Monday, July 4, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up

I'll start the Weekly Wrap-Up with movies I have seen this week but not reviewed yet. Some I have seen before and some I have not. After that I'll wrap up with the movies I have seen this week and already reviewed.

Since my brother recently graduated from High School I wanted him to watch this movie as it is one of my favorite comedies both for its humor and how well it is made. Heathers is a satiric dark comedy about social cliques in high school, and really in life in general. Winona Ryder and Christian Slater are fantastic as the leads, but even the background characters are great such as Veronica's parents, the cops, and the minister. This time around I noticed that Heathers is even better made than I thought. Plot elements such as the Moby Dick book and the fact that Veronica can perfectly imitate Heather Chandler's handwriting are set up very early on. Also Veronica and all three of the Heathers have color schemes that follow them throughout the movie. Veronica is blue, Heather Chandler is red, Heather McNamara is yellow, and Heather Duke is green. Everything from their croquet balls, to clothes, to bedrooms and even the lighting around them follows this pattern. And when Heather Duke takes over Heather Chandler's place, she also takes over the color red! I absolutely love Heathers and its too bad its director (Michael Lehmann) and writer (Daniel Waters) haven't done much of note since. Lehmann has directed some movies but has mainly done TV work since, most recently directing some episode of True Blood. Waters wrote the screenplay for Batman Returns but has only worked on two movies since 2001. Also Heathers did not get much attention when it was first released, it now has a sizable cult following.

The Tree of Life (2011)
Before I get into my mini-review I just want to saw that I had the pleasure of watching this movie with Nate of Forgotten Classics of Yesteryear!
2001: A Space Odyssey
is one of my all-time favorite movies. So when I heard that Douglass Trumbull who did the special effects for that film as well as Silent Running, The Andromeda Strain, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and Blade Runner was involved with The Tree of Life I knew I had to see it! Directed by Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life reminds me of 2001 and not just for the "birth of the universe" segment. The two films complement each other and are both up to the interpretation of the viewer. The Tree of Life is about, as Douglas Adams would put it, life, the universe, and everything. I feel that an alternate title for the film could be "A Human Odyssey." As great as it was to see Trumbull back to work in a post-CGI world, the 1950s story was also done wonderfully with great performances by all, especially the child actors as it truly felt like you were watching home movies of their lives. Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain put in fantastic performances as the father and mother of the family. The Tree of Life is not for everyone since its events are not linear (we have one of the biggest time jumps in all of cinema!) and everything is not completely explained and tied up with a bow at the end. However, if you want a film that will challenge you, make you think and wonder in awe, then I highly recommend you go experience The Tree of Life right away!
Dreamscape (1984)
I have watched this before but saw it again with my brother who was watching it for the first time. My opinion did not change. I still like it and still think Christopher Nolan saw it before making Inception. There are a lot of recognizable actors in this movie from Christopher Plummer to Max Van Sydow to the guy who played Norm on Cheers! By the way, I love how this poster looks like an Indiana Jones movie, I guess because Dennis Quaid looks and acts like Harrison Ford. The movie isn't like that as it is a thriller about entering the dreams of others, mostly to help them get over psychological problems and bad dreams.

The Cable Guy (1996)
I had seen part of this movie years ago and since my brother wanted to watch it I felt it was time to see the whole thing. While I found the movie quite funny at times, it felt like it needed a re-write as the plot wasn't focused and the cable guy acted out of character near the end. It was hard for me to root for or against either Carrey or Broderick since they were at times sympathetic then did things which would make you not care for them. Broderick's character is generally considered the protagonist but the movie is named after Carrey's character so who knows. The Cable Guy was directed by Ben Stiller and I actually think it could have been better if he played the role which ended up going to Matthew Broderick. Although The Cable Guy performed well at the box office, I can see why it got mixed reviews and didn't do as well as Carrey's previous films. The Cable Guy has a quirky sense of humor as well as a large amount of film references which would not appeal to everyone. Despite its flaws I still found it funnier than most comedies.

Movies I have seen this week and already reviewed:
Fright Night Part 2 (1988)
Solid horror comedy sequel. I wrote more about this movie in Summer Round-up Part 3.

Drag Me to Hell (2009)
Fun horror movie with some dark humor. Check out my full review posted Wed. June 29th.

First Blood (1982)
good action thriller that is not like the Rambo sequels. Check out my full review posted Fri. July 1st.


  1. 9/10 for "Tree of Life?"

    One of these days I WILL get you to add another 10/10 to your list!

    I haven't seen "Dreamscape" or "The Cable Guy." I'm on a real genre bender right now...I've been drowning myself in Westerns, film noir, and exploitation films. I hope that you'll look at my mini review site and comment on what I've seen!

  2. 9/10 isn't bad! Plus I don't give ANY film 10/10 after one viewing since my 10s need to not just be amazingly well made but also entertaining over and over again. I certainly plan on watching it again, so who knows, it may someday get an elusive 10 from me!

  3. I see...I'll have to remember that...

    Of course...I hope that if anything, "Tree of Life" will get the elusive 10/10 before "Heathers."

    If you do ever present a movie with a 10/10, you should make a special blog post about it explaining know...make a big deal out of it.

  4. Yeah I will do that for any future 10s, as it will probably be a film that I already have at a 9 and have re-watched.
    Also, don't knock Heathers until you've seen it! It's not an art film but it is surprisingly well made and once of the most entertaining and engaging movies I've ever seen.

  5. case you didn't see my new blog site, I recently gave "The Big Combo," a low budget film noir a perfect 10/10. For crying out loud, I almost gave "The Hitcher" a perfect score. A film doesn't have to be a snobby art film for it to be considered a masterpiece in my book.

    Besides, I was just kidding about "Heathers." I really do mean to see it one day.

    Thanks for the comments on my new blog! Hopefully the entries will inspire you to branch out and try some more obscure films.

  6. Oh! I have an idea! Why don't you do a special write-up for all of the films that you have already awarded 10/10 to? Then you can create a menu on the side of your blog linking to your write-ups of each! You could call it "Chris' Top Tens."

  7. I might do the Top Ten thing eventually. I've been thinking about re-evaluating the way I do my scores, or at the very least upping some of my scores since I think I've given out more 1s than 10s. I might also get rid of the scores for the blog because I really don't like assigning a number to how much I like something or think it is well made. I guess that is why I'm not a teacher! I want my thoughts on the movie to stand out, not my score, regardless of what it is.

  8. Hey man, I understand. But sometimes assigning a numerical number helps you think about a film critically.

    This is how I rate:

    7/10: Average. 3 Stars
    8-9/10: Very good. 3 1/2 Stars
    10/10: Great. 4 Stars

  9. Well right now I am doing my scores as a combination of how well I think they are made as well as how much I liked them. I guess I could give individual scores for both but that might be a bit too complicated. There are many films that I can recognize as being great even though they aren't my thing, as well as many films I would incredibly enjoyable but aren't very well made.
    Also my scale is different. A 5/10 for me is average, a 6/10 is above average, a 7/10 very good, etc.