Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Movie Reviews

Spring has sprung here in Boston! It hit 65 degrees on Saturday nearly 70 on Sunday and I’ve had to pull out the sunglasses from hibernation.

I am in a good mood which has been enhanced by a beautiful coworker making me cheesecake brownies over the weekend. Nothing unseemly going on, we’re just friends (and both married) and she is one of those super nice people I could never become. It’s my mean spirited, deep rooted cynicism she doesn’t understand.

If she’s trying to change me through sweets, it just might be working.

Since I haven’t been down this road for a while, here are some thoughts on movies I’ve watched recently.

Knowing: I’m not sure what in holy hell happened with this movie but it almost seems like they had a great idea for a movie, executed the first half with intelligence and thrills only to realize they didn’t know where they were going with it. So they went completely off the rails, introduced aliens, and everything went to shit. Oh and Nick Cage runs around in a bad hair piece again. Not only did this suck, but it was pointless and makes me angry I wasted two hours of my life.

The Proposal: Fun fact: this movie was filmed in Rockport, MA where the family and I go to spend the day every now and then. It’s a quaint, walkabout, former fishing village that is about as far from Alaska (where this movie supposedly takes place) as you could get. Nothing special about this movie; it’s predictable and plain but the cast makes it semi-enjoyable. Ryan Reynolds is one of those guys that can make me laugh with a look, but he seems neutered for the most part. I won’t recommend it, but you don’t hate yourself by the time it’s over. I guess that’s something.

Night at the Museum 2: Fuck, just kill me. I should point out the boys liked this movie, but wifey and I spent most of it refilling our drinks. Amy Adams is the best part as Ben Stiller and the rest sleep walk their way to a quick paycheck.

Law Abiding Citizen: Another movie that starts off with promise only to get more absurd as the plot unfolds. Would have been better if they kept it as a gory revenge thriller instead of turning it into a ludicrous cat and mouse game. You know why Jamie Foxx can’t figure out how this guy is pulling off all the murders? Because what he does in this movie is impossible. That’s why.

The Hurt Locker: Congrats on the Best Picture, Hurt Locker. While I agree this is a very good movie, I’m a bit confused why this is getting hailed as such a masterpiece. Agreed, it’s gritty, realistic, one of the most suspenseful movies I have ever seen, but I couldn’t shake that I’ve seen most of this before. The HBO miniseries ‘Generation Kill’ covered a lot of these themes two years ago. Don’t get me wrong, I highly recommend this movie, but the overly effusive praise has me a bit bewildered.

Surrogates: I was surprised how much I enjoyed this movie. There are some genuinely creepy scenes (all the Surrogates riding the subway the most memorable), shocking surprises and great action scenes. Things don’t tie together quite perfectly, but you could do a lot worse than this if you were in the mood for a semi intelligent thriller that raises some uncomfortable questions as to where our Facebook generation is headed.

Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs: Another movie my boys laughed out loud at. The only difference being my laughing with them. Fast, funny, and surreal.

A Perfect Getaway: If nothing else this proves once and for all Timothy Olyphant can actually act. While I’m fairly certain this movie cheated with the plot twist, I don’t really care that much. I was highly entertained the entire way and have no regrets. Hear that ‘Knowing’?

Frost/Nixon: When it comes to historical dramas like this it always comes down to the actors. In this case both Michael Sheen and Frank Langella nail the humanity and nuances without going over the top. Langella, in particular, does the impossible by making Nixon alternately charming, likable, and ferocious. How did he not win Best Actor for this?

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: Brad Pitt somehow aging backwards. Much more involving than I was expecting, but there were still moments that dragged. Probably could have benefitted from being 30 minutes shorter.

Revolutionary Road: Fuck, what a downer of a movie this was. Every married couple cheats on their partner, Kate Winslet portrays the wife as an ungrateful shrew who somehow can’t stand being trapped in suburbia even though the neighborhood is gorgeous, sunny and welcoming. Maybe I just didn’t get this one, but it seems that if you’re that unhappy in an expensive home with a beautiful yard you’re really not going to be happy anywhere. That would include Paris. Was that the point? Whatever. Didn’t care that much about any of the characters to give it much consideration.

Right at Your Door: In the past these ‘direct to DVD’ movies have been scoffed at, but don’t let this low budget and barely heard of actors fool you. This movie is disturbing, suspenseful and claustrophobic. Even the ending was surprising and unforgettable. It clocks in at under 90 minutes and you can watch it online on Netflix, so if you’re looking for an underground gift, check this one out.

Goodbye Solo: Another low budget stunner that moves slowly (but never lifelessly) while it tells the story of a African cab driver who befriends an elderly, grouchy, perhaps dying man intent on keeping as much distance between himself and the rest of the world as possible. Seeming quiet and aimless, this movie packs a wallop. A lot of people won’t like the lack of answers, but I found it perfect. The last exchange between the two men still haunts me.

Coraline: For a supposed kids movie, this was one fucked up flick. Coraline is an unhappy child who finds a delightful parallel world that turns out to be menacing and truly disturbing. The boys really enjoyed this and have watched it twice over the weekend so maybe adults will find the choice of death or having buttons sewn over your eyes more troublesome than kids. Still, this was one of the more original and creative animated films I’ve seen in a while. Even if it is dark and disturbed.

In Bruges: A pitch black, extremely violent, comedy (I guess) about two hit men biding their time in Bruges (hence the title). While Colin Farrell is great, the rest of the cast is more than up for the challenge. Farrell should really do more comedy as he’s much funnier than I ever would have thought.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Until tomorrow…

Today’s distraction: Advertisements that will challenge your mind. Some of these are disturbing and/or not safe for work so be careful. I’m sure it says something that the more troublesome ads are by the animal rights folks, but I’m not sure what.

1 comment:

Clayton Bigsby said...

Out of all those movies the only one I've seen is Ben Button. I turned it off before it was finished. I need to see The Hurt Locker.