Monday, May 4, 2009

Attack of the Bs

I feel that Keanu Reeves and Nicholas Cage share a certain wooden delivery. The difference, career-wise, between the two seems to be that Reeves usually manages to pick a vehicle in which appearing to be brain-damaged or "disconnected" just seems to fit. The remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still and Bangkok Dangerous are no exceptions to the tendencies of the two actors.

In Day, Reeves plays an alien. Pretty well, since he doesn't seem wholly human. The FX are pretty good, and Jennifer Connelly does her usual fine job, soulful eyes and all. What was tiresome in 50s and 60s monster films, however, is still tiresome today. And whining about how horrible-but-beautiful mankind is really seems rather- well, stupid. You know? 2.5/5 stars.

Bangkok Dangerous
shows some signs of promise. It begins almost properly moody, for a film of this type, but it stars someone who can't act, doing things that are not admirable, and ends badly. 1.5/5 stars.

Babylon A.D. Vin Diesel is usually entertaining, so even though this looked like it might be a B movie, it was entertaining. Despite occasional clinched elements of apocalyptic flicks, it gets 3/5 stars.

Bedtime Stories. Wow. This one had a few minutes of outright hilarity (usually provided by outre' Russell Brand), but when it wasn't good, it was horrible. Stories is not one of the "smart" movies for kids that adults can also enjoy. I like Adam Sandler in general, but this movie illustrates everything potentially wrong with a Sandler movie. Even giving half a star for the presence of beautiful Teresa Palmer in a bikini only gives this 1.5/5 stars. I watched this with a couple of 7-year-olds, and they liked it, but I was glad I didn't pay full price.

Lakeview Terrace stars Samuel L. Jackson as a sometimes well-meaning but ultimately sociopathic police officer. He disagrees with the relationship of his new mixed-race neighbors and goes to every length to get them out of the neighborhood. While I was happy to see a brief appearance by Ron Glass, there's really not much to recommend this film. It's predictable and silly at the same time. 2/5 stars.

The Love Guru. I didn't have high hopes for this one, and I was right. Justin Timberlake (as an amazingly endowed Canadian) is practically the only funny thing in the movie. Myers seems stuck on midget jokes he's already worn out using Vern Troyer in the Austin Powers flicks. It does have humorous moments, but even awarding an extra half-star for Jessica Alba, and cameos by Mariska Hargitay and beautiful Indian dancers only nets it 1.5/5 stars.

Punisher: War Zone looked like it probably would be pretty bad, but that's an understatement. The story itself was adapted pretty closely from some of the Punisher comics, but the script, at times, was abysmal. Ray Stevenson actually played a good, and sometimes great, Frank Castle, but no-one alive could be good enough to balance out Dominic West and Doug Hutchison playing deranged brothers. These two make Nick Cage look like Oscar material. If you want explosions, this movie has them, but otherwise, don't waste your time. 1 of 5 stars.

The Spirit. I was pretty sure this would be horrible. I was right. Head villain Samuel L. Jackson loses respect from me for agreeing to be in this turkey. The title character is a complete cad, with a physiology that allows him no physical consequences for his promiscuity, and the women in his life shake their heads in mild reproof or laugh at his philandering. Director Frank Miller seemingly couldn't decide whether he wanted to make a comedy or a drama, so he tried to both, and failed at each. He even squanders the talents of funnyman Louis Lombardi. I'm giving this failure 1/5 stars for beautiful and tasteful partial nudity from Eva Mendes. And that's it. I would almost pay to not see this movie.


On a Wing and a Whim said...

I've seen one out of three of those, and the only reason I saw Babylon AD was because of the following phone conversation.

"Hey! Long time no see!"
"Yeah. I'm not dealing with any more work tonight. I need to get out."
"Okay. Where to?"
"Vin Diesel's shoulders."
"Meet me at totem at 8. You want to do dinner afterward?"
"Oh! Sure, sounds good. What's he in?"
"Does it matter?"
"Only so I can buy the right ticket."
"Babylon AD. Thanks, hun."
"No worries. Your beautiful presence and Vin Diesel's body onscreen? Sounds great!"

It was a great B movie. We were both creeped out by how young the female lead looked for a love interest, and Vin Diesel did just fine. Of course, we were laughing and snarking so hard we could have justifiably been thrown out of the theater during the great snowmachine race across to Alaska, but the rest of the (Alaskan) audience was laughing just as hard. Haven't snickered that much at a movie since "Thirty Days of Night."

Tam said...

Heh, I liked P:WZ, not as a movie, per se, but as a gratuitous expenditure of 5.56mm blank ammo...

When I go to a movie like this, I bring the same expectations I would bring to watching a rock video.