Okafor’s Law (2016, Omoni Oboli)

Categories: 2016 and Movies.

For the first two thirds of this film, it is a reasonably amusing Romantic Comedy – not my thing but effective and, for someone like me not familiar with Nollywood, a decent spin on the formula, despite a few sound issues. But the wheels come off in the third act, with not only a few major tonal shifts (and some violence!) but an ending that makes zero sense. Minor SPOILERS! Read More

The Band Wagon (1953, Vincente Minnelli)

Categories: 1953 and Movies.

This is an inventive, meta musical that’s entertaining enough to make me think I need to re-watch Singing in the Rain. But it still suffers from the usual Golden Age of Hollywood nonsense: mild, easy, humour, musical numbers that don’t really fit the plot, a relationship between two people completely the wrong age for each other and so forth. And it has a rather awful moral: the people want easy entertainment, not art, and they’re right. And can someone tell me why so many of these old musicals insist on portraying a stage show and then doing things in front Read More

The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer (1947, Irving Reis)

Categories: 1947 and Movies.

I was really not looking forward to this one, but I found it to be an enjoyably stupid screwball comedy. Maybe I was in the right mood. Or maybe I’ve softened over the years and can take this style more than I used to. Whatever the reason, though I found the whole thing kind of preposterous, I laughed much more than I normally do with these types of movies, and I didn’t get annoyed by the contrivances. 6/10 Read More

Away We Go (2009 Sam Mendes)

Categories: 2009 and Movies.

This is one of those moderately funny, moderately affecting American indie romantic dramedies that were just everywhere in the aughts. The soundtrack – filled with the music of a man named Alexi Murdoch – is perhaps the most obvious clue that you are watching something made in the aughts, but the whole vibe is just too similar to too many other films of its era to really make it distinguished. It’s the kind of film I think I would like had I not seen 50 other movies like it. But this one is better than normal – it’s more over-the-top Read More

The Artist (2011, Michel Hazanavicius)

Categories: 2011 and Movies.

The hype around this movie was ridiculous and only increased with the Oscar wins (which are meaningless, but anyway…). I just want to address that before I actually tell you what I think of the movie. It’s not novel to take inspiration from silent films. Canada’s own Guy Maddin has been taking inspiration from silent films for the better part of his career, and doing so in such an original way that he practically invented his own style of filmmaking (though his films are less indebted to silent cinema than they used to be). And there have been lots of Read More

Obvious Child (2014, Gillian Robespierre)

Categories: 2014 and Movies.

This is a reasonably edgy, reasonably funny “abortion comedy” that is weakened somewhat by the obligatory love story and a lack of constant laughs. Maybe it’s because I’m male, but some of the jokes did not land with me at all. And though I appreciated the edge this comedy has – more of an edge than most, especially given the subject matter – I thought it could have been nastier, not in a gross way, but in a satirical way, especially given what happens. Too much heart for me. But I laughed fairly regularly. 6/10 Read More

Les amours imaginaires aka Heartbeats (2010, Xavier Dolan)

Categories: 2010 and Movies.

This is one of those love triangle films we have all seen a million times, where two people vie over another. But, wait, there’s a twist! It’s a woman and a man vying over a man! Never seen that one bef…oh wait. I feel like this is how women must feel when they watch something like Sabrina. I cannot even tell if the male who is supposed to be so attractive is, in fact attractive, so everything else sort of falls apart after that. (It doesn’t help that, whether or not he’s attractive physically, the character’s an ass and not Read More

Amelie (2001, Jean-Pierre Jeunet)

Categories: 2001 and Movies.

I don’t know why it took me so long to see this movie. I’m a pretty big Jeunet fan, but whatever interest I had in seeing it at the time soon waned. No idea why. For some reason I anticipated I wouldn’t like it, which seems odd to me. It’s way less out there than Delicatessen (still my favourite) or The City of Lost Children, and significantly more accessible, but what it lacks in utter uniqueness it makes up in charm. It reminds me of Leolo to a great extent, but a little zanier if that’s possible. This is how Read More

An Affair to Remember (1957, Leo McCarey)

Categories: 1957 and Movies.

This is one of those “classic” bantery Hollywood rom coms with a Cary Grant-type (this time played by Cary Grant, here paired with one of his regular sparring partners, Deborah Kerr). It’s one of those movies where two unbelievably rich and self-assured people throw witticisms at each other (with a little tiny bit of slapstick) and we are supposed to think this is the Height of Comedy, and if we don’t I guess there’s something wrong with us. (At least we’ve mostly lost that generation of film critics who used to insist that there was nothing funnier than Wit and Read More

Romancing the Stone (1984, Robert Zemeckis)

Categories: 1984 and Movies.

I swear I had seen this movie before, but I’m not sure if it really was its sequel, or I’m just getting completely confused and thought it was King Solomon’s Mines. In any case, this is not the movie I thought it was. It is a very silly entry in what was part of the “adventure” genre revival after Raiders of the Lost Ark (probably the best Hollywood ‘adventure’ movie ever). I wanted to watch this and laugh at how bad this was – that was what fault memory told me – but it was actually intentionally funny, which was Read More

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010, Edgar Wright)

Categories: 2010 and Movies.

I feel like this is another Better Off Dead, only executed much better. Not everything works, but most of it does, and the inventive direction – probably “inventive” only because of how true it is to the source material – does a lot to let us overcome the cliches. Certainly this film could be a lot better but that’s on the source material. As an adaptation, it’s kind of great despite the rom-com / coming of age cliches – and despite the ending, that could have made it so much better if handled differently – and it’s amazing some video Read More

Warm Bodies (2013, Jonathan Levine)

Categories: 2013 and Movies.

From the very beginning, this movie – and presumably its source, the novel – violates many if not most genre conventions. So maybe it shouldn’t judged on the terms of those conventions. Because if it is judged on the conventions of the genre, it is bad. But I guess if it willfully violates the genre’s conventions, maybe I should look at it differently, especially since those conventions are rather arbitrary and have hardly stayed static for the entire existence of the film genre. (Personally, I prefer my zombies as reanimated corpses only, but I understand how maybe someone else my Read More

The Shop Around the Corner (1940, Ernst Lubitsch)

Categories: 1940 and Movies.

There is definitely a tendency to look at Golden Age films with a certain nostalgia and to forgive them because we like to feel it was a simpler time. Of course it wasn’t, WWII having just ended. And so I have a hard time bringing myself respect romantic comedies that are no longer funny. Slightly amusing perhaps, but that’s about it. It’s telegraphed too, but that’s probably because this story has become iconic. And that’s a tribute to the movie, not a fault. Really, how much you like this depends on how much you can handle the “aw shucks” humour. Read More

Domicile conjugal (1970, Francois Truffaut)

Categories: 1970 and Movies.

This is a sporadically entertaining film that is very well-shot though a bit clumsily edited and paced. It’s not quite as funny as it probably was originally, but it hasn’t held up that well. The bigger problem is that it really does feel like a defense of the immaturity of the protagonist, who is going through some kind of early-mid life crisis. Apparently women really shouldn’t worry about philandering husbands because they still really love them. 7/10 Read More

The Bostonians by Henry James (1886)

Categories: 1886, Books, and Fiction.

I haven’t fallen in love in the teenage / young adult sense in some time. The last time I was 26 I think. But that being said, I still think I have a good idea of what it is like. Now, I’m not trying to say love is rational, as it totally isn’t. But I’m not sure it’s entirely self-destructive, as some writers try to claim, either. And the love that is at the core of this novel I just don’t buy on any level. It doesn’t make any sense to me. Not just on a rational level but on Read More