November 2011 - In Review

I know I promised this post about 3 weeks ago. Hopefully I can start getting things on track again soon.

Worth Watching:
Temple Grandin (2010) [10/10]
Winner of the AFI TV Program of the Year, the Golden Globe, and the Emmy for TV Movie/Mini-Series. The film is a biography starring Claire Danes as Temple, an autistic girl who becomes a top scientist in a line of work that is primarily male. The film addresses a lot on Autism and was my favorite of the month.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) [9/10]
A sequel to an already re-booted series, the film has a new star with James Franco. I actually remember joking about this film coming out but was surprised at how good the storyline. This could have been all about the action and CGI, but the story and acting made it very entertaining.

Our Idiot Brother (2011) [9/10]
I watched this one as a break from a couple serious films. Expecting light-hearted, stupid, and disappointing, I was surprised to find it light-hearted, touching, and entertaining. Every time I watch Paul Rudd I expect a bad film and it turns out good, you might be surprised by this one.

The Help (2011) [8/10]
Not a lot to say on this one. Based on a popular book, nominated for a number of awards, good but not epic. I like Emma Stone, I liked Octavia Spencer but didn't think it was necessarily an awards performance that it is hailed as. I thought the standout performance was Bryce Dallas Howard's as Hilly though. I did feel the film failed to show how difficult it was for the women after the book was published.

Midnight in Paris (2011) [8/10]
Written and directed by Woody Allen and starring Owen Wilson. Honestly I could see this Allen playing this lead role if he was 20 years younger, it is almost like he wrote this for himself knowing he would have to cast someone. Wilson isn't always my favorite, but he almost reminded me of Allen from film like Manhattan. This film should win an Oscar for the screenplay, it was a fun witty adult comedy.

If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front (2011) [8/10]
One of the few Oscar nominees I actually saw before the list of nominees was released. This documentary is about radical tree huggers who go on a domestic terrorist arson spree against loggers and others who they felt were hurting the environment. A very interesting documentary on a group, ELF, that I knew nothing about.

Hangover II, The (2011) [8/10]
Obviously this isn't as good as the original. The comedy is over the top and crude, but it was entertaining nevertheless.

Everything Must Go (2010) [8/10]
I find myself liking Will Ferrell's dramatic films, and wish he would give some of his awful comedies a rest some times. Same goes for Adam Sandler. This film is about an alcoholic who's wife leaves all his stuff on the front lawn. After mustering the will power to get out of his drunken stooper he starts to clean his life up... a little. Don't expect a grand happy ending, the span of the film is short and it is pretty slow.

Just Average   
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) [7/10]
Chris Evans stars in this forgetful summer blockbuster about the comic hero Captain America. Made as a build up to The Avengers out in 2012. It was entertaining, but not very memorable.

Fast Five (2011) [7/10]
The fifth film in this series, a strange one that didn't even have the two main stars in one film. The lead characters are on the run from the FBI, the script was made out of thin air and actually worked. I liked this a lot more than I thought I would. A strong 7/10, I just can't recommend a silly series like this.

The Muppet Movie (1979)    [7/10]
I watched this one with my daughter. It starts with the "Rainbow Connection" and leads Kermit across the country to Hollywood. He meets the cast as we go along, so if you want to see how all of these character are supposed to meet then check this one out. We had to see this since a new "Muppets" movie is now in theaters.

Green Lantern (2011) [6/10]
Ryan Reynolds stars as a test pilot who is granted a special ring and made an intergalactic hero. Probably one of the strangest superhero stories to make it to the theaters in this surge of superhero films. I was disappointed.

Water For Elephants (2011) [6/10]
I watched this one in HD, and I have to say it was visually very nice. At least in the beginning. The first 30 minutes were very interesting and I was surprised at how much I really liked it. But half way in it became a lame romance film. First half 8/10, second half 5/10. So just average for me.

Life In A Day (2011) [6/10]
One of the many documentaries I "thought" would get shortlist for the Oscar and was not. This one is the "youtube" documentary. People from all over the world filmed themselves on the same day going through their normal lives. It starts out choppy and ends cheesy, but there is some interesting stuff in here. Consider it our generations video time capsule.

Tabloid (2010) [6/10]
A comedy documentary, this was probably the most famous "snubbed" documentary this year. Directed by Errol Morris who won for The Fog of War in 2003. The film was a little annoying, fun in parts, but I like to learn from documentaries and I didn't learn anything from this.

Cars 2 (2011) [6/10]
This is what happens when Pixar cares more about profits and feeding their product line than they care about quality films. Bad plot, hard to stay awake, and the first time Pixar hasn't been nominated for an Oscar in a while. Very disappointed.

The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984) [6/10]
I was sure this was the film I grew up loving, turns out it is not. The Great Muppet Caper was the film I thought this one was. I watched this with my oldest daughter and she was very bored. Her cousins even got up and decided to play instead. It is about The Muppets trying to get a Broadway show and becomes a search for Kermit.   

Avoid Watching   
Larry Crowne [5/10]
I hate to put this in the avoid, but unless you are a big Tom Hanks or Julia Roberts fan than this was a pretty lame film. Larry gets fired from his job for being over qualified, goes to community college, and goes through some major life changes. Kind of a cute romance, but really forgettable.

Mr. Popper's Penguins (2011) [4/10]
Like Larry Crowne I don't want to bash this film. Honestly I could see pre-teens loving this film. It is just the same Jim Carrey in another silly role. Very cookie cutter, dad needs to impress estranged kids regain love of his wife. I'm guessing this follows the Richard Atwater book, but I'm really not 100% sure since it has been so long.

Keith (2008) [3/10]
When a film shared your first name then you really have to give it a chance. Sadly this was a really bad B romance movie with a repetitive and awful soundtrack. Let's not forget bad acting and sappy storyline. I wish I could suggest a movie called "Keith" but it is more fun to say I watched it than to actually watch it.

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