April 2012by raadadz | created - 27 Apr 2012 | updated - 10 May 2012 | Public
All the feature-length films I've seen in April.
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1. Battleground (1949)
Approved | 118 min | Action, War, Drama
A squad of the 101st Airborne Division copes with being trapped in the besieged city of Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge.
Votes: 5,650 | Gross: $10.29M
A workmanlike picture, too mediocre to be called incompetent, but too conservative in style and ideology to be called remarkable. [C]
2. Colombiana (2011)
PG-13 | 108 min | Action, Crime, Drama
A young woman, after witnessing her parents' murder as a child in Bogota, grows up to be a stone-cold assassin.
Votes: 82,237 | Gross: $36.67M
It's a straight-faced, PG-13 take on the femme fatale flick, and nothing short of unwatchable. [F]
3. She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949)
Not Rated | 103 min | Western
Captain Nathan Brittles, on the eve of retirement, takes out a last patrol to stop an impending massive Indian attack. Encumbered by women who must be evacuated, Brittles finds his mission imperiled.
Picturesque in a deliberate, Arizona-postcard kind of way, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon is Ford at his most overbearingly sentimental. [C]
4. What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)
Not Rated | 134 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller
A former child star torments her paraplegic sister in their decaying Hollywood mansion.
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? never really lives up to its promise and it ends up a mean, nasty, and ultimately dull pulp-infused tale of fame lost. [C]
5. 30 Minutes or Less (2011)
R | 83 min | Action, Comedy, Crime
Two fledgling criminals kidnap a pizza delivery guy, strap a bomb to his chest, and inform him that he has mere hours to rob a bank or else...
Votes: 83,381 | Gross: $37.05M
Not all of the jokes work, and Eisenberg feels a bit out of place, but it's funny in a completely disposable way. [C+]
6. Warrior (2011)
PG-13 | 140 min | Drama, Sport
The youngest son of an alcoholic former boxer returns home, where he's trained by his father for competition in a mixed martial arts tournament - a path that puts the fighter on a collision course with his estranged, older brother.
Votes: 372,276 | Gross: $13.66M
The sort of film that tips its hat to subtlety, then punches it in the face. It's one of the most moving studio pictures in recent memory, and Edgerton is nothing short of a revelation. [B+]
7. Mercenaries (2011)
R | 97 min | Action, Drama
Andy Marlow, an ex British S.A.S serviceman turned mercenary, is sent into the Balkans after a military coup has arisen to rescue a U.S ambassador and his aide.
Even as far as direct-to-DVD actioners go, this one's pretty dull. [F]
8. Wings (1927)
PG-13 | 144 min | Drama, Romance, War
Two young men, one rich, one middle class, who are in love with the same woman, become fighter pilots in World War I.
Wings is the kind of epic no one wants to make anymore. Despite a charisma-free leading man (Gary Cooper is more memorable in five minutes of screentime than Buddy Rogers is in two hours plus), it's a mostly exhilarating, fantastically staged production. [A-]
9. Knuckle (2011)
R | 97 min | Documentary, Biography, Drama
An epic 12-year journey into the brutal and secretive world of Irish Traveler bare-knuckle fighting. This film follows a history of violent feuding between rival clans.
Votes: 2,574 | Gross: $0.00M
Well, if Warrior was too gentle, I suppose this is the film for you. Like its subjects, Knuckle is a bit rough around the edges and a bit misguided at times. However, it is an intricate and complex look at an escpecially violent tradition.
10. Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
PG-13 | 164 min | Western
A mysterious stranger with a harmonica joins forces with a notorious desperado to protect a beautiful widow from a ruthless assassin working for the railroad.
Votes: 244,773 | Gross: $5.32M
I've never been a big fan of Leone's, but this is less a film and more an endurance test. Leone, as usual, falls head over heels imitating the Western heroes of yore, but the result of such labor is a hollow and heavy-handed picture. [D]
11. To Catch a Thief (1955)
PG | 106 min | Mystery, Romance, Thriller
When a reformed jewel thief is suspected of returning to his former occupation, he must ferret out the real thief in order to prove his innocence.
Votes: 51,503 | Gross: $8.75M
Middling Hitchcock. It's, frankly, one of his most unambitious films, an inconsequential yarn that captivates the audience but doesn't leave a lasting impression. [C+]
12. The Fifth Element (1997)
PG-13 | 126 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
In the colorful future, a cab driver unwittingly becomes the central figure in the search for a legendary cosmic weapon to keep Evil and Mr. Zorg at bay.
Votes: 377,178 | Gross: $63.54M
Silly to no end, The Fifth Element blends the action picture and the sci-fi picture while adding nothing to either. [C]
13. Miss Bala (2011)
R | 113 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
After entering a beauty contest in Tijuana, a young woman witnesses drug-related murders and is forced to do the gang's bidding.
A stunning neorealist take on the Mexican drug war, Miss Bala is one of the finest and most important films of the 2010's. [A+]
14. Dillinger (1973)
R | 107 min | Action, Biography, Crime
John Dillinger and his gang go on a bank robbing spree across the midwest, but one G-Man is determined to bring him down.
