Archive for March, 2009

Review: Role Models

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

The trusty Paul Rudd (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Knocked Up) pairs up with the more vulgar Seann William Scott (American Pie) in this failed comedy. Story is simple, these two friends have to either spend prison time, or be role models for a charity for kids. And hence starts a typecasting carreer for nerd Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Superbad), in playing a geek who’s past-time is real life battle/role playing. Sure, these costume donning weirdos battling it out with plastic weapons in a big park save lots on the budget, but it’s toe-curlingly cheesy and corny, it’s almost unwatchable.
The developing friendships are highly predictable too, and the laughs aren’t overpowering. It’s really too weak to really call it a comedy. It’s a prime example of a documentary on how to avoid making a comedy this way, ever again.4.

Review: Gran Torino

Monday, March 30th, 2009

A slightly off-beat drama from Clint Eastwood, where he mixes in an abundantly amount of black humor and racial obscenity into his scruffy character. It’s a bit surprising, after the full drama-only pics like Changeling, Letters from Iwo Jima, Flags of Our Fathers and Million Dollar Baby, as the setup also takes longer than usual. The main part of the story is mainly his character in a bad mood and antagonising family, friends, and whoever else he comes across. This does dull the story a bit, and also doesn’t allow the movie to really develop. The upside is, as time goes on and more extreme dialogue makes it all the more unbelievable (and almost tedious, at 90 minutes in), you do get to care about the characters. And as this charicature slowly softens (predictable, though), the drama kicks in.
A respectable ending makes this movie enjoyable, even though I don’t agree with all the casting decisions and overall acting.7½.

Knack knack, who’s there ?

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

Complaint sent through


Recent viel mijn oog op jullie blik Knaks knakworstjes. Vooral het label “ZONDER kunstmatige geur- en smaakstoffen” deed mij gerust stellen dat ik een goed product in handen had. ZONDER in hoofdletters valt reuze op. Goed gedaan, afdeling marketing !
Wat de beschrijving op de verpakking eerlijkheidsgetrouw mist, zijn echter de woorden “MET lekker veel fijngemalen botten”. MET in hoofdletters, om net dat extra betrouwbaarheidsgehalte te geven.
Hap na hap voel ik ze knarsen tussen mijn tanden. Af en toe, in gehakt of worst, was ik wel gewend. Maar dit sloeg mijns inziens toch wel alles.
En dan heb ik het niet eens over dat deze Knaks totaal niet knakkerig zijn zoals ik gewend ben. Bij het doormidden breken mis ik het bekende geluid, en zielig brokkelt het een beetje af, om in de mond zeer slapjes uiteen te vallen. Voor mij voorlopig geen enkel “knak”product van jullie merk !

Received response by email already, but it’s too generic to bore you with it. *Yawn*. On the AH Bockworst (it’s German !) then, it’s slightly better, though the flavor still doesn’t beat the real deal. Fresh meat, yum.

Review: Defiance

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

The market is crowded with WWII movies this and next year, and again, this one is based on a true story. The focus of this one is also different than the others, as it only shows the hardships of survival (mostly by hiding, and sneak missions for food). Basically, fighting for your life is always a good score for drama, and this one offers mostly only that. Sometimes it gets indeed intense, but still, it’s somewhat limiting. Still, one thumb up for the final product.7-.

Review: Last Chance Harvey

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

A romantic movie made for the elders, something you don’t see very often. Older leading man Dustin Hoffman courts evenly aged Emma Thompson in a slower talkative but not much saying light drama (though the acting is up to par). The meetings and following courtship seem a bit unrealistic, but overall it’s still too predicable.6.

Review: Marley & Me

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

The dog’s name is in the title, and still I didn’t expect it would focus that much on the dog. It did. Unfortunately.
A dog doesn’t have too much depth, just doing its own naughty thing, year after year. With no real backstory, it’s basically jumping ahead everytime for no apparent reason, and hence, I wouldn’t really call this a comedy of any kind. They should’ve marketed it more truthfully as a drama, but even then, with all those time jumps, it’s not that invested in the characters anyway. Besides the cutie shots of the dog in his younger years, it has not much to offer.5.

Review: Watchmen

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

Another super hero flick, rated R. Expectations rise high, as the graphic novel is so critically acclaimed. Well, the Dark Knight has no competition in these designer costume challenged superhero’s, all with slightly undefined and much the same powers. It has its moments (mostly the end-game), but it’s no all-out wow experience that The Dark Knight was.
Both in story, characters, directing and build up, it fails. It’s not all black and white and luckily, not so easy to predict, but instead, nothing really excellent is being displayed either. Add an all-powerful entity into the mix (pretty much a god like creature), and you can wait for the deus ex machina.
Alas, it’s still the ending that makes me rate this movie slightly higher than expected.7½.

Review: The Friday the 13th

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes production company has been hammering the horror remake path for quite some time now, and since the box office keeps screaming for more, we get to the bigger titles now (following The Hitcher, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Amityville Horror, and after this one comes Nightmare on Elmstreet).
Almost 30 years later, one of the most famous slasher returns, combining story elements of the first three movies, in a run-of-the-mill horror flick. There’s truly nothing special about this one, as the expected bloodshed continues, including the expected ending. It serves young couples well and marketing is great, opening during the lovely Valentines weekend where guys bravely sit there while girlfriends shriek and hold their arms firmly. But that as far as it goes. This movie (like any other in its genre) has nothing else to offer. The wait continues for another first original (maybe The Unborn, later this year, also produced by Platinum Dunes).5-.

Review: Slumdog Millionaire

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

Danny Boyle directs an unusual movie, and wins an Oscar along the way (and not for the expected Foreign movie category, but for the full-blown Motion Picture of the Year, along with 7 other Oscars).
Granted, it’s a wonderful exploratory film (getting to see how it is to grow up in Mumbai) with some great narrative, giving it that special feeling, but some story turns go so far out its element, it’s easy to predict how it will unfold. And even though direction is great (with an absolutely colorful and lively atmosphere), it’s still a grounded Hollywood movie (with all its feel-goodness and what not). It’s definitely a specialty (with no big stars attached), and still memorably enough, but mostly because last years movies didn’t provide any real competition.8-.

Review: The Wrestler

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

Movie marks a high profile come back for Micky Rourke, earning critical acclaim for his performance. His character in the movie is a bit hard to read though, going through his daily life a bit solemn and silent. Those going for the title and expecting an action flick will be highly disappointed. It’s an almost sad story of a broken flawed man, and it plays in a somewhat limited world. Pacing is a bit too slow for my taste too. Drama wise, it’s just okay. The tear jerkers are as expected, but not overly powerