Thoughts on recently-seen movies (NO SPOILERS)
Dammit, my lengthy post crapped out two-thirds of the way through, so I won't rewrite all the reviews, except for a very brief one-sentence review, with letter grade, for all the movies I've seen in the last 6 weeks or so (there have been a shitload):
Up: Pixar's latest is exciting, funny, touching, and sweet (like Wall-E, only better). Best movie of the year. A+.
Whatever Works: Woody Allen's latest brings the action back to New York, with Curb Your Enthusiasm's Larry David playing the role Woody himself used to play - a bald NYC Jew romantically involved with a much, much younger girl. Fun but it's no Annie Hall. B.
Food, Inc: Part Super-Size Me, part An Inconvenient Truth, this engrossing documentary is an informative looks at the evils of agri-business, but also a fun time at the movies. See it if if you can. A.
The Hangover: Funny and very R-rated comedy about three buds who wake up hungover at a Vegas bachelor party's aftermath with a missing groom and amnesia. A slow start but stick with it. B+.
Bruno: Sacha Baron Cohen is a sick man. His Borat-esque candid camera hijinx continue, this time as Bruno, a very gay, very vapid Austrian fashion reporter blacklisted from the industry. Lots of celeb and politico cameos, not all of whom were in on the joke (poor Ron Paul). See it if you have an open mind and a tolerance for full-frontal nudity. B+.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blooded Prince: Not as good as Prisoner of Azkaban or Order of the Phoenix, but better than Goblet of Fire (I don't remember the first two HP films at all). I haven't read the book but was not surprised at all by the film's somber ending. Doesn't do much to advance the story, unfortunately. B-.
Terminator: Salvation: Wow, this installment, the first to be set entirely in the post-apocalyptic world, really sucks. It isn't Schwarzenegger's absence; rather, the film just feels boring and the characters rather dull. C-.
Transformers: Rise of the Machines: I dug the first film but this ridiculous sequel is just an abortion of cinema. John Turturro in a thong? Sam Witwicky's mother high on shrooms? The transformer has a nutsac? Repeated shots of dogs humping? Really, what happened here? D.
Angels and Demons: Like The DaVinci Code, it just doesn't seem like Ron Howard - normally a very good director - is comfortable with the material. It's an average thriller that would be better in someone else's hands. Too bad. C.