Monday, September 26, 2005

Movie Mon. - She's a lumberjack and she's okay

First thing's first: I am done with the Capstone! Woo-hoo! And now I get to wait for 2-4 weeks to find out if I passed it all or not! Woo-hoo! I'll either be living in constant agony, or, at the very least, repressing all of my anxiety and the watching it erupt in weird and socially awkward behavior! Ain't life grand?

And now, as step one in my quest to pretend that the Capstone isn't just floating out there, mocking me: on to the movie stuff!

Last Tuesday, before diving in to the Capst . . . er, something or other, don't quite remember what, it's not very important right now, don't know why I even brought it up . . . um, anyway, last Tuesday I headed to the local video store right at opening to pick up a couple of movies I had been wanting to see for quite some time which were finally coming out on DVD. Walk in, head straight for the "M"s, quickly scan the shelves, and realize that the movie which was the primary reason I had ventured forth was not available. And I don't mean not available as in "darn, I was too slow and somebody already rented the only copy"; no, I mean not available as in “this stinking video store does not own a copy of this movie." Nonplussed, I went ahead and rented two other new releases that I had been wanting to see (just not as much as the one which wasn't there), and then drove across the street to the competition to see if they might have the much desired film. Walked into the new store, and had to restrain myself from breaking into a full out run to escape the overpowering stench of their so-called "air fresheners." Seriously, I can feel my throat closing up just thinking about it. Still, I was on a mission, and so speed-walked over the "M"s, only to discover that this store had an even more miserable selection than the previous one, not even owning one of the films I had already rented. And for that I risked life and lungs? Never again!

Anyhoo, on to the reviews.

Mindhunters: One of those "was supposed to come out two years ago but kept getting pushed back before being dumped into theaters with little fanfare and yanked almost as quickly" films, and after watching it, all I can say is: why? I mean, it's not the greatest movie I've ever seen, to be sure, and yes, there were a few plot points that were a bit too convenient, and yes, the group attitude towards LL Cool J was a bit over the top, and yes, Patricia Velasquez's performance was so eye-gougingly painful that I began to theorize that she only got the part because she was the only actress on the planet who would agree to do the shower scene with Christian Slater, but all in all, an enjoyable little serial-killer flick. Inventive deaths, several "did not see that coming" moments, and enough red herrings to make me doubt my original suspicion as to whodunit (which was right, btw). Been a bit too distracted to come up with a rating system yet, but for right now I'll give this a status of "okay for rental, if you like this sort of thing." How's that for standing firmly by my position? Oh, and the "I know I know him/her but can't quite place the face" award goes to Eion Bailey, better known as Dr. Jake on ER. Okay, actually, he's probably better known as "that doctor who's been flirting with Abby, but nothing will ever come of it because nobody gets to have a functioning relationship on this show without getting killed or something" on ER. And the "great googly-moogly, that's who that was?" award goes to the mind-numbingly bad mindhunter Patricia Valeasquez, who, I discovered when looking up her name for this post, played Marta, Gob's ex-girlfriend on Arrested Development. I guess that stilted "are you sure she understands what she's saying?" accent works better for comedy than for drama.

Lightning Bug: interesting indie film starring Bret Harrison, a.k.a. Brad from Grounded for life, as a small-town trailer trash kid who dreams of becoming an FX artist for horror films. Things start to fall apart after his mom marries a homicidal drunk, and he starts dating that red-headed lumberjack girl from That 70s Show. Yes, I know her name is Laura Prepon, it just always cracked me up when they'd refer to her as a lumberjack on the show. Don't know why, but it does. It's even on my "5 things that are always funny in TV and movies" list. In no particular order:

  • Jackie making lumberjack references about Donna on That 70s Show
  • Anne Heche and Peter MacNicol's chain reaction screaming on Ally McBeal
  • Angel singing and/or dancing on Angel
  • Gob performing to "The Final Countdown" on Arrested Development
  • People getting hit in the face

Anyway, the lumberjack's mom turns out to be a crazy religious type who seems bent on making our hero's life more miserable than it already is. Throw in a couple of violent deaths, and hey, it's a party! I liked the movie overall, although there was one scene involving naughty teenage behavior in an empty church that made me VERY uncomfortable, so if you're sensitive to that sort of stuff, consider yourself warned. I did appreciate that after all the talk of the church folk being nuts, one of the saner characters responded to the lumberjack's mom's question about why he hadn't been coming to services with the comment "I prefer a Bible based doctrine." Made the whole "sanctimonious church folk" pill a little bit easier to swallow.

The Brothers Grimm: Let me preface this by saying that Terry Gilliam is one of my favorite directors; I've seen Brazil, The Fisher King, and my favorite, Twelve Monkeys many, many times. So I had been excited about this film when I first heard about it a long, long, LONG time ago. But then, it also fell prey to the "keep pushing it back" bug, and when it did get released, the reviews were less than glowing. Still, there was part of me that remained hopeful, and so when my folks and I started trying to agree on a movie that all three of us might enjoy, it was a nice surprise to find out that the only favorable option was The Brothers Grimm. So, how was the movie? Not great, I'm sorry to say. Not horrible either, mind you, but not great. I think it's one I might enjoy more on subsequent viewings, since most of my issues came with the incredibly slow-moving beginning, which felt a tad disjointed and shoddily edited to me, but could have just been a victim of faulty expectations on my part. But once they moved off into the village with the enchanted forest, the film picked up quite a bit. Some nice creepy imagery there, especially the scene with the horse and the spiders. Ugh, spiders *shudder* Muy, muy creepy. My biggest quibble with the film was the performance of Peter Stormare as Cavaldi. Normally, I'm a big fan of Stormare and his idiosyncratic performances, but this time around, it just didn't work for me. His over-the-top scenery-chewing just didn't mesh well with the rest of the film, IMO. The "Hey, isn't that . . ." award for this film goes to the scrawnier of the Grimms' assistants, played by Mackenzie Crook, best known in the States either as Gareth (the assistant TO the regional manager) on the original, BBC The Office, or as the pirate with a wooden eye in Pirates of the Caribbean.

Okay, that's it for now, tune in tomorrow to find out just how many new shows I've become addicted to already, which new show was a bit of a let down, which new show was a bit of a surprise, and which returning sitcom had me contemplating self-immolation because it would have hurt less than having to deal with the inane plot.

Oh, and the DVD they didn't have in stock? Martin and Orloff, a film practically no one has heard of, written by and starring two of the Upright Citizens Brigade.