Posted by: Sally Ingraham | January 27, 2010

Movie Mayhem: Jan. 19th-26th

I’ve already given up on keeping these posts to Mondays – especially since as often as possible I’m actually off camping or going on brewery tours or on road-trips on Mondays. In fact I spent some fabulous time in a little cabin in the woods this past Sunday/Monday, stoking the wood stove, playing Solitaire, and reading Louis L’Amour’s Matagorda out loud to my boyfriend – plus lots of eating and making merry of course!

Anyway, movies. 🙂

the killingThe Killing – Stanley Kubrick – USA – 1956
I’m working on finishing my Kubrick list, although I haven’t seen one of his films since last summer. This one traces the events that combine into a slick heist of several million stored in the bookie’s safe at a racetrack. This is one of the few films where the use of a narrator was actually an effective tactic, and even a helpful one. The movie seemed fairly straightforward for a Kubrick piece, and the ending, while fulfilling the promise of the title, held a little bit of surprise. I liked it well enough.

The Blind Side – John Lee Hancock – USA – 2009
Another movie that I watched only because of the Thursday matinee at the Reel. It delivers to your typical American audience a very nice story, and I have to admit that even I found myself getting a mild kick out of Sandra Bullock’s performance. *sigh* But overall it was boring. If you want a good football movie, watch Remember the Titans. That at least also has a great soundtrack. The only piece of music that I particularly cared for in this one was Cello Song, by The Books, featuring Jose Gonzalez, and I was more annoyed than anything else that it was used in the opening credits. This was a cookie-cutter film, executed decently, but it didn’t do much of anything for me.

Land of the Lost – Brad Silberling – USA – 2009
I wanted something ridiculous to pass a few evening hours with, after a long, long day. Instead, I wound up with the WORST movie I’ve seen so far this year. I kind of expected it to be silly beyond belief, but I didn’t think it would be so bad that even in my advanced state of mind-deadness I wouldn’t be able to stand it long enough to finish it…! Yikes.

the fountainThe Fountain – Darren Aronofsky – USA – 2006

What a pretty mess. This was my first Darren Aronofsky movie, and I was blown away by the visuals…but unimpressed by the scattered storytelling. He seemed to have some really interesting ideas, but was unable to pin them down. Some of the plot points didn’t make any sense at all. Rachael Weiss was as lovely as ever, but I found Hugh Jackman uncompelling. The real star of the show was the amazing effects, specifically the gorgeous space/star images. Watch it for those alone, and for a good example of what is certainly ambitious film making, if somewhat haphazardly presented.

Love and Pain and the Whole Damn Thing – Alan J. Pakula – USA – 1973 (Movie of the Week!)
I’m a fan of Maggie Smith, and this is one of the earliest films of hers that I’ve dug up. It was delightful. An aimless young man, drifting through Spain, meets an awkward but interesting middle-aged English woman, and in spite of his own quirks gains her trust and her affection. Together they continue exploring Spain and their own suitably odd relationship. I loved Maggie Smith in this role – she was so prim, and yet so spunky. Perfect.

The Way of War – John Carter – USA – 2009
If I needed a good reminder of why I can’t stand Cuba Gooding Jr., I found it in this movie. He’s just not a good actor, and he makes really poor role choices on top of that. In this case, in addition to his being in it, the movie was terrible for every other reason I can think of – the supposed ‘action’ was slow, the plot was incomprehensible, and the entire thing was just…flat. Unlike Land of the Lost, the other dud in my recent movie watching, which at least had some weird visuals and Danny McBride in it, this one has absolutely nothing to recommend it. I can’t even call it the WORST movie I’ve seen this year, because it was just so utterly forgettable. Double yikes!

Goal for the coming week: watch better movies!! 3 for 3 is not a record I want to make a habit of. 🙂


  1. LOVE Maggie Smith. Sorry you had such a rum movie week, but glad to at least read about Love and Pain. 🙂

  2. My life definitely needs more Maggie Smith in it, as well as better movie choices!

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