Gone Baby Gone

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I found a friend to see Gone Baby Gone with, but I would’ve been happy with myself had a I seen it by myself, because I’d consider a “near-must-see”. It’s dark, gritty, and cringe-inducing at times, but not because of any disturbing graphic visuals. The moral ambiguities presented made me cringe. The Boston locales gave it the same kind of intimate quality that helped make Good Will Hunting and Mystic River such appealing films.

I need to watch more movies and figure out how to write about them. Until then, I’ll keep linking to what others have to say about movies…

92% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes

Ebert review


8 slices of toast8 slices of toast8 slices of toast8 slices of toast8 slices of toast8 slices of toast8 slices of toast8 slices of toastblanksliceoftoast.JPGblanksliceoftoast.JPG (8/10 slices of toast)

Superbad is a gem of a teen comedy, and that’s saying a lot from someone who’s always disliked or been prejudiced-without-having-seen them. When one of my friends had said a couple of weeks ago that I remind him of the kid in Superbad, I was a little concerned. Which one? No offensive to the talented Jonah Hill, but I was relieved that my friend meant the “skinny” one, Michael Cera, most widely known from three seasons on Arrested Development. I’ll accept the comparison. In any case, I can still relate to the awkwardness that the two lead characters in Superbad feel in their waning days of high school. The movie itself is as crude as one would expect as a worthy successor to 40-Year-Old-Virgin and Knocked Up, although it’s just as hilarious, and, ultimately, just as sweet.

When I read reviews after having seen it, as is my habit, I was relieved to find that the critics found, like me, that the interludes features Seth Rogen and Bill Hader as juvenile cops were too prolonged and ultimately distracting from the misadventures of the leads. Rogen co-writes a fantastic script, but it seems as if his ego got out of hand with the amount of screentime he gave himself and Hader. The bits with the cops and McLovin were funny at first but grew stale soon enough.

“McLovin” might be a T-shirts for the next few years (replacing the ubiquitous “Vote for Pedro” as a favorite slogan of the younger set), but Hill and Cera are the heart and soul of Superbad and the reason to watch it.

Movies for later, and a note about Dianne Wiest

I’ve never been one to make lists of upcoming movies that I’d like to check out, based on the previews. But I’ll start now, since I’ve been occasionally using the Safari browser, and the Apple homepage links to some nice HD trailers. And I’m killing time while I wait for Time Warner to come and install CABLE. Yes, my six-week TV drought is about to end. I’m neither enough of an intellectual nor computer geek to survive without television.

Dan In Real Life (Steve Carell, Juliette Binoche, Dianne Wiest, John Mahoney)
Ira and Abby (a couple of leads I’ve never heard of; but check out the cast playing the sets of parents–Judith Light, Robert Klein, Frances Conroy, Fred Willard)
Lars and the Real Girl (Ryan Gosling and a mannequin who doesn’t actually come to life like Kim Catrall in “Mannequin”)

…Time Warner’s late. Ooh, $20 credit for me!!!

Dedication (Billy Crudup, Mandy Moore, Tom Wilkinson, Dianne Wiest–again, as a lead’s mother)

Dianne WiestAnd on that note, it should be noted that Dianne Wiest has one of them best “mom” performances ever in 1989′s “Parenthood“, which I rate a whopping 3.1 points higher on IMDb than the rest of the universe.

FYI, you’ve gotta ask a Time Warner support rep for that $20 credit. It’s not automatic.

Toastie’s Movie Ratings

IMDb.com was one of the first websites I remember surfing regularly with the proliferation of the world wide web around 1994. Consequently, it remains, along with eBay, one of the very few sites on which I still use an old screenname and password combo. Also, a large number of the 112 movies I’ve rated have outdated votes. While a film critic may try to render an opinion upon seeing a film for the first time that will stand the test of time, a lot of the votes I recorded were cast in-the-moment. If I had laughed my ass off, I might have given a comedy an 8, even though, in retrospect, it may have been a 5 or 6. Similarly, a drama that really struck a chord at the time might have been ranked a couple of notches higher than it deserved.

But, then again, I’ve always recognized a clear distinction between my enjoyment of a film and my appreciation of a film. I have a friend who will assert that a universally-acclaimed film is “horrible”, not with regard to the merits of its acting, writing, directing, or other technical merits, but as an absolute matter of fact. Unfortunately, it’s basically impossible to have a constructive conversation about movies with him.

Anyway, a dozen years and an Amazon.com-acquisition later, IMDB now allows you to publicly share your personal movie ratings. Maybe they’ve allowed this for years; I’ve just discovered this, in any event.

Toastie’s IMDb Movie Ratings

Now I’ve publicly shared this, I’ll probably move quickly to revise a lot of these votes.

I’ll also move quickly to establish a related list of “Toastie’s Favorite Movies”, as I realized that I’ve always been a big fan of lists, but this site lacks lists. What better way to define one’s self without forcing someone to read rambling narratives than to offer up a dizzying smorgasbord of lists!

