Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Vice Presidential Command Peformance Academy of Robots Choice Awards Preview Special, Part 3

Continuing my year-end ranking of all the new movies I saw this year, from least favorite (high numbers) to most favorite (low numbers). So within the post, it's actually going from most favorite to least favorite, but the posts are going in the opposite order. It sounds more confusing than it is.

2005 Movies Kenny Has Seen, Part Three: Movies with Something to Like

17. Corpse Bride - Charming and distinctive, and worth it on an aesthetic level if for nothing else. Thin, illogical story and bland lead characters hold it back.

18. 2046 - Visually sumptuous, but lacking the quirky humor and kinetic, visceral qualities of my favorite Wong Kar Wai films. Maybe it's just pretentious, but it's too enigmatic to know for sure.

19. D.E.B.S. - Honestly, this movie is not that good. But Jordana Brewster wielding guns and lip-synching Erasure goes a long way. A really long way.

20. Domino - Director Tony Scott is a madman, and not in a good way. But give yourself over and you'll be swept up in the sheer nihilistic excess and super-saturated insanity. Yes, it's tangled and meaningless--gloriously, willfully meaningless, and all the better for it. At least until the end when Domino learns to love. Lame.

21. War of the Worlds - For all the destruction in the film, I'm still most dazzled by the seamless sweeping around the van as it weaves down the highway while the family yells at each other. On the other hand, should I really have been paying attention to the camera at that moment? Such is the dilemma of Spielberg movies. The good: Sticking to the perspective of the average person. The bad: Numerous nitpicky plot conveniences, and that awful cop-out ending. If only the son had died, the microscopic organism twist from the novel might not have seemed so cheap.

22. Sin City - I wish I'd seen it without knowing how it was made. I always felt too aware that everything was CG. But it looks great. Moody, surreal, violent and nihilistic--though the nihilism here is less gleeful than it was in Domino. It creates a world all its own. And it made me uncomfortable on several occasions.

23. Kontroll - A foreign movie--I forget from where. Ticket checkers on a subway. One of them lives in the stations. Someone is pushing people on the tracks. Funny, weird, full of techno music. A bit claustrophobic, but that's appropriate. The movie often feels like it's trying to seem deeper than it is, but it manages not to be pretentious about it, so it's forgivable.

24. Dear Frankie - It's somewhere in England, and a mother fakes letters to her son from his "sailor" dad. Then she has to get a guy to pretend to be the dad when the real boat comes to port. It sounds corny but it's pretty sweet.

25. Sahara - Big, dumb, hilariously bombastic. The enjoyment is to be had in laughing at its preposterousness, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

26. Crash - The Onion AV Club's review of Woody Allen's Match Point says it "deals with class in the same clumsy, ham-fisted, subtext-free manner in which Crash deals with race." I haven't seen the Allen film, but it's spot-on about Crash. The second half, in which people reveal their complexities through unexpected actions, is surprisingly good, even great, but it's not enough to make up for the shrill first half where everybody shouts their prejudices at the top of their lungs. And that moment with the little girl is flat-out emotional blackmail. I think people just feel good about themselves for liking a movie that's About Something.

27. Dust to Glory - A documentary about a Baja California race. Endless shots of trucks and dirt bikes bouncing down a dirt track get monotonous for most viewers, but I found myself wondering if maybe I should have been a race car driver.

28. Fever Pitch - Sweet, likeable, thoroughly inoffensive. Does a good job of capturing how deeply in love some people, especially guys, can be with their hobbies. Even Jimmy Fallon is okay.


Meli said...

In re: Sahara, I think Clive Cussler's beef with the studio is crap. Regardless of what he thought of the movie, the fact remains that it is a completely accurate portrayal of all of the Dirk Pitt books.

Michael the girl said...

I liked Sahara.... I mean, it wasn't oscar worthy or anything, but I enjoyed it enough to watch the special features on the DVD... (I rented it; I didn't see it in the theaters... Maybe that makes a difference, seeing as I didn't pay so much to be entertained...)