Third Monday Movie Day

Movie(s) of the Month: 2005 Academy Award Short Films Collection

I've meant to get to these collections for years, and finally pulled the trigger on one. Both the live-action and the animation nominees were featured (unless they were exclusive to their studios, as in the cases of Pixar's One Man Band and the original short film version of 9). A few comments on the live-action jobs:

Our Time is Up (Rob Pearlstein and Pia Clemente) - I guess this one was added so there was an American nominee or something. Kevin Pollak is a placating, unhelpful psychologist who learns he's got just a few weeks to live and decides he suddenly wants to try extreme methods to help his patients. The patients are painted with broad strokes by a screenwriter who either doesn't respect people or psychology (or both) and the jokes are obvious. It's shot nicely, but the script is beyond insulting.

Ausreißer (The Runaway) (Ulrike Grote) - This German short is about a man who is suddenly followed around by a boy who keeps calling him "Dad" and saying his mother told him to find him. There are twists, and while I can't say any of them are actually surprising, it's still a nice little tale about fatherhood and responsibility.

The Last Farm (Rúnar Rúnarsson and Thor S. Sigurjónsson) - The next stop in our world tour is Iceland. This one relies almost entirely on its two surprises for its punch, so in the case anyone's thinking of catching these (and I recommend it) I'll just say it's about a man who's thinking more about he and his wife's postmortem plans than the impending visit of his daughter and her family. It's a nice, quiet film that's shot beautifully, even if the viewer will pick up where it's going long before it ends.

Cashback (Sean Ellis and Lene Bausager) - This British short (which would later be made into a feature by Ellis, reusing all his actors) is...something. It's about a bunch of bored grocery store workers and how they "fight the clock" to make it through their eight hours. The lead, Sean Biggerstaff, kills the time by pretending he's freezing time and undressing the female customers, then painting them. This one spends most of its time being a comedy before the long exploitative/dramatic collage of nude scenes, and it's edited so poorly I almost think it was a stylistic choice. There's a story here, but the writer didn't find it.

Six Shooter (Martin McDonagh) - Okay, here we go. The Oscar goes to this brilliant Irish film starring Brendan Gleeson as a man whose wife has died the previous night. The film opens with Gleeson at his wife's bedside after her passing, and from there he boards a train where he meets an obnoxious young kid and the parents of a baby who died of SIDS the night before. In its 25ish minutes, this movie packs in more surprises and smart dialogue than most full-length features manage.

I should stop ignoring short films, then.

What have you seen?

104 thoughts on “Third Monday Movie Day”

  1. Source Code: For me it was Quantum Leap meets 12 Monkeys, only not as good. Very watchable, but it could have been so much better.
    Red Eye: I haven't seen a lot of Wes Craven, but this is easily my favorite. McAdams knocks it out of the park.
    Little Women: I've tried reading the book three times, but can't get past page 50 without falling asleep (I'm sure it's great, but I can't wait 200 pages for the plot to move). The movie was a bit easier. Pretty sharp dialogue, and I liked the performances.

    1. For me it was Quantum Leap meets 12 Monkeys, with a little bit of Grounghog Day thrown in. 🙂 I also thought it could have been better, but I enjoyed it quite a bit.

  2. Runner daughter recently went to a 3D movie, and got to try out her recently purchased 2D glasses. They're pretty nifty in that they only allow the same image through to both eyes. Runner daughter can get sick sometimes from 3D action, so this was an attempt by her to avoid that problem. How did they work? Except for seeing some extra outlines around figures at times, they did the job just fine. If you have similar problems, you might want to check them out as well.

    1. My brother continues to work on 3D movies, and continues to think the the technology is an exploitative eyesore.

      When we watched the final Harry Potter movie a couple of weeks ago, the WB logo was easily the best 3D effect of the entire movie.

      1. Exploitative eyesore is as good a description as I've ever heard. I've only been to one movie in 3D and I'm still trying to figure out where the extra $3 per ticket was going.

        1. I've got decent vision, but all that really ends up doing is mentally flattening the image, anyway. I guess some of my friends with slightly worse vision have indicated that they can see more 3D, but they also get headaches about half an hour in. This fad has to die sometime soon, right? I've yet to find anyone that likes it.

          1. It hasn't bothered me when I have gone to 3D movies, but, on the other hand, if there is a 2D showing available, I always go for that.

