Rusty's Movie Pre-Judgments
by Rusty W. Spell

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31 Dec 2010

Another Year -- Another year, another movie about another year.  I certainly don't want movies about old people drinking Budweiser and jumping into swimming pools in bikinis, but I might prefer that to this kind of "let's slog through another one" non-story.

Blue Valentine -- Self-centered personalities prone to depression (but of the particular variety that lives for small happy moments that give them a rush) posing as charm.

24 Dec 2010

Country Strong -- Gwyneth Paltrow is very believable as a troubled country singer.  Boring movie for my tastes, but not a bad one for others'.

Gulliver's Travels -- His name is Gulliver, and he is bigger than the Lilliputians, but other than that, there's not much more about this that really makes it a Gulliver story.  Instead, it's just family fun with Jack Black slackering around as a giant.

The Illusionist -- Just nice to see non-kiddie animation, even though the style does look pretty much like 101 Dalmatians.

Little Fockers -- I hear the next one is called Did You, Focker?

Somewhere -- In a movie about fast-livin' celebrities that end up slowing down to spend time with their kids, the movie ends up making us watch people just acting normal and boring, but pretending that it means something.

True Grit -- A good western remake from the Coens, and the girl is surprisingly good.

17 Dec 2010

Casino Jack -- Also known as Bagman, this is about Jack Abramoff, and I wish it were better, but it's okay.  George Hickenlooper shoots the movie as if it's set in the 70s.

How Do You Know -- In which Reese Witherspoon has some kind of mid-life crisis at age 27.  It's one of those usual "who do I get with?" romantic comedies (with an extra layer of sap because it's done by James L. Brooks).  Here's my message to all the girls in the world.  Stop watching these movies because they all tell you one thing, so just learn it and save yourself all the trouble: get with Paul Rudd the first time you get the chance.

Rabbit Hole -- The Great Depress-Out, but not in a good way.

TRON: Legacy -- Well, the 80s version still looks better and has more meaning to it, but this one isn't horrible for kids and it's got the original guys in it.

Yogi Bear -- Too bad they don't play a cartoon short of some 1960s Yogis before the movie begins so the kids can get some quality entertainment.

10 Dec 2010

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader -- My favorite of the Narnia books turns into just another Potter-inspired movie.  The problem with these movies is that -- in their attempts to "round out" characters, plot, etc. -- they're actually rounding them... in?  However you phrase it: just trying to say that they're making things average where they could retain their fullness and fantasy.

The Fighter -- A decent boxing movie (like the genre pictures of old), though it just makes you want to watch Rocky again.  Amy Adams pretends to be sexy and an actor.

Hemingway's Garden of Eden -- High school acting with a bad Hemingway story.

The Tempest -- The last good Julie Taymor movie was her first one, Titus.  This Shakespeare play starting with the letter T is more or less on the same level, though it contains a lot of the goofiness and bad ideas that Across the Universe did.

The Tourist -- Perpetuating the myth that Angelina Jolie is a temptress who can get men to do any foul thing for her and love every second of it.  As a movie, it's average in nearly every way except for one very subtle layer of style that is hard for the naked eye to detect.

3 Dec 2010

All Good Things -- Has all the usual elements, but it's a good-to-watch thriller type.

Black Swan -- Actress I like (Mila Kunis) vs. actress I don't like (Natalie Portman).  It took me a second to warm up to the movie, but I kind of like it.  Uses the title color well, and has some creepy (not scary) moments.

I Love You Phillip Morris -- Though it goes a bit too quirky half the time, this is a pretty entertaining movie.  Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor gay it up while only partially going into over-the-top stereotypes.

Meskada -- Small time boring.

Night Catches Us -- Kerry Washington is always annoying, but she's the only thing that brings this movie out of you falling into sleepytime.  Her annoyance wakes you up.

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale -- Wow, I wish I had thought of this idea: treating Santa Claus not only as real but as an appropriate subject for a thriller -- like the offspring of Jesus for The Da Vinci Code -- with very little humor or nods to magic or cheer or all the usual crap.  See this one!

The Warrior's Way -- A collection of uninteresting clichés, all wrapped up for Christmas.

26 Nov 2010

Burlesque -- A series of inspirational speeches posing as a movie, with little bits of non-titillating dancing scattered throughout.

Faster -- "The Rock" is in this.

King's Speech -- The only decent movie this week.  It's still only averagely okay.

Love and Other Drugs -- A guy who only wants sex (whatever that means) meets a gal who only wants sex (whatever that means) and they, you know, finally fall in love or whatever.  Oh, and he sells Viagra in its early days.  Add some cancer or some other fatal disease and fill in the rest.

Tangled -- Current Disney people should look at the shittiest Disney product from the Walt years for lessons.

19 Nov 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 -- When someone's confrontation ends up being two guys shooting nonspecific magic lightning bolts at each other, how can you really get into it?

Made in Dagenham -- A movie set in 1968 Britain in which women demand equal pay as men.  This kind of thing would never happen in contemporary America.  Not my cup of tea as a movie, but if you're in the mood for a silly British version of Norma Rae, here ya go.

The Next Three Days -- Typ. thriller about a guy doing anything for his family.

White Material -- Woman grows coffee beans or something.  The film burned up at the theater, but I didn't stick around for them to replace the reel.

12 Nov 2010

Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer -- I dunno.  I have to hear about these guys for months on the news, so I often don't want them to become my entertainment.

Cool It -- The calm, rational guy in me finds this movie appealing.  The premise is that Al Gore and Co. are trying to scare everyone into changing our habits for the environment... which would be almost fine (except that using fear for almost anything sucks) if anything they suggested we do (which isn't much) actually worked.  The subject of this documentary, Bjorn Lomborg, hopes for a larger, smarter, non-fear-based approach.  A good antidote to extremists on either side, even if everything Lomborg says isn't all correct.

Morning Glory -- Will offend sensibilities of every generation.

Skyline -- A mish-mash of War of the Worlds, Independence Day, Close Encounters, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and other superior movies.  Nothing new or interesting.

