Friday, January 19, 2007

Quick Movie Reviews

As I’m sure many of you have guessed, I saw a few movies while the site was down. But rather than write full reviews for all of them, I figured I would just do quick reviews so you know what I thought about the movies that I saw. Sure it’s the lazy way out, but it really doesn’t seem worth it to do full reviews for most of these movies anyways. I promise in the future I’ll go back to writing longer reviews of the movies I see, but for now you’ll have to make do with this.

Déjà VuDéjà Vu starts out like a crappy episode of Law & Order, then becomes a bizarre, illogical sci-fi film highlighted by an amazing chase scene involving the future and the past simultaneously on screen, and ends surprisingly well despite all of that. I have no idea why Denzel Washington agreed to do another cop movie, especially this one, but he definitely adds a modicum of credibility to a film that sorely needed it thanks to it being helmed by Hollywood’s craziest director, Tony Scott. It’s not as out there as Scott’s last film, Domino, which is a good thing this time around because if it had been, this film would have been virtually impossible to watch. There’s no reason to rush out to your dollar theater and see this movie, but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be fun to watch if you can suspend disbelief for 128 minutes and have that much time available to kill.

Rating 53%

Rocky Balboa – I was preparing a huge celebration on the site for the return of Rocky to the big screen. I was in the process of re-watching all four of the films that preceded it so that I could publish something every day leading up to the release of the film discussing the Rocky series, and then some stupid jackasses destroyed my site and so I gave up this endeavor. I still saw the movie however, so at the very least I can talk about that. And I can also say that watching those movies again really made Rocky Balboa a much better experience, which is completely the opposite of what happened when I watched the old Superman movies before I went and saw Superman Returns. Part of it was the fact that Rocky Balboa references the past a great deal in bringing back characters from earlier films, and part of it was the fact that when I watched those movies again I started to realize that they weren’t quite as silly as I had once thought them to be. Sure, Stallone’s dialogue and acting isn’t top notch, but there was a poetic quality to them. My girlfriend likened Rocky’s words of wisdom to Bruce Springsteen, I said it was more like a retarded Bruce Springsteen. Either way, the old movies made me respect Rocky even more, which made Rocky Balboa a lot of fun to watch. It was great being able to enjoy a Rocky fight with a packed theater, something I had never done before, but I also liked the message of the film. It isn’t an Oscar candidate or anything like that, but it truly was one of my favorite movies of the year.

Rating 77%

Children of Men – The previous works of Alfonso Cuaron (Y Tu Mama Tambien, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) suggested to me that he was a director with a lot of style. Children of Men however is pretty much the opposite of that. This film could have been directed by any one of a handful of somewhat talented directors; it simply doesn’t have much going on besides the story. The long takes in the final scenes are impressive, but the rest of the film just doesn’t match that. There’s nothing wrong with the way it was shot, but it simply isn’t up to the standards that he set with his previous work. As far as the acting goes, I liked what Clive Owen did, but I almost always do, and I liked Michael Caine a lot, but Julianne Moore simply didn’t need to be there and she acted as such. If you like apocalyptic visions of the near future then you’ll like this movie, but I think most will find its depressing tone to be too much. I know I did.

Rating 68%

The Pursuit of Happyness – I knew before I even saw this movie that I wasn’t going to like it, and it wasn’t just because they misspelled happiness in the title (although they did explain that in the movie). The trailer just looked so stupid with Will Smith running around all the time all over the place. But what I really didn’t like about the movie when I saw it was the fact that the film only focused on one part of his life; the part leading up to his first big job. That part, while sad and I suppose poignant, was the part of his life story which I could easily have guessed beforehand and so I was bothered that the film didn’t go farther than that since it seemed to me what happened after that first job was the more interesting part (they did tell you what happened in titles after the film was over though). I’ve seen plenty of feel good, turn your life around movies in the past, so it’s a shame that this one couldn’t have been a little different. Also, the voiceovers in the film were really stupid.

Rating 35%

Little Children – However the voiceovers in this movie were even more stupid than the ones in The Pursuit of Happyness. I generally don’t like voiceovers that much, especially because film is supposed to be a visual medium, but the voiceovers in Little Children were the worst I’ve ever heard. They were like descriptive passages out of a long-winded, pompous novel (just a thought here, but this film was based on a book, so maybe they just lifted these crappy voiceovers right out of the book) and I found them more distracting than anything else, especially because they didn’t really offer anything that couldn’t be easily interpreted by just paying attention and watching the movie. I think that the film was supposed to be a scathing commentary on suburbia and marriage, but like with The Pursuit of Happyness, I’ve seen that film before, and I didn’t need to see it again. The real surprise here though is the dark, creepiness of the film. This aspect took me completely by surprise and definitely made the movie less enjoyable. I might have liked it a bit more if I had known it was coming, but probably not because the story is so incredibly slow and boring. I have no idea why this movie is receiving award hype because it flat out sucked.

Rating 25%

- BEN

1 comment:

Julie said...

I have very strong feelings about some of these movies. I'll start with the good one:

Rocky Balboa was awesome! My favorite this year and potentially onto my favorite list of all time. Originally I had no interest in seeing this movie, and was dragged there for Ben's birthday. I don't like blood, gore, too much action, or general stupidity in my movies so I thought this one would be a complete waste of my time. I was wrong. Stallone played a truly lovable and inspring character. As Ben said, poetic in a Bruce Springsteen sort of way. "It's not how hard you can hit, it's how hard you can get hit and still get up." When I say it, I'm sure it sounds kind of corny, but in the movie, it worked in an awesome way. By the end, I was with the rest of the theater cheering for Rocky. Why shouldn't movies like this be up for awards?

Okay, next. Worst movie I have ever seen in my entire life: Little Children. Made me have a panic attack. It was that creepy and horrible. There should be a warning that if you have ever experienced any trauma in your life you should never ever see this movie. There is absolutely no connection among any of the characters, they are all repulsive and creepy (kind of like you want someone to root for but can't find anyone), and the movie was filmed in such a way as to completely remove any sense of reality from the viewer. I suppose that these are the effects the filmakers intended, but I thought it was a piece of cinematic garbage.