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I watch movies. On DVD, at the theater, via cable TV. Sometimes I want people to know what I think about the movies I watch, regardless of whether or not they care. I promise I will make my reviews short, but I won't be ashamed to throw around cliches like "beautiful cinematography" and "post-modern irony," so be warned.

Friday, December 23, 2005 :::

The Family Stone

Why I saw it: I'm not sure. It had likeable actors in it.

What I think about it: The Family Stone starts out by eagerly painting a portrait of the 21st-century's most cliched post-modern family: the wise old dad, an almost impossibly liberal yet stubborn mother, the strong-willed daughter, the gay son, the interracial couple, the acceptably lovable slacker son... and that's just for starters. Then it piles on the imaginary conflict while adding layer upon layer of thick, goopy sentimentality until it reaches a pinnacle of forced camaraderie that almost seems to wear its disingenuousness with pride.

On the plus side, some of the performances are good, and there are a couple of well-written scenes that really stand out from the rest of the mess, including an awkward dinner scene that's almost too uncomfortably authentic in its quest to make the audience uneasy. It also has the balls to make Sarah Jessica Parker an unapologetically unlikeable character, which deserves credit. But other than that, the movie meanders along at a fairly uneven pace while trying desperately to touch on every trite movie convention of the last twenty years, including cancer, while steadily burying itself in its own contrivances. Even though the point the movie is trying to make about how some people are more suited for each other than others seems to come from an authentic place, the relationship switcheroo that the movie proposes is completely ridiculous and strains credibility.

Basically, it's a heavy-handed hodge-podge of every dysfunctional family crap-fest of the last decade, but the actors give it their best, so it's not a total loss.

Learn more about it.

::: posted by dan at 11:19 PM :: #

Monday, December 19, 2005 :::

King Kong

Why I saw it: Must. See. King. Kong.

What I think about it: I guess I felt bad for that poor monkey. I dunno. I have nothing against special effects epics, and that what's-his-name-director is certainly good at his craft, but damn that movie was long. Looking back, I can't think of a single scene that was bad or that I would recommend cutting, but that doesn't mean it was capable of stopping my ass from aching after three hours in a movie theater seat. And that cool Brontosaurus chase-scene couldn't stop my legs from slipping into atrophy. It also couldn't stop the movie theater from developing a sultry/musty BO smell after housing 300 barely-bathed Minnesotans for 187 straight minutes.

To be honest, King Kong was generally rather engaging and pretty as hell. And I assume it was effective and convincing, seeing as how I'll be having nightmares about that savage natives scene for years to come. And the prehistoric bugs and slugs scenes made my stomach churn something awful. So I recommend it. I just don't want to have to sit through it again.

Anyway, it's King Kong. It is what it is and nothing else.

Learn more about it.

::: posted by dan at 10:04 PM :: #


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