Movie overload

Holy cow have we watched a lot of movies lately. I’ve been meaning to write a bunch of mini-reviews, but each time I get around to it we watch something else. Let’s see if I can do a decent rundown of the latest ones:

Knocked Up – Very delayed in writing about this one, but Apatow has really set a standard for this type of vulgar, yet touching, comedy. What really helps sell these movies are the characters. No matter how idiotic they seem, by the end you really start to care about them because they are good people. If you don’t mind too many dirty words, this is a great take on the unplanned pregnancy story.

Blades of Glory – Even The Woman laughed at the immature humor on this one. I expected to enjoy it, but not as much as I did. The best work Will Ferrell has done on the big screen – not including Stranger Than Fiction, obviously.

Ratatouille – It’s Pixar. What more do I have to say? It’s another great kids’ flick that works well for adults. I loved the story, and the characters and animation were fantastic. ‘Nuff said.

Juno – I liked it. I enjoyed it. It was fun. Yes, it has it’s flaws, but every movie does. Juno is great character, even if her dialogue feels contrived at points – she’s the kind of kid you both hope and fear that you’ll have. She’s strong willed and independent, but that can lead to stupid things when you’re too young to understand. As for the rest of the cast, would they please stop making movies that don’t involve Michael Cera? Seriously, my biggest complaint is that Cera is not on screen enough. And Allison Janney is another one of my favorites. Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner are great as the hip young couple that aren’t really “all that”. And J.K. Simmons – that’s me as a dad. “Next time I see that Bleeker kid I’m going to punch him in the wiener.” Yeah, that’s me. Watch and enjoy.

No Country for Old Men – Whoa… Alright, let me put it this way. I am a HUGE Coen Brothers fan. And even I was still unprepared for just how great this movie could be. The Coens can really excel with this type of movie – one that can be so completely riveting and frustrating at the same time. As a warning, the ending will leave a lot of people aggravated, but there shouldn’t be any tidy endings when dealing with such a terrible set of events. And as far as acting… Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Kelly McDonald and… and… hmm. I seem to remember someone else… Oh that’s right, Javier Bardem as possible the most intimidating killer to ever grace the big screen. If the scene with the gas station attendant doesn’t absolutely chill you to the bone, I don’t know what will. I’m really glad the Two-Headed Director won for this one.

Into the Wild – Probably the best film of ’07. I expected to enjoy it, but the story of Chris McCandless is quite fascinating and touching. While some people may feel Sean Penn is just idolizing him, I think it’s actually a very even telling that shows the good with the bad. McCandless connected with a lot of different people in very positive ways. Unfortunately he had a tragic flaw and didn’t understand that these social connections aren’t just niceties, but necessities. It’s the sad tale of someone going from one extreme to the other, and not realizing his mistake until it was too late. I definitely recommend this to everyone.

Superbad – Once it started with all of the vulgarity, I thought it was going to suck. But it gets better and better all the way to the end. And it has a major ingredient for being and awesome film: Michael Cera. Evan, Seth and McLovin are all great teenage characters. The “wacky hijinks” they go through this one night trying to get alcohol for a party are funny, but it’s the tale of their friendships and how much things change in your late teens that really made me enjoy the movie.

Enchanted – If I didn’t already have a crush on Amy Adams, I would now. The best way to sum this movie up: Delightful! I know that sounds corny, but Enchanted is big pile of fun that hits on all of the typical Disney stereotypes – embracing and making fun of them all at once. It’s worth it just for the scene when Amy calls for her animal friends to help her clean up Patrick Dempsey’s apartment and, instead of the usual group of woodland creatures, gets an army of pigeons, rats and cockroaches. Seriously hysterical. Even James Marsden puts on a great performance as the classic Prince Charming character. This is like a classic Disney flick – great for kids and adults.

