Continuing in the movie vein, maybe it’s time I actually did a follow up to my first Netflix Queue Review. We were pretty busy in April and May, so there just weren’t enough movies for me to bother… Oh, and I’m lazy and inconsistent. But you knew that part. Anywho, let’s see what I returned the last few months:
The Aviator – Holy crap, we watched this so long ago I was still on my Scorsese kick. I remember liking this film far more than I expected to. Another outstanding performance by Leo. It’s a very well done biopic that gives you a real sense of the radical changes Hughes went through – and just how crazy he got. If nothing else, watch it to see Cate Blanchett as Katherine Hepburn.
The Good Shepherd – Best way to sum up this movie: llllllooooooonnnnnngggggg! Seriously, this movie was way too long. Scenes dragged on. Nothing was shown. I had high hopes for it, but the director seemed way too concerned with making you feel the intrigue that I felt like I needed to take notes just to have any idea what was going on. By the end, we could barely remember some of the characters from the beginning that were suddenly so important. Very overrated in my mind.
Delicatessen – I finally got around to watching this foreign masterpiece by the genius Jean-Pierre Jeunet. With that kind of introduction, do I need to even mention that I loved it? Brilliant. Absolutely twisted and brilliant. Imagine Sweeney Todd in a post-apocalyptic world. It’s surreal and dark in every sense, and ultimately wonderful and uplifting.
Batman Begins – Wow. Seriously, wow. I did not expect to enjoy this version of the Batman character as much as I did. But I loved the telling of his beginning – not just the story, but the creation of his costume, gadgets, car, etc. This is a grittier and more realistic take on the character compared to Tim Burton’s classic from ’89. I won’t even try to compare them, because I think they took such different angles on the story. But I will say that this version gets a huge boost from the incredibly talented Christian Bale and Michael Caine pulling the two top parts, not to mention Morgan Freeman as Batman’s crazy weapons supplier. I’m definitely looking forward to the sequel.
The Prestige – I will never doubt Christoper Nolan again. While I’m torn on the ending (it’s not bad – just not exactly what I wanted), the storyline is compelling without being completely dependent upon the twists that you know will eventually come. It’s a movie about magic, of course there will be twists. But it’s the fantastic rivalry between Bale and Jackman that makes the movie. It’s a classic story of competition pushing both people to the edge, and it’ll mess with you at the same time.
2046 – I can’t mention this movie without first talking about Kar Wai Wong’s masterpiece In the Mood for Love. One of the most beautiful films I’ve ever seen – the costumes, the cinematography, the exacting direction. Everything was so perfectly put together to tell the touching story of neighbors brought together when they realize that their spouses are having an affair. And as intriguing as 2046 was, I couldn’t help but feel that it ruined what was a perfectly contained story that was In the Mood for Love. Oh, did I mention that it was the sequel? Sort of. It has little to do with the original movie, except that it follows the same man as he becomes a disjointed author and serial womanizer. The slow pace does not work nearly as well this time around, and I had far less empathy with Chow Mo-Wan (the leading man) which made the storyline overall less engaging. Kar Wai Wong did an excellent job of fusing the stories that Mo-Wan wrote with his real life. I can’t help but feel like this would have worked better as a completely separate film. But if you enjoy Asian cinema, don’t miss In the Mood for Love.
Team America: World Police – I almost forgot about this one – my first foray in the “Watch Now” feature from Netflix. And I must say, it was rather hit or miss. There were a few scenes I thought were hysterical, but there were probably even more that I found boring or stupid. I still tend to think Trey Parker and Matt Stone are best when working with live people. Their social commentaries can be both funny and poignant, but I get pretty bored with the whole “let’s push the envelope” shtick. I mean puppet sex? That was cutting edge two decades ago.
The rest of our returns are from this month, so I’ll try to stay on top of this from now on…