Movie Pre-Judgments (2005)
by Rusty W. Spell

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30 Dec 2005

The Matador -- If The Whole Ten Yards wasn't enough of a Whole Nine Yards sequel for you, then you'll like this cause it's essentially the same movie, only not as funny.

Match Point -- Holy shit.  After making variations on the same charming movie over and over again for the past 35 years, Woody Allen -- apparently channeling a spirit living outside of his body -- has made this.  Scarlett Johansson and Jonathan Rhys-Meyers star in what on paper might look like the usual extra-marital affair followed up by psycho threat movie, but Woody Allen has somehow made a really intense and passionate thriller through the actual way this movie is shot and the way he gets his characters to act (no neurotic stuttering here).  The British accent from Rhys-Meyers doesn't hurt in shaking things up a bit either.  My girlfriend Scarlett is of course a vision.

23 Dec 2005

Casanova -- Lasse Hallstrom has made a nice version of this story that isn't above some good ol' slapstick.

Cheaper by the Dozen 2 -- This movie seems to be based on a script written on the bus ride over to the set, with notes all over that says "Steve Martin makes a goofy face here" or "Cute kids make a cute face here."  Crap.

Fun with Dick and Jane -- One of those average movies with an annoying musical score.

Hidden -- Or Caché, in French.  It's like someone took one of the ideas from Lost Highway, only here it makes sense.  The movie is okay, often gripping, but just as often slow.

Memoirs of a Geisha -- Overrated boring thing.

Mrs. Henderson Presents -- Anything Stephen Frears does has a certain amount of charm (not to mention Judi Dench, Bob Hoskins, and a cameo from Christopher Guest), so this isn't a bad movie--but it's about what you'd expect in somewhat boring ways.

Munich -- Steven Spielberg gets all serious on us, and this time its not in the usual fancy cinematic ways like he did with Schindler's List.  It just looks like a regular ol' serious movie, though a pretty decent one.

The Producers -- Everyone making this movie seems to have found just the right amount of zaniness, just the right tone.  Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick played this a billion times on the stage and that perfection shows on the screen, Will Ferrell hams it up appropriately, and Uma Thurman looks about as sexy as she ever has.  Fun times.

The Ringer -- The urge to laugh at "special" kids and the need to cover up that urge with "heart" are at war here, forming an ugly dumb movie in the process.

Rumor Has It -- Decent premise movie that -- before it begins -- morphs into lame Costner movie.

The White Countess -- A Merchant/Ivory movie with all the usual spectacle and good writing.  Not their best, but worth seeing.

Wolf Creek -- Horror movie that's more boring than most.  Try to imagine.

16 Dec 2005

Broke Back Mountain -- Finally, an actual gay cowboy movie!  The movie begins with all the tough talk, hats, and grit that you would expect from a movie called Broke Back Mountain, and then Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger start making out, and then you decide to stay and watch the movie after all.  Further proof in the movie that the boys are gay is that their alternatives are pretty Michelle Williams and downright beautiful Anne Hathaway.  Expect good gay cowboy lines like "I wish I knew how to quit you."  Ang Lee is always full of surprises.

The Family Stone -- Another meet the parents movie.  Give us a break already.

King Kong -- Big monkey fun.  Don't go in expecting Lord of the Rings, ladies and gentlemen, but this is a good movie, better than the Dino De Laurentis version.  Go see it in the theaters.

9 Dec 2005

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe -- Fans of the books should be pretty happy with this, a "literal" translation of the book to the screen, with all the effects magic that Weta can conjure up.  The kids are good (which is the most important thing), as are most of the other cast members.  Nothing can capture that specific feeling of C.S. Lewis's words paired with his images and deep digging into our fuzzy childhood brains, but the movie comes kind of close sometimes.  Lucky for us, these guys were smart enough to begin with the first real book of the series (see my article); let's hope they continue through with all seven, stepping on poor Harry Potter's glasses in the process.  Go see in the theaters!  At least twice!

2 Dec 2005

Aeon Flux -- Charlize Theron returns to being hot again in this live-action version of the show from Liquid Television.  The usual plot is here (seemingly perfect society is actually controlled by evil government) as a backdrop for the visuals, but -- as is the case with so many movies these days -- effects, fights, chicks in tight suits, and all those things that were once fun and new aren't so thrilling anymore.  Enough movies like these and people will go back to reading novels again (and not just Harry Potter).  It's not the worst movie ever made, not a total waste, but it's not much worth your time either.

First Descent -- Rusty is so bored with X-games, but fans of snowboarding should love this since it's the best movie made about it yet.

The Kid & I -- With a title like this, you'd expect the usual Disney-style holiday kiddie crap, but it's not.  Tom Arnold wrote the screenplay and stars in the movie about a rich kid with cerebral palsy who wants to be an action hero in a movie with Tom Arnold, "like True Lies."  On top of the great jokes and cool relationship between Arnold and newcomer Eric Gores, the supporting cast includes Henry Winkler and Joe Mantegna and the movie is directed by Penelope Spheeris.  You should at least rent it.

25 Nov 2005

The Ice Harvest -- This might be Harold Ramis's best movie since Groundhog Day.  John Cusack and Billy Bob Thornton are pretty nice here.  It gets a little boring from time to time, but it's sharp enough to be worth renting.

In the Mix -- Usher has the charm and good looks to make it as an actor, but not with this movie.

Just Friends -- Not even Anna Farris can save this movie about a fat guy in high school who's now slim and handsome and so now has a chance to--zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

The Libertine -- A pretty kick ass movie, Johnny Depp as the Earl of Rochester in a period piece that feels almost futuristic.  Go see it.

Pride & Prejudice -- Featuring a striking Keira Knightley and my buddy Donald Sutherland, this is a pretty good version of the oft-filmed Jane Austen novel.  If your girlfriend insists on a chick flick this holiday season, hope that it is this one.

