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

Son of the Bride, 2001
Why is it foreign movies are so much better at showing normal people?  The characters in American movies are always so... foreign.  This rental is a good alternative to anything resembling a script J.Lo's agent has recommended she audition for.

The Day Time Ended, 1980
Incredibly cheezy, plotless flick that is only noteworthy as an example of every special effects technique available to filmmakers of the time.  MST3K commentary track not included, but you can't help but mke up your own.

Bob Saget: That Ain't Right, 2007
He's obviously overcompensating for years of bottling up his Tourette's after being contractually gagged by Disney (in both senses of the word), but that's perhaps what's funniest about this performance.  Admittedly, I've seen him do better standup elsewhere (i.e., YouTube), but this isn't bad.

John Waters: This Filthy World, 2006
Ostensibly an evening in an auditorium with a director, it has about as much to do with film analysis as any of the entries in the "An Evening with Kevin Smith" series.  Really, it's more a stand-up performance from a guy with really great stories and incredibly funny observations.  I enjoyed it more than most of his movies, honestly, and I consider myself a fan.

Candid Camera: 5 Decades of Smiles: Disc 3, 1949
Three discs in, it's finally getting to the meat of what the show would evolve toward, but it's still not as sophisticated as it would eventually become.  Some good set-ups for pranks though.

30 Rock: Season 1: Disc 2, 2006
The first disc wasn't a fluke.  I really didn't expect to like this, but I do.  A lot.

Tarnation, 2004
I've never seen a more narcisitic filmmaker in my life.  Seriously.  Who sets up a camera to film himself for a(n incredibly pretentious and amateurish) documentary when he's making an emergency phone call about his mother's overdose?  What a fucking piece of shit.

La Jetee / Sans Soleil, 1963
Two short films.  The first is the basis of 12 Monkeys and is noteworthy for using nothing but still photography (i.e., it's like a photocomic with audio), but it isn't that good.  The second film is worse.  12 Monkeys is definitely worth seeing, however.

Summer of '42, 1971
Ironically, Porky's was more honest about exploring teenage sexuality and satirizing the ignorance of those at that awkward age, probably because it isn't bogged down in the autobiographical nostalgia this film falls victim to.

The Office: Season 3: Disc 1, 2006
More of the same.  No, I mean that in a good way.  Keep it up, guys!  This is possibly one of the three best shows on television at the moment.

Queensryche: Live at the Moore, 2007
Okay, some folks are never going to like concept rock anymore than they'd dig opera, but I grew up with Pink Floyd The Wall, so even making the effort these days gets you an A+ in my book.  That these guys are still doing it with conviction and good musicianship is bonus.

The Fountain, 2007
I still don't really know what this was about, but I liked it.

Alias: Season 5, Discs 1&2
No big changes this season for once (unless you count with the cast).  Lots of hotties though.  They finally got a good one for a bad guy, er, girl.

Voltron: Collection One: Blue Lion
Okay, every episode of this show is almost exactly the same, but if you saw it when you were 10 years old, it was awesome.  Funny how time-travel works.

Ratrace, 2001
Sure, it's basically just another Cannonball Run or It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, but you know what's been missing from the cineplex for the past generation?  Another Cannonball Run or Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.

Double Jeopardy, 1999
Ashley Judd has years taken away from her for a murder she didn't commit.  I know it's only two hours (less if you figure I'm FFwding), but I didn't do anything to be robbed of those precious moments I wish I had back instead of watching this.

Threesome, 1994
Yes, I'm finally getting around to seeing it.  Stephen Baldwin likes to pretend he never made this movie since he went rightwing nut job.  True story.  Ironically, his distancing act comes at the point when this is honestly no more shocking than any other romantic comedy.  It's cute enough; I liked it even if I hadn't been imprinted in the '90s with a crush on Lara Flynn Boyle's Twin Peaks.

Explorers, 1985
The spaceship made from junk soars, but the filmmakers crash when they run out of ideas in the third act.  It would have been better if they'd just left it open-ended about two-thirds of the way through so that they'd save the disappointment for the sequel the way so many other '80s movies did.

