Thursday, December 21, 2006

Much Belated Movie Reviews

My Super Ex-Girlfriend: Mediocre romantic comedy about an average guy (Luke Wilson) who starts dating a neurotic girl who just happens to be a superhero with the unwieldy name of G-Girl (Uma Thurman) -- an unstable superhero who makes his life a living hell when he breaks up with her. Not as bad as I had feared after I saw the underwhelming trailers, but not as good as the potential of the premise either. Rainn Wilson (Dwight on The Office) is funny as Luke's shallow friend, although the shallowness goes a bit overboard during the final act. An okay movie with enough amusing parts to make it not a total waste of my time. Heck, if nothing else, it was worth it for those moments when Luke Wilson's facial expressions made me finally understand why some folks keep asking Shack-Fu "Did anyone ever tell you that you look like that Luke Wilson guy?"

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby: Will Ferrell vehicle (pun not intended) about the meteoric rise, fall, and re-rise of NASCAR driver Ricky Bobby. Ferrell’s films can be hit or miss with me; this one was definitely a hit. Kudos to Leslie Bibb for being completely unrecognizable to me as Ricky's golddigging wife until the end credits ran; quite a departure from her Popular and ER days. If you're a fan of Ferrell, you'll probably like it; if not, then much less likely.

A Scanner Darkly: Semi-animated adaptation of Philip K. Dick's anti-drug novel about an undercover narcotics agent in the near future who has gotten hooked on the very substance he's trying to stamp out. I read the novel back in junior high, so I can't really speak to how closely this hews to the source material, although most reviews seem to point this out as one of the most faithful of all PKD adaptations*. This is an odd film, both in terms of format (rotoscoped animation of live action, much like the director's earlier film Waking Life) and content (lots and lots and lots of drug-addled musings), but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Robert Downey Jr. is excellent as the paranoid and manipulative Barris, and the scene where Freck (Rory Cochrane) attempts suicide while a disembodied voice narrates was one of the highlights of the film. I give it high marks, but it's most definitely not for everyone.

Ice Age 2: Entertaining sequel which follows the ragtag cast as they try to escape an impending flood caused by melting of the ice. Not quite as good as the first, perhaps, but still loads better than most of the animated films floating around out there.

The Barnyard: Animated film from the creator of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius about a goof-off young cow who has to grow up fast when he is thrust into a leadership role after the death of his father. This one was much, much, much, much better than I had expected; think in my head I kept confusing it with Home on the Range, but even so, the trailers for The Barnyard definitely didn't do it justice. The film is worth it for sequence where the animals try to convince the farmer that he was hallucinating alone.

Mozart and the Whale: Interesting romantic dramedy about a relationship between two people with Aspberger's Syndrome (Josh Hartnett and Radha Mitchell). I can't speak to the validity of the portrayal of people with AS (there's been some controversy there), but I can speak to the quality of the writing and acting, which were both high. It made me laugh, it made me tear up, it made me want to recommend it to others. Can't ask for much more than that.

*For the uninitiated, Philip K. Dick is responsible for the stories that inspired Total Recall, Minority Report, Paycheck, Imposter and the classic Blade Runner.


Anna said...

So, you don't say whether or not you are a Will Ferrell fan.

The 3 kids came home this summer quoting stuff from Barnyard, which usually means the movie is pretty good.

Cap'n Neurotic said...

I wasn't a fan of Ferrell when he was on SNL, but I've become a fan of him in movies. Thought he was great in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, he was one of the few bright spots in Zoolander, and Elf is right up there with A Christmas Story on my "favorite holiday movie" list. I wasn't a huge fan of Anchorman as a whole the first time I saw it, but thought it had some hilarious parts sprinkled throughout.