Friday, February 20, 2009

Quick & Stale DVD Reviews

Some of these may not be as stale as usual, as I saw some flicks during flights recently. There may be spoilers ahead.

RocknRolla (2008)
It's a typical Guy Ritchie British mobster music video, but I think I've decided that I can live with one of those every few years. I'm still not sold on Gerrard Butler as an actor, never mind movie star. I also don't get Thandie Newton's appeal, but that's just me, I guess. Tom Wilkinson chews some nice scenery and Mark Strong continues to be one of the most under appreciated actors in the business. Not bad for some mindless entertainment. Grade: B-

Eagle Eye (2008)
Overly slick thriller that fails to thrill. Certain aspects go way beyond plausibility and wind up looking silly (seriously, power lines?). The age gap between the two leads was distracting and, like Mr. Butler above, I'm still not sold on either of them as actors. The whole concept has comes across as a retread of 70s flicks like Colossus: the Forbin Project and even Demon Seed. Completely forgettable. Grade: C-

The Tall T (1957)
I watched this one recently for the first time in years. Like all Budd Boetticher westerns, it's lean and mean with a wonderful score. Randolph Scott looks as though he's been chipped off Mount Rushmore, as he's forced to become a reluctant hero. The real treat is watching Richard Boone, from Have Gun Will Travel, as the charming villain. Smooth, funny and almost sympathetic. Even if he doesn't get away with the money, he steals the show. Grade: A

Be Kind, Rewind (2008)
I'm still not sure how this one didn't find a bigger audience. It's simultaneously clever and goofy. Jack Black manages to keep his composure and Mos Def is great. I think that Gondry set a really nice atmosphere and the bits of guerrilla filmmaking are a treat to anyone who ever filmed an X-Wing Fighter 'flying' along a fishing line. Far from perfect but a comedy well above average. Grade: B

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