            So, I'm not a person who likes it, but I'm not angered or discomfited by it either (that might the best you can find?)

    1. He's the kind of guy whose name goes unnoticed occasionally because he's so committed to his roles that some don't even realize they're watching a guy they've seen over and over. From 28 Days Later to Harry Potter, he always brings it.

      1. he was hamish?! i usually recognize him in the flicks i've seen him in, but i never recognized him in that one...

                1. If anyone could try to tank a show like that, it'd be you and your name-based-doppleganger.

                  EDIT: Also, is it bad that the first time I even heard of that show, my first thought was of Spookymilk?

                2. My father-in-law (Henry Morgan) was in an episode of "I've Got a Secret" where the secret was that the four "contestants" had the same names as the four panelists.

  3. I saw "Bronson" last week. It was OK, but I didn't really dedicate my full attention to it.

    I also got a copy of "Daisies" (Sedmikrásky)with English subtitles so I can use it to learn Czech. I haven't watched it yet, but I have a feeling I'm going to watch it plenty of times in the near future.

  4. I had a pretty good movie watching month:

    I finally got around to watching Pan's Labyrinth. I have no idea why it took me so long as I loved it.

    After that I watched Black Swan, which I also really enjoyed, although my wife felt that the only reason I wanted to see it, or that any guy would willing watch it, was to see Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis make out. I was actually a bit offended by that. Fortunately, she stopped watching just before a certain scene that would have cemented her position.

    Late last week I watched For a Few Dollars More and continue to be upset with myself for not giving Spaghetti Westerns a chance. (I can be dense at times and didn't realize the spaghetti was in reference to Italy and thought it just made cheesy things like Shane.) I didn't like it as much as A Fistful of Dollars, but it was still enjoyable.

    1. I've yet to be accused of salacious interest in a movie, but the first time it happens I'm reminding Mrs. Hayes of her reaction to Daniel Craig's emergence from the ocean in Casino Royale. The entire female portion of the audience let out an audible gasp at the sight of his bathing suit.

          1. The Milkmaid and I don't attempt to hide our feelings about hot actresses (or even people we run into). She's the only non-jealous girl I ever dated, so it was just never a problem. So, a fun game is that I like to say more and more inappropriate things about, say, Zoe Saldana until she finally rolls her eyes and says "Okay, there's the line."

    2. I get accused by both women AND men for liking Wild Things because of the menage a trois, but usually by people who have never watched it. It truly is ridiculous. If I wanted titillation, I'd go on the internet, not spend two hours watching a movie.

    3. I wanted to see Black Swan before I knew about the famous scene because of the director and leads. I've never gotten the type of person who watches an entire movie only for a titillating scene.

      1. I tried to use the director (since I thoroughly enjoyed The Wrestler) as my reasoning, but she wasn't buying it, which is why I got offended. It was very frustrating.

    4. When Linds and I went to Black Swan in theatres, an older gentleman began walking up the aisle as the credits rolled. Seeing us, he gave us a confused look, stopped, and said "you're young... so you must know what that was all about, right?"

      That provided a few laughs on the drive home.

      1. Amazingly, no, but its on my list. Up next is The Outlaw Josey Wales.

        EDIT: Which I know is not technically a spag western, but close enough.

        1. I've seen the other Dollar movies -- maybe not all at once -- but I really love The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Consider this my recommendation.
          (I now need to remember to put the score on my iPod.)

  5. We saw Captain America a week or two ago. It was enjoyable without being memorable, poignant, or even particularly great to look at. The CGI was much more obviously fake than I would have liked, which made it feel intrusive and imposed upon the rest of the film. Two and a half stars, overall, without much need to ever rewatch it.

    While my (much) younger brother was out visiting last week we watched Ghostbusters 2. Somehow he made it to his junior year in high school without seeing either Ghostbusters movie. I would have started with the original, but apparently Netflix only wants to stream one of them, so obviously it would be the sequel. Just stupid. I think he thought it was an okay movie, but I suspect comedic tastes of younger folks have changed quite a bit since that movie was filmed.

    In smaller screen news, I finished Battlestar Galactica since last Movie Day, and I have one disc left of The West Wing. The end of each comes with mixed emotions.

    1. We watch Ghostbusters every so often and, dammit, the humor still holds up. But then, I don't understand the youth of today.

