The Box

A new review from The Borg Queen

The Box (D+). This movie you can probably skip. It starts with an intriguing concept about a mysterious stranger dropping off a box at the home of a typical suburban family. They are presented with the option of pushing the button in the box within 24 hours, and if they do they will receive a million dollars. The catch is that somebody they don’t know will die. They set the stage to suggest that the family has financial issues, but frankly it was forced, and the financial issues they faced were hardly significant and certainly didn’t warrant killing an innocent person. So of course they push the button (or there would be no movie), and a plethora of unintended consequences ensue. The problem is that not only is the movie predictable, extremely slow-moving and nothing special to look at, but it also doesn’t make any sense from start to finish. I give it a “B” for effort but a “D+” for execution.

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

A new review from The Movie Snob

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief  (C-). Just the title of this lame kids’ action movie wears me out. Percy Jackson is an ordinary high school kid who’s bummed because his dad walked out when he was a baby and his mom married a lazy lout who smells bad. (Joe Pantoliano, The Matrix, plays the lout–does he ever get to play someone who isn’t a loser?) Then Percy discovers that the Greeks gods are real, and he’s the son of Poseidon (Kevin McKidd, TV’s Rome), and someone has stolen Zeus’ thunderbolt. He’s whisked off to a training camp for young demigods, where in true Harry Potter fashion he immediately becomes the best at everything without a lick of experience. Against the advice of the wise centaur Chiron (Pierce Brosnan, Mamma Mia!), Percy and two sidekicks go off on a quest to–no, not find the thunderbolt, but instead to rescue Percy’s mother from Hades, who has kidnapped her. The plot doesn’t make a lot of sense, and the battle scenes are yawners. Alexandra Daddario, who plays Percy’s pal Annabeth, daughter of Athena, is pretty cute, although she looks a little too old for Percy. Anyhoo, I imagine even kids would find this one kind of boring.

Two Weeks Notice

DVD review from The Movie Snob

Two Weeks Notice (D). Maybe I would not have loathed this movie so much if I had been able to slog through it all in one sitting. But as it happened, the first DVD I watched had a flaw in it that made it shut down at about the one-hour mark. Fortunately (?), the Borg Queen had a copy, so I finished watching it a few days after my initial attempt. Ugh. This movie is terrible. Sandra Bullock (Speed) plays a liberal do-gooder lawyer who goes to work for an immature, philandering real-estate magnate played by Hugh Grant (About a Boy). The title comes from the uninteresting fact that she eventually gets sick of it and gives him her two weeks’ notice. She’s not even an interesting liberal — saving some old community center on Coney Island from the wrecking ball is her main cause. There’s lots of embarrassingly bad dialogue, although I think Hugh’s character had a few decent one-liners in the early going. Learn from my mistake and avoid this movie.

Music and Lyrics

DVD review from The Movie Snob

Music and Lyrics (C+). This is a perfectly adequate little romantic comedy starring Hugh Grant (About a Boy) and Drew Barrymore (Whip It). Hugh plays a washed up 80’s pop star who supports himself by performing in tiny venues for middle-aged women. But his box office is falling off, and he gets a desperately needed shot at rejuvenating his career when a Britny-esque starlet called Cora (Haley Bennett, Marley & Me) invites him to write a song for her. Hugh only writes music, so he needs a lyricist. No sooner can you say “deus ex machina” than it turns out the gal who’s watering the plants in his apartment (played by Drew) is a born lyricist. So they have to spend a lot of time together writing the song, and things go in typical romantic-comedy fashion. Of course, it’s kind of icky since Hugh is 15 years older than Drew is, but whatever.

Bringing Up Baby

DVD review from The Movie Snob

Bringing Up Baby (B-). This 1938 screwball comedy starred a young and attractive Katharine Hepburn (The African Queen) as eccentric heiress Susan Vance and a dashing Cary Grant (North by Northwest) as earnest paleontologist David Huxley who is fated to cross her path the day before his wedding. They have numerous misadventures, some involving Susan’s tame leopard, Baby, which her brother sent to her from South America. Some of the movie is pretty silly, but some of it is still pretty amusing even 72 years later. I’m not saying run out and buy the thing, but you could easily do worse.

Scrubs: Season One

DVD review from The Movie Snob

Scrubs: The Complete First Season (B+). I have never watched this show in “real time,” but I was looking for a diversion and thought I had heard good things about Scrubs, so I took a chance. It was a good gamble. This sit-com is set in a somewhat down-on-its-luck hospital called Sacred Heart; the main characters are three interns–sensitive J.D. (Zach Braff), neurotic Elliott (Sarah Chalke), and cool-dude Turk (Donald Faison)–plus nurse Carla (Judy Reyes) and a couple of crusty old doctors who make life hard for everyone else. The show is basically from J.D.’s perspective, and Braff plays him as an earnest, well-meaning guy with a vivid imagination (the contents of which are often acted out on-screen). Minor characters like the hospital’s miserable in-house lawyer Ted are very funny in their own right. There are lots of laughs but also some poignant moments worthy of a serious doctor show like E.R. My only criticisms are that the show depends too much on sexual humor and that the characters’ sexual morality is on a par with other harbingers of the end times like Friends and Sex in the City. Otherwise, I thought this was a superior sit-com, and I look forward to viewing the second season.