Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (2008) – Directed by Peter Sollett, Starring Michael Cera & Kat Dennings. Not really on my TBW list, but I saw that it was on Crackle and hadn’t seen it, so I watched it. It was sweet and predictable in that teen comedy kind of way. Happily, not overly crude. Occasionally, I felt my age and thought, “That is not a safe situation.” Michael Cera and Kat Dennings are excellent. I worried that the soundtrack, full of bands I don’t care for a lot, would bug me but it worked very well.
The Collector (1965) – Directed by William Wyler, Starring Terence Stamp & Samantha Eggar. Not the 2009 horror film, but a 1965 suspense drama based on a novel by John Fowles. It is a 1960s movie, which means it moves at a certain pace and requires patience. Terrance Stamp is handsome and awkwardly charming and down right creepy in the role as a collector of many things. Samantha Eggar definitely holds her own in this basically two character film. Truly, I did not expect this film to end the way it did.
Flight (2012) – Directed by Robert Zemeckis, Starring Denzel Washington. The plane crash is one of the most tense action sequences I’ve seen in a long time. Unlike some big summer flicks I could name, the characters are actually in peril. Oh, I’ve seen the trailer; I know that the outcome is relatively good, but I don’t know the specifics and that is…uncomfortable. I’d say that Washington was robbed of an Oscar, but he *is* upstaged by a plane, bottles, and John Goodman.
Django Unchained (2012) – Directed by Quentin Tarantino, Starring Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio. I had been looking forward to this movie, mostly because I wanted to see Leonardo DiCaprio be mustache-twirlingly evil. He doesn’t do enough villain roles, if you ask me. What I did not expect was how great Christoph Waltz’s performance is. I was not a fan of his character in Inglorious Basterds so I had kind of shrugged off his winning a second Oscar for Dr. King Schultz. Shame on me. Unfortunately when given the budget, Tarantino is unrestrained with his gore and violence, and I don’t think he’s particularly good at it. The artfulness of Reservoir Dog or Pulp Fiction feels like it was born from a need to be judicious with the squibs and fake blood.
Total Recall(2012) – Directed by Len Wiseman, Starring Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale & Jessica Biel. I liked the nods to the original, especially the traveling women who will be gone for two weeks and the very insistent, helpful computer voices (though I did miss the Johnny cabs). It’s not a bad movie, really, but it sort of made me want to go pull half a dozen other movies off my shelves:
- Blade Runner (1982) – Thirty years later and there still aren’t many films that can do a crumbling futuristic city better.
- Total Recall (1990) – Obviously.
- Strange Days (1995) – There’s kind of a swarmy below-boards aspect to Rekall in this version that reminds me of Strange Days. Plus, Strange Days has the single most successful incident of a character info-dumping ever.
- The Fifth Element (1997) – Flying cars! Milla Jovovich! (Btw, I had a tough time telling Kate Beckinsale & Jessica Biel apart…)
- The Bourne Identity (2002) – If you’re going to have an uber-trained super-spy with memory loss, these are the cinematic shoes you’re going to have to fill.
- Phone Booth (2002) – Colin Farrel in a better role. (Although the hand phone in Total Recall is a nice effect.)