May 18 2011

Movies: Insomnia, Whites, Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Howl’s, Fahrenheit 451

Published by at 10:36 pm under Entertainment

Since I haven’t been posting, I do have a good sized backlog of movies to post about. Thanks also in part to the DOJ for the extra time too, but that’s a post for another day. I have 28 more of these (at least) so I certainly don’t want to blow my wad all at once. Gotta pace myself.

Insomnia

Insomnia is one of the last films from Christopher Nolan I had left to watch. All that remains is The Prestige. I have that one on my list but likely won’t see it soon unless it comes on instant watch in the near future. Nolan seems to gravitate to interesting stories and, in many cases, combines those with unique formats. Insomnia is a pretty straight forward format, but the story is pretty interesting. It follows a cop as he is investigating a murder in northern Alaska in the summer. While chasing the murder, he accidentally shoots and kills his partner. Due to an ongoing investigation on himself, he hastily decides to cover up that he was the one who killed his partner. His conscience eating away at this poor judgement along with the elongated daylight of the north begin to wreak havoc on his sleeping schedule leading to yet more questionable decisions and affecting his thoughts. There are a bunch of good performances throughout the film and the story is more than interesting enough to hold it’s own. While it won’t be mistaken as one of Nolan’s best films, it’s still quite good.

Good

The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia

This movie is a documentary about a family of extreme redneck outlaws that seem to flaunt and take pride in being such. This movie is partially a follow up on the family that started out from the movie Dancing Outlaw. Dancing Outlaw covered one member of the family who got noteriety for both his dancing talents as well as his brash behavior. This movie examines the rest of the family who are likely even more rowdy than their most famous family member. Now, I should tell you this is produced by MTV. It does have kind of a Jackass feel to it and it really seems like the family lays it on thick to put on a good show. Even if they aren’t really as unruly and raucous as they seem on screen, it’s still an amusing movie.

Good

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

I pretty much instantly recognized the main character’s voice as also being the main character from How to Train Your Dragon. Maybe my like for that movie gave this one some bonus points, but this popcorn film really exceeded my expectations. After disappointments like Percy Jackson (which I didn’t care for), I was happy to find this a good family movie to sit down and enjoy. It’s funny, well acted, and doesn’t try and take itself too seriously. There isn’t anything terribly special about it, but you don’t always need to have something extraordinary to enjoy it. If I had to choose between this and How to Train Your Dragon, I still pick the latter, but this is worth seeing too.

Good

Howl’s Moving Castle

Director, Hayao Miyazaki, is like the Jordan of anime. He has a long list of very successful and critically acclaimed movies. I think this is one of his better ones. For the first time in a long time, everyone in our house from the age of 2 to what-ever-age-my-wife-is, watched this movie in it’s entirety. I don’t think they all enjoyed it as much as I did, but it held their attention. An accomplishment in it’s own right. The story is about a girl cursed by a witch and turned into an old woman. She finds her way onto a magician’s walking castle helping him with cooking and cleaning. Together, along with a hodge podge of various other characters, they go on an adventure trying to help the magician in his quest to stop warring countries that are destroying their home. At it’s heart, it’s an anti-war movie. Miyazaki always seems to have an easy to see greater message. This one isn’t so in your face about it that it detracts from the story, though.

Great

Fahrenheit 451

I tried to find an open domain version of the book to read on my wife’s kindle. It’s one of those contemporary classics that you feel you have to read. Although I was unsuccessful, Netflix had it the movie on their instant watch list. I am more of a movie person than a book person any way. Everyone complains all the time that the books are better. I don’t always agree. I think in this case, that it must be true. There was just so much lacking from the film that it couldn’t have been that bad in book form. If you get past the costumes that seem to be plucked from the original Willy Wonka and the Tom Baker version of Doctor Who, it has the makings of a tremendous story and film. It just doesn’t follow through for whatever reason. The sole interesting piece of this movie is Julie Christie playing 2 roles as both Montag’s wife, who eventually turns him in, and the neighbor who draws him to the forbidden fruit of the books it’s his job to burn. Perhaps it hasn’t held up to the test of time for me or perhaps they tried to capture too much in too short of a time. Whatever it was, this just doesn’t seem to live up to it’s potential.

Bad

Over the last few months I’ve knocked off 7 movies from my top 50 from IMDB goal including 2 from Hitchcock. Shortly I’ll get those pieced together in a post. Exciting, isn’t it.

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