Sunday, May 6, 2012

What I Watched This Week, April 29-May 5

Welcome to the fourth installment of What I Watched This Week. I don't review everything I watch, but I have time for quick comments about the movies that I don't fully review.

It was a slow week for me due to the fact that I stepped up my job search and spent hours each day looking for possible opportunities. Movies were my reward at the end of the day.

Eraserhead (1977) (Blu-ray)

I consider myself a huge David Lynch fan. He's responsible for Mulholland Dr., which sits at the very top of my rankings, and I credit it as being the title that changed the way I view films in general. Despite that, I have never been a big fan of Eraserhead. I like quite a few of the scenes, but I think it is the weakest film from Lynch. This German Blu-ray is region free and offers a good upgrade if you are interested in picking up the title without having to wait for a North American release.

Overall score 3.5/5

Paul (2011) (Blu-ray)

Paul really isn't my kind of comedy. I borrowed it from a friend and barely made it to the end. The plot is nonsensical, although I didn't mind the acting. I think it failed for me because you can't base an entire movie and the success of all the jokes on the presence of an alien doing human things. I wouldn't want to own it or ever watch it again.

Overall score 2.5/5

The Help (2011) (Blu-ray)

I put off seeing The Help because I have such a bad memory of The Color Purple. The subject matter is important, but would it make for an interesting movie? I was pleasantly surprised. The structure of the story was handled well, and the acting was consistently good. I wondered if this got so much hype because the story appealed to women, but I'm happy to say that it worked for me too. There's a good sprinkling of humor, despite the serious topic. I wouldn't say it was Oscar-worthy, but I enjoyed it.

Overall score 3.5/5

Margin Call (2011) (Blu-ray)

And so to the biggest surprise of the week. I bought Margin Call because I am such a huge Kevin Spacey fan, but his best work came over 10 years ago. He's part of a very talented cast which excelled at portraying the recent stock market crash. These events were so believable, and, without the script going into great detail, the story kept increasing in tension. I'm tempted to say that I enjoyed it more than Wall Street. Irons, Quinto, Spacey and Paul Bettany were all great, and there were other good performances too.

Overall score 4.5/5

J. Edgar (2011) (Blu-ray)

I enjoyed J. Edgar in the theater and on this first home viewing. Although many critics didn't enjoy it, I was quite impressed with the film. It covers several decades and has to show the changes in technology and the world over that span, as well as age the characters effectively. DiCaprio, Hammer, Watts and Dench all gave good performances, and although the pacing is somewhat uneven, it held my attention. I like the way Eastwood makes movies.

Overall score 3.5/5

The final two choices were made by friends.

50/50 (2011) (Blu-ray)

It hasn't been long since I last saw 50/50, but I still enjoyed watching it with my friends. My review still stands.


Drive (2011) (Blu-ray)

Drive has received a number of rave reviews, including several from critics that I usually agree with, but I still think that it's overrated. The strong cast was underused and there's hardly any characterization. Can you name three characters from this movie? What can you tell me about the main character? I loved the first 10 minutes, but things deteriorated after that. I thought it was violent for the sake of being violent and it's almost as if the director set out to make a cult movie. The jacket, the toothpick, and the almost total lack of meaningful dialogue didn't work for me at all. Despite all that, I wouldn't try to stop people from checking it out. Many put it right at the top of their 2011 rankings and it does have a certain style and atmosphere. It's just not the masterpiece that I hoped for after hearing early reviews.

Overall score 3.5/5

Click here to see what I watched April 8-14.

Click here to see what I watched April 15-21.

Click here to see what I watched April 22-28.

Return to index of every review on the site.


  1. Looks like you had a good if not great movie week.

    1. Haven't seen Eraserhead, nor I plan to. Same goes for Paul.

    2. I liked The Help but think it's overrated. The ating was superb, though, especially from Davis, Spencer and Chastain. Why do you have a bad memory of The Color Purple? I think it's a fantastic movie.

    3. I did not understand a single thing in Margin Call. Sadly, I don't "get" economics, as hard as I try.

    4. J. Edgar was good, especially the acting, the cinematography and the costumes, but makeup was atrocious and it is way too long.

    5. 50/50 I watched the other day and loved it even more than the first time.

    6. I completely agree with your opinion on Drive.

  2. The Color Purple didn't really work for me. I thought the message was important, but the movie was bloated and lost its way at times. I think it could have been a lot better.