February 1, 2006

Movie Recap for January '06: Brokeback Mountain

January turned out to be a pretty good month movies, of course, a lot of them were 2005 releases going wider. The movies are listed chronologically from the beginning of the month through the end, in the order I saw them.

Best Movie of the Month: Brokeback Mountain
Worst Movie of the Month: Annapolis
  1. Memoirs of a Geisha. This movie was gorgeous, I loved it. Despite the lack of authenticity, I was drawn into this tale of a young girl growing up to be a geisha. The cinematography was gorgeous, and I was enthralled the entire time. This is a movie not to be missed. ***.5
  2. Match Point. Woody Allen's latest film is quite different from his other recent efforts. I cannot comment on the "Woody style" as I have only had a small sampling, but this is not what I am used to. The film is an excellent Hitchcockian thriller. An amoral world filled with unlikable characters. It is methodically paced and wonderfully acted. ***.5
  3. Munich. Steven Spielberg's latest historical epic, this time targeting the aftermath of the athlete murders at the 1972 Olympics. Follow the Mossad team sent to exact revenge on those responsible. Eric Bana anchors the film as the conflicted Avner. Spielberg nailed this one. ***.5
  4. Hostel. The first official release of 2005 that I saw. Eli Roth's follow up to his audience dividing Cabin Fever, this one is no different. It starts off like a sex comedy in the line of Euro Trip before taking a dark and gory turn. I liked the movie, thinking that it was like Saw, but with a better concept. ***
  5. Glory Road. Better than I was expecting, but not as deep as I had hoped. It is another in the line of inspirational sports films that Disney has been churning out over the past few years. Josh Lucas stars as Don Haskins who starts an unheard of 5 black players in the 1966 NCAA championship finals. ***
  6. Tristan & Isolde. Speaking of better than expected, except for some clunky dialogue, this is a solid period romance. It has some good action, and a couple of charismatic leads in James Franco and Sophia Miles. This deserved better than getting dumped with poor promotion. ***
  7. Brokeback Mountain. Amazing, simply put. This is a movie of beauty. It features some of the best acting performances of the year and one of the best scripts in quite some time. The movie is not about cowboys, nor is it about gays, it is about two people discovering themselves and the love they share. Great movie, great comeback for Ang Lee. ****
  8. Hoodwinked. Much better and a lot more clever than I would have guessed based on the trailers. Take the well known fairy tale and filter it through Rashomon and Law & Order, with a dose of Shrek style irreverence and you have an idea of where this is headed. This is a solid entry for a low budget CG film, and the first from The Weinstein Company. ***
  9. Underworld: Evolution. Picking up right where the first one left off, we are thrust into the chase to find Selene and Michael. Markus is looking for William, and Selene is trying to stop him, not to mention the retribution sought on her for killing Viktor. The end result was a fun action/sci-fi/horror film, led by the lovely Kate Beckinsale. ***
  10. The Matador. Pierce Brosnan takes a step away from the suave James Bond type role and into the boots of an aging hitman who is having a midlife crisis, realizing he has no friends, all of which has a negative impact on his job performance. He latches onto a chance meeting with Greg Kinnear, comedy ensues. ***
  11. Annapolis. Despite the positive charisma of James Franco, this film suffers from too much boxing. I had no idea that boxing was going to be the focus of the movie. Plus the script is bad and the direction pedestrian. Justin Lin showed loads of potential with the excellent Better Luck Tomorrow, hopefully this is a minor setback. **

That is all for January, how did you do?


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