In the era of Bonnie and Clyde, this kind of brawny violence-for-the-sake-of-violence picture seems a bit outdated. [D]
15. Shame (2011)
NC-17 | 101 min | Drama
A man's carefully cultivated private life is disrupted when his sister arrives for an indefinite stay.
Votes: 161,354 | Gross: $4.00M
A gripping, elegaic look at a debilitating addiction. McQueen is an extraordinary director, but at times the production seems too sleek, and the pacing too conventional to tread in the realm of greatness. [A-]
16. Mississippi Burning (1988)
R | 128 min | Crime, Drama, History
Two F.B.I. Agents, with wildly different styles, arrive in Mississippi to investigate the disappearance of some civil rights activists.
Votes: 71,826 | Gross: $34.60M
As far as studio Issue Films go, you could do a lot worse. Mississippi Burning manages to capture the spirit of the South, but more importantly, recognizes that nothing about racism or the act of fighting it is easy or clean cut. That being said, it has an incredibly conventional narrative arc, and towards the end, the characters seem only capable of speaking in platitudes.
17. Elevator to the Gallows (1958)
Not Rated | 91 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
A self-assured businessman murders his employer, the husband of his mistress, which unintentionally provokes an ill-fated chain of events.
Votes: 16,129 | Gross: $0.11M
A terrific blend of many different genres and themes, Elevator to the Gallows ranks as one of Malle's finest films, alongside The Lovers and Murmur of the Heart. [A]
18. Thief (1981)
R | 122 min | Action, Crime, Drama
Coming closer to his dream of leading a normal life, a professional safecracker agrees to do a job for the Mafia, who has other plans for him.
Votes: 18,947 | Gross: $11.49M
Laced with unfortunate late-era Melville sensibilities, Thief is an unmercifully slow and derivative picture. [D-]
19. Hell's Angels (1930)
Passed | 127 min | Drama, War
Brothers Monte and Ray leave Oxford to join the Royal Flying Corps. Ray loves Helen; Helen enjoys an affair with Monte; before they leave on their mission over Germany they find her in still another man's arms.
While some of the aerial battles are filmed spectacularly, the scenes that involve people and not planes are laughably overwrought. [C]
20. Them (2006)
R | 77 min | Horror, Thriller
Lucas and Clementine live peacefully in their isolated country house, but one night they wake up to strange noise... they're not alone... and a group of hooded assailants begin to terrorize them throughout the night.
An engaging little (it runs a little under 80 minutes) horror film, Them is admirably stripped down, there are no frivolous displays of gore or reflexive humor. [C+]
21. Carrie (1976)
R | 98 min | Horror
Carrie White, a shy, friendless teenage girl who is sheltered by her domineering, religious mother, unleashes her telekinetic powers after being humiliated by her classmates at her senior prom.
Votes: 139,671 | Gross: $33.80M
Gleefully provocative (or indulgent; it's all the same to Brian De Palma), Carrie is remarkable for the impending sense of disaster De Palma creates. [C]
22. Act of Valor (2012)
R | 110 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
An elite team of Navy SEALs embark on a covert mission to recover a kidnapped CIA agent.
Votes: 61,256 | Gross: $70.01M
The worst new release I've seen this year by a country mile. The action scenes are well filmed, but they mean nothing if the characters are completely indistinguishable. [F]
23. The Maltese Falcon (1941)
Not Rated | 100 min | Film-Noir, Mystery
A private detective takes on a case that involves him with three eccentric criminals, a gorgeous liar, and their quest for a priceless statuette.
The first ever film noir is also one of the best. It's also one of the best cast, with set of players that includes Bogie himself, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, Mary Astor, and Elisha Cook, Jr. [A]
24. Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960)
TV-PG | 89 min | Drama, Romance
A rebellious, hard-living factory worker juggles relationships with two women, one of whom is married to another man but pregnant with his child.
One of my favorite examples of British "kitchen sink realism", Saturday Night and Sunday Morning compassionately and poetically captures the life of a young man trapped by his society. [A]
25. Cowboys & Aliens (2011)
PG-13 | 119 min | Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller
A spaceship arrives in Arizona, 1873, to take over the Earth, starting with the Wild West region. A posse of cowboys and natives are all that stand in their way.
Votes: 185,710 | Gross: $100.24M
Rivaling Act of Valor in terms of sheer stupidity, Cowboys and Aliens proves that a film called Cowboys and Aliens can be no fun at all. [D-]
26. The Dirty Dozen (1967)
Not Rated | 150 min | Action, Adventure, War
During World War II, a rebellious U.S. Army Major is assigned a dozen convicted murderers to train and lead them into a mass assassination mission of German officers.
Votes: 57,762 | Gross: $45.30M
It has its merits, but The Dirty Dozen is fascinating because it demonstrates a willingness on the part of audiences to accept the flawed antihero a la Bonnie and Clyde, Cool Hand Luke, and Dirty Harry. [C+]