Sunday, May 20, 2007

Flick the Button

Massive backlog. Probably will require an update.

Mindhunters: I had to write this one first because I was sure I'd forget I saw it. Ridiculous, overacted, goofy. Had the courtesy to be short. I'm not sure why I TiVoed this in the first place. You're Fired.

Blades of Glory: Not in the same category as Anchorman or Talladega Nights, but definitely has its moments. I appreciate the way this movie never turned saccharine (and the opportunity presented itself via the Heder-adopted child bit). But for a movie that is 100% dick and fart jokes (which I have no problem with), it kind of pulled too many punches. Will Arnett needed a lot lot more screen time. Positive: the costumes are Oscar-deserving. I bet I'll see this a few more times, so it can't be that bad. Steak Knives (though probably a dull set).

Poseidon: Yeah, I've forgotten I saw this already. Pales in comparison to the original. Not intense, not exciting, contrived. For a movie where your interest in watching it is driven by "who is going to die and who is going to live", it's not a good thing when the viewer is rooting for everyone to die by about the 10th minute. You're Fired.

Nacho Libre: I like that there is a place in this world for physical, gross-out comedy that doesn't mind being sweet, but also isn't overly maudlin. Nacho Libre walked the line, but ended up on the right side of it. It's a simple story, and funny, though not groundbreaking. Steak Knives.

Children of Men: Technically speaking, this is one of the better pictures I've seen. The sound, sets, and cinematography were excellent. The screenplay, however, I didn't think was as great. I kept feeling like I missed something in the first half hour. I didn't understand why Owen's character would risk so much without knowing what he was doing. The refugee camp scenes are indelible, but the soul of the movie was a bit hollow. Perhaps I was oversold on this by hype. Perhaps I need to see this again. Steak Knives.

Idiocracy: I was definitely oversold on this by hype. What was filmed is a great first draft of a screenplay that needed 10 rewrites. Of course, there are a few great moments, but I have a feeling that with the framework of this, they could've had dozens more. As I wrote above, I am a big fan of dick and fart jokes. This movie was loaded with them, but half of them didn't make any sense. Add the fact that the acting was middle-school-play good, and that the special effects looked worse than Sci-Fi network TV movies, and this movie was just not very good. And worst, the premise was fantastic. Unmet potential. You're Fired.

Rocky Balboa: I liked this a lot, actually. It trades on the best parts of the series, but left me feeling happy. Just a nice way to wrap things up, go out the way he wanted. I have a soft spot for a family friendly film that keeps my interest and doesn't go cheap or easy. Here's what I liked best: that the frequent mentions in the film about how boxing has fallen hard because the fans have been disrespected by poor matches, moneygrubbing promoters, and fighters who care more about the next payday than showing their guts and heart in the ring. It's not a huge jump to see this as an allegory to Stallone's own career. He's apologizing for the shit he's thrown at us. I accept the apology. Until John Rambo ruins everything. Sharp Steak Knives.

Clerks II: OK, not family friendly fun, but this is actually pretty similar to Rocky Balboa. Smith, I think, wanted to get back in touch with what worked, way back when. And it works because he makes it sweet, among the good dick and fart jokes and fanboy reference humor. I liked this because it was actually funny (though hit or miss), and it made me reminisce fondly on the original. Sure, nobody actually talks like the characters in this. But the people in Clerks did. Steak Knives.

Beerfest: I need to see this again, but drunk. A good idea, but it seemed, like Idiocracy, that the screenplay needed some editing (Landfill's death needed a reworking). But at the same time, can a movie be bad if it has several funny scenes, is all about getting drunk, has gratuitous T&A, and Jurgen Prochnow. This movie wasn't objectively good viewing while sober, but I'm willing to believe that it can be better. And further, this was a sign, to me, that Broken Lizard has another funny movie in them and that Super Troopers wasn't a one-off. You're Fired sober, will re-rate another time when in the appropriate state of mind.

