Chaplin- September 20th

chaplinChaplin (1992)
English- Biopic
Rated “PG-13”
Runtime- 145 min
dir. Richard Attenborough

This one has been on my imaginary “To watch:” list since I first got Netflix. Definitely worth getting around to.

Story/Writing: 1.5/2

Not too much to be said here. A fairly accurate biopic about one of the most well-known men from Hollywood.

Acting: 2/2

A ton of star power here with Robert Downey Jr. in the title role. The whole cast definitely tries their hardest to bring this story to life.

Photography/Set: 2/2

Gorgeous and varied setpieces captured in a sweeping style. The cuts keep up wih the emotion of the plot perfectly.

Sound/FX: 2/2

A lot of work was put into capturing the “look” of the different periods throughout the picture. There was also a lot of filter stylings put in a well, to give it that historical feeling.

Misc: 2/2

Really, really good.

VERDICT: 9.5/10

About as close to perfect as you can get.

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Goodbye, Lenin!- September 19th

goodbyeGoodbye, Lenin! (2003)
German- Comedy/Drama
Rated “R”
Runtime- 121 min
dir. Wolfgang Becker

I decided to watch this after half-remembering it from my high school German class. It was pretty much as good as I thought it would be.

Story/Writing: 1.5/2

After his mother awakens from a pre-democracy coma, a young man must keep her from learning that the East Germany she knew and loved no longer exists. A clever idea that moves along with gentle pushes, but it ultimately goes a little long. Very watchable, though, and the characters are colorful and realistic.

Acting: 1.5/2

Again, colorful and realistic. They each have a distinctive personality that makes the interpersonal conflicts more interesting.

Photography/Set: 1.5/2

The sets are a little bland on the color palette, but it certainly fits the overall style of the film.

Sound/FX: 1.5/2

Misc: 2/2

A completely new take on the lives that were changed by the wall coming down. It certainly makes a case for the seriousness of the genre blend of historical fiction and comedy.


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Nerdcore Rising- September 18th

nerdcorerisingNerdcore Rising (2008)
English- Documentary
Not Rated
Runtime- 79 min
dir. Negin Farsad and Kim Gatewood

I was definitely unfamiliar with the territory as far as what this doc covered, so it was certainly informative if nothing else.

Story/Writing: 1/2

The plot focuses around the premiere tour of MC Frontalot, A.K.A. ex-web designer Damian Hess. This is interspersed with interviews of people who are well-known in the niche genre of music known as “nerdcore”. A type of hip-hop incorporating geeky and tech lingo and jokes, nerdcore has become a popular type of music among the only audience that would understand the lyrics.

Acting: 1.5/2

Frontalot and his group are certainly colorful characters, if a little strange. The interviews are natural, but infrequent.

Photography/Set: .5/2

Not great. Most of the footage quality is sub-par, even for a movie about a concert tour.

Sound/FX: 1.5/2

The sound quality is good, which is definitely a must for a film like this. The titling and video effects are passable, and do their job of adding that extra touch of cheekiness that a film like this needs.

Misc: 1/2

Too short. They ran out of interesting things to talk about, I suppose. It would have fit in easier as a TV special somewhere.

VERDICT: 5.5/10

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Elite Squad: The Enemy Within- September 17th

elitesquadElite Squad: The Enemy Within
Portuguese- Crime Drama
 Rated “R”
Runtime- 113 min.
dir. Jose Padilha

I probably should have guessed from the full title of the movie (the “Enemy Within” part) that this was actually a sequel. It was enjoyable anyway, as there isn’t too much reliance on the previous installment to fill in the story and characters.

Story/Writing: 2/2

A lot of good turns and neat ideas. The runtime is a little long, but it never feels like it’s outstaying its welcome. As I mentioned, there isn’t much backstory needed, as enough is filled in through exposition. I also appreciated the lack of male chauvinism (A.K.A. dick-waving competitions) which has pervaded many action films lately.

Acting: 1.5/2

The large cast size makes it hard for anyone to stand out in particular, but their effort as a whole is commendable.

Photography/Set: 1.5/2

The sets got a little confusing during some of the faster-paced scenes, but the sets were pretty cool.

Sound/FX: 2/2

Good gunfights, nothing too over the top. The violence and politics occupy two separate streams in the movie, so you can enjoy the gun play without thinking too hard.

Misc: 1.5/2

Overall, satisfying. There are nits to be picked, but why bother?

VERDICT: 8.5/10

Enjoyable for most adult audiences.

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Harold and Maude- September 16th

haroldandmaudeHarold and Maude (1971)
English- Drama/Dark Comedy
Rated “PG”
Runtime- 91 min
dir. Hal Ashby

I’m still not sure that I completely understand this movie. Although it is strange and inventive, the true spirit of the movie becomes a little mottled.

Story/Writing: 1.5/2

The story moves at a decent clip, but doesn’t take time to explain much. This makes it easy to enjoy several scenes in succession

Acting: 1.5/2

Ruth Gordon and Bud Cort are really interesting as far as chemistry goes, and they have a lot of dimension. Unfortunately, this only serves to outshine everyone else.

Photography/Set: 1.5/2

The sets are varied, giving the film a very adventurous feel. It’s just too bad the cinematography isn’t great, which screws up some of the cuts.

Sound/FX: 1.5/2

The suicide effects were really over the top, which helped to accent the absurdity of the underlying themes.

Misc: 1/2

It was a pretty good movie, but it just didn’t sit very well.


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