Movie Man Mike returns with a DVD review
Slipstream (D). With a cast including John Turturro, Christian Slater, Kevin McCarthy, Michael Clarke Duncan, Jeffrey Tambor, and Anthony Hopkins, you would expect something great. Don’t. Poor Anthony Hopkins. What was he thinking? He wrote and directed this film. Maybe on paper the story was better than it was on the screen, but I had trouble with this one. The film is supposedly about a writer who is called upon to rewrite a script after one of the actors dies during the shooting of the film. As the rewrite gets underway, the writer seems to lose touch with the reality of what’s in the script and what’s real. Had I not read this synopsis prior to seeing the film, I am not sure I would have gotten that out of the movie. From the very outset, the film is disjointed and jerky and comes across as if someone has already lost touch with reality. Therein lies the problem, because after the actor played by Christian Slater dies during filming, the screenplay writer played by Anthony Hopkins is called in for the rewrite. The disjointed, jerky, dreamlike sequences just continue while Hopkins plays a befuddled old man. The only redeeming aspects of the film are that there are some nice performances by Turturro, Slater and Duncan, but those performances hardly make up for the rest of the film. Don’t make the mistake of renting this one like I did.
Book review from The Movie Snob
The Terror, by Dan Simmons (Back Bay Books 2007). This is another from the Entertainment Weekly list of the best books of 2007. I liked the one I picked up from that list, And Then We Came to the End, but I couldn’t finish this one, which is very unusual for me. I thought the premise sounded interesting: in the 1840s, two British ships set out to try to find a Northwest Passage around Canada. They are prepared to get completely iced in for a winter, which they are, but then they are trapped by an unusually cold summer, and when the book opens they are again stuck in the ice and beginning their second long, dark winter. A silent Eskimo woman with no tongue has attached herself to them. And then, out of nowhere, an unseen killer with seemingly supernatural powers–like the alien from Alien, sort of–starts killing the men off. It was just too hokey for me; I quit after about 70 pages, skipped to the end and read it, and didn’t feel like I had missed anything. Indeed, because the book is 760+ pages long, I was very pleased with my decision.
Movie review from The Movie Snob
Girls Rock! (B-). This may be the first documentary I’ve seen this year. Somewhere in this great country of ours, a bunch of women get together and run a rock-and-roll camp exclusively for girls. It lasts one week, and at the end of the week, the 80 or so girls, who have formed a bunch of different bands, put on a concert. This movie particularly follows four of the girls, of whom I thought 7-year-old Palace (yes, that’s her name) and 17-year-old Misty were the most interesting. It’s pretty funny watching the little ones try to process everything they’re experiencing in this total immersion kind of experience. There’s some unnecessary stuff, such as low-tech special effects and blurbs about how girls as a group are disserved by society (and MTV) in various ways. But when the directors just kick back and show the girls cutting loose, it’s pretty entertaining.
DVD review by Nick at Nite
Do not drink the Kool-Aid. Lost is greatness. Cloverfield is not. It did not give me motion sickness, it just made me sad. The movie is too long, had no ending, is boring for long stretches, and generally hard to watch. I have seen better on the Sci-Fi channel. I have seen better on the Sci-Fi channel in the middle of the night. I’ll give J.J. Abrams a mulligan. Why? Mostly because Lost is so phenomenal. Plus, he cannot miss with his next venture, a redo of Star Trek. I digress. Cloverfield follows a group of New Yorkers as their city is attacked by a giant, non-Godzilla like monster. The monster is mean and has little baby monsters. The baby monsters are also mean. I didn’t care about any of the characters. Many of them die. A protracted start with people at a party nearly made me stop watching this film altogether. Here is the odd part: This is normally my kind of movie. Thankfully I did not wait in line to see this at the movie theater. I give it an “F.”
Book review from Nick at Nite
The Golden Compass
I don’t care what anybody says, I have now read this book and I just don’t get it. The author could come right out and say that it is anti-God and I still wouldn’t believe him. It is like saying Animal Farm is about the Russian Revolution (my English teacher thought I wasn’t paying attention). In any event, this book is about a girl on some crazy adventure with Gyptians and a talking polar bear and it reads like any other science fiction book to me. Perhaps, I am dense. Seems to me that you get out of a book what you want to get out of it. It is called imagination. You read a book and you usually get a picture in your head. When I read this book I got the picture in my head of a girl on some crazy adventure with Gyptians and a talking polar bear. I did not get a picture in my head of church or anything church related. I will say this. I did not really think it was a kid friendly book. Lots of killing and fighting. So if your objection to the book was that it is not appropriate for very young readers, you might be right. I give it a “B.”
From the desk of The Movie Snob
(B). I enjoyed this Odd Couple
-ish story about Kate, a successful but single and childless executive (Tina Fey, Mean Girls
), who hires a white-trash gal named Angie (Amy Poehler, Blades of Glory
) to be a surrogate mother for her. The culture clash yields plenty of laughs, and there are many, many great supporting roles: Steve Martin (Bowfinger
) as the old-hippie head of the organic-foods company Kate works for, Sigourney Weaver (The Village
) as the off-kilter head of a surrogate-mother agency, Romany Malco (The 40-Year Old Virgin
) as Kate’s doorman, and Dax Shepard (TV’s Parenthood
) as Angie’s dim-witted common-law husband Carl. As a lawyer, I particularly enjoyed a courtroom scene in which Angie and Carl both struggle to address the judge with the proper decorum. I recommend it, but it’s not for the kids. (Note the PG-13 rating.)
Movie review from The Movie Snob
Priceless (B-). This French comedy reminded me a little of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The delightful Audrey Tautou (Dirty Pretty Things) plays Irene, a shameless gold digger working the French Riviera. She mistakes a lowly hotel bartender named Jean (Gad Elmaleh, The Valet) for a wealthy man, and Jean falls hopelessly in love with her after a boozy one-night stand. She flees the impecunious Jean, and he quickly burns through his entire savings in pursuit. Is there a heart of gold beneath her icy exterior, or is Jean wasting his time? Irene is a hard character to like, but Tautou is hard to resist. (She needs to up her calorie intake, though. She’s Keira-Knightley thin these days.) Elmaleh is okay, but he looks sort of like a younger Nicolas Cage, which is no compliment.