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.






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You thought Hangover had a slow start??

Sharny's picture

Interesting, because I thought some of the most humorous stuff was in the first half hour. The scenes with Dr. Fag and his adorable girlfriend were pretty funny, and driving through the desert to Vegas *always* entertains me.

I agree completely with your comments on Transformers, and will add that indifference is a terrible feeling when a fair amount of time and money have been spent.

Up was beautiful in so many ways, and the rockinest movie I've seen in a very long time.

Bruno is next on the list, but first I must prepare myself and be in the mood for multiple cringisms.

Up is excellent indeed

Critico's picture

Even with the craziness after they find the dogs, but the best movie of the year is The Hurt Locker.

I'm surprised.

Mal_Content's picture

I expected Up to be just another crappy kid's movie, yet you both loved it. Not sure I'll bother seeing it - I was bored by the trailer.

I thought this Harry Potter was marginally better than the last one, but inferior to the rest. It was too choppy and confused.

Public Enemy was a good film, if you can get past the fact that Christian Bale can't act and talks through his nose, which I find really annoying. Johnny Depp was great, as always.

Critico - Hurt Locker never opened here. I'm waiting for it to come out on dvd.

Can't be bothered to pay theatre prices for Transformers and Angels and Demons, and I wouldn't be caught dead at Bruno.

I dare you not to cry with Up

Critico's picture

I double dare you.

Now The Hurt Locker have only been released in a few markets, there is a chance it will open soon everywhere.

Replies to all

HS's picture

Sharny: What I meant about The Hangover is that the set-up took too long, even if it DID have some good laughs.


Critico: The Hurt Locker is still playing out here, though I haven't seen many reviews of it.  Based on your review, I will check it out.


Mal: I had the same thoughts about Up after watching the trailer, but universally-strong reviews sold me on it.  I'm one of the few who wasn't wild about Wall-E, and I'd say that Up is Pixar's best film since The Incredibles.  Much better than the trailer suggests (unlike Terminator Salvation), which has a horrible trailer and is just as bad.



I'm so embarrased

nickumoh's picture

The last 4 movies that I've seen at the theatre are Bruno, the Hangover, Transformers & Terminator Salvation.

Yes, all 4 of those movies are on your list but I like to think of myself as an indie film/documentary guy. I've been only watching blockbusters and stuff. I'm going to the movies right after work to go watch Food Inc. (though it seems like its just a documentary version of Fast Food Nation, sans Greg Kinnear and Fez). Besides, there's a heatwave here in Portland and I don't have air conditioning. Come to think of it, I should've been watching movies all week!

...what...what were talking about again?

I should see the hurt locker before I judge

Decaf's picture

but I would say UP is the best film of the year. Its one of the best things I've seen in a while actually.

I'm one of the few people who thought Harry Potter 6 sucked. I really hope David Yates doesn't fuck up on the last two, because order of the pheonix and half blood prince were both major disappointments. Goblet of Fire is easily the best, followed by Prisoner of Azkaban. 


Finally, a good ping-pong kung-fu movie

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

A review of "Balls of Fury" (2007)

Yes grasshopper your wait is over.  Some critics complained that the gags in this slightly raunchy comedy are obvious.  Not sure how that can be since there has never been a movie that combines the sweet science of ping-pong with the deadly serious genre of martial arts movies.  Yes it's very silly, but personally I prefer that kind of comedy.  There seem to be too many deadpan comedies and comedians these days.  That may work in a written humor piece, but on film it can be deadly dull.

Full disclosure:  I was a ping-pong fiend in my youth.  To see a sport I loved so much mocked so mercilessly made me laugh.  That may be the key element to enjoying this very slight little film.  My own personal rating for it is two bombs.  For everyone bored with ping-pong the rating would be three bombs.  Unless you are a huge Christopher Walken fan.  His portrayal of a crime kingpin in Chinese high camp drag is something to see.

{;-) Dan in Miami


Chinese officials serve up blue balls to ping-pong champ

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

I always knew there was some reason I was opposed to totalitarianism. 

BEIJING (Reuters) – China's 25-year-old world number one Wang Hao has finally been deemed old enough to have a girlfriend by Chinese table tennis officials, local media reported on Tuesday.

The men's singles world champion fell foul of the administration's rules on romantic liaisons five years ago when he started going out with fellow national team player Fan Ying.

In a move that dismayed women's rights activists but was perhaps more about their relative world rankings, Wang was not punished but 17-year-old Fan was dismissed from the national team and sent back to her province.

{;-) Dan in Miami

PS:  All systems are go.  Get your Wang on Hao!


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