Monday, March 30, 2009

Movie Mon - Guan You, Guan Me, Guan Di

The Last House on the Left: Wes Craven's remake of his directorial debut about a group of criminals who find themselves at the mercy of the vengeful parents of one of their victims. One of those "sorry I paid to see it" films; not horrible, per se, but ultimately feels pointless. There were a couple of scenes that had Li'l Random and I laughing at the unintentional comedy, but there wasn't even enough of that to recommend it for MST3King.

Latest effort from Guy Ritchie about a group of criminals getting in over their heads starts off pretty slow, but by the time the first robbery is pulled, the movie moved into full swing, and I was hooked. The first in a proposed trilogy of films following these characters; while my love for the film isn't equal to my love for Ritchie's earlier films like Lock, Stock, and 2 Smoking Barrels or Snatch, I'm eagerly looking forward to the next installment, especially if it contains anything as genius as this dance scene

Drama based on the true story of a single mother in 1928 Los Angeles whose son is abducted; months later, when the police claim to have found the boy, she refuses to believe it is him, and begins a crusade to find her real child, a crusade that makes her a target for the corrupt police department. Well done film that goes places I hadn't expected.

My Name is Bruce:
Low-budget B movie featuring king of low-budget B-movies, Bruce Campbell, playing himself, albeit a more exaggerated, blowhard version; the plot revolves around a young fan of low-budget B-movies who accidentally unleashes a Chinese god of war (and bean curd) and tracks down Bruce as an expert on the sort of creatures you would find in low-budget B-movies and asks for help, which Bruce mistakes for a birthday present from his agent wanting him to enjoy live role-playing his low-budget B movie role. So, how was it? As far as low-budget B-movies go . . . kind of disappointing. Oh, and it had its moments here and there, but overall, I expect more from Mr. Campbell. Although, I did find the Ballad of Guan Di kind of catchy (warning: mildly bloody towards the end)

Wonder Woman:
Animated movie featuring everyone's favorite Amazonian here -- sorry, Xena -- coming to "man's world" to fight the forces of Ares. I've been pretty impressed with the overall quality of the recent slate of direct-to-DVD animated films from DC animation, and I think that this one is actually the best so far; the chemistry between WW and Steve Trevor (as voiced by Keri Russell and Nathan Fillion) is excellent, and the humor throughout was well done -- really wish I could find a clip of Diana teaching a young girl excluded from playing sword-fight with the boys in the park the proper way to disembowel your opponent; good stuff.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona:
Woody Allen film about two American women summering in Europe who both fall for a volatile artist. I know it won an Oscar or two, and I know people who enjoyed it, but I honestly could not wait for the credits to roll on this one; bored me silly. Might have been a different story if I actually cared about any of the characters.

Rachel Getting Married:
Indie film about a recovering addict (the excellent Anne Hathaway) who is released from rehab in time to attend her sister's wedding. I have to confess, I had been expecting to enjoy this one more than I did after all the raves I'd heard -- although I had heard at least one dissenting opinion from a co-worker* -- but the film felt overlong, and the feuding between the two sisters wore on me. Interesting side note: the actress who plays Rachel, the sister who complains because she feels like her more troubled sibling gets all of the attention, also plays Tara's sister on United State of Tara, on which her character is always complaining because her more troubled sibling gets all of the attention . . . Anyway, I did enjoy the movie on the whole, but I tended to enjoy the scenes centered around Anne Hathway's character more than anything else. She definitely deserved all the praise she received for the role.

Bottle Shock:
So-so drama about "The Judgement in Paris" wine-tasting of 1976 which placed the California wine-making community on the map. A solid cast, but an uninspired script. Not great, not awful, just kind of there.

Nobel Son:
Dark comedy about a selfish scholar (Alan Rickman) whose winning of the Nobel prize in chemistry is overshadowed by the kidnapping and ransom of his son -- a kidnapping that he initially doesn't believe is real and so repeatedly hangs up on the kidnapper. I'd say I enjoyed the first 2/3 of the film at least, maybe even 3/4; but, as it moved into its final act, the decisions and behavior of the characters we were supposed to be cheering for took me out of it. On the whole, would give it a thumbs up, but it would be much more enthusiastic if they had reconsidered that final act.

Let the Right One In:
Swedish vampire film about a bullied young boy who is befriended by a vampiric young girl. A more serious take than the last Swedish vampire flick I watched, this stylish film actually lived up to the hype I had heard about it. Recommended for all you fans of foreign language horror films out there -- yes, all two of you.

Happy Go Lucky:
British film about an overly perky young teacher who decides to get driving lessons and is paired with a curmudgeonly instructor who is her polar opposite. This film was much more character driven than plot driven, and as such, your enjoyment will probably be tied directly to how much you can identify with or enjoy the lead character. For me, she was a bit too perky/quirky/giddy/what-have you for my taste; however, the scenes with the abrasive driving instructor were almost all pure gold, as were the scenes with the Flamenco instructor. Most of my time without those two on screen was spent wondering when we'd get back to them.

Role Models:
Entertaining comedy about two guys (Sean William Scott and Paul Rudd) who have to serve community service working for a "Big Brothers" style charity to avoid prison time and get assigned particularly challenging "littles" to care for. The heart of the film is Paul Rudd's grouchy, sarcastic character developing a friendship with the geeky, LARPing Auggie (played by McLovin), and probably the funniest scenes in the film revolve around the two of them. Not that there's not entertainment to be found in Scott's bonding with Tracy Jr. from 30 Rock; plenty of funny stuff there as well. All in all, a really enjoyable comedy; sure, the plot is pretty predictable, but the humor trumped that.

One day his Facebook status simply read "Rachel Getting Married = Andrew Getting Angry"


Goobygal said...

LMAO @ Guan Di. I'm pretty sure Ted Raimi was one of the victims.

Goobygal said...

Oh yeah, and I would think that since I'm following you both here and on Facebook that one of the two would tell me when you post... silly me.

Cap'n Neurotic said...

You are correct; in fact, Ted played three different roles in the movie, two of which showed up in the vid there. Interesting side note: both of those were horribly over the top ethnic stereotypes :)

Cap'n Neurotic said...

Yeah, it annoys me that Networked Blogs on Facebook doesn't send me notices when my subscribed blogs post; what's the point of it otherwise?

Goobygal said...

I thought the bean curd guy might have been Ted as well.