Search planetdan:

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.

Sunday, June 08, 2008 :::

Feast of Love

Why I saw it: I liked a couple of the director's previous movies.

What I think about it: This movie, which chronicles the ups and downs of various intertwining couples, isn't even worth summarizing. It's derivative, boring, useless, predictable, and meandering. It has nothing new to say, and no new ways to say it, except perhaps a shallow justification for infidelity, which is akin to something like "it's okay to cheat as long as you eventually end up with the one that you are fated for," or on the flip side, "Don't worry if you get cheated on because that just means you obviously weren't meant to be with that person." It's the definition of forced sentimental drivel. I hesitated even wasting the time to review it.

Learn more about it.

::: posted by dan at 10:36 PM :: #

The Mist

Why I saw it: I used to like the short story by Stephen King on which it is based.

What I think about it: Although this tale about a town enshrouded in a mysterious mist that is inhabited by a bevy of creepy-crawlies is effectively dread-inducing and disturbingly vivid, it also relies much too heavily on cliche and contrivance. Marcia Gay Harden does a good job inhabiting the religious zealot persona, unfortunately the character is so clearly cliched and unrealistic that the resulting plot contrivances of her character's story arch are completely unconvincing. And the mean-old-neighbor character portrayed by Andre Braugher is even worse, since the story does not provide a strong enough back story to justify his stubborn idiocy. It's bad when the characters in a monster movie feel more false and forced than the actual computer-generated monsters. Plus, the ending, a departure from the source material, is so unforgivingly nihilistic that you begin to wonder what point the filmmakers are trying to make, and the moral of the story gets foggier than the mist itself. Some people might call that daring. I call it sloppy and pointless.

Learn more about it.

::: posted by dan at 10:23 PM :: #

The Savages

Why I saw it: I like the actors and the director.

What I think about it: It's a funny and depressing look at the realities and unpleasantries of old age and death, and the way real people deal with these difficult issues. Told through the viewpoint of a semi-dysfunctional brother and sister, who have plenty of their own issues to deal with, what sets this movie apart from other recent dysfunctional-family movies is the brilliant acting by the two main leads, a clear avoidance of over-sentimentalization, and a careful attention to detail and nuance. The resulting movie feels emotionally authentic and perfectly portrayed. Plus, the ending is about as feel-good as they come - in the real world.

Learn more about it.

::: posted by dan at 10:12 PM :: #

No End In Sight

Why I saw it: It was nominated for an Oscar

What I think about it: It's maddening, frustrating, infuriating, and everything else you would expect from a documentary about the Iraq war. It's also hard to judge, because the interviewees are all disgruntled participants and reporting like this is always speculative and subjective. I'm not saying I don't believe them or the color of the resulting portrait that the movie paints, I'm just saying that it's not going to convince anyone who REALLY needs to be convinced, and those people's numbers are dwindling anyway. Hopefully. Still, it was well made and intensely watchable.

Learn more about it.

::: posted by dan at 10:07 PM :: #

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Why I saw it: Duh.

What I think about it: Before its release, I heard some bad rumblings on the Internet about this fourth installment of the popular series (of which I have always been a major fan). I dismissed the poor reviews based on the concept that people expect more out of action movies these days. The old charms of Raiders of the Lost Ark can't really compete with today's specials effects and action extravaganzas to those with short attention spans. I figured these reviews were just coming from young kids who were expecting Transformers-level eye candy, but I think I judged the critics too harshly, because this movie is clearly the worst of the series. Its jumbled plot and surprising lack of charm are sinful to say the least, and forgive me for saying it, but no matter how much they want to try to convince people otherwise, it's just not as fun watching old, unsexy people stumbling through rehashed 1950's set-pieces which seem entirely uncomfortable and out of place for Indy. I don't think this is a franchise that can survive an "update".

On the flip side, the killer ants were cool, but I never ever ever want to see the Tarzan scene again in my entire life. Of course, it's probably impossible not to be disappointed by this movie, considering the history it has to live up to.

Learn more about it.

::: posted by dan at 9:57 PM :: #

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Why I saw it: I heard it was funny from the critics.

What I think about it: A guy gets dumped when his girlfriend gets semi-famous and trades up for a smarmy rock star. A supposedly-cathartic trip to Hawaii to get over her becomes an exercise in awkwardness when all parties accidentally end up in the same hotel. Hilarity ensues. I know this movie is somehow associated with the entourage and experts behind Superbad, 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, yadda yadda, and I liked all of them to some extent, but I actually enjoyed this one more than most. Superbad was a combination of sweetly cute and violently profane - a creepy mixture which made me a tad nauseous - and Knocked Up was little more than a paper thin plot to hang dirty jokes on, but Forgetting Sarah Marshall was able to be profane without making me blush, cute without creeping me out, and funny without relying on a tired old plot. It's a good, solid comedy with nice likable people, which makes me comfortable to recommend it whole-heartedly.

Learn more about it.

::: posted by dan at 9:42 PM :: #

Baby Mama

Why I saw it: I like Tina Fey.

What I think about it: I was under the impression this was a Tina Fey project, meaning she had some involvement in its creation or screenplay. I was mistaken. It's not a terrible movie, but it's pretty derivative and lacking in much originality. The surrogate mother plot isn't even worth getting into. The only thing it really has going for it is the Tina Fey/Amy Poehler comedy combo, and even that isn't really used to its fullest potential. Granted, I laughed out loud a few times during certain rare inspired moments like the bit about sustained eye contact as a reward and a couple other one-liners. And the Sigourney Weaver character is a hoot, and I never use the word "hoot". But still, this movie is meant for Cable TV.

Learn more about it.

::: posted by dan at 9:34 PM :: #


planetdan home
planetdan blog
dan's pics
fun junk

recent reviews
Feast of Love
The Mist
The Savages
No End In Sight
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull...
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Baby Mama
Inland Empire
Gone Baby Gone
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Rob...

sista c
b stacy b


03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004
04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004
05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004
06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004
07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004
08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004
09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004
10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004
11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004
12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005
01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005
02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005
03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005
04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005
05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005
06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005
07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005
08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005
11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005
12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006
01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006
02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006
03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006
04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006
05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006
06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006
07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006
09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006
10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006
12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007
08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007
09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007
10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007
11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007
01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008
03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008
06/01/2008 - 07/01/2008

some ads