PICKS OF THE LITTER:  The Fountain was surprisingly more interesting than I expected considering a bad review I saw by an ignorant reviewer (i.e., Ebert), and 30 Rock has some classic writing going on there.  Also, if you aren't watching The Office by now, you should probably shoot yourself because whatever you're watching instead represents a waste of your life.

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

Eragon, 2006
I know the book was written by a teenager, but the movie seems like it had to have been made collectively by folks with a stereotypically bad attitude toward adults.  Or at least that's all I can figure the way they were insulting my intelligence.

Earth Girls Are Easy, 1988
This is a celluloid time capsule.  I'm not a big fan of the late '80s, but if I were, this would be my favorite movie ever.  It's so bad it's totally freakin' awesome.

Eddie and the Cruisers, 1983
A movie with more of a premise than an actual plot, it manages to carry the audience along on a genuinely classic soundtrack as padding between doling out the few actual developments to the story, but you won't mind.

The Frighteners, 1998
This is one of those awkward special effects movies that was a little ahead of the available technology.  It isn't bad, but it's clumsy about trying to figure out when it's a comedy and when we're supposed to take the action seriously.  Go with Ghostbusters instead.

Peter Pan, 2004
Okay, the movie probably won't go on to be a classic, but the casting is absolutely perfect... a very rare thing in a movie with any kid actor, let alone a film full of them.  It feels emotionally very genuine in ways that work with even a grown-up audience, if you follow that irony.

Ghost Rider, 2007
I feel sorry for the collateral damage of the rest of the cast, but it was worth selling my soul to the devil for Nick Cage to finally be cast in a film on par with my opinion of him.

Hot Fuzz, 2007
Three words: Shaun of the Dead, but OMFG, this is incredible.  Same guys, only this one is 100% original instead of a genre parody.  I was in so much awe of the filmmaking that I didn't laugh as much as a non-film nerd would.  If you're in that category, have an oxygen tank handy.

Single White Female, 1992
I know, I know.  Ironically, it's been the victim of so many copycats that its own reputation is somewhat tarnished.  Still, it's better than I expected even after having seen so many of the other thrillers that came out of this period.

Urban Legend, 1998
The difference between the film and the social phenomena of the same name is that the latter are actually believable.

Kindergarten Cop, 1998
I am so embarrassed to admit this, but this is a really, really good movie.  Hell, I would vote for that guy if I had the political wherewithall of a kindergartener.

What Lies Beneath, 2000
Not that bad, but really not that good.  Sorry.

Baadasssss Cinema, 2002
Documentary on blaxploitation flicks, meaning I'm checking this out primarily to see (the goddess) Pam Grier.  However, aside from the eye candy, this is a pretty decent (if kind of short) examination of the forces at work influencing and influenced by this period in film history.

A Very Long Engagement, 2004
One of the most amazingly-directed films I've ever seen.  Unfortunately, for all the detailing in the work, there isn't a whole lot of plot, and I found the subject matter depressing the way I find almost every historical film depressing.  It's a nice counter-point to Amélie (also by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and also with Audrey Tautou in the lead).

My Name Is Earl, Season 2, Discs 3&4
Okay, we jumped in here since the library had these discs and not the first couple, but the chief thing to report is that first season wasn't a fluke.  It's more of the same this time around, but that's still very much a good thing.

Who Killed the Electric Car?, 2006
This movie made Dani angry. Nothing makes Dani angry.  Ergo, for that reason alone, you have to see this movie.

PICKS OF THE LITTER: Thanks to raiding Katherine's dvd collection over the break (hence the overflow here), there's more to chose from than most review sets, but for the music lovers, Eddie and the Cruisers is a quiet classic that deserves to be seen. A Very Long Engagement and Hot Fuzz are both fantastic and raise the bar (hopefully) for ambitious American writers/directors.  I hadn't seen Kindergarten Cop before and, believe it or not, it transcended its cookie-cutter script for me, maybe because it was snack time.  And finally, for the reality junkies, Who Killed the Electric Car? is a look ahead at what you should be driving, whether the industry wants you to or not.

Copyright 2008 Ale[x]plorer.
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