September 28, 2011

How to Steal a Million

Audrey Hepburn Marathon, part 9 of 13

Title: How to Steal a Million
Year: 1966
Length: 123 minutes
Director: William Wyler
Writer: Harry Kurnitz, story by George Bradshaw
Starring: Audrey Hepburn, Peter O'Toole
With: Eli Wallach, Hugh Griffith, Charles Boyer, Fernand Gravey, Marcel Dalio, Jacques Marin, Moustache, Roger Tréville, Edward Malin, Bert Bertram
Music: John Williams
Cinematography: Charles Lang
Editing: Robert Swink
I saw it: on video a couple days ago, rented from Netflix
Synopsis: an art forger's daughter needs to steal a faked statue from a museum

My reaction
Concept:3/4 (Good)
Story:3/4 (Good)
Characters:3/4 (Good)
Dialog:4/4 (Great)
Pacing:3/4 (Good)
Cinematography:2/4 (Indifferent)
Special effects/design:3/4 (Good)
Acting:3/4 (Good)
Music:2/4 (Indifferent)
Subjective Rating: 7/10 (Good, 3/4 (Good)). Fun and witty. My wife got bored, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Objective Rating (Average):2.9/4 (Good)

September 27, 2011

My Fair Lady

Audrey Hepburn Marathon, part 8 of 13

Title: My Fair Lady
Year: 1964
Length: 170 minutes
Director: George Cukor
Writer: Alan Jay Lerner, based on his musical based on a play by George Bernard Shaw
Starring: Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison
With: Stanley Holloway, Wilfrid Hyde-White, Gladys Cooper, Jeremy Brett, Theodore Bikel, Mona Washbourne, Isobel Elsom, John Holland
Music: André Previn (score); Frederick Loewe & Alan Jay Lerner (songs)
Cinematography: Harry Stradling Sr.
Editing: William H. Ziegler
Oscars: won for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Harrison), Best Cinematography (color), Best Score (musical), Best Art Direction/Set Decoration (color), Best Costume Design (color) and Best Sound; nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor (Holloway), Best Supporting Actress (Cooper) and Best Editing
I saw it: on video a couple days ago, rented from Netflix
Synopsis: a cockney girl is trained to pass as an aristocrat at parties

My reaction
Concept:1/4 (Bad)
Story:3/4 (Good)
Characters:4/4 (Great)
Dialog:3/4 (Good)
Pacing:1/4 (Bad)
Cinematography:2/4 (Indifferent)
Special effects/design:3/4 (Good)
Acting:3/4 (Good)
Music:1/4 (Bad)
Subjective Rating: 5/10 (Indifferent, 2/4 (Indifferent)). There are a number of very good parts, but they're scattered and sparse. The songs are almost all boring, and the action usually comes to a complete stop while we wait for them to finish singing. Even if the songs were good, they would be an unwelcome interruption - and they go on like this for three hours.
Objective Rating (Average):2.3/4 (Okay)

September 26, 2011

Super 8

Title: Super 8
Year: 2011
Length: 112 minutes
Director: J.J. Abrams
Writer: J.J. Abrams
Starring: lens flares, Joel Courtney
With: Riley Griffiths, Ryan Lee, Gabriel Basso, Zach Mills, Kyle Chandler, Ron Eldard, Amanda Michalka, Elle Fanning, Glynn Turman, Noah Emmerich, David Gallagher, Brett Rice
Music: Michael Giacchino (and non-original music)
Cinematography: Larry Fong
Editing: Maryann Brandon, Mary Jo Markey
I saw it: in the theater, a couple days ago
Synopsis: kids try to make a zombie movie while a space monster is hiding in their town

My reaction
Concept:4/4 (Great)
Story:2/4 (Indifferent) The ending kind of blows. Not blows as in Lost - it's just kind of disproportionately uncreative.
Characters:3/4 (Good)
Dialog:3/4 (Good)
Pacing:3/4 (Good)
Cinematography:0/4 (Terrible) Damnit, enough with the damn lens flares already! Watching a J.J. Abrams movie, it's kind of like having him in the room, jumping up and down next to the screen pointing at it, yelling, "Hey! Look what I did there! Check it out!"
Special effects/design:3/4 (Good)
Acting:3/4 (Good) Fanning is great. Courtney is fine, considering that his part is too demanding to expect a kid to pull off.
Music:3/4 (Good)
Subjective Rating: 6/10 (Okay, 2/4 (Indifferent)). Fun and entertaining. Unfortunately, it's a J.J. Abrams movie, and never lets you forget it. Um, J.J? Maybe next time you taunt us with your "magic box," you could put something inside it first. As far as channeling Spielberg goes, the focus there is on his corny tropes, not on his storytelling skill.
Objective Rating (Average):

September 22, 2011

Star Trek: "The Cage"

Title: Star Trek“The Cage”
Year: 1988 (produced 1965)
Network: NBC
Episode: pilot; 64 minutes
Creator: Gene Roddenberry
Director: Robert Butler
Writer: Gene Roddenberry
Starring: Jeffrey Hunter
With: Susan Oliver, Leonard Nimoy, Majel Barrett, John Hoyt, Peter Duryea, Laurel Goodwin
Music: Alexander Courage
Cinematography: William E. Snyder
Editing: Leo H. Shreve
I saw it: on video a couple times, most recently yesterday (have on DVD)
Synopsis: telepathic aliens capture a space captain

My reaction
Concept:4/4 (Great)
Story:2/4 (Indifferent) Nothing any of the characters do has any effect on the outcome of the story.
Characters:3/4 (Good)
Dialog:3/4 (Good)
Pacing:2/4 (Indifferent)
Cinematography:2/4 (Indifferent)
Special effects/design:4/4 (Great)
Acting:3/4 (Good)
Music:4/4 (Great)
Subjective Rating: 7/10 (Good, 3/4 (Good)). It's a good thing this pilot didn't get picked up as is; the show badly needed the retooling it got, particularly the recasting. All the actors and characters are all perfectly good, but they're just... kind of boring.
Objective Rating (Average):3/4 (Good)

September 21, 2011

Meek's Cutoff

Title: Meek's Cutoff
Year: 2011
Length: 104 minutes
Director: Kelly Reichardt
Writer: Jonathan Raymond
Starring: Michelle Williams
With: Bruce Greenwood, Will Patton, Zoe Kazan, Paul Dano, Shirley Henderson, Neal Huff, Tommy Nelson, Rod Rondeaux
Music: Jeff Grace
Cinematography: Chris Blauvelt
Editing: Kelly Reichardt
I saw it: on video (rented from Netflix), yesterday
Synopsis: a wagon train is lost in the Oregon desert

My reaction
Concept:4/4 (Great)
Story:3/4 (Good)
Characters:4/4 (Great)
Dialog:3/4 (Good)
Pacing:3/4 (Good) Very slow, but in a good way.
Cinematography:3/4 (Good)
Special effects/design:2/4 (Indifferent) Very good visually. The sound recording is terrible.
Acting:3/4 (Good) The performances are great, but the way the movie is directed, everything is kept at a distance. It's a great approach as far as telling the story goes, but doesn't really let the acting into the foreground enough to be memorable.
Music:3/4 (Good) I like that they completely avoided any of the typical types of Western scores. The music is sparse and alien, well suited to the movie.
Subjective Rating: 7/10 (Good, 3/4 (Good)). An excellent movie, but its small budget shows through enough to take you out of it from time to time.
Objective Rating (Average):3.1/4 (Very good)