Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Tardy Tuesday's Movie Monday Makeup

Only a few more days until Hellboy II: The Golden Army comes out, and then it's only a week until The Dark Knight premieres, and then the summer of the super-cool comic book movies which get off to a great start with Iron Man and kinda-sorta carried on with Wanted will be over. But, at least I'll still have super-cool comic book TV to watch in the form of The Middleman, which is still kicking all sorts of butt.

Hancock: Will Smith vehicle about a drunken lout of a superhero whose horrible attitude and behavior have made him an object of scorn, until a well-meaning PR consultant decides to make him his new cause. An okay film; I might have enjoyed it much more if I hadn't already seen practically the entire first 2/3 of the film in the trailers. I suppose I should be happy that the bulk of the final act of the film wasn't spoiled for me, but this was definitely a case where careful avoidance of promotional media would have increased my enjoyment a lot. Plus, that final act felt very rushed, and the "big bad" was a bit of a let-down. All in all, I'm not sorry I paid matinee price for it, but probably would have been satisfied to wait for rental.

10,000 B.C.: So-so blockbuster about a young mammoth hunter who undertakes a quest to rescue his tribe members who were kidnapped to be used as slaves to build the pyramids. Probably would have been a better movie-watching experience on the big screen, where the special effects would have had more impact; as it was, watching it on a regular sized TV just made the mediocre plot stand out more.

Vantage Point: Thriller about an assassination attempt on the President, told from the P.O.V.s of a news crew, a Secret Service agent, a local cop, a civilian bystander, the President himself, and the conspirators behind it all. An interesting idea, and executed fairly well for the most part, but I couldn't help feeling like there were some problems with the overall timeline of events, and the Forest Whitaker storyline grated on my nerves, for the inclusion of the little girl as resident damsel in distress if nothing else -- seriously, was that whole thing truly necessary? My favorite part of the film was the opening sequence with Sigourney Weaver as the news producer; if only the rest of the film had engaged me as much. Worth a rental, but glad I didn't pay full price.

Van Wilder 2: The Rise of Taj: Lackluster, cliche-ridden sequel which follows Taj Mahal Badalandabad to a new college in England, where he adopts a group of outcasts and misfits (comprised of a Brain, a Brute, a Beauty, and a Brain-dead Bozo) and whips them into shape so they can win the coveted Camford Cup, all while wooing his lovely supervisor who just so happens to be dating his arch-nemesis and head of the raining Camford Cup champions. Yup, nothing derivative there, nosireebob. Watched this due to a bit of synchronicity; somehow the movie came up in a discussion at lunch on Sunday and PigPen mentioned that he was morbidly curious in seeing how it stacked up to the original, which he really likes. Later that evening, as I was flipping through the channels I saw that it was on Showtime, so we figured we'd give it a whirl since it wasn't going to cost us anything other than our time. Well, we made it all the way through, so it obviously wasn't a horrible movie, but neither was it all that good. Couple of chuckles here and there, but, yeah, don't waste any money on it.

The Bucket List: Entertaining film about two terminally ill cancer patients (Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman) who decide to embrace life in their last days on Earth. Both funny and touching, this is one of the few films I saw this week which I would recommend with no hesitation. A bit predictable, yes, but enjoyable nonetheless.

Charlie Bartlett: Excellent film about a too-smart-for-his-own-good wealthy teenager who struggles to find his way after being kicked out of private school, and soon winds up finding popularity as his school's resident amateur therapist, complete with pharmaceutical aid. A very funny and smart film which is built on a solidly entertaining script, but which is propelled by stellar performances from its cast, particularly the titular role as played by the talented young Anton Yelchin. Honestly, for me the film was worth it just for the sequence where he tries out for the school play; everything after that was just gravy. If Li'l Random wasn't out of town this week, I would have used this as the Odd Squodd pick of the week; as that implies, this one might not be for everyone.


Starrlett said...

Oh, so sad that you started with the sequel--Van Wilder is, despite two awful gross-out scenes, fantastic. It's by far my favorite of the gross-out college genre... um, which isn't perhaps saying much. Perhaps it says more than, while not being a big fan of the genre in general, I own this movie and have seen it at least six times. Ryan Reynolds even made Blade: Trinity worth watching. (Well, once, anyway.)

We also watched 10,000 BC< despite my protests--it was quite "purty," but I thought it a bit funny that essentially, it was Stargate (the movie) without the US Air Force involvement. I mean, you have the uprising of slaves and the Egyptians as aliens, right? Totally Stargate. So yeah, a bit low on plot, but not as painful and boring as I had anticipated.

Soooo wanting to see Charlie Bartlett, glad to hear a good review.