Movies from May, part 2 of 3:
77. (384.) Out of the Past (1947)
After watching 200 Cigarettes last year (movie 195 of 307 in 2012), I read Roger Ebert's review of that movie. In his review, Ebert spent more time talking about how much better cigarette smoke was filmed in Out of the Past. He's right, of course, but everything about Out of the Past is superior to everything in 200 Cigarettes. Out of the Past is film noir crime drama, and it's even funnier than 200 Cigarettes.
78. (385.) Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)
This movie exists just to take up a few hours of time. Its a by-the-numbers action/fairy tale with no subtext or context, and what little backstory is included for the Evil Queen (to lure Charlize Theron to the part?) seems an entirely unnecessary exercise that is just adding extra running time. I'm still not sure why the Huntsman gets a name drop in the title. The one "twist" (that the Huntsman and not the Prince is her true love) isn't important to events or followed through on. I don't know how Kristen Stewart could fall for the director of this kind of drivel. I admit the CGI is pretty impressive, but it just isn't enough to keep me looking at the screen.
79. (386.) Mrs. Miniver (1942)
"World War II propaganda that won Academy Awards" gives the impression that the movie will be a little more exciting than it actually is. Not bad, just bland. In hindsight, I feel that The Americanization of Emily owed this movie a great debt. Emily warps the same fabric to create its own overt anti-war message by disparaging all warriors. (Of course, Emily was made two decades later, and that sort of distance changes the perspective of filmmakers and audiences significantly, but it's worth wondering how Mrs. Miniver would have turned out if it was made at the start of Vietnam.)
80. (387.) The Miniver Story (1950)
This direct sequel to Mrs. Miniver completely ignores important characters from the first film without so much as a reference. This might not have been such a big deal if you watched it in theaters after the 8 years hiatus in between them, but when you watch them back-to-back, you can't help wondering "whatever happened to the RAF pilot son?" for the duration of the movie. (Behind the scenes, the actor who played the "missing" character had married and divorced the actress who played "Mrs. Miniver," and it was determined best by all involved to discard the character and pretend it all never happened. Ah, old Hollywood. They really do make them like the used to.)
81. (388.) JCVD (2008)
Jean-Claude Van Damme plays himself — sort of — in a movie about the very movie you're watching. The best film of Van Damme's career by far. How had I missed this? Thanks to Jorell and Randy for insisting I watch this.
82. (389.) Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012)
As I've said many times, I don't care for vampires, but neither does Abraham Lincoln! I was shocked to find myself enjoying this carefree mock biopic. I love being surprised by movies. This one was a winner.