Project 365: Film reviews #1-10

So I decided, on a whim and within hours of hearing about this version of Project 365, to try out the challenge of watching a different film everyday for a year. Now, honestly, I have seen some of the movies already, multiple times in fact, but I’m counting them because I never get tired of watching them! (HtTYD, my animated love, I cannot wait for your sequel in 2014~~) The only limitation I have placed on myself is not to count the same movie twice on the list. Even if I watch several movies in one day, usually when I’m vegging out on the couch for whatever reason, I am only counting one movie on the list for convenience sake.

Inspiration for this project came from this list of Project 365 ideas and awkweirdme’s tumblr collection of reviews on their project 365 films.

#1 我知女人心


Translated as “I know women’s hearts” or, as it is listed on IMDB and Netflix, the Chinese adaptation of What Women Want. I enjoyed the updated story, making good use of special effects and taking into account the more common use of cellphones these days. Unlike some adaptations (cough American cough) this Chinese version actually takes into account the cultural difference with the family relationships and work environment. I had recently seen Shaolin with Andy Lau in it and was impressed by his performance, then seeing him in this movie impressed me even more. Okay, I was watching for Gong Li at first, but then I was watching for Gong Li and Andy Lau together, and can I say – they’re brilliant.

#2 The Saga of Gosta Berling


An old movie from the Twenties, that I originally saw in a little Brussels movie place with French/Belgian subtitles and a live piano player. This time I streamed it off of Netflix and it had English subtitles and a different soundtrack. I enjoyed the strings music in certain parts more than the piano I remembered, it’s just more dramatic and suited to a black and white film than piano can be at times. And it was nice to read the subs in English and know that my French really wasn’t that bad, that I understood it pretty well the first time around, and yeah, the wording really is that exaggerated, ha..

Apparently a big selling point of this movie is that it was the one that made Greta Garbo famous before she was gone to Hollywood. For me, I much preferred the actor Lars Hanson, who played the title character of Gosta Berling. In silent films, some people stand out through the sheer force of their ability to portray a character through only their body language and this guy is one of them. I think I should rec him to Bangable Dudes in History.

#3 The Art of Travel

I wasn’t terribly impressed with this movie. I didn’t even particularly like any of the images Google pulled up, so no picture, and I’m unmotivated about screencapping the movie myself. That is not to say that the movie doesn’t have some beautiful shots or good characters. The protagonist is travelling for more than a year with the same group of people and still doesn’t come to the life-changing epiphany that he reaches at the end of the movie, which he could have had during this yearlong period if the movie showed more of it. I felt like it was cut short to give more time to the development of the romantic relationship and eventual “tragic” ending of it that then, finally, leads to his personal epiphany. The movie does end on a humorous note, however.

#4 Silent Predators

I can’t even explain… it just came on the TV before we sat down for dinner and we paid half-attention to it while eating. Very predictable and such; in general, we enjoyed critiquing the character’s bad decisions more than anything else. “Don’t go NEAR the rattling noise!” “Snakes are poisonous, duh!” “Roll up your car windows!”

#5 Red Riding Hood


It’s pretty, and I gotta admit that I guessed wrong about who was the wolf (but eventually I was right! Sort of, uh…) I like Amanda Seyfried’s costume the most, especially that striking red cloak. In the close-up shots, you can see the woven texture of the cloak too. There is a little implication of cannibalism at the end there with the whole grandma/wolf scene that you know from the story. I think maybe there was more to that scene that they may have cut out of the movie for the sake of rating.

#6 The Countess


A little.. bit.. creepy. I think the story was elaborated for the sake of the movie, but I suppose with a little hand waving it doesn’t detract too much from the historical aspect of the story. Overall, a mediocre film in my opinion. I mentally downgrade it because of Julie Delpy’s consistent French accent when she was playing a Hungarian (was it?) countess.

#7 Eddie Izzard: Circle

I like Eddie Izzard. One of the comedians whom I can watch repeatedly and still laugh out loud over the jokes. I like his habitual act of retelling history with James Mason or Sean Connery impressions and randomly flippant explanations to things. And while I’m not a fan of the way he does his makeup, I love his outfits. I believe he would call it “executive transvestite chic.”

#8 How to Train Your Dragon


My reigning animated film favorite. I can’t wait for the sequel in a couple years. It’s heartwarming, no one important dies, and they threw all of the best features of your pet dog/cat/reptile into one scaly, flying, white beam-shooting dragon. Actually, one thing I really adore about this movie is that Hiccup loses a limb. Most likely this was done for the symmetry in his relationship with Toothless, but come on, that’s rare for the main character to be permanently disabled in such a way. Off the top of my head, in the realm of fiction, I can only think of Aquaman, Batgirl, and John Watson as characters who dealt with a form of disability and were still amazing BAMFs. Hiccup is the child friendly version of a BAMF, ha…

#9 28 Days Later…

Cillian Murphy is Irish? I like his Irish accent much better. The themes and imagery of this movie are pretty graphic and depressingly realistic, a little difficult to talk about in a short space. It’s better than 28 Weeks Later from what I vaguely remember about that film anyway. This was my first time watching this movie, so I wasn’t even entirely sure there were zombies for a while. Although, dang, they move really fast.

#10 127 Hours

This movie squicked me. I watched it from behind the screen of my DS because I couldn’t stand to watch it with my full and undivided attention. Definitely a serious movie. You’re left feeling a little awestruck this guy was able to do all that and walk out of there. Not only does he cut off his own arm, he still has to find the road and people to help him. Talk about a will to live; I might’ve been tempted to sit down after finally getting out of that canyon, but he keeps going. That’s what made the difference between living and dying.

(pictures sourced from google. wording added by me.)