Rent -- Please, God, kill me now.  I can't stand the five hundred thousand six hundred twenty five minutes that this movie lasts.

Syriana -- In which George Clooney and Matt Damon let Americans know that there might be some corruption going on concerning our dealings with the Middle East.  Not mind-blowing, but as entertainment it works okay.

Yours, Mine, and Ours -- Insulting, even by the standards of dumb Christmas family comedies.

18 Nov 2005

The Aryan Couple -- Hey, did you know that Nazis were bad?  Well, they were, and this movie proves it!

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire -- The one where they all officially begin to run together.  Something about a wizard or some wand or glasses or something?  They make these movies just average enough to work, so I guess they'll go on for a while, but this seems the beginning of the end.  I can't think of anything to say about this one good or bad, other than at least this one doesn't have a dumb time-travel plot.

Walk the Line -- If you see any photographs of Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon all dressed up as Johnny Cash and June Carter, you'll think this must be the best movie ever because of the resemblance.  But, uncanniness aside, it's unfortunately not that great.  Just another by-the-numbers rock star defies convention movie.  Sorry, Johnny.

11 Nov 2005

Bee Season -- One of the worst movies coming out this month, another spelling bee movie, this time with Richard Gere jizzing emotional crap all over everyone's faces.

Derailed -- Some usual adultery stuff, some usual gunplay.

Get Rich or Die Tryin' -- 50 Cent as a rapper/gangster, from the director of My Left Foot.  There you go.

Sarah Silverman: Jesus Is Magic -- For those who don't know, Sarah Silverman is my girlfriend, so I'm a little biased, but this is a really great and funny movie.  The amazing Liam Lynch directs.  Sarah plays blue like no one else can.  Good luck, sweetheart.  I'm rootin' for ya!

Zathura -- The Jumanji guy has written another book about a magical board game (what a weird genre that is), and luckily this time it's more interesting than the one involving Robin Williams.  Meanwhile, John Favreau seems to be directing children's movies exclusively.  The movie itself is a lot of fun, especially for ten year olds; it's got a nice sense of realistic magic and adventure to it.  Take the kids or see it yourself.

4 Nov 2005

Chicken Little -- The usual crap you'd expect from Disney these days.  Their 2D animation was spazzy and annoying enough; this is so much worse.  Pop culture references abound, which means the movie will be dated in about nine months, not that Disney cares about making classics anymore.

Jarhead -- Sam Mendes, you sly dog.  How I wanted to not like this movie, but I did like it so, frame by frame.  You've managed to accurately capture the life of a soldier during Desert Shield without resorting to the usual "jive talkin' grunt" stuff we're so used to from every movie since Full Metal Jacket and Platoon.  This is a smart movie, smartly shot, with one interesting thing after another, since it's not "about" one thing in particular.  Good jobby.  I recommend this to everyone.

28 Oct 2005

The Legend of Zorro -- Belated sequel to the first Banderas movie, with little to care about for anyone who remembers the first one.

New York Doll -- A documentary focusing on Michael Kane of the New York Dolls.  Too bad it didn't focus on David Johansen so we can see how he went from the lead singer of this band to the singer of "Hot Hot Hot" and the cab driver in Scrooged.  A handful of rock celebs are interviewed, including Iggy Pop and Morrissey.

Paradise Now -- The most boring movie about suicide bombers ever.

Prime -- Meryl Streep does her Meryl Streep thing, Uma Thurman does her "I'm the pretty woman" thing (she's capable of more, but that's what she does here), and mild titters are guaranteed for all!

Saw II -- You know when they make a horror movie that's kind of mediocre but has enough teenagers talking about it that they decide to make another one?  That's what happened here.  It will make you almost appreciate the first one by comparison.

Three... Extremes -- Three mediocre horror shorts from the "twisted" (you know: tied-up girls, girls with their tongues screwed up, girls getting sexed, conjoined girls) minds of Fruit Chan, Takashi Miike, and Chan-Wook Park.

The Weather Man -- Here's the story arc of the movie: Nicholas Cage is a man who has things thrown at him; by the end of the movie, they don't.  In the middle is Polonius-like advice from Michael Cane and some business about Cage's fat daughter, who is of course defined by her fatness.

21 Oct 2005

Doom -- If you want more drama, you might be best to sit at home and play Doom on your computer instead.  It's a little better than, say, Resident Evil, but not much--and at least it had Milla Jovavich in a cute red dress.

Dreamer -- Sentimental horse movie.  (Lemme stop here.  I don't think I'm being lazy.  It's just, what do you really say about a sentimental horse movie except "sentimental horse movie"?  It's got Dakota Fanning, it's got Kurt Russell, it's got Kris Kristofferson saying "All I got is stories."  I'm at a loss here.  I just don't want you to think I'm lazy.)

Kids in America -- Throwback teen movie (even in comparison to other throwback teen movies; check the Kim Wilde title for proof) that pretends to have a political agenda.  I counted 2.4 funny moments.

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang -- Dumb cop thing that tries really hard to be funny.  Maybe what Lethal Weapon would have been if, instead of Eddie Murphy, you had Val Kilmer.

North Country -- One of them "What's she doin' here?" movies.  This one has miners getting upset that one of their co-workers (Charlize Theron) has a vagina.  Tripe.

Shopgirl -- Steve Martins novel made into a movie in which he stars.  It will sort of remind you of Lost in Translation with the whole old guy / young blonde thing (and Claire Danes might as well be Scarlett Johansson here), but it's got its own thing going and it's pretty good.

Stay -- I see dead people, etc.

Ushpizin -- Or The Guests.  Oy vey.

14 Oct 2005

Good Night, and Good Luck. -- George Clooney once again proves that he's more than a pretty face by directing this very smart movie about Edward R. Murrow and the McCarthy hearings.  Nicely intense and sophisticated.