Tiny Furniture -- An homage to Woody Allen, in that everyone is very realistic, like the most obnoxious people you've ever met in your life, that you would kill yourself if you had to live with them or even hang out with them on Friday nights.  The kind who have just enough education to think they're smart, even though they're not, and they know just enough about creativity to think they're creative, even though they're not.  I hate them.  Maybe you're one of them.  If you are, you'll probably like this movie.

Unstoppable -- If this starred Sandra Bullock, it would be Speed 3.  This movie makes me think of pictures of lost children.

5 Nov 2010

Due Date -- A little better than The Hangover, which -- contrary to popular belief -- isn't saying much.

Fair Game -- Knowing the Valerie Plame story, and then watching this, is kind of like watching the end of Pee-wee's Big Adventure when Pee-wee had the movie made about him and everyone was watching it on the big screen.  The real-life is all movie-fied, exaggerated, and played by super good-looking people (except Sean Penn, who is far uglier than husband Joseph Wilson).  Ignore the "based on a true story" part and it's just another slick Doug Liman movie.

For Colored Girls -- Tyler Perry makes more movies than Woody Allen, so they can't all be winners.  Who am I kidding?  Pretty much none of them are winners.  But if you gotta pick one, this one has a certain style to it that the others don't, and it's fun to see Janet Jackson and Phylicia Rashad in the same movie.

Four Lions -- The only good satire on jihadists so far.  Worth watching, though it takes a while to get into the groove of the humor.  This is the first movie from Drafthouse Films (spawned from the Alamo Drafthouse).

Megamind -- Any good ideas (and this movie never gets quite that far) that might have come from this movie have already been done in Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-Long Blog.  Expect the same two or three (if that many) computer-animated facial expressions and "adult" jokes like naming the superhero Metro Man.  Ya get it?  Aw, man, that's so fucking funny!  A movie for little kids, see, but the parents, see, the PARENTS are going to fall out of their fucking chairs when the guy is called Metro Man, because here's this little eight-year-old boy just laughing at the funny cartoon faces, but little does he know that the thirty-three-year old PARENTS, GOD DAMN IT are shitting all over each other's faces because here's completely sophisticated humor.  I mean, holy shit!  You want sophistication?  You got it!

127 Hours -- Mr. Scruffy gets trapped in a mountain thing.  It's like a non-lush Castaway.  It's Danny Boyle, so you'll probably watch it.

Red Hill -- You want this to work, since it seems like a different kind of cowboy movie, but it doesn't.  Flat-n-boring.

29 Oct 2010

Aftershock -- "Artistic" shots of dead people, based on actual deaths from an earthquake only a few decades ago, so even more fun with "art."

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest -- Spoiler Alert: She will have kicked a hornet's nest.

Monsters -- A combo of Cloverfield, District 9, and Jurassic Park III.  Yes, it's just that horrible!

Saw 3D -- This should be a gimmicky coda to the series, but -- unfortunately -- it will just keep going.  Why don't they just make this into a weekly TV show and make everyone happy?

Waste Land -- I was skeptical about this one for the first several minutes, but it turns out the guy was doing something good and not exploitive after all.  Not my favorite or anything, but it's nothing to hate.

Welcome to the Rileys -- A pretty cheesy movie, and difficult to watch because it's embarrassing to see Kristen "Twitchy" Stewart trying to act around James Gandolfini.

Wild Target -- One of those "not that funny, but it's British so some Americans think it is" movies.

22 Oct 2010

Hereafter -- It's an average supernatural movie, but at least Clint Eastwood isn't directing his usual dicky man-movies.

Inhale -- One of those movies where parents do stupid things ("I just want to save my daughter") and we're supposed to root for them.

Paranormal Activity 2 -- These aren't bad little stupid movies.  They may pass.

15 Oct 2010

Conviction -- In the end, she doesn't win, but she and her brother feel that it was worth it anyway.  Or something like that: I actually fell asleep before I saw the ending.

Down Terrace -- An average British gangster movie that thinks it's something above average.

I Want Your Money -- Has about four or five good points, but on the whole has about ten times as much bullcrap as a Michael Moore film.  Uses silly computer animation of Obama and Reagan to make its points.  Has an eerie Christian undertone.

Jackass 3D -- I always try to like these movies, and probably would if they'd just get rid of the post-stunt laughing for ten minutes and... you know, the gay stuff.  You should not, however, confuse homophobia with a straight man's desire to not watch gay porn in 3D.

Red -- A new take on the old people kick ass genre, and a good take this time.  Not the usual jokes.  Everyone actually looks badass.  Recommended for a fun night of action.

8 Oct 2010

GhettoPhysics: Will the Real Pimps and Hos Please Stand Up? -- Pimps and hos used to describe the relationship between everyone in the world: you're one or the other.  Something like a manifesto.  Not too much worth watching.

Inside Job -- Charles Ferguson never teaches you anything new in his documentaries, but he puts together the best ones about his chosen topics, making you wish the earlier ones would have just waited on his.

I Spit on Your Grave -- Hey, wow, another horror remake done in the style of Saw or whatever.

It's Kind of a Funny Story -- The movie doesn't know how to handle girls or romance (it borrows from other movies that also don't know), but the interplay between Zack Galifianakis and the kid is pretty good throughout.

Leaving -- One of those "too realistic to be entertaining" movies.

Life as We Know It -- I could either write a long rant, or I can just say that I want to punch this movie in its fucking face.  It's a new low, a conglomeration of every dipshit premise comedy about fate and soul mates and.... okay, okay, no rant.

My Soul To Take -- This is an old-fashioned kind of Wes Craven movies, like his Nightmare movies or even Shocker.  Bit of a "which one of us is evil?" mystery.  All the usual stuff, but visually pretty solid.  Overlook some of the cheesier storytelling elements.

Nowhere Boy -- Kind of a cheesy movie, but it's pretty much better than Backbeat, and it at least does a good job of reminding us of how teeny tiny the Beatles were when they started.

