Tuesday, January 17, 2006

DVDos and DVDon'ts

40 Year-Old Virgin
I had heard and read so many good things about this movie, I guess disappointment was inevitable, but I didn’t think I’d be this disappointed. Much like Anchorman, this movie plays out more like a series of funny (and not so funny) scenes patched together with duct tape. Steve Carell and Catherine Keener do their best to rise above the material – but it is impossible as they are overwhelmed by the dominating frat house humor. Yes there are funny moments (the best scenes are simply with Carell and Keener), but they are few and far between. I cannot believe that the man behind Freaks and Geeks and the World’s Best Boss were responsible for this script, which seems to drop an F-bomb every 15 seconds. My expectations were much too high – but I am simply shocked that this movie received such rave reviews and was seen as so original and endearing. Grade: C+

Cincinnati Kid
Watched this one over the Christmas holidays. I love classic movies, but sometimes you are left wondering why some are seen as classics. This is a solid, serviceable movie. It has an ok script, and some decent poker scenes. Beyond showing a bit of the underbelly of New Orleans, Norman Jewison’s direction adds very little flair. Ann Margaret plays the vixen as if she has been parachuted in from her first day of acting classes. The saving grace is Edward G. Robinson – who manages to steal the movie from a nearly comatose Steven McQueen. Overall, it’s enjoyable but the comparisons to The Sting on the DVD case are a bit of a stretch. Grade: B

Rodger Dodger
I have been reluctant to rent this one, as I had a feeling that it may be just a little too misogynistic for me to sit through with Kat. I was wrong and I am glad that I was wrong. Over the Christmas holidays, we rented a big stack of DVDs and this was hands-down the best movie of the lot. Superb acting, kinetic direction and sharp dialogue make this movie bounce along at a nice clip. Movies like this prove that a small film with good writing and acting can be vastly more entertaining than a big budget extravaganza. I would have thought Campbell Scott might have received a few awards for his work here, but I guess the film was just a little too far below the radar. Grade: A

Beyond the Sea
How man who finally has the opportunity to put together his dream project after so many years could make such a bland film is beyond me. There is nothing really wrong with this film, but neither is there anything right with it. It comes across like a competent NBC Movie of the Week. Kevin Spacey looks ridiculous trying to court Kate Bosworth. Grade: C+

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