Domino -- Monkeyboy director Tony Scott puts together a comedy/action movie that looks like a patchwork of at least twelve existing movies, and not in a good way.  Richard "Donnie Dorko" Kelly wrote the screenplay, so that explains the hackneyed nature.  There are exactly six minutes of interest in the movie, and most of that comes from Christopher Walken.

Elizabethtown -- Cameron Crowe pokes fun at Kentucky and generally bores us with a love and death story.

The Fog -- An okay horror remake (yes, another one) that fun enough to watch if you're not expecting anything special.

Innocent Voices -- Boring Mexican movie about kids involved in civil wars.

Nine Lives -- Boring boring boring boring boring boring boring boring.  Boring.

Where the Truth Lies -- One of those noirs where you lose the plot, not because it's confusing but because it can't hold your attention.

7 Oct 2005

The Curse of the Were-Rabbit Starring Wallace and Gromit -- Steve Box and Nick Park are one of the few people making children's stuff out there worth watching.  Take the younguns!

The Gospel -- About what you'd expect from a movie about an entertainer who returns to his father's church when the father is sick and the influence he has on the place and the place on him.  But it's got some good music and a lot of good people, including the beautiful Keisha Knight Pulliam (she's not just Rudy Huxtable anymore).

In Her Shoes -- It tries really hard to be interesting, and some of it is, but in the end it's just dull.  On the plus side, Cameron Diaz once again proves that she's the shiniest thing around.

Two for the Money -- If most mortals were forced to have a conversation with Al Pacino, they'd melt under his power.  This supremeness is always present with Pacino, but unfortunately can't always make good movies, and -- in this case -- you're yawning that he's just up to his old tricks (from a safe distance, of course).

Waiting... -- File under "movies about places of business that aren't that great and how employees make the best of it," but not as good as some of those.

30 Sep 2005

Capote -- A really good movie with Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Truman Capote, complete with funny little voice.  Captivating throughout.  It works in much the same way as Capote's "nonfiction novels" work.  Go see it.

Duma -- Non-comedy about a boy who raises a wild cheetah.  Fill in the blanks yourself in your head and then you don't have to go see it.  Though you have my permission to let your kids watch.

The Greatest Game Ever Played -- It's got all the usual trappings of a sentimental piece of crap, but it's actually not too bad.

A History of Violence -- David Cronenberg bypasses his usual gross-outs and mind tricks and actually delivers a decent little thriller.  Aragorn stars as a very convincing killer turned small town guy.

Into the Blue -- Another excuse to put Jessica Alba in skimpy clothes, that's about it.

MirrorMask -- In the tradition of The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth (and really there hasn't been anything much like this sense then), the Jim Henson people bring this flawed-but-cool image-heavy movie to the screen for all the wised-up thirteen-year-olds of the world.  This will be even more of a cult hit in twenty years with the wised-up nineteen-year-olds.

The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio -- Julianne Moore, Woody Harrelson, and Laura Dern are very serious about their roles in one of the dumbest movies shot this year.  Don't watch it unless you want to be embarrassed for them.

Serenity -- Joss Whedon's big screen debut, the Firefly movie.  A nuts-out movie-fied version of the TV show, which -- luckily -- is probably going to be the first in a movie trilogy (maybe more).  One of the best movies this year from one of the best TV shows ever.  Go see it.  (If you like, rent the DVDs first--you can watch the entire show rather quickly.)

23 Sep 2005

Corpse Bride -- Tim Burton continues to marginally redeem himself with this stop-animated thing.

Daltry Calhoun -- Johnny Knoxville would have done a good job making this southern character realistic (he's actually Tennessean, after all), but all the fake southern stock characters ("Daltry's your daddy, baby," "I ain't done bein' raised yet," etc.) not only screw up the movie but Knoxville's performance.  No big loss: dumb story anyway.

Dear Wendy -- From a Lars Von Trier screenplay, which means he wasn't interested enough in it to direct it himself so don't expect too much.  It's basically a normal movie about kids and guns, only a little better.

Flightplan -- Another example of a somewhat-interesting mystery eventually folding out into a green wisp of fart gas.  Jodie Foster stars.

Oliver Twist -- If you're looking for the new definitive version of the Dickens story, here it is.  One of Polanski's contributions to the story is that he seems more aware of the humor and absurdity of some of the situations than Dickens himself did.

Proof -- Gwyneth Paltrow is really good here, and Anthony Hopkins does a good job in playing himself (I mean that as a compliment), but the movie just kind of collapses on itself after about twenty minutes.

Roll Bounce -- Formula movie that works only as much as formulas do.

16 Sep 2005

Cry Wolf -- The difference between this movie and other slasher pictures is that the killer communicates with his victims using, instead of the telephone, AOL's Instant Messenger (a sponsor).

Everything Is Illuminated -- Lieb Schreiber wants to direct.  Plenty of symmetrical shots and other borrowed tricks that don't add up to much, getting in the way of a story that's half-assed anyway.  Even Frodo won't save this one.

G -- A modern day black version of The Great Gatsby.  The characters in this movie have more heart than the people in the book, but they're just as dumb.  The guy playing the Gatsby role is kind of an awful actor.

Hell Bent -- The first homosexual horror movie made since the second Nightmare on Elm Street.  It's not too bad.

Just Like Heaven -- This movie has everything going against it, but at least 45 minutes in the very middle worth watching: the premise stuff, the ghost stuff.  The intro to the movie (all that boring leading up to premise stuff) and the conclusion (the romantic inevitabilities, not to mention the Terry Schiavo stuff) is lame.  Napoleon Dynamite goes against type by playing a slacker who talks funny.

Lord of War -- A Nicholas Cage movie, with 8% tweak to make it bearable.

The Thing About My Folks -- The thing about this movie is that it sucks.

Thumbsucker -- Good rule of thumb (pun intended): if any of the promotional materials for the movie uses a Polyphonic Spree song, then it's just going to be a movie in the "hip indie" genre.  It's a style that was once at least new, if not good, but now it's not even new anymore.  Usually this genre is covered by music video directors, in this case Mike Mills.  Perhaps if you choose to watch it, you can use your thumb to make yourself vomit.

