Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Movie Mon. - I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE!!!!!!!!!

Saw IV: Latest installment in the series takes place concurrently with the third installment, a fact that might get lost if you're not paying close attention since the opening scene with its unnecessarily drawn out autopsy scene really takes place after the action of both films is over. This is one I might need to watch again when I'm not drugged up on cold medicine, since I kept falling asleep and having to rewind it, and I think I may have missed some vital information. Or, it could have just been really boring and poorly constructed; I can't really be sure.

Beautifully shot Sci-Fi film about an expedition sent out to reignite the dying sun, and the difficulties that ensue when the crew receives a signal from the previous expedition, long thought lost. I'm thinking this one fits in the "not everybody's cup of tea" category, but as for me, I liked it a lot. While I understand -- and to some degree, empathize -- with those who felt that the shift towards a horror/thriller plot towards the end of the film was a bit of a radical change, on the whole I thought the exploration of the psychological toll such a mission would take on its crew made this a film worth viewing

Rocket Science:
Quirky comedy about a geeky kid with a stutter who is recruited onto his school's debate team by a highly competitive girl who tells him she wants to mold him into the perfect debate partner, and with whom he soon falls in love. And while this plot synopsis sounds hokey and predictable, I assure you the film is anything but. I'm of two minds about this movie. On the one hand, it was filled with great acting and great dialogue and quirky characters; but on the other, there were multiple times when I had to pause the movie and run around the house a few times to work out the tension that had built up in me as the protagonist's stuttering issues once again threatened to cause him untold amounts of embarrassment. One of those movies that will probably appeal to only a couple of people I know (I'm looking at you, Li'l Random), but those people will probably fall in love with it.

Killer Diller:
Drama about a young car thief who gets paroled on the condition that he move into a halfway house and become part of a Christian band, a program that's on the verge of being canceled until the thief recruits an autistic savant (Lucas Black) with a talent for the Blues. Entertaining, if not eminently believable.

King of Kong:
Remarkably engaging documentary about the battle for the world record high score of Donkey Kong. Leaving aside all the arguments about how much of the film is true and how much is the magic of editing, King of Kong stands as a highly entertaining film populated by the colorful characters of the slightly inbred world of competitive vintage video game playing, some of whom come off as relatable, others as enjoyable eccentric, and at least a couple as pretty much pathetic.

The Invasion: So-so remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, with the traditional pods being replaced a a virus, and the traditional cold war tension being replaced by post 9-11 bioterrorism tension, and the traditional quality being replaced by blandness. Honestly not as bad as what all of the reviews made it out to be, and it had some interesting twists on the body snatcher plot, but on the whole, not something I'd recommend to much of anyone.

Mr. Woodcock:
Mediocre comedy about a self-help guru (Sean William Scott) who finds his own platitudes failing him when he returns home to find that his widowed mother (Susan Sarandon) is dating the gym teacher (Billy Bob Thornton) that once tormented him. Just not my cup of tea, I think; too much humor predicated on Scott saying or doing horribly idiotic and embarrassing things and his mother being totally oblivious. About the only things I found remotely amusing were Amy Pohler's hilarious turn as Scott's abusive, alcoholic agent and pretty much any sequence where Thornton tormented kids in gym class -- pretty much everything else was a wash for me.

Ping Pong: Japanese film adapted from the manga (that's the term for a Japanese comic book for the uninitiated among you blog monkeys) about the overly energetic Peco, an high school student with dreams of being a professional table tennis player, and his best friend Smile -- so named because he never does -- who might really be the one with the potential to go pro. Great movie; its manga roots show through quite often, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. Often funny, occasionally touching, this one was quite a pleasent surprise as I was expecting something similar to Shaolin Soccer and instead found something that relied less on special effects and action set-pieces, and more on character development and interaction.

There Will Be Blood: Excellent drama from director P.T. Anderson (Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Punch-Drunk Love) about unscrupulous oil man Daniel Plainview (the amazing Daneil Day Lewis) who is driven not just by need to succeed, but a need to see others fail. This one gets the Odd Squodd Seal of Approval, although Cap'n Shack-Fu wasn't quite as entranced as Li'l Random and I. Daniel Day Lewis definitely deserves the Best Actor nomination for his performance, but I am horribly disappointed that Paul Dano (the vow-of-silence brother from Little Miss Sunshine) did not get a Best Supporting Actor nod for his role as the constant religious thorn in Plainview's capitalistic side.

Now, some people were a bit disappointed with the ending, which jumped ahead several years in time, but for me it was worth it just for the scene where the drunken and belligerent oil tycoon tries to explain to his long time nemesis the concept of "draaaaaaaaaaaaaaaainage!"

Awesome movie; I'm torn on whether I think it or No Country for Old Men deserves the Oscar, but I'd be happy with either one.