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-James

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Because I Said So

Posted by james on July 24, 2007

(post.rating: 1)
Rating:

IMDB   Apple Trailers

WTH? It looked like a sappy and slightly annoying mother and daughter coming-of-age flick. It turned out to be unadulterated therapy-room crap. The problem isn't that this is a chick flick. I can handle those, and some are quite good. But this isn't a movie, it's more of a collage of strange scenes folding into a badly layered movie that views like someone sitting nearby telling you how horrifying their mother is, and how they don't do anything to fix the problem. Why should I pay to see this? I'm sure I can get this for free just about anywhere, just talking to friends.

Diane Keaton excels at being really annoying. Mandy Moore excels at being vague and almost likable, but too weak to really empathize with. The director (I can't even be bothered to look up their name) excels at creating a film with the consistency of a music video, just a collage of suggestive but incohesive random clips that suggest but never form anything larger. What plot surfaces is just confusing. I understand what's going on on-screen. I just don't understand why I was expected to care.

Why spend any more time thinking or typing about this movie?

Ratatouille

Posted by james on July 18, 2007

(post.rating: 7)
Rating:

IMDB   Apple Trailers

This is a funny one. Computer animated films from Pixar have grown a bit legendary, thanks to Monsters Inc, Toy Story, etc, but so far they've all been comedies. I'll admit that I haven't yet seen Cars, which is probably something I should do soon to get a better feel for the direction of Pixar's evolution (pause while I add a movie to my Netflix queue...)

But still, it's reasonable to expect a hilarious comedy from this movie, especially after watching the previews. I went to see the movie at a 2-for-1 drive-in theater (Johnston, RI... one of the few still in operation and doing well it seems), along with another movie that was little more than a waste of projector-bulb life (more on that in a later rant). The movie was good, the plot well constructed and fluid, good characters, and of course good animation. There were a few really funny moments, especially the rat controlling the boy's body (I'm a sucker for physical humor). But during the movie, I couldn't help but be a bit confused at the mix of humor vs. can-do-it saturday afternoon movie. I guess the real measure is that you realize you really haven't been laughing much. Sure there's funny moments, even hilarious, and you're never really bored. But you spend more time watching the story unfold and following the plot. It's not bad, just... confusing and not what I expected. Still a very good movie, but definitely not the comedy I was looking for (obligatory; this isn't the comedy you're looking for... you can go about your business).

Worth a watch, and shows a different direction for Pixar. What's next, an animated action movie? Mother and daughter coming-of-age meets animated bobble heads? Who knows.

Live Free or Die Hard (aka Die Hard 4)

Posted by james on July 17, 2007

(post.rating: 9)
Rating:

IMDB   Apple Trailers

I can't believe it, but the last Die Hard movie was in 1995... 12 years ago? When I heard about it, I first thought this was going to be one of those lame second-rate revivals to glean just a little more money from a dead horse. But the previews looked really promising, and come on... It's Die Hard.

I went to a steak restaurant beforehand, but had chicken wings. That is completely irrelevant.

In a word? Awesome. Bruce Willis doesn't miss a beat, and is completely believable in possibly his most archetypal role (if you can believe that all these things would keep happening to the same guy, over and over and over...). And Justin Long, far from his Dodgeball and Jeepers Creepers days, does a great sidekick. Not the best geek/hacker type, but still good.

The entire movie was like the old series on crack, with a non-stop plot that rarely stops to breath and some genuinely impressive special-effects scenes (not an easy feat in these days). A really nice touch was the parkour-style acrobatics of Cyril Raffaelli. I remembered him back in an old Jet Li movie, I think... had some cool martial arts moves back then, and now has more of a neo-Jackie Chan style. Really used well in this movie, too.

Overall, a worthy successor and follow-up to the originals. Definitely more over-the-top, more action oriented, maybe a little less heart. But at this point, more than a decade later, we're not really looking for character development. We want action! It's good.


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