Monday, August 22, 2005

Random Reviews - Mid '05

The following reviews were done on a whim in mid 2005. I obviously hadn't committed to a routine or level of quality yet in my writing, but here they are anyway...

The Brave Little Toaster - I was driving down the road with my homies Brian, Ricky, and Margaret the other night when the urge to watch this movie suddenly hit me out of nowhere.  True Story.  This used to be one of my favorite movies when I was a kid along with The Little Shop Of Horrors, Ghostbusters, and The American Rabbit.  Watching it now, it seems a bit more strange than I remembered it.  There are some pretty violent scenes in which appliances which are given human characteristics are destroyed or killed, as well as a scene at the film's climax in which the human that the Brave Little Toaster and his friends spend the duration of the movie searching for is almost crushed to death in a trash compactor.  I honestly still enjoyed the movie despite my being a good bit past it's target audience's age range.

Saved - Having borrowed this from my buddy Brian at the beginning of the summer, I just got around to watching it a few hours ago.  This movie was fairly ridiculous, but not completely bad.  However, I was honestly more interested in the side story involving a wheel chair-ridden Macauley Culkin and the school bad girl than the main plot line.  Jena Malone is cute though, so I can't dislike it too much.

Igby Goes Down - Wow!  I've just surprised myself.  I was just over at the Internet Movie DataBase looking up this movie so's I could link to it, and I discovered that it was released in 2002.  I though it was considerably older than that...huh...Anyways, I borrowed this from me friend Brian a while ago and gave it a watch.  I wasn't ecstatic about it, but it was good.  The box described it as "The best coming of age film since The Graduate" (more on that in a little while), so I guess you can classify it as a coming of age film.  It's basically about a kid who doesn't know what he wants to do with his life, but what he does know is that he doesn't want to do what anyone tells him to.  Bill Pullman, Kieran Culkin, Amanda Peet, Jeff Goldblum, and Claire Danes are all very good in this movie.  Especially Kieran Culkan.  Also of note are Ryan Phillipe and Susan Sarandon.  My only real problem with the movie was the ending.  It seemed like there wasn't one.  I really felt like we should have gotten a little more of Igby's story.  But maybe that's just me...

Batman Begins - Anyone who knows me knows that while I'm a huge comic book nerd, I dislike Batman (excluding the early to mid-nineties cartoon series).  Anyone who I've spoken to about this movie prior to it's release knows that I felt that while it was going to be better than any of the original four Batman movies, it would still fall short of such recent comic book movies as Spiderman 2 and X-Men 2.  I will officially and proudly eat my words on this one.  This movie amazed me.  I place it up there with the likes of the movies I just mentioned as one of the best comic book adaptations of all time.  Christian Bale proved me wrong, the bat-mobile proved me wrong, the Scarecrow (while deserving of more screen time than he got) proved me wrong, Batman's origin (while differing quite a bit from the original story from the comics) proved me wrong...I still don't like the character, but this movie is well worth your time.

Jurassic Park - Yes, I have seen this movie before.  Several times in fact.  But not in the last six or seven years, I'd wager.  I was particularly amazed to find that despite the fact that this movie was released 12 years ago, the special effects still stand up.  The dinosaurs all looked just as real as they did back in 1993.  Unfortunately the second and third films in the series can't hold a candle to the original (especially the third, which doesn't even deserve the name 'Jurassic Park').

The Machinist - I remember hearing, when this movie was about to come out, about how much weight Christian Bale had lost to play the main role.  I never imagined how skinny he would actually turn out to be!  He looked like he was about to keel over and die!  This was especially jarring since I had just seen Batman Begins (in which Bale plays the title character) less than a week before, and he had an exceptional physique.  In addition to his appearance, Bale's performance as a machine operator who hasn't slept in a full year trying to uncover the mystery of his own past was one of the best I've seen in a while.  I was totally convinced that Christian Bale was the character he was playing.  While this movie had numerous interesting ideas, great direction, and superb acting, the plot fell apart for me at the end.  I just can't enjoy movies like this anymore, having seen Fight Club...

The Graduate - I rented this movie based on the recommendation from the back of the box of Igby Goes Down.  Now, I don't usually watch really old movies.  Usually I only venture back to about the very late seventies (i.e. Alien and Star Wars: A New Hope).  This movie, however, is from 1967.  I didn't find it hard to make it through the film, but it was very strange to me.  There were bad cuts and edits that the filmmakers just let go, the music was noticably repetetive and sometimes poorly placed, the diaolog was unbelievable at some points, while hilarious and thoughtful at others.  Overall (since the comparison was made for me) I think I liked Igby more.  My biggest problem with this movie was the plot.  Towards the end it became completely unbelievable.  However, I now have a better understanding of the ending to a certain episode of the Simpsons...

Elektra - Wow, what a huge piece of shit.  Personally I think this movie was completely unnecessary.  The movie that Elektra is a spin-off of (Daredevil) was a big piece of shit, and this one follows suit nicely.  The premise of the character Elektra is cool.  She's a heartless assassin.  The people who made this movie chose to take the essence of the comic book character, smash it into a million pieces, and reassemble it as they saw fit.  Unfortunately what they "saw fit" was a buddy comedy starring a hired assassin and a little girl who is secretly training to be an assassin.  Yes.  Shit.

Boiler Room - Completely not what I expected.  This is a good thing.  Having little to no idea what this movie was going in, I found it to be quite interesting.  I'm not really the biggest fan of Giovanni Ribisi, but he held his own well enough in the lead role.  Also, this movie probably has Vin Diesel's best acting role to date because he doesn't go near a weapon at any time during the duration of the film.  Overall, worth a watch.

Imaginary Heroes - I'm probably one of very few people who can say that they were looking forward to this movie.  Hence, if you haven't heard of this one, don't be surprised.  I was interested in this movie for three reasons: 1) It looked sort of like American Beauty.  2) It has Jeff Daniels in a serious role (i.e. Pleasantville). and 3) It had The Postal Service in the trailer.  In the end, this movie managed to be different enough from what I thought it was going to be that it surprised me, and it completely lived up to my expectations.  And keep in mind, I was comparing it to American Beauty before even seeing it.  My recommendation is that you see this movie as soon as possible.

National Lampoon's Gold Diggers - It seems like every time I go into Blockbuster (or any movie rental place for that matter) there's a new National Lampoon movie out that I've never heard of prior to it's appearance on the racks at said store.  This movie is the exception to that statement.  I saw a trailer for this.  It looked kind of funny, but I never had any intention of bothering to see it.  It was only due to the request of my pal Ricky that we rented this movie.  Overall it was a standard teen comedy.  It had it's moments though.  If there's nothing better to see, this will tide you over.  Plus it's got Will Friedle!

D.E.B.S. - If anyone can tell me what "D.E.B.S." stands for, I'd love to know.  Even after watching the movie I'm not sure what the teenage super-spy agency it's about is really called.  I only really watched this movie because there's lots of hot babes in skirts in it and Maxim said it was good.  There were moments that made me chuckle.  Mostly they were due to Jimmi Simpson's character, Scud.  The movie isn't completely unwatchable, because despite the ridiculous plot and bad special effects, there's lots of scenes with Elizabeth Banks and Jordana Brewster making out.