Monday, March 05, 2007

A Bunch of Movies

I've managed to watch a tad bit more than a couple of movies the last few weeks, so here's the rundown of what I saw so that I can add them to the movie review thread.

Employee of the Month (6/10): I didn't expect much going into this movie so I was probably able to tolerate it a little more than I usually would. The previews make it seem like a comedy, but it's really not. It is more of a romantic comedy, which unfortunately keeps Dane Cook pretty tame. I know there's a lot of hate out there for the guy, but I manage to tolerate him all right. He did a decent enough job in this movie playing the guy trying to get the girl yet stay a part of the "guys group" at work. Jessica Simpson, however, was as bland and worthless as usual. Again, the only reason she probably got the part were her plastically fake face and boobs. In the end, however, this is a passable date movie that won't offend, but won't impress either.

The Prestige (9/10): Christopher Nolan has done it again. His ability to present time shifting, keep-you-guessing, interesting pieces of work pays off in this film about two magicians in a constant battle to one-up one another. The building hate, tension, espionage, and one-upping that drives both Christian Bale's and Hugh Jackman's characters definitely pays off in the end. Even though there are many subtle clues to the ending tossed throughout, if you aren't trying to put the pieces together, the end gives you a great reveal to what has been happening throughout the film. The performances all around were great, except for a phoned in bit of acting by Scarlett Johansson. This deserves at least one watching if not a couple.

The Illusionist (7.5/10): This film was very similar in nature to The Prestige in that it focused on magicians, revenge, and a mystery that leads to a big reveal at the conclusion of the movie. In many ways it pales when compared to The Prestige, but if graded on its merits alone, it is a relatively good film. Edward Norton, as is usually the case, turns in a great performance. Jessica Biel is a bit wooden, but conveys her character well enough. What really drags the movie down is the final third of the film as it ventures into topics of mysticism, which doesn't actually play into the story of the film all that well, especially when the big reveal comes at the end. After the big reveal, the final third of the film feels almost pointless, but nonetheless it set the correct mood for the ending. With a few changes, this film could have been much more entertaining than it was, but as it stands you could definitely do worse.

Slither (7/10): I really don't know how to classify this movie. It's definitely a horror movie... but it's also a comedy, which isn't a unique combination... but it's also has a mix of sci-fi and police drama added in and in the second half of the film it goes from horror movie to zombie flick. Thankfully Nathan Fillon puts on a good performance, the special effects are decent, and the story is over-the-top enough to keep you constantly rolling your eyes and laughing all the while squirming in your chair. It's a big, dumb, hokey, movie that was made for the sole purpose of vegging out to it, so if you go into it with that attitude, you won't be disappointed.

Find Me Guilty (7/10): Chop off about a half an hour or at least 20 minutes from this movie's run time and you'd have a solid film. At its current length of over 2 hours, it felt a little bit stretched out and as interesting of a character as Vin Diesel plays, it's hard to keep interested in some parts. The story, based upon the landmark trial of Jack DiNorscio, is definitely an interesting one, but I found myself having a hard time caring about the characters. Even the wise-cracking Diesel was only lovable to a point. That being said, there wasn't really anything outright wrong with the film - it was quite well done - I just had a hard time getting into it.

Little Miss Sunshine (8.5/10): If a family like this exists in real life, I'd pay to be a fly on the walls of their home. This story about a family, consisting of a little girl who isn't quite beauty pageant material, her trying to be a good mother mom, her motivational speaking father, her cocaine snorting & foul mouthed grandfather, her brother who hates everyone and has vowed never to speak, and her suicidal gay uncle, taking a road trip to the Little Miss Sunshine Beauty Pageant is one that is darkly funny and tremendously interesting. At times surreal and at others very down to earth, this film is a wonderful piece of modern comedy.

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