Feb 7, 2012

Capsule Reviews

Here are several movies I've seen and been too lazy to blog about, collected in one half-assed burst, and in no particular order:

The Fountain - Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz, 2006
This is a very beautiful movie with an amazing score by Clint Mansell. It is a surrealistic exploration of a man's quest for immortality, not for himself, but for the woman he loves. It's told as both a semi-linear narrative of a research doctor attempting to find a treatment for brain tumors and stumbling upon much more, and much less, and as a story-within-the-story, of a conquistador seeking the Fountain of Youth/Tree of Life. The conquistador portions have some action, but the film is very much in the vein of Solaris or 2001 in being a sci-fi/fantasy movie but not an action movie. I found it interesting, but slow and a bit repetitive. Overall, I'd give it a B, though it is really a matter of taste.

50/50 - Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen, 2011
You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll yell "shut up, asshole" at Seth Rogen's character repeatedly. Angelica Huston and Phillip Baker Hall both give great supporting performances, as does Anna Kendrick, though she seems to be in danger of early typecasting. There are a couple of stumbles, including a metaphor that gets picked up, bobbled, and forgotten. 40/50

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil - Tyler Labine, Alan Tudyk, and Katrina Bowden, 2010
The premise, that a pair of hillbillies are terrorized by college co-eds who believe they are psycho killers, is pretty ingenious, and the movie more or less manages to carry it off. Tyler Labine is extremely endearing as Dale, and Alan Tudyk's Tucker -- a cynical, wise hillbilly with a simple dream of his own vacation home -- is who you can't help but feel sorry for. The supporting cast is a bit of a let-down, and the villain of the film, a preppie asshole played by Jessie Moss, is way too cartoonishly nasty at times, but the title characters really do make the film a hell of a lot of fun to watch. B+

The Guard - Brendon Gleeson and Don Cheadle, 2011
Way too much "hey, hey, hey, look how quirky these crazy Irish people are," for me. Gleeson is always fun to watch but Cheadle is hit or miss, and largely miss here, for me. The villains of the film -- a trio of off-beat drug dealer refugees from a Guy Ritchie movie -- just don't work that well for me. I wanted to like this movie a lot more than I actually did. It certainly has moments, but I think it's pretty overrated as well. It gets a lot of comparisons to In Bruges, mainly because of Gleeson's presence in both, but In Bruges is a much, much better film, thanks largely to Ralph Fiennes playing a broader, nastier, funnier villain than the three drug dealers here put together. C

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