Search planetdan:

I watch movies. On DVD, at the theater, via cable TV. Sometimes I want people to know what I think about the movies I watch, regardless of whether or not they care. I promise I will make my reviews short, but I won't be ashamed to throw around cliches like "beautiful cinematography" and "post-modern irony," so be warned.

Sunday, March 28, 2004 :::

The Ladykillers

Why I saw it: Because of the Coens, of course.

What I think about it: Although better than the abysmal Intolerable Cruelty, it was still way too by-the-numbers for a Coen Brothers movie. It had very little atmosphere or vibe, and most of the gags were pretty rote. Tom Hanks was fine and there were a few worthy laughs and I liked the sudden finality of the ending, as well as the snide ribbing of Bob Jones university, but the whole movie seemed really slight when all was said and done. Even the weakest plotted Coen Brothers movies usually have enough style and wit to make up for the lack of substance, but it just doesn't quite all add up here. I enjoyed myself enough, and if this had been directed by anyone other than the Coens it may have gotten three stars, but I know they can do a lot better and I'm not above holding them to higher standards.

Learn more about it.

::: posted by dan at 5:36 PM :: #

Sunday, March 21, 2004 :::

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Why I saw it: Because I wanted to see a movie for my birthday and because I think Charlie Kaufman's Being John Malkovich and Adaptation are two of the best movies of the last three decades.

What I think about it: I was worried when I heard some bad buzz about this movie over a year ago. It was rumored to be overly confusing and almost incomprehensible. But they either tweaked it a lot since that initial test screening, or the audience at said screening was even more dimwitted than your average mob, because this was the best movie I've seen so far this year. It was a little sad and depressing for a birthday movie, but it had a lot of humor and sincerity as well. It really makes you consider the importance of memories and the positive impact of all life experiences (even the bad ones) and the true nature of interpersonal relationships. All this while being supremely entertaining and visually unique. I've been unable to shake it from my head so far and I'm excited to see it again. I'm surprised it took them so long to release this movie and I'm also mad that Charlie Kaufman and Michel Gondry's previous collaboration, Human Nature, wasn't a lot better than it was, because they clearly have the talent to pull of some really great things together. Anyway, you should see it.

Learn more about it.

::: posted by dan at 11:51 PM :: #

Friday, March 19, 2004 :::

Intolerable Cruelty

Why I saw it: Because Kris rented it and I even though I heard it was not worth watching, I am a fan of the Coen Brothers and had to give it a chance.

What I think about it: After all the negative reviews, I was most worried that I would watch this movie and hate it and that the Coen Brothers good name would forever be sullied in my own judgmental head. Turns out that it wasn't the worst movie I've ever seen, but it wasn't good by any means. It was boring, predictable, and charmless, although it did have a few good coenisms, as well as some interesting work by Billy Bob. I also enjoyed the Wheezy character and the details surrounding his demise. But I'm grasping. It just wasn't good. It was as if they were forced to make a movie with their hands tied behind their backs, with someone else pulling the strings while they feebly shouted out direction. Just a minor hiccup in the Coen's previously irreproachable filmmaking career, I'm hoping.

I'm also going to take this opportunity to make a ranking of my favorite Coen Brothers movies (which I retain the right to alter at any time):
1. Fargo
2. The Hudsucker Proxy
3 (tie). Miller's Crossing
3 (tie). Barton Fink
3 (tie). Raising Arizona
3 (tie). The Man Who Wasn't There
3 (tie). Blood Simple
3 (tie). The Big Liebowski
3 (tie). Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?

Learn more about it.

::: posted by dan at 9:45 PM :: #

Sunday, March 14, 2004 :::


Why I saw it: Holly Hunter and some good buzz. Plus it was on iControl on my digital cable, which I've decided totally rules.

What I think about it: Reminded me of why I can't stand teenaged girls. It was so realistic and so convincingly portrayed that I sat in front of the TV just wanting to slap that damn girl's face. I can't imagine ever wanting to watch it again, and actual thirteen year-old girls should definitely be banned from seeing it, but it could be helpful as required viewing for naive parents. Entertaining, not really, but effective, yes.

Learn more about it.

::: posted by dan at 12:45 AM :: #

Sunday, March 07, 2004 :::

American Splendor

Why I saw it: Good reviews from the critics and my friend Stacy.

