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December 19, 2017 at 03:42PM
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Amélie

Foreign films can be staggering. They can pack a powerful emotional punch because they focus on the universal stuff. This one is like that in the way it conveys humor. The words at the bottom of the screen take the viewer on a laughing journey. Did they do it for me here? Not really.

But French humor doesn’t align exactly with mine. I have to recognize this film won many awards. For me, it came up short. The little rules of love and life she learns through the film are funny but not really worth the sit of the whole film. I’ve meant to see this film for years and today I finally sat down to check it out. Weirdly cool, it is indeed funny but without that magic that makes me want to shout it from the rooftops. Maybe later in life when I’m more mature and soulful and open to comedies like this I’ll write a second review. Maybe I wasn’t in the mood? For now, just know it’s quirky and choppy and of course, very hip so you may like it. Still, for me it wasn’t what the doctor ordered like I always hope comedy to be.

6/10

Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain (original title)
R | 2h 2min | Comedy, Romance | 8 February 2002 (USA)
Amélie is an innocent and naive girl in Paris with her own sense of justice. She decides to help those around her and, along the way, discovers love.
Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Writers: Guillaume Laurant (scenario), Jean-Pierre Jeunet (scenario) | 1 more credit »
Stars: Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz, Rufus

Murder on the Orient Express

One to watch, a mystery to figure out!

Kenneth Branagh gets my usual kudos for anyone starring and directing his own film. Agatha Christie is one of the most well respected mystery writers of all time. He had that to uphold as well his own character who was funny, intelligent, and highly attentive to detail. In my opinion, he has created a film the masses can enjoy that pays due respect to Christie and her quirky lead inspector.

This film has a “cast of thousands,” just look at the top three listed below. You can see the rest in the photo I’ve posted. That alone is not a reason to see a film. A great story that’s masterfully woven through the film is definitely one. We can’t quibble with the mystery’s ending since it is the brain child of a master. I will say I had it figured out fairly early on. Still, the camera work, what Branagh chooses to include and leave out are all fun to watch. I was surprised what an action filled mystery this was. I recommend it to fans of the genre.

8/10

Murder on the Orient Express (2017)
PG-13 | 1h 54min | Crime, Drama, Mystery | 10 November 2017 (USA)
When a murder occurs on the train he’s travelling on, celebrated detective Hercule Poirot is recruited to solve the case.
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Writers: Michael Green (screenplay by), Agatha Christie (based upon the novel by)
Stars: Kenneth Branagh, Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe

Better Watch Out (2016)

This Christmas horror is better than it seems and evolves to be more than you’d expect.

This director, Chris Peckover, has only one other film on record and it’s called “Undocumented.” In this case the quality of his film is in paradox to his small resume. If this film is any indicator of his ability, we should watch his future work closely.

The acting is also quite good. The lead is frightening and innocent at the same time. You might see some nods to Home Alone here if you look for them but I felt this film was full fledged horror.

If these aspects sound good to you, check it out!

Better Watch Out (2016)
R | 89 min | Horror, Thriller
On a quiet suburban street, a babysitter must defend a twelve-year-old boy from intruders, only to discover it’s far from a normal home invasion.

10 Films and Film Moments that Scared Me

I’ll be appearing as a guest on the LAMBcast as part of a panel discussing “Films That Scared Us.” I thought it would be fun, as I’m preparing for that, to write a post about 10 films that scared me through the years.

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I also think it’s fitting since we are on the doorstep of Halloween. I’ve given 2 categories of scary: 1. Scary Films that are totally creepy in their totality or in a general way and 2. Scary film moments.

Scary Films
Halloween

Tusk

The Descent

Insidious
http://youtu.be/E1YbOMDI59k

The Funhouse
http://youtu.be/NAswuOiVMWc

2. Scary film moments
The Village – “Creatures that we don’t speak of” walk by.

The Other – Pitchfork jump.

Jaws – Shark eats Quint

Pet Sematary – Zelda

The Silence of the Lambs – Hannibal’s Escape

Deepwater Horizon

The names are big and the effects are great. Still, Deepwater Horizon felt too much like a made-for-tv movie with a destination of a Wal-Mart patriotic bin. It was rated highest on RT of all the movies currently in my theaters. So, I took a chance.

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I learned terms I never knew before tonight. Inlets, outlets, relief valves, and the like. I also learned there are oil tankers that remain somewhat stationary and pump loads of black oil from the ocean floor. This movie chronicles the events of the largest oil spill in US history.

I thought the big actors in this were slumming. The story could have been told with first time actors. In fact, I think it was distracting from the patriotic homage played to the 11 who lost their lives. Kurt Russell, for example, should be in films like Bone Tomahawk, not this oil spill tale. Probably the most miscast in this “God Bless America” film is John Malkovich. He needs to be playing psychos, not asshole business diplomats.

Kate Hudson looks great in this but in truth only has a small role. The trailer is misleading that way. The director tried so hard here to make you love these characters that it takes away from the story. I don’t need to see how much they are buddy buddy. I want to see how the disaster went down and then a measure of footage of how it affected wildlife. There is nothing but a few minutes shown of a dying pelican. Those of us who lived through this remember the Time magazine cover photos of so many animal covered in tar, dying needlessly.

In conclusion, I would recommend this film to patriotic Americans who get all excited about DVD’s in Wal-Mart bins. There’s nothing avant garde experimental, or risky here. The credits show all eleven of the fallen “BP employees” or BP by proxy I should say. Personally, I don’t see what makes them heroes. I respect their family’s losses but they aren’t military, they are supplying wholesale oil to BP. It’s an exciting film but I would have rather seen Girl on a Train that was rated by RT much lower. I could recommend you see it with a medium rating or I could tell you to wait until you see it in a patriotic CD bin at your local Wal-Mart for 20 bucks. I could be going overboard here, your thoughts?