      1. I watch it all the time, and I think the timing and performances translate 100% to today. Easy for me to say because I've been a huge fan since it came out, but I think they do.

    2. I agree and disagree about Cap'n America. I thought it was a decent origins story. A little rushed in places. But my less-than-critical eye didn't particularly notice any (or much) obvious & badly integrated CGI.

      there was a trailer for the re-boot of Spiderman. Really? We need a reboot of that already?

      1. RE:Spiderman - That was my wife's exact comment when she saw the trailer. I guess I wouldn't have such a problem with it, but the trailer we saw didn't inspire any need to watch it.

    3. Netflix doesn't get to make the decisions on what streams - the studios do. Ghost Busters (the proper name has two words. I hate that) still sells pretty well on DVD and Blu-Ray, which might be why they haven't always allowed it to go streaming. At one point, though, they did.

  6. I've got one episode of "Luther" left. The only thing that troubles me about the show is the efficiency of the detectives. They have a suspect in 10 minutes and they're never wrong. It's just how to figure out they're right. I really like the acting.

    1. Yeah, they decided to do a show focusing on psychological factors rather than the chase, so they didn't have the screen time for the detectives to be wrong.

      And, yeah, the acting is incredible all around. There isn't a weak link to be found even among the one-episoders.

  7. Watched Rise of the Planet of the Apes last week. Besides the long title, it was pretty good. The CGI for the monkeys apes was quite good, although more noticeable for the chimpanzees. Malfoy Tom Felton's character gets both Planet of the Apes lines, though I completely missed the first one. When it comes to being a near-human CG character, Andy Serkis seems to be the go-to guy now.

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  8. Meant to share this a while back; every Monday I go to FilmWise and take a shot at the weekly Invisibles quiz. They take eight different movie stills and incredibly remove the people from them. It is up to you to try name the eight films. Each Monday they give the previous week's answers and reveal the new quiz.

    1. I'll be following that link posthaste, but I also want to take this as an excuse to link to Movie Triangles by Jim Blackler. If you know actor names even a little bit, this game is tons of fun. I tend to get them pretty quickly since I've seen just about everything, but they're a blast. It's easier to let the visual explain how the game works, so I won't bother.

            1. I completed puzzles 1-10. One of them took me two tries, the rest were one. The ones with 25 pieces are much tougher than the ones with 16.

    2. Heh...I got 2 of 8 on the newest one, and they were the two I was absolutely certain about. That's surprisingly tough.

      I see there are 547 other weeks of those. I hope you haven't just robbed my day of usefulness, Runner.

  9. Went and saw The Hangover: Everything's The Same at the discount theater the other day. Oh, and watchd In the Heat of the Night, Wet Hot American Summer, Due Date, and The Town from Netflix. A whole lot of meh.

    We pretty much have bailed on Sports Night halfway through the second season, but we're still plodding along with Battlestar Galactica. We have started rewatching Deadwood and that show just gets better and better with repeated viewings.

    1. For as shocking as it can be at times, I was surprised how "meh" I was about Wet Hot American Summer. That movie was hyped up to me a lot, and after I finally saw it I just didn't want to run into the people who hyped it up so much. There are a handful of funny moments, but mostly the film is just begging to be loved.

      1. If we're both thinking of this one, the Pirate is a tough critic.

        Though I haven't seen it since the days of VCR usage, I remember both leads being terrific. Sidney Poitier just burned with intensity in that role.

        1. funny thing, Poitier didn't even get nominated for best actor/supporting actor, while Steiger won for best actor.

        1. Actually, I threw the "meh" in there for the other films I watched this month - meant to pull out ITHOTN separately. I was actually really impressed with the subject matter it handled - not the racial hostility in the South as much as the openness to use abortion and pre-marital sex as a central part of the plot in the mid 1960's. Steiger's acting didn't age that well (it's a little hammy now), but Poitier is great.

  10. I went and saw Limitless at the cheap theater. It was okay I guess, though I was a bit annoyed they put any sort of struggles in for the protagonist given that the entire plot is that he's so smart he can do whatever he wanted. I didn't feel ripped off, but meh.

    J & I rented Sucker Punch and dear god it was bad. Even with plenty of liquor we only made it through about 45 minutes. The movie was made for 14 year old boys to fill up the spank bank.

    I started watching Louie last weekend. I watched two or three episodes and I really like it so far. His sense of humor really clicks with me.

