Recommended With Reservations
The Constant Gardner
This film was directed by Fernando Meirelles who also directed City of God. It has a similar feel at times, especially during the scenes in the Kenyan slums. This film has a lot on its mind and wants to make its points, damnit! Would make a good double feature with 2003’s Dirty Pretty Things as both attempt to blend a thriller with social commentary. However, that movie was a lot better.
Mad Hot Ballroom
I enjoyed this documentary about NYC public school kids competing in dance competions. However, there was something off about this movie that was holding it back from being truly great. The subject matter was so incredibly rich that the filmmakers could just sit back and film. Maybe the fault lies in the editing process but I wanted to see more of certain kids’ stories. Maybe this movie was too ambitious and should have just focused on a few of the kids. Regardless, there are some adorable parts to this movie that even a cynic like me can’t fully disregard.
March of the Penguins
Penguins are cute but this would have been much better if Burgress Meredith, rather than Morgan Freeman, was the narrator.
The Devil and Daniel Johnston
I learned a lot about Daniel J from this documentary. I had always heard about his mental problems but I had no idea. Very informative and entertaining and it was a treat to see a documentary that didn’t look like shit, but if I have to listen to one more person compare him to Bob Dylan, I was going to fight someone.
Interesting film about a soldier who is forced to kill a fellow soldier with a shovel by his Afghan captors. He is rescured shortly thereafter and the film deals with his troubled reunion with his family as he grapples with his secret.
Hustle and Flow
I loved the Memphis feel to this film. It evokes the dirty dirty South so well. It has a lovable underdog feel and some of the scenes as the music is created is exhilirating. Terrence Howard is incredible. And its got DJ Qualls! I love that freaky dude. Still, the film drags a little and there really isn’t all that much to it.
A rabbi, his wife, and two escaped convicts walks into a succah. Hijinks enuse.
Good Night and Good Luck
Enjoyed the Citizen Kane look of this film. The acting was solid, the message was equal parts inspiring and equal parts preachy. Quiz Show was a much more entertaining, more effective look into 50’s television, politics, and corporate life.
The Holy Girl
This Argentinian film got so much good press. I was expecting a transcendent movie experience. Instead I got a film that was good, but not great. A teenage girl decides her mission in life is to save the soul of a priest with wandering hands or to be specific, he likes to brush up against young women in crowds. However, he’s not interested in her help. A lot of ambiguities ensue.
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