Thursday, July 30, 2009

Movie Reviews

Before we get to the movies, I have an announcement to make:

I am officially fully HD at home. I’ve been waiting for FIOS to arrive (still waiting) in my neighborhood, I can’t get DirecTV’s HD signal, and I fucking hate ComCast and everything they represent.

So, after seeing yet another tempting ad for Dish Network I placed the call and yesterday we were setup with their new HD satellite. This may change my life. I actually sat for 20 minutes watching ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ because it was like people were dancing in my living room. Spectacular!

I can’t wait for football season to start. Literally, can’t wait. I want it to start tomorrow.

Pineapple Express: What a disappointment. Starts off fairly well and there are some laughs sprinkled in, but it turns into yet another action movie spoof in it’s last 40 minutes or so. Not terrible, just hoped for more. I really liked that Rogan’s character was dating a high school chick and wonder if a movie just about that would have been funnier. The scenes with him visiting her in school and meeting her family were fantastic.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop: This on the other hand, is one of the worst movies I’ve seen in a while. So many times things almost got funny, but it just went nowhere. What’s shocking isn’t that this movie got made, but it made a fortune! How? Did anyone find this movie funny? If you’ve seen the previews, you’ve seen the only semi humorous parts of the movie.

Slumdog Millionaire: Man alive. They way they advertise this movie is like some sort of feel good, romantic, cheerful, under dog movie. Couldn’t be further from the truth. This is dark and difficult and great. When is the last time a movie this successful actually opened our eyes to how another area in the world operates. Danny Boyle has quietly turned into one of the most vibrant directors of our generation. Great movie, but don’t go into this thinking it’s a Bollywood romantic comedy.

The Wrestler: Slow, deliberate, fabulously acted story of an over the hill wrestler looking for some form of redemption. Mickey Rourke is perfect, Marisa Tomei seems to be improving (and exposing) with age, and the scenes between the wrestler and his daughter are complex and disturbing and heart breaking and honest.

Gran Torino: If this is Clint Eastwood’s acting swan song, what a way to go out. Immediately on the list of my favorite movies (which is rather long and convoluted). You don’t have to be a fan of Eastwood to appreciate this, either. Just watch it and enjoy.

Bottle Shock: A cute, somewhat amusing little movie about the emergence of the California wine country that focuses on the wrong parts of the story (in my opinion). You’ll enjoy it if you stumble across it on cable but you won’t feel cheated if you go your entire life without seeing this. Consider this one big shrug.

Tell No One: A French thriller that has some fantastic elements (including a female torture expert who is one of the scariest villains in film history) and I always appreciate a film that challenges the viewer to pay attention. Unfortunately, the plot becomes so complex and confusing it nearly comes undone by it’s own intricate plot. I would recommend it, but you’ll feel exhausted by the time things are explained.

Milk: Considering this is an Academy Award winning movie for screenplay, this seemed rather ordinary as far as telling a story. If Harvey Milk were black or Hispanic and not gay, this movie would have been dismissed as a run of the mill biopic. Sean Penn makes this movie, but there isn’t anything out of the ordinary outside of him.

Traitor: An overlooked, thoughtful, intelligent thriller in which you have no idea who’s playing for which side until three quarters of the way through the movie. And when you find out what’s going on, the movie not only doesn’t disintegrate but becomes even more suspenseful and unpredictable. Guy Pearce and Don Cheadle effortlessly command every scene they’re in. Love the final line of dialogue.

Yes, Man: Another sporadically funny movie that leans way too far into the romantic comedy lane. If anything it proves Jim Carrey can still carry a half assed movie for an hour or so. Judging by the one inspired moment involving the elderly next door neighbor, this would have been better as an R rated ‘SuperBad’ type movie.

The Eye: Yet another horror movie that isn’t scary or interesting. If Jessica Alba weren’t in this, there would be no reason to even have made this movie.

Rambo: A surprisingly cynical and extremely (I mean EXTREMELY) violent return for the third world’s working man hero. This could quite possibly be the most violent mainstream movie ever released. But here’s the thing, I still can’t figure out if Stallone (who also directed) did this intentionally to show the brutality of battle and the conditions of many war torn countries we tend to ignore or if he just wanted to show lots of blood and guts. Either way, I’m shamed to admit I enjoyed this edition of Rambo’s life. Even if I felt dirty afterwards.

One other note, which may dictate what Stallone was thinking. One of his debates with the missionaries that hire him to take them up the river tells Rambo that she is here to ‘Make a difference. To change something.’ Rambo coolly and simply states that ‘Nothing ever changes’. It’s a rather depressing view of what Rambo has become: a forgotten soldier who has realized that regardless of the battles he has won there will always be other psychotic leaders to take the place of the ones knocked out of power.

After his bloody rescue mission, Rambo returns to his father’s farm in America and finds that same rusted mailbox leaning to the left in front of the same house he left decades ago. It seems like a small detail in an epilogue nobody watching would really care about, but it illustrates Rambo’s take on the world: Nothing changes.

I guess, if anything, Stallone should get credit for my even thinking about this shit. Not bad for what’s supposed to be a stupid action movie.


Up: Another Pixar winner that is warmer and more human than any live action movie I’ve seen lately. Gorgeous, funny, touching and exciting. Already on my list of the best movies of the year.

Transformers 2: Holy shit, did I ever want this movie to end. It starts off pretty well with lots of explosions and chaos and big robots fighting, but then spends way too much time with Sam and his parents and confusing plots about Transformer symbols and ancient wars and one robot wanting to blow up the sun because….well, I’m not exactly sure. It’s about 40 minutes too long and when the climatic battle finally arrives it’s over so quickly I felt cheated. I waited for this? Here’s an example: Sam Witwicky actually has a conversation with dead Primes (Optimus’ forefathers, if you will) before the final fight. Oh, I wish I were kidding.

Today’s distraction: Proof that the dollar is making a comeback. As art. Hey, we have to cling to any positive news we can.

1 comment:

thepowerof10 said...

I was going to go see Transformers 2 the night it opened, but it was sold out. Since then, I haven't found the time to go and the more I hear, the more I'm glad I didn't waste time on it. I heard it was lousy from more than one person.