Movie Report Card: April 2013

The Movie Report Card is a monthly series of posts that are dedicated purely to sharing the movies that I watch each month and my thoughts on them. Near the bottom, I assign certain titles to a few of the movies that I watched for the first time. They are Best of Class (my favorite movie experience), Teacher’s Pet (a noteworthy film that pleasantly surprised me), and Failing Students (any film with a grade lower than C-).

Grades:

-Star Wars (Lucas) A
-Carrie (De Palma) A
-The Intouchables (Nakache and Toledano) B+
-The Innkeepers (West) C-
-Anna Karenina (Wright) C+
-Mad Max (Miller) C
-Bringing Up Baby (Hawks) A-
-No Country for Old Men (Coen) A+
-Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (Fassbinder) A-
-Bonjour Tristesse (Preminger) C+
-Drive (Refn) B+
-Batman Begins (Nolan) B+
-The Dark Knight (Nolan) A
-Jurassic Park (Spielberg) B
-To Catch a Thief (Hitchcock) B+
-The Breakfast Club (Hughes) B+
-Searching for Sugar Man (Bendjelloul) B
-Django Unchained (Tarantino) B+
-Once (Carney) A
-Across the Universe (Taymor) D+
-Silver Linings Playbook (Russell) A-

Comments:

This month, I caught up on the rest of the Best Picture nominees as well as some other 2012 releases:

I enjoyed the stylistic choices and direction of Anna Karenina, but didn’t think that the movie added up to anything too significant.

Searching for Sugar Man was an nice documentary, well-made and entertaining. The music was the highlight for me.

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Quentin Tarantino’s spaghetti western homage, Django Unchained, was exciting and funny. I didn’t think it was a masterpiece, but it still has a place on my top ten of 2012.

Silver Linings Playbook was excellent. When I consider just how difficult it is to make a romantic comedy nowadays that is fresh and original and adds something to the genre, my appreciation for what David O. Russell & Company delivered here grows. The performances are incredible all around and the screenplay is miraculously good and complex. I never would have thought that I would enjoy this film so much.

Now for the rest of the films:

I revisited Star Wars, one of my childhood favorites and wrote a review for ‘Sc-Fi Week’ over at The Bishop Review.

I saw Carrie, Brian De Palma’s shocking teen horror classic and found it completely deserving of its accolades. It’ll be interesting to see how the remake matches up.

The Intouchables was hilarious and heart-warming and beautiful. It’s a foreign film for people who don’t like foreign films.

I’m not a horror connoisseur, but I had to see The Innkeepers after reading a few posts about it. Unfortunately, I thought it was dull, clichéd, and forgettable.

Mad Max was an interesting, but sloppy film. I’m not usually frustrated by endings in films, but I thought the abrupt stop here was completely uncalled for.

Bringing Up Baby gets an A-. It’s hilarious and it features two of my favorite stars of the era, Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn. Some of the scenes and dialogue are ingenious. Nonetheless, I felt that it dragged a little during the leopard hunt.

I caught my favorite movie of all-time on television and only became further convinced of its perfection. I give No Country for Old Men Cinema Train’s first A+.

My second experience with Fassbinder was one that I had to write a review about.

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Bonjour Tristesse was a fun watch, but not anything extraordinary.

I discovered that Drive holds up to multiple viewings very well. It only makes me want to see Only God Forgives even more.

I rewatched Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, two of my favorite superhero movies. I wrote a short review of the first.

The coolest experience I’ve had in theaters this year was at the 3-D rerelease of Jurassic Park. Like most films, the movie really does play best in a theater.

The scenery of Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief was gorgeous and accompanied by an entertaining mystery plot. It may not be one of the Master’s best, but it is still worthwhile.

There is a lot of truth in The Breakfast Club. Even years after its release, it is one of the most honest movies that I have seen about teenagers.

Despite being a huge fan of the Beatles, I despised Across the Universe. The only thing I enjoyed in this film was the music.

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The best musical, and one of the best movies, I watched during April was Once. An indie gem, Once is the musical that I would recommend to those who generally find musicals too corny and unbelievable.

Progress:

I should probably feel ashamed of myself. I failed to meet both of my goals for this month. If there’s a silent film or martial arts movie that you think I should try to see soon, please let me know. Otherwise, it’ll probably be Pandora’s Box and The Raid.

Areas for Improvement:

-At least one silent film
-At least one martial arts film

Best of Class: Once
Teacher’s Pet: Silver Linings Playbook
Failing Students: Across the Universe

Thanks for reading!

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22 responses to “Movie Report Card: April 2013

  1. Pretty good variety of stuff there mate. I know I’m in the minority with this but I couldn’t get on with Once. It felt like one long advert for Hansard’s music, of which I am actually a fan, but I also thought the obvious lack of budget harmed the film a bit too and felt a bit like a student project. Like I said, I know I’m in the minority with that one!

    • I agree. I saw it when it first came out and loved it – but then tried it again a few months ago and actually turned it off after 30 mins, which I almost never do with any film… I found it unwatchable! Not sure why I’ve changed my mind so drastically over the years but I just found it bland and ridiculous.

      But a great selection of films here. I think I recommend The Raid last time – so definitely give it a go. And I say that as a non-martial arts fan.

      • Wow, that’s quite a change! I guess I’ll have to wait for a little while and revisit it then.

        Yep, you recommended The Raid, so I’m planning on seeing it eventually. Thanks!

    • I can understand those reasons for not liking the film. I didn’t know Hansard or any of his music before seeing this, so maybe I enjoyed it more because of that. Thanks for commenting!

  2. Couldn’t agree more with NCFOM getting an A+. I revisited it a few months ago and would say it achieves perfection. SLP was one of the biggest surprises of 2012 for me.

  3. I can see that Carrie remake being god awful but who knows. Can’t go wrong with watching Star Wars any month of the year. Just thinking about SLP brings a smile to my face what a great film.

    • Yeah, I seriously doubt that the remake will be as good as the original Carrie, but I’m trying to be optimistic. :)

      Star Wars and SLP are both wonderful. SLP was definitely one of my favorites of last year.

  4. Nice roundup Garrett, an eclectic list you’ve got here! I like the breakdown at the end of the post with Best of Class, Teacher’s Pet and Failing Students. Are you a teacher in real life? :D

    I didn’t get to too many rewatches this month but I did watch a ton more indies than I normally did in a given month.

    Btw, since you listed a martial arts movie as one of your goals, have you seen Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story (1993)? I highly recommend that if you haven’t seen it yet.

    • Thanks, Ruth. No, I’m not a teacher, but I’m related to a few though. :)

      That’s awesome that you saw several indies last month; there are definitely tons of great ones out there. And thanks for recommending the martial arts film. That genre is one of my major ‘blind spots’ as far as film-watching goes. I’ll try and give that one a watch! :)

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