Love and Death (1975): I was surprised by how silly this early Woody Allen flick was. Allen puts himself as a peasant in Russia as Napoleon prepares to invade. Allen is trying to woo his second cousin (Diane Keaton) but she loves every other man including his brother. Allen reluctantly goes off to war while protesting the war and ends up a hero and then involved in a plot to kill Napoleon. Like Mel Brooks, everything is an occasion for a joke. Silly, but funny.
The New World (2005): Terrence Malick's most recent movie takes Colin Farrell, casts him as John Smith, and explores the first interactions of the Jamestown Colony with the natives. When Malick hits he makes The Thin Red Line and Days of Heaven. When he misses he makes Badlands and The New World. It's a movie that is pretty to look at, but is aimless and meandering and doesn't seem to actually go anywhere. Malick is a visual storyteller, but he forgets the story in the telling sometimes.
The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (2004): I'm sure I'm not supposed to like this movie. I am not the demographic, but the first Princess Diaries was very cute and Anne Hathaway does a great job in both movies. This time, Princess Mia (Hathaway) has now graduated from college and she knows that she is a princess of Genovia. Her grandmother (Julie Andrews) plans on having Mia inherit the crown, but John Rhys-Davies wants his line to inherit and brings up and old law where women must be married by the age of 21 to inherit and Mia only has a short period of time to find a suitable partner. One can guess how the movie turns out, but like the first movie this one is very cute and pleasant and family friendly.
Clerks II (2006): I plan on writing about Kevin Smith's latest movie, but suffice it to say that I loved, loved, loved this movie. While this may not be one of the prestige pictures of the year, this will be one of my favorites of 2006 and will almost certainly make the top 10 best/favorite movies of 2006 when I'm able to put the list together in two years.
King Kong (2005): 45 minutes into the movie and they're still on the boat. The damn ape doesn't appear until the 70 minute mark. The flick picks up a bit when they get on the island and there is the title ape involved, but even with the major action set pieces I was fairly bored. I felt bad for Kong because of how the humans treated him and I wished they let him be in his home jungle that has nothing to do with the rest of the world. Sigh. As a movie, though? It felt empty. It wasn't worth three hours of my time and after Lord of the Rings I think Peter Jackson could/should have been able to do better. But perhaps this wasn't the project to do it on.
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987): The third Elm Street movies finds Freddy haunting another group of teenagers. These kids have been put into a mental hospital because they can't handle the nightmares from Freddy Krueger and they refuse to sleep. A young woman who specializes in sleep disorders is brought into the hospital to help with the therapy. Her name is Nancy and she was the surviving Elm Street kid from the first movie. Lots of creative horror and a couple of gruesome images in the nightmares (the sleeper walker made me cringe) and this is a much better Elm Street than part 2.
The Aristocrats (2005): This is a documentary about a joke. The joke begins with a standard frame: A man walks into the office of a talent agent and says "I have this great act that you would love. It features my whole family." The rest is up to the comic to describe the act as long as he ends with the talent agent asking what the act is called and the answer being "The Aristocrats!". It isn't that the punchline is funny, but the joke is typically the most depraved acts of a scatological nature, incest, bestiality, and whatever other filth the comic can fit into the telling. It's typically a joke that comics tell other comics rather than perform on stage. Everyone from Drew Carey to George Carlin to Sarah Silverman to Bob Saget to Gilbert Gottfried to Chris Rock, Robin Williams, and Whoopi Goldberg told their versions of the joke and they were all filthy (Saget in particular is a filthy man). The documentary is interesting to see how the comics view the creation and telling of the joke. Carlin is the most interesting in giving his joke telling theory. The joke itself isn't that funny except in the excess of filth. More shocking than funny.
Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic (2005): This is Sarah Silverman's one woman comic show, though it is framed with a couple of documentary movie set pieces, but really the heart here is her show. She does a routine for about an hour telling her stories and singing some strangely funny songs. Silverman is, as seems to be the method these days, filthy. She comes up with some foul stuff and is sometimes funny in the telling. Othertimes I'm staring at the television blankly. This was kind of disappointing because I read very positive comments from Jeffrey Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere when this first came out, but Silverman isn't my kind of comic I suppose.