Friday, February 06, 2009

Movies opening this week

Forget what I said last week about a podcast hiatus; listen to me chat about these movies with Jeffrey K. Howard of Vegas Film Critic in this week's Josh Bell Hates Everything podcast, which should be posted later today.

Coraline (Voices of Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher, John Hodgman, dir. Henry Selick)
My review in Las Vegas Weekly
Maybe I spoke too soon last week about the overall shittiness of this year's movies so far as well; I don't have much hope for the rest of February, but this turned out to be quite a well-made, entertaining film. It's great to see Selick back after so many years off from feature filmmaking; his James and the Giant Peach is a favorite of mine, and of course he never gets the credit he deserves for The Nightmare Before Christmas (although a lot of the press on Coraline seems to be working to correct that). The 3D in this movie was never gimmicky, which means you could probably see it in 2D and not miss much; that's the kind of 3D I prefer. I was surprised how genuinely creepy it got toward the end, yet still remained kid-friendly and positive. If you've already caught all the Oscar nominees and are despairing at the quality of everything else out right now, this is the one to see. Wide release

The Pink Panther 2 (Steve Martin, Jean Reno, Emily Mortimer, Andy Garcia, dir. Harald Zwart)
And then there's this, which is right back to the standards that have been set over the last month. I've never seen any of the original Peter Sellers Pink Panther movies (I know, I know) or the first Steve Martin version, so my opinion may not be worth much here. It could just be in comparison to the mountain of terrible movies I've seen recently, but I found this to be relatively tolerable; not exactly funny or interesting or worthwhile, but acceptable to sit through for 90 minutes with no other choice. The jokes are stupid, the plot is useless, the direction is barely serviceable, and the actors are all on autopilot, but it's such a good cast (Martin, Reno, Mortimer, Garcia, Alfred Molina, John Cleese, Jeremy Irons, Lily Tomlin) that they're bound to make things occasionally mildly entertaining. This is blasphemy to die-hard Sellers fans (like this week's podcast guest) I'm sure, but for me it was enough that it didn't make me want to hang myself like New in Town or Paul Blart did. Wide release

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