Tuesday, March 21, 2006

V for Vendetta (***)

V for Vendetta is stylish and challenging, but doesn't quite reach greatness due to an ultra-simplistic third act, and a story, that while timely and worth telling, ultimately fails to engage as much as it should. The movie does raise a number of questions though and it portrays its hero in an ambiguous light at times. We're not sure how we feel about V. He's obviously the good guy, but he's a terrorist and he says things like, "Sometimes you have to blow up a building to get people's attention." This is definitely a step up though for the Wachowski Brothers. The Matrix Revolutions was an abysmal cap to one of the potentially greatest sci-fi trilogies. They only wrote V for Vendetta, but it's a literate and well-written script. I wanted more action, but I guess I should be thankful an action movie has more on its mind than just car chases.

Failure to Launch (*1/2)

I really like my wife's review of this film, so I'm going to steal and use it for myself here. "Failure to Launch?" No. Failure to Entertain. This movie gives romantic comedies a bad name. McConaughey and Parker are likeable actors, but they spend half the movie apart, and for some reason, they're always getting bitten by animals. It's a dumb subplot trying to make the movie goofy and "outside the box," but it just temporarily masks the fact that these writers got nothing. They squander an interesting concept: the 35 year-old who still lives at home, and go nowhere with it. Skip, unless you love LOVE movies like this, and have no discerning taste.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Movie Rundown 2006 (as of 10/8/06)

All the films I've seen in the theater in 2006, and ranked from best to worst:
  1. The Departed (****)
  2. United 93 (****)
  3. Little Children (***1/2)
  4. Mission: Impossible III (***1/2)
  5. Inside Man (***1/2)
  6. Monster House (***1/2)
  7. Borat (***1/2)
  8. Dave Chappelle's Block Party (***1/2)
  9. Little Miss Sunshine (***)
  10. Babel (***)
  11. Friends with Money (***)
  12. V for Vendetta (***)
  13. The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (***)
  14. Tristram Shandy: A Cock & Bull Story (***)
  15. Clerks II (***)
  16. Running Scared (***)
  17. Brick (***)
  18. The Matador (***)
  19. Eight Below (***)
  20. The Devil Wears Prada (***)
  21. The Descent (***)
  22. Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (***)
  23. Slither (***)
  24. Hard Candy (***)
  25. Over the Hedge (***)
  26. Hostel (***)
  27. The Prestige (***)
  28. Thank You for Smoking (***)
  29. The Hills Have Eyes (***)
  30. Transamerica (***)
  31. Invincible (**1/2)
  32. Superman Returns (**1/2)
  33. World Trade Center (**1/2)
  34. Cars (**1/2)
  35. The Illusionist (**1/2)
  36. Idiocracy (**1/2)
  37. 16 Blocks (**1/2)
  38. Marie Antoinette (**1/2)
  39. The Last Kiss (**1/2)
  40. The Break-Up (**1/2)
  41. Glory Road (**1/2)
  42. The Pink Panther (**1/2)
  43. You, Me and Dupree (**1/2)
  44. Nanny McPhee (**1/2)
  45. Flags of Our Fathers (**1/2)
  46. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (**)
  47. Lucky Number Slevin (**)
  48. Hollywoodland (**)
  49. The Last King of Scotland (**)
  50. Final Destination 3 (**)
  51. Poseidon (**)
  52. Nacho Libre (**)
  53. Cache (**)
  54. The Sentinel (**)
  55. X-Men: The Last Stand (**)
  56. The Guardian (**)
  57. Saw III (**)
  58. Green Street Hooligans (**)
  59. Night Watch (**)
  60. Beerfest (**)
  61. A Scanner Darkly (**)
  62. She's the Man (**)
  63. RV (**)
  64. Grandma's Boy (**)
  65. Click (**)
  66. Underworld: Evolution (**)
  67. The Benchwarmers (**)
  68. Crank (*1/2)
  69. The Da Vinci Code (*1/2)
  70. Edmond (*1/2)
  71. Failure to Launch (*1/2)
  72. Miami Vice (*1/2)
  73. The Omen (*1/2)
  74. American Dreamz (*1/2)
  75. Mrs. Henderson Presents (*1/2)
  76. Lady in the Water (*)
  77. Snakes on a Plane (*)
  78. District B13 (*)
  79. Silent Hill (*)
  80. The Lake House (*)
  81. Date Movie (*)
  82. The Black Dahlia (*)