Venom -- The muddiest horror movie you've ever seen.

9 Sep 2005

Crustacés et Coquillages -- Colorful French movie that's not too great.

The Exorcism of Emily Rose -- It's no The Exorcist or anything (what is?), but it's not too bad, maybe at least the third or fourth best demon-possession movie.  It often errs by going for special effects instead of just creepiness (even The Exorcist did), but overall horror fans will be mostly pleased, with a large dose of "what a waste."  Also, it's just as much a detective / "Who's telling the truth?" / Usual Suspects movie as anything else.

Hooligans -- A dumb movie that tries to hard.  Elijah Woods gets sucked down into it.

The Man -- Okay, it is one of those pairings of nerdy white guy (Eugene Levy) with mean black guy (Samuel L. Jackson) movies, and it's not that great (at one point, Levy's singing "Play that funky music, white boy"), but it has enough odd and funny moments so that it's not completely horrible.

An Unfinished Life -- Lasse Hallstrom's dramatic piece of crap starring J. Lo with a southern accent.

2 Sep 2005

The Constant Gardner -- Bad title for okay movie.

A Sound of Thunder -- Based on the Ray Bradbury time travel story (that many people will recognize through a Simpsons Halloween episode) and very average in terms of scares, story, and monster effects.

The Transporter 2 -- If you liked the first one, you'll like this one fine.  It's got some pretty good action and direction, and Jason Statham is cool.

Underclassman -- Helping to solidify stereotypes about blacks, whites, rich, and poor.  Which would be fine if it were funny, but it isn't.

26 Aug 2005

The Alzheimer Affair -- Also known as The Memory of a Killer, this is a pretty decent cop movie.

The Brothers Grimm -- Better than most Gilliam movies (unless you're a Gilliam fan), though the zaniness, as always, wears thin after a while.  Damon and Ledger are good.  Worth a look.

The Cave -- Another one of those movies about people being trapped in a dark place while creatures are after them.  This one is average and watchable, but of course avoidable as well.

Dirty Deeds -- High school crap.

Undiscovered -- Ashlee Simpson is the best thing about this movie.  Not only is she surprisingly good (she probably should shift her career in the movie direction), but she's the only thing in the big mess that stands out and shines a little.  The rest of it is ignorable: guys running after girls in airports and worse.

19 Aug 2005

The 40-Year-Old Virgin -- Steve Carell stars in this pretty-to-very funny movie that works because of Carell, his supporting cast, Judd Aptatow's great-looking direction (reminiscent of Mike Judge's Office Space), and the production design.  You can certainly wait for DVD for this one, but you should see it.

Red-Eye -- Wes Craven makes a pretty decent, pretty tight little horror movie that takes advantage of several phobias.

Supercross -- Motorcycle movie that hipsters of the year 2035 will admire.  No one much will like it now.

Valiant -- Disney computer-animated fart jokes.

12 Aug 2005

Asylum -- Ian McKellen is great in every scene.  The rest I sort of zoned out during.

Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo -- Harmless fun for twelve-year-olds.

Four Brothers -- This movie has a certain humor to it that works sometimes, but the humor isn't always present; usually the movie keeps it straight and ends up being a typical little thing.

The Great Raid -- 40% decent story, 20% sentimental fluff, 40% army propaganda.

Grizzly Man -- Werner Herzog's documentary about insane guy who "protected" bears and was eventually killed by them.  Pretty interesting, though the late subject gets annoying.

Pretty Persuasion -- It tries so hard to be funny and sharp... so hard.

The Skeleton Key -- Another The Ring type movie made by the people who don't realize that The Ring wasn't good to begin with, and made for the very few people who aren't tired of the remakes.  It bites, and it has Kate Hudson, so it bites twice.

5 Aug 2005

Broken Flowers -- Jim Jarmusch's second not-that-great movie, and we're all bored of dour Bill Murray by now, aren't we?  It's not bad, you should see it, but it ain't Down By Law or Groundhog Day.

The Chumscrubber -- Another movie by a young hipster who's figured out that people in the suburbs are so phony, man.  Be prepared for spooky kids, dumb adults, washed-out colors, happy ironic indie music, and some platitudes.

The Dukes of Hazzard -- Soulless movie version of the TV show.

Junebug -- In which we learn that people from the south are stupid and everyone else is what the real world is, but we're all humans on the inside.

My Date with Drew -- A pretty cute documentary about an average guy who sets out to meet and go on a date with Drew Barrymore.  Fortunately for the movie, there's not too much Drew in it.

Saint Ralph -- Good-enough family movie with a pretty decent kid actor.

Secuestro Express -- Pretty realistic and well-acted movie about a kidnapping.  It's okay.

2046 -- Somewhat Lynchy, pretty good.

29 Jul 2005

The Aristocrats -- One hundred of the funniest, and therefore coolest, people in America separately talk about and tell the same legendary joke.  A must-see.

Must Love Dogs -- Imagine if You've Got Mail were a hundred times worse than it already was.

Sky High -- Harry Potter meets The Incredibles meets something even worse than those movies.  Averagely bad.

Stealth -- Jive-talkin' Top Gunners fly around in state-of-the-art stuff before they have to fight a robot and show that humans are better because they can love.  Kinda dumb.

22 Jul 2005

Bad News Bears -- The important news is that you get to hear "Les Toreadors" from Bizet's Carmen.  It just wouldn't be the Bad News Bears without it.  This remake was worthy only because the first one wasn't that great.  Don't believe me?  Go watch it again.  Essentially this is a remake of Bad Santa.

The Devil's Rejects -- Rob Zombie's turds slide down the movie screen... part two.

The Edukators -- Another movie about boring young people.

Hustle & Flow -- The newest of the movies about rappin'.

