The Music Man

A new review from The Movie Snob.

The Music Man  (B).  Greetings, loyal readers, and my apologies for the long delay since my last post.  Alas, this new review does not involve a new movie.  Last week I saw the movie of The Music Man for the first time, and I thought it was very nice.  Shirley Jones (Oklahoma!) is just beautiful as Marian the librarian.  Robert Preston (How the West Was Won) was previously unknown to me, but I thought he turned in a fine performance.  As you probably already know, the story is about a con man whose scam is to blow into a small town, puff up excitement for a new boys’ marching band, sell everyone uniforms and musical instruments, and then skip town without teaching any of the kids to play a note.  The Simpsons once did an homage to The Music Man in which the great Phil Hartman voiced a con artist whose racket was to sell monorail systems to towns that didn’t need them.  But I digress.  I liked The Music Man a lot, but it could have been improved; 2 1/2 hours is way too long, and a few of the songs are so corny that they would not be missed.  Still, I enjoyed it.

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Strangerland

New review from The Movie Snob.

Strangerland  (D+).  The beautiful and talented Nicole Kidman (The Others) returns to her roots Down Under for this unsuccessful tale of suspense and family dysfunction.  Katherine (Kidman) and Matthew Parker (Joseph Fiennes, Shakespeare in Love) have moved their 15-year-old daughter Lily and their somewhat younger son Tom to a tiny god-forsaken town in the middle of nowhere Australia.  Tom is miserable, and Lolitaesque Lily is plainly way too fond of the skeezy older boys at the makeshift skatepark outside of town.  Then the two kids go missing just before a wicked duststorm shuts the place down.  The local lawman Rae (Hugo Weaving, The Matrix) is in way over his head as he tries to coordinate post-storm search efforts, figure out what the parents are hiding, ignore the fact that his girlfriend’s brother may have been involved in Lily’s disappearance, and control his attraction to the not-quite-all-there Katherine.  Kidman throws herself into her crazy role with abandon, kind of like she did in The Paperboy, but she unbalances the picture and blows Fiennes off the screen whenever they have a scene together.  The film is 112 minutes, but it feels WAY longer.  Skip it.

San Andreas

A new review from The Movie Snob.

San Andreas  (D).  I went to this disaster flick with low expectations, but plainly they were not low enough.  Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (Hercules) stars as a hot shot member of the Los Angeles Fire Department’s rescue team.  Massive earthquakes hit the left coast, and it’s up to The Rock to rescue his almost-ex-wife Emma (Carla Gugino, Race to Witch Mountain) and their daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief) from the calamity.  The movie is terrible.  Vast computer-generated cities are levelled, huge computer-generated skyscrapers topple into each other, and I could barely muster a yawn over it.  Talented actors like Ioan Gruffudd (Amazing Grace) and Paul Giamatti (Win Win) are wasted in small parts.  There’s a scene that should be horrifying (and might be horrifying and upsetting to some people, especially parents who have lost a child), but it is so ridiculously unbelievable that I just rolled my eyes.  The movie’s sole bright spot is that the lovely Daddario has a fair amount of screen (and scream) time.  But that’s not enough to save this turkey.

Rifftrax: Sharknado 2

From The Movie Snob.

Rifftrax: Sharknado 2  (C).  The guys from Mystery Science Theater 3000 are at it again.  This past Thursday, they did a live riffing show on Sharknado 2: The Second One, and it will be repeated this coming Thursday.  This time, sharknados (that is, tornadoes stuffed with sharks) are bearing down on New York City, and once again it is up to Fin Shepard (Ian Ziering, Sharknado) to save the day.  And it is up to Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett to make fun of the movie the whole way.  As I recall, their commentary on the original Sharknado was very funny, but something just seemed a little off this time around.  There were moments of hilarity here and there–many of which involved co-star Tara Reid (The Big Lebowski) and her fondness for plastic surgery–but overall, it was a pretty mediocre outing for the Rifftrax trio.  I hate to say it, but I recommend skipping this one and waiting for the next installment of Rifftrax live in October — some sort of rock and roll and kung fu movie called Miami Connection.

The Overnight

The Movie Snob says: Watch at your own risk!

The Overnight  (C).  This sex comedy probably deserves an NC-17 rating, in my humble opinion.  But despite the rampant bad behavior on (lurid) display throughout, I was kept somewhat curious about how everything would end up.  A couple with a young boy has just moved from Seattle to Los Angeles, and the husband meets another guy in the park with his son.  They hit it off, so the transplants go over to the Angelenos’ house for dinner.  Things gradually get weirder and weirder as the night goes on, as the Angelenos continually try to get the newcomers to loosen up more . . . and more . . . and more.  Jason Schwartzman (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) is well cast as the edgy, perhaps slightly creepy, host of the party.  Taylor Schilling (TV’s Orange Is the New Black) is cute and credible as the Seattle wife who is slightly more clued in to what is going on than her husband (Adam Scott, Friends With Kids).   I can’t really recommend such a vulgar and even obscene movie, but it was kind of interesting.  And only 80 minutes long to boot!