Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Movie Reviews

The Dark Knight: Excellent. Easily the best of the Batman movies. Even the ones with Adam West and Burt Ward. Yeah, it’s that good. Very dark, very well acted and unpredictable. Forget the PG-13 rating on this, by the way. There is some very disturbing (often hilariously so) scenes that include every scene with Harvey Two Face, the Joker and his disappearing pencil trick and his escape plan that involves a fellow prisoner, a cell phone and amateur surgery. Gross.

That said, there were some major plot holes in this thing. Yeah, I know it’s a comic book movie about a billionaire that fights crime as a bat. But….BUT….how could the Joker keep getting all these goons to help him when it was well known he kills nearly everyone he works with. Why didn’t one of the other mafia guys just shoot Joker in the face? How would Harvey Dent be so easily swayed? Did Batman really go to save the girl and Joker tricked him into rescuing Dent instead or was there a scene missing that explained things better? Who is Joker’s explosive provider and does he give bulk discounts?

One more note, there is a scene near the end where Joker is hanging upside down where he says ‘I have a feeling we’ll be doing this for a very long time’. Considering Heath Ledger’s death, that line was more poignant than even the filmmakers had intended.

The Spiderwick Chronicles: Extremely well done, fast moving, exciting, at times very scary and emotional family movie. I never read the books this is based on, but if they’re half as good as this movie I may pick them up and start reading them with my eldest.

Vantage Point: A multiple point of view movie that starts off gang busters and slowly dissolves into a mushy mess. The more you learn about what’s going on the more improbable it becomes. I can only dream there were PDAs that could remotely control a sniper rifle and see where everyone is at any point in time. I kept waiting for the assassin to stop, look at his gadget and have to wait while it reads ‘Searching for signal’ with the double arrows flashing back and forth. Another ending that’s an absolute joke, too.

Hancock: This is nothing, I have another still in theater movie to get to, as well. A record for me. The first half of this movie is one of my favorite superhero movies of all time. I laughed out loud (LOLed, if you will – wait, should it be L’edOL?) so many times my sides hurt. Will Smith is cast perfectly in this and Jason Bateman is proving ‘Arrested Development’ was no fluke. I wish they had spent longer on the drunk superhero aspect and less on the convoluted origins of him. Still, there was a certain heartfelt and noble ending with one love sacrificing for another. Also, there is a completely unexpected plot turn that is surprising in that in genuinely surprises.

WALL-E: See? Another new release. Unfortunately for Pixar, they’ve set the bar so high for themselves that a very good movie like WALL-E can’t compare to their past classics like ‘Monsters, Inc’, ‘The Incredibles’, or – one of my personal favorites – ‘Ratatouille’. There is also a disturbing critique of the natural tendency of humans to be wasteful and lazy. It portrays a future humankind that is obese, lazy and catered to by robots of all kinds. We are so pampered we don’t even walk anymore. Oh, and we’ve also trashed Earth so completely nothing lives there any longer. Except WALL-E, of course, who is still packing all the trash we’ve left behind into neat little cubes. Yes, it’s deserved, but it’s also extremely cynical and off putting for a kids movie. I’d recommend it, but it’s not nearly as good as their past stuff. I’d also like to point out that the boys have seen it and haven’t expressed any desire to buy it or have even talked about it. A true sign that a family movie has missed it’s mark. In comparison, they loved ‘The Spiderwick Chronicles’ and talk about it all the time.

The Hammer: This is the Adam Carolla movie that he’s been pimping nearly everywhere he shows up. He promises that you will like this movie. You know what? I’ll second that. It’s funny, warm and heartfelt. Carolla actually does a good job and is quite convincing as an aging boxer thinking he has one more chance at glory. Even wifey enjoyed it. There were moments where we were both laughing hysterically. One moment in particular where Carolla is jumping rope and thinks he’s impressing his love interest had me in tears. This is another one of those below the radar flicks that turns out to be better than a lot of the crap that makes millions. I don’t get it.

1408: A creepy horror movie with actors far beyond what was needed. John Cusask plays a skeptic, haunted house author who learns of room 1408 that has supposedly been the scene of many mysterious deaths and suicides. Moves right along and has some memorably frightening moments; the most impressive being the deconstruction of a post office building that reveals a depressing reality.

Fido: A strange, one joke movie that isn’t nearly funny enough to pass for a good comedy nor gory enough to pass as a good zombie movie. The setup seems to be the joke as zombies have been domesticated and made to perform all the menial tasks that humans don’t want to do themselves. Delivering the mail and the daily papers, collecting trash and mowing the lawn are all done by zombies. Even more bizarre is the decision to set the movie in the 1950s and take on the ‘gee whiz’ attitude of ‘Leave it to Beaver’. This contrasts greatly when one zombie decides he’s going to start eating the neighbors. Didn’t hate this, but it’s never a good sign when you’re more interested in when the movie is going to end rather then how it will end.

Stardust: A fairly tale movie that is funny and original. This is a tough one to describe, but if you liked ‘The Princess Bride’ than you’ll probably enjoy this one. Great turns by Robert DeNiro as a sky faring (no really, his ship flies) pirate who collects lightning and Michelle Pfeiffer as an aging witch frantically trying to hold on to her beauty by any means necessary.

Dan In Real Life: Steve Carrell as a likable, widowed father of three girls who falls for the exact wrong woman. Nothing terribly original or earth shaking with this one, but it was pleasant enough and I didn’t even mind that Dane Cook plays a major role. I guess that’s saying something.

Sunshine: A futuristic, sci fi movie by the same gang that made ’28 Days Later’. The sun is dying and we’ve sent a second team to go restart it. The first team went missing and this is humanity’s ‘last chance’ to be saved. Yeah, one of those. This was actually quite interesting and creepy until a character is introduced and the movie then proceeds to make absolutely no sense whatsoever. No explanation is given as to how this character got on the ship or what his purpose is other than to prevent the second crew from fixing the sun. Very confusing ending. Would have been better if they had just stuck with the logistical problems of trying to save the solar system rather than turning it into a monster movie. A lame one at that.

I know I’m missing a bunch more. If I remember them I’ll tack them on another post later. Although, if I’m forgetting them, they couldn’t have been that good.

Today’s distraction: The Top 10 Teen Movies from the 80s. One they missed that is completely underrated is ‘Three O’Clock High’. I also never got the appeal of ‘The Breakfast Club’. Just never liked that movie for some reason.


Hammen said...

I was pissed about Dan In Real Life because the way they marketed it, and the previews they showed, made it out to be your typical Steve Carell comedy. Then I went to it and it was a total chick flick. Not that it was bad, but that's not what I was signing up for. I hate when they pull the ol' bait and switch with the previews.

I very much want to see 1408.

Clayton Bigsby said...

I just watched Dan in Real life last weekend and felt the same way. I was expecting good laughs. Instead I was battling sleep. I still didn't mind it. The $2.99 rental is better than the $50 drunk at the bar.

BeachBum said...

Yeah, I noticed that preview, too. They kept showing the typical Carell moments which were few in this flick.