What I think about it: Told with an interesting flair for experimentation. The characters were endearing without being cloy and the superb acting actually made these unbelievable characters seem completely believable. Had some incredibly funny moments and a heartwarming ending to my surprise.

Learn more about it.

::: posted by dan at 4:59 PM :: #

Swimming Pool

Why I saw it: I heard good reviews all around.

What I think about it: The acting was great and the atmosphere was thick, but the plot disintegrated along the way. I really did enjoy the characters, but the story didn't give them enough to do, and the "twist" ending was derivitive, useless, and completely unshocking.

Learn more about it.

::: posted by dan at 4:54 PM :: #

Cabin Fever

Why I saw it: Because it had a great preview and good word of mouth from some film festival somewhere.

What I think about it: Disturbing in concept and some of the scenes were terrifying, but it went in too many directions and stalled too many times. There were a lot of half-baked ideas that weren't explored, probably for the best, and some of it was so absurd I couldn't even make any sense of it. And the characters in the film were written to be so totally idiotic and aggravating that it was almost hard to watch, and the climax was disappointingly vague. It did have style, though. Hopefully the writer director will be a lot more focused next time around.

Learn more about it.

::: posted by dan at 4:51 PM :: #


Why I saw it: Because of all the buzz about Charlize.

What I think about it: The acting was indeed all it was hyped up to be, but the movie itself was not really remarkable. Both Christina Ricci and Charlize did excellent jobs, and the directing seemed capable, but the the characterization of the murderess was a little too sympathetic in my opionion, which made the movie a little less realistic, and a lot less effective. Plus it seemed long even though it wasn't, yet it wrapped itself up too quickly in the end. Not the most efficient storytelling I've ever seen. I don't think I could ever watch it again.

Learn more about it.

::: posted by dan at 4:46 PM :: #

21 Grams

Why I saw it: Because B*Dubb and I wanted to see a movie, and it was either this or Monster. And B*Dubb was in "more of a pretty Naomi Watts mood than an ugly Charlize Theron mood." Plus, I'd heard good things and needed to get some Oscar movies under my belt.

What I think about it: An impressively told and very-well acted drama. That fact that it was predictable is irrelevant because it was more about how the story was told, rather than what it was about. Benicio Del Toro's performance was probably the best of the bunch, and his character arch was extremely sad and depressing, which I always dig. Definitely worth seeing, and it will finally make me rent Amorres Perros once and for all.

Learn more about it.

::: posted by dan at 4:41 PM :: #

The Cooler

Why I saw it: I heard it was interesting and nothing else was playing at the theater that day.

What I think about it: Ridiculous in concept and amaturish in its execution. I'm a big William H. Macy fan, but even he couldn't save this messy story about a guy with intrinsically bad luck. The melodrama was pathetic, the predictability was inappropriate for a movie based in Vegas, and most of the acting was subpar. I would say it all boiled down to bad directing if the script and dialogue weren't so bad to boot. When the best thing about a movie is a performance by Alec Baldwin, you know it's not a keeper.

Learn more about it.

::: posted by dan at 4:35 PM :: #

Big Fish

Why I saw it: Because I occasionally like Tim Burton (Ed Wood) and I heard good buzz.

What I think about it: I hated this movie. I'm not exactly sure what the point of it was. A dying old man embellishes his past and his son is unhappy about it, because he feels he has never really truely known his father. Then they try to get you to cry about it. They try really hard. In the end, the boy realizes his dad is a real person, or maybe he doesn't. Maybe he just gives into his father's flights of fancy. You're never quite sure because the script is so poorly focused and doesn't really know what it wants to say. The visuals were nice, but everything else was over sentimentalized and shockingly void of true feeling. I only give it one star for the Japanese USO ventriloquist scene.

Learn more about it.

::: posted by dan at 4:31 PM :: #


planetdan home
planetdan blog
dan's pics
fun junk

recent reviews
Music and Lyrics
Stranger Than Fiction
Live Free or Die Hard
The Simpsons Movie
Talladega Nights
The Fountain
The DaVinci Code
Knocked Up

sista c
b stacy b


03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004
04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004
05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004
06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004
07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004
08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004
09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004
10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004
11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004
12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005
01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005
02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005
03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005
04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005
05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005
06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005
07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005
08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005
11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005
12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006
01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006
02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006
03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006
04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006
05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006
06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006
07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006
09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006
10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006
12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007
08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007
09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007

some ads