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goddess of clarity: a blog about politics, culture, and serenity

Capsule Movie Reviews 2007

I Am Legend

Oxford Valley Mall 12.28.07

Wow. A whole lot scarier than I thought it would be. And the shots of an empty Manhattan are amazing. Plus, Will Smith made me cry. Twice. Don't think I've ever cried at a zombie movie before.

Golden Compass

Pittsford Plaza 12.14.07

I didn't really like the book, and I'm sad to say I didn't really like the movie. The plot was so complicated that I don't know how anyone who hadn't read the book would follow it. At least the actress playing Lyra managed to make the character more likeable than she is in the book.

Michael Clayton

Pittsford Plaza 11.14.07

This movie is so quiet that you could be tempted to think as you're walking out of the theater that nothing much happens in it. Until you realize that oh my god, everything happens in this movie.

The Kingdom

The Cinema 11.06.07

This was better than I'd been led to believe. A bit melodramatic -- especially toward the end -- but an exciting action-adventure take on a serious subject.

Dan in Real Life

The Little 10.26.07

OK, I admit it. I bawled my eyes out when Steve Carrell sang "Let My Love Open the Door." I'm not made of wood, people!

No End In Sight

The Little 09.18.07

This bleak documentary about the Iraq War is unique, I think, in that it is not a political screed but instead a thoughtful review of all the screw ups that have led us to where we are now. It's almost in argument in favor of the war, but for the sad fact that that the civilians in charge have been nothing but a parade of idiots.

Superbad

Pittsford Plaza 08.26.07

Very funny. Very very funny. Favorite line: "You don't want girls to think you suck dick at fucking pussy." I'm thinking that was pretty much the pitch meeting for this movie.

Stardust

Pittsford Plaza 08.16.07

Very cute, largely do to Claire Danes and Charlie Cox. Not nearly as enchanting as the book, though.

The Bourne Ultimatum

Pittsford Plaza 08.06.07

Nice one. Really exciting, also profound in what it says about the nature of the state and what it asks of us. Which is a lot to ask from an action movie.

The Simpsons Movie

Pittsford Plaza 07.27.07

Like a very funny episode of The Simpsons, only longer. I challenge you to get the "Spider Pig" theme out of your head.

Ratatouille

Pittsford Plaza 07.19.07

Cute, but not as good as I'd expected. Impressive animation, some funny moments and likable characters, but the story was thinner than a French crepe.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Tinseltown 07.11.07

Oh my god, this was the best one yet! The filmmakers manage to pack so much information into the story (the book is nearly 900 pages long, after all) while still keeping the action moving at breakneck pace. The Ministry of Magic looks soooooo cool. And the final battle scene was even better than I'd hoped for. I gotta see it again.

Sicko

The Little 06.30.07

Go see this movie tonight. But see it with some of your funniest friends and plan to go out for beers or something afterwards, because you will be depressed afterwards and you will need some help getting cheered up.

Spiderman 3

Pittsford Plaza 05.19.07

Not good. Four villains (five if you count the random melted licorice monster from space) and none of the zing! of the first two. Spidey went to the well -- or the "web" -- once too often, it seems.

Hot Fuzz

The Little 04.22.07

Oh my god, soooo funny. Very much in the style of Shaun of the Dead and that is a very good thing. Fans of Point Break and Bad Boys II (all four of you) will enjoy this film on an even deeper level.

Blades of Glory

Pittsford Plaza 04.12.07

Not as funny as Anchorman, but then, not much is. Favorite quote: "He puts the bone in Zamboni."

Night at the Museum

The Cinema 04.07.07

A very cute, silly movie well-suited for an Easter weekend matinee. The funniest part was listening to the kids in the theater laughing their butts off.

The Lives of Others

The Little 04.05.07

This was a great little movie with a really big message. I loved the subtle transition of the East German intelligence officer from a tool of the state to "a good man," and the larger picture it paints of what happens when a state feels it has the right to know everything about everyone.

Music & Lyrics

Pittsford Plaza 03.20.07

If you can't be good, be charming. This movie was charming.

300

Pittsford Plaza 03.16.07

There is a moment near the beginning of 300, after the over-the-top voioce-over narration of the back story is over, when the king and his men ride in on horseback. The soundtrack is insane, and the poses the actors stike are insane, and the backdrop is insane and you realize, "Hey, I think the whole movie is going to be like this!" I didn't stop smiling for next 90 minutes.

The Departed

Movies 10 02.26.07

I'm glad I caught this one before the Oscar broadcast, but was it really the Best Picture of the Year? Not really. All the loyalties and supposed twists were pretty clear pretty early, and by the end of the movie the audience started giggling at the level of violence and the rapidly increasing body count.

Babel

Pittsford Plaza 02.17.07

This one was a homework movie, to be sure. I wanted to get it in under the Oscar-night wire. I know the whole point of the film is the interwoven stories, spanning three continents and four major narratives. But I think the movie would have been much stronger movie if the filmmakers had dropped the Japanese and Mexico storylines and focused on the African story from the two different angles of the American tourists and the Moroccan goat herders.

The Last King of Scotland

Pittsford Plaza 02.11.07

Unbelievable. I'm still thinking about it. Forest Whitaker is amazing, and James McAvoy is every bit his equal as the naive young doctor-playboy through whose eyes we experience the seductive brutality of a tyrant.

Notes on a Scandal

The Little 02.08.07

I thought the movie was going to more of a thriller, but it was a lot simpler than that. There were not great surprises in terms of the plot, and yet the movie is still quite twisted. Judi Dench can be one freaky dame.

Pan's Labyrinth

Pittsford Plaza 01.31.07

This film is full of so much sadness, and so much beauty. The "Pale Man" with the eyeballs in his palms is getting all the attention, and for good reason. Very creep stuff, especially the way he walks with all that extra skin flapping around. And not for nothin', but Guillermo del Toro really likes shooting people in the head. At close range. Repeatedly.

Dreamgirls

Pittsford Plaza 01.25.07

I do love musicals, and this was a good one, mainly because of the music. Great tunes. A little melodramatic at time, but what do you expect? It's a musical!

Curse of the Golden Flower

Pittsford Plaza 01.19.07

This one didn't make much in the way of sense, but you can make up for that with a lot of ass-kicking. Unfortunately, there was not nearly enough ass-kicking in this Zhang Yimou period piece. I keep thinking he is going to equal the masterpiece of Hero, but no dice so far.

History Boys

The Little 01.11.07

A tad on the sentimental side, but some really great writing and a couple of really great performances by the guy who plays Harry Potter's uncle and the young, gay, singing kid. It's a film that accomplishes a rare feat in that it makes you think about and talk to your friends about the value of teaching and learning.

Children of Men

Pittsford Plaza 01.06.07

If you're going to make a movie about a near-future dystopia, you'd better set it in London (see 28 Days Later, V for Vendetta ... Notting Hill...) Children of Men is awesome, down to the smallest detail (pastures of burning cows drift by in the background, ads for a do-it-yourself suicide pill appear on TVs and on the sides of buses). And crucially, the filmmaker never tries to explain to us why these horrible things are happening. The characters don't know why, so why should we.