Crickets chirp, or, thoughts on recently-seen movies.
MINOR SPOILERS, perhaps. Nothing major.
Hot Tub Time Machine: The time travel science is weak here and Chevy Chase is horrible (his role is basically the same as Don Knott's in 1998's Pleasantville)...but the movie has some good laffs and one of the funniest scenes of the year, in which a drunken Rob Corrdry pukes on a squirrel. I'll give it a C+.
The Ghost Writer: Ewan McGregor plays the title character, helping the hard-drinking, disgraced former British Prime Minister (Pierce Brosnan) tell his side of the story. But why did Ewan's predecessor die under mysterious circumstances? An engrossing, well-crafted, and oft-funny thriller, expertly directed by Roman "back passage" Polanski. Prolly the best movie I've seen this year. A.
City Island: Light-hearted indie about a NYC corrections officer (Andy Garcia) who secretly enrolls in acting lessons and hiding it from his comically-dysfunctional family. Alan Arkin steals the show in a couple brief scenes as Garcia's acting professor. B+.
Kick-Ass: The "funnest" comic book movie since Iron Man. Newcomer Aaron Johnson (I think that's his name) plays the title character, a bespectacled nerd who reinvents himself as a semi-competent superhero to take a stand against all the bullies on the street. He soon learns that he is not alone in the world of secret crime fighters, and that's where things get really funny (and complicated). See it. A-.
Daylight: 1996 disaster film about rescue efforts by Stallone (in a performance that's bad even by his standards) to save a group of survivors trapped inside the Holland Tunnel following an explosion. The token survivors are your typically obnoxious disaster movie types, but forget the cliches and just enjoy the phenomenal visual effects. B-.
Tenure: Direct-to-DVD comedy about the efforts of a beloved English professor (Owen Wilson, understated as always) to get tenure while the odds get stacked against him. Enjoyable fluff, but nothing special except for a running subplot about Bigfoot. B-.
Idiocracy: I FINALLY saw this after much nagging by friends whose taste in movies now comes into question. What a horrible film. The underdeveloped story doesn't really matter, but let's just say that it's about an Army grunt (Owen Wilson again, rising above the material) who gets forgotten about in a cryogenic hibernation experiment and wakes up years later to find that he's the smartest person on earth - by Beavis and Butt-head standards. That said, SNL's Maya Rudolph is smoking hott here. D-.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: Haunting Swedish whodunit about a disgraced Stockholm journalist who is hired to investigate a 40-year-old murder, and who gets unlikely help from the title character, a torturted, possibly bi-sexual Goth hacker (newcomer Noona Parace, IIRC). A bit long but always interesting. I'm sure it'll be remade into a lesser American film. A-.
Next up: Iron Man 2.