Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Movie Reviews, What?

Hey, remember that time I started a fancy new blog, bought a domain name, plugged it constantly on various social networking sites... and then let it fizzle after just a couple of months? Me too. On one hand, it's probably just because I am a lazy ass. But there's also the fact that I simply haven't been going to the movies as much lately. If you look at the little tally to the right, you will see that I have seen 18 movies on the big screen so far in 2009. Believe it or not, that is 12 FEWER than I saw by this time last year. The reason? Well... movies is expensive, yo, and it has finally caught up with me. If I'm gonna spend $12.50 on a movie (or even use a precious discount pass, of which I have a limited supply), I am trying to pick my poison a bit more wisely than in the past, where I saw pretty much everything. Tough times, indeed. Clearly, if there's one main reason why we need to get the economy back on track, it's so I can get back to my old crazy moviegoing ways!

Anyway... enough excuses... let's get back to business and take a look at a few movies I've seen in recent weeks:

SUNSHINE CLEANING -- Similar to that other movie with the word "sunshine" in the title, in that this one is also quirky for the sake of being quirky -- but this one is far less endearing. Amusing at times, poignant at others, but ultimately forgettable -- overall, it doesn't really have much going for it, aside from one thing: AMY ADAMS. That girl could sit on a bar stool and read the phone book for two hours, occasionally glancing up and flashing her perfect smile, and I'd be a happy man. Alan Arkin did his Alan Arkin thing, which never hurts, and it was cool to see Clifton Collins Jr. (aka the drug dealer from THE RULES OF ATTRACTION) as a one-armed cleaning supply store owner (see what I mean about the quirkiness?). Can't wait for the final installment of the "Quirky Sunshine Trilogy," starring Amy Adams and Abigail Breslin as, oh, let's say, an aunt & niece who take up fencing in order to find out who they really are inside. Let's call it... EN GUARDE, SUNSHINE!

DUPLICITY -- Entertaining in the moment, but again, ultimately forgettable spy flick starring Clive Owen and Julia Roberts as dueling undercover agents who may or may not be in love. Lots of twists and turns and double- and triple-crossing, with amusing interplay between the two stars. Julia actually carried the film, and she continues to age quite nicely. However, I am kind of getting tired of Clive Owen's shtick -- it'd be great to see him do something different, to see if he's actually a good actor beyond his smoldering stare. Also, Paul Giamatti and Tom Wilkinson, as rival CEO's constantly trying to one-up each other, are awesome and steal pretty much every scene they are in, which should come as no surprise.

MONSTERS vs. ALIENS -- Seems like "amusing but ultimately forgettable" is the trend right now, because here's another one. But at least this one features some pretty spiffy animation. Some decent characters, too, particularly BOB the brainless gelatinous blob, voiced by Seth Rogen, and the hilariously creepy Insectosaurus. The rest of the voice cast is pretty amazing, including Reese Witherspoon, Hugh Laurie, Will Arnett, Kiefer Sutherland, Rainn Wilson, Stephen Colbert, PAUL RUDD, and more -- but with a couple of exceptions, they're wasted talent. If you can see this in glorious IMAX 3D, it's somewhat worthwhile for the visuals alone -- but as far as animated and/or comedic movies about monsters and aliens are concerned, you'd be better off watching a double-feature of MONSTERS, INC. and MARS ATTACKS!

WATCHMEN -- I know, I promised a full-length review of this one, but... well, yeah. Simply put, I loved this movie, and it instantly turned me into a fanboy -- I went out and bought the book immediately afterwards and I loved it even more. As a movie, it's wildly entertaining, visually astonishing (especially in IMAX) with some intense action sequences, well-crafted and painstakingly loyal to the source material. It's not a PERFECT adaptation -- some of the casting is a bit off (Malin Akerman is smoking hot, but she's a little too THE HILLS-esque to be a truly effective Silk Spectre; on the other hand, Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach may be one of the greatest casting decisions in the long, storied history of film), and there are some controversial plot changes. But I believe these changes were made for purely cinematic reasons and they worked -- honestly, a giant squid devastating NYC in stark, bloody printed panels is terrifying... but on screen it probably would have come across as silly. Granted, I haven't been salivating over the prospect of a movie for 25 years, so I don't have the emotional attachment of the true die-hards, but all in all, I believe it's as good a WATCHMEN movie as anyone could have hoped for. I look forward to the inevitable longer director's cut on DVD!

Okay, that's all for now. Let's see if I can't use this as a springboard to get off my ass and make this domain name worthwhile. Amazingly, we're only a month away from the summer movie season -- so if nothing else, I'm sure business will pick up then!

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