but that wasn’t allowed to happen. The music videos (some quite funny on their own) kept interrupting the flow and the overall experience was consequently a little jarring. As this was originally a theatrical release, I suppose Silverman and director Liam Lynch had no choice but to put everything together into a single 72 minutes experience, whereas a straight-to-video release could have allowed the videos to appear as extra features instead. Oh well. My Netflix rating: 3 stars

The Weather Man (2005) - A little funny and a little sad. Nicolas Cage and Michael Caine were predictably great and there were several very effective scenes throughout. But in the end, the film had a bit of a “so what” quality. And did we really need the superfluous narration? Not a bad film, but just nothing special. My Netflix rating: 3 stars

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005) - What could have been another trite retro-Noir film was redeemed (and deliberately subverted) by its wonderfully rich script, a playful self-awareness, and a terrific performance by Robert Downey Jr.. According to the guys at Filmspotting, at least one critic described this film as a movie in a movie in a movie. While that’s not entirely accurate, it does give some indication of what makes it so much fun. My Netflix rating: 4 stars

1 Comments:

  • Cous -

    Wonderfully written reviews...as always.

    I look forward to seeing kiss kiss bang bang...sounds like my kind of flick...

    I agree with you about Silverman's comedy flick...I hate interuppted stand up schtick...i like a person...a stage...and a mic...it is much more humorous that way and allows the performer to utilize compounding humor while the viewer can enjoy the ride!

    Bradley

    By Blogger Bradley Egel, at 7/13/2006 9:57 PM  

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