I watched a whole bunch of movies, so here’s the run-down…
Cruel Intentions was a disappointment. I recollect it being extensively hyped at its release as a devilish teen drama, but found the reality exaggerated and poorly acted. Philippe isn’t good enough to separate when his character is lying and when he isn’t, so the pivotal romance with Witherspoon was too shallow to sustain the movie. The storyline was all over the place, and there was never any cleverness to the “twists”. It was funny seeing Selma Blair play an awkward ingenue.
Shutter Island was a decent film, with Leonardo in his serious-mode rather than the teen heartthrob that makes guys want to throw him into the water. The period setting was atmospheric, and the plot setup was elaborate, but the movie leaned too heavily on grotesquerie and shocks, and I didn’t find the final reveal particularly meaningful.
Napoleon Dynamite was meant to be some kind of cult hit – I just found it extremely odd and wanted to strangle half the characters. That said, the portrayal of the incessantly hostile Napoleon was pretty true to life.
Fantastic Four 2 was a weak movie, with a lousy antagonist and a sloppy resolution. Its main appeal is the goofy camaraderie of the main characters. Marvel must have given up on the franchise, as Chris Evans is now Captain America.
Bring It On Again was a thoroughly inferior sequel, where the characters are subordinated to the formula. The humour is out of key, exaggerated into plain cringeworthiness. The final cheer scene is spectacular though.
Orphan was a slick horror-thriller with an innovative reveal. Oblivious adults and powerless protagonists feature, but it’s done well.
Monsters is more atmosphere than scares, its portrayal of “ugly Americans” abroad and vague haranguing of the US more understandable when you learn it’s actually a British film. The portrayals of the obnoxious journalist and the poor little rich girl are pitch perfect (though aggravating), and the movie communicates very well the near-future setting in which New Mexico has become infested with strange alien growths.