Friday, January 19, 2007

Movies and the hateful things I'm going to say about them.

Due to another free trial from NetFlix, I have been watching a lot of movies lately. Here's what I've seen recently, and what I thought about them....

A Scanner Darkly
From "The L.A. of a not-too-distant future suffers a surge of drug abuse involving a new ultra-addictive and eventually brain-damaging substance simply named "D". Bob Arctor is an undercover narc leading a double life, dutifully reporting to his superiors while effectively having abandoned whatever normal existence he had for a "D" user/dealer career. But this schizophrenic situation and the drug-induced memory and concentration lapses put Bob under mounting stress."

If you've seen trailers of this movie, then you know right off that the artistic style in which it is done was amazing. This film stars Keanu Reeves and Robert Downey Jr. and it honestly took me the majority of the movie to figure out exactly what it was about. It would have paid off for me to read that synopsis posted above. I was so amazed by the graphics that I saw right through the weak plot and apathetic acting. Just as the movie started to get interesting, the credits began to roll. All that build up for the big twist that actually gets me to be interested, only to find out that the movie was over. I hate when that happens. However, I'd love to see the same computerized mapping used over a good Scif-Fi or Comic Book movie that would really utilize it to it's full advantage. I feel like it was wasted on this film.

2 stars out of 5.

Employee of the Month
From "At Super Club, a large warehouse store, the employees strive to obtain the "Employee of the Month" award with the benefits of having their picture featured on the wall of fame in the staff lounge. Zack Bradley, a box boy, and Vince Downey, a cashier, are two competitive employees. Vince has become head cashier of the store and has won seventeen consecutive "Employee of the Month" awards. Zack, has not won any "Employee of the Month" awards and has no desire to except when Amy, a new cashier who only dates "Employee of the Month" winners, transfers to the store. Zack and Vince compete to get Amy's attention through competition and courtship."

Dear Dane Cook,
Thank you for making this movie watchable.

Dear Dax Shepard,
You were not believeable as a ladies man.

Dear Jessica Simpson,
Why did you always look so nervous on camera, especially when you never delievered more than two words in one scene?

Dear Wes,
Why did you watch this?

But really, it wasn't all terrible and had a few hilarious moments in the first half of the movie only to become completely snorrific towards the end. Worth a rental, but don't expect Dane to leave you in stitches like his standup comedy does.

2 stars out of 5.

My Super Ex-Girlfriend
From "When Matt Saunders meets Jenny Johnson, he thinks he's found the perfect girl. However, he decides to break things off with her when she becomes too needy, controlling, and jealous. Jenny doesn't take it well and decides to get back at him by using her superpowers, as it turns out Jenny is a superhero named G-Girl. Meanwhile, Matt and his co-worker, Hannah start to have a romance with each other which sends Jenny over the edge."

I'm a fan of Uma Thurman and whichever Wilson brother was in this movie, but this was definitely an underplay of their talents. It was an enjoyable 90 minutes of laughter and cheese-tastic situations, so that made it worth my while. I didn't hate it. Didn't love it. But it was funny. Plus there's a great scene where Uma Thurman's character throws a shark through a window and it chases the Wilson brother around an apartment eating and destroying everything in it's way. That.... was awesome.

3.5 stars out of 5.

Pirates of the Caribbean 2
From "Captain Jack Sparrow's life is in debt to the legendary Davey Jones, Captain of the Flying Dutchmen who are supernatural warriors out for blood. Facing possible eternal damnation, Jack must save himself with help from Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann, who must come to Jack's aid."

If you saw the first Pirates movie and enjoyed it, then you owe it to yourself to see this one as well. A fast-paced swashbuckling adventure that serves as a bridge between the first film and the upcoming third film. Be prepared for a lot of cliffhangers. Some of the situations that characters got themselves into blew my mind. I'd love to meet the person who initially had the ideas.
Great movie all around.

4.5 stars out of 5.

The Covenant
From "Four young men who belong to a supernatural legacy are charged with stopping the evil force they released into the world years earlier. Another great force they must contend with is the jealousy and suspicion that threatens to tear them apart."

Mindless action? Check.
Weak plot? Check.
Crazy special effects? Check.
It's guys who can do anything battling each other for all the power in the world.
Enough said, I think.

2 stars out of 5.

Lady in the Water
From "Apartment building superintendent Cleveland Heep rescues what he thinks is a young woman from the pool he maintains. When he discovers that she is actually a character from a bedtime story who is trying to make the journey back to her home, he works with his tenants to protect his new friend from the creatures that are determined to keep her in our world."

I'm a fan of director M. Night Shyamalan's work. I thought Unbreakable, The Sixth Sense, and Signs were all great but was a little let down by his previous film, The Village. I went into this movie not knowing much about it, other than that it was a fairy tale he wrote for his children, but interested to see what he was going to bring to the table this time around. I enjoyed the story of the movie and even though there seemed to be a lot of characters, everything that they contributed to the movie helped move the story along. Sometimes it was a little difficult to figure out exactly what was happening, but once the story got underway I was sucked in. Actor Paul Giamatti (who I think is great in general) did great in this film and played his part very well. Like I said, there are other characters who make the movie interesting such as a disgruntled movie critic and a guy who only works out the right side of his body.
The biggest disappointment of this movie is that the "Shyamalan Twist" that I have come to enjoy from his other movies seems absent from this one. I mean, there's kind of a twist, but nothing as mind-blowing as some of his past films. If you're a fan of his previous work, then check this one out. We'll see what his next movie brings.

4 stars out of 5.

Superman Returns
From "After a long visit to the lost remains of the planet Krypton, the Man of Steel returns to earth to become the peoples savior once again and reclaim the love of Lois Lane."

First off, this movie is a solid 2.5 hours, so if you're going to watch it, be prepared to sit for a while. It's a slow start, but eventually sucked me in. This film picks up right where the last left off, and newcomer Brandon Routh is the perfect Superman. Not only does he look very much like Christopher Reeve, but he LOOKS like Superman would. When he does scenes as nerdy Clark Kent, he looks completely different. Director Bryan Singer did an all around great job. Kevin Spacey makes an appearance as crazy man Lex Luthor who once again decides to take over the world, and Superman must stop him all while saving Lois Lane (a lackluster performance from Kate Boswworth) from every bad situation she gets into (and she gets into a LOT of rough spots). They also have a kid together which kicks the superdrama up to 10.
The other thing to mention about this flick is that the computer work was impeccable. It's nearly impossible to tell when they are using the actors versus computer versions of themselves and everytime Superman flies somewhere and does something amazing, it looks beautiful. They definitely left room for a sequel and I'm really hoping we'll see one in the next few years.

4.5 stars out of 5.

There are my reviews.
Go read a book.

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