June's DVD Reviews, Part
Quick reviews from my Netflix queue and/or
Man, this batch was a cluster bomb!
The Lady in
the Water, 2006
Another disaster by M. Night Shamalamadingdong.
It's a tag-team of bad direction and a mediocre screenplay that collectively
insult the audience while the director puts himself onscreen as the most
important character in the film. This is an ever-escalating trend
in movies I wish he'd stop making.
Fear and Loathing
in Las Vegas, 1998
I expected to like this a lot
more than I did. Sure, I'd seen it before (nearly ten years ago),
but I thought maybe I'd just forgotten the plot what with all the weirdness
going on all the time in the picture. Nope. It's pointlessly
random and that means it's fun because it's random. Of course, if
you're trying to see it as anything more than that, you'll need drugs.
If you're over-selling it like that, get off the drugs.
Worst movie ever. I don't
throw that kind of dismissive review down lightly either. I rented
it because Alyson Hannigan was in it, and it may well be her last big screen
appearance after this potential career-killer.
Snakes on a
Sure, I knew this was going to
be pretty bad going in, but it lacked the kind of acklowledgement of how
bad it was that would elevate it to a movie that was laughing with us.
Huge disappointment. Watch any parody of it instead.
Another Bukowski adaptation along
the same lines as Barfly. Come to think of it, basically it's
exactly the same as Barfly only nowhere as good on any level.
Have you seen Barfly? 'Cause I know you didn't see this one.
Guess what I'm going to suggest you see instead.
Season 2: Disc 4, 1990
There is actually a lot in here
to love, even though these episodes are from the deservedly much-maligned
season that was such a step down from the first bunch.
Want to see yet another Phillip
Seymour Hoffman movie where he gets lost in the role? Okay, that's
most of them, but this one's pretty good. Also interesting is Minnie
Driver similarly hiding out in a character you'd never notice (much like
her career these days).
My Name Is Earl:
Season 1: Disc 2, 2005
This isn't rocket scienec; it's
a formula that's sure to break down at high velocities (like those encountered
when catching up on a full season via nearly back to back dvds), but I
have to admit that I still like it. For one thing, I think there
are volumes of philosophy that could be written on Earl saying "Hey, Crab
A creepy movie based off Thomas
Tryon's most famous book, but it's kind of dated. I'm sure a good
director could update the hell out of this into something compelling.
Until then, just sit tight or find something else to rent.
I think my rule ought to be that
my enthusiastic reviews read simply "SEE IT!" I mean, my favorite
movies are almost always the ones with the most interesting premise or
twists or something else you'd find out about in a review, and I don't
want to spoil things. As such, all I'm going to say about this one
is SEE IT!
Season 6: Disc 5, 2005
Sure, they get on my nerves sometimes
when the writers manufacture drama that isn't really there, but the show
redeems itself more often than not, especially in the episodes where the
mom wears jeans.
Queen: Making of a Night at the Opera, 1975
Even with only half the band participating,
this is still a great "behind the scenes" (or tracks; whatever), and it's
a much more interesting album to hear about them making than to listen
to, and that's saying a lot.
Nights of Cabiria,
Another meandering Fellini movie
(Yes, that is redundant) about a sort of a lost soul, like most other Fellini
movies. We basically get to tour every side of Rome and then wonder
what it was all about when it ended, same as every other Fellini movie.
PICK OF THE
LITTER: Oldboy. Duh. Check it out. It's currently
#116 on the IMDb, so apparently everyone over there agrees with me on this
Reviews, Part II
Quick reviews from my Netflix queue and/or
The title is actually the pharmacological
prerequisite for enjoying this one. It's just a dumb action flick
with a few gimmicks and a premise that you'd have to be dumber than the
characters to believe for the duration of the film.
2: Discs 3&4, 2006
Honestly, almost nothing happens
in any given episode, but they milk the drama off every scrap of information
they reveal. These guys are so much better at this than the Bush
administration, and the girls on the island are good-enough looking that
I don't mind being teased.
Here we have a great cast conglomerating
around a script that never gels. You'll forget about this movie afterward
in less time than you'd take to smoke that many cigarettes even if you
were Denis Leary.
Color Me Kubrick,
Cute movie about John Malcovitch
playing a real-life con artist pretending to be Stanley Kubrick.
It isn't bad, but it would have been so much better if it was about Katherine
Keener inside John Malcovitch playing a real-life con artist pretending
to be Stanley Kubrick.
Another Dirty Harry movie, and
one that basically could have been an episode of Hill Street Blues
if they'd edited down the unnecessarily long shots of people driving places
and cut the scene of a then-unknown Suzanne Sommers topless. Then
again, the latter is the only reason this is worth watching.
What did I say I was going to
tell you about fucking awesome movies from now on? GO SEE THIS FUCKING
Everyone considers The Searchers
a classic (except for me), but here we have essentially the same story,
only this one is at least ten times better for reasons of a great cast,
script, and a couple good-lookin' rough-n-tumble gals.
God: Season 1, 1990
Cute BBC sitcom about what Dani
and I will be like when we're old. Yes, seriously. I really
enjoyed it, but I realize it isn't for everyone. For one thing, Dani
wasn't crazy about it, pretty much the same as her character wouldn't be.
Live at Pompeii: Director's Cut, 1974
Man, this is awful, even with
lots of extras on the disc. I mean, I love Pink Floyd, but watching
them flounder through the early "classic" (<--sarcasm!) material is
kind of painful. It's a talent show that happened to have been filmed
professionally. You'd have to be on the same drugs they were on back
then to imagine they'd be a success within a couple years of this.
The second part of a trilogy contrasting
post-industrialized Western culture and contemporary agrarian societies
elsewhere in the world. It's pure cinema verite, but if you're me,
you'll probably be distracted by the annoying soundtrack by Phillip Glass
even though the footage is fantastic. Note: If you hated Disney's
EPCOT, then just skip this.
Ready to Wear,
This is about as even as a road
full of pot holes. Sure, there are even spots, but you wouldn't want
to drive over it. Robert Altman's wild approach doesn't always work,
and in this, frankly, it looks like amateur hour with some of the incredibly
Another early gay movie.
It's an indy film that tries to take on too much in too short a piece,
but you have to forgive these guys since there was so much no one else
had been talking about openly in cinema since, well, forever.
Whoa. I'm not sure where
to begin with this one. I'll guardedly recommend it to readers here
who enjoy challenging films. If you dug Todd Solondz's Welcome
to the Dollhouse, then you may in fact find this is your thing, although
it does go deeper and stranger places than any of his other work.
PICK OF THE
LITTER: The Prestige is easily my fav of this lot, but Palindromes
is a must-see for those who want something very different that will keep
you thinking well after you've put it in the mail.