Archive | August, 2010

The Last Exorcism (2010)

30 Aug

At least two of the people in this picture are not what they appear to be.

I’ll be upfront here and say this is a movie deserving of its considerable buzz. Presenting a new take on a subgenre that tends to cliche is difficult enough, but “The Last Exorcism” manages to through its remarkable performances and slow-building atmosphere. That said, part of the reason this film is generating talk is that it is divisive. This film won’t please everyone. Continue reading

A quick explainer on classic movie reviews

29 Aug

For your benefit as readers, when I review a classic movie — a film that is generally critically acclaimed and more than 10 years old — I will typically delve a bit deeper into overall themes and characterization and will sometimes discuss the more technical aspects of filmmaking  (sound, editing, cinematography) a bit more. While I do my best to avoid out-and-out spoilers, more plot is revealed  in these types of reviews than my typical comments on newer cinema.

If you ever believe I have written a bad essay and ruined your future enjoyment of a movie, please, please, please let me know. I have experience writing straight-forward new movie reviews, but classic film essays are new to me, so I’m learning as I go.  Thanks — and happy viewings!

Harold and Maude (1971)

29 Aug

For a long time, I avoided “Harold and Maude.” It’s habitually described as a “cult comedy,” occasionally as the “ultimate” cult comedy, and my experience with cult comedies has been very hot and cold. And so, despite the critical acclaim and the recommendations from people I know who love it, I avoided it — mostly from fear that it wouldn’t live up to its reputation. Now I know the truth: To dismiss “Harold and Maude” as a mere cult film by labeling it as such does a disservice to what is surely one of the more subversive and yet most hopeful and genuine films of its era. Continue reading

Brick (2005)

26 Aug

And yet, somehow, he's completely believable as a badass.

All I knew about “Brick” before watching it was that Joseph Gordon-Levitt played the main character. This film won a little game I like to call Netflix Roulette: I scroll through my queue, decide upon an arbitrary variable (rating, runtime, etc.) and watch the first movie available as an instant view that fits the criteria. Had I known ahead of time I’d be watching a neo-noir set in high school, I might have hesitated. As it is, I’m glad I didn’t. Continue reading

Piranha 3-D (2010)

23 Aug

"Piranha 3-D" presents a cavalcade of carnage for the more discerning movie-going palate.

“Piranha 3-D” is a movie that knows exactly what it is, exactly who its audience is and exactly what it wants to accomplish in its 89 minutes of screen time. That it does so while stretching the boundaries of the word “gratuitous” is just part of the fun. Continue reading

Kick-Ass (2010)

22 Aug

Spoiler alert! She's the best thing in the movie!

If you’re going to take the step of naming your movie after a popular adjective, you should probably also take steps to ensure that your movie lives up to said adjective. Too often in the case of “Kick-Ass,” it does not. Continue reading

Reefer Madness (1936) — A Rifftrax Live event

20 Aug

Oh maaaaan. I am having the moooost violent craving for Cool Ranch Doritos, like, ever.

It’s completely impossible to review a movie watched at a Rifftrax event in any kind of meaningful manner. By virtue of being a Rifftrax experience, you know the film is a total piece of crap. But a crappy movie does not always a successful Riff make. The real question is always: Will this work? For “Reefer Madness,” I thought it did. Continue reading

Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)

20 Aug

Good thing you don't have to count calories in a visual feast.

Sumptuous. Luminous. Stunning. It is pointless to attempt any discussion of Hayao Miyazaki’s “Howl’s Moving Castle” without paying well-deserved homage to the sheer beauty of the film. Lucky for us, there’s more than simple surface value to this multi-layered fairy tale. Continue reading

A Single Man (2009)

18 Aug

Colin Firth and Julianne Moore are so, so stylish. And sad, too. But always stylish.

“Style over substance” is a neat, nearly meaningless statement used to detract from artistic achievement when it also happens to be somehow aesthetically outre. “A Single Man,” helmed as it was by Tom Ford, was simply begging for this hollow phrase to be tossed about. Instead, by the end of the movie, I was thinking perhaps in this case, style IS the substance.
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Please allow me to introduce myself…

15 Aug

It all starts here.

Let’s start with redundancy and hope it doesn’t happen again: As the title may suggest, I am Rhanda, and I watch movies. Tons and tons of movies. You may find yourself wondering how I manage to watch as many as I do, but don’t worry about me. I don’t sleep much, never have, and I’ve got to fill this time somehow.

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