Busy Guy reviews
2008 Movies on DVD
These days so many of us prefer the home movie viewing experience. The cinema is costly, noisy, too loud, too cold and not altogether enjoyable. Home theaters have become remarkably sophisticated and surprisingly affordable. We no longer have to leave the building because movies can be delivered directly to our door! Some films are undiscovered gems and others are well... not. Here's a few favorites and more (97 films).
The House Bunny - Very funny. Sweetly naive. Rambles a bit. 'Legally Blonde' meets 'Mean Girls'. A good date movie.
Horton Hears A Who - Well voiced and animated take on the Dr. Seuss classic. Plenty of inside jokes. Big Box Office. Inimitable and constant rhyming. Watch it once.
Wanted - Straight ahead actioner with Jolie, McAvoy and Freeman. Immensely violent and graphic. Near 3-D effects. Nerd makes good.
Hancock - Will Smith delivers every time. Unexpected. Inventive reversal. Satisfying. Happy ending.
Wall-E - Loveable clicks and whirrs. Another Vehicle to sell stuffed toys and such. Well crafted and inspiring story if too long with plenty of sudden reversals. Not as touching as I hoped.
Kung Fu Panda - No shortage of computer animation these days. A pleasant, detailed undertaking. These films seen to exist so cute stuffed toys can be sold. Successful and talented voices. Animation for children, humor for adults. The usual.
Scorpion King 2: Rise - Excellent special effects. Interesting, inventive plot twists. Cast largely with unknowns. Plenty of evil goo and swordsmanship. A glassy eyed view since there is nothing for us to care about.
Kitt Kittredge: An American Girl - Touching and watchable. Abigail Breslin is always a nice way to spend time. Depression era households seem closer than ever. Award winning cast.
The Hulk - A remake of a comic book remake. Better than it's predecessor. More heart. Ed Norton is in fine shape. Tony Stark's surprise visit. All set for a sequel.
The Visitor - A gentle film about a listless professor who discovers illegal immigrants have taken up residence in his town house. Cross cultural awakenings ensue. A good, solid rendering of the human condition.
Indiana Jones and The Crystal Skull - Uneven. Miscast. Clumsily written. Scenes plucked from other Spielburg flicks. An awkward attempt to renew a classic franchise. No glamour. Ford was good.
The Zohan - Typically ludicrous undertaking from Adam Sandler. Like most of his films there are a few hearty laughs. Then the film shoots suddenly in an unprepared direction leaving the viewer and the laughter behind.
Ironman - Robert Downey Jr. is the big reason this film works. Sure we like to see the bad guys get their comeuppance (and they do get it here). But it is the cavalier genius of Tony Stark that propels this watchable tale and middling relationship to his man Friday Pepper Potts (Gwenyth Paltrow). A cross between 'Transformers' and 'Robocop'. Nerd heaven.
Baby Mama - Tasteful touching comedy from Tina Fey, Greg Kinnear, Steve Martin and Amy Poehler. Fresh. Avoids the gross out Will Farrell standard. Pinto meets limo. Several LOL moments. Plenty of reversals. Pregnancy isn't usually this funny!
Bonneville - A 1962 red Bonneville convertible is the setting for this crisp, sweet production with some stellar casting. A gentle story of loss and companionship as two middle aged women accompany their friend while she escorts the ashes of her late husband. The journey is allegory and provides us with many touching, compassionate moments.
Vantage Point - It's a bit slow to evolve but when you catch on it's totally exciting. A car chase like no other through the streets of Salamanca, Spain. Heart pounding. A complicated terrorist plot.
The Eye - Well acted by Jessica Alba. Like other recent horror stories, a Japanese make over. Like the Mothman? A little confusing, dynamic conclusion, back to the beginning.
Goya's Ghosts - A most difficult movie to view. It's all too real. Tears. Yet another reminder of power and the corrupt. A lifetime is stolen. Innocence exploited. The good is perverted. Natalie Portman is an excellent lamb and a triumphant heroine, crazed. The evil of man has no limit. You will feel. A lame justice.
Be Kind Rewind - Very funny. Totally ludicrous. Often touching. Jack Black is the perfect well intentioned crank. Cameos from Mia Farrow and Sigourney Weaver. Danny Glover appears too little. Some small thing to feel.
The Other Boleyn Girl - Very compelling for a semi-biographical period drama. A true story. A masterful performance from Natalie Portman. Another indication that the Royal family was selfish, arrogant, greedy and manipulative. Oh yeah, and the mother of Queen Elizabeth was never wed to King Henry VIII.
The Bucket List - Strong performances all around. Moving and clever. Sometimes harsh and yet frequently tender. Too short a film to spend in this fine company. Feel moved, I did.
We Own the Night - With Joaquin Phoenix and Mark Wahlberg. Well acted but wandering tale of brothers and there relationship with the law. Sometimes gory sometimes erotic and always intense. Lovely Eva Mendes heats up the screen and fades too soon.
Rambo - Perhaps the finest yet. Set in what is now Myanmar and beyond action packed. Very graphic. Stallone still does the job and the bad guys deserve what they get. At least we can watch John Rambo go home.
In The Valley of Elah - Tommy Lee Jones makes a stirring appearance in an almost virtuoso performance. A father discovers the worst about his lost son. Well cast with Susan Sarandon. You will be drawn into this film. Put it on the must see list.
