Billy Soistmann

What I Watched This Week (Jan. 31-Feb. 6)

In Features, What I Watched This Week on February 7, 2010 at 12:11 AM

I got to see a lot of movies this week. After kicking off my 1,000 films challenge with The Rules of the Game and getting distracted by all the Oscar nominations on Tuesday, I watched Julia on Netflix Instant Watching. Yesterday, we were hit with an enormous snowstorm, so I went out and got a few Redbox movies to watch while I was stuck in the house.

1/31 – The Rules of the Game: When I kicked off this blog at the beginning of the month, I declared my goal of seeing every film on They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They?‘s list of the 1,000 Greatest Films of All Time. My first movie of the list was #3, The Rules of the Game, directed by Jean Renoir. It was an excellent film. I enjoyed the story and was surprised at how timeless the comedy was. After more than 70 years, the same things are still funny. Most Renoir’s criticisms of the social elite can still be applied today. It was also a great story of star-crossed lovers. I was surprised to find that the best performance in the film (Octave) was given by the director himself! Although I recognize the film’s significance in cinema and thoroughly enjoyed it, I’m not sure if it should be given such a high ranking. Only time will tell, though. I still have 906 movies to go!

2/3Julia: Kidnapping children is always a bad idea. In Julia, the main character (you guessed it – Julia), decides to help her friend steal her child back from her father-in-law. The plan doesn’t go well and Julia bonds with the child, despite her malicious intentions. This movie is held up entirely on Tilda Swinton’s magnificent performance. I don’t care about the technicalities, she was robbed of the Best Actress Oscar.

2/5Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs: So, Pixar isn’t the only studio that can make good computer-animated films. “Cloudy,” produced by Sony Pictures Animation, is a thoroughly enjoyable family film. The story is formulaic, yet inventive and the visuals are great. I love how the movie knows that it is a cartoon, so the characters aren’t even trying to be real. James Caan’s character doesn’t even have eyes (kind of)! The lovable main character, Flint Lockwood, is an amateur mad scientist, who never gets anything right. Although most of the film is aimed at a young audience, I still enjoyed it. The tone is very tongue-in-cheek and you can tell a lot of fun was put into this movie.

2/5 – The Brothers Bloom: I absolutely loved this movie. See my full review.

2/6The Soloist: I almost don’t like this movie at all. Let me explain: As a general rule, I don’t like movies based on true stories, especially ones in which the main character is a journalist writing a story, which will then be turned into the film you are watching. I never like that writer character, except when he is Robert Downey Jr. Up until around the hour-and-a-half mark, I was on the fence about this movie. I liked the characters, but the story was not intriguing at all. And then the ending won me over. Overall, the plot was very uneven. The flashbacks did not feel complete, and the middle of the film felt rushed. However, Jamie Foxx and Downey Jr.’s performances save the movie from complete disaster. Foxx is incredible as the fast-talking, schizophrenic master cellist and Robert Downey Jr.’s character really grows as a person and those are the keys to the film.

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