Critical MeMe

Time spent watching films, even crappy ones, is time well-spent.

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Location: Missouri, United States
    These aren't comments on ALL of the movies through which I've cried, yawned, laughed, and rolled my eyes, but just about everything I've seen since early 2002 is here plus a few from earlier. Post dates reflect my screening & parenthetical dates are the year of US release (aka Oscar eligibility).
    Yeah, a movie review blog isn't very original. But originality is overrated. Just ask Michael Bay.


Soapdish (1991)

Still very funny even though extremely dated -- both in politics and (especially) fashion.


King of Devil's Island (2011)

A juvenile detention facility on a small Norwegian island hold boys aged 11-18 or so. When a new inmate arrives whose sole passion is escape, the dynamic between the inmates and the staff shifts. It’s as if the boys wake up and decide that they, too, can hope again.

Very powerful -- even more so with the knowledge that it's based on true events. Reminded me a lot of The Magdalene Sisters.



The Little Prince (2016)

Not all bits worked, but most did and I cried at least three times.



Finders Keepers (2015)

Guy undergoes a below-the-knee amputation and decides to keep the removed leg. Problem is that when he received it, it hadn’t been preserved in any way. Well, actually, that’s just the first problem. He also stuck it in a smoker for safekeeping and then put all of his belongings in a storage facility and then didn’t pay rent on the facility and then the smoker got sold at auction and then the guy who bought the smoker and found the leg didn’t want to give it up.

A pretty weird story with a sour hillbilly on one side and a simple hillbilly on the other. Interesting for a while but tiresome by the end.



The Prey (2013)

Imprisoned bank robber with a loving wife and daughter awaiting his upcoming release trusts the wrong guy and has to think fast and run faster to control the damage.

Despite the extraordinary set-up, the action was always smart. I never felt manipulated or as though the decisions made were anything but sensible. Great action film.


Our Brand Is Crisis (2015)

Jane Bodine, a political strategist, is pulled out of self-imposed retirement to work on the campaign of a Bolivian presidential candidate who’s 30 points behind the leader. She’s got all kinds of personal eccentricities, is socially inept, and has a serious rivalry with the opposing strategist.

All of that sounds like it’d make for an interesting story, but it just doesn’t. I didn’t care about Jane, the “colorful” members of the political team, or the candidate. On the screen, everything was just flat.


For Grace (2016)

Documentary following Chicago chef Curtis Duffy as he works to open his new restaurant “Grace.” It’s mildly interesting but probably would've been more so if I followed the high-class culinary world.



Mistress America (2015)

Aspiring writer Tracy isn’t really getting into the groove of her freshman year at Barnard. At her mother’s urging, she decides to call up the soon-to-be stepsister she’s never met who’s at least a decade older and living in the city. Brooke is a whirlwind of activity and non-stop chatter. She’s a legend in her own mind with mile-a-minute ideas that never really go beyond that idea stage.

I had a really hard time connecting to this movie despite the fact that I was interested in the set-up. Tracy is boring as hell, but also a pushy presence in the story. Also: she's just not a great actress. The dialogue often gets into that rat-a-tat rhythm of ‘40s comedies: that "you-talk-I-talk-you-again" stagey pattern that doesn’t feel real. No one’s talking over each other but no one’s listening to each other and it’s basically taking turns quipping. Mostly this movie just somehow made me kind of sad. There didn’t seem to be much going on beneath the surface of any of these characters.