The Island -- Yeah, yeah, yeah, we know you don't like big stupid blockbuster action blow-em-ups, but this one is pretty sweet.  And it's got Ewan, Scarlett, and Buscemi, so you can't beat that with a stick.  Watch it in the theater or on your surround system.

Last Days -- Gus Van Sant both is an ode to Kurt Cobain as well as a movie that yells at him for his stupidity--which I guess is about all you can do for someone you really like who was, in fact, dumb.  The movie's pretty, if sometimes dull, and it's got Asia Argento.

9 Songs -- A young couple talk, have sex, watch the Dandy Warhols, have sex, play rock and roll, have sex, watch Franz Ferdinand, talk some more, then have sex.  It's not too bad.

November -- A movie about Courteney Cox in eyeglasses.  It's one of those "things aren't what they seem" movies, probably written from the mid to late 90s and just now coming out.

15 Jul 2005

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory -- Not to be confused, of course, with Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  And you won't confuse them.  Tim Burton had a good chance to redeem himself here, but -- although this isn't a pile of elephant dumps like Mars Attacks!, Planet of the Apes, or Big Fish -- the movie is not that remarkable.  Even Johnny Depp as Wonka is unremarkable, doing one big-toothed reading through the whole thing.  You'll be aching for the multi-faceted character Gene Wilder created within five minutes.

Happy Endings -- The 00s version of Skin Deep, complete with John Ritter (okay, his son, but they really look alike).  It's just about average, almost in a good way.  But not entirely, so don't see it.

The Warrior -- The projection screen kept messing up while I was trying to watch this one, so I didn't see it properly.  The music was nice.

Wedding Crashers -- An Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn vehicle...

8 Jul 2005

The Beautiful Country -- Bo-ring.

Chronicles -- It's not the Chronicles of Narnia, so don't get excited.

Dark Water -- Three good actors (Jennifer Connelly, John C. Reilly, Pete Postlethwaite) make a shitty Ring movie about water that leaks from the ceiling.

Fantastic Four -- This movie takes a few hints from Spiderman on how to make a superhero movie, especially in terms of down-to-earth humor. But Tim Story just isn't as talented as Sam Raimi, so he doesn't quite pull it off, but he does make a pretty exciting and kinda funny, somewhat interesting movie that's worth your theater money on a Friday night.

Murderball -- In which we learn that handicapped people can do anything that we do so we shouldn't treat them differently, except that -- when they do the things we do -- we should make movies about them and call them inspirational and courageous.

Saraband -- It's Ingmar Bergman's last film, so it deserves lots of respect.  It's the most captivating boring movie you'll see all year, and I do mean that in a good way.

1 Jul 2005

The Beat That My Heart Skipped -- I saw this in French, so I didn't get all of it.  Something about a guy wanting to play the piano.  Always with the piano.

Deep Blue -- A movie about the beautiful things underwater.  (I'm being serious here.)  That's a whole other planet down there.  You get to see all the cool glow-in-the-dark creatures.  And a few dolphins and penguins and crap to ruin what should have been an entirely subversive effect.  Bad title.

Rebound -- Martin Lawrence, sports, kids: you can figure out the rest.  The movie does have a pretty good supporting cast which provides four or five funny moments.  But if you're like me, you're not interested in moments.  You really don't have time to sit through an hour and a half for "moments," do you?  No, you don't.

War of the Worlds -- Fun stuff from Steven Spielberg.  You won't be (too) disappointed.  Go see it in the theaters.

24 Jun 2005

Bewitched -- It might have been a good idea if handled well. It wasn't. For starters, the premise of the movie is that a TV remake of Bewitched is being made, and a real witch is hired for the job. So it's not even Darrin and Samantha: it's Jack and Isabel, whoever the fuck they are. Why didn't they just remake Bewitched? Do we need this many layers? Didn't we learn our lesson from Fat Albert?

Herbie: Fully Loaded -- It couldn't be helped.

Land of the Dead -- Just in the time for the zombie renaissance, the man himself -- George A. Romero -- makes another zombie masterpiece.  The good thing about Romero is that he just doesn't shove these out like a crappy franchise (this is his fourth one in almost as many decades), but waits till he has something new to say about us living people with his monsters.  Worth seeing in the theater, or a creepy night at home.

Rize -- If there's one thing I've learned in my life about black people, it's that they like to get out on the streets in their urban communities and battle it out with some sort of underground artistic expression that will later be commodified.  (Note that "commodified" here is not a negative word.  Rap music, for example, was really shitty when still on the streets.  It was just guys talking into a Mr. Microphone over 1970s rock music.  We did the same thing in my house on Maxine Drive when I was a kid, but Dad called it "noise.")  This documentary is about "krumping," a fast-moving dance style that's bound to have people asking, "Krunk?  Oh, krump.  I thought you said krunk."  The movie is okay, in case you were wondering.  It's better than, say, 8 Mile or You Got Served.

Yes -- No!  I mean, wait, yes.  I mean... no?  I'm not sure.

17 Jun 2005

Batman Begins -- After going to pot essentially after the first one (and maybe during), the Batman movies now have a clean slate. Christian Bale, everyone's favorite American psycho (and one of those actors who's so perfect it hurts to watch him), is Batman. Christopher "Memento" Nolan is directing. A billion other really talented people are involved. On top of all this, genesis stories are my favorites, so I'm happy. The best Batman movie, in its own way at least. Go see it.

Heights -- A boring movie about "lovers" and crap.

My Summer of Love -- For the first 30 minutes or so it feels like a typical "two beautiful girls fall for each other, complete with beautiful settings and an extra male interest for a triangle" movie -- and it is -- but it's still good.  Paddy Considine is an Alex Denisof look-alike.

The Perfect Man -- A Hilary Duff vehicle.

10 Jun 2005

The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3-D -- After knocking my balls off with Sin City, Robert Rodriguez does what is essentially a slightly-better remake of the horrible Spy Kids 3-D. If you have to watch it (and you don't), then at least wait for DVD where you don't have to use the crappy blue and red 50s-style 3-D glasses and you can just watch it as a normal, farting 2-D movie.

