Sometime last year I was looking through the paper to see what movies I should add to the Netflix queue. One that caught my eye was "Straw Dogs" about a couple that gets terrorized by rednecks when they move into a small Mississippi town where the wife had lived as a kid. I saw that it was a re-make, so I looked up the original. I was surprised to see that it starred Dustin Hoffman and that it was directed by Sam Peckinpah. I absolutely loved Peckinpah's classic film "The Wild Bunch" which is famous for its graphic violence and slow, bloody, death scenes. Even Monty Python made fun of his style in the skit "Salad Days." So into the queue both versions went. Just by chance the re-make came first. It's not a perfect movie, but it certainly was suspenseful. Surprisingly, we actually liked the newer version better than the original which took place in rural England.
The other memorable movie I saw over the weekend was "Beaufort" which was up for a "Best Foreign Film" Oscar a few years ago. It's the story of Israeli soldiers in a remote outpost in occupied Lebanon. Wow. I thought it was far superior to "The Hurt Locker" in terms of a modern war movie. The enemy is never seen. There are no big heroic battles. It's just a bunch of guys living together trying to survive another day while their position gets routinely shelled by Hezbollah. It was wonderfully suspenseful.
We also saw "The Rum Diaries" a little while back. Someone on my FL had also seen it and thought it sucked. Yeah. I have to agree. I find Hunter S Thompson a fascinating character and Johnny Depp certainly had a memorable portrayal of him in "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" but acting alone was not enough to save this movie. The plot was just too disjointed for my taste with not enough backstory into what was going on. It was just "meh."
Finally there was "Hugo" which was up for a ton of Oscars last year (including Best Picture) and won 5, mostly for technical aspects. It certainly was a pleasure to look at. It just didn't seem to totally come together for me. We agreed that it was what a "kids movie" should be in that it wasn't a shallow plotless slapstick mess where all adults are stupid and kids have all the answers. At least it held my interest since you were never sure where the plot was taking you. I can definitely respect that.