Monday, June 30, 2008
Alright, what happens when you take a movie like License to Kill or the Living Daylights, mix in just a pinch of the Bourne movies, add a little National Treasure, sprinkle it with the Matrix and add more than a heavy helping of the supernatural elements from movies like Jumper and the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen? You get 2008's Wanted...and it's not much. I say all that to say that this movie is so many movies you've seen before from (oh I don't know) 1980 forward. It's not even an improvement on those types of movies, it's just a rehash. Wanted tells the story of Wesley, a nobody who suddenly realizes (thanks to a little help) that his father is a member of an ancient group of super assassins who are killing the bad guys across the globe. Their motto is, kill one, save a thousand. So what's the message? Violence is the cause of and solution to all of life's problems? What, is this a pro-death penalty movie? This movie is predictable, cliche and boring. There's just nothing new, I'm sure any of you could come up with ten movies w/in a minute of leaving the theatre that felt just like this one. Beyond that, it glorifies violence more than any movie I've seen in a long time. If you want to see a movie about a guy w/ principles who also happens to kick alot of ass, skip this one and see David Mamet's new one, Redbelt.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
This 2004 dromedy tells the story of Alim, a young Canadian-Indian living in London. He has a man who loves him, a great job and everything's going well until, Uh-Oh, his Indian mother shows up. This movie sucked big time. The performances are amateurish and flat and every minute of this flick feels forced. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that there was barely a single moment of this movie that felt natural or genuine. The portrayal of Indians was tired too. What? Alim's Indian mother is nagging, superficial and obsessed with his getting married!? Are you kidding? How original. In fact, all of the people groups and social groups portrayed in this movie were stereotypes. I don't want to shock you but the gay men in this movie love to go clubbing, sleep around and are very fashionable. Whatever. This movie was awful. Even the casting was bad, I mean, the actress who played Alim's mother couldn't have been but a couple years older than the actor that played Alim. Long story short, skip this one.
This 2008 sequel to the ridiculous and very funny first Harold and Kumar catches up with the pair just a day after the last movie. They are now headed to Amsterdam and are suddenly interrupted when a bong Kumar's constructed for the flight is mistaken for a bomb and the two are sent off to Guantanamo, labeled as North Korea and the Taliban working together. Whatever, it doesn't really matter what it's about. The point of this one (and the last one for that matter) is seeing these two guys (one's uptight, the other's a slob) get into all kinds of crazy situations and to watch the comedy ensue. While the last one did a good job, despite the tired premise, this one doesn't. It's funny now and then, but mostly it's not funny at all, just easy jokes that get more of a smile than a laugh. NPH is great again, but not as funny, seeing as how we've already heard that joke. There's nothing original here and even the stuff that's tried and true is not nearly as funny as the last time we heard it. If you wanna laugh at Harold and Kumar, rent the original. You're bound to laugh more even if you've already seen it before.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
2008 comedy by first time director Kent Alterman who, while he's never directed before, was the executive producer on some great TV and movies like Strangers with Candy (TV) and Little Children. This effort of his is good but not anything I'd call great. The flick's about Jackie Moon a guy who had one hit (a hilarious song called Love Me Sexy) and bought an ABA franchise with the money he made from the single sales. The problem is he sucks as an owner. He is the team's (which he named the Tropics despite being located in Flint Michigan) owner, coach, PR guy, power forward and personell manager. He's not very good at any of them. He even says he doesn't know anything about basketball but feels like he's a great motivator "like that nun in India." The movie is about him and his teammates and their attempt to keep the franchise after the merger of the ABA with the NBA, but it's really about the hilarious state of basketball back when b-ball had more than one league and some of them (like the ABA) often bordered on the rediculous. Will Farrell (who plays Moon) is really funny and feels very natural in this role. He wears a fro (which he grew naturally), fur coats, platform shoes and drives a big gold caddilac. Moon is a sweet, naiive character that Farrell pulls off very well. And I gotta say I really enjoyed the movie. It was funny as heck and I had a good time watching it. However, it did get boring at times and they included storylines (like the one involving Maura Tierney) that felt totally unnecessary. There was also just about nothing surprising in the plot or the story. However, if you like b-ball, Will Farrell and are looking for a movie that'll make you laugh and not require you to think at all, then this is the movie for you. I laughed alot, but they were all more like chuckles than side-splitters if you know what I mean. Glad I waited for the DVD, but dug it when I finally got around to it.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
2007 Drama/Comedy by Robin Swicord, who hasn't directed much but has written tons of classic chick flicks like Memoirs of a Geisha, Little Women and Shag. The Jane Austen Book Club picks up in the lives of several strangers as they intersect. Bernadette (played wonderfully by Kathy Baker) meets Prudy, a young French teacher whose full of ego and contempt for her husband. Well Bernadette decides that since they're all at a sort of crossroads, that maybe they should indulge a common love, Jane Austen, and form a Jane Austen book club. The plot is very typical and the tone plays out like a Lifetime made-for-TV movie. The dialogue is pretty thin and relies waaaaaay too much on those facicious statements where characters act like they're talking about a book (as here, but could be other things in other movies) but it's obvious to everyone in the room (and watching the flick) that they're really not talking about that book, but about each other. Also, for someone like me who hasn't read much Austen at all, there were way too many times where I had no idea That might work once or twice but they do it at almost every meeting. In other words, the movie's not great and at times seems pretty typical, but the salvation of this movie lies in the performances. Everyone is good, even people I've never seen before. They're all great and the chemistry is really thick. Their relationships feel natural and it's fun to watch. If it weren't for this, this would be a clunker. It's still not great, but it would be worth a watch if you're looking for a rental.