January's DVD Reviews, Part I
Quick reviews from my Netflix queue and/or the library.

The Formula, 1980
Why was everyone around this time so interested in Nazi secrets from 30+ years ago?  Go rent The Boys from Brazil instead.

The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, 2006
Remember when Eric Clapton did Unplugged and blew everyone away by playing a different style and bringing in songs no one knew he knew?  This is Tommy Lee Jones' Unplugged.  It's worth it.

Silent Hill, 2006
I felt as lost as the protagonists did in the beginning of this movie, what without a plot or any semblance of a story.  The cop was a hot live version of a butch Lara Croft, but looked about as realistic as the insanely irrelevant monsters.  The only thing scary about this movie is the prospect of a sequel.

The Passenger, 1975
On the commentary, Jack Nicholson narrates the opening scene, "A man in search of something.  Enough of a story for (director) Antonioni."  Actually, no real story ever emerges, no plot developments, nothing.  It's just a lot of footage shot around a  premise too shallow to wade in.  The only thing that's notable is the lengthy closing shot... and it doesn't come soon enough.

Invasion: Season 1, Disc 4, 2006
Great cast and a decent enough premise, but this show moves so slowly that it never gains enough airspeed to get any lift.  The girls are cute though.

Entourage: Season 2, Disc 2, 2006
The show keeps growing on me.  I have no idea why, especially considering how much I hate the dvd's menu.

Little Miss Sunshine, 2006
There's almost nothing new here, but you forgive them because it's told well.  But then you get a great ending and you like it a bit more than you thought you were going to.   Awwwww.  Isn't that a great story?  Still, it's hardly Best Picture material.

Farscape: Season 1, Disc (who knows), 1999
Not bad stuff.  Around this point in the series it was evolving into the great show it would become just as soon as they added Chiana and her cute ass to the cast.

Hard Candy, 2005
Great acting and a terrific premise, but ultimately it's got more holes in the plot than [insert X-rated analogy here].

The Office: Season 2: Disc 2, 2005
Okay, yes, I had it in for this one in the beginning, but it has quickly climbed out from beneath the shadow of the BBC program on which it was based.  Steve Carell is an amazing actor who doesn't seem remotely uncomfortable about making the audience uncomfortable.

The Devil Wears Prada, 2006
Here again I thought this was a standard story told exceptionally well.  It had style.  It had better, all things considered.

Gilmore Girls: Season 5: Disc 2, 2004
You can smell desperation brewing in the writers' office when they start giving Lane her own storylines to the exclusion of the suddenly and unnecessarily boring title characters.

Glen or Glenda, 1953
Quite possibly the most confused movie ever made, and I'm not talking about anything related to its subject matter.  It can't decide if it is a pseudo-documentary full of gravitas and psycho-babble or an experimental film merging early psychedelia with sexuality.

The Great New Wonderful, 2006
It's neither great nor wonderful, but Judy Greer is, and I will admit I rented just to see her even though I lucked out and got to see her in her underwear and then half a nipple later on.  I guess that's nothing "new" either, but I'm happy.

Hellraiser VII: Deader, 2004
As far as Hellraiser movies go, this one wasn't too bad, but then again, they lowered the bar considerably after the first couple in the series.  Incidentally, Kari Wuhrer can actually act and looks good.  Hello?  Hollywood?  Call her and give her some decent work, especially in movies where she's indecent.

Extras: Season 1: Disc 1, 2005
Ricky Gervais returns!  While it isn't nearly as good as the original BBC version of The Office, it's still a fun show.  Funnier still are the outtakes on the disc, primarily because the most hysterical thing in the universe is Ricky laughing during a take.  I'm not kidding you.

PICK OF THE LITTER: The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada.  I liked it and my neighbor Linda liked it.  Considering how narrow an overlap this is, this is an unprecidented recommendation.

January's DVD Reviews, Part II
Quick reviews from my Netflix queue and/or the library.

Clockwatchers, 1997
There were so many places where I kept thinking this movie would live up to its potential and go to one of the dark places on the interesting fringes of its otherwise predictable plot.  It always seemed to be flirting with something better than it was, but by the end I was watching the clock on the player and realizing it was just killing time until it was free to run the credits.