Secretariat -- This will be playing in the lobby of your dentist's office soon.

Stone -- Edward Norton is often a good actor, but in this movie (and some others) you can "see" him acting, which means that he's not really acting correctly.  The Milla Jovovich stuff is okay, though, in a stupid way, making at least 20 minutes of the movie watchable before it become boring again.

Tamara Drewe -- Stephen Frears movies are only as good as their scripts, and this one is dumb.  Other people come to the conclusion that you should "marry the girl," because you're so clueless, etc.

1 Oct 2010

Barry Munday -- Hey, wow.  I was charmed by this one.  Sure, it's about a dude who loses his testicles and then finds out that some woman he slept with (cause he's a womanizer, see) is pregnant with his baby... but that's just the flimsy plot backdrop for what's actually really funny and sweet at the same time.  This thing put a smile on my face, and that doesn't happen with me and movies much.

Case 39 -- A slightly (and I do mean ever so) new twist on the ol' devil-ghost-whatever thing.  Renée Zellweger is a good solid realistic base for this otherwise not-too-grounded horror pic.

Chain Letter -- Old "threats" from yesteryear (let's say the 70s) surface via technology from the 1990s (AOL, baby) and whatever.

Freakonomics -- As these kinds of documentaries go, it's kinda flashy and glitsy and not too depressing or anything (unlike most of the movies made by the collection of documentary makers behind this thing).  One day we'll look at this era of these kinds of books and documentaries and think to ourselves, "Why am I thinking about these things right now?  There's something better to do."

Hatchet II -- That joke movie described by Christopher in The Sopranos gets a sequel.

Let Me In -- A not-half-bad American remake (though it will mostly make you want to revisit the original), mostly because it keeps with the mood of the original, right down to the quiet-talking kids.  But it's got plenty of Americana (Reagan, etc.) to offer something new: throwing a bunch of images together, hoping it will stick as some sort of theme or meaning.  Sometimes it works.

The Social Network -- David Fincher has finally made another good movie (last one was Fight Club).  The current obsession with Facebook, of course, will get people in to the theaters, but I think the movie will be even more enjoyable in twenty years or so when the site is dead and we can look back on this movie as both an artifact and also a good story that's not as connected to our personal lives.  Jesse Eisenberg plays the part perfectly.  Justin Timberlake looks his part, so he'll do.

24 Sep 2010

Buried -- Movies like to be expansive and they like to be confined.  This one is Ryan Reynolds buried in a coffin for the entirety of the movie.  It could just as well be a radio play.  But, as a radio play at least, it works nicely.  Hey, why didn't they just make this a radio play?  Radio play?

Enter the Void -- Gaspar Noé made a masterpiece with I Stand Alone.  He made something that didn't quite work with Irreversible.  (If all anyone remembers is the minutes-long rape scene, then -- well -- there's a good reason for that.)  With this one, most of his semi-deep thought it just replaced with flashing colors, the usual drug use and violence, and stuff you'd expect from a mid-90s movie about druggie youths.  This one also has incest or whatever.

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole -- Imagine yourself saying this: "Yes, I'd like one ticket for The Owls of Ga'Hoole, please."  If that's not enough to stop you, once you take one look at the big-screen non-expressive and disturbing owl faces speaking with human voices (in 3-D!) you'll want to run out of the theater.  And if that's not enough to stop you, just know that Zack "300" Snyder directed this.

Like Dandelion Dust -- Christian movie that features alcoholic smashing booze into sink, then (later) punching mirror.  In spite of problems and sterotypes, actually deals with a complicated situation somewhat even-handedly.

Waiting for Superman -- I dunno about these documentaries anymore.

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps -- A decent enough sequel, though -- once again -- Oliver Stone accidentally glamorizes what he intends to demonize (see not only the original, but also Scarface).  I'm not quite sure if this is the fault of Stone or the idiots who'd actually want to be like the greedy mobsters he portrays.

You Again -- Another movie that proposes the following thesis: high school was the most important time in your life, it was a nightmare, and everything you'll ever do will always come back to it.  I'm not sure if screenwriters are actually high school students or if they're just in some insane state of arrested development, but there you go.  This one is god-awful and forces Betty White to say things like "I'm on the Twitter."

You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger -- I'm pretty much done with you, Woody.  Your pretty girls and distracting English accents can only go so far in covering up the poo.  Slow down.  Make one movie about every three years, collecting your best stuff into the one.  Maybe four.  Then you'll do fine.

17 Sep 2010

Alpha and Omega -- Another cartoon filled with nothing but cut-n-paste "jokes" and catch phrases: like the Postmodern Generator for cartoons.  At least two references to the cartoon wolves fucking as a bonus--you know, for kids.

Catfish -- Remember that time you were chatting or whatever with someone on the internet and maybe they were using a fake picture or trying to make their lives more interesting than they really were?  Remember the time you then hunted down that person in order to make her fess up, so that you can "expose" her and make a bitchin' documentary?  If you don't remember that second part, then you might not be a doucherino like the dudes making this movie.  Instead, you're someone who realizes the reality of the internet and goes on about your life.

Devil -- M. Night Shyamalan writes but doesn't direct this one.  Since he's a better director than writer, you know what that means.  His "everything happens for a reason" simplified Christian philosophy comes out once more here, this time paired with the battle against the De-vil.  Since most of the action takes place in an elevator, at least the claustrophobia is warranted instead of accidental (?) as it was in The Lady in the Water.

Easy A -- Like a lot of high school movies, this goes for the obvious, over-the-top, or annoying fake memory of high school from adults.  But peeping through the cracks is something slightly less than stupid, so if teens and early twenties are going to watch one of these, it may as well be this one.

Jack Goes Boating -- I can't say that I strongly recommend Philip Seymour Hoffman's directorial debut.  It seems, in fact, that he (who also stars) needed a better director to pull out his great acting talent.

