Quickee-Fest!

Welcome to the new season of reviews here on the Soontobeangel blog!  In case you don’t know me, my name is Tyler Welch and you can learn all about me and about this blog at the “Who Am I?” tab at the top of the page.

To kick off the 2012 review season, I decided to start with another series of Quickees – short reviews of several movies bunched up into one post.  If you missed the first Quickee-polooza, be sure to check that out at the link above. The main reason I needed to do a bunch of Quickees is because I am, yet again, way behind on my Summer Film Challenge.  However, I took this break from schools to crack down on it and so I can now proudly present 3 of the remaining 6 reviews for the 2011 Summer Film Challenge, as well as another great films I caught during the Holidays.

So, without any further ado, let’s get into QUICKEE-FEST 2012!!!

Treasure of the Sierra Madre

So this is one of the last reviews I have coming for the now FAR-past Summer 2011 Film Challenge and promise to finish it well before the 2012 Summer Film Challenge begins. 🙂 Anyway, I rather enjoyed this film, despite one problem that permeates the whole thing. Treasure is a beautiful example of film noir taken outside of the typical Detective story – emphasizing the futility in human strivings and the darkness inside every humans heart.  It really was excellent in that regard.

What I wasn’t crazy about was the pacing.  For a film about three people battling madness high up in the Sierra Mountains, they really didn’t give a lot of time to develop the mood shifts and moral decay.  They just had too much stuff to get through so every character (but Bogart in particular) ends up have ridiculous swings in their personality: being kind and standing up for the others one moment, then viscious and psychotic the next.  While I can say that this is the best acting that I have seen of Bogart, I feel like that is due only to the radical nature of the script which forces him to break his trademark monotony.

Overall I would call the film long and pointless, which is exactly what it is intended to be. If you want to see a great example of film noir, please pick up The Treasure of Sierra Madre and give it a try.

Rating:  7//10

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

My family and I caught this film just after Christmas and I have to say, I was pleasantly
surprised. I really enjoyed the first film and I felt that, for the most part, this film took everything the first did right and took it to the next level.  The action was great, the mystery and plot even better than before, the cinematography goes to the nth degree, and the chemistry between Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr. still rocks.  Noomi Rapace did a great job stepping up to the plate too.

It did have a few problems though. I will try to keep it spoiler free as possible, so all I can say is that the film does lack something from the first one.  It ends at a great point but it takes an awkward fourth act to get there.  The pacing is just very weird and, while it didn’t bother me too much during the film, in hindsight I realized that it probably could have been done a bit better.  Also, I said earlier that almost everything good from the first film was improved upon in the sequel.  Well, one of the major pluses from the the first movie was the music and sadly it dropped from great to only decent, sometimes wonderfully blending into the background while other times being far to overpowering and out of place.  Zimmer falls back into his old habits and it really brings the film down a peg.

Despite the weird plot structure and the score being only par, the film as a whole is still a lot of fun and entirely worth your time and money.  While I still don’t think anyone has ever fully grasped what Moriarty is, I think Jared Harris gives the best performance of the criminal mastermind to date.  So, if you get the chance, I do highly recommend you check out Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.

Rating: 8//10

Network

Kim Kardashian makes me mad as Hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!
Jersey Shore makes me mad as Hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!
Michael Bay and his stupid transforming robots make me mad as Hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!

Peope have always told me that this film accurately shows what life is like today to scary levels.  Well, they were right.  While I highly doubt producers would take their concerns as far as the ones in this film do, one cannot help but notice that we have grown up as a generation dependent on not only the television but also the internet.  We are the most plugged in culture there has ever been and this film shows us exactly how fabricated and preconceived our world is. Compare what Network says about the human condition, the cooperate structure, and the moral value system of our society to the Occupy Movement, companies being forced to cancel fees because of internet outrage, presidential candidates selling themselves via Facebook, Twitter, and the mass media system.  I don’t claim they are one-to-one but as I had been told, this film really does predict what life is like today.

The film itself felt something like 1984 as told by Ayn Rand and co-written by Woody Allen (providing some of the wittiness and cleverly poignant insights).  My only detraction from the film is that the dialogue and writing seem rather blatant, practically begging the audience to see that someone has written this.  However, I feel that this must in some way be the point, its own manner of breaking of the Fourth Wall, showing us that it is necessarily a part of the thing which it is critiquing – like Fahrenheit 451 being a book about how the world needs books.  It sounds like a script because it is one and it wants to make sure you catch that irony.

Honestly, I can say that this is one of the best movies I have seen in a long time and one of the best on my Summer Film Challenge list.  I know that I will be returning to Network many times to try to further grasp the truths it unveils in a beautifully ironic manner.

Rating:  10//10

Fargo

I would like to finish this Quickee-fest with the film that I started my New Year with.  I know – weird choice of movie to start a year off with.  But, as previously mentioned, I am now well beyond 2011, let alone Summer, on my Film Challenge so at 1 am on January 1st I watched the best Coen film I have seen to date (no offense True Grit).

The predominant thought that consumed me at 2:30 AM when the movie was over was this:

“That was like a Woody Allen movie, but interesting!”

Fargo reminded me of the slice-of-life style that Allen is very famous for.  The difference between his work and this Coen Bros film is that the brothers selected an INTERESTING true story (even though it actually isn’t).  And while Allen usually over-analyzes and questions life in his own stories, the Coen brothers simple select a story that raises the same questions about humanity and let it question itself!  Put simply, a bizarre kidnapping/murder tale set in a Michigan winter is far more interesting than Michael Caine being torn between two women.  Sorry.

Anyway, as usual the Coen’s selected a great cast that really brought the film together. Buscemi was hilarious, Stormare was terrifying as always, Macy stuttered and stammered his way into our hearts, and I am forever in love with Frances McDormand’s amazing Northern accent (isn’t she just a peach!?).  The way overplayed Northern-ness of it was hilarious and wonderfully paralleled the bizarreness of the situation.  And how could one talk about this film and not give tribute to the trademark Coen  W I D E   S H O T S.  🙂  Oh, and the score was great too.

If you can’t tell it yet, I really liked this film.  It was hilarious, haunting, over-the-top, and very simple a terribly fascinating story.  While I don’t know how much is actual fact and how much is Hollywood fabrication, I do know that if you can get past the language and adult content, you will find this to be one of the funniest films you’ve ever seen that makes you question your faith in your fellow human.

Rating:  10//10

"It's a real HOOT!"

There you go!  Four great films to start the year off with.  I hope to be able to bring a lot more reviews soon so stay tuned for more coming soon.  What did you think of any of these films or of my reviews?  I really would love to get your feedback so I can see how I am doing and know what I need to change about my process.  So, if you would, please leave me your thoughts in the comments below.

In case you missed it, my other blog – Art of the Trailer – is right in the thick of my New Year Trailer Extravaganza!  If you missed it, yesterday I reviewed the first trailer for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey which you can read at that link.  Also, be sure to check out today’s review of Ridley Scott’s first teaser for his upcoming sci-fi epic, Prometheus.  Thanks and I will see you all back here next Tuesday @ Noon for another review or ramble!

Please Comment Below and Subscribe!

Advertisements

Author: Tyler D. Welch

Filmmaker, Storyteller, Scholar

3 thoughts on “Quickee-Fest!”

  1. Glad you liked a lot of those! As far as Fargo goes, nothing about the story is true. It’s a complete fabrication. The Coens made the whole thing up and said it was based on a true story just to screw with people.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s