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

Stranger than Fiction, 2006
Everyone imagines their life story has meaning, that they've had a purpose.  This may have been Will Ferrel's finally.  Like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, you can read a lot into it, but what I take away is an examination of the narrative of our lives.

The Departed, 2006
Whoa!  Holy shit.  This is good.  Really good.

Borat, 2006
I used to think Jackie Chan had no limits to how far he was willing to go to entertain his audience.  Seriously, Sasha Baron Cohen breaks barriers you would never even think to cross.

Searching for Comedy In the Muslim World, 2005
I'm not an Albert Brooks fan, but some folks are.  I guaranty this won't make you a convert if you aren't, but it isn't so bad you'll want to strap explosives on yourself.

Mystery of the Wax Museum, 1933
The original one (albeit colorized).  And Fay Wray's in it too.  Sure, it's cheesy, but you go into it expecting that.  This was on the back of the disc with the much more famous remake.

House of Wax, 1953
Honestly, this is only a minor refinement of the original.  It's coated in wax, you might say (if you get the reference to the key plot point), but Vincent Price is a significant and memorable improvement, of course.

An Evening with Kevin Smith 2, 2006
No, I never saw the original, but I have to say it was more enjoyable than your average episode of Inside the Actor's Studio.  I'm not always crazy about his movies, but Kev's funny as fuck to listen to ramble about shit.

The Good German, 2006
An interesting experimental film from Soderbergh (does he ever do any other kind?), but the material isn't interesting enough here to carry the filmmaking.  Yes, that's the reverse of how it usually works.  Score one for Steven, but skip the movie.

Pretty Persuasion, 2005
This reminded me of The Shape of Things, only that one was better.  Moral: Rent The Shape of Things instead.

24, Season 5, Discs 5&6
Yep, Jack, there's a bomb.  It was this season.  Sorry, but going from improbable to implausable carried this show over into the realm of unintentional comedy.

Infamous, 2005
Speaking of unintentional comedy.  Oh.  My.  God.  This is so weak and is just a load of Hollywood crap.  See Capote first, and then watch how badly the same story can be treated by a different set of producers.

Wordplay, 2005
Yep, I finally got around to this documentary about crosswords.  Remember Spellbound, the one about the spelling bee?  This is better for a number of reasons, not the least of which is Bill Clinton's in it.

Schizopolis, 1996
Soderbergh doing experimental right.  We're not talking anything on the caliber of, say, Memento. It's fluff, but it's fun and there's enough room in it for you to read something more intellectual into this project than there is.  Note the name though.

The Apple, 1980
I absolutely love this movie.  Imagine a musical set in the far future of 1994.  This is like Rocky Horror dressed up in lycra.  True story: I rented this a couple years ago, and only re-rented it to rip the soundtrack, but I watched it again anyway because it's the cheeziest thing to ever come out of the '80s, and that's saying a lot.

Shall We Dance, 1937
Ginger and Fred.  That's pretty much all you need to say.  Not their best stuff on any level (especially story), but it's cute and they (he, especially) never fail to entertain.

The Hole, 2001
Interesting little psychological drama, but I only rented it because Kiera flashes her tits in it.  Sorry, but you know me and Kiera.

PICKS OF THE LITTER: You absolutely have to see The Departed, but Borat is entertaining enough that the comedy transcends the weak attempt to tie the whole piece together under a nonsensical story involving Pam Anderson.  Whatever.  Of course, you know I'm also going to recommend you check out The Apple to see the strangest thing ever commited to celluloid.

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

Hannibal Rising, 2006
Probably a bit too over the top, but it has its moments.  It could have used a better director though, and the script itself really doesn't get much above a simple revenge picture by the end, so it's disappointing on most fronts.

Blood Diamond, 2005
It's and okay movie, but I especially wanted to say thanks to everyone involved in the production of it for making me feel guilty every time I look at Dani's engagement ring.

