Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Recent Movies, 10/23/2007

Knocked Up
I was expecting a lot from this movie since the reviews were mostly positive and it looked pleasantly subversive.

Was surprised me is how piggish the guys in this movie were, and that unsuspended my disbelief so drastically, I found the movie hard to finish. I've lived with "just the buds" a few times in my life, and yes, when a bunch of bachelors room together, things can get funky and fugly. But, even at our worst, no one I know was ever as clueless and loutish as these guys were.

And there is no way a woman would stay with a guy like that. Ever. My wife started counting "deal breakers" out loud after a while just to keep us entertained. ("Deal breakers" are things that will end a relationship on the spot.)

Most unforgivable of all: there was never a joke in this movie that made laugh out loud - not once.


Curious George
Curious George is only for very small children, say 5 and under. There is nothing in this movie for adults at all.

However, it kills in its demographic. My two-and-a-half-year-old was able to follow the plot, laughed a lot, and apparently identified with Curious George very much (as I'm sure is the intent). I was pleased by how well the filmmakers understood their tot audience and were able to keep it consistent for them at that level. That's a talent unto itself.

Oh, and it wasn't that waaaay dumbed-down pabulum they spew on PBS shows for the very small ones. It assumes your child knows English and is of at least average intelligence.

If you have wee ones, and don't object to movies in general for that age, your kids will have a great time with this one.

Fast Food Nation
I'll see anything Richard Linklater makes. And neighbors had read the non-fiction book that was the source material and said it was great and that anyone who read it would never eat another hamburger again.

It's average as an entertainment, in my opinion. But if you approach it for what it is - the fictionalized portrayal of a non-fiction expose - it's kind of impressive. It holds your interest enough to get the facts to you.

Given our recent inundation with immigrants from Mexico, and the politicization of it, even a liberal like myself didn't really buy into the "lets feel sorry for the poor immigrants who can only find jobs at meat-packing plants" angle. And, coming from the Midwest and being surrounded by farms as I grew up, the slaughter of animals and the reality behind that are old news.

But I can see a city mouse being shocked by what it takes to turn a cow from a mooing animal with a pulse to steaks and leather. You see the whole process, including a live cow being shot in the brain.

I'd recommend it for the fans, the curious, and for folks who need one more reason to be vegan. For the average movie-goer, I'd say get Dazed and Confused instead.

(Did it change my mind on eating meat? Heck no. Make my steak medium.)

When the fanboys first started grunting and hooting over this flick, I just kinda chuckled and surfed on, because I was a young adult by the time this fad hit all the young dudes - one of the more infamous cases where the cartoons were created just to sell toys after Ronny Raygun "deregulated" things.

I could tell by the few cartoons and toys I did see that I would not have been able to get enough of them were I still a kid. As an adult, they seemed stupid. And I loathed the fact that the cartoons were just commercials in disguise, being an animation buff.

I had no intention of ever seeing it.

Then the movie got good reviews. By people who typically would've just been honest and said "for the fanboys only" if it were.

My daughter had a sleepover for her birthday, so we got it for that, and gathered in the TV room and cranked the surrounds to the max.

It was exactly what I expected: a plot so thin that if it were a female superhero's costume, the movie would have to be rated "R" for showing too many pink parts. Scene upon scene of giant robot swat-fu coupled with sound effects that sounded like the crew from "Stomp!" was gang-raping the Tin Woodsman in a sheet metal factory.

I was not impressed. I mean, a couple of the robot transformations were cool, but I need more than a nifty origami trick to get my sci-fi mojo goin'.

I'll say it then: for fanboys only.


Anonymous said...

Hey, don't be harshin' on the transformer movie. It was ridiculous, but fun. Thin plot, over-the-top special f/x - well, yeah, it's a Michael Bay film, duh.

Trey Parker and Matt Stone have said that Michael Bay films are actually comedies. It appears that Mr. Bay himself now agrees, and is having fun with it. Like the scene with the little kid watching a couple robots fighting in the distance, where the kid says, "This is way cooler than Armageddon*." Or the scene where Sam's Mom meets Mikaela for the first time and blurts out "Wow, you're gorgeous!", and afterwards Mikaela tells Sam "I like your Mom. She's so nice."

I like that. A big, goofy special effects film is way more enjoyable when the filmmaker gives you permission to laugh all the way through it. Long live Michael Bay!

* Armageddon is another Michael Bay film. But you probably knew that.


Yahmdallah said...


Hey, I like M. Bay, too. And you are correct, Transformers is pretty much just a popcorn movie, so take it on that level.

I guess what I didn't convey well is that the concept just doesn't work for me, and that's prolly because I missed the original shows.

For example, I think Scooby Doo 2 - the live action movie - is one of the funniest comedies I've seen. No, I truly do. But I bet that it would only be half as funny to someone who didn't know the backstory from the cartoons.