Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Year's Movie Reviews

I saw a few films this past week and I'd like to offer my opinions on them.

I Am Legend

I really had no expectations going into this one. I loved "The Last Man On Earth" with Vincent Price and I really had no love for the Charelton Heston' vehicle, "The Omega Man", so I simply didn't care either way. What I came away with was an extremely well done, superior remake of "The Omega Man" that failed miserably when compared to the original novel and the Price version. Still, for what it is (and for the first two thirds of the movie) it's impressive. It isn't until the last third, when other characters are introduced, that the wheels fall completely off. Also, the intelligent vampires of the original novel are replaced by above average intelligence zombies. The ending is also changed to a more upbeat ending that completely changes the meaning of the title. Will Smith does his best and he's fine, but he's upstaged by a dog that surely deserves an Oscar Nomination. OK, I'm kidding, but the dog was good.

No Country For Old Men

I've been electrified. The Cohen Brothers have done it once again. Josh Brolin turns in another amazing performance. God, I could go on forever in simple sentences. "No Country For Old Men" is one of the best films I've seen in a long time. It's blackly comic, incredibly tense and ultimately nihilistic. It feels like a distant cousin to Sam Raimi's "A Simple Plan", another brilliant country set films about the price of greed. Tommy Lee Jones and Woody Harrelson turn in solid performances, but it's Javier Bardem that turns in the performance of the entire year as a cold, calculating serial killer that riveted me to my seat. The ending might have let some people down, but suited me fine.

Charlie Wilson's War

The movie has no real ending to speak of and Julia Roberts is just about horrible here, but Tom Hanks and, especially, Phillip Seymour Hoffman pull stellar turns in this comic docudrama. I would love to see these two paired up in a more substantial film since their chemistry is undeniable. The plot, which involves a single man's efforts to get weapons to the Afghanistan refugees for battle with the Soviet army in the 1980's is interesting, but much of the dialogue is delivered so quickly. It's like the majority of the cast is trying to get the words out before the audience realises the actors have no idea what the words mean. Seriously, does anyone in Texas talk that fast?

There are great touches; Charlie's secretaries (4 of them!) who he dubs "jail bait" are fun to see interacting with each other and hearing real life names that are just as relevant now being dropped is a little scary, but overall, the film is a little too light and the non existent ending feels rushed at 90 minutes. It is, however, a lovely diversion.

See it for Phillip Seymour Hoffman. He's nothing short of astounding here.

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

What the fuck? Seriously. John C. Reilly is fine, as is Jenna Fischer, and the soundtrack is unassailable, but the movie is unfunny. It's more than unfunny, actually. It's insulting and unfunny. Watching this movie, you'd think there have been only two music biopics ever made, "Walk The Line" and "Ray". I chuckled a total of 4 times (the Bob Dylan parody, the disco "Star Man" cover, the Television Interview and the Temptations joke) and never actually laughed once. There is no real sense of creativity here. It's simply a string of one joke sequences that are made up of recreating sequences from rock documentaries with "knowing" dialogue thrown in so you know we're supposed to know it's funny. I kept waiting for a laugh track to further the point home.

The much hyped Beatles sequence is totally unfunny and forced and the entirety of the film seems to by written by and aimed at people who think they're Pop music experts because they watch VH1 Classic. I knew I was in real trouble when The Monkees were mentioned and everybody laughed hard.

HA! HA! He said he thought the Beatles were better than the Monkees! Get it? The Monkees weren't a real band!!! HA! HA!

Bite me.

Buy the great soundtrack and avoid this unbelievable waste of time.

No comments: