Friday, December 28, 2012

Twitter Movie Reviews, Volume 2: 1 year, 60 movies

Last December, I posted all my Twitter movie reviews from 2011. A couple people seemed to like it, so I did it again this year. Fewer movies, I'm afraid... I missed a couple, but all in all, I think I just didn't pump my Netflix queue so hard. I think I saw more in theaters, though... I didn't officially count, but if you want me to, I'll put in the time. Just raise your many voices in chorus.

For the record, each of these reviews is exactly 140 characters, including the title and date of the movie, and the punctuation. I use the final punctuation mark as a bit of latitude, and I sometimes throw in an "&" symbol to cut down on a couple characters. Those are my liberties. They make this bizarre project a little more feasible.

I think I'm getting better at writing them, all in all.

Also for the record! If you want to follow me, I'm @miksimum on Twitter. If you want to see last year's movies, that can be found here: Twitter movie reviews, volume 1.

Numbers 51 - 60

The Hobbit (2012) - Jackson's latest tries hard & hits the right beats, but its pace and tone are hampered by overwriting and overproduction

Killing Them Softly (2012) - Bad attitude and lustrous photography, another pornographic entry in Hollywood's endless American outlaw legend

Django Unchained (2012) - Tarantino's latest is propulsive & full of great moments, but it's long enough that it eventually becomes toilsome

Reign of Fire (2002) - So damn committed to its core idea - blasted wasteland, tortured heroes - every bad action movie should be this bold.

Lincoln (2012) - A picturesque, balanced portrayal of Lincoln's struggle, lovingly acted, slightly stunted by a few flat, overwrought scenes

House of Flying Daggers (2004) - A hallucinogenic vortex of vivid colors and plot twists that becomes thick and hypnotic by the final notes.

When the Last Sword is Drawn (2003) - A beautiful, sometimes overwrought film about the contrasts between reality and the fantasy of heroism

Skyfall (2012) - It's striking to see a rugged, stripped-down action film that's been shot so beautifully, with such love for color & space.

Ichi (2008) - An edgy riff on Zatoichi, often hacky, but with some beautiful pensive moments, and blessed with two vivid, compelling heroes.

Swordsman II (1992) - This cultish martial-arts tangle of loyalties and indiscretions is brisk and light, but gets rather tiring by the end.

Numbers 41 - 50

Moonrise Kingdom (2012) - A fun and honest movie, but Wes Anderson is burrowing so deeply into his own preoccupations it might be unhealthy.

Looper (2012) - A tight, brilliant actioner, wrapping up tenderness and brutality into a stylish two-hour pipe bomb. Truly exemplary sci-fi.

Children of the Corn (1984) - Odd and unnerving, but would have been scarier if it had focused on more intimate moments of madness and fear.

Paris, Texas (1984) - A gorgeous, pulsing, elegiac movie whose climax, a nostalgic conversation in a stripper booth, is surprisingly moving.

The Gate (1987) - An edifying, monster-ridden teen horror antique that rapidly tilts between comically juvenile and unexpectedly disturbing.

Seven Psychopaths (2012) - Fun, well-written gonzo crime movie whose only fault is that its self-consciousness distracts from its characters

Pontypool (2009) - Smart, offbeat zombie movie that takes an intriguing premise and spins it into a gratifying truffle of playful creepiness

Jubilee (1978) - A crass, messy film: has a couple great personalities, but seems to let pacing & craft get lost in its penchant for anarchy

The Master (2012) - A claustrophobic, gently turbulent relationship film, elevated by excellent performances and chemistry between the leads

Reds (1981) - A sprawling and beautiful romance, a story of love's fullness and desire for change, troubled by the empty gravity of ideology

Numbers 31 - 40

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1966) - This engrossing showcase of untreated resentments makes for an almost masochistic viewing experience

Redline (2009) - Frenetic, slapstick anime action, a mindless explosion of nitro science-fiction suspense to keep you distracted for a while

The Painted Veil (2006) - The story and sentimentality are a bit perfunctory, but the breathtaking landscapes and subtle acting are worth it

Attack the Block (2011) - Polished roughness & neon lights make for a smart, effective invasion film that really capitalizes on its premise.

Kill List (2011) - A shrill, unhinged hitman drama that turns into a queasy horror film. Methodically ambiguous, full of venom and nastiness

The Hunter (2011) - Austere action/survival movie w/ a touch of romantic heroism; good suspense, but makes more promises than it can fulfill

Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012) - Heavy and rank in atmosphere; whimsical, mythical, and touching in resonance. A rich and beautiful film

Mystery Train (1989) - A romantic film, even in the parts without romance; enigmatic, punctuated by hard knocks, gratifying in its variation

The Savages (2012) - Morally compromised fable of drug dealers at war for the love of a shared woman. Frivolous and full of great chemistry.

