The Comebacks

From the desk of The Movie Snob

The Comebacks (C). Suffice it to say, The Movie Snob did not set out to see this movie. I set out to see a different movie, with much loftier pretensions, but that movie was sold out upon my arrival. I could have seen Dan in Real Life, but I thought I might see that one with my cousin someday, so I settled for this movie instead, even though I am pretty sure I read a review somewhere in which it got an F. But low expectations are a movie reviewer’s best friend, and since I did actually laugh a few times I considered it a success. The plot (the world’s worst coach has one last shot at redemption by taking over the football program at a small Texas college) is an excuse to make obvious references to every sports movie you can imagine (and undoubtedly many more than I have ever seen). Lots of crude sexual innuendo passing for jokes. Gratuitous shots of cheerleaders and girls in bikinis. Poor Melora Hardin (Jan from The Office) completely wasted as the coach’s wife. And yet, as I said, I did laugh a few times. Like when Stacy Keibler and that Lachey guy from Dancing With the Stars appear in the halftime show for the Big Game and there’s a “wardrobe malfunction.” See this movie at your own risk.

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The Nightmare Before Christmas

New review from The Movie Snob

Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas in 3-D (B). Somehow this movie always got by me until this year. As you would expect, it is visually stunning. The 3-D effects are very well done, although there is very little about the movie that is particularly enhanced by the 3-D. There aren’t any skulls rolling out into your lap or anything like that. Anyhoo, Jack Skellington (voice of Danny Elfman, Corpse Bride) is the Pumpkin King and pretty much the top dog in Halloween Town, which is home to all the ghosts and ghouls that go around scaring everybody on Halloween. But old Jack is feeling a little hollow inside after yet another Halloween, and while wandering in a wood he accidentally discovers that there are other holidays with towns of their own. Intrigued by what he sees in Christmas Town, he decides he wants to try out Santa’s gig for a change. It’s an interesting concept, but despite the dazzling visuals it doesn’t rise to greatness, in my opinion. But it’s worth seeing.

Transformers

More good stuff from Nick at Nite

Transformers

Indeed, there is more than meets the eye. This is a true summer blockbuster. It has action, adventure, mayhem, a PG love interest, funny sidekicks and character actors, explosions, and the good guys winning. Doing the admittedly difficult, coming up with a good story for a feature-length movie about an 1980s toy and a serialized cartoon, is very impressive. Basically, bad robots must be defeated by good robots. Good robots are protecting boy who has the key to the survival of our planet and species. Sound like it might jump the shark. It does. Several times. That is what makes it so great. I give this movie an “A.” See it twice, then buy the DVD. Wow.

Planet Terror

DVD review from Nick at Nite

Planet Terror

This should be called “Terror Movie.” As in this movie will so terrorize you, you will want to rip your eyes out. This is one half of the Grindhouse duo. This half was so bad, there is no way I will see the second half. I did not know whether to laugh or cry. I love a Zombie flick. I tolerate almost all Zombie flicks. I will watch a Zombie movie that people will not rent, much less watch. This movie I could not tolerate. The story is basic enough. Bad military guys and scientists release toxic cloud and people become Zombies. Good guys must escape and kill a bunch of Zombies. It was over the top and bad to me when one heroine breaks both of her wrists and then tries to drive a car and another heroine has her leg amputated and attaches a machine gun to the stump to assist in the survivors’ defense. I know, I know, it is a Zombie flick, shouldn’t they all be over the top – yep, they should. But over the top usually means fantastic special effects and on the edge of your seat suspense. This had neither. I give it an “F.”

No Reservations

New review from The Movie Snob

No Reservations (B). Okay, so this remake was not as good as the German original, which was entitled Mostly Martha in its stateside release a few years ago. Still, it’s not a bad little melodrama if you overlook the formulaic aspects and focus on how great the star looks. Catherine Zeta-Jones (Chicago), or “Catherine the Great” as I like to call her, plays a tightly wound chef in a snooty New York restaurant. She has no life and no friends because she is so obsessed with cooking. But very early in the movie her life gets turns upside down when her sister is killed in a car crash and she finds herself the sole guardian of her little niece (Abigail Breslin, Little Miss Sunshine). And things get even worse when her boss hires an assistant chef, who happens to be a happy, life-affirming (and single) guy (Aaron Eckhart, Thank You For Smoking). I’ll let you imagine how things play out.

Bug

DVD review from Nick at Nite

Bug

Huh, what? I sat through an hour and half of this weirdness for that ending? I won’t give it away in case you have nothing else to do with your life, but please. This movie, the theatrical release of an apparently very successful play, does not translate well to the big screen or perhaps it wasn’t a good play as well. I digress. Starring Ashley Judd (Come Early Morning), Harry Connick, Jr. (New in Town), and a guy I have never seen before, this snoozer follows a despondent mother and a weird guy who live in a Route 66-like hotel. The weird guy thinks his body is being attacked by bugs. The despondent mother is sucked into the weird guy’s reality and things quickly go from bad to worse. I rented this hoping for a little pre-Halloween spook, all I got was an opportunity to doze off on the couch. Stay away from this one. I give it an “F.”

The Last Winter

New review from Nick at Nite

The Last Winter

On Demand and the Independent Film Channel have a cool feature that allows you to watch a few first run releases in the comfort of your own home. I took advantage of this feature to watch the first run release The Last Winter over this last weekend. This horror flick asks this question, “What happens when you combine global warming and arctic drilling?” The obvious answer, hey, it is on the Independent Film Channel, is – nothing good. The basic premise is as follows. Big, bad oil company gets an exclusive contract to drill in a protected arctic region. They had done some drilling years ago and stopped for some unexplained reason. The permafrost is now melting (blame global warming, George Bush, and that show on Discovery Channel about ice rigs). Something is creeping up through the melting permafrost. This something is bad and is either going to kill everyone or make them go crazy. The acting is fine. The story is okay. The special effects are a little lacking, but it is an independent film. That said, the arctic region makes for an impressive backdrop. It is starkly white. I enjoyed it. I give it a “B+”.