The Bridge of San Luis Rey -- Every respected actor over 50 huddles together to make this big lavish thing that's marginally entertaining.

5x2 -- It's a remake of the Bo Derek movie, but with mathematicians. Just kidding. It's actually one of those "told in reverse" movies that are all the rage. Okay, they're not all the rage, but I can think of like two of them. It's not that great anyway.

The Honeymooners -- Apparently Jackie Gleason just wasn't "Cedric the Entertainer" enough. A movie that will please no one.

Howl's Moving Castle -- Hayao Miyazaki is up to his old tricks again. Not my taste in movies, but some of it is pretty.

Mr. and Mrs. Smith -- The two most fuckable actors in America team up for a sexy spy comedy from the director of The Bourne Identity. I liked it. You will too.

Parineeta -- Romantic thing with cutesy music.

Saint Ralph -- A family movie, and not in a bad way this time.

Switchblade Romance -- An okay French thriller. Ever-so-slightly above average.

3 Jun 2005

Apres Vous -- A cute French comedy, worth renting.

Cinderella Man -- Opie is back to his shitty bag of tricks with this boxing version of Beautiful Mind.

Lords of Dogtown -- When I was in junior high, I was often asked if I were a hood or a skater. Think about the stupidity of that question, then think about what this movie might be like, and you're halfway there.

Rock School -- A real-life "school of rock," only Jack Black was a really sweet and good teacher, where this guy is a jerky toolbag. You'll enjoy watching him for a few seconds, then get bored of him. One or two of the kids are interesting, but most are just boring. You might enjoy this as a rental, but I'm not necessarily recommending it.

The Sisterhood of Traveling Pants -- It's more or less about a pair of blue jeans.

27 May 2005

Bomb the System -- A movie about "taggers." Apparently people are still interested in spray paint cans.

The Longest Yard -- This movie doesn't fall under the "pointless remakes" category. Not too many people under the age of 35 have heard of the original, and it was about time to pull out a bunch of funny people and famous football players to try this thing again. So it's a worthy effort, even if not a fantastic movie. It's funny enough. Adam Sandler is still one of our underrated actors.

Madagascar -- What vomit looks like under a microscope.

Saving Face -- Academics will love this horrible movie because it will be easy to talk about its "issues." Though it's about as deep as a droplet of pee.

20 May 2005

Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith -- Here we go, folks. A recap: Jar Jar sucked up what might have been an otherwise fun movie... then we got a pretty fun movie with part two, though people still had Binks aftertaste so it was a little ruined... but now it's been six years since the Jar Jar Menace, so we can sit back and happily enjoy this last installment which (in spite of Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman being a couple of douche-bags) is pretty kick-ass all around. You'll be reminded of why you loved laser swords to begin with.

13 May 2005

Layer Cake -- One of those English gangster movies that's a little more clever than (most) American gangster movies, but not too much more.

Kicking and Screaming -- A dumb comedy soccer movie.

Mad Hot Ballroom -- Like Spellbound, but the good news here is that the kids are actually enjoying their ballroom dancing competitions, and they're not nearly as freaky. Half of the movie is about young boys and girls liking each other anyway. In the end, however, the movie isn't anything that special.

Mindhunters -- If there's one thing movies have taught me, it's that serial killers are geniuses, smarter than you and me. This movie's kinda fun.

Monster-in-Law -- J. Lo probably shouldn't star in something with the word monster in the title.

Unleashed -- Bob Hoskins steals the show in this by-the-numbers oppression/kung-fu movie supposedly starring a boring Jet Li.

6 May 2005

Brothers -- Eh. Boring.

Crash -- How insulting. I like clichés and stupid sentimentality and all, but this is ridiculous. One line from the movie (something Don Cheadle was forced to say) concerning a car wreck was, "I think we miss the sense of touch so much we have to crash into each other to feel something."

House of Wax -- Another Teen Horror Remake. Elisha Cuthbert is still the underrated sexpot of this half of the decade.

Kingdom of Heaven -- Can Orlando Bloom actually act? We'll never know, since he keeps getting lost in the hugeness of all the epics he stars in. Anyways, this is the usual Ridley Scott big-ass movie. Whatever.

Mysterious Skin -- Another movie from Gregg "hey, didn't we like you for maybe 2 seconds in the 90s before realizing we were wrong?" Araki (sorry--I'm terrible). At least Michelle Trachtenberg is in it.

29 Apr 2005

Death of a Dynasty -- A semi-funny movie about today's rap peeps, as played by actors. Offers both comedy and a messed-up history lesson. It might be fun to watch with your favorite rap fan.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy -- They finally got around to doing a big production of these books/radio shows, and they've basically just tried to put the page on the screen, which is fine since the page was so great to begin with. Fans of the books will just enjoy watching what they've read a zillion times already. Not too much to complain about here. Warwick "Willow" Davis is in the Marvin suit. Go see it in the theater... and don't panic.

3-Iron -- Kind of interesting in that it's practically a dialogue-less movie. Sometimes boring for that reason too, but mostly not.

xXx: State of the Union -- One star for each X: this time, Ice Cube. Whoopee!

22 Apr 2005

A Lot Like Love -- Another one of those movies that proves that, no matter how dire a romantic situation you are in, you can always win your woman back by loudly singing to her outside her window. Men are proven to be endlessly charming in this area.

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room -- A detailed look at what went down, which is really entertaining in one of those ways where you realize that you just have to laugh at the hugeness and audacity of evil sometimes. If you want to see a portrait of some of the biggest bastards who have ever lived, here you go. I recommend watching.

The Interpreter -- One of those movies where all the major players are annoying (the characters, and the actors), but it's still kind of intriguing anyway.

