Crap, I’m behind again! A little. I’m one movie behind as of Sunday, so if I can fit in two this week I can catch up.

Week 9: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. I own this as part of my continuing attempt to increase my knowledge of Westerns, and it has served me very well so far. I first watched it a couple of years ago, and seeing it the second time was really interesting. The stuff I love about the film is still there, but I definitely found more flaws the second time around. Well, not flaws, necessarily, but stylistic things that are a little jarring. The best way I can describe it is that it’s surprisingly Italian. I mean, obviously, given that it’s directed by Sergio Leone and is pretty much the iconic Spaghetti Western. But there’s a level of absurdity running through it (especially in the second captured-by-the-union sequence) that I didn’t remember from my first viewing, and many scenes of people just running around. Also, it’s really, really long.

That said, the climatic ending shootout remains one my favorite cinematic duels of all time; the entire ending sequence, really, from when Blondie gives the dead soldier his cigar to the end credits is filmically beautiful and emotionally grabbing.

Week 10 was Push. Now, based on the trailer, this looked like a really bad movie. But it’s directly relevant to a game project I’m working on, so when my friends put together a lets-go-to-the-movies to see it, I was in. And I was pleasantly surprised! So a group of people who have psychic powers get drawn into a plot that they have to stop to save their own lives, and maybe kinda the world. The main flaw of the movie is trying to stuff a lot of backstory and general “world-works-like-this” info into what, at it’s core, is an action movie. There’s about 3 hours worth of material crammed into 111 minutes of screen time, which makes the pacing awkward and some of the plot hard to follow.

On the plus side, however, the acting is mostly tolerable-to-good, the actual plot is interesting and has some nice twists in it, and the on-location shooting (the movies is set almost entirely in Hong Kong) is very well done and engaging. Oh yah, and the fight choreography is (excuse my capitals) AWESOME. It’s acteally really well done, original, integrates the characters powers in interesting ways, and on at least one occasion not at all what I had expected. It’s totally worth the three minutes to check out the telekinetic gun fight, which is one of the weaker fight scenes, overall.

Week 11 was Watchmen. Hooooo boy. I think I have some things to say, but in a seperate post. For now, be satisfied with the fact that I liked it; I thought it could have been better; and that I agree with what the majority of what my buddy Pat has to say on his blog Moving Violations, specifically:

[Watchmen] is a fairly impeccable adaptation, neatly putting forth the main plot of the book with just enough mainstream sensibility to make it acceptable at the multiplex. The visuals and the performances by Jackie Earle Haley and Jeffrey Dean Morgan are alone enough to recommend the film. Is it the best possible film version of Watchmen? No. By hewing so closely to the text and compromising the dark, almost nihilistic tone of the conclusion, Snyder undermines his own achievement and makes the film much less than it could have been.

So, Rankings! As of 3/23/09:

New Releases

  1. Milk (Week 1)
  2. Watchmen (Week 11)
  3. Gran Torino (Week 2)
  4. Push (Week 10)

New To Me!

  1. The Exorcist (Directors Cut) (Week 7)
  2. Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (Week 8 )
  3. Hellboy (Week 3)
  4. Serenity (Week 5)
  5. Formula 51 (Week 6)

Old Favorites

  1. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (Week 9)
  2. Hook (Week 4)