Leaves of Grass -- Once you suspend... well, pretty much everything, then you might actually enjoy this movie about Edward Norton split-screened with a hillbilly version of himself.  It would have been better as an all-out goofy comedy instead of a kinda serious comedy.  Directed by Tim Blake Nelson.

Never Let Me Go -- The sci-fi premise is old as the hills, but it's combined with some Remains of the Day style Englishness that makes it feel not as nerdy.  But it makes up for it in the kind of lush drama that I've grown completely bored with.

The Town -- This movie has some creepy robber masks going for it, but that's about it.

10 Sep 2010

Bran Nue Dae -- Combines the horror of musicals with the dusty infection of the outback.

Heartbreaker -- If you like Dirty Dancing, Hitch, and are gay, this is the movie for you.

Legendary -- Walker told me I have AIDS.

I'm Still Here -- Why not?  More interesting than it should be.  The Wah-keen thing.

Resident Evil: Afterlife -- The Matrix IV: 3D.

The Romantics -- This will make you hate life.

The Virginity Hit -- This is pretty much what the kids should be watching.

3 Sep 2010

The American -- Anton Corbijn does his best to squeeze all of the juice of out moviemaking, then dump the juice in the river and leave us with what's left.

Going the Distance -- The movie insists that it's charming.

Last Train Home -- A pretty good, pretty sad, pretty claustrophobic documentary about workers going home for Chinese New Year.

Machete -- Somehow doesn't live up to the promise of the fake trailer back when we wished it were a real movie, but still a big load of exploitation fun.  See it.

Mesrine: Public Enemy #1 -- Part two of last week's Mesrine movie, so I hope no one is confused that this has #1 in the title.

A Simple Noodle Story (A Woman, a Gun, and a Noodle Shop) -- The guy who did House of Flying Daggers remakes Blood Simple (no, really) in his style.  It's better than all the rest of his all-style, no anything-else movie, but mostly because it's kind of fun to watch how he translates America into China.

The Tillman Story -- Pat Tillman was killed by friendly fire, but the government and military made up another story about how he died.  For no very good reason.  Just pathological lying, I guess.  The movie doesn't tell you anything you don't know, but it's okay for something on TV.

White Wedding -- (Look the other way.  This didn't happen.)

The Winning Season -- The Bad News Bears, with girls' basketball.  Or whatever.

27 Aug 2010

Centurion -- Not as goofy as 300 or epic (as a bad word) as Gladiator, but it tries to be both of those.

The Last Exorcism -- I suppose people aren't going to quit trying to recapture the magic of The Exorcist anytime soon, but my advice for those who try is this: you're going for the wrong thing.  The neck and body contortions wasn't what we cared about or what scared us.  In fact, those were the dumbest parts of the original.  We only pay attention to them because it's silly enough to distract us from the truly scary parts.  So figure out what the truly scary parts were and focus on that.

Mesrine: Killer Instinct -- Boring grit style.

Takers -- You've seen one action star walk cooly away from something they've exploded behind them, you've seen 'em all.

20 Aug 2010

A Film Unfinished -- Shocking new footage reveals that the Nazis were evil!

Lottery Ticket -- A fun enough premise (guy wins lottery, has to wait three days to cash it, neighborhood goes nuts in meantime) for young folks or even families.

Mao's Last Dancer -- Not a bad movie of the sort that's dramatic and pretty and you can walk around the room getting snacks while watching it.

Nanny McPhee Returns -- All the charm of a wart and an extended tooth.

Piranha 3D -- You'd hope that someone who seems to be combining the trill of Jaws with the camp of homage (Richard Dreyfuss appears) and other good casting (Christopher Lloyd) while seeming to have fun with the stupid premise... you'd hope he were good, but he isn't.

The Switch -- The script goes for the typical instead of the interesting (which part? all of it), but the cast pulls it off well enough anyway.

Vampires Suck -- Fifteen-year-old boys would certainly love a good parody of a movie that they don't understand because they're not eleven-year-old girls, but this one isn't a good parody of anything.  Because it was done by the _____ Movie guys.  As always, the jokes they make will only make sense if you're watching MTV this week.

13 Aug 2010

Animal Kingdom -- More boring than the theme park of the same name.

Eat Pray Love -- This movie will make you hate women.

The Expendables -- Too many action heroes ruin the action movie.  Or: Rambo V + 20.  Or: What is this movie trying to prove?  It's got more gay testosterone than wrestling.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World -- Edgar Wright directs Michael Cera.  I suppose that's about all you really need to know.

Tales from Earthsea -- Like Superbook without the Bible stories.

6 Aug 2010

The Disappearance of Alice Creed -- The alternative title is What Elizabeth Smart Should Have Done.  An okay but forgettable movie.

Flipped -- Rob Reiner makes this movie for -- as far as I can figure -- people born between 1945 and 1950 who haven't watched a movie in the theater in years because they can only handle things that play on the Hallmark Channel.

Middle Men -- Had a lot of promise that was somehow dropped between here and there.

The Other Guys -- Will Ferrell has his Bush-based characters and he has his Elf-based characters and this is the latter.  It's funny, at least if you like Will Ferrell's best stuff (and if you like his worst stuff too).  It's also a pretty decent premise for a movie without being too postmodern about it.  One to rent.

The Oxford Murders -- A throwback movie in all the best ways.  Old-fashioned but still has a good look and just the slightest of edges.  Make the popcorn and enjoy.

Step Up 3D -- Mediocrity in 3-D!  All the ugliest guys you've ever seen shaking their wangs right in your face!  (With Alyson Stoner.)

Twelve -- Characters even less appealing than those in Less Than Zero, and even less of a plot.  Same general idea though.  Just awfully, awfully not fun to watch.  I mean, you know, 50 Cent is in it.  I think I'd rather watch Joel Schumacher's Batman and Robin than this movie of his.

30 Jul 2010

Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore -- I can't wait to see this!  Sorry: I left my computer running and someone thought they'd play a funny joke on me.

Charlie St. Cloud -- Not bad for families.

The Concert -- One day someone you barely know will rope you into watching this.  You'll remember the mediocre experience for the rest of your life, but the other person will have forgotten about it immediately.

