2 sentence movie reviews

i see a lot of movies, not that this makes me an expert.  the fact that i don’t have to pay for most of them does make me unbiased, though.  newest stuff on top; title linked to the imdb page; any links on the star-rating (out of 5) is back to my own review.  enjoy, and feel free to email me to debate.

cirque du freak, the vampire’s assistant:  ***½, as with many other kids’ movies, the adult viewer has to overlook a few plotholes-due-to-simplification.  super cute and a lot of fun, i’m interested in both the books and any forthcoming sequels.

where the wild things are:  **, visually, it’s a gorgeous world where monsters and magical things look really lived-in (as opposed to the usual squeaky-clean plastic perfection of CGI). but the story doesn’t particularly go anywhere – apparently, kids get can get frustratingly unhinged about little things in life, and then act like little monsters.

paranormal activity:  ****, a truly old-school haunted house movie – really refreshing for those of us that prefer our horror to be actually scary rather than just gory.  slowly builds up, ratcheting up actual tension rather than cheap buckets-o-fake-blood, right up to an ending that’s sudden as cardiac arrest.

surrogates:  **½

9:  **½, it’s really really really pretty – animation, lights, textures are all fantastic. but the story is particularly thin, and plagued with enough head-scratching wtf moments to have you thinking it’s pointless by the end.

gamer:  **, starts off with the far-from-novel but slickly-presented premise that our online lives are (literally) taking over our real ones. after a really good set up, though, it gives up any pretense of thinking to head off into some standard summertime explosions and the very same gratuitous t&a and blood splatters it’s supposed to be skewering.

inglorious basterds:  ***, really really really tarantino.  the plot is more than a little lazy, but it looks oh so stylish.

district 9:  ****, manages the remarkable trick of making you care what happens to an utterly unlikeable protagonist.  would be wonderful for the south african accents alone, except that it’s also a great movie.

moon: ***½, slow, talky, and more thoughtful than your standard sci-fi.  feels like a sketch rather than a whole painting.

the hurt locker:  ***½, does an incredible job of putting the viewer into the emotion and daily life of a military bomb squad technician.  uneven, but solid.

the watchmen:  ****, mar 2, ’09.  haven’t seen so much full-frontal outside of a porn flick in a very long time; sue me, i’m an american, we get distracted by this stuff.  anyway, really good whether or not you were into the comic.

the international:  **, feb 12 ’09.  i fell asleep during a gunfight in the gugenheim.  ’nuff said.

coraline*****, feb 11 ’09. a beautiful dark fairy tale, refreshingly complex for a “kids’ movie”.  not suitable for the tiny kids, but a winner for everyone else (including the adults).

push:  ***½, a rare example wherein the sort of book i like to read does in fact make a quite decent movie.  deeply flawed by the gaping wide open ending, but otherwise fun.

taken:  ****, if you’ve seen the trailer, you’ve absolutely got the gist of it (i.e., very accurate marketing).  suspenseful & taut for all it’s inherent simplicity, but could win an award for best possible propaganda for dads to convince nubile daughters to just stay at home.

underworld: rise of the lycans:  ***½, kate beckinsale look-alike has cinematic hot lovin’ with a werewolf on top of a cliff; mayhem ensues.  pretty, not thinky, but fun enough to chomp popcorn through.

outlander:  ***, jesus (aka, the count of monte cristo) comes from outer-space to do battle with the space-dragon that chomped his fam.  beowulf + predator is sum total of the flick.


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