King's Ransom -- Jay Mohr is really funny in this movie, and Charlie Murphy is pretty good too, but the movie is more or less one typical joke after another.

15 Apr 2005

The Amityville Horror -- File under "pointless remakes," from the writer who brought us the pointless remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

House of D -- David Duchovny stars in and directs this 70s period piece coming of age piece of junk. Robin Williams plays Forrest Gump and Erykah On and On Badu plays the magic black that the young Duchovny asks advice of, though she's perched up in an apartment and he can't see her. It's even worse than it sounds.

Palindromes -- Todd Solondz's bleakest movie yet, which is saying a bit. He decided that the lead character needed to be played by many, many actors instead of just one... a trick that is more interesting in premise than execution. The movie's not very good, but it's worth seeing, if that makes sense. Kind of like Storytelling was.

State Property II -- Completely average gang rapper movie.

The Year of the Yao -- Surprisingly interesting (at least for the first 45 minutes) documentary about Yao Ming of the Houston Rockets.

8 Apr 2005

Eros -- Three short movies, the most interesting of which is the Stephen Soderbergh one, but even it's not worth sitting through the other two for (or watching in the first place) unless you're a huge Soderbergh fan.

Fever Pitch -- I've told you to give up on the Farrelly brothers already, yes?

Kung Fu Hustle -- Even as comedies I'm tired of Kung Fu movies, but Stephen Chow sure does make 'em funny. Not as funny as Shaolin Soccer, but worth renting.

Saraha -- It's like an even more dumb version of The Mummy. Not in plot, just in quantity of sand and stupidity.

Smile -- If you can't say somethin' nice, don't say nothin' at all. Or just say that it sucks.

Winter Solstice -- It's movies like these that make us prefer spaceships and explosions to "people" films. "Hey, have you thought of a title for your boring, shitty movie yet?" "How about Winter Solstice?" "Hey, that's really bland. I like it."

1 Apr 2005

Beauty Shop -- The female sequel/remake of the Barber Shop movies, starring everyone you've ever heard of. Not really worth seeing, unless you really really really like the first movies and are a completist.

Control -- Testosterony movie that's not too bad, but pretty much what you've seen before. People almost getting hit by subways, etc.

Dust To Glory -- A very cinematic documentary, really well put-together, but ultimately kind of boring.

Look at Me -- Not just another "fat girl wants attention in a beautiful world" movie, though I'm sure that's what they'll be writing about in the academic papers. It's actually a decently-funny movie, though not in the way that will make you laugh out loud. Anyways, it's French.

Sin City -- Wow, man. Robert Rodriguez is back in form with this one, which claims to be co-directed by Frank Miller himself (there's also a little bit directed by Quentin Tarantino). This is like a grittier and even more stylish version of what Dick Tracy should have been way back when. And everyone's in the movie, so you're bound to like at least two or three of the actors. A little dull sometimes, and Rodriguez always has a goofy trick or two that doesn't work, but well worth seeing in the theater.

25 Mar 2005

D.E.B.S. -- This movie comes so close to being good and funny, but just misses it. It's worth watching for those who moments that make you laugh, and where you think, "It's really going to happen, it's really going to get good," but in the end it's just a let-down that keeps repeating the same joke (spies who are also good-looking shallow girls) over and over.

Guess Who -- It's a comedy version of Guess Who's Coming To Dinner with the black/white thing reversed. And it's awful! Who'd have guessed?

Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous -- More of the same... or less of the same, however you prefer it phrased.

18 Mar 2005

Ice Princess -- Buffy's sister tries to make you all weepy and fails.

Melinda and Melinda -- Oh, I get it. As I've said before, Woody Allen makes two types of movies: really good and eh, pretty good... this is eh, pretty good, but with Will Farrell and Chloe Sevigny, together at last!

The Ring Two -- If you thought the first one was bad... Oh wait, you didn't. Why didn't you think the first one was bad again? Cause it was. So is this one, but worse. Or better? Maybe better for you? I'm confused.

Steamboy -- It wasn't playing anywhere near me. Oh well.

11 Mar 2005

The Boys and Girls from County Clare -- Adults favor traditional music over the new stuff. The kids rebel.

Dot the I -- Relies on sexy Spaniards to carry the movie.

Hostage -- Bruce Willis is fun enough, but he's on action hero cruise control here. More the movie's fault than his maybe, but dull nonetheless.

In My Country -- John Boorman boores us with this one, a love story set in South Africa.

Millions -- A pretty nice movie about small kids, but not a movie for small kids. As with every movie Danny Boyle has directed, it's a bit disarming--you're expecting this sentimental goop, and you get somewhat-edgy good stuff. Recommended.

The Passion of the Christ -- Now that six minutes of the more violent stuff has been cut, what will the people do who said that the violence was essential to the understanding of Jesus Christ and his time on earth? Will they get angry at Mel Gibson, their Savior Number Two? Fans of this movie are the one who think theology is the study of Cliff Huxtable's son.

Robots -- If you're not bored of computer animated kids' movies, vacant and "zippy" dialogue, and robots, then this is the movie for you! If you're like me, you'll wish you didn't have to sit through it to bring you this review.

The Upside of Anger -- Kevin Costner as a baseball player. Sure, that's not what the focus of the movie is, but the un-originality of that casting will tell about as much as you need to know about this picture.

4 Mar 2005

Be Cool -- The sequel to Get Shorty is actually better than the first one (though you should realize I wasn't crazy about the first one). It's funnier and goofier. It's got The Rock as a flamboyantly gay guy (which, here, is a good thing), Vince Vaughn as a wannabe-black guy, and Andre 3000. Pairing Uma Thurman and John Travolta in a dance sequence too close to Pulp Fiction is annoying, and so is the usual Elmore Leonard stuff that I don't dig, but this one is worth seeing.

The Best of Youth -- I've only seen the trailer for this one, so it would be wrong to review it.

Dear Frankie -- Dear Frankie... thank you for boring me at the movies.

