Thursday, January 31, 2008

Flick the Button

1. The Namesake. Alright. I never noticed Kal Penn as having an oddly big nose in House or Harold and Kumar, so was it a prosthetic in this? In the few Mira Nair movies I've seen, music seems to dominate certain scenes (almost to a distraction), and this is no different. Plot-wise, this movie might've made a better saga miniseries, but TV networks don't really do that anymore, except for Lonesome Dove tales. Neither forgettable, nor memorable. You're Fired.

2. The Simpsons Movie. I guess I was hoping for more. In mymind, I had this theory that the last few years of the Simpsons on TV were so-so because they were saving the best jokes for the movie. I don't think my theory was correct, though there were some funny moments. The movie seemed like less of a "take the show to the next level" but more of a "let's remind everyone about how great the show is, as a whole". There's lots of references to golden age (early-mid 90s) episodes, which is nicely nostalgic, but maybe I was just hoping for something more. Maybe I need to see it again too. Fired/Steak Knives.

3. The Kingdom. I was suprised, but I actually liked this, despite many reasons not to. Normally I dislike jerky camera action, and the dialogue is pretty much stock action movie. But for the most part, this is really just a crime procedure movie, and it's pretty good at doing that. Not so much political, not so much bad ass action movie (until the end, where it does get a silly). In a weird way, this was kind of the movie I wanted A Mighty Heart to be (albeit with more guns and bombs). Steak Knives.

4. The Heartbreak Kid (2007). A couple of "geez, that's sick" moments, but no heart, and little actual comedy beyond the gross-out. And it's quite forgettable. Shame. I kind of like Michelle Monaghan. I'm not ready to say that There's Something About Mary was a complete outlier for the Farrelly Bros., as there are moments in some of their other movies. This, however, blew. You're Fired.

5. Stardust. I kind of wanted to like this, and it was OK for the most part. But a lot of the movie felt forced. Were I 13 and a girl, I'd probably like this a lot more. Instead, it looks like a SciFi network movie with more famous actors and peppier dialogue. In the fantasy genre, I appreciate the efforts of creating a new and fantastic world. In this movie, the new world felt kind of, well, like it'd been done before. You're Fired.

6. La Vie en Rose. Acting school. Cotillard is really really great in this. She reminds me of my great aunts, in mannerisms and how her Edith Piaf is really funny. The movie itself was engaging and interesting, even if I had no idea who Edith Piaf was, and I really wasn't much of a fan of her music. Beyond the acting, this felt like a real movie, not a TV movie with a bigger budget. Sharp steak knives.

7. Eastern Promises. Right after finishing the movie, I wasn't sure about how much I liked it. Probably because the Cronenberg movies I've seen seem just a little too slick. But this one stayed with me, and I think it's Mortensen's acting that's the reason for it. Like Watts's character, I wanted to believe he was good but capable of real evil, even when there was little evidence from his actions. The viewer and Watts' character were in the same boat. Kind of powerful. Downside: Cassel's performance was pretty hackish. Steak Knives.

8. Jesus Camp. I can't say I was all that shocked by the political angles here. And in a way, this is just a movie about weirdish kids coming from weird parents. But it also had a lot of moments of "really!!??" or "dude!!!". The Lady liked this a lot lot lot more than I did, but I didn't think it was bad. Probably a very effective movie to a lot of audiences. Steak Knives.

9. Suburban Girl. Stunning that this even made a DVD release, and not just an "ABC Family Original". There's no conflict for 2/3ds of the movie. The acting is bad or boring (and you have Alec Baldwin!). The editing bits are insulting to the audience (especially the last frame, which is the worst way to end a movie I've ever seen, really). Really bad. In fact, so bad, the only thing I found slightly redeeming was the lines from the Philawarepragueicago guy. Also, the title and marketing is F'd up. (A) She's not really a "suburban" girl. She lives in a massive apartment owned by her Aunt who was a member of the literati. (B) This movie isn't really based on the book it says it's based on, per The Lady. Don't get tricked. You're Fired.

10. The Brothers Solomon. Like Let's Go To Prison, this felt like an early draft of something that could've been very good. It's got funny moments, but it just feels rushed and like it could've had more funny moments. I think Will Arnett was miscast (and I'm a huge Will Arnett fan). He's creepy-nice in this, when he should either be nice-nice or actually creepy, or maybe they left it open for too long because they weren't sure whether they were going to have him end up creepy or nice. I liked Will Forte a lot in this though. The movie was way way way better than the other dick and fart comedies in this post, but not quite very good. And I probably grade tougher because I think with a couple of revisions, this could've been great. You're Fired.