Just for the record, before I start revising, these are the films that, at least at some point in time, I considered worthy of a 10/10 rating:

American Beauty (1999)
A Beautiful Mind (2001)
Braveheart (1995)
Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
Million Dollar Baby (2004)
Parenthood (1989)
Schindler’s List (1993)
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Titanic (1997)
When Harry Met Sally… (1989)

EDIT – So upon a quick perusal of my list, I don’t see any need to re-rate anything. I think I probably have gone through periodically over the years and re-calibrated my votes. If anything, I’ll probably just go crazy with movie ratings for the next few minutes, hours, or days. Surely, I’ve seen more than 112 films in my lifetime.

EDIT – Ok, so there have been a couple of universally-acclaimed films that I have HATED. Like Pulp Fiction and The Matrix. I’ll have to contemplate whether or not I leave my ratings for them at ’2′. I think I’ve only rated them so low as a counterweight to all those ridiculous 10′s.

Top 5 Romantic Fairy Tale Movies

Top 5 Romantic Fairy Tale Movies, which I found only because I have a Digg module on my rarely-used iGoogle page.

Alas, I have never seen #3 or #4.

5. Ever After (1998)
4. Legend (1985)
3. Ladyhawke (1984)
2. Splash (1984)
1. The Princess Bride (1987)

Bourne Ultimatum

To Whom It May Be of Interest:
I don’t listen to Barry Manilow, Donny Osmond, and Air Supply all the time.

Now Playing:
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The Bourne Ultimatum

Speaking of which…The Bourne Ultimatum is AWESOME. 12 out of 5 stars! (As I’ve said before, I don’t “do” movie reviews… Fortunately, RottenTomatoes does…94% fresh, as opposed to the 00% fresh for Daddy Day Camp…)


The usual disclaimer: I don’t know how to critically review a movie. Thus, this post shall be plain and brief.

Ratatouille is a marvelous achievement. Again and again, Pixar exceeds expectations. Ok, maybe “Cars” just met expectations last year. But heading into the film last night, I was thinking, “It’s a Pixar movie, so it will be good, but isn’t the whole story of the young rebellious creature getting separated from his family/home (Nemo, that car) getting old? The great news is that there is nothing at all stale about the story. It’s very clever. And, of course, the animation is tremendous. I’m sure that has a little bit to do with the fact that a guy I went to elementary through high school with, Sudeep Rangaswamy, is still working on these things. (Ok, so that’s a little Google nugget-dropping to see if anyone from years ago stumbles upon this blog in a drunken search some night for Sudeep. Sorry, I don’t keep in touch with Sudeep, but you’ve found me!)

So…Ratatouille…very highly recommended, and if you don’t believe me, it has a 95% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which I imagine makes it one of the top ten or so films ever reviewed on their site.

See this film: Knocked Up

Knocked Up gets a whopping 97% fresh rating from the “cream-of-the-crop” critics on Rotten Tomatoes

I saw it. I liked it. A lot. (I don’t think I’m good at reviewing movies, so I don’t try. Some people don’t care at all what critics think; they never agree with critics. I generally try not to go to movies with those people, because they generally like a lot of movies that suck and think that a lot of great movies suck).

Roger Ebert kicks ass

:: rogerebert.com :: People :: It wouldn’t be Ebertfest without Roger

We spend too much time hiding illness. There is an assumption that I must always look the same. I hope to look better than I look now. But I’m not going to miss my Festival.

Good for Roger Ebert! I miss his reviews, and I hope he is able to fully recuperate soon.

Crazy Love

I usually fail to write about a film I’ve seen, since it’s vanished from my mind before I’ve committed to writing anything. Therefore, I’ll write a blurb about “Crazy Love” now, upon getting home from viewing it at the Full Frame Film Festival at the Carolina Theater. I don’t know if I’ll go see any more documentaries tomorrow or Sunday, but I really ought to make an effort to see more. I can’t give Crazy Love a raving review, but it’s certainly a fascinating story. It’s difficult not to give too much awey trying to explain it. A New York City attorney became infatuated with a gorgeous woman in the last 1950s. He truly became obsessed. I’m not sure she ever really fell in love with him. When she rejected him, he went nuts, and then some odd and disturbing things happened. The two at the center of the story are still alive, so they tell the story from their radically different points of view. There were a lot of cringe-inducing moments for me, but there was also enough humor to balance things out.

Crazy Love is in the running for the audience prize, so the audience was able to vote on the film, to give it a rating on a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is great or outstanding and 1 is…still “good”. I gave it a 7 because I don’t have a festival pass and likely won’t be seeing many others to compare this film with, although I suppose a 4 or a 5 would have sufficed.

[ RottenTomatoes entry ]

Here’s the official summary from the festival:

New York, 1957: A self-important lawyer, Burt Pugach, falls for a beautiful young woman named Linda Riss. He keeps her on a string, dazzling her with nightclubs, lies, and flattery, rather than divorce his wife. When Linda decides to leave Burt for good, he retaliates in a permanent and despicable way. Incredibly, their relationship has really just begun. Penetrating interviews draw you in to a narrative of obsession; evocative old footage summons a mood that illuminates the bizarre story.