Gunner Palace -- Pretty much the most up close and personal account we've seen of this war yet in movie form (or any other public form?): the soldiers part anyway. It's worth watching if you can stomach it.

The Jacket -- It's like Jacob's Ladder with a jacket. I'm not sure what I mean by that, but I stick by it.

The Pacifier -- Vin Diesel the action hero in a comedy role... with children??? Who in a million years could have come up with such an original idea??? Wait. Stop. That wasn't funny of me. At all. I was going to write, "In case you couldn't tell, I was being sarcastic," but that would have relied on a knowledge of a certain Simpsons episode, and in that case I would have just been using someone else's joke. There's nothing funny about me anymore. Why does everything have to be funny? Why can't I just do straight reviews. What was wrong with this Vin Deisel movie anyway? It was good family entertainment, and what's wrong with that. Someone loves this movie, and I'm just a jerk making fun of it. Just a jerk with an internet connection who can type too fast for his own good. You should all hate me.

Walk on Water -- One of those assassin with a choice movies. Not that great.

25 Feb 2005

Cursed -- Something about this makes it not quite right... maybe just that Kevin Williamson had a fluky good movie with Scream and hasn't done anything else good, so Wes Craven shouldn't rely on him anymore. He should just make The Serpent and the Rainbow II or something instead.

Diary of a Mad Black Woman -- How Stella Got Her Groove Back After Being Treated Bad by the Black Guy from The Practice... it's actually not too bad.

Gory Gory Hallelujah -- Oh my, this is funny. It's nice to see a movie that looks like one of those old USA Up All Night movies that's doing it all straight; it's an actual B-movie, not a movie about B-movies. Best use of the 70s in a while too.

Man of the House -- Tommy Lee Jones plays himself, which is almost always fun, especially when dealing with "bratty" type characters, but that's about all this movie has going for it.

Up and Down -- A pretty funny movie from the Czech mix. A screwball comedy that looks like a drama.

18 Feb 2005

Beautiful Boxer -- You know in some countries, a movie about a boxer who wants a sex change operation doesn't always mean it has to be a broad comedy. That's not necessarily a good thing in this case, however.

Because of Winn-Dixie -- Oh, it's cute. I allow you to take your kids. It's the better of the two Jeff Daniels movies coming out this week. Harland Williams and Dave Matthews is in it, and Dave Matthews is better!

Constantine -- Keanu and the Devil again. It's bad, but not horrible.

Imaginary Heroes -- Yeah, whatever. Let me kill at least five of the people on the screen.

Schultze Gets the Blues -- A pretty good, pretty funny movie with a great Zydeco soundtrack.

Son of the Mask -- Better than The Mask in that it doesn't try to trick anyone into thinking it's more than a stupid piece of crap. It is what it is, where the first one wanted to be more. This one doesn't have a plumper, hotter Cameron Diaz however.

Turtles Can Fly -- I watched this Iraqi movie with French subtitles, so it was often hard to follow, though there didn't seem to be a whole lot going on except the usual war stuff.

11 Feb 2005

Bride and Prejudice -- So it's from Bollywood... big deal. It's still just a bad romance movie with a crappy pun for the title.

Hitch -- Black Eye for the White Guy. Will Smiff does his Will Smiff thing. No fun explosions or anything, so just avoid it.

Inside Deep Throat -- I know we're tired of people being all academic about movies that are made to jack off to, but this documentary isn't half bad. It's interesting, even if nothing much about it is revelatory at this point.

Ong-Bak -- Them fightin' movies. You got 'em?

Pooh's Heffalump Movie -- Um, Heffalumps (and Woozles) are things that the Pooh characters thought existed, some irrational fear they had. So this movie says they do exist. Fuck this movie. And fuck the Pooh Woozle Movie that'll probably follow.

Uncle Nino -- Sorry, guys. I never got around to seeing this movie.

4 Feb 2005

Assisted Living -- The best new director in a while, and a great lead actor. Interesting, new story. Go see it, okay?

Boogeyman -- Boo! Ha ha ha, I scared you. The Real Ghostbusters had a couple of good episodes about the Boogeyman. They were better than this. Anyway, if you need a horror fix one rental night, this one's good enough.

Nobody Knows -- ... how boring this is.

The Wedding Date -- Vile.

28 Jan 2005

Aliens of the Deep -- IMAX, 3-D, all the gimmicks... not bad if you're interested in looking at cool-looking underwater creatures and things.

Alone in the Dark -- I remember the old videogame being pretty cool and spooky in a classic horror sort of way, but this is just a big dumb action movie with big guns and a bunch of "jump" scares that won't actually make you jump.

Hide and Seek -- Little kids being spooky and saying creepy things has had a long run. It's been several decades now. Officially, with this one, we're tired of it. So stop, okay?

21 Jan 2005

Are We There Yet? -- Spoiler: by the end of the movie, the kids like him.

Assault on Precinct 13 -- It takes about twenty minutes to get going, but then it will surprise you with how fun it is to watch, maybe even more than once. Maybe even at the theater. I recommend it.

14 Jan 2005

Appleseed -- An anime movie about Johnny Appleseed as a warrior at the end of WWIII. Or something like that, I wasn't really paying attention.

Coach Carter -- You've seen this before. It's one of those "tough guys makes a difference in street kids' lives" movies. Avoid please.

Elektra -- Well, Jennifer Garner looks maybe sexier than ever, so there's that. Otherwise, this looks like to be on the fun-enough level for some loud 5.1 rental night.

Racing Stripes -- One day the dated-ness of these 90s/00s kids' films will show and will lose their appeal and the big guys will go back to making more enduring stuff. Until then, here's more poop jokes and David Spade singing MC Hammer as a housefly.

7 Jan 2005

White Noise -- Dead people appearing on tape recorders has always been an interesting idea that's never played out well in movies; this one does a little better, but doesn't go far enough. Fun to watch Michael Keaton, I reckon.

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