    Nothing else finished, just continuing my viewings of True Blood Season 4 (meh... more contained within spoiler below), Breaking Bad Season 4 (Still waiting for the season to get rolling but I'm a couple weeks behind), and Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 8 (Hilarious, as always).

    1. I was a bit annoyed they put any sort of struggles

      Well, surely without a struggle, there's no movie...

      Sucker Punch looks like a lot of style with negative substance. You couldn't pay me to see it, even if it's full of hot girls. I can find them in good movies just as easily.

      1. Even with a struggle there wasn't much of one. The premise was very interesting, and it could have been treated as more a study of the character, but I suppose that doesn't put asses in seats.

        It was a bad idea to watch Sucker Punch. We went in with the faintest of hopes that it would be stupid fun of women kicking ass. But god it was horrible. I vow to never give Zach Snyder another cent of mine. I should've known better with how he handled Watchmen...

        Oh, and I forgot my True Blood spoiler so I guess I'll put it here.

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        1. His Dawn of the Dead is probably my favorite zombie movie - and I've seen scores of them - but 300 was awful and I didn't bother to see how he handled Watchmen.

          1. I'm glad someone else stands by his Dawn. The original just doesn't hold up over time, in my opinion. I love the original Night of the Living Dead, but the decision to go to color and an awful soundtrack made the next one hard to watch for me.

            That said, I also enjoyed 300 and Watchmen, but also have never read the graphic novels of either. They were entertaining.

            1. His Dawn was loads better than the original, and most filmy-types will agree. It's unpredictable, the characters are interesting and there's surprisingly strong dialogue throughout. Romero, and I hate to say this, was a one-film director. I loved his original Night as well, but everything since has just been...I don't know, like he's ripping himself off, and not doing a great job of it.

              1. I can agree with Romero as a one-film director, although I think I enjoyed Land of the Dead more than most (mostly because I thought John Leguizamo and Dennis Hopper were entertaining in it). People I talk to about Dawn, though, are basically all "ZOMG! Romero!" and "running zombies, WTF?" But when I watched the original, I was near asleep during the entire middle part consisting of their mall looting and wanted all the characters to perish. In Snyder's, I actually cared about the leads, and his ending was awesomely dark. (although it didn't kick me in the balls quite as much as the ending to The Mist.)

                I guess its telling when a guy does a comedic homage to the genre that you basically created and its a thousand times better in every way.

                1. I didn't see Land...I'd given up by then. I've heard not completely terrible things, though, so as a zombie lover I'll probably cave sometime.

                  I still haven't seen The Mist! A little sleuthing proves it isn't on streaming. Argh.

                  Agreed about Night of the Living Dead as character study/social commentary. That was what made it rise above the genre, but I'm not sure Romero realized why his original movie was so good.

                  1. I don't know if you've read The Mist!. I haven't, but I do know that Darabont changed the ending and Stephen King was totally on board with it. So if you have read it, it won't spoil the end of the movie for you.

                    1. i did read the mist (where's this exclamation point coming from?), and i was thoroughly annoyed by the ending. (not too spoiler-y spoiler to follow:)

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                    2. I mostly hated it because...

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                    3. I just assumed that Spooky, who is in the industry, included the exclamation point because he knows things. Checking on it, it looks like there is not one in either the movie of the book.

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              2. P.S. I loved Night of the Living Dead far more as a character study type of movie than as a zombie flick.

              1. +1 to the ending. Much, much better than the graphic novel's. Though I suppose it's strange to object to the ending but not any of the other fantastical elements.

          2. I did love Snyder's Dawn of the Dead remake. More importantly, my wife did, too (which has opened the door to 28 Days/Weeks Later, The Walking Dead, and several other heartfelt tales of the dead feasting upon the flesh of the living).

            1. See, now, aside from the opening sequence (gloriously ripped off by The Walking Dead, I hated the crap out of 28 Days Later and refused to watch Weeks. I just didn't like anyone in the movie and felt the military guys were presented as caricatures and were maybe a bit extreme in what they wanted to do after a mere month of the plague.

              1. Eh, I dunno. I liked both of them.

                At the very l east, we can agree on the opening to 28 Days Later - one of my favorites scenes in any movie, ever.

              2. I liked everyone in 28 Days Later. I bought them immediately as people dealing with extreme circumstances. I also found it very believable that young men would behave the way they did when cooped up together for four weeks in a small space.

