Friday, April 20, 2007

Movies opening this week

Fracture (Anthony Hopkins, Ryan Gosling, Rosamund Pike, David Strathairn, dir. Gregory Hoblit)
My review in Las Vegas Weekly
I'm sort of surprised at all the good reviews for this movie, which is a pretty mundane and unoriginal thriller. It's certainly not awful, and Hopkins doing his Hannibal Lecter bit is still entertaining, but it's not all that involving or suspenseful, and is full of giant plot holes. Also, I really think Ryan Gosling has gotten sort of overrated. Not that I didn't think he was good in Half Nelson, but the praise for him in this movie is baffling. His whole performance consists of adding very "look I'm an actor" touches to everything, with long pauses, head bobs and squints that somehow have convinced everyone he's doing something Really Deep. I'll take the restraint of Joseph Gordon-Levitt over showiness like that any day. Wide release

Hot Fuzz (Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Jim Broadbent, Timothy Dalton, dir. Edgar Wright)
Although I enjoyed this team's first movie, Shaun of the Dead, I don't think I quite enjoyed it as much as some did, and this follow-up is more uneven. There are parts that are very funny, and Wright has clearly studied dumb action movies (particularly those of Michael Bay) very closely. The problem may be that he's studied them too closely, and far too often this movie simply comes off as an actual dumb action movie rather than a parody. Which means that it's poorly paced and too long, and really drags in the middle. Once the climax kicks in, though, the last 20 minutes or so are great, a perfect send-up of both action movies and those "aren't British villages so quaint?" movies, and I left the theater with a smile on my face, so that was good enough for me. Wide release


Nathan Hamill said...
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Nathan Hamill said...

Take a look at 'Spaced,' Josh, if you have not already.
It was a BBC series, which starred Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson and was directed by Edgar Wright. While a fan of 'Shaun' and 'Fuzz,' it is by far my favorite of the three. It's only available on DVD as a region 2 release so be prepared to pony up for an all region player and to import the set. I can recommend it even with its $80-100 viewing price tag though. If you don't like it, I am willing to hear your complaints and threatening words.

Anonymous said...

actually, you don't need to buy an all-region player. most dvd-rom computer drives can be configured four or more times to different regions. i don't know a lot about it, but i'm pretty sure that you can set it to region zero to permanently play all regions if you want (look into it). it also works if your phone number is XXX-PJAM, you know.