Dinner for Schmucks -- Goes from being actually funny to being a "pizzicato comedy" (where pizzicato strings tell you that the scene is funny) and back and forth.  Almost worth seeing for the actually funny parts.

The Dry Land -- You'll never see Wilmer Valderrama so well behaved.

The Extra Man -- Kevin Kline plays his English professor stereotype again (except even more over the top again), but the movie's okay.  I wouldn't eat two bags of it, but it's okay.

Get Low -- This is a really good one.  Robert Duvall pulls on some gristle he hadn't quite chewed up from Tomorrow and Bill Murray actually decides to act again (and be somewhat lively) instead of just doing his Wes Anderson mopey dog thing.  Sissy Spacek shows up.  It's great!  It's got heart and warmth, but in a good way--not fake or "uplifting."

23 Jul 2010

Countdown to Zero -- The hopeful but improbable movie about getting rid of Frodo's ring for good.

Life During Wartime -- A sequel to Todd Solondz's Happiness and his best movie since that one.  The actors are different, but the characters remain essentially the same, and the casting is usually pretty great to get the idea across: for example, Paul Reubens plays Jon Lovitz's character.

Ramona and Beezus -- Not too horrible for girls.

Salt -- If I weren't sick of action movies, this would be a good one.

Valhalla Rising -- You'd feel better about this if it were what it looked like: a low-budget Christian movie.  But it's not... or not exactly.

16 Jul 2010

Inception -- The Dark Knight + Vanilla Sky = This Crappy Movie.  Those two movies by themselves are also crappy.  Christopher Nolan is climbing to the top position of most overrated director.

The Sorcerer's Apprentice -- Good idea for a movie, and not too badly executed, as these things go.  The theater I watched this at played the Mickey Mouse short from Fantasia before the feature, or maybe I just dreamed that.

9 Jul 2010

Despicable Me -- Read books to your kids.  You will be there for them in 3-D.

The Girl Who Played With Fire -- Artsy rape and violence, etc.  But better than most.

Great Directors -- The director presents movies in that "make you want to puke" kind of way, insisting on its art and importance while not quite getting it anyway.  Some of the directors are interesting to listen to in spite of this, while some of them only add to the puke.  David Lynch is in it.

The Kids Are All Right -- Anti-gay, pro-"traditional family" movie with an "all lesbians need is for me to knock them straight" sub-plot posing as otherwise.

Predators -- More and more, just seems like movies fall under the "cool if you're fourteen" genre.  Go, fourteen-year-olds!  The universe is yours!

[Rec] -- Pause... pause... pause... pause... long pause... jump-out-and-scare-ya!  x 100.

Winnebago Man -- Back before YouTube was the big thing, I saw the angry Winnebago guy on Austin's best cable access show, The Show With No Name.  (I didn't know he was a YouTube sensation, but apparently so.)  This movie finds him and shoots a documentary about him.  It's about the only thing worth watching this week.

2 Jul 2010

The Last Airbender -- M. Night Shayamalan does it again!  I call what he does "it" because no one else does anything quite like the ridiculous stupid odd confusing weird how did this get made into a movie kind of stuff he comes up with.  This one has so much "action" going on that at least there's not as much space as usual for head-slapping dialogue, etc.

Love Ranch -- Helen Mirren does a good job, and Joe Pesci has apparently decided to look like a 1980s Johnny Cash in this one, but director Taylor Hackford hacks it out in only the way he knows how, making everyone into a dumb stereotype or worse.

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse -- Little girls like supernatural epic war movies now?

25 Jun 2010

Grown Ups -- Basically a movie for children disguised as a movie about kids who have grown into adults.

Knight and Day -- The better of the two Mr. and Mrs. Smith rip-offs coming out this summer.

Restrepo -- I pretty much don't like watching real war stuff because it's just frustrating (and I mean that in the best way), but this is a good one if you can watch this kind of thing.

Wild Grass -- A Frenchy, cute, romantic, thrillery, crazy kooky movie.  Sometimes good, sometimes not.

18 Jun 2010

Cyrus -- A pretty funny one thanks to the stars.  And stylish enough to make it better than just another comedy.  One to rent.

8: The Mormon Proposition -- This movie proves that Mormon leaders are gays in denial or closeted, since those are the only people who want to prevent homosexuals from getting married.  A sad movie about how we got close to something good and then had it taken away by mean people.

I Am Love -- Tilda Swinton gets to be kinda sexy in this one instead of just pale and harsh.  If you can get past how boring it is, it's not bad.

Jonah Hex -- A western comic book movie about a guy with a hole in his face (which still doesn't account for the grumbly, slurry way he talks) who gets it on with a sweaty Megan Fox (though I really should just say "Megan Fox").  It's like everything else; it won't annoy you too much.

The Killer Inside Me -- Not that it's my favorite movie or anything, but it should probably get more attention than it is.  It's a little low-budget looking, in spite of its famous actors, but the story is better than most.

Toy Story 3 -- Still not as good as those killer puppet movies (and, yes, those were horrible).

11 Jun 2010

The A-Team -- It's kind of cute and stupid, in a good way, like the show, so I give it my approval.  The problem with these kinds of movies is that they feel as episodic as the source material they're taken from.  So instead of some big sweep of a unique film, you get what amounts to a nearly-random story among potentially millions.  But just don't think about it.

Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky -- Two Chanel movies in a row?  Who is she, Truman Capote?  Anyway, this one has very lush colors and is pretty to look at and listen to (thanks to the language and Stravinsky's music), but boring beyond that.

Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work -- Hey, this is pretty good!  You'll have a new appreciation for Joan Rivers as a comedian, an artist, and a serious person.

The Karate Kid -- Not bad, or not as bad as you'd expect.  There's nothing wrong with it.  The kid has a certain frailty mixed with strength that seems to work.

