Wednesday, November 10, 2004

POPCORN REVIEWS: More Mixed Nuts (... and Dead Nuts)

The lady at blockbuster, our evil neighborhood rental station, finally convinced us to sign up for their unlimited rental system. You know, the netflix rip off without the selection. Well, the first month is was only $15 and we already had $10 in late charges, so it was cheaper to go with blockerbusters plan and then cancel at the end of the month. Plus I was sick and my boy has been off work due to a garlic butter incident which means we had plenty of down time.

Friday - Day After Tomorrow
Everything we were hoping to see was out by the time we made it to the video store. Darren and I watched this in the theater, but this one was for my boy. You can check my theatrical review for more.

Saturday - The Butterfly Effect: Director's Cut 6/10
This film is great a demontrating Chaos Theory, although the film itself never explains the Butterfly Effect to those people who are not familiar with this theory of Physics. Pick a flower, move a star... anyone? It's pretty much basic high school physics, but does everyone know this? Anyway, the direction was good and the editing better. Given a role that could have been his breakout performace Kutcher, fails to get past his Kelso Dude demeanor. This film at every turn could have been his "Primal Fear". We watched the ending to the theatrical cut afterwards which was very poor in comparison. I recommend, if your rent the film, to watch the director's version and then the alternate endings with commentaries. The extras are excellent on this DVD especially in regards to the psychological side of the butterfly effect and chaos theory's role in psycho-therapy. Overall, it's a disturbing downer done in a commerical way.

Sunday - The Rookie 8/10
I'm rarely one for PG sappiness or Dennis Quaid for that matter (making his second appearance of the weekend), but I've always loved this movie. Maybe it was the need for a pick me up after watching the family havoc of "Butterfly" or maybe it was the glee of a Red Sox win still lingering or maybe still it was the need to remind myself that good things can come from Texas. The Rookie is an excellent film for anyone who feels they missed their chance in life. The film handles father son relations and the family unit in an endearing way with out getting too soppy. Based on a true story of 36 year old rookie pitch Jim Morris, you can't help but find some hope in the film.

Sunday - Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead 7/10
R & G has pretty much always been a cult hit amoungst the liberal eliste (including me, I guess). I first saw it years ago and this weekend was the first time since. Tom Stoppard, the ingenius playwright, adapted his play into a film and directed it. The film aspects of this film are pretty weak from direction to editing suffering from Stoppard novice film skills. The power truely comes from the brilliant writing and flawless comedic performances of Gary Oldman and Tim Roth. Set in the shadows of the play Hamlet, you will never look as the Shakespearian classic the same way again. Stoppard put his superb Shakespearean skill to work a few years later when he penned the Oscar award winning Shakespeare in Love.

Monday - Shrek 2 6/10
Shrek finally answers the question, how many musical montages can you fit into a 90 minute film? Wow, alot. In fact, I was wondering if the musical numbers were simply a diversion to allieviate stress on writers to top the original in heart and wit. They of course did not. The story flouders in comparison to the first film. Granted this is still enjoyable thanks in large part to the always lovable and talented Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and fractured fairytale newcomer Puss 'n Boots (Antonio Bandaras). Shrek and Fiona both are less interesting than before and fail to truly warm are hearts with their comments on vanity and society. The spin on the fairy godmother complex was refreshing but not enough to save the film. Don't get me wrong, this film is in no way bad. In fact it would be considered quite good if it were not the follow up to a film that is so great. P.S. I voted for Donkey.

Tuesday - Dawn of the Dead (2004): Director's Cut 4/10
My my, aren't those zombies zippy! I'm used to those slow lumbering dim witted brain eaters, but they failed to even make a cameo. Instead, the dead bare a strong resemblence to the Rage victims of 28 Days Later. The film had just enough gore and doesn't go over the top with make up guts effects which is normally the standard in the zombie genre since the 1970's. Minus the guts there is still plenty of blood if thats your thing. The film doesn't quite bore, but never russels up a scare either. Maybe a few "ewes" but that it. Their are plenty of moments that are funny enough keep you watching, but nothing great enought to make you tune in again. You don't care enough about any character to root for their survival or demise (unlike in Shaun of the Dead). The film's strongest asset is the quirky one liners that break through the otherwise bad writing. The acting talent assembled was wasted with what could have been a much more satyrical or slightly campy take on consumerism. The film takes itself too seriously. The good? I will give it up to the director or D.P. whoever madae the decisions. The choices of lenses and camera movement expressed a talent that could one day be great given the right script.


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