Friday, January 23, 2009

Movies opening this week

No podcast this week, due to scheduling issues (and the fact that there's not really anything worth talking about).

Inkheart (Brendan Fraser, Eliza Hope Bennett, Paul Bettany, dir. Iain Softley)
There's nothing particularly bad about this movie, but there isn't anything to get excited about, either. It's mediocre through and through, a half-hearted fantasy adventure with a sort of interesting premise (people who can bring books literally to life by reading aloud) that's never fully explored. Fraser coasts through another kid-friendly square-jawed-hero role, and the supporting players do solid but unremarkable work (this is a pretty deep cast, though - Helen Mirren, Jim Broadbent, Andy Serkis). You could take kids to it and be mildly entertained, but otherwise it's entirely missable. Wide release

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (Michael Sheen, Rhona Mitra, Bill Nighy, dir. Patrick Tatopoulos)
As amusing as it is to see Michael "Frost" Sheen with grungy long hair and a bare chest wailing and gnashing his teeth and turning into a werewolf, this movie is still an incoherent waste of time. I saw and reviewed the first Underworld movie when it was released in 2003, but remember very little about it, and I never saw the second one. Obviously die-hard fans of the series will get more out of this movie than I did, but doing a little Wikipedia research only led me to believe that Rise is even more pointless, filling in a tiny bit of back story that could have been relegated to a handful of flashbacks in the next sequel. Like the Star Wars prequels, it all leads up to a predetermined conclusion, and has essentially no suspense or audience investment. It also looks ugly and cheap, like it was shot on about three sets, and of course has terrible dialogue and hammy overacting, plus one of the most ludicrous sex scenes I've ever seen. At least it's short. Wide release

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