Due to my recent apartment move and a huge work project which is now complete, I’ve been off my game as far as writing here is concerned. But none of that has stopped me from seeing movies. Now is time to catch up. Below are 14 fun-size reviews of films that I’ve seen in the past month or two. P.S. More to come. 🙂
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon” – TF3 is at once an awful movie which is also technically great. There’s pounding action, convincing visual and sound effects, intriguing camera work, but a wafer-thin story better suited for a video game, plus ridiculous dialogue, non-existent characters and phoned-in acting. None of that matters though, because the movie has giant robots destroying a city, which makes it awesome. Directed by Michael Bay. Rated PG-13. 2 out of 4 stars.
“Water for Elephants” – A nice throwback to classic films. It stars Robert Pattinson, Reese Witherspoon and Christoph Waltz. I liked the retro circus art direction and costumes. In the end, the story was a bit too simple and clichéd, but it entertains. Directed by Francis Lawrence. Rated PG-13. 2.5 out of 4 stars.
“Fast Five” – It’s slick, stylish and pulsating. It’s also empty. Dueling bald tough guys (Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson) and attractive women do things with cars. There are some genuinely exciting chase sequences and effective visual effects which make it almost worth the while. Rated PG-13. 2 out of 4 stars.
“Dylan Dog: Dead of Night” – It’s an okay film, worth a couple of laughs and with a few good performances. But “Dylan Dog” only aspires to be as good as other horror/comedies like “An American Werewolf in London” or “Zombieland.” The somewhat plodding story is about a private detective who works to protect us from monsters. Rated PG-13. 1.5 out of 4 stars.
“Thor” – If the “Batman” movies were dark comic book films, then “Thor” is light. “Thor” is fun and entertaining–plus surprisingly funny. Directed by Kenneth Branagh with Chris Hemsworth in the title role. Rated PG-13. 2.5 out of 4 stars.
“Cave of Forgotten Dreams” – I may be in the minority when I say that I find Werner Herzog a tad melodramatic. Despite that, his latest film, a documentary about the Chauvet caves of Southern France, is remarkable. Inside the cave, Herzog’s camera unveils the oldest known cave drawings by humans. Your mind will reel after you see this beautiful film. 3 out of 4 stars.
“Everything Must Go” – Will Ferell plays a guy down on his luck. His wife left him, and he lost his job. So he decides to live on his front lawn until he figures out his next move. The film is touching and well acted, with bits of dark humor thrown in. It’s a simple film but worth seeing. Rated R. 3 out of 4 stars.
“Bridesmaids” – You will laugh, and you may cry. It’s true: “Bridesmaids” proves that low-brow toilet humor isn’t just for guys. However, what makes this film so bitingly funny are the wonderful performances from the whole cast (led by Kristen Wiig) and good writing. Directed by Paul Feig. Rated R. 3 out of 4 stars.
“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” – Johnny Depp is back as Captain Jack Sparrow. But honestly, why bother. This is the least interesting of all of the “Pirates” films. Directed by Rob Marshall. Rated PG-13. 1.5 out of 4 stars.
“Kung Fu Panda 2” – Clever, beautifully animated, funny, touching and one of the best movies you can see this summer. Directed by Jennifer Yuh, featuring the voices of Jack Black, Angelina Jolie and others. Rated PG. 3 out of 4 stars.
“The Hangover Part II” – The guys are back with more crass humor, this time in Thailand. It lacks the edginess of the first movie. You’ll laugh, but it’s mostly banal. Rated R. 1.5 out of 4 stars.
“Meek’s Cutoff” – One of the best films of 2011. Follows a group of settlers as they travel through the harsh 1845 wilderness–then focuses on their ethical dilemma after they come across an Indian. Wonderful, honest performances from the whole cast (led by Michelle Williams) and excellent cinematography. “Meek’s Cutoff” is a deliberately paced, thoughtful, slice-of-life morality film. Directed by Kelly Reichardt. Rated PG. 3.5 out of 4 stars.
“Submarine” – A dark comedy about a young man with both girlfriend and parent problems. The very dry wry humor made me laugh and reminded me a little of the classic “Harold and Maude.” But the pacing of the film is a little slow for my tastes. Written and directed by Richard Ayoade with a worthy performance by Craig Roberts as Oliver Tate. Rated R. 2.5 out of 4 stars.
“Midnight In Paris” – Woody (Allen) is back in a delicious diversion about a writer who escapes into the past in Paris. Here are seven word I never thought I’d write: “Owen Wilson’s smart performance carries the film.” Deft escapism for the literate. Good music too. Rated PG-13. 3 out of 4 stars.