Monday, August 2

We're Back...With a Movie Extravaganza!

The Skokie Public Library might be the best-kept secret of this modest suburb I call my home. Books, CDs and movies (among other things), all available for free. Considering it costs money to use the bathroom in some places, that's pretty fantastic. I've been taking advantage of all of these free movies and have picked up a ton that I wanted to see or had been recommended to me. And now, a brief synopsis on those I can remember! Go!

Run Fat Boy Run
Maybe this one gets bonus points with me, because Simon Pegg's character runs a marathon to prove his love to Thandie Newton's character. Since I'm training for a marathon myself (as you loyal readers no doubt know), I can sympathize with nearly everything in the movie--the chafing, the blisters, the runner's wall, you name it. There are a few hilarious lines in there, and Pegg always has some comedic moments just in his facial expressions. Plus, any movie that says "whilst" makes me giggle, and gets brownie points.
Grade: B

This was basically Christopher Nolan's coming out party. It stars Guy Pearce, an Australian who can do a convincing American accent, as a man with anterograde amnesia--that means his brain can't store new memories. And the movie does a great job of putting you in Pearce's shoes by starting several scenes in the middle of something happening--for example, a car chase. It's an accurate portrayal of what anterograde amnesia is actually like, and even though the movie starts with the ending, it's still an intense thriller throughout--you're not trying to figure out what happened, but why it happened, and it'll keep you at the edge of your seat.
Grade: A

Major League (I and II)
Since these movies are fairly similar, I'll just give them a review-in-one. It's like a hole in one, but doesn't involve golf. At all. Anyway, I watched these movies because it seems like they're part of the "indispensable-must-see-at-least-once sports movies" collection. Frankly, I don't really know why. Sure, Bob Uecker (the play-by-play announcer for the Brewers for nearly 40 years) does a bang-up job as the alcoholic broadcaster for the fictionalized version of the Cleveland Indians, and there a couple of other solid one-liners here and there, but there are also tons of slow spots, kinda poor acting and even worse writing. The first one is worth seeing to hear Uecker, but really, one's enough. Honorable mention to Wesley Snipes being in this movie--as any avid hip-hop fan knows, my group at Miami was (and I guess still is) known as Me Versus Wesley Snipes.
Grade: C+

This was supposed to be Ben Stiller's foray into the "serious" side of acting. And he does it well, but really, the only difference between serious Ben Stiller and funny Ben Stiller is the script. I still see a lot of the same emotions from the uproarious airport scene of Meet the Parents as I do in Greenberg. What's different is that instead of threatening airport security, Stiller is now tending to a sick dog. It's not a bad movie, but it's not necessarily a great one, either. It also marks the major-label debut of Greta Gerwig, who does a solid job as Stiller's love-ish interest.
Grade: B

The Blindside
I may be the only person who saw ESPN's parody of this movie before the movie itself. But both are worth watching--it's a nice heartfelt story about Michael Oher, an offensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens. It's saddening to see what he went through, but all ends well. Sandra Bullock does a terrific job (she did win the 2009 Academy Award for Best Actress for her role) as Michael's "mother," and Quinton Aaron, who was 25 when the movie was released, somehow convincingly plays Oher as a high school senior.
Grade: A-

Well, there you have it, folks. Maybe the next movie can be about Oregon Trail. We'll see. Til next time--here's a joke! And a bad one, at that.

Joey's Bad Joke of the Day
What did one prisoner use to call the other?
A cell phone.