Sunday, April 15, 2012

What I Watched This Week: April 8-14, 2012

I don't review everything I watch, so I thought I would start keeping track week-by-week. I'll make a brief note about each title and link it to a review if there is one.

April 8 - none

April 9 - Broadcast News (1987) (Blu-ray)

This was my third viewing, but the first on Blu-ray. It was just as good as I remembered it and Criterion's presentation was very strong.

It was the last entry in my 100 movies series so check out that review if you are curious.

Overall score 4.5/5

April 10 - Anatomy of a Murder (1959) (Blu-ray)

I borrowed the Criterion Blu-ray from a friend and it's the first time I have seen the film. James Stewart stars as a lawyer and is supported by Lee Remick, George C. Scott and Ben Gazzara. At 160 minutes, the film drags a bit in the first hour, but the payoff is worth it. While 12 Angry Men is the best film I have seen about the jury process, this is the best courtroom drama. I will eventually pick up the Criterion Blu-ray.

Overall score 4/5

April 11 - Reservoir Dogs (1992) (Blu-ray)

After taking part in a discussion over at 137 exactly, I realized that I hadn't seen Reservoir Dogs in a couple of years. I've seen the film several times before, but enjoyed it as much as ever.

Here's my full review.

Overall score 4.5/5

April 12 - Burn After Reading (2008) (Blu-ray)

I have seen Burn After Reading several times and it was the first Blu-ray I ever bought. It's probably my third-favorite Coen brothers movie behind Fargo and No Country for Old Men, so it amazes me that it isn't given more credit.

Here's my full review.

Overall score 4.5/5

April 13 - Le Cercle Rouge (1970) (Blu-ray)

I've had this Criterion Blu-ray on my shelf for months and finally decided to open it. The film stars Alain Delon, Yves Montand, Gian Maria Volonte and Bourvil and it's the story of a robbery. If you like foreign language films, I recommend it.

Overall score 4/5

April 13 - The Girl Who Played with Fire (2009) (Blu-ray)

I own both versions of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and reviewed David Fincher's version earlier in the year. In that review, I noted that there isn't a huge difference between the two versions. I thought Noomi Rapace did a good job as Lisbeth Salander. This sequel is good, but it doesn't live up to the first installment. Dragon Tattoo had a lot going on and was a genuine police procedural in the style of The Silence of the Lambs. We learn about Lisbeth and we like her because she's different from other characters we have encountered. She has abilities that we admire. In this installment, she still uses those abilities, but the reason for her actions is less interesting and less complex than those in Dragon Tattoo. There's quite a bit of action and it held my interest, although the ending leaves the story hanging.

It was the second time I had seen the movie.

Overall score 4/5

April 14 - The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (2009) (Blu-ray)

This Blu-ray had been on my shelf since March 2011 and I finally decided to watch it. It quickly resolves the thread that was left hanging at the end of The Girl Who Played with Fire, but it's the weakest of the three movies. We see Lisbeth spend 90 minutes doing very little and that's a total departure from the rest of the trilogy. When the story does finally pick up, it's a courtroom drama rather than an action-packed climax. The ending is satisfying, but the style of the movie is too different for me to like it as much as the first two installments. I hope that the inevitable US version changes the story or keeps it more interesting.

Overall score 3.5/5

April 14 - Mulholland Dr. (2001) (Blu-ray)

I've watched this film many times and it's my all-time favorite. That said, it's not something that everyone will enjoy. To find out whether you are likely to, take a look at my full review.

Overall score 5/5

April 14 - Kiki's Delivery Service (1989) (DVD)

The only DVDs that I have bought since Blu-ray arrived have been Studio Ghibli titles. Disney is taking far too long to release the Blu-rays in North America. There are at least five Hayao Miyazaki titles which merit a perfect 5/5 and Kiki's Delivery Service is one of them. It's a coming-of-age story focusing on a 13-year-old witch-in-training. Like all Miyazaki movies, it has plenty of heart. It's an utterly charming way to spend 105 minutes.

Overall score 5/5


  1. Looks like you had a great week! I agree with you that the Dragon Tattoo movies grow weaker with each installment.

  2. Yeah, most weeks are pretty great as I have complete freedom to watch what I like.