Saturday, September 12, 2009

Movie Night catch-up

Holy crow! I haven't posted about a movie all summer long. Partly it's because nothing has really wowed me in a long time, but for better or worse, here's some of what's been showing in the Sandy Shoes Home Theater.

Transporter 3 (2008). We really liked The Transporter, and moderately liked Transporter 2. Now, I don't ask much of sidekick characters in action star vehicle films. I just want them not to annoy me. Sadly, Transporter 3 is intolerable due to the crazy shrieking giggling silly bitch character played by Natalya Rudakova, whom I truly hope never to see again in any context. Jason Statham still rocks, but not enough to overcome this mess. Just watch the original again.

Being There. I thought it would be interesting to revisit this 1979 Peter Sellers classic. Sellers plays a child-like gardner who gets mistaken for a political genius. Eh, whatever. I think maybe this was a child-like movie which got mistaken for genius political satire. But I'm probably just missing a lot of the references.

The DaVinci Code (2006) is a completely improbable, ludicrous movie, based on a completely improbable, ludicrous novel, and I loved them both. Murder, ancient secret societies, intrigue, evil Catholics, suspenseful clue-following escapades -- what more could you ask for? I can't wait to see the next one (Angels and Demons), although I hope Tom Hanks's character has had a haircut since his adventures in Paris. Quiz question: what does this movie have in common with the Transporter films?

The Matador (2005) One night in Mexico City, Pierce Brosnan's kooky hit-man-of-uncertain-motives character runs into Greg Kinnear's sad, boring, dorkish businessman character. The movie is an attempt at ensuing wackiness, but it misses. It's not terrible, but it's not great by far. It did remind me how unappealing Hope Davis is.

Religulous (2008). Religious + ridiculous = see what he did there? Ha! Ha! Yes, this is Bill Mahr skewering religious wingnuts. He makes valid, relevant, necessary points, i.e. separation of church and state is important; crazy people are trying to erase the line, and it's scary how close they get. Agreed on both counts, Bill. But after a while, the skewering gets tiresome. Yeah it's funny, but it's also like shooting fish in a barrel.

Greenfingers (2000) is a feel-good British comedy, "loosely based on a true story," that I missed when it came out. Clive Owen's character is in jail, and finds himself placed in a progressive, low-security work camp style prison. He's completely closed off to everyone and everything, then lo and behold finds he has real talent at making things grow. The supporting cast, including Helen Mirren, is terrific, and this is a really enjoyable little film. Its flaws -- sentimentality and predictability -- are forgivable. Trivia: it was produced by Trudie Styler, who's married to Sting. I didn't know she was in the movie biz, but she's done several good ones (including Guy Ritchie's Lock Stock... and Snatch).

Idiocracy (2006) -- in which yer Average Joe gets put into hibernation and wakes up in the future to find that humans are all so stupid and disgusting that he is the smartest person on the planet -- comes from Mike Judge, of Beavis and Butt-head and King of the Hill fame. I thought that was a good sign. Sadly though, it's merely revolting, and too dull to work as satire except in a couple of details (Costco-as-city, that kind of thing). I do think Mike Judge has strokes of comedic genius, but they're not in evidence here. And yes, I know many people would describe Beavis and Butt-head, which made me laugh, as "merely revolting, and too dull to work as satire..." So why is that funny and this not? I think its being a live action comedy was a huge turnoff. Judge's animated works were funnier from the get-go because of the drawing. Episode length vs. movie length plays a role -- the B&B movie wasn't as good as the shorts. Also, maybe, just maybe, I am turning into a humorless old fart. Whatever the reason, Idiocracy plain sucked, and I urge you not to lose the hour and a half to it that I did.

More anon, though maybe I'll do books next.

What have you been watching?


  1. I wanted to see "Religulous" so badly but somehow never got around to it.

    I really liked the book "Being There." Not so much the movie...

  2. For my money, you can't go wrong with "Bowfinger." It's hilarious AND on cable every day. I think I've seen it 10 times since June.

  3. We watched 'The Big Bad Swim' which was good ... low budget, but good in a simple clean way. Like White Stripes. Then we watched 'I Love You, Man' which Peter thought was improbable, but I thought was pretty OK, in a stupid kind of way.