Monday, March 21, 2011

Rapid Fire Reviews (#38-42) - Gone too long which I make my triumphant return with a lazy review post...

Well, I guess I should have told you that I was going on break. For those of you who have been missing my musings and nuggets of wisdom (nobody), I'm back with another installment of Rapid Fire Reviews. This week I take on four films to which I gave largely favorable marks, and a fifth which was an anime-styled street fighter remake. I'm looking forward to leaping from my Spring Break slovenliness with a flurry of new writing.

So, let's head down this path we call life and begin the reviews.

#38. Cropsey
            Source: Netflix Instant - Queue
            Released: 2009
            MPAA Rating: NR
            Running Time: 84 min
            My Rating: 4.5/5
            Comments: This is a very atmospheric and gripping documentary about a rash of child abductions which took place on Long Island, New York. The subject is approached with fairness while the film is also able to weave elements from public superstition and folklore. It’s very entertaining, if a bit dark and grotesque in its portrayal of the crimes (which were, admittedly, dark and grotesque). Watch it in the dark, if you can.

            Source: Netflix Instant - Queue
            Released: 1987
            MPAA Rating: R
            Running Time: 116 min
            My Rating: 5/5
            Comments: This is another one of the classic Kubrick films which was probably my first favorite film. The stark treatment of the army boot camp in the film's first half, followed by the chaos of Vietnam in the second presents a dichotomy which feels very true to life. This film is one of the reasons why I could never join the army, and watching it as a teenager chilled me to my core. But that’s not to say that it isn’t an excellent war film, or a compelling ensemble character piece, or a bleak and realistic look into the life of Vietnam-era infantrymen. Kubrick’s fingerprints are all over this piece, with well-written characters, fantastic cinematography, and a really unique feel. That, and the climactic battle is fantastically well done and incredibly gripping. Watch this one whenever you’re feeling overly patriotic.

            Source: Netflix Instant - Queue
            Released: 2009
            MPAA Rating: NR
            Running Time: 87 min
            My Rating: 4.5/5
            Comments: Another documentary for the list. This one chronicles the training of several contestants who are entering a prestigious French pastry competition. We get looks into the contestants' characters in their months (or years) of preparation before entering the contest. There’s something about watching a talented chef make a delicate and fragile tower of chocolate and sugar that puts me on the edge of my seat. The entire documentary is gripping, and you’ll find yourself rooting for your favorite competitors as they hone their delicious crafts. Watch this one on a full stomach.

            Source: Netflix Instant - Whim
            Released: 1994
            MPAA Rating: UR
            Running Time: 98 min
            My Rating: 2/5
            Comments: Oh boy, where do I start? This movie has fighting, lots of it. There’s a flimsy attempt at a plot, which boils down to two sides of an international conflict competing to find the best hand-to-hand fighter to…conquer the world? I will say, if you ignore the bare bones plot and clunky dialogue, the animation is smooth and the fight scenes are fairly good (and you get to see Chun Li’s boobs at one point). Don’t watch this, unless you want to see the cinematic equivalent of banging action figures together.

            Source: DVD - Owned
            Released: 1973
            MPAA Rating: R
            Running Time: 124 min
            My Rating: 4/5
            Comments: This is the second in the Dirty Harry films, starring Clint Eastwood, and also my second favorite (it’s hard to top the original). It continues with the theme of the series, asking, “how far should one go in the name of justice?” While the film doesn’t flow as smoothly as the first (many extraneous plot changes were made by Eastwood himself), it an exciting police drama that isn’t afraid to get thematically philosophical. I say “philosophical,” but you have to dig pretty deep to get there. Anyway, it’s a fine example of seventies cinema, and well worth your time. Watch it immediately after Dirty Harry.

Sidenote: I can't express how much I hate blogger today. Normally these reviews are the easiest to make. Immediately after watching a movie I get the info from IMDB, I write my short review, tuck it away into a word file and I'm golden. But today it seems to think that everything I write NEEDS TO BE PERMANENTLY INDENTED. Just like what you see on the left. I didn't put that in, I don't know how it got there. I'm stuck with this, and I'm not happy.

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