The largest part of my movie viewing this month was watching through the Star Wars movies with my little brother. I also caught some classics on TCM, really good stuff. I did see a couple of movies in theaters, one I liked more the more I thought about it and one that did not hold up so well to any sort of reflection. Those being Mad Max and Avengers Age of Ultron respectively.
Star Wars – Still great after all these years. *****
The Empire Strikes Back – Better than the first. The love story might be between Leia and Han, but the most compelling interactions are between Han and C-3P0 *****
Return of the Jedi – The space battle at the end is still the best committed to film, though some other parts sag a little. *****
The Phantom Menace – It really feels like the rough draft of something that could have been good. I had forgotten just how insufferable Jar Jar was. **
Attack of the Clones – Good Lord, there is little to recommend here. *1/2
Revenge of the Sith – This fails mostly because of how unbelievable Anakin’s turn is. It is just so ridiculous. **
Sunset Boulevard – Amazing movie. I do think its reputation is aided by Hollywood’s love of movies about Hollywood, though. *****
North By Northwest – Holy crap this is great. *****
Mad Max Fury Road – See here. Also, I saw it in theaters 3 times. I wish I had gone one more time. *****
Avengers: Age of Ultron – See here. ****
Lawless – Tom Hardy mumbles his way through this Prohibition Era crime movie. There is nothing all that great here, but it is a solid effort. ***1/3
Twins – They could have done more with the premise of DeVito and Schwarzenegger being twin brothers, but instead it gets caught up in some plot about stolen technology. Still, there are just enough laughs to not be a complete waste of time. ***
The Princess Bride – Still among my favorite movies. I love everything about it, from Andre the Giant to the swordfights to Peter Falk. *****
This is Spinal Tap – There is never a bad time to watch this. *****
The Interview – This is really only notable for the controversy about its release. I think the movie theaters, and Sony, were cowardly to not release it in theaters. Still, there nothing here worth getting excited or upset about. **1/2
Space Jam – I remember this being better in a cheesy, ridiculous sort of way. It isn’t. The premise is great, the execution is completely flat. *1/2
30 for 30: Once Brothers – A touching documentary about basketball players ripped apart by the civil war in the former Yugoslavia. ****
Magnum PI Season 4 – I love how much this show loves mystery writers. They are constantly being brought up as part of the plot. Also, it is just a great show.
Poirot Series 3 – This series has as much affection for mystery writers as Magnum. These are all well made, but not particularly exciting.
Hitler and the Nazis – A documentary about the rise and fall of Hitler and the Nazi’s. There is something horrifically fascinating about this hateful regime and how people let it happen. This was a pretty good look at it, though its length does not let it be that detailed.
Ken Burns Prohibition – A look at America’s failed attempt to make liquor illegal, that recounts all of the reasons and ways that it went awry. A really interesting look at a really interesting time.