Monday, October 01, 2007

Movie Mon. - It's Baaaaaaaaaack.

Yes, it's the return of Movie Mondays, for now, at least; my level of movie watching is much reduced from what it was back when I started blogging, so there are occasionally weeks where I don't get any movies watched at all. Shocking, I know. Anyway, when I do get a chance to watch stuff, I will try to be more diligent about getting my thoughts down so that all of you blog monkeys can read them and think "He liked/hated that movie? What was he smoking?" Anyway, to kick off the return, here's a smattering of reviews of films I've seen since Movie Monday went on extended hiatus.

: British horror flick with a sense of humor about a group of weapons manufacturer workers who get lost on the way to a team-building retreat and find themselves being hunted down.

Two Weeks: Serio-comic look at the final two weeks of life of a cancer-ridden mother of four (Sally Fields) and how her children cope. A well-done little film which rises above the possible syrupy nature of such a tale by imbuing the siblings with a snarky sense of humor; I laughed out loud quite a few times.

Hot Fuzz: Loved this just as much on DVD as I did at the theater. Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright, and Nick Frost need to work together until the end of time; can't wait to see what the next project from these comic masterminds will be.

Pathfinder: Interesting film about an abandoned Viking child (Karl Urban, a.k.a. Vaako in Chronicles of Riddick) raised by a Native American tribe, and then called upon to defend them when his kinsmen return to rape and pillage. Some nice action helps propel the film past moments of "what were they thinking?"

Black Christmas: Remake of 70s slasher film (reviewed here by yours truly) which falls far short of the mark set by the original, much to no one's surprise, I'm sure. It was interesting to see Michelle Trachtenberg (best known as the titular character in Harriet the Spy or as Dawn on Buffy) play a much less perky and much more jaded character than I've seen in the past, but overall, the film's a mess, made even more so by the unbelievable survival abilities of the killers, which stretch credibility even by horror film standards.

Wind Chill: Interesting supernatural thriller about a couple of college students who become stranded on a haunted stretch of road in the middle of a blizzard. Let me spoil one thing for you right now: the two main characters are not, I repeat, not dead throughout the entire film; both Maverick and I were worried that they were playing out that old chestnut (about which I've railed before), and were both relieved to find out that wasn't the case. It takes a while for the supernatural aspects of the film to ramp up, but I so enjoyed the interaction between the main characters that I didn't really mind.

Year of the Dog: Off-beat comedy about a lonely woman (Molly Shannon) who undergoes some life changes after the death of her dog. This one was a bit hard to slog through at times; there were some pretty funny parts (especially those revolving around Shannon's best friend), but also long stretches with little to nothing of interest happening. In the end I'm glad I stuck it out, but not one I'd recommend to most folks.

Primeval: Goofy giant crocodile movie that's never quite sure what it wants to be, swinging wildly from giant monster movie to strident political commentary at a moment's notice. Filled with unbelievably annoying characters, only Orlando Jones made a really positive impression, and even that wasn't enough to get a positive review out of me. And don't even get me started on the horrible CGI. *shudder*

Fracture: Enjoyable thriller about a too-smart-for-his-own-good lawyer (Ryan Gosling) who gets used as a pawn in the machinations of too-smart-for-anybody's-good murderer (Anthony Hopkins). I'm surprised I liked this as much as I did considering that neither Gosling nor Hopkins' characters are all that likable, a result of the script and not the performances, which were top-notch. Oh, and if you've ever wondered to yourself "what exactly does Cap'n Neurotic's cell phone look like?" well this movie is for you, as Gosling not only uses the exact same model of phone as I do, but the phone actually plays a pivotal part in helping him unravel the mystery.

The Lookout: Another chapter in Joseph Gordon-Levitt's quest to completely obliterate that image of him as "that kid from 3rd Rock from the Sun" has him returning to the world of pseudo-noir as a young man dealing with brain damage from a car wreck who is recruited to be the lookout for a bank robbery. Not too many surprises, perhaps, but a solid film with solid acting.

Wild Hogs: Comedy about a group of middle-aged guys with motorcycles who go on a road trip and get into all sorts of hijinks along the way. Not anywhere near as painfully unfunny as I had feared from the previews, which failed to make me laugh at all unless William H. Macy was onscreen. And, as one might suspect from that, most of the highlights of the film for me revolved around Macy's character; both Martin Lawrence and John Travolta's characters grated on my nerves, but Tim Allen was tolerable. All in all, not sorry I saw it, and most people I know liked it a whole lot more than I did, but it just didn't do much for me.