Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Triplets of Belleville

This is a quirky French animated movie about the Tour de France and the French mafia. There is barely any dialogue but somehow I'm okay with that. I was quite amused.

Grade: B-

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Descent

Tonight Sebastian said he was in the mood for a horror movie. So I told him I had a good one. This is the third or fourth time I've watched The Descent, and it was no less tense and jolting than the first few times. It's actually better with freaked out reactions from friends to go along with it. It's creepy, and psychologically jarring. Quite the horror movie. It's in a different league than most. One of the only recent horror flicks that truly disturbs me. Made me afraid of spelunking (not for the monsters either by the way!).

Grade: B+

Saturday, March 8, 2008

40 Days and 40 Nights

I just caught the last half of this on Lifetime. But don't worry - I've seen it before. The premise is a guy decides to give up sex for Lent - well actually to become completely celibate. A lot of people bet on when he'll break his vow. He meets the girl of his dreams during this time. She's upset because he won't have sex with her (at first) then realizes it's something he just needs to do. I didn't like this movie the first time I watched it. I was uncomfortable with the 'sex scene' and the part where they symbolize the 'wet dream'. But on a second look, it's pretty good. Though it doesn't really deal with the fact that there is unnecessary pressure for sex very early in adult relationships. But, it does reinforce the fact that sexuality is natural and an important part of who you are and that's good. The 'sex scene', where Hartnett's character gives the girl an orgasm just from flower petals and blowing on her, is pretty hot. I want to try that now. And also Josh Hartnett was much better looking in this than in 30 Days of Night. So I liked it.

Grade: C+

Hurricane Punch

Lovable serial killer Serge Storms is back with his substance-abusing buddy Coleman. In this one, they track a whirlwind hurricane season, 'riding' the storms by driving in the eye. People die along the way of course - but Serge is not the only serial killer on the loose. Someone else is killing people, and Agent Mahoney thinks it's Serge's personality splitting. The ending surprised me, actually. I didn't figure it out until just before it was revealed. It's hilarious, as expected from Tim Dorsey. Excellent.

Grade: A

The Heartbreak Kid

This is the newest Ben Stiller movie. A guy rushes into a marriage with a girl that seems perfect, only to become someone else entirely on their honeymoon. During these horrors, he falls in love with another woman. It's pretty funny. No, not a great message or anything. I didn't like the ending. But it was decent.

Grade: C+/B-

Friday, March 7, 2008

10,000 BC

This movie was better than I was expecting. It was really epic, of course, and quite good, actually. The CGI was awesome - those mammoths! The story was very touching and uplifting in the end. Not bad portrayals of hunter-gatherer and herding societies. Of course, I'm sure it's not historically accurate in the least. But it's about the people, really. A man who will do anything to get his love back to him, and also to free his people. Very positive.

Grade: B

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Eagle Vs. Shark

This is a New Zealand-made romantic comedy starring Jemaine Clement (of Flight of the Conchords). It is really awkward but funny. If you like FOTC, you may like this. A lot of people (online anyway) criticize it for being too much like Napoleon Dynamite; I don't think it's really like it other than being in the awkwardly-funny camp. But I enjoyed it a lot more than Napoleon Dynamite. Anyway, I thought it was quirky and cute.

Grade: B


I had to watch this and write an essay on it for my Japan in Anthropology class. It was also pretty enjoyable. It's about 4 different accounts of the same event. Psychologists came up with the Rashomon effect which is this: "the effect of the subjectivity of perception on recollection, by which observers of an event are able to produce substantially different but equally plausible accounts of it." (via Wikipedia).

Grade: B-

30 Days of Night

My friend Lee told me this movie was good. I expected an amusing vampire-horror-gorefest, but it was actually better than that. It was quite enjoyable, and the ending was touching and sad. There is a great shot from above showing the carnage the vampires are causing. It's tense and has a lot of shock-you moments. The vampires are not pretty, as is often the case in vampire movies. It is a different kind of vampire flick. Josh Hartnett is pretty good. Also pretty good-looking. That never hurts, I guess. I read that part (or most?) of it was filmed in New Zealand. Also the deputy guy would occasionally sound like he had a Kiwi accent - turns out he's from NZ. Anywho, I'd recommend this to people who like a good horror film.

Grade: B

Be Kind, Rewind

Michel Gondry's latest shows that, yes, his movies have been going downhill. Of his major films: Human Nature was quite good, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was amazing. But then there was Science of Sleep. It was mostly just strange, and not all that great. And now there is this. It doesn't even have any of Gondry's signature weirdness. It's plain, basically. Not all that funny. Doesn't develop in the way of many things: there is a hinted romance which never gets fleshed out, the plot doesn't even get resolved, etc. Basically, this movie was quite disappointing. Isn't Jack Black always funny? Apparently not.

Grade: C-

The Darkest Evening of the Year

Dean Koontz's latest novel is about a woman who rescues Golden Retrievers whose dark past comes back to haunt her. Also her boyfriend just so happens to have a dark past that intersects. It's well written, and the parts about dog abuse, etc. make you sad for humanity. It has a sweet ending (deus-ex-machina!) and as many Koontz books do, involves odd supernatural occurrences that might be due to the existence of God. Overall, a good, quick read.

Grade: B+

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

No Country for Old Men (novel)

Ok, so the novel did indeed illuminate many things. It is, as is often the case, better than the movie - not worlds better, but better. Just on the virtue that the movie was not able to capture everything the book could. I know now that Ed Tom did not go after Chigurh - it's about him having to live with failure and getting old and dying.

Grade: A+

Monday, March 3, 2008

The Dark Crystal

Pretty cute movie with puppets by Jim Henson. I love the scene where Fizzgig has a tantrum. See it here!

Grade: B-

Sunday, March 2, 2008


I have to admit - the premise of this book is ridiculously cheesy. I started reading it, and thought, 'great, you've got to be kidding me.' But I gave it a chance and realized it is fully about the message - about the doom the human race is heading for and how we might stop it. I had to read it for Biological Anthropology, and I guess I understand why. It's pretty good.

Grade: B

No Country for Old Men

This was a stunning masterpiece of a film. The cinematography is absolutely breathtaking. Javier Bardem did indeed deserve the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor - he is fantastic. Tommy Lee Jones, too, is great. It is tense, captivating, and thought-provoking. I am still thinking about what it means. There is a lot of visual metaphor and symbolism, and I think a lot of what is said is important. One thing it is saying is that America itself is No Country for Old Men - it is harsh, it is violent, and it is unforgiving. There are people like Chigurh who do get away with it. But when the time comes, will you be brave enough to do what you must? I don't know if Ed Tom Bell goes after Chigurh in the end or not. It is ambiguous. I think correctly interpreting the dreams at the end is crucial - and I'm not sure if I'm ready to do so or not. Which is why I'm now reading the book.

Grade: A+

Saturday, March 1, 2008


This... is a terrible movie. In a somewhat enjoyable way... not as enjoyable as some other terrible movies, though.

Grade: D+

The Brave One

My mom highly recommended this one, though she said it was emotionally draining. It is indeed very good and emotionally draining, and also extremely thought-provoking. Some of the shots are absolutely brilliant: the scene where it cuts from a love scene to doctors cutting away her clothes... each passionate touch by her boyfriend mirrored by a clinical touch on the same place... amazing. I would highly recommend this movie. I have always had a thing for revenge flicks... but this one is so reflective, and chock full of meaning.

Grade: A