Dave Chappelle's Block Party (***1/2)

Rockin'. Even if you're not a fan of rap, you'll be impressed by the talent on display here. To hear the music with a live band and a pulsating, energetic crowd. I tell you, it's an adrenaline rush. And I wasn't even there! Dave Chappelle emcees the whole thing and peppers in his comedy throughout. If you enjoy his show on Comedy Central, you should definitely check this film out. It's got a great message too--blacks, whites, everybody just coming together to enjoy some laughs, music, and each other's company. Directed by Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind's Michel Gondry, this is more than just a concert film. It's an event.

16 Blocks (**1/2)

Bruce Willis gives a great performance in this formulaic, seen-it-a-dozen times action thriller. That's not to say it's enjoyable. This is the movie equivalent of comfort food. A perfectly fine Saturday night rental.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Academy Awards Predictions 2006

I'm not feeling all that excited about the Oscars this year, in part because I think the winners are so predictable and unexciting. Brokeback Mountain was annointed Best Picture the minute it was released. When is the Academy going to loosen up? Batman Begins, Harry Potter, and The 40 Year-Old Virgin are all deserving of the same acclaim being heaped upon Brokeback, Capote, and Good Night, and Good Luck. Though I hope Crash steals it tomorrow night, I know that won't happen. Hell, if anything unexpected happened, I'd be thankful. Go Terrence Howard! That being said, here are my predictions:

Best Picture: Brokeback Mountain

Best Actor: Philip Seymour Hoffman

Best Actress: Reese Witherspoon

Best Supporting Actor: George Clooney

Best Supporting Actress: Rachel Weisz

Best Director: Ang Lee

Best Original Screenplay: Crash

Best Adapted Screenplay: Brokeback Mountain

Best Costume: Memoirs of a Geisha

Best Editing: Crash

Best Cinematography: Brokeback Mountain

Best Art Direction: Memoirs of a Geisha

Best Sound Mixing: King Kong

Best Sound Editing: King Kong

Best Visual Effects: King Kong

Best Score: Brokeback Mountain

Best Song: "Hard Out Here for a Pimp" from Hustle & Flow

Best Live Action Short: Six Shooter

Best Animated Short: 9

Best Documentary: March of the Penguins

Best Documentary Short Subject: The Death of Kevin Carter

Best Animated Film: Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Ware-Rabbit

Best Foreign Film: Paradise Now

Best Makeup: Chronicles of Narnia

Good luck in all your pools!

Just Like Heaven (*)

No more to come. This movie is horrible. Skip it. Unless you're brain dead and love romantic comedies, then by all means...enjoy. This is strictly a paycheck movie for Reese Witherspoon. It's a shame too. I thought she was above this kind of dumb fluff.

Waiting (**1/2)

Funny if you like infantile humor and crotch shots.

Mirrormask (**1/2)

It's no Labyrinth, but it's highly imaginative, if at times a tad too dull.

The Ice Harvest (**)

It tries so hard to be dark and edgy that it forgets to put in the comedy. Oops.

Junebug (**)

Typical independent film that's entirely unremarkable save for Amy Adams performance.

Night Watch (**)

A pile of dung. This was a big hit in Russia, but I disagree with the review "Cool as Hell." More like "Cheesy as Hell."

Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story (***)

Interesting film within a film. It's very funny, and also all too "meta."