Winter's Bone -- One of those movies that attempts to be all gritty and hillbilly-ish.  The gir's performance is good, but the rest of the folks are just doing stock characters.  The story is some kind of odd backwoods mystery (almost conspiracy theory style thing) that doesn't end up adding up to much.

4 Jun 2010

Get Him To the Greek -- Remember that rock star character from Forgetting Sarah Marshall?  I don't either, but this is a movie about him.

Killers -- This is such a rip-off that it doesn't even feel like one.  I wish it were, then we might have something interesting to watch.

Marmaduke -- "Hey, the new Marmaduke!"  But wait!  It's not Marmaduke at all.  Do you remember Marmaduke talking or even thinking in the comic strip?  No?  Well, he does here, complete with lip movement.  And so do tons of other dogs and cats.  They also dance.  And say things like "This conversation is over."  It's got Fergie talking for a dog.  That's what we like Fergie for, right?  We like to hear her talk while not being able to see her body.  One other fact of note: when Rousseau was the age of this movie's target audience, his father was reading Sir Walter Scott with him.

Ondine -- I liked this one pretty good.  It's like a serious version of Splash (though she's not a mermaid) and more "realistic" (and better).  It's small in a good way, with good fantasy elements.

Splice -- Yet another anti-science horror movie.

28 May 2010

Mimacs -- Jean-Pierre Jeunet is like if Terry Gilliam knew what he were doing (and spoke French).  If you've liked Jeunet's previous zany movies (especially The City of Lost Children, which this is closest to), then this will appeal to you.  It's fun and fun to look at.  (Though, I'll admit, for me it gets a little tiresome.)

Prince of Persia: Sands of Time -- Take The Pirates of the Caribbean and replace the water with sand.  Throw in some Mummy stuff and add a thick filter of gold that is meant to hide the lack of substance.

Sex and the City 2 -- This is what happens when women let men tell them what they're like just because the men happen to be gay.  If you like glitzies, there's plenty of that here.

Survival of the Dead -- Bet you never thought a George A. Romero "Dead" movie could ever be described as pastoral.  But this one is.  Almost a western, or at least a movie about feudin' families in the Irish countryside.  The zombies themselves serve an interesting purpose, and the social commentary is in full swing.  Let's just pretend that Diary of the Dead never happened and enjoy this and the rest of them.

21 May 2010

Holy Rollers -- Sometimes this movie feels pretty cool.  Other times it just meanders.  It always threatens to become a comedy but never does (though it always looks like one).  Anyway, it's the best movie about Jews since A Serious Man.

MacGruber -- This is okay enough to half-way watch while sitting on the coach eating boiled peanuts, but it doesn't seem like they thought much past the title--and even it was probably only funny to them for about five seconds.  They.  Them.

Shrek Forever After -- This should have been called Shrek 4-Ever After since it's part four, but I guess that would be almost thinking.  Or you could call it The Smell of a Toddler's Fart When It's Just Crapped a Green Turd.

Solitary Man -- Is it cheating if I just write "Whatever"?

14 May 2010

Just Wright -- Just go watch the trailer; it gives you the entire movie in bite-sized scenes.  The movie will just depress you.

Letters To Juliet -- My girlfriend Amanda Seyfried is in so many lame movies that it's making it difficult for me; I keep having to lie to her when she asks how I enjoyed her new one.

Robin Hood -- Will make you miss Errol Flynn, the fox from Disney, the BBC Robin, and even the Kevin Costner version.  Robin the Gladiator.  None of the merry.  Might as well be any hero character, not the best one of all.

7 May 2010

Babies -- If you like babies finely-filmed, your coo-box will explode when you view this one.  Not my cup of stuff, but even I liked it a little bit.

Casino Jack and the United States of Money -- These Bush-based documentaries (the ones where Bush eventually makes his evil cameo) seem kinda quaint and dated now.  This, like most of them, are somewhat informative, but it's hard to take something seriously that's having so much fun with misery.

Iron Man 2 -- More like Iron Men... in the same way that Alien became Aliens... and that doesn't add much (one is more than many, it turns out).  But hey, it's the Iron Man, and the acting is still good (when available) and everything's nice and fun.

Mother and Child -- If Babies wasn't enough for you, here's another.

30 Apr 2010

Furry Vengeance -- At least the CG-ified animals can't talk (though they do make Mogwai noises).

Harry Brown -- Gets the Dirty Harry vigilante nod out of the way with the title, then proceeds to show off Michael Caine in a really cool performance.  Good one.

The Human Centipede -- A horror character that seems to be based on Josef Mengele.  It's got some goofy elements that are likeable, but it also has some typical recent horror elements that are boring.

A Nightmare on Elm Street -- Not bad for a horror remake.  It maintains a quiet style.  It doesn't offer anything new, however, and one may as well just watch Wes Craven.  The Freddy is quieter than the eventual sequel Freddies, but not as interesting.  But his face is more realistically-burned-looking, if that counts for anything.

Please Give -- A comedy about white liberal guilt that's almost annoying as white guilty liberals.

23 Apr 2010

The Back-Up Plan -- [This page has been intentionally left blank.]

The Losers -- Kind of like The A-Team, but for the 90s!

Oceans -- You often can't go wrong with nature films.

16 Apr 2010

The City of Your Final Destination -- Merchant/Ivory without the Merchant.  It's got their pacing and actors and all the things you like if you like them.

Death at a Funeral -- Neil LaBute does a remake of Frank Oz's 2007 (yes, a remake from three years ago) movie with a black cast.  I liked it.

Exit Through the Gift Shop -- The Stuff White People Like blog will make fun of you for liking Banksy, but this documentary is pretty interesting and funny.  Appropriate style for the subject matter.

The Joneses -- The premise of this movie had potential to become a really good satire on marketing, consumerism, insecurity, and all-around fakeness, but instead the premise is simply used to tell another "unlikely" love story.

Kick-Ass -- Not nearly as good as Defendor or Special, but this DIY superhero premise is more slick than those and made for the age 5-22 crowd.  I won't begrudge anyone enjoying it.

The Perfect Game -- Something about this makes it better than most underdog sports movies featuring little kids and sentiment.

