Movie Project #17: The Iron Giant [1999]

50 Movies Project #4: Contemporary Edition

The 50 Movies Project is an annual tradition at The Warning Sign. Every year, I select 50 movies that I feel I must see in order to continue my progression as a film lover. This year I’m focusing on contemporary films (1980 to present day) that I somehow haven’t gotten around to seeing yet.

The Iron Giant [1999]

The Iron Giant [1999] 
Director: Brad Bird
Writers: Tim McCanlies (screenplay), Brad Bird (screen story), Ted Hughes (book)
Country: USA
Genre: Animation/Action/Adventure
Starring: Eli Marienthal, Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Aniston
Running Time: 87 minutes

I have a bit of a conflicted relationship with animated films. I have quite enjoyed nearly every Studio Ghibli release I have seen, but I could do without most of the modern Disney and/or Pixar films. I added The Iron Giant to my project this year to add a bit more variety, though I have to admit I went into my viewing with a bit of trepidation.

It turns out I needn’t worry at all. Not only is The Iron Giant one of the highlights of my project so far, it’s also one of the better animated films I have seen in some time.

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2011 Movie Mini-Review Roundup: Captain America, A Dangerous Method, Mission Impossible 4, My Week With Marilyn, Young Adult

I am nearly caught up with the movies I wanted to see from last year. Here are some mini-reviews of the handful of 2011 releases I saw in April:

Captain America: The First Avenger [2011]
Captain America: The First Avenger [2011, Joe Johnston]
Captain America’s origin film is pretty much paint-by-numbers superhero fluff. A handful of quality performances, led by Chris Evans as Cap, can’t save this from plodding along and resorting to the same tired action moments. Maybe I wasn’t in the right mood for the movie or maybe I’m just not the right demographic, but this didn’t do anything for me. A shame, too, because I really enjoyed Iron Man (and to a lesser extent, its sequel). Captain America has made me lose most interest in The Avengers. 5/10

A Dangerous Method [2011]
A Dangerous Method [2011, David Cronenberg]
Students and followers of psychology (particularly psychoanalysis) will get the most out of this disappointing Cronenberg effort. Michael Fassbender was on a roll in 2011 and delivers a strong performance as Carl Jung, as does Viggo Mortensen as Sigmund Freud. The examination of their friendship and mutual respect is intriguing, but the film suffers badly whenever the overacting Keira Knightley is on screen. As such, a potentially interesting subject becomes tedious as the script never really goes anywhere. The highlight of the film is Vincent Cassel’s small role as the cocky, free-wheeling Otto Gross. Again, this film is one perhaps best reserved for psych majors. 6/10

Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol [2011]
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol [2011, Brad Bird]
Brad Bird’s live-action debut is a riveting affair with at least one unforgettable scene (climbing on the side of the Burj Dubai is just insane). Tom Cruise proves he still has “it” as secret agent Ethan Hunt, who along with the surprisingly formidable team of Simon Pegg and Paula Patton is sent on a mission to stop a nuclear launch. The villains (led by the unfortunately misused Michael Nyqvist) are a bland and uninspiring bunch, but the movie itself is still a fun ride with plenty of action and cool gadgets. Arguably better than it had any right to be. 7/10

My Week With Marilyn [2011]
My Week With Marilyn [2011, Simon Curtis]
Starry-eyed Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne) weasels his way into a movie production job and gets to spend a week on set with Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams). All of Monroe’s idiosyncrasies are on display here, and the legendary actress is played expertly by the always captivating Williams. The film itself is entertaining enough, but unfortunately starts to dabble in tired cliches during the third act. A solid, albeit forgettable endeavor. 7/10

Young Adult [2011]
Young Adult [2011, Jason Reitman]
Charlize Theron is brilliant as a thirty-something young adult fiction writer who still acts like a teenager. With her main goal being to seduce her ex-boyfriend (who is now happily married with children), she is not exactly the most likable character. Regardless, it is hard to look away from this dark comedy, even as it sometimes gets uncomfortable. Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody make a great pair, and this movie is further proof of this. Special mention must be made of Patton Oswalt and Patrick Wilson, both of who deliver strong performances in their supporting roles. One of last year’s more underrated films. 8.5/10

Did you see any of these movies? Did any of them stand out to you?