Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Molo's Film Quickies: April 2013

I watched a lot of "meh" movies in April, mostly on dvd, but did see one interesting flick in the theaters - let's start with that one:


The Place Beyond the Pines
4 Molos

Yes Ryan Gosling is essentially playing the same role as he did in Drive - just a little more hick and a little less...simpleton.  Never-the-less this film is very interesting.  It has an excellent, surprising structure, essentially 3 acts, following 3 very related story lines - I really thought the movie was going to end at least 3 different times, but I'm glad it didn't.  I don't want to give too much away, so I'll just say that this is a movie that is reaching, the director is trying some tricky things here and while it doesn't all work, the attempt is very enjoyable.   It's by Derek Cianfrance, same writer director as Blue Valentine, and is very much a film about guys and about fatherhood.  Plus there is a dirt bike in it.  Dir/Writer Derek Cianfrance.  Stars: Ryan Gosling, Eva Mendes, Bradley Cooper (who is very good), and more. 

Evil Dead
3 Molos

I'm giving this a healthy 3 Molos mainly because there is some wit, and some gore, but mostly because all the effects are done physically - there are zero digital effects, even the blood rain is actual blood rain.  That is very rare these days, but the physicality of these sequences is all the more beautifully troubling for it.  A remake of the classic Sam Raimi film, incase you were born yesterday.  Director Fede Alverez  Starring:  several victems.   

PS  it's got nothing on this classic:


Little Birds
 2 Molos

I read this big New Yorker interview with the writer/director of this movie, Elgin James, who is all the rage in Hollywood these days- he's supposed to be an expert on adolescent youth, especially from a female standpoint because of his film, Little Birds.  But the thing is, this is not a very good movie.  Its full of cliche and it's boring and the best thing it has going for it is the location in the first half, the Salton Sea, which is very filmable.  Elgin said that he originally wrote this script from a boy's point of view, and that it references a lot of his own personal street experiences....well maybe he should have stuck with keeping it a boy's movie.  I mean sure we need more stories with interesting female characters, but this is not a good example.  Dir/wri Elgin James  Starring Juno Temple, Kay Panabaker, Kate Bosworth

Life of Pi
3 Molos

Everyone, or maybe it was only one person, said I should see this for the visuals, and yeah, I suppose the visuals were good - I really enjoyed the "island" stuff - that was weird.  But the tale, the morality, the "lesson"....again....meh.  Entertainingly fluffy stuff.  The digital tiger was impressive as well, but man, what if it had been a real tiger?!  Director Ang Lee  Suraj Sharma and a lot of digital creations

The Hobbit
2 Molos

Wake me up when they reach lonely mountain.  
Director:  Peter Jackson  Starring:  lots of beards. 

Magic Mike
3.5 Molos 

Smart, funny, entertaining and heartfelt - not exactly the sort of review you might expect from a movie about male stripping, eh?  Steven Soderbergh, writer, director, says he's done with the biz, but man, a guy who can take something like this and make it so watchable....that's just a shame.  And you know what, Channing Tatum is turning into a very good actor.  I do kind of feel like they missed the boat on having Mikey Rourke as a run-down aging dancer though...surely there could have been a role for him in here somewhere.  Dir Soderberg.  Starring Channing Tatum, Mathew McConaughney, Olivia Munn.
Searching for Sugarman
3 Molos

This highly acclaimed documentary about a "lost" musician who doesn't know how big he is in South Africa and who everyone in South Africa thinks is long dead is pretty fascinating, but not quite the bees knees.  I think to me, the most interesting thing about this story is what Rodriguez, the "sugarman" in question, does with his life after he is rediscovered.  
I suppose it brings up some questions of what it means to be an artist - how your work can have a life on it's own that is really separated from you as in individual, but that may be a whole other discussion.  Director Mark Bendjelloul Starring Rodriguez and his friends, family and fans.  And Detroit.    

2 Molos

 Pretty much a rambling, poorly directed mess that misses the opportunity to really use Tom Hardy's charming hulk to good affect and wastes Gary Oldman, which is it's own crime.  Tries to get Guy Pierce going as the evil hand of the law, but that falls flat as well.  Blarg.  Directed by a John Hillcoat, written by Nick Cave (that's a shame), and starring Guy Pierce, Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Jessica Chastain, and Shia LaBeouf.  Wasted cast. 

Perks of Being a Wallflower
3.5 Molos

Contemporary update on the whole weird-kid-in-high-school-doesn't-fit-in-until-he-does kind of theme.  Done with plenty of charm and fun, while cramming in so many high school cliches.  It's like an entire season of My So-Called Life crammed into one movie, but somehow it still works.  Much credit must be given to the young actors and of course the writer/director Stephen Chobsky, who was working from his own novel.  Even the heavy-handed moments are handled w/ delicacyDirector/writer  Chobsky.  Starring Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, Ezra Miller, and Paul Rudd as a the cool teacher...duh. 

Jack Reacher
1 Molo
Not even the incomparable Werner Herzog as the icy mastermind who chewed off his own fingers to survive Siberian prison can save this woeful film.  Starring a robot version of Tom Cruise and featuring Robert Duvall, who must need some $$ for retirement or something.  Written/directed by  Christopher McQuiquarrie...That's the same guy who wrote The Usual Suspects...so what the hell happened with this movie?  I can only image it was ruined by producers and Cruise.  Fun note:  He also has written the screenplay for Top Gun 2.  That's right...Top Gun 2, which is in pre-production. 


And now, a running short list of all the films I have watched in 2013, new and old, ranked by their Molos (remember, the Molo Scale goes up to 5) 2013 films are highlighted in bold and there is a running top 10 list of 2013 at the bottom.    

The 2013 Molo List:

The Place Beyond the Pines  4 Molos (2013)
Hunger 4 Molos
Perks of Being a Wallflower 3.5 Molos
Magic Mike 3.5 Molos
End of Watch 3.5 Molos
Dredd  3.5 Molos
The Sessions 3.5 Molos
Flight 3 Molos
Evil Dead  3 Molos (2013)
Life of Pi  3 Molos
Searching for Sugarman 3 Molos
Mission Impossible-Ghost Protocol  3 Molos
Cosmopolis  2.5 Molos
Ted  2.5 Molos
Seven Psychopaths  2.5 Molos
Lawless 2 Molos
The Hobbit 2 Molos
Little Birds  2 Molos
Arbitrage 2 Molos
Jack Reacher 1 Molo (2013)
Taken 2  1 Molo

Top 10 Best movies of this year (ever-changin):

#1  The Place Beyond the Pines
#2  Iron Man 3
#3  Evil Dead
#4 Jack Reacher (this is really just a placeholder, this movie was terrible!)

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