Sunday, August 26, 2007

5 Quick Movie Rental Reviews

As you know, I'm a big fan of going to the movies on opening night for shows that I'm really excited about. But for everything else, I'd prefer the comfort and quietness of my own condo in which to watch films because I usually get too annoyed by some loud-talker or popcorn-chomper sitting near me in a big theater.

So if you rent movies or are always looking for choices for your Netflix queue, here is my short take on 5 recently-watched flicks: Click, Breach, A Good Year, Music and Lyrics, and Thank You for Smoking. I will not give any spoilers away, so sorry for the few that seem vague.


Synopsis: A guy (Adam Sandler) is a workaholic and is prioritizing how he spends his time quite poorly. He is given a "universal remote" which grants him the power to go back to certain points in his life or fast-forward through things he doesn't like.

e's Review: Great moral, but poorly executed because of tired fat jokes and toilet humor in some parts. If you can get past those scenes, it's still pretty cheesy, but isn't absolutely awful - and it does make you pause a bit and consider what is important in life, which is always a good thing. I typically do like Adam Sandler, but Christopher Walken was very much wasted in his role, and Kate Beckinsale is poop and was a ridiculous choice to play Adam Sandler's wife. There are a few other people you will recognize in bit parts.


Synopsis: The true story of a kid (Ryan Phillipe) who works for the FBI and is asked to track his new boss (Chris Cooper), who is about to retire. The real reasons the FBI wants this man tracked are not revealed at the outset, but let's just say that he's a pretty bad dude. Did I mention it's a true story?

e's Review: I was interested in seeing this movie because my brother went to law school with the guy that Ryan Phillipe played, and in class this guy talked a bit more about what went down after a Dateline segment about the case aired. I found myself wondering exactly what I would do if I was this kid, and even though I knew how the story ended, there were several tense moments in the movie where I was totally stressed out. I don't like Ryan Phillipe and I don't like Laura Linney (who also played a fairly major part), but I love Chris Cooper and he rocked the house once again. One complaint I have heard about this movie, which I agree with, is that it was never made clear WHY the "bad guy" did what he did (it was only vaguely hinted at). But perhaps that's because in real life, a justification was never given either. This movie had gotten excellent reviews across the board, but didn't do as well as hoped in the theaters. Probably because Ryan Phillipe is hated for cheating on Reese Witherspoon!

A Good Year

Synopsis: A guy (Russell Crowe) who works way too much is forced to slow down after he inherits a vineyard and estate in France and needs to figure out what to do with it.

e's Review: While this movie was nearly 2 hours... and it went by very, veeeerrrry slowly, I still liked it. I'm not sure that Miss M (who watched it with me) or her family members (some of whom fell asleep) would say the same, though. I also must admit that I was often distracted by just how much I thought Russell Crowe looked like an older version of Ryan from The O.C. But anyway, a whole bunch of random stuff happens in this movie and it all gets tied up neatly (and Miss M would add "very obviously") in a bow at the end, but it's another "good moral" flick that doesn't necessarily have anything wrong with it except its turtle pace. And I didn't hate any of the actors or actresses in this movie, which is a rare thing indeed. I think I actually prefer Russell Crowe in more "normal" roles such as this one, rather than all beaten up and yelling and stuff.

Music and Lyrics

Synopsis: A has-been 80s icon (Hugh Grant) gets a once-in-a-lifetime chance at a comeback if he pens a song for teen sensation Cora. He can still dream up the tunes, but alas, he sucks at writing lyrics. Enter his crazy new plant-waterer (yeah, I know, plant-waterer? Drew Barrymore) who just so happens to be a lyric-writing genius (or so we are meant to believe). Can they pull of a hit single for Cora, or do they both have too many "issues"?

e's Review: A movie has to be pretty damn bad for me to look at my husband early on in the film and ask whether we should consider ejecting it from the DVD player. That is what we nearly did during the first part of this film because Drew Barrymore's character was so annoying. But since the movie had started out with a hilarious video from Hugh Grant's character's 80s band, "Pop," we gave it the benefit of the doubt. Do not get me wrong, though - this movie was probably one of the cheesiest movies I've ever seen EVER. But it got better as it went along. The Britney/Shakira character of Cora was pretty funny, and, since I have no shame, I am not ashamed to admit that even now, over a month after watching this movie, I still could sing of the major songs from it. To take it a notch further - I am considering searching for them on iTunes because I'll bet they were part of a soundtrack. Yes, I have no problem with throwing a total of $1.98 toward two songs that are goofy but that I would want to hear every once in a while, if for nothing else than to just get them out of my head. The other crazy thing I realized while watching this movie is that I am truly a sucker for Hugh Grant. Even after all that nasty prostitute business with him back in the day, I just like him. Those damn British accents - they have special powers! Drew Barrymore I can usually do without because her lispy voice and the weird way she moves her lips bugs the bejeezus out of me, but it was bearable this time around (and in The Wedding Singer, but that's about it). So, if you want a very feel-good, cheesy movie, and if you are a female, you will probably like this movie.

Thank You for Smoking

Synopsis: A guy (Aaron Eckhart) is the spokesperson for the tobacco industry/cigarette companies, and therefore people are constantly attacking him. We see how he has the unbelievable ability to spin almost anything, and how it affects his family, but there's really not much of a plot beyond that.

e's Review: I'm probably one of the most anti-smoking people alive, so I wondered how upset I was going to get while watching this movie (based on the book that I've never read). However, it was quite amazing to see the level at which everything can be spun, re-worded and confused. And Nick Naylor (Aaron's character) wasn't trying to promote smoking - he was trying to "defend the right to smoke." Well I demand my right to breathe and not die of second-hand smoke! But I digress. As I mentioned above, there wasn't really a storyline, it was more about how this guy does what he does. Katie Holmes played a reporter out to make him look pretty bad, and she, of course, was awful. I can't stand the way she talks, either! If she and Drew Barrymore were ever in a movie together, I might explode. Since I didn't really know what to expect from this movie, I was pleasantly surprised that it held my attention and was often humorous. Yet I find myself struggling to categorize it and other reviews I've read were pretty mixed. If you are at all interested in lobbyists (no matter what the issue is they're lobbying for/against) or politics, then it would probably be interesting to you. It's got a very strong supporting cast and is only 1.5 hours, so you don't have a lot to lose!

- e

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I put Click on my blockbuster list about 5 minutes ago... Music and Lyrics I saw last night and LIKED IT. Yes, cheese and all, I thought it was pretty good. Too long, but enjoyable nontheless.

Ta ta.