What I Watched, What You Watched: Installment #25

First off, a quick apology for the tardiness of this article. I am working on a few behind-the-scenes things with the site at the moment and a small redesign that has been taking up a lot of my time and this week’s “What I Watched” was a delayed casualty, but hey, at least it’s still Sunday right?

Anyway, I did take in a few movies to discuss and also watched Gamer on Blu-ray, which I will be reviewing shortly, and after I get done with this column I am going to go back to watching Criterion’s Blu-ray of 8 1/2, which I will be reviewing on Tuesday. For now… let’s get to this week’s list…

District B13 (2004)
QUICK THOUGHTS: After Pierre Morel was announced as the new director for the proposed remake of Frank Herbert’s “Dune” I figured I would take in his French actioner District B13. Most of us became familiar with Morel after Taken last year and are thus awaiting his upcoming feature From Paris with Love. I had heard about B13 prior to Taken and heard it was pretty good. To that I can say it’s not bad, and if you are able to shrug off the awful plot it gets even better, especially if you are extremely interested in Parkour, or freerunning. It’s definitely fast moving and his a certain charm, but it felt like a film best left to Netflix’s Instant Play (which is how I watched it) and more likely never revisited.

Goodbye Solo (2008)
QUICK THOUGHTS: NY Times critic and “At the Movies” co-host labeled Goodbye Solo as his #10 film of 2009 and after hearing Roger Ebert go on and on about Chop Shop I thought I should find out what is so great about director Ramin Bahrani. This is a very good film and very moving. I wouldn’t classify it as “best of the year” material, at least not top ten, but it’s a film you would be hard-pressed not to become instantly fascinated with and find immediate connection as Bahrani wastes no time at all getting into the story of a Senegalese taxi driver named Solo who befriends an elderly man who hires him for another trip in two weeks, at which time he plans to kill himself. The journey is the story here all while the question of what will happen in the end is left up in the air from the very start. If I was to give this film one dose of overwhelming praise I would say it has one of the best film titles ever, but it takes watching the film to find out why. I hope you do.

The Girlfriend Experience (2009)
QUICK THOUGHTS: This is Steven Soderbergh’s much talked about sub $2 million indie from 2009 centering on a New York City call girl, and it was surprisingly interesting and one I definitely plan on watching again. The only problem I had with it was the lead character’s fascination with correlating birthdays, a notion I didn’t particularly quite understand or think had anything to do with what was going on as much as it was a distraction.

Shampoo (1975)
QUICK THOUGHTS: Hal Ashby’s Shampoo is listed as one of the AFI’s 100 funniest movies of all-time, but I’m sorry, I just didn’t see the humor in this movie… This isn’t to say I thought it was bad, it was alright, but funny? Nope, didn’t laugh too much… that is outside of the scene with then 18-year-old Carrie Fisher featured below, two years before she would come to be known as Princess Leia.

One final note, I watched all of these films on Netflix’s Instant Play feature using the PS3 as my connecting device and all four looked fantastic. If you aren’t using that feature yet you really ought to look into it.

There you have it. Now share your weekly recaps and weigh in with any thoughts you may have on the films I saw. And remember to connect with my Netflix queue by clicking here, I have already added several titles from those that have already linked up.

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