April 2011 Archives
The movies have given us a lot of great male actor pairings: Newman and Redford, Pesci and De Niro, Gibson and Glover. And while nobody in Fast Five has the talent or charisma of any of those actors (okay, maybe Glover), I think it's time we officially add Diesel and Walker to that list. Just because this is the third time they've partnered up, on and off the racetrack, and you can't help but smile when you see them bro out. Also, they spend a lot of time in cars, and when a car has personality it helps make up for a lack of personality in the actor. But really, there are a ton of pairings in this movie that pop, mostly among the ragtag band of racers that assembles to rip off a Brazilian criminal, and seeing the relationships develop, even in a limited way, definitely adds to the otherwise adrenaline-fueled thrill ride. Here are some of my favorites:
Disney's Prom is a movie exclusively for tweens about the things tweens consider important. Things like dresses, kisses, decorations, finding your soulmate by the age of 15 -- all the greatest hits. It's pretty hard to take the movie seriously as an adult, not just because I have better things to care about in my old age (you know, like finding ways to mock children's movies, and making it to happy hour on time), but also because Prom is really just an assemblage of movie prom clichés I've seen a zillion times before crammed together and poorly acted by Aimee Teegarden and other unqualified children. But! As rife with tired clichés as this movie is (and believe me, that is all it is), the filmmakers left a few of the very best ones out. And why? The movie would have been so much more watchable with these additional prom movie chestnuts.
We love high school dance movies, particularly when the entire school breaks out into a choreographed number without any explanation. It's like the movie version of flash mobs before there even were flash mobs. Who knew She's All That was so ahead of its time? The new movie Prom comes out this weekend, and while we've heard that there isn't a spontaneous group number in it, it did make us think back to the other school dances we wish we had attended.
If you feel strange buying a Syfy made-for-TV movie on DVD, then at least you can mask your shame with one of this week's more arty films.
The new movie starring Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon is a romantic circus epic, three words I don't often like to say together. Like Titanic under the big top, or Larger Than Life during the Great Depression, the movie manages to combine star-crossed lovers and economic disparity with comedically unruly animals, and the end result is a sappy, clichéd, albeit very pretty, film. And since it takes place during Prohibition, everyone in the movie drinks, be it whiskey, cheap moonshine or champagne, and by the end of the movie, I was kind of jealous. Why should they get to drift through two hours of melodrama in a foggy haze while I have to sit there soberly and see every twist and turn coming a mile away? (And I hadn't even read the book.) If you want to be constantly surprised by this movie, I recommend making a drinking game out of it. Here are the players, and the rules.
This direct-to-DVD movie isn't exactly what you'd call good, but it was considerably better than yet another High School Musical installment. This spinoff had the decency to focus on the best thing about the HSM franchise: the Sharpay character. She's self-involved and pampered to a deliriously wonderful degree, and here she gets it in her brainy head to go to New York to pursue her dream of being an actress, which she soon realizes that it is a bit more difficult than just flashing her daddy's credit card everywhere. It has elements of Legally Blonde (Sharpay's obsessed with pink, too) but while I personally adore Ashley Tisdale, Reese Witherspoon she is not. Here's what really doesn't work about the movie:
This week is filled with sad DVDs. Some because of their subject matter, and others because of the awards they stole from more deserving movies.
Did you know that John Wilkes Booth didn't act alone? That even as he shot Abraham Lincoln, he had accomplices making their own unsuccessful strikes on the Vice President and the Secretary of State? You didn't? Well, now you do. So, unless you want to learn more about what a kangaroo court looked like in 1865, or how bitter things were between Northerners and Southerners in the dwindling days of the Civil War, there's really no other reason to see The Conspirator. Unless, of course, you need yet another object lesson about how no matter the progress we make, history tends to repeat itself.
Scream 4 had some harsh realities to face when it was coming together. For one thing, it's been 11 long years since the third movie and the horror landscape has changed dramatically since then -- the masses are now more into low budget ghost stories like Paranormal Activity and torture porn like Saw than slasher flicks. Plus, there's a whole new generation of kids who have no idea who Neve Campbell even is. And then there's the small issue of the fact that nobody at all was clamoring for this franchise to return. But, somewhat amazingly, director Wes Craven and screenwriter (and WB/CW phenom) Kevin Williamson reunited to stab those obstacles into submission, and the result is one of the smartest, most entertaining films I've seen in ages.
The first trailer for the Planet of the Apes prequel/remake/reboot, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, has hit the Internet, and it looks pretty great. That's mostly because it looks nothing like Tim Burton's overwrought remake of Planet from 2001, but also because it seems to borrow as much from recent horror films as it does Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, the 1972 film that it partially draws on. Here are the other movies I couldn't help but think of as I watched the trailer.