Movies for April, part 1:

53. (360.) Mansfield Park (1999)
Mansfield Park is the one Jane Austen novel I just can't make it through. I just don't connect with this story, told largely second-hand. I liked this movie, but it really isn't very much like the book. At least now I can say I've completed Mansfield Park.

54. (361.) Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame (2010)
Think Wild Wild West in ancient China but actually good. Very enjoyable.

55. (362.) Free Willy (1993)
No, I never saw this before. I really hadn't missed anything at all. Not very enjoyable.

56. (363.) Man-Proof (1938)
I couldn't tell you how to classify this movie. It's not quite crazy enough to be a screwball comedy, and it's not quite silly enough to be a romantic comedy, and it's almost too dramatic to be a comedy. In any case, Myrna Loy makes it watchable enough.

57. (364.) Dark Shadows (2012)
Once upon a time I was a Tim Burton fan; then there was Planet of the Apes. This film isn't good enough to bring me back to Burton fandom, but Burton does enough of the things well here that he used to do well (set design, atmosphere) that I was reminded of old times.

58. (365.) Othello (1965)
I'd never seen a production of Shakespeare's Othello. Since this is Laurence Olivier Month at TCM, I took my opportunity. I discovered that I don't like Othello. Othello's sudden onset of jealousy seems too artificial to me. When Iago's plan falls apart because he couldn't control his own wife, I felt I'd just spent 2 hours watching an idiot murder people. Not my cup of tea.

59. (366.) Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)
This film got me to thinking about how American cinema has fallen into a rut of having one reigning King of Comedy every few years, where that star will make a half dozen sophomoric movies that are all essentially the same before eventually abdicating the position for the sake of new dramatic rolls. Will Ferrell, Ben Stiller, Adam Sandler, Jim Carrey, Robin Williams, Steve Martin.... When did this start? Can I already guess who will be next comedian to dabble in drama? (I'm looking at you, Kevin James.)

60. (367.) Wordplay (2006)
A very good documentary about crossword puzzles convinced me that 1) I can be better at them, and 2) I'll never be great at them.

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To be continued...


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