Friday, May 09, 2008

A Tale of Six Movies

In order of preference...

The Savages
A very dark comedy that touches on a delicate family moment: the diagnosis of an estranged parent with "dementia" as he spirals towards inevitable death. A brother and sister work together to cope with the situation, never getting melodramatic — sometimes warranting laughs — and yet always making me a wee bit uncomfortable in my seat. But it's the sort of discomfort I appreciate: recognition that life is not forever, and "carpe diem" is, sadly, just something people say. FINAL GRADE: A-

Baby Mama
Easily one of the best "clean" comedies of recent memory, with clever, subtle humor throughout that kept the material from ever going stale. A truly enjoyable viewing experience about a 30-something career woman (Tina Fey) who hires a white trash surrogate (Amy Phoeler) to carry her embryo. FINAL GRADE: A-

Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Without question, this was the first time in a great while that I've enjoyed a Judd Apatow-produced film without the slightest tinge of inner conflict. With Sarah Marshall — a film about a man recovering from the devastation brought upon by the end of a 5-year relationship with a television actress — he's at long last put his checkbook behind a comedy that doesn't intersperse hearty laughs with chauvinist undertones. Plus, there are boy parts! Ow-owww! FINAL GRADE: A-

Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay
Yeah, I know. You're disappointed in me for parting with the $9.25 it cost to see this one. But for whatever it's worth, this second Harold and Kumar "stoner" film was precisely what I figured it'd be: really funny in some parts, and way overboard (as in "oh-my-god-why-did-they-have-to-include-this") in others. But, hey, I'm not the targeted demographic and I was still chuckling the next day when I'd recall particular scenes and different lines. And, yes, Kumar, donuts are awesome. FINAL GRADE: B

Iron Man
I told a friend I saw this. His response: "So does that mean you're dating again?"

So aside from the fact that teenage boys and adolescent men are the targeted demographic for superhero films, this one really isn't half bad. Certainly better than most others I've seen, barring the darker, more recent Batman films. There's psychology behind the action, and Robert Downey Jr. was perfectly cast for the part. FINAL GRADE: B

Super Troopers
Maybe it's because I watched the majority of this alone, and while doing chores. Or maybe it's because my sense of humor had hit a bit of a valley before I popped this into the DVD player. Whatever it was... I didn't find this to be anywhere near as funny as I was expecting. It wasn't bad, per se, and the writing was actually decent for a slapstick, toilet-n-drug comedy. But it was just wasn't doing it for me. Perhaps I'll have to try again some other time; suspect it could be a bit like Austin Powers for me, which I despised on my first viewing... before going on to watch it a dozen times in a single year. FINAL GRADE: Pending

Charlie Wilson's War
Oh, I dunno. This is an interesting "based on a true story" story regarding covert U.S. involvement in the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1970s, and the U.S. congressman who made it all happen. But I really struggled with Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts in the lead roles. Not that they were awful, but that they just weren't... compelling. FINAL GRADE: C+


disgruntled world citizen said...

I just watched Super Troopers last week for the first time. It was lent to me. The lender told me it was the funniest movie EVER. With that kind of a buildup you know you're in for a let down. It was funny, at times, but its not one that will be in my permanent collection anytime soon. I think we talked about Juno the other day. I liked it, but after a second viewing I don't think it holds up. Its clever and a bit cute and Ellen Page certainly deserved her Best Actress nod, but I don't think it's a movie that will stand the test of time all that well. Also, was it me or was Juno like almost an homage to Wes Anderson? I could almost sweat that he directed it. Had the same feel as some of his other films. I dunno. I'll be quiet now.

disgruntled world citizen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
XOXO said...

I need to watch some of these movies soon.

Shannon Erin said...

I didn't like Super Troopers the first time I saw it. At all. With each subsequent viewing, it's funnier and funnier. Same thing happened to me with Zoolander.