Saturday, February 1, 2014

Movie Wrap 2/1/14

On my old blog I used to do mini reviews of movies I'd watched recently on DVD.  So since no one else is posting yet this weekend, here's some reviews of movies I watched the last month.

After Earth:  I didn't think this was really a terrible movie--just terribly boring.  There's really no fun in this movie at all.  No real humor or romance or anything that might spice things up.  Plus that Earth would turn into some kind of prehistoric planet after just a thousand years is pretty ludicrous.  And why would you breed monsters that can only see via pheromones?  How do those things move around on a normal basis?  (2/5)

The Way, Way Back:  This reminded me of my favorite Simpsons episode where the family uses the Flanderuses' beach house for the summer.  In this case it's an awkward teen (the kid who plays young Shawn on "Psych") and his mom along with her jerk boyfriend and bitchy daughter.  He eventually gets a job at a water slide park run by Sam Rockwell, which brought to mind "Adventureland" only funnier and without Kristen Stewart.  The good thing to me is that it's a coming-of-age story but it doesn't stoop to easy answers to resolve everything. (4/5)

The Company You Keep:  When an Albany reporter (Shia LeBeouf) exposes a lawyer (Robert Redford) as a former member of the radical Weathermen group in the 70s, he goes on the run to clear his name.  It's a decent thriller and a lot of it takes place in my home state, so that was cool.  The topic might have had more of an impact 20-30 years ago, though it's a good reminder what sell-outs all those hippies were. (3.5/5)

We're the Millers:  This movie was pretty funny, though utterly predictable.  Also predictable is that even though it's R-rated and she's playing a stripper, Jennifer Aniston never gets naked.  What kind of stripper never actually strips?  Yeesh. (4/5)

Trance:  This movie didn't make much sense.  It starts off with an art heist that goes wrong when the inside man gets bonked on the head and can't remember where he put the painting.  Then it becomes all about hypnosis with dreams and fantasies and too many twists to keep track of. (1/5)

Midnight's Children:  This 3-hour-plus version of the Salman Rushdie book was adapted by the author so it sticks pretty close to the story of a boy growing up through India's turbulent early years of independence.  The title refers to a group of children born in India's first hour of independence who all seem to have superpowers like the X-Men, not that they ever do much with them; they never dress up in tights and save the world or anything.  If you're too lazy to plow through the 600-page book then this is a good option. (4/5)

The Wolverine:  I Tweeted that the best part of this was the cookie scene at the end that set up "Days of Future Past."  Not that the rest is terrible--just terribly boring.  There didn't seem much point to this sorta-sequel of a 2006 movie that's being rebooted this year.  Until the cookie scene we don't see any other characters from the X-Men universe except Jean Grey's ghost haunting Logan. Except for what happens to Logan's claws I don't think this contributes much.  (2.5/5)

The Last Stand:  It's a completely implausible movie, starting with Ahhhnold Schwarzenegger playing a cop in rural southern Arizona.  And that this rich criminal is going to escape by driving a Corvette all the way from Vegas to the Mexican border.  But if you can get past that it's silly, mindless fun. (2.5/5)

Hitchcock:  Rather than doing a biopic of Hitch's life, they focus on him making "Psycho."  They try to cast it as a turning point in his career but it really wasn't.  This was pretty much the penultimate big movie of his career, with "The Birds" capping it off, followed by a few forgettable movies.  As a movie and Hitchcock fan it was fun to see all the struggles to get the funding and get it done on time and to please the censors.  And it was neat to know that I am much like Hitch:  fat, bald, and between projects I am completely miserable.  Yay?  (4/5)

Alex Cross:  This movie was filmed in the Detroit area, something they make sure to remind you of frequently.  Except they make a couple of obvious blunders.  The address they give for some rich person who's murdered is for the Edsel Ford house in Grosse Pointe Shores, several miles away from Detroit.  Except the house they use isn't that house, though they do use that one in a later scene.  Apart from that the rest was meh.  It's not much wonder after this Tyler Perry had to put the ladies fat suit back on. (2/5)

Paranoia:  Competing tech firms led by Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman draw Liam Hemsworth into a game of espionage.  It of course leads to various twists and turns as he tries to save his bacon.  It was OK, but not great. (2.5/5)


  1. I thought The Last Stand was fun. Yeah, it had a lot of ridiculous in it, but it was fun.

    I really liked Hitchcock.

  2. "The Last Stand" looked too stupid for words even in the previews.

    I'd like to see you and Andrew do a Siskel & Ebert-style review show. I like your reviews a lot.

  3. I saw a movie about Hitchcock making The Birds where he was portrayed as a very misogynistic man. I know that at least some of the stuff in the movie was true from other sources, but it it's accurate at all in its portrayal of him, then the man was very disturbed.

    And I liked that Arnold movie from last year. I mean, he still beats everyone up and falls through walls and ceilings and off the top of buildings... but once he gets up he complains about how old he is and then reaches for his back, like he needs to rub it down. Brilliant!