Tropical Rainforest

From the Movie Snob:

Tropical Rainforest. (D) While home for Thanksgiving in Little Rock, Arkansas, I visited Arkansas’ only IMAX theater and saw this science documentary. According to the Internet Movie Database, it was made in 1992, which was apparently before the makers of IMAX documentaries thought their products needed to be interesting. The film consisted mostly of long shots of trees and other vegetation, with wildlife and human scientists making only sporadic appearances. There was a strong don’t-destroy-the-rainforests message too, which was fine but didn’t make the film any more interesting. My sister, who is a biology Ph.D. student, gave it a B-, but I have to respectfully dissent from her opinion.

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Elf

From That Guy Named David:

Elf (B)

Will Ferrell could possibly be the funniest person alive. His portrayal of Buddy the Elf had me laughing throughout this movie. While, generally, I’m not a fan of the Christmas movie genre (with the exception of Christmas Vacation, which is a staple at my home during the holidays), Ferrell’s performance made this otherwise cheesy movie enjoyable. I still can’t stand James Caan, and this movie did nothing to change my opinion of him; however, Ferrell’s performance was the spotlight and definitely the highlight of this movie. This is a good movie to see if you have a couple of free hours on a Saturday or Sunday during the holidays.

Shattered Glass

A review from The Movie Snob:

Shattered Glass. (A-) Hayden Christensen, all is forgiven. This young actor was a blank as the adolescent Darth Vader in the last Star Wars movie, but he is dead-on as journalist Stephen Glass in this independent flick. The ingratiating Glass is well-liked by his equally youthful colleagues at The New Republic, and he pleases the older folks who run the magazine with colorful and lively pieces that fit their worldviews to a T. But then questions start to crop up about some of his sources, and the answers only lead to more questions. I found the movie compelling (especially because it is based on a true story and apparently adheres very closely to the truth), and the performances were excellent. Don’t let this one get away.

While taking in an episode of VH1’s Top 100 One-Hit Wonders (well, maybe several episodes) today, I saw an advertisement for a program that no observer of The Movie Court will want to miss. Apparently American Movie Classics is going to run some sort of program about Nicole Kidman on the Monday after Thanksgiving. I know you won’t want to miss an opportunity to learn more about one of the finest actresses of our time.

The Human Stain

A review from The Movie Snob:

The Human Stain. (C) This is a difficult movie to review because it contains several twists and turns that the moviegoer will prefer to learn about only by watching the movie and not by reading a review. I will comment, however, on the one aspect of the movie that everyone should already know about before he or she walks into the theater, which is that the characters played by stars Anthony Hopkins and Nicole Kidman get romantically involved. I wasn’t buying it. He’s a 70ish college professor of classics, and she’s a (gorgeous) 34-year-old janitor at the same college, and she seems to be only semi-literate to boot. Although Hopkins’s attraction to her is believable (after all, she is Nicole Kidman, and he is a living male human being), the love story is not, and the “ick” factor is high. Moreover, although the twists and turns in the movie’s plot are interesting in the abstract, they are not compellingly translated onto the screen. Average at best.

Love Actually

From the Movie Snob:

Love Actually. (B-) This is roughly 12 different movies about love, mostly of the romantic variety, crammed into a little more than two hours. Most of the dozen different plots intersect the others only tangentially (e.g., Laura Linney works in the same office as Alan Rickman, who is married to Emma Thompson, who is the sister of Prime Minister Hugh Grant . . . .). Inevitably, all of the individual stories are short-changed, and I really wished the director had chopped out some of the less interesting (and even unpleasant) story-lines and focused on the best two or three. Then the director could have explored some of the more interesting issues about love: the tension between romantic and familial love, the effects of infidelity and the temptation to infidelity, love across class and cultural lines, loss of a loved one, etc. But these issues have to compete with too much silliness and too much emphasis on the sexual aspect of love, so what’s left is a long, inconsistent romantic comedy with, admittedly, quite a few laughs along the way. And what’s with this song by Dido that seems to show up on so many soundtracks? I think it’s called “Here With Me,” and it was the theme song for the WB television show Roswell, then it was on the soundtrack for the movie Bounce, and now it crops up in this movie too. I like the song, but come on.

Elf

A review from new Court member Movie Man Mike:

Elf (B+)

I went to this movie not expecting much. I thought it was going to be one of those movies filled with school yard humor and offensive bodily noises. I was pleasantly surprised. The cast is really quite colorful, with Ed Asner in the role of Santa Clause, Bob Newhart in the role of Papa Elf, James Caan in the role of the father, and Mary Steenburgen as the wife to Caan. Will Ferrell’s portrayal of a human raised as an North Pole Elf, who is suddenly thrust into the midst of humanity as he seeks his origins, makes for some great comedy. Zooey Deschanel, a Christina Applegate look-alike, plays the love interest of Ferrell with convincing disinterest. This cute little story started out like a Christmas classic, then it switched gears and went into its sitcom mode, and it finished a bit like a Christmas classic–so much so that it brought a tear to my eye. I recommend it for anyone looking for a lighthearted, funny film.

Scarface; Finding Nemo

Movie reviews from That Guy Named David:

Scarface (B+)

I’m a little embarrassed that it took until my 28th year on this earth to see this movie, but I finally got around to watching it last night when I realized I really didn’t care about Philadelphia vs. Green Bay. Of course, I knew the catch phrases from the movie, but I was impressed with some of the aspects of the movie that I didn’t even know were a part of it. For example, the performance by a young Michelle Pfeiffer (who I wasn’t aware had a part in this movie) was very impressive. The only reason it is not an “A” is because I thought the ending was a little overdone; however, I thought the performances were entertaining, and the movie kept my attention through its duration.

Finding Nemo (A-)

I’m not as much of a dork as the Movie Snob in that he will go see Disney movies on Friday nights by himself (which if you ask me is a little disturbing). That being said, if I would have known that this movie was as good as it turned out, I probably would seen in the theatre. Very impressive animation, story, performances (by voice of course), and I thoroughly enjoyed it. My favorite character was the Ellen DeGeneres fish Dori. However, I can’t think of one aspect of this movie that I didn’t enjoy. A little sappy at the end, but watching a good, sappy movie with your girlfriend on a rainy Sunday evening is not such a bad thing sometimes (as long as it doesn’t become a habit).

Rejoinder from the Snob: I saw Brother Bear on a Sunday afternoon with friends — not alone on a Friday night!