Busy Guy reviews
2009 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 (54 films).
Animated - 2009 provided us with many animated features. 'Bolt', Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs', 'Monsters in the Attic', 'Coraline', 'Monsters vs. Aliens', 'Up' and more. There were also plenty of movies that mix live action and animation such as 'Night at the Museum: Smithsonian', 'Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen' etc. For the most part the animation is for children and the dialogue is for adults. Personally I find them to be oddly touching and highly entertaining. I have no particular recommendation or critique.
Star Trek - Star Trek has been a favorite of mine since I was very small. Series and movies alike display an awkwardness that 'trekkers' are willing to absorb. That having been said, this particular film is a fair re-invention of the franchise. There are still plenty of call backs to lines from the previous films but on the whole it is a good adventure that can be enjoyed by those who have not seen Star Trek before.
The Reader - A complex tale of awakening and joy. Of loss and discovery. A coming of age story with grand overtones achieved only by this most dedicated ensemble. Intimate in the extreme. A moment in history both grim and yet somehow redeemed.
Taken - Excellent. Fast paced. Stunning portrayals and a timely topic. Violent. Curiously satisfying.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - Slowly paced with very deliberate performances. Comparable to 'Forrest Gump'. Enjoyable. Filled with gentle humanity. Novel. I liked it.
Slumdog Millionaire - Every bit as good as you have heard. Likely a very real portrayal. Sometimes difficult to watch. Inspiring and often grim. Worth a viewing.
Frost/Nixon - A compelling film made all too real if you actually lived through it. A sad story and some say sensationalized by Director Howard. View it if you can.
The Day the Earth Stood Still - With Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Connelly and Kathy Bates. Sharply disappointing remake of the 1951 classic. Not just one space craft but many. Poor GORT is replaced by a swarm. Reeves is humorless as always. See it if you must.
Bedtime Stories - Adam Sandler, Courteney Cox, Guy Pierce, Lucy Lawless and Jonathan Pryce with numerous cameos. Two cute kids weave truth into their uncles outlandish bed time tales. Fast paced and inventive. More Disney family fodder with plenty of the Sandler - Schneider gross-ities. Definitely for kids. See it once.
Role Models - Another foul mouthed romp from the Apattow crowd. Plenty of bad language from very young kids. Pointless nudity. Not very interesting.
Quantum of Solace - Bond actioner picks up right after 'Casino Royale' but has little in common with the name. Plenty of compact action sequences and too few scenes with Bonds typical personality. Sketchy plot threads leave the viewer confused. Under developed characters play like a video game.
Cadillac Records - With Beyonce Knowles and Adrien Brody. Better than expected tale of music greats like Etta James, Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Willie Dixon and the legendary Chess recording studio. All at a time of severe discrimination and segregation. Worth watching.
Twilight - Much mal-aligned but satisfying story of a young girl and a family of 'vegetarian' vampires. Made for teen girls but still a good story. Keep that in mind and some missing subtleties are acceptable. Quite touching. A sequel looks to feature Dakota Fanning. Is it really a happy ending?
Australia - Off center yet grand telling of '30s Australia. A Michener wanna be. Good performances all around include an enormous budget replete with herds of hoof stock. Under developed characters never quite gain stride.
Religulous - A docu-comedy from Bill Maher that fully embraces the strange perceptions and manipulative ethos of religion especially Christianity and Islam. Very funny and somewhat disturbing.
Elizabethtown - Kirsten Dunst and Orlando Bloom. Very touching often humorous. A romantic comedy with imaginative perspective and circumstance. Worth the viewing.
The Secret Life of Bees - Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys and Queen Latifah. Beautiful. An eloquent story, well crafted and poignantly directed. A tail of innocence and simple elegance in the tradition of 'Bonneville'. We care deeply about these portrayals and the true dichotomy of joy and sadness and what exists between. They are us.
Righteous Kill - Always enjoyable presence of Pacino and DeNiro. The story brims with bravado and suffers a clumsy reversal. Subordinate characters languish in anonymity. Watch it once, because no one cares about these characters.
Vicky Christina Barcelona - Woody Allen never tires of exploring relationships and fidelity. Awesome cast including Johansson and Cruz. An adventure of the heart timeless and refined.
Bangkok Dangerous - Nicholas Cage plays the sullen, brooding hit man. A loner without virtue. No one cares.
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor - Much maligned but very similar to the previous films. Spectacular effects. Michele Yeoh is always a nice time to spend. No Rachel Weisz.
Burn After Reading - Quirky, offbeat and dark comedy with an award winning cast. Fine appeal after a certain genre such as 'Fargo' etc. It took two tries to get through it and glad I did.
Babylon A.D. - Vin Diesel Sci-Fi muscle. Hasn't aged great. Loosely knitted together. Confusing Plot. Action scenes and special effects can't help us care about these characters.
Eagle Eye - Very fast pace. 'Enemy of the State' meets 'Phone Booth'. Throw in twin brothers and the film is written. Not a big fan of Shia LeBouf. Billy Bob Thornton, Rosario Dawson, William Sadler and Michael Chiklis are all but wasted. We don't care what happens to any of the characters.
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.
'Ghost Town', 'The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian', 'Surfer, Dude', 'The Secret', 'Sex and Death 101', 'Mama Mia', 'City of Ember', 'Pineapple Express', 'Nic and Nora's Infinite Playlist', 'Lakeview Terrace', 'Madagascar II: Escape from Africa', 'Zodiac', 'Nights in Rodanthe', ',Soul Men', 'Body of Lies', 'Everybody Wants To Be Italian', 'My Best Friend's Girl', 'Transporter 3', 'Street Kings', 'Bride Wars', 'The Spirit', 'My Blueberry Nights', 'Legally Blondes', 'Yes Man', 'Outlander', 'Paul Blart: Mall Cop', 'Fan Boys', 'Killshot', 'Passengers', 'He's Just Not That Into You', 'The Grudge 3',