Thursday, February 17

Movie Review Extravaganza Part II

In today’s episode, we’ll be doing another movie review extravaganza, similar to the one from about three months ago. At least a few of these movies are relatively new, but of course we’ll sprinkle in some oldies, and end it up with a final grade for each one. And away we go!

The Other Guys
I just saw this movie again last night, and I had forgotten how ridiculously funny it is. I really think Will Ferrell’s at his best when he’s not being a complete idiot for most of the movie (think Elf and Stranger Than Fiction). His relapses into “pimp mode” are fantastic, and Michael Keaton’s numerous accidental TLC references are great as well. Good work all around.
Grade: A

The Fighter
Sticking with Mark Wahlberg movies, this one chronicles boxer Micky Ward’s last great chance at redemption. Wahlberg does a solid job, but it’s Christian Bale, who plays Micky’s coked-out brother, that really steals the show. He simply does an amazing job of playing the consistently disappointing older brother, even though he ultimately does care for his family. All the other roles, from Amy Adams as the girlfriend, to Melissa Leo as the mother of both fighters (as well as seven other girls), are well cast, too. The only problem I had was that the song “The Warrior’s Code,” a very catchy number by the Dropkick Murphys, was only very briefly played in the movie, for maybe five seconds tops. That song is about Micky Ward, and it’s a travesty it didn’t get more airplay during the film. Otherwise, this is a very strong effort from director David O. Russell.
Grade: A

127 Hours
Granted, I haven’t seen most of the films nominated for Best Picture of the Year, but I still think 127 Hours deserves the win, at least based off the ones I’ve seen. Based off the incredible true story of Aron Ralston, an adventurer who became trapped by a boulder for more than five days before amputating his arm with a dull knife, it’s an intense hour and a half. Director Danny Boyle, as he was in Slumdog Millionaire, is so good at putting the viewer into Ralston’s shoes, which is portrayed beautifully by James Franco. I’ve always been a Franco fan since his days on Freaks and Geeks, but he really outdoes himself here. And considering he’s the only character for about 80% of the film, that’s a great thing. A final note—I know some people are queasy about the “amputation scene,” but don’t let that discourage you from seeing the movie. It’s fairly obvious when the scene is coming, so you can look away if need be, and the gore isn’t anything worse than a Quentin Tarantino film, or even the violence in a movie like Kick-Ass. Don’t let three minutes ruin missing out on possibly the best film of the year.
Grade: A

Best in Show
Anyone who’s a fan of the “mockumentary” style of film, a la This Is Spinal Tap, will eat this one up. Anyone who likes dogs should also enjoy it. With an all-star cast ranging from Jane Lynch to Eugene Levy to Michael McKean, the laughs keep coming with a surprisingly clever script, which was heavily improvised. It chronicles several dog owners and their efforts to get their pups to win the Mayflower Kennel Club Dog Show. Even better since this year's Westminster show just occurred.
Grade: A-

Get Him to the Greek
This one’s slightly confusing because Russell Brand plays the same drug-addicted, sex-crazed character he played so well in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, while Jonah Hill, who was also in Sarah, plays a different role. The movie also just isn’t as funny as its “predecessor,” but there are definitely still some laughable moments. Puff Daddy (I’m not entirely sure what name he’s going by now) has a good solid part with plenty of weird one-liners. Plus there are some catchy tunes to enjoy.
Grade: B

This Day in History
1801- Thomas Jefferson is elected.

1966- Brian Wilson rolls the tape on the first take of "Good Vibrations."

1996- World chess champion Garry Kasparov defeats a Deep Blue, IBM's chess-playing computer 4-2. Deep Blue returned the favor and beat Kasparov the next year. Fitting, since an IBM product is currently tearing up the Jeopardy scene.

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