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

A Scanner Darkly, 2006
This is an interesting if not especially great movie.  It is faithful to Philip K. Dick's novel in every reasonable way (and the actors even improve upon the characters they're given to play here), but the film lacks the scope from which to appreciate the themes the novel was able to capture in its wider lens.  Of interest though is the fact that this time Robert Downey Jr. plays himself as a hopeless drug addict about ten years after the fact.

Sopranos: Season 6, Part I: Disc 2, 2006
It's pretty much back to the same old pattern, much like Tony, the frog, and the scorpion.

The Legend of Drunken Master, 1994
Jackie Chan is always great, and this is probably among the best films to serve as an introduction to him since it's not so early in his career that the filmmaking is weak and not so late that the star's punches are weak.

Jackass, Number Two, 2006
At best this would be an instuction manual for Darwin Award contenders, but somehow these idiots don't even get themselves killed... which was unsatisfactory as far as I was concerned.

Classic Albums: Iron Maiden: Number of the Beast, 2001
I would swear that none of these guys have seen "This Is Spinal Tap."  Or maybe they have and are merely pulling our collective legs... because there's no way they they could not see what a bunch of parodies of themselves they are here.

Nacho Libre, 2006
My viewing experience paralleled the story arc.  I kind of wanted to like this but didn't expect much, then found it did the job in the end.  While it wasn't a great movie, this same director as of Napoleon Dynamite (Jared Hess) actually films humorous material in a funny way, so all the elements are elevated to the turnbuckles and slam you stupid enough to enjoy it.

The Last Kiss, 2006
I think Zach Braff is Ray Romano's son.  It's hard to watch anything with either in it, and this isn't good enough to hurdle that threshold for me.

Yes, I saw this in the theater.  I am so glad I did because it was worth every penny (and I didn't even make the matinee).  And I honestly cannot compete with this review.

Live Nude Girls Unite!, 2000
A short (little over an hour) documentary about strippers unionizing, it has all the right elements except for the fact that talking about terms of labor contracts is frankly pretty boring.  In additional to the requisite nudity promised in the title itself, you'll be tittlated by some of the inventive story-telling approaches though (e.g., animations, narration, interviews, and stand-up comedy, believe it or not), but the film never really grabs you by the balls, maybe because that's against their policy under their agreement with management.

The Natural History of the Chicken, 2001
An unintentionally funny documentary about *people* (not chickens) who love chickens.  The title is as confused as the subjects of this hour-long PBS program are that Dani and her mom (and now I) find hilarious.

The L Word: Season 3: Disc 4, 2006
Nyah.  I wasn't so crazy about the closure on this season, sorry.  But I know the girls will all have nice openings next year.

Love is the Devil, 1998
Art imitates the art of the artist whose life this biopic attempts to imitate.  It's a bit intense, but is actually pretty good... unless you happen to be watching it to learn about Francis Bacon (the painter), its subject.  You're likely to be more lost interpreting this film without an understanding of him already than trying to interpret his paintings.

Alias: Season 3: Disc 6, 2003
Jennifer Garner can't disguise how hot she is which is why I'd probably shoot first.

Lucky Number Slevin, 2006
Not great, but pretty good.

Lord of War, 2005
Why must Nick Cage get all the good scripts?  Quick summary: Good movie... with Nicholas Cage, dammit.

Young Adam, 2004
Dani wanted to see Ewan McGreggor naked and I got to see Tilda Swinton naked out of the deal.  Oh, and then Emily Mortimer naked which made up for the fact it was slow going and depressing overall.

Gilmore Girls: Season 6: Disc 2, 2005
Dammmit, you two.  Make up already.  No, better idea: Make out with one another.

PICK OF THE LITTER:  GRINDHOUSE!!!!  Have you listened to anything I've said?

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

Clerks II, 2006
Normally I think Kevin Smith is overrated, but somehow he sold this and a bag of chips and a Slushie and some lottery tickets.