11. Hairspray (2007). Not as fun as the original, and this one definitely felt in some ways like "famous people playing dress up". But it was also nice, in that I think one could watch it with your parents and not feel too worse for the wear. The music was alright, but I didn't think there were any showstoppers either. Basically, this is an OK movie. Or maybe I just think that because we rented it at the same time as the 2 worst movies on this list. Then there's this: with a young daughter and a wife who liked this a bit more than I did (and who very much liked the original), I fear my future will include seeing this several more times. And I'm not exactly fired up about that. Therefore my Steak Knives are downgraded to You're Fired.

12. Planet Terror. I'd forgotten I saw this already, and I saw it just a few weeks ago. Can't say I was all that excited while watching this. And perhaps if I'd seen 28 Weeks Later after this, I'd have been more fired up about the helicopter cutting heads off and stuff. Jeff Fahey was a plus, and I liked that joke about Fergie being a "no brainer". Otherwise, it's just meh. Though I think I did like this more than Death Proof and the incessant prattling on. You're Fired.

13. Good Luck Chuck. Wow did this suck. 100 minutes I'll never get back. I can't think of a single good joke in this. Yes, there's gratuitous nudity, but (and I can't believe I'm saying this), even that wasn't entertaining. Atrocious. Possibly the worst movie to get a wide release last year. IMDB says if you liked this you'll probably like The Heartbreak Kid. They're right, but they're also calling you a moron. You're So Fired Dane Cook You Might Never Work Again.

14. Once. Simple, sweet and good. Nice tunes, nice people, and a nice story. Been a while since I saw a movie that made me so happy/sad at the same time. That said, it almost felt Dogme, so it might not be accessible to many audiences. I liked it quite a bit, and I'd like musicals more if they were like this. Steak Knives.

15. Smokin' Aces. Yep, I saw this 8 days ago and completely forgot I'd seen it. This movie tricks you into being interested by having all the exposition come at you at 100 miles an hour in direct monologues, and then the end tells you what you just saw similarly. So you think you're "interested," but really you just have to pay attention just to know what's going on. All the acting is ridiculous, and lots of the plotlines are just moronic. Was there a sizable audience who was just begging for Common and Alicia Keys to get together on screen? Something tells me this movie "sounds" like a good movie more than it actually was a good movie. I'm sure over-RedBull-ed teenage boys think this is the shit though. You're Fired.

16. Juno. Yes, I actually saw a movie in a theatre (first one since Knocked Up, I think). Precocious Juno is a bit too peppy, but it's not too too too clever (only too too clever, I guess). Anyway, I suppose I liked this a good bit, though too many of the funniest parts were in commercials. Luckily the sweetest parts were left in. I know I sound gay for writing that. But it is a sweet movie. And that doesn't need to be a bad thing. More Bateman in movies (except not Smokin' Aces), please. I don't see how this can win an Oscar for Best Picture, but I did like it better than I suppose the recent comparables, Knocked Up and Little Miss Sunshine (and the last 2 Wes Anderson movies I've seen). Sharp Steak Knives (and the Lady, I believe, would've given it a Cadillac).

I know I'm missing some, but they are probably forgettable anyway... Man did I see some shitters in this group. I need to see some good movies, pronto.


peacedog said...

I think Kingpin is the best Farrelly brothers movie. I think they've really gotten derailed though. The Cohens were having the same problem but seem to have righted the ship with No Country (which I curse myself for missing).

I really liked Juno, which flirted with being too "hi, I'm a clever and sensible indie movie!" but didn't go overboard in the end and was sweet. And yes, I can enjoy sweet movies even though I am Man(tm). Michael Cera rulez, but all the performances in this one were pretty strong.

Anonymous said...

What a list of garbage. You are steak kniving way to many movies. You have lost the killer edge, like Roeper after Ebert's stroke. Michael Clayton, Superbad and No Country for Old Men are the only good movies recently. I am looking forward to Bank Job. I have gatorfan-Tebow like love for Jason Statham.

Unrelated, Adult swim disses on the Dawgs in this skit. Not that funny, but should be in knowledge of bloggers. I never really got that show.

Unknown said...

Eastern Promises was strong, Viggo made the movie (I could have done with seeing his noodle, though). It did have a similar feel to "History of Violence" which shouldn't surprise anyone.