Night at the Museum: I see why this was a massive hit with the family set. It's not entirely stupid, and the production values and effects were better than I expected. It could've been better, but it wasn't horrible either. Huge positive: Robin Williams wasn't horrendously annoying. This was OK, not a classic, but few live action family films these days are. Dull Steak knives.

The Good Shepherd: Hmm... This probably works better as a book. And it had the feeling of an HBO orginal movie with higher paid actors. But at the same time, it'd be a book I'd want to read, or an HBO original movie I'd like to watch. It'd be a better movie if it were 30-45 minutes shorter, but I'm not sure where I'd cut things. One memorable thing: the son in the movie looked like one of those Conan O'Brien "If They Mated" composites for Angelina Jolie and Matt Damon. And that's awesome. Steak Knives.

The Rules of the Game: For its time, I can see why this was so groundbreaking. The morals of the characters were surprisingly ribald for a movie made today, and I appreciate the subtle class-criticism. But I wouldn't say it was the most memorable film either. Maybe I wasn't in the right frame of mind to analyze this on a high level. My loss. Steak Knives (and I'm probably giving too many that rating this time around).

Casino Royale(2006): Probably my favorite Bond movie of all time, honestly. Far more intelligent, exciting and sexy than any of the recent ones (only GoldenEye comes remotely close). Right script, right cast, right settings, right plot. Craig is fantastic and I can't wait for the next one. The best movie of this lot, and one of my favorite movies that came out last year. Cadillac.

Stranger Than Fiction: Watered down Charlie Kauffman, and not as clever, funny or sweet. The cast is OK, but direction restrained - nobody seems to be having enough fun. Took itself too serious. You're Fired.

The Prestige: I figured it out pretty early on, but that didn't make it less fun waiting to see that I was right. I liked the direction, acting and twists. My expectations were really damn high, and it probably hit 70% of the expected. That's good enough for a set of Steak Knives.

For Your Consideration: The worst Christopher Guest movie. The worst movie of this group. Whenever Guest decided to hire an editor and employ quick cuts in the middle of dialogue instead of panning the camera, he screwed up big time. The result is somewhere between mockumentary and traditional set piece comedy - and it was terrible. Worse, it's not funny. Well, Fred Willard's hair was funny. But everything else about this wasn't. I think the plot is an elaborate performance art joke on Hollywood - basically THIS movie is everything that "Home for Purim" was (an empty reel), and the Hollywood press similarly promoted Catherine O'Hara for awards (when she wasn't that fantastic) just as her character. You're Fired.

Blood Diamond: Too long by 45 minutes, and it didn't know whether to be a serious drama (a la the far superior The Constant Gardener) or an exciting action movie, and the result was wishy washy drivel. DiCaprio was OK, though. Connelly didn't need to be in the movie at all, and she wasn't very good. You're Fired.

Stick It: OK, you know how to pull some camera tricks and the dialogue is filled with teenspeak. Unfortunately, you've made a weak movie. And the way many of the ages of the gymnasts weren't mentioned made it seriously creepy in parts. Jeff Lebowski, you're better than this. You're Fired.

Happy Feet: Singing and dancing = fun and cute. Everything else, especially the shoehorned plot = lame. The entire movie should've been the musical sequences and it should've been 80 minutes long and everyone would've gone home happy. Instead it pushes 2 hours and I nearly turned it off 5 times. And they couldn't have hired a Southerner to do Memphis's voice? You're Fired.


The DaVinci Code: Finally a film based upon a popular novel that is a faithful representation of the book. This movie has it all! And by "it all" I mean the arrogance, dreadful dialogue, and disrespect for the audience. The film perfectly captured and reminded me of everything I absolutely loathed about the book. From a technical standpoint, I'll say that this had a large budget and Ron Howard is basically a good (not great) director. From an actual standpoint, the film is only as good as the source material. So this was atrocious. You're Fired.