Monday, June 29, 2009

Away We Go

Hooray for the return of the good Sam Mendes.
His last two efforts were lackluster at best (yeah, I disliked Revolutionary Road and Jarhead what? ), before that were two masterpieces of modern cinema.
So with Away We Go, hopefully this means Mendes is back to form.
This little love story follows an odd, quirky couple (John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph) who have very little in the world and find that they are pregnant and about to have even less.
They search for a new place to live and a fresh start to life with the prospect of raising a child closing in on the horizon.
Rudolph's Verona and Krasinski's Burt are likeable and interesting, and it's interesting to see Rudolph try to do some serious acting and pull it off surprisingly well since her SNL years were unfunny and her other movie work has been minor roles with no real substance.
At times hilarious and at other times deeply sad and moving, the stars and supporting cast (especially a brief part by Chris Messina and Melanie Lynskey as the friends in Canada) create one of the best romantic comedies that has been produced in recent years.
Away We Go feels like an indie production, even with the big names attached and the fact that it really fits the modern formula for dramedy perfectly.
The real faults in Away We Go are when the characters blur the line between acting and caricature. Maggie Gyllenhaal's new-age hippie mom and Jim Gaffigan's drunken dope hover right around that line and feel a little contrived at times.
Overall though, the movie is fun to watch and well acted, even through some weak spots, and is well worth the time and ticket price.
Away We Go gets a B+.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Year One

Why do they keep letting Jack Black star in movies?
Doesn't he have enough money yet? Can't he just go away?
Year One looked like it had potential to have some funny parts, there were even a few chuckles in the preview.
Somehow, the handful of funny parts in the preview were not funny in context of the overall film.
Even with Michael Cera playing the same character he's usually funny as (awkward kid with no way with women, you're all familiar) can't seem to save this debacle.
A seemingly endless parade of cameos from the likes of director Harold Ramis himself, Vinnie Jones, David Cross, Paul Rudd, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Hank Azaria and many others can't even make this funny.
Tired jokes and Jack Black doing the same unfunny physical humor that he's done a thousand times just drags the whole movie down to a non-stop bore.
Year One gets an F.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Coming attractions...

Food Inc.: This is being heralded as the next documentary to hit the scale of Michael Moore as far as mass appeal and marketability.

Moon: Sci-fi from David Bowie's son an Sam Rockwell.

Tetro: Francis Ford Coppola is back with a new original screenplay. First since The Conversation (one of my all time favorites).

Dead Snow: nazi zombies? Cheesy horror movie that doesn't seem to take it self seriously? Decent special effects? Beautiful scenery?
Yes, please.

Year One: Ah, stupid comedy. Cameos by David Cross and Paul Rudd had me laughing hard in the previews.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Hangover

Not a bad idea teaming up Ed Helms, Zack Galafianakis and Bradley Cooper for an update to the bachelor party genre of comedy.
They lose the groom during the festivities and wake up in a complete state of disarray and confusion.
The story is passable and at some times even interesting, but the real strength of The Hangover is the odd humor of Galafianakis and Helms together playing off of the mostly straight-man role that Cooper is in.
Cooper delivers some funny stuff too, but Galafianakis and Helms are down right ludicrous. The characters are as mismatched as any Hollywood comedy would do these days, so it's pretty typical humor in many ways, but it works to deliver laughs.
As far as originality goes, it has a lot of the same type of story and humor as many of the million drunken exploit movies out there. This is nothing groundbreaking in any way.
The discomfort caused by Galafianakis' awkwardness is worth watching though. From his bare backside near the beginning to his NC-17 rated exploits during the end credits, and all of his insanity while clothed as well, he is probably the funniest part of the film.
The Hangover gets a B-.