Harakiri, 1962
Ready for a little heresy?  Okay.  How's this: Fuck Kurosawa.  This is THE BEST samuri movie ever made.  I shit you not.

Monk: Season 5: Disc 2, 2005
Though therapy does little for the title character, watching this show has served that role for me.  True, I'm just as obsessive-compulsive as ever, but I'm okay with that.

Shortbus, 2006
Probably a bit strong for almost anyone, but really... it's just sex.  Really.  It isn't a great movie in and of itself, but the more interesting thing is the novelty of what all is depicted on screen.

Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters, 2007
I'm sorry.  I just can't get into this show.  I want to like it.  Really.  I just don't care.

Volver, 2006

Black Snake Moan, 2006
Not great, but interesting and original, and that's what I usually look for in a movie.  That and Christina Ricci naked.  Score!

Marie Antoinette, 2006
I don't see any innovation her.  Sorry.  Sophia's working her way toward being the most over-rated director in her age group, and that's saying a lot.

Mahogany, 1975
Okay, not really as bad as the critics usually claim, but then again maybe that's because (like Diana Ross' character) I let myself be seduced by a charming Billy Dee Calrissian.

Entourage: Season 3: Part 1: Disc 2, 2006
More of the same.  That's a good thing most of the time.

PICKS OF THE LITTER: Harakiri was unexpectedly awesome.  Don't switch off a half hour into it.  You're not going to get an epic first scene to hold your attention.  Just let it build to what you'll thank me for later.  Shortbus gets a nod as well because it's different enough that, hell, why not.

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

Dark Fury, 2004
Sequel to Pitch Black before Riddick, only it's about 30 minutes long and basically an unimaginative episode of Aeon Flux (i.e., same director, same unmistakable style) voiced by Vin Diesel.  Skip it.

Battlestar Galactica: Season 3, Disc 6
It's still the greatest series on television, and anyone who says otherwise is a Cylon.  I know what eleven of them look like now, btw.

Forbidden Zone, 1980
Danny and Richard Elfman's earliest performance art (pre-dating what we know as Oingo Boing which is what they would become).  Unlike earlier releases, this one is colorized.  It's an avant garde/absurdist musical.  Lots of silliness and nudity.  (The former gets annoying, but is offset by the latter.)

Halloween, 2007
Rob Zombie's update of the John Carpenter "classic."  The original was an insubstantial slasher flick, so a remake in this day and age demands the insertion of extra material to supplement gaps one would otherwise be left with due to the faster-pace.  In this case, it's a back-to-the-origin story that makes this almost a prequel.  Unfortunately, it's pretty weak and cartoonish throughout.

Adventures of Baron Munchausen, 1988
The stories about how the production ran over-budget tend to overshadow this third film of Terry Gilliam's unofficial trilogy about imagination (which, admittedly, is an almost constant theme among all his films), but this movie deserves better than that.  I saw it years ago upon its original VHS release and was only moderately impressed, but a re-visit almost two decades later has me thinking that while this is not quite as epic as Brazil, it's more than just pretty good.

Broken English, 2007
Yes, I saw it before.  Ran across it at the library and couldn't resist watching it again.  Considering I almost never watch movies a second time (see above), a re-rent in less than a year by me speaks volumes in favor of you checking out this meandering little romance for the first time, doesn't it?

Dreamgirls, 2007
Meh.  Not bad, but we've seen much of this before including in more critically maligned movies like Mahogany, but somehow people go ga-ga over this rehash, apparently because Eddie Murphy tried his hand at drama? (He's hardly in it, btw.)  The music was pretty, just didn't do much for me as a whole.

PICKS OF THE LITTER: Broken English is still a great and honest love story, but for something lighter with much more spectacle, give The Adventures of Baron Munchausen a shot.  And you could have guessed I'd say Battlestar Galactica by the time you were at the second item on this list, huh?

Copyright 2008 Ale[x]plorer.
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