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Disc 1, 2002
While nowhere near as intelligently written or artistically produced as the movies, this is still miles away from anything Hollywood has ever produced.  Just over five thousand of them (or eight thousand kilometers) to be exact.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, 2006
Keith Richards wasn't even in it, and it still rocked, and not just because of how much I want to plunder Keira's booty.  I really wasn't expecting, well, anything from this film (i.e., Keira wasn't going to be naked in anything flying Disney's flag), but it was way better than the first one.

Employee of the Month, 2006
Do you like those made-in-the-'80s comedies USA used to show late at night throughout the '90s.  Well, boy are you in for a treat!

Dogma, 1999
I gave this a second chance on the heels of Kevin Smith redeeming his soul with Clerks 2, but I still think it's an incredibly weak film with too many characters with too little to do in this too-thin plot what with the too-few jokes to go around.  The last criticism is especially pointed because there frankly isn't an easier target than religion in general and Catholic dogma specifically.

Veronica Mars: Season 2, Disc 5, 2006
For the record, I'd probably still watch it if she wasn't this cute, but I wouldn't enjoy it as much.

World Trade Center, 2006
Somehow Oliver Stone figured that the way to best remember 9/11 would be to make the hokiest movie ever made.  Seriously, it fails to capture the emotion or the events effectively and instead turns real-life drama into cornball material that backfires at what should be a slam dunk.  We've lost the war on terror if we can't turn him away from putting out films this sappy.

X-men 3: The Last Stand, 2006
My open letter to the producers:  Next time, don't pay for a script.  I mean, since you're just going to toss out the entire fucking history of the comic books these are supposedly based on, why not just put some cute girls in spandex and shoot lasers and explosions all around them while they jump around and Hugh Jackman lights a cigar and says something snarky.  Make it a geeky version of "Girls on Trampolines," and I'd probably get more out of it than this train wreck of a movie.

March of the Penguins, 2004
I guess I'm supposed to feel something for these birds with their pair bonds and their obsessive nurturing of their chicks, but all I could think about was how stupid they were to move inland (i.e., closer to the pole) and huddle together all winter instead of doing the sensible thing and migrating like pretty much every other bird in the world.  No wonder the religious right loved this movie so much.

Gilmore Girls: Season 6: Disc 3, 2005
Plot developments?  Where did these come from?  It's like they have real writers all of a sudden.  Still, the guys just watch it for the mom in jeans.

Malice, 1993
Yeah, I'm late getting around to this one.  Yes, silly, but it took me back to a time in my movie-going experience when every picture was a cheaply-made thriller with a convenient twist and a forgettable climax.

The Machinist, 2004
Very cool.  It's slow in spots, but atmospheric.  That's all I'm going to say about this because You Do Not Talk About Fight Club.

Making Love, 1982
Notable as the first mainstream movie about gay men, this is basically a Lifetime Original Movie about gay men.  It has all the quality of a made-for-tv movie and its shock value has been eroded by two and a half decades of tv and the movies finally coming out of the closet their producers lived in.  Today this picture is a huge, melodramatic laugh-fest, even if you aren't into archeology.

Pink Floyd: Pulse: Disc 1, 1994
Wow, lots of extras.  Even if you're an obsessive Pink Floyd fan, there really isn't a lot more you could have asked for out of this disc short of the time machine and cattle prod you'd need to get Roger Waters to join them onstage.

Just Friends, 2006
Honestly, I didn't think this was bad at all (even if it wasn't terribly original).  Of course, even a Ryan Renyolds movie with a bad script has Ryan Renyolds in it.  You watch it to hear his delivery, not what he's saying since, with all sarcasm, it isn't what he's really saying anyway.

PICK OF THE LITTER: The Machinst for reasons I won't go into because they happen to be why I enjoyed it, that's why.  (Clerks II was a pleasant surprise as well if you want something lighter.)

Copyright 2007 Ale[x]plorer.
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