The Darjeeling Limited – THIS IS A WES ANDERSON FILM. You know how I know that? Because every scene was done so that would be reminded that THIS IS A WES ANDERSON FILM. I love Wes. Rushmore ranks as one of my alltime favorites and The Life Aquatic was brilliant. Even though I though The Royal Tennenbaums was extremely overrated, I still enjoyed it. But he pretty much ruined what was a great idea for a movie with this one. The direction goes beyond quirkiness and just gets in the way of the storytelling. It’s a shame, because there truly were some great moments – the characters and the actors were all solid – but the movie itself felt like an amateurish parody of Anderson films.

Whew! I skipped a few classics that I may talk about later, and I also need to write about the horror movies I watched. Otherwise, this is a good breaking point before I kick off some more viewing to clean off my HTPC.

EDIT: Darn it all to heck! I knew I’d forget one. Dan in Real Life – The first half is great. The second half is predictable. Overall a nice movie, but missed out on being great. Regardless, Steve Carell is awesome.

5 thoughts on “Movie overload”

  1. Wow, this is great timing – a lot of these are hitting Hollywood’s previously viewed shelves and I was very interested in a number of them. Well, the fist three I’d already sen, and I bought Superbad but haven’t sat down to watch it yet. I was thinking of The Darjeeling Limited but I may hold off until that drops in price.

    I guess you finally saw Stranger Than Fiction – I take it you aren’t part of the OMG WILL FERRELL IN A SERIOUS ROLE BBQ camp?

    If you didn’t see my post, and I forget to mention it next time we talk, you have to see Martian Child. I know I saw it in February, but it jumped right into my running for movie of the year (as in, the year that I actually see it, and not the year it hits theaters.)

  2. The first three should have been written about like 2 or 3 months ago. At some point I might give The Darjeeling Limited another chance, but I found too much of it overly pretentious.

    Not sure what you meant with the BBQ comment, but I really enjoyed Stranger Than Fiction. I want to love Will Ferrell, but his material almost always disappoints. As great a comedian as he is, his best film was the one with him in the serious role.

    I saw the post about Martian Child. I had actually just seen the trailer when you wrote it and plan on seeing when I get the chance. I may re-join Netflix yet…

  3. It seems we have similar opinions on the movies we have both seen. I thought that Juno was adorable. And I just loved the soundtrack. I became a fan of Michael Cera when I first discovered Arrested Development. He’s so awkward, it’s great!

    I thought that Superbad was surprisingly funny, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    And we just rented Enchanted and I adored it. I thought it was just too cute. We both spent the entire weekend humming the songs. So Disney. So perfect.

    I thought that Dan in Real Life was great. Sure, it was a bit predictable. But it was the ending I wanted, so I was okay about it.

    I still need to see the others. We fell WAY behind in our movie viewing. I guess it was the whole wedding thing or something. I don’t know.

  4. Wanna see some bad movies? I just saw Kiss of Fire with Christina Applegate and Cat Woman with Halle Berry. Both were films that were trying too hard to be serious but not in a way that could leave you laughing. Except for Sharon Stone in Cat Woman I think she got that it was supposed to be campy but now I can’t get Curt to stop hissing.

    I was truly surprised at how much I liked Dan in Real Life, I think I really enjoy Steve Carrell in movies. If you haven’t seen Evan Almighty he really makes the movie. I laughed hysterically.

  5. The BBQ comment was aimed more at the inevitable response to Ferrell in a serious role – same as Jim Carry in The Number 23, and the reverse of Vin Diesel in The Pacifier or Dwayne Johnson* in The Game Plan. I haven’t seen The Number 23, which got terrible reviews; of course, I thoroughly enjoyed the other three. Stranger Than fiction was well received, while critics seemingly can’t get over the idea of an action-type lead in a family/comedy film.

    And I echo Kathleen’s feelings on Steve Carrell – Eva and I like pretty much everything he’s been in so far. It’s a shame Rob Corddry’s departure from the Daily Show has been as disastrous as Carrell’s has been successful – he can be funny if he’s given the right material to work with, but that doesn’t seem to be happening lately.

    * I’m glad he’s finally started using his actual name, and put away his WWE moniker.

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