June 8, 2006

Movie Recap for May 2006: Brick is Best

Along with flowers and the first waves of heated weather May brings with it the start of the summer movie season. This month brought a couple of big sized hits, as well as an ocean liner sized disappointment, in terms of box office. As far as quality films, I got to see some very good films this month, including a couple of excellent big screen directorial debuts.

The month had 10 films go into wide release, in addition to 9 older releases reaching my area for the first time.

Best of May: Brick
Worst of May: An American Haunting

Below is a listing of the films I saw in May in the order in which I saw them.
  1. Brick. What an absolutely amazing film. This combining of film noir and the modern high school film just works so perfectly. Joseph Gordon-Levitt delivers another fine performance as the lead, and he is surrounded by an able supporting cast. Writer/director Rian Johnson has created a wonderfully original debut film. ****
  2. The Promise (Wu Ji). Disappointing. There are some wonderful visuals in the film, including the lovely Cecelia Cheung, but the story and effects fall flat. I really wanted to like this, but I just cannot. **
  3. Mission: Impossible III. JJ Abrams has made an excellent entry in the MI franchise. It is action from start to finish, and always fun. Like any film, it isn't the perfect film, but it is an adrenaline blast and shows off the cast. ***
  4. An American Haunting. What an awful movie. What do you get when you have a bad script, bad acting, bad directing, and a dull story? The answer is this. I have no doubt that an interesting film could be made on this subject, but this is very far from it. It does get an extra half star because I did like some of the cinematography. *.5
  5. Poseidon. Entertaining, if braindead adventure. Wolfgang Petersen knows how to make an exciting action sequence, but he seems to be on auto-pilot here. The movie was like watching a video game where you know the ending, and that lack of unpredictability hurts it in the end. **.5
  6. Mrs. Henderson Presents. Delightful World War II era dramedy. Based on a true story, it follows Mrs. Henderson as she finds ways to keep her theater afloat during war times using some rather liberal ideas. ***.5
  7. See No Evil. OK, I know I am in the minority here, but I really enjoyed this movie. Sure, there is no new ground made for the genre, but it has a good look, a down and gritty feel, some decent blood letting, and an imposing bad guy. All good things in my book. This is the kind of movie you could pull out and have fun with a bunch of friends. ***
  8. Over the Hedge. Nothing groundbreaking here, but a lot of fun for the family. A gaggle of woodland critters find friendship in an unlikely place as they scavenge for food. The animation is first rate, as is the voice cast. The voice cast includes Bruce Willis, Gary Shandling, William Shatner, Avril Lavigne, Wanda Sykes, Nick Nolte, Thomas Haden Church, and Steve Carell as the hyper squirrel. ***
  9. The Notorious Bettie Page. Very good film, and an interesting look into the life of the pinup queen. Gretchen Mol plays the sweetly innocent Page, who sees nothing wrong with what she is doing. It is all played matter of factly, never feeling sleazy. This is definitely worth a trip. ***
  10. The DaVinci Code. What can I say that hasn't already been said? This is an entertaining suspense thriller aimed at an older audience. I did not find it as controversial as many would like you to believe. I will say that I do not think Tom Hanks was right for the role. Also, did anyone catch the Monty Python moment? ***
  11. X-Men: The Last Stand. As a comic book fan, and a fan of the first 2, this was a letdown. It lacks all of the development that made the first 2 so good. As an action spectacle it stands on its own. There are some nice character moments, but not as much as I would like. Let me also say that Juggernaut has the best line in the movie. **.5
  12. The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada. Tommy Lee Jones in his feature directorial debut, stars in this involving character drama. Jones plays a ranch hand who wishes to honor a promise he made to a recently murdered friend, he brings the murderer along for the trip. ***.5

So, what did you think of May at the movies?

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