The Secret in Their Eyes -- I only saw it in Spanish, so I couldn't really tell what was going on.  Something about a writer who got frustrated and crumbled up paper.

9 Apr 2010

After.Life -- It feels supernatural, but it's not: you get the best of both worlds.  Ricci hot (drool).  Justin Long is another "boyfriend in horror movie."  Sometimes it feels clever, sometimes stupid.

Date Night -- It's kind of like Mr. and Mrs. Smith if the married couple weren't super-spies, with more comedy.  A good fun kinda movie.

Letters To God -- Cancer Boy writes letters to God; everyman makes a difference.  All that.

The Square -- One of those movies where, about fifty minutes into it, your wife asks you about some plot point and you say, "Eh, I dunno what's going on," not because it's complicated but because you've zoned out.

2 Apr 2010

Clash of the Titans -- The original movie still has a quiet charm, which is something I dare to say is needed in action movies as much as anything else.  You can't feel tension when things are flying on the screen at 300 miles per hour for the entirety of the film.  Anyway, where the 1981 version was the pinnacle of the dying art of stop-animation, this one is smack in the middle of the by-the-numbers sludge of computer animation, making you wish that Jurassic Park had never happened.  So, please: put the Kraken back.

Don McKay -- It's like Raymond Chandler in skankville.

The Last Song -- Maybe the least vomit-inducing of the Nicholas Sparks movies.  Miley Cyrus acts like an actual human being in this movie (in spite of the fact that she still can't speak past her teeth) and you'd never believe Greg Kinnear was the smart-aleck guy from Talk Soup from watching his sweetie-pie performance.  Does it sound like I'm giving this a good review?  Sure, let's say I am.

Warlords -- "Intercepted by..."

Why Did I Get Married Too? -- Why do Tyler Perry movies make me feel like I'm in the 1970s?  Maybe it's Janet Jackson being all serious and Penny-from-Good Times-ish.

26 Mar 2010

Chloe -- Even though it does a lot of what you'd expect from a sexy thriller featuring an "I created a (sex) monster" plot, it's kind of sleek and fun.  And Amanda Seyfried is my girlfriend, so I gotta support her.

The Eclipse -- Boring, but watchable--the ghost stuff punches it up.

Greenberg -- The Graduate Part XXXIV.  But worse!

Hot Tub Time Machine -- It won't get you above a few snickers, but it's okay for watchin' and has both lame and usual observations about the 80s (and movies' versions of the 80s) mixed with some okay jokes about today as compared to the 80s.

How To Train Your Dragon -- Take your kids to see the porn version, How To Drain Your Dragon, instead.

Waking Sleeping Beauty -- A documentary about the Disney company in the mid-80s, when they shifted from lame movies that no one liked to lame and formulaic movies that everyone liked.  Self-congratulatory, but it's really interesting to see all of these semi-famous figures appearing in what are essentially home movies (the "home" here being the studio) and of special interest to those who enjoy learning about the history of animation.

19 Mar 2010

The Bounty Hunter -- This movie will definitely have a sequel within three years.  (There's nothing wrong with it, in spite of itself.)

City Island -- This would be better as a sit-com.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid -- Not bad for kids.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo -- Spoiler alert: she has a dragon tattoo.

IMAX: Hubble 3D -- The blackness of space: in 3D!  (It's basically like one of those planetarium shows.)

Repo Men -- In spite of the fact that it's pretty stupid, rips off Blade Runner in a way that's just annoying, and completely predictable, it's got a certain style that makes you not hate watching it.

The Runaways -- While Twilight is one of the worst movies for girls, this movie (also starring Kristen Stewart) is one of the better ones, demonstrating a safe-n-fun version of grrrl power.  Maybe it will help another group like The Donnas to form.  If we're lucky, though, it will inspire young girls to do something original instead of simply retro.

12 Mar 2010

Green Zone -- When Greg Kinnear shows up it's kinda interesting.  Other than that, it's the millionth sepia-toned middle-eastern movie since Three Kings.

Mother -- For twenty or more minutes, you're waiting for this to become a horror movie.  When it never does, you're a little disappointed, but then that wears off and you realize it's a pretty good Hitchcock-style movie.  A few moments when you're thinking it's one of the better movies you've seen recently.  In memory, however, it fades a little.

Our Family Wedding -- A harmless movie about a black guy marrying a Mexican girl and all the racial hijinks you'd expect from their families.  Word of warning: a decent portion of the movie is also about extremely large goat erections.

Remember Me -- Robert Pattinson shows that he's ugly even without vampire makeup, and Claire from Lost shows that she's still good-looking even when not screaming about her "baiy-baiy."  The movie seems to be about nothing in particular.

She's Out of My League -- Based on the song by Tommy Burton about the myth that girls care much about guys' looks.

5 Mar 2010

Alice in Wonderland -- Does everything wrong.  Misses the point.  Has a "return to Wonderland" plot that makes no sense.  Looks like another generic Tim Burton movie.  And, worst of all, prevents someone real from finally doing a good version of Alice (which hasn't exactly been done yet, though Disney's will do) for another twenty years or so.

Brooklyn's Finest -- Another "He was a cop..." movie.

The Secret of Kells -- Pretty good for a cartoon.  Looks a bit like Samurai Jack or something, but that's better than looking like Disney / Pixar / Dreamworks / etc.

26 Feb 2010

Cop Out -- If it weren't directed by Kevin Smith, there would be little to say.  Since it is directed by Kevin Smith, here's what we gotta say: "At least it's not written by him and starring Jay and Silent Bob."

The Crazies -- Whenever they do a remake, you should take the opportunity to watch the original if you haven't already.

Defendor -- Slip-shod insane superheroes in bad homemade costumes comedies is not a new idea, but this is is maybe the best one there is.  Manages to be funny while retaining what we like about super hero movies (minus what I don't like, which is a layer of glitzy crap).  Worth seeing.

A Prophet -- Grit Burger.