Wisconsin Death Trip (1999) - Fractured, morbid, strangely beautiful tale(s) of the desolate Midwest in the 1890s, eating itself from within

Numbers 21 - 30

Natural Born Killers (1994) - A dubious study in desensitized insanity & stylistic excess. Imperfect, but has some blunt-trauma poetry to it

Streetcar Named Desire (1951) - Pitch-perfect realization of a complex, brilliant theater piece. Brando and Leigh's chemistry is devastating

Prometheus (2012) - Misses some beats, but has enough epic tones and frightening & sublime moments to qualify it as a cinematic achievement.

Melancholia (2011) - A languid, despondent ballet of multi-dimensional characters, caught up in crises that cut to the bone of who they are.

Snow White & The Huntsman (2012) - Beautiful, overserious, & relentlessly tonally committed; take a grain of salt w/ your bite of this apple

Metropolitan (1990) - A dry, affable comedy in which a young BoBo spends 2 hours trying to be serious about things he realizes are tiresome.

The Catechism Cataclysm (2011) - A bizarro angry prank of a film, a buddy story put through the meat grinder of a cruel, absurdist universe.

Return to Oz (1985) - Like a lower-end Labyrinth, often overwhelming, but interspersed with deliciously surreal and cunningly poetic details

Network (1976) - A brilliant, convoluted film without any strong ethical center of gravity... a prose-poem of soul-sickness and gamesmanship

Meek's Cutoff (2010) - A film about a collision of spontaneous wisdom and calculated foolishness, blunted by a numbness born of deprivation.

Numbers 11 - 20

The Avengers (2012) - Perfectly-crafted & primally compelling, an astonishing construction of character, conflict, celebrity, and spectacle.

Transsiberian (2008) - A twisted thriller, where the characters' true natures emerge sinuously from the closed chambers & barren landscapes.

5 Year Engagement (2012) - Insightful romcom follows a long relationship that goes through such slow, dramatic swings, it feels almost epic.

Cabin in the Woods (2012) - Rube Heisenberg Machine of horror tropes and deconstructions. Short on scares, but fascinating and unpredictable

The Hunger Games (2012) - A bit simplistic at times, but creates such a frigid, unsettling emotional landscape, I can't help but admire it.

Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011) - A flawed but endearingly earnest rom-com, smartly written, with sharp natural chemistry between the male leads.

Drive (2011) - A mesmerizing & subversive post-noir fairy tale, casting a meditative trance and then shattering it with ferocious brutality.

Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959) - A meditative ballet of obsession, submission, and wounded nostalgia, intimate to the point of being unsettling.

Ladyhawk (1985) - No-frills high fantasy romance, full of great characters, beautifully acted. Like Princess Bride without the self-mockery.

Habit (1995) - A meditation on addiction & alienation within a close-knit community; crass, sexy, and true to the spirit of lower Manhattan.

Numbers 1 - 10

28 Weeks Later (2007) - More calculated than the original, and less sympathetic. Still intense, but could have used more intimacy and focus.

The Perfect Host (2010) - A cheeky, offbeat, unpredictable psychological thriller; full of personality, mischievously oblique on plot points

Chronicle (2011) - Not flawless, but bold, earnest, and well-acted. A study in adolescent male bonding, wrapped in a tasty superhero morsel.

There Will Be Blood (2007) - Fearlessly performed. "It's not the oil, or the money, or the religion that are evil. It's the men themselves."

Misery (1990) - Grit-teeth claustrophobia with a small-town Stephen King soul, made scarier by an incredible and unfathomable Annie Wilkes.

Limits of Control (2009) - Call it pretentious, but I thought it was a radically beautiful, archetypal accounting of the artist's inner life

The Nude Vampire (1970) - A paranoid and voyeuristic film, all stalking and dark corridors. Earns points for attempting such a ballsy ending

Secret of the Urn (1966) - Dark samurai clown show where only the common criminal is redeemable. Even the protagonist is mostly contemptible

Game of Death (1978) - Sadly inept & inert. At least I got to see Bruce Lee's yellow track suit. Maybe I should try The Chinese Connection?

Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol (2011) - Big set pieces, action tempered with slapstick. Swift, rhythmic cimena that doesnt jerk us around

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