Desperate Housewives: Season 2, Disc 2, 2006
I still can't get over how relatively plotless this season is.  The trademark fast-paced and campy scripting, direction, and perfomances are still the best of their kind, but I have no reason to care.  I just watch it for the hot mommies.

Firewall, 2006
Hackers plus Frantic plus Air Force One.  I am just not a big enough Harrison Ford fan to care about the sum of that formula.

An American Haunting, 2006
This wasn't great, but it wasn't nearly as bad as it was made out to be by the critics who haunted it.

A Prarie Home Companion, 2006
If you can sit through the pointless, meandering radio show it's based on, you might be able to make it through this pointless, meandering movie.  Usually his meandering has a point, but I think Robert Altman died of boredom directing this mess.

The Omen III, 1981
Okay, it's pretty hokey, but I enjoyed it even though the plot synopsis would be shorter than this review.  The end.

I Love Your Work, 2003
Although it gets predictable a short way in, this indie movie by actor and nearly-first-time director Adam Goldberg isn't too bad.  The fast-paced editing is an interesting collage approach to story-telling, even though the average viewer will probably find it too intense and hard to follow.  In other words, I loved his work.

Veronica Mars: Season 1, Disc 4, 2005
She's like the previously unknown blonde Gilmore Girl who actually stands up for herself.  By constrast, those chicks on that other show have no self respect.

Come and See, 1985
Depressing WWII story about German atrocities in Russia.  The movie-making isn't horrible, but the images are.  Be sure you have titrated up to a therapeutic dose of your anti-depressant of choice before viewing.

Desperate Housewives: Season 2, Disc 3, 2006
More of the same.  I'm getting desperate for reasons more compelling to watch than seeing anyone besides Terri Hatcher's character in jeans.

Invasion: Season 1, Disc 5, 2006
Finally, it's over.  Only at the last did they finally start developing any intrigue to keep me interested, but in the meantime their viewers invaded other shows and this series got cancelled.

Strangers with Candy, 2006
I have no idea what went wrong here, but this was basically a poorly-made, over-long episode of the tv show.  I loved the show, but this project did nothing for me.

Art School Confidential, 2006
This.  This is what a Kevin Smith movie should be.  It's another picture from Daniel Clowes directed by Terry Zwigoff (Crumb and Ghost World).  Now those guys are real artists.

Kinky Boots, 2005
Dani found this little gem loosely based on a true story about an old shoe factory that turned its business around by catering to a seriously niche market: Drag queens.  It's basically that Full Monty formula you already know (and can't really hate), but it turned out to be well-made enough to kick ass in high heels.

Idiocracy, 2005
There are some terrific satirical points in this Mike Judge picture, but there's so much slapstick comedy coupled with the unfunny Wilson brother (i.e., the one who isn't Owen).  It's interesting on so many levels, but it just doesn't work.

Classic Albums: U2: The Joshua Tree, 1999
This is one of those "Behind the Music" sorts of shows, only it looks more at audio engineering than drugs and hookers used and abused on the other side of the mixing board.  It's definitely for musicians only, although they ran out of material five minutes from the end and subject you to a live concert performance on a show about a studio album.  Yeah.  Exactly.

Gilmore Girls: Season 5: Disc 4, 2004
It was funny when Lorelai kept hanging up on her mom until I realized that I was vicariously enjoying it as though it were my future mother-in-law, then I felt bad.

The Office: Season 2: Disc 3, 2005
Okay, I admit it.  My name is Jim.  I like Pam.  That's why I watch this show.

Hudson Hawk, 1991
Picture this: Bruce Willis in his peak in an action comedy (two things Bruce does best).  This had the potential to be a bit better than it was.  Honestly, without the slapstick bits pushing it over the top or the ballast of the incredibly unfunny Andie McDowell dragging it down (was she supposed to be a counterweight?!), it would have been a terrific movie.

PICKS OF THE LITTER: Tie: Art School Confidential made me care what was going on while throwing in a lot of funnies that a hack screenwriter wouldn't have bothered to come up with.  And Kinky Boots was a pleasant surprise in that the filmmaking was inventive without being experimental at all.

Copyright 2007 Ale[x]plorer.
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