Thursday, July 10, 2008

Short Movie Reviews

I've seen a lot of movies lately but am not going to take a lot of time to give extensive reviews on those that are not outstanding (in either a good or bad way). So, here are my sound-bite reviews of a few I've seen:

Wanted - Borderline violence porn but pulls itself back from the precipice by stylizing it Matrix-like. Having some decent acting talent helps the movie (McElvoy, Jolie, Freeman). Definitely has some Fight Club moments -- nerdy office-jockey turned sexy ass-kicker. Trying very hard not to sound too much like a male here, but probably failing, the Jolie butt shot is a bonus. I suppose it could have been a stunt butt. Grade: C+

Happening - Shyamalan says it's just a B-movie, but the environmental parallels are not hard to see. That's OK ... Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead put messages in B-movies too. Fairly suspenseful but suffers from what most M. Night movies suffer from ... they're not the Sixth Sense. This movie is not as bad as some people are making it out to be. Grade: C

Kung Fu Panda - Abandons the wink-wink, nudge-nudge, inside-joke, pop-cultural references of too many of today's animated movies and is the better for it. Good animation, good voice talent (Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Jackie Chan) and a heart-warming (though trite) story. Grade: C+

Prince Caspian - I guess one of the fun things for me in the first Narnia movie was to try and identify all the Christian symbolism. Other than that, it was fairly boilerplate fantasy fare, but not bad. This one seems to tone down the imagery, or the book it was based on didn't have as much. I'm not sure as I haven't read it yet. There's a lot of fighting in this one, but not a lot of new character exposition. I guess I'm just ambivalent about this one. Not good. Not terrible. Grade: C-


CyberKitten said...

I was very disappointed with Wanted. I thought it had a lot of promise. The first 20 minutes were very tedious (I mean, how many times do they need to do the whole 'boring guy becomes super-something' gig?). Although they had some good set-pieces the underlying story was borderline terrible and fell apart if you thought about it for more that 30 seconds.... oh, and Ms Jolie isn't really that hot. [laughs]

Never saw the Happening. I've seen a few Shyamalan films & I'm still recovering from how bad they were...

Saw Kung Fu Panda a few days ago. As expected the animation was very good. Unfortunately story-lines have yet to catch up. Trite indeed. "If you believe in yourself enough you can achieve you dreams - no matter how fantastic they are" Yeah, right...

I never really had high hopes for Prince Caspian having not particularly been blown away with the prequel. It did have a nice look to it but was basically vacuous. The children especially Peter annoyed me a lot. Caspian himself was OK but no one else really stood out. The thing I enjoyed most was bitching about the lack of military understanding by both sides in the final battle in the car on the way home.... [laughs]

I am getting *so* hard to please these days!

Laura said...

"I am getting *so* hard to please these days!"

ME TOO! I'm getting very picky about movies lately. I think I'm just starting to think twice about what is and is not worth $10.50.

I actually had no interest in any of these movies, and from the mediocre reviews, I can see I was right to stay away. I might see them free on cable.

dbackdad said...

There's definitely nothing wrong with expecting something more out of movies. I saw three of these movies because they were the choices of other members of my family (Happening - my wife, Caspian and Kung-Fu - Alex). I'm to blame for wanting to see Wanted. There was nothing particularly special about any of them. Hence, my drive-by reviews.

The upcoming weeks have me cautiously optimistic (Hellboy, Batman, X-Files).

CyberKitten said...

Hellboy 2 *looks* very interesting indeed & I'm really looking forward to it.

Not so sure about Batman. Not convinced I'll be seeing X-Files.

Laura said...

I actually can't wait for Batman. It looks fantastic to me. Apparently Heath Ledger is amazing and the Joker is more maniacal than comic-bookish. I still love the Tim Burton film, but this one looks great. Plus it was filmed in Chicago and that's always kinda cool. A friend of mine is an extra in the penthouse party scene with the introduction of the Joker, so that's fun too.

dbackdad said...

I think Batman's going to be pretty good. There's definitely been a lot of buzz on Ledger's performance.

Batman Begins was really good and, in general, I really like Christopher Nolan movies (Memento, The Prestige).

I like seeing Chicago in movies. I was flipping through channels this morning and stopped on High Fidelity, which is full of nothing but Chicago.