Saturday, March 24, 2007

Movies opening this week

Quite a busy week...there are actually 12 movies opening in Vegas this weekend.

Colour Me Kubrick (John Malkovich, dir. Brian Cook)
As another reviewer noted, there's really no point in listing anyone but Malkovich in the cast of this film, as every other character is merely incidental, and no one else shows up in more than a handful of scenes. Based on the true story of a con man who impersonated Stanley Kubrick in the mid-'90s despite looking nothing like the director nor being familiar with his movies, this ought to be a fascinating story. But what must have made for a great magazine article doesn't make for much of a movie, and Cook and screenwriter Anthony Frewin (both longtime Kubrick associates) seem not to have bothered to delve below even the most surface details of the faux-Kubrick saga. Malkovich hams it up with outrageous accents and silly costumes, but his character has no depth, no motivation, and the movie is episodic and repetitive. Better to stick to the magazine article. Limited release this week; on DVD on Tuesday

The Host (Song Kang-ho, Ko Ah-sung, Park hae-il, Bae Du-na, dir. Bong Joon-ho)
I think the hype may have ruined this one for me a bit. Although I did like a lot of things about it, it seemed to me too long and poorly paced, and I thought the mix of slapstick-y humor and horror (which is what so many reviews have praised) was awkward. There were quite a few exciting scenes, and much of the depiction of the family coming together to save the little girl was effective. The monster looked menacing and was integrated well - the only time the CGI distracted me was at the very end. But overall I wasn't as engaged as I had hoped, and even though I thought it was a cool little monster movie, I'm not sure I can get on-board with all the breathless praise from seemingly every other critic in America. Opened limited Mar. 9; in Las Vegas this week

Reign Over Me (Adam Sandler, Don Cheadle, Liv Tyler, Jada Pinkett Smith, dir. Mike Binder)
My review in Las Vegas Weekly
I admit that I went into this movie expecting - planning, really - to hate it, which is not fair. I fairly detested The Upside of Anger, Binder's last film to make it to theaters (he had a movie go straight to video last year), and I've come to realize that I can't stand Sandler in anything, no matter what kind of role (this is the fifth Sandler movie I've reviewed, all of them negatively). So even though I didn't think this movie quite worked, I will say that it was a bit of a pleasant surprise. Binder still has some serious problems with women, and Sandler is still a one (annoying) note actor, but this movie has some nice portrayals of male friendship, and a serious (if sort of maudlin) take on grief. I probably liked it as much as I could have, considering. Wide release

Shooter (Mark Wahlberg, Michael Pena, Danny Glover, Kate Mara, dir. Antoine Fuqua)
Watching this movie was like experiencing a flashback to the heyday of Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Seagal and Van Damme. All of whom I loved back in junior high, but whose films haven't generally aged well. Wahlberg glowers and slaughters as the main character, and at first there are some exciting action scenes and even interesting ideas, but the movie gets so preposterous as it goes on that I just gave up on it. It wants to have this cynical, nihilistic political tone that is actually sort of interesting, but it undermines that by allowing Wahlberg's character to still live out the "one man changes the world by killing everyone" fantasy. In the end, it can't commit to anything, and it's just too silly and over the top (yet simultaneously deadly serious) to be satisfying. Wide release

TMNT (Voices of James Arnold Taylor, Nolan North, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Chris Evans, Patrick Stewart, Mako, dir. Kevin Munroe)
My review in Las Vegas Weekly
I really did love the Ninja Turtles when I was a kid, watch the cartoon all the time, own the toys, see the first two live-action movies multiple times. I even loved the awful/awesome Vanilla Ice "Ninja Rap" song from the second movie. But I doubt I'd find it all nearly as entertaining if I went back and watched it now (ironically given my love of comics, I've never read any Turtles comic books, which are considered the characters' best incarnations). So I didn't want to give this movie too much credit for its nostalgia value, but I also didn't want to overcompensate by being too hard on it. It was a mediocre movie, so it was fairly easy to balance my opinion right in the middle. Wide release

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

tmnt: dude, as a comic fan you really gotta check out the graphic novels. i know i bought at least two of the novels after getting sucked in and i remember--at first--being disappointed (because they're not cartoon-y and fun), but then loving them. it's actually really interesting the dark way they are presented. if i still had them i'd let you borrow go to the library.