Monday, January 29, 2007

Movie Mon. - Seven Different Kinds of Smoke (Now with Electrolytes)

You, Me, and Dupree: Comedy about a couple of newlyweds (Matt Dillon and Kate Hudson) whose marital bliss is strained by their new houseguest, the shiftless best man Dupree. Now, I think the statement "This was nowhere near as horrible as I had feared it was going to be" scores pretty high on the "damning with faint praise" scale, but that's probably the best I can say about the film. After all, not a single thing in any of the previews made me even crack a smile; I hadn't even planned on renting this one until PigPen asked if I'd put it in my queue. So, when it actually managed to make me laugh a few times, and cringe much less than I had anticipated, I was pleasantly surprised. My favorite part was Owen Wilson's "I'm throwing off seven different kinds of smoke" sequence with the bodyguard; great stuff. PigPen, meanwhile, nearly keeled over at the "starch his socks" moment; honestly, thought I was going to have to prepare a eulogy, he was laughing so hard. Despite a few pretty funny parts, I still found the movie overall to be mediocre at best, mainly due to characters repeatedly doing stupid things that made no sense.

Raving Maniacs: Very low budget horror flick about an alien drug being circulated at a rave, turning all the tweekers into blood-thirsty killers. Despite the low budget and bad acting, this one showed a glimmer of promise at first, but it took far too long for any action to start, and once it did start, it was poorly written, poorly shot, poorly constructed, and just all around poor. Some funny moments here and there, both intentional and not, but in the end, this one is only watchable for the MST3K treatment you can give it.

The Magnificent Seven: Classic Western that is itself a reimagining of another classic, Seven Samurai. I had rented this once years ago, but the tape had messed up less than an hour in, and I never got around to renting it again until last week. Despite a bit o' cheese here and there, the film still holds up fairly well.

The Night Listener: Supposed "thriller" about an author and radio personality who forms a friendship with a teenaged author over the phone, only to discover that the teenager might actually be part of a hoax. The ads for this one made it look a whole lot more suspenseful than it actually was; when the ending rolled around, all I could think was "Is that it?" Which is too bad, because up until then it had been an interesting film. Maybe if I had had different expectations going in, I would have enjoyed it more, but as is, it left me flat.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning: Prequel to the recent remake of Massacre which shows how Leatherface and his family got into the killin' business. A so-so film which failed to draw me in, perhaps largely due to the fact that, as a prequel, I knew that none of the characters were getting out alive and that all of the psychos were. Biggest surprise of the film was my realization that the draft-dodger brother was the guy who played Oliver on The O.C.; nothing in this movie was nearly as horrifying as his storyline on that show.

Mexican Werewolf in Texas: Horribly, horribly, horribly misleading title; yes, there's a monster from Mexico running around Texas, but it's a chupacabra, not a werewolf -- big difference. That bit of misdirection aside, this was actually a pretty entertaining little Z-grade horror flick. The acting was mediocre, but tolerable, and the writing was just random and strange enough to keep me entertained, although I could have definitely done without the "henpecked father wants to kill daughter's Mexican boyfriend" storyline; a bit too much.

Crank: Over the top action film about a hitman who is injected with a synthetic poison, and who discovers that he can only stay alive by keeping his adrenaline pumping. This was the film that started PigPen and my use of the phrase "It had its moments"; some really cool (thought totally unbelievable) action sequences, with some pretty funny moments sprinkled throughout. One the negative side, the ending was a little cartoony and Amy Smart's character was one of the more annoying on-screen presences I've had to endure recently.

The Illusionist: Period piece about an Austrian stage magician (Ed Norton) who becomes involved in a love triangle with a childhood friend (Jessica Biel) and the sadistic crown prince (Rufus Sewell). Watched this one immediately after Crank, and I doubt you could have much more of a grinding gear shift than that; as a result, this one felt like slow going at first, but once I got into it I enjoyed it quite a bit. I still liked The Prestige a lot more, but until that makes its way to DVD next month, this one should satisfy all of your manipulative stage magician needs.

Idiocracy: Uneven satire from Mike Judge about the world's two most average people (Luke Wilson and Maya Rudolph) who are cryogenically frozen and thawed out in a future where, thanks to the constant dumbing down effect of the culture, they are officially the smartest people alive. Definitely another of those "it had its moments" films; felt like there was quite a bit of potential untapped by the time the movie was over. But, there were still quite a few scenes that made me laugh; this one in particular*, where Luke Wilson tries to convince the President's cabinet that maybe the reason their crops are failing is because they're using a Sports Drink instead of water for irrigation, struck a chord

Sara Rue's line reading of "It's got electrolytes" cracks me up every time.

Night at the Museum: Family film about a hapless man who gets a job as the night watchmen at a museum where everything comes to life at night. While the film couldn't compare to the entertainment I experienced on the way to the film, it was a cute movie with quite a few entertaining parts. I did often want to slap Ben Stiller's character around for being a moron, but that seems to have become par for the course in Stiller's films.

*Which, if you've spent any amount of time around PigPen and me in the last week or two, you've probably seen us reference a time or two


Bubblegum Tate said...

The Magnificent Seven holds up "fairly well"? What are you, some kind of communist? Don't get me wrong, it is NO Seven Samurai, but "fairly well"? Un. Be. Lievable.

Although you bring up an interesting point. Are things that were normal for a period but would be considered cheesey now considered cheese? Or should they be excused due to era? Hmmmmm.