    2. i loved the first season of louie. loved it. even jane loves it, and it's very rare that we have any overlap on TV shows. i can see why the pacing can be jarring for some, but i think it's part of the genius of the show. can't wait to get to season 2.

  11. Never Let Me Go Interesting, but very slow. Some decent performances. 5/10

    Bridesmaids Not as good as I had been led to expect, but still enjoyable. 6/10

    The Adjustment Bureau I enjoyed this one a lot more than I thought I would. You knew what was coming, but it was still fun to see. 7/10

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    The Lincoln Lawyer Another lawyer movie with Matthew McConaughey. I didn't think it was as good as A Time To Kill, but it was still quite well done. (Plus, I enjoy William H. Macy though his role here was pretty limited) 6/10

    Source Code - Basically, what Beau said except I probably liked it a bit more than he did. 7/10

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    Sucker Punch - Completely agree with Zach & Spooky. I kept waiting for it to get better and it just kept getting more and more awful. -3/10

    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 We talked about this one quite a bit last month. I really liked it. 8/10

    1. I'm going to dido both of you have give Source Code a low 7. I think I lean closer to Beau's 7 than CoC's.

  12. It was really a light viewing month here. I have been watching a bit of TV - I'm getting close to the end of "Dead Like Me" and I'm watching "Twin Peaks" for the first time in years (it's as I remember; some fantastic acting in most places, and a few that are simply awful). I did finally catch They Live, which was the somewhat-fun dopey ride I expected, and I saw Midnight Run for the first time. There's some real fun stuff there and I love the dynamic between the leads, but at times the movie seemed to substitute swearing for jokes. Now, I don't care one bit how much swearing there is in a movie, so long as I feel it's true to the characters, but this script seemed to think that swearing a lot was funny for some reason. Seriously, it's so constant I almost feel like the screenwriter had Tourette's.

    1. Oh yeah, I finished Dead Like Me last month. Don't know how I spaced that (probably because I got less than 2 hours of sleep last night). Pretty fun show. The Life After Death movie was... okay. The ending of the show felt rushed but that's not surprising when it's a show that did not get to reach its natural end.

      1. The Netflix predictive scoring thingy doesn't have high hopes for me liking the post-show movie. I'm wondering if skipping it is the way to go...I suppose I'll figure that out after I finish the last five episodes. If I'm satisfied with the ending of the show, I'll skip the movie. If I'm not, I'll completely ruin my feelings about the show with the movie.

  13. I watch Night Watch with a friend last week. It was... interesting, though they seemed to drop plot points as required by rule of cool. I did like some of the things they did with the subtitles, though (the movie was in Russian, even though the opening and closing narrations were in English... weird).

    Linds and I have gotten into Modern Family. I like that show a lot.

    The new Harry Potter movie was great, as expected.

    I think I saw maybe one or two other movies over the month, but I don't remember them.

  14. Not being a fan of the Planet of the Apes franchise, I was dragged to the most recent installment.

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    I actually ended up liking it more than any of the other summer blockbusters we've seen (Thor, Captain America, Pirates, X-Men, Harry P--well OK not better than Harry Potter, but it was close).

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    Also saw The Fighter which I initially liked more than I thought I would. However, the more I thought about it, the less I was impressed with it. A good movie, but I'm not sure it deserved a Best Picture nomination.

    Continuing the Best Picture theme, I also saw 127 Hours. Franco was very good. It's an amazing story. The movie was alright. Not sure why, but it just never really grabbed me.

    Other Netflix movies this month were
    * Intacto - a Spanish film about people who gamble/steal/sell their luck. It was a really great idea that was turned into a pretty good film.
    * Black Snake Moan - Not really sure how to describe this. I'll say that when Samuel L. Jackson pulls out his electric guitar in the thunderstorm, I was mesmerized by that scene (particularly the sound). Overall, it was better than I thought it might be.

  15. Last night, I watched 13 Assassins as well as the first episode of Luther on Netflix streaming.

    13 Assassins was right up my alley - a beautifully shot, violent samurai epic. Not on the same level as Kurosawa (who is?), but still, very well done.

    Luther was excellent, I'm obviously not far enough into it to formulate a true opinion, but if each episode stands up to the first, I'll blow through all of them in a hurry.

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