Saturday, April 17, 2010

Catching Up Is Hard To Do.

So with a couple pretty hectic weeks under my belt it seems I've fallen a bit behind on my review schedule. Normally I would just post the full reviews late but given how far I am behind, and my rather- and the movies in question- I thought maybe it would be best to just shave the reviews down a bit and post them together.w This way we can all get on with our lives. Let the abridged reviewing begin!

First up: Hot Tub Time Machine
Hot Tub Time Machine was written by Sean Anders and John Morris, the same team that brought us She's Out of My League. I think the thing that saved Time Machine from the swirling vortex of lost direction that sucked League down to Davey Jones' locker was the theme. Morris and Anders knew that all they had to do to make Time Machine work was reference as much 80's pop culture as they could, and where available throw in some comparison's to present day culture- which is exactly what they do. For all it's comedic power, only a few shots fell short for me (I've never found on screen vomit to be very funny).
In Short: If you've any sense you'll go for a stupid, good time and you'll get exactly what you paid for.

Next on the docket: It's Complicated
Nancy Meyer's succeeds in showing us yet again how hard it is to be rich and white. Meryl Streep plays one part of a poorly written foursome obviously meant to be evoke a sex and the city vibe in the over fifty crowd. This woman's "crisis" is that fact that the handsome, successful, sweet and thoughtful architect that's helping her add on to the already huge house she lives (alone) in is interested in taking it slow and getting to know her. This comes right as the husband she never wanted to leave expresses interest in coming back. What next,
In Short: It's actually quite simple.

Third we have: Crazy Heart
At first glance this the story of a burnt out star's path to redemption. Upon seeing it however, it struck me more as the story of how a song was born- for this I appreciated it. The story proves to be a bit predictable, which comes back around as a compliment in the fact that despite this- it remains interesting, though in the end not enthralling. Jeff Bridges hits rock bottom with all the skill we already knew he had, even if it's a rock bottom we've seen before. I don't know if I would call it the best performance he's ever given, but that doesn't mean he didn't deserve an Oscar for the many great ones he's given over the years.
In Short: A movie definitely worth seeing, even if only on your home theater.

And Finally: Clash of the Titans
Any one who read my last Five!! knows I went into this one with one nagging fear- well I came out with hat fear made reality. What's the only thing worse than cutting Bubo out of Clash of the Titans? Having him in it only for a moment as the butt of a joke! All fan-boy-edness aside however, this movie was far from what even the pessimist in me expected. Often with these re-makes, the very thing that excited you about the thought of it happening (the wild advances in special effects technology) turns out to be it's downfall. Not so with Clash of the Titans. No, the CG is phenomenal here, the problem is- quite simply- piss poor writing.
I have no trouble admitting that the original had areas ripe for improvement in terms of pacing, or just flat-out storytelling, but why bother with that when we can write cool one liners!? So instead we get new and for the most part uninteresting characters awash in a movie that smacks of multiple re-writes by multiple writers. Certain story lines are pounded to death at points only to be all but forgotten in others. Some great characters are erased, only to be replaced by others that just can't get the job done. And others just randomly explode (I'm not kidding). Overall the entire outing feels watered down and half-asked.
In Short: To put it in terms of modern tellings of ancient stories: Louis Leterrier tried to give us another 300, when the movie would have been better suited by for Wolfgang Peterson trying to give us another Troy.

And there you have it, the summation of my time away. But I'm back now, and I'll try to avoid another huge lapse in the near future. Believe me, nobody likes half a review any less than me!

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