A Simple Plan - I liked this one a lot. Billy Boy Thornton was great. I laughed a lot at his little character quirks. He's great at doing the little subtle things that just make a character fun to watch. It's kind of a heavy morality tale so his character was essential to counter that feeling that pervaded throughout. (Dir. by Sam Raimi)
Blood Simple - I watched this one about five years ago and was really amazed by the direction. I think it's the Cohen Brothers second best (after Miller's Crossing). I watched it again - this time the new cut released by Forever Young Films. I like the other version better. They cut out a lot of stuff and added some weird CG smoke rings coming out of M. Emmet Walsh. Still it was great to watch. Walsh is amazing as the sleezy PI. There's two separate scenes where he's sitting there talking to Dan Hedaya and a fly buzzes around his sweaty face and lands right by his eye and he doesn't flinch or anything - it's great. This one has my favorite climaxe and ending to a neo-noir movie. They made this movie just after working for Sam Raimi on Evil Dead which is interesting because there are some horror movie elements to this one even though it's a thriller/noir.
Pirates of the Carribbean II- I really liked this one a lot. It's my favorite of the Hollywood movies this year. I know it's 30 minutes too long but it seems that everything is now a days. I thought the story was better than the first one and I liked all the story sequences except for the part when Kiera Knightley and the two comic relief guys fought off Davey Jone's crew. They became much less menacing after that happened. That whole scene was unecessary. The fighting on the big rolling mill thing was cool but too long as well. Come to think of it they also took a strange detour getting Kiera Knightley to Tartuga or whatever to find Jack Sparrow. Why did she have to go on that other boat and do all that stuff with the ghost dress and everything. Just seemed like a waist of time to me.
But I did like the movie don't get me wrong. I really liked the whole thing with the natives (I thought they depicted that old style of cartoonish natives perfectly). And I loved the corny thing with them swinging in the big bone ball/cages. I also thought the Cracken was really cool and usually I don't like big CG monsters but I liked this one a lot. Davey Jones was my favorite part though. Anyway, the movie exceeded my expectations which was a pleasant surprise.