Tuesday, March 27, 2007

DVD Roundup: Stranger than Fiction

A sweet and pretty funny minor key film. Call it Charlie Kaufmann-lite. My biggest concern is the fact that the supposedly awesome, fantastic novel that Will Ferrell is the protagonist of doesn't seem to be that good.

Score: 7.2

Monday, March 19, 2007

A Mathematical Movie Review

Triumph of the Will + God of War on Playstation 3 * The Tony Curtis and Lawrence Olivier scene from Spartacus / The messageboards at FreeRepublic.com = 300

Score: 7.0

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

DVD Roundup: Half Nelson

I have to admit, I was bummed about the lack of suplex action in this one.

This is a decidely small film, but it's so well observed and devoted to a sense of reality that it's slightness becomes an asset. Especially in the way that the central relationship between Ryan Gosling's crack smoking history teacher and preteen student Shareeka Epps avoids the cliches of the teacher film genre. In some ways, their interaction follows the traditional arc: the student is engaged by an unconventional teacher, they reach out to each other and give each other strength, etc. But this narrative arc is muddled by the characters' wholey realistic and often painful failure to articulate their thoughts and feelings or to break out of self-destructive behavior patterns. The ending is also refreshingly ambigious. One of the reasons that Gosling's character is such a mess is that he is can't bear his inability to effect meaningful change in the world, and by the end of the movie, you have no idea if he will come to terms with his place in life or burn to chinders. Epps' is on the razors edge of a life that could be a success or a nightmare of drug pushing and prison. As the film ends, you can easily see her following either track. The most ingenious thing in the film is the suggestion that Epps might be inspired to walk the straight and narrow not due to Gosling's inspirational teaching, but because his crack-addled fate scares her straight.

Score: 7.5

Sunday, March 04, 2007

America, you're begging for another 9-11 attack, the Third.

Motherfuckers....Wild Hogs? Thirty eight million dollars worth of wheezing, man-boobed comedy suckholes on motorcycles? A trailer featuring exactly nothing remotely humorous? (Is a fat and/or otherwise unattractive person singing "Don't Cha" by the Pussycat Dolls the new 'slipping on a banana peel' of comedy?) What was your audience-member math here? John Travolta hasn't been funny since Battlefield Earth, Martin Lawrence hasn't been funny since he went crazy and ran around on the street, shirtless, waving a handgun, and Tim Allen hasn't been funny since ever. So why the hell would you think that all three of these over-the-hill hacks would somehow form a comedy Voltron? Is William H. Macy a little-known catalyst for hilarity? This time, there's no excusing yourself by saying "nothing else was playing." Zodiac came out this weekend, and it's amazing, and you fuck-sticks saw it to the tune of 13 mil...or less than HALF of what you shelled out to watch Vinny Barbarino in leather chaps! Seriously, people, you're all begging for a 747 straight up the ass.