American Gangster - Tried hard to like this. Great casting and compelling performances. Mostly, I felt nothing. No one cares about these characters. Needless, excessive violence. A culture of dislikable thugs and corrupt police that cannot move the viewer.
27 Dresses - Ms. Heigl was adequately diverting in yet another formulaic, romantic comedy as 'always a brides maid never a bride'. Set-up, sudden reversal, happy ending. As things go this one was sufficient. I'm a lover of happy endings. They're preposterous of course because life marches onward. We watch for the diversion.
The Golden Compass - As much as I like Nicole Kidman I found this work disappointing. Kidman was fine as the bad guy (girl/person) as was Daniel Craig though the directing was uninspired. It was a complicated tale. One really wants to get 'into' it but can't seem to manage. Perhaps it's one too many cute, youthful British accents or another cgi creature; maybe yet another fantastic mythology to embrace. I give it A for effort - too much too late.
Charlie Wilson's War - Very entertaining. Well cast. Quite fun. Topless hot tub. Serious in a mocking tone. I really am weary of Tom Hanks.
Juno - Snappy. Touching and unconventional. Non-judgmental and innocent in its' own quirky way. A deserved Oscar winner. Exactly how do we handle the most important yet invasive task of our species if not with gentle awareness and wisdom? It's funny, heartbreaking and surprisingly resilient.
Hitman - I have a sneaking admiration for this film. It isn't often that we are presented with a righteous, likable slayer. The story is old enough but this kicks it into the 21st century. An un-named, paid assassin (reared as monk #47) is targeted by his very employer. Holy Jason Bourne! Think 'Transporter'. Plenty of action and more.
Blonde Ambition - Jessica Simpson's much rebuffed box office dud was really quite fun. She's stunningly attractive if overly adorned. Well cast in this likeable romantic comedy with the usual reversals. Though it may have done dismal business in the states, it is number one in the Ukraine. Holy Tammy and the Batchelor!
I Am Legend - Formerly 'The Omega Man' with Charleton Heston. Great effects if the story is filled with holes. Will Smith always manages to engage. Hated the ending!
No Country For Old Men - The Best to come out of tinsel town since 'Crash'. Not lighthearted. Money and Drugs. Inventive. Tightly acted and directed. A pursuit. We're not really certain how it ends.
Bee Movie - Surprisingly unsatisfying. Some funny asides. Plenty of hype. Lacks repeat watchability. Seinfeld's voice is a little too recognizable. Longer than you might like.
Beowulf - Gross but fascinating. Unlike other good natured features from director Robert Zemekis. Lingering three D cinematics. Grandiloquence of the warrior class. A never ending story.
Michael Clayton - George Clooney has set the new standard for gritty dialogue and legal often mischievous wrangling. Another nice turn though I doubt it will be an Oscar recipient. It's a complicated plot with the usual wealthy entrapments. Clooney excels in the portrayal of shady characters gone good and find themselves suddenly outcast.
Blonde and Blonder - What a terrible waste. Pam Anderson is starting to look her age and was outshined by Denise Richards. The writing was dismal and the directing was uninspired. As a cross between 'Dumb and Dumber' and 'Legally Blonde' this is a true failure.
Suburban Girl - Alec Baldwin romances Sarah Michele Gellar in this touching if awkward May/December affair. No one presents a more convincing pout than Gellar. The ubiquitous Baldwin has conquered the role of wealthy, successful pinhead. No surprises.
3:10 to Yuma - A remake from the 1956 original, this one with Russell Crowe. A farmer is hired to bring a desperate outlaw to the train from Yuma for $200. The outlaw is shockingly pleasant and cold. Very well played. Plenty of heart. It's a western and a good one.
Stardust - Truly original. Destined to become a cult classic. Watchability. Laden with special effects. Clever dialogue. Sword and sorcery on a big budget. Unique and unexpected. This I purchased for my collection.
MISSES - Movies of promise cause us to smile or to weep or perhaps to feel emotions that linger with the viewer and beyond. Some films didn't connect with me or perhaps it was the reverse. A film must be experienced.
'Sunshine', 'Eastern Promises', 'Planet Terror', 'Rise of the Blood Hunter', 'The Simpson's Movie', 'Nancy Drew', 'Sweeney Todd', 'The Seeker', 'Meet the Robinson's', 'The Water Horse', 'The Mist', 'Lust, Caution', 'Southland Tales', 'The Good Night', 'Mad Money', 'Over Her Dead Body', 'Untraceable', 'P.S. I Love You', 'The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford', 'Jumper', 'Car Babes', 'The Host', '10,00 Years B.C.', 'Arctic Tale', 'The Tattooist', 'The Bank Job', 'Chaos Theory', 'Cleaner', 'Skinwalkers', 'Flawless', 'Nim's Island', 'Dan in Real Life', 'Hogfather', 'Knocked Up', 'Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story', 'Penelope', 'Pathfinder', 'What Happens In Vegas', 'One Man's Hero', 'Fantastic Planet', "The Love Guru' , 'Made of Honor', '88 Minutes', 'Robot Chicken',' In Bruges', 'Journey to the Center of the Earth', 'Zombie Strippers', 'Doomsday', 'Tropic Thunder', 'Leatherheads', 'Cold Mountain', 'The X-Files: I Want to Believe', 'Get Smart', 'Fracture', 'White Hunter, Black Heart', 'Speed Racer', 'The Happening',