Friday, January 19, 2007

Stale Movie Reviews

Here's some movie reviews for those of you who haven't left the house (or ordered PPV) in a year or so:

Prairie Home Companion
I have only appreciated what Keillor & Co. have been up to all these years from a distance. I’ve seen little bits here and there on PBS, and read at least one of his books (Lake Wobegon Days, IIRC). This movie is odd – and I am not sure if that’s in a good way or a bad way. It has a timeless feel, but that become confusing at a certain point. I had a hard time believe that Kevin Kline’s character could exist in the same world as Lindsay Lohan’s character. I know it’s a movie and I am supposed to suspend my disbelief, but it just didn’t all fit together for me. Perhaps it was the performances – at times, it came across like Keillor acting as ringleader the to Hollywood All-Stars who were all attempting to out-ham each other. I don’t want to leave you with the impression that I hated this movie – as that is certainly not the case, but I can’t honestly say that I really like it either. I am ambivalent about it, and I’ve never felt that way about an Altman film before.

Grade: C+

Casino Royale
With a 13-month old at home, my wife and I don’t get out to too many movies. When we do get the chance, we prioritize. We decided that one movie we needed to see on the big screen was Casino Royale. When Daniel Craig was announced as the new Bond, I felt sorry for him. The backlash was unbelievable. Anyone who had seen Layer Cake knew that he had more than enough charisma to carry a Bond film. If you can cheer for a drug dealer, you are certainly going to cheer for Bond. This is a fun, fun film – which is a challenge, because it’s probably the flimsiest plot of any of the Fleming novels. Out of necessity, style has to overcome substance in parts – but that works. We’ve got a ‘Old School John Woo meets JJ Abrams’ thing going here, and I like it. Craig and Eva Green radiate and the supporting cast is sufficiently exotic to compensate for any stiffness. My biggest complaint is Judi Dench’s uncontrollable scene chewing. A perfect film? Nope, but it’s a lot of fun.

Grade: A-

The Break Up
How did this one make so much money? I just don’t get it. I actually had hopes that it would be good for a few laughs, as we’ve all been through some petty fights with significant others. I actually like both leads – but I’m starting to think it’s a ‘small doses’ kind of thing. The real problem, however, is the writing and directing – it just comes across like a compilation of scenes with little or no linkages, many of which are in needs of a rewrite. I’d write more about this one, but I have already forgotten most of the movies – never a good sign.

Grade: D

Borat: Cultural Learnings…
The first movie my wife and I had seen in theatres since the birth of our child. Does that give you a sense of how much we were looking forward to it? I must say – it lived up to our hopes. Of course it’s over the top, of course some people were perhaps misled just a little and of course not every American is a gun-toting racist. Actually, what this movie leave you with is a sense of just how willing many people are to help out a stranger, and how tolerant they will be of his lunacy. In the end, it was worth it to get out and laugh harder than I’d laugh in ages. Even the movies weakest point (the overly long nude fight) was salvage by SBC’s speech at the Golden Globes.

Grade: B+

1 comment:

Reel Fanatic said...

The Break-Up was so bad it made my eyes bleed .. How in the hell did they manage to make a movie in which Vince Vaughn isn't funny, Jennifer Aniston isn't even cute and none of it is remotely entertaining?