I was flying back from Los Angeles to Minneapolis in the afternoon a week ago when I wrote this blog entry. I thought that I’d post some reviews of the films I’ve seen at the theaters recently. Sam is a huge movie fan and I haven’t had someone to see movies with for so long that it’s weird to crank up back to my normal rate. I need a MovieWatcher card again to take advantage of the multiple visits — that’s plainly evident. So, here we go…
SPIDERMAN 3: I’ve seen this one three times so far. Twice on a regular screen and once on the IMAX. If you love Spider-Man movies then this movie is totally for you. I have friends who detest the previous films, so I had no doubt that they would feel the same way after seeing this one. There’s more humor here than in previous films. Raimi loves to take us in a new direction and show of something he’s been itching to shoot based on his love of the silver-age (think 60’s and 70’s) era of Spider-Man. The fact that he introduces Venom in this chapter, however, which was the invention of the 1980s toy line Secret Wars, is a little weird. Still, the film plays well and is good for multiple viewings. Keep an eye open when Peter Parker is sitting with Gwen Stacey at the singing waitress jazz bar. Is that Father Osbourne sitting behind him? WTF?
DISTURBIA: Pretty good scary movie that’s not rated R. I’ve been watching a lot of cheap straight-to-DVD movies that use awkward situations like sticking your hand into a giant tank of formaldehyde to grab a dead body as a way to scare you. So lame. This movie outdoes those guys by having a secret room in the house where you can store corpses. Still, aren’t serial killers smart enough to know that you shouldn’t keep the body in the next bedroom? Duh.
28 WEEKS LATER: Decidedly different that its predecessor 28 DAYS LATER, this film takes an ALIENS approach as a sequel. Involve the military. Show that the mility is full of nuts who are just as bad as the zombies that they seek to protect from everyone. Show that at least one military guy is a good guy. It also had a bit of JURASSIC PARK thrown in as two kids must outrun the rabid zombies along with aforementioned good guy military dude. There were scares but I don’t think I’ll be watching this again.
HOSTEL 2: More like Hostage 2. I saw this movie solely based on the recommendation of my girlfriend and without having had the benefit of watching the predecessor. My take? The best scene involves the dismemberment of a character’s memberment. I think you get my drift. The worst scene would have to be the ending. It didn’t have the impact I think they wanted. If you like the scary gross films, however, you must watch this. I’d wait for the DVD if I were you.
KNOCKED UP: Very funny. From the folks who brought you THE 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN, this Judd Apatow directed flick is right on the mark with funny dialog and constantly amusing situations. Great film if you like to take your significant other to the movies for a good larf.
PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN 3: AT WORLD’S END: Far easier to follow that it’s predecessor, this film packs a whallop by not retreading what happened in the two earlier flicks. The ending for this one has a nice symmetry, however, that I really appreciated. Stay for the extra ending after the end-credits roll if you’d like to see what happens down the road. I’d only recommend this one to people who liked the other two pirate films. DEAD MAN’S CHEST was not easy to follow, so if you’re still optimistic then I think you’ll be pleased.
BUG: William Friedkin, writer of the original Excorcist, entertains the audience with a mildly interesting tale of psychotics with uber dependency issues. That guy who sings the Frank Sinatra songs and married the Victoria’s Secret model steals the movie. Most memorable scene? When the credits started rolling, the audience started rolling in laughter. Totally weird.
THE EX: I’m on the plane typing this review and getting over my drinking buzz that I started when I was sitting down with my business analyst team. Is that why I couldn’t initially remember the name of this movie? It’s funny, and Braff comes off as a lovable dolt when he’s not being upstaged by Jason Bateman. Bateman is easily one of my favorite actors from the 1980s to make it big. His short-lived series IT’S YOUR MOVE is still classic television that I would die to see again. I have been lucky that I have the entire ourvre of ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT to entertain me when I choose to go that way. This film, however, was easily forgettable.
OCEAN’S 13: I completely skipped watching OCEAN’S 12 as I’d heard it was a convoluted mess of a story. Of course, I’d heard the same thing about DEAD MAN’S CHEST, but that was all about the pirates. The OCEAN’S franchise is about a different kind of pirates. The plot was entertaining and the dialog is witty and funny. If you’re a fan of any of the troup then you’ll be pleased with this feature. I’ll always be amused that I’ve observed Clooney and Pitt act *exactly* like their characters act in this film. They aren’t acting. They’re having fun. That’s what make this so great.
SHREK 3: Not funny enough. It could be a lot more, but it relies on past ideas for inspiration. Instead of Shrek and Donkey becoming super gorgeous, we get Donkey and Puss switching bodies. Not that funny. I did laugh enough to be entertained. If you enjoyed previous SHREK films then you will be disappointed somewhat. There’s no straight out amazing singing this time around either, which makes me a little sad. Having Prince Charming’s mom belt out ”Hero” was pretty cool considering the fact that her son was such an anti-hero.
FANTASTIC FOUR – RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER: Muuuuuch better than the first film. This is a popcorn action movie with plenty of interesting thrills and some cool double crossing thrown in for good measure. I like Jessica Alba as Sue Storm only up until a point. I think she’s too young and I certainly don’t buy her as a scientist. She’s too snotty when she announces theorems, mmmkay? Still, there’s plenty to see here. Doctor Doom makes an acceptable return as a supporting player this time around. I’m relieved he isn’t the star of the show. If you liked the first one then you’ll LOVE this one. If you didn’t care for it then you’d probably better wait for DVD or cable TV. I had fun.