Sunday, July 22, 2007

July Movies

These haven't necessarily come out this month, but if you haven't seen some of these yet, perhaps this will help.

Disturbia stars young Shia LaBeouf as a good kid who's become troubled after losing his father in an accident. Placed on house arrest, he amuses himself by watching his neighbor's lives, until he realizes a neighbor bears resemblances to a serial killer. LaBeouf is no Keanu Reeves, thank god, so he and his fellow cast members are able to pull this flick off as funny and suspenseful. 3 out of 5 stars.

Spider-Man 32. Much action. Some really lame, fake CGI, balanced out by humorous elements in Tobey Maguire's performance. Bonus points for one of the most delightful bad guys ever, "That 70's Show"'s Topher Grace. 3 out of 5 stars.

Shia LaBeouf is back in another movie, blockbuster Transformers. Let's face it, the basic plot of this movie isn't given to believability. Giant robots, disguised as common machines, have come to Earth. Despite that, this movie is just a rip-roarin' good time. Shia LaBeouf is really, really good, with Megan Fox providing the hotness requisite in any summer blockbuster. There are a string of other good to great actors, and even Josh Duhamel is nicely transitioning from TV to the big screen.
What moves this movie from being watchable (good actors balancing out unbelievable storyline) to great fun are the best special effects ever. By that, I mean combat from several ton sensate robots and people actually looks real. Go. See. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Smokin' Aces completes our cinematic round-up. Wow. This movie is so bad, it impresses me. Grindhouse wasn't this bad, and it was trying. Let's start with the actors, assigning a numerical value to their presence in the film. Ben Affleck: negative value, but rendered null because of what happens to him. Jeremy Piven: no value. Ray Liotta: no value. Andy Garcia: value-less to negative. Ryan Reynolds: positive value. Alicia Keys: Idiot (she said soon after September 11 that it was hard to be patriotic when your ancestors were slaves. Hey! Bimbo! You're European and Jamaican extract. Which "ancestors" of yours were slaves in the US?!), but balanced onscreen by personal beauty. No value.
Looking at the DVD cover art and description, this movie looks like a nonstop action extravaganza, with bullets, blood, and laughs (I mean, Jeremy Piven and Ryan Reynolds! Reynolds by himself can usually make a movie funny). But it's not. The producers and director obviously could not decide what kind of movie they wanted to make, since most of the movie is a "suspenseful" slow build up to the climax. The problem with doing it the hard crime drama way, is that the movie is peopled with outrageous characters, like the three neo-Nazis who actually perform contract hits - sometimes with chain saws and submachine guns- while wearing leather that's a combination of bondage gear and 3rd Reich, and the hit team that's made of two women of color. This pair holds a beautiful, sleek young lady who gets in close, and a short, bullish sniper with a .50 BMG, who has a heavy crush on her partner.
Instead of nonstop action, the movie moves slowly, and tries to go from comic-book fun to high drama. Director Joe Carnahan should never be forgiven for this one. Cursed be his name. Do NOT watch this, unless you hate yourself. I'm going to award 1.5 out of 5 stars, but only because Ryan Reynolds is in this movie, and Ben Affleck dies.


Matt G said...

My gold standard for bad, bad movies: Krull. Oof.

phlegmfatale said...

Wow, Alicia Keys said that? I'm disappointed, having thought she was an intellectual cut above the rest of the empty-headed pop tart pack. Oh well.

Oh, and Grindhouse was bad? I wanted to see that but was too too busy to make it to the cinema when it came out. I'll definitely see it sooner or later. I just thought Rose McGowan's machine-gun leg was incredibly funny, like an obtuse nod to the chainsaw-armed guy in the Evil Dead movies. I'll see it on DVD sooner or later. It's such a bummer when a film doesn't live up to its potential.

I think Shia Lebouf is a fantastic actor, actually. Really like him.

J.R.Shirley said...

Grindhouse was deliberately bad, with
super-cheesy exploitative flicks advertised as part of the movie, and "missing reel" messages inserted.