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July 29, 2008

Catch-Up Movie Reviews

I hadn’t realized how long it’s been since I blogged, but I had a message sitting in my draft folder with the titles of a number of movies that I saw this summer that had titles of movies I needed to review.  I know there were a few more that I hadn’t added to that list, but here are one-sentence reviews for all of them, for your reference when they hit cable or DVD.

Hancock.  This superhero vehicle starring Will Smith, Charlize Theron, and Jason Bateman starts out as the relatively light “screw up makes good” movie that’s on display in the trailers, but about halfway through, it veers off in an unexpected direction (which I usually love), which has some interesting potential but is so poorly explained and confoundingly executed that it drags the movie down, ultimately making it a forgetable entry in the summer superhero sweepstakes, rather than the upstart it could have been.

Journey to the Center of the Earth – 3D.  Brendan Fraser, as an even blander version of his Mummy character, in a movie which, to its credit, acknowledges its heavy debt to Verne’s novel, and is saved somewhat by a good nature and eye-popping 3D effects.

Hellboy 2: The Golden Army.  The wisecracking, cigar chomping demi-demon is back, this time trying to stop a seriously hacked off elf from taking command of an ancient, unstoppable army.

Mama Mia.  The infectious stage musical featuring almost all of ABBA’s best-known songs is translated to the screen in a fun, frothy musical, with gorgeous scenery and some gorgeous singing (Amanda Seyfried), some passable singing (Meryl Streep), and some singing that should have been left unsung (I’m lookin’ at you, Pierce Brosnan and Stellan Skarsgard).

The Dark Knight.  The second installment in Christopher Nolan’s reinvention of the Batman franchise is everything that it’s been cracked up to be in the press, and easily the summer’s most satisfying comic book adaption, thanks to solid performances by Christian Bale, Maggie Gyllenhall, and Aaron Eckhardt, and the chilling, outside of the box interpretation of the Joker by the late Heath Ledger.

X-Files: I Want to Believe.  A longer episode of the tv show, with good performances by Amanda Peet as an FBI agent, who brings back Scully and Mulder (Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny) to investigate a defrocked priest (Billy Connolly) who’s having visions that may or may not have bearing on the disappearance of a number of young woman in the wintry northeast, this one is not enslaved to the show’s intricate mythology, which makes it more accessible than the first movie.

Tropic Thunder.  This rollicking, fun movie starring Ben Stiller, Jack Black, and Robert Downey, Jr. as archetypal Hollywood types (the action star, the fart comedian, and the way-too-method actor) who find themselves stranded in the middle of an Asian drug operation, thinking that it’s part of the movie they’re making, is stolen by a near-unrecognizable Tom Cruise as an over-the-top agent.


May 4, 2008

Movie Preview – The Summer of the Geek

Not only is this week’s opening of Iron Man the first summer blockbuster of 2008, it’s also the first of a long string of comic book or super hero movies (Click on the movie name to link to the trailers, where available):

Insert the non-superhero comic book adaption Wanted (Angelina Jolie, non super-hero, June 27) and the latest movie adaptation of the cult tv comedy Get Smart (June 20) between long-awaited installments in the Indiana Jones (May 22), X-Files (July 25), and Mummy series (Aug 1), and you’ve got a geekilicious summer.

The 300 Project: 15/90

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