The Yellow Handkerchief -- Two or three actors confuse "southern" with "retarded" and Bella from Twilight tries her best not to twitch as much.

19 Feb 2010

The Ghost Writer -- Roman Polanski's guilty confessional in which he comes clean about the feelings he's been harboring all these years.  Just kidding: it's an average thriller.  Kim Cattrall gets to play a different kind of part than usual.

The Good Guy -- One of those "every guy is a jerk... except maybe this one guy... is he gay?" movies.  Bluh.  Also one of those movies that show New Yorkers being obsessed with themselves.  Blag.

Happy Tears -- Feels like a short story, but with even less going on.  The actors are kinda worth watching.

Shutter Island -- I can't remember what I was going to say.  Something.  I'll think of it soon.  Anyway, I remember that it's smart, but not so smart that it takes away from the thriller-ness; it leaves just enough dumb to be effective.

12 Feb 2010

Beauty and the Beast -- Disney is re-releasing this to theaters in 3-D.  Now you can have bestiality right in the room with you!

My Name Is Khan -- Not bad for Bollywood.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief -- Chris Columbus can make a good, entertaining children's movie that adults will also enjoy.  This is one.

Valentine's Day -- Why do dumb romantic comedies also have to pile on the extra burden of being intertwining multi-stories?

The Wolfman -- Too bad this was directed by Joe Johnston instead of Joe Dante.  It pretty much just looks like a movie.  Think Van Helsing with only slightly less stupidity.

5 Feb 2010

Dear John -- Not that I exactly care for Lasse Hallström, but this Nicholas Sparks crap is beneath him.

District 13 -- Ultimatum -- For French guys who like to look at their hairy balls in the mirror.

From Paris with Love -- They pump up John Travolta with some impressive and believable energy, but when he's not doing his stuff, the movie is pretty flat.

Frozen -- At this point in film history, I suppose it's about time for a "fear of ski lifts" movie.

Red Riding: 1974 -- This is the first of a trilogy of movies (all sub-named after the year in which they take place), and it works kind of like a TV show: at first you're not too impressed, but eventually (as each episode goes on) you get a bit caught up in the characters and story.  It's a cool execution of an idea.

29 Jan 2010

Edge of Darkness -- Mel Gibson is in full-blown "Give me back my son!" mode, except this time the son is already dead and he is a daughter who led a very secret life.  In point of fact, it's not much like Ransom at all, but -- like that movie -- it is a pretty good thriller, one that's worth renting.

North Face -- A movie about Nazis and mountain climbing that's not by Leni Reifenstahl.  (It's not too great.)

Saint John of Las Vegas -- Well, it's got Steve Buscemi, Sarah Silverman, Tim Blake Nelson, and even everyone's favorite midget Peter Dinklage, but unfortunately it's just kind of a low-budget-looking (and not in a good way) road trippy type movie that looks like eighth generation Tarantino mixed with sixth generation Office Space.  Or something.  Watch it in mute if you like Sarah Silverman, or fast-forward to her parts.

When in Rome -- This starts off as one of those Sex in the City / girls who blog about stupid crap movies and then turns into a supernatural love movie, which makes it a little better but also just weird and dumb.  I didn't like whassername as Veronica Mars and I certainly don't like her here.

22 Jan 2010

Creation -- Not the excellent biopic on Charles Darwin that one would hope for, but it does okay in getting the ball rolling for maybe a future one.  This focuses mostly on his struggles with religion, etc., which you'd expect.

Extraordinary Measures -- Thanks largely to the actors and some non-sentimental direction, this movie that could have been an annoying "inspirational" movie is okay.

The Girl on a Train -- A semi-interesting story for this one, but this is one of those movies that just goes on and on without really advancing anything.

Legion -- Apparently you can make an entire movie simply using Kai's Power Goo.  This film is... okay?  Watchable?

Tooth Fairy -- It's The Santa Clause for the Tooth Fairy.  Another movie that teaches parents that the worst thing they can do is tell their kid that something doesn't exist even if it actually doesn't.  Anyway, it's fine enough for children.

To Save a Life -- This begins with the dumb premise that when someone commits suicide, it's partially your fault if you didn't pay them enough attention.  But after that, it's actually a decent movie for teenagers about the nature of being cool and the nature of being a jerk and of being a real human.  It's one of those "faith-based" movies, but that doesn't get in the way too much.

15 Jan 2010

The Book of Eli -- Kinda cool in that Hughes Brothers sort of way, and it's nicely ambiguous about its use of the Bible as a tool for destruction/redemption.  In spite of all that, though, I didn't care for it.

Chance Pe Dance -- Something about dancing.

Fish Tank -- British people wearing tank-tops and no shirt.

The Spy Next Door -- If you have a little kid who hasn't seen a spy (or some other dangerous profession) taking care of kids movie yet, this is a decent place to start (and finish, since they're all the same).

8 Jan 2010

Bitch Slap -- I thought exploitation movies were supposed to be fun.

Crazy on the Outside -- Tim Allen stars and directs in this Tim Allen movie about Tim Allen.

Daybreakers -- Vampires running out of human blood to sustain them is the newest metaphor.  This has a cast of good people, but it may as well not.

Leap Year -- I think Amy Adams was that girl who sat next to me in college who was always worried about something or other.  I hated that girl.

Wonderful World -- One of those charming, quiet, boring, annoying movies.

Youth in Revolt -- A Michael Cera showcase (he even gets to play two characters--sort of), which is a good thing.  The movie itself is a little tepid, but he's fun to watch.  Worth a rental.

1 Jan 2010

The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond -- This is from a "lost" Tennessee Williams screenplay, and it seems more like a parody of a Tennessee Williams work.  Everyone uses Gone with the Wind accents like they're in high school or on Quantum Leap.  Nothing to see here.

The White Ribbon -- Michael Haneke doesn't seem to be wanting to teach or talk down to us as much for this movie.  Instead, it looks like he's trying to make an "instant classic" using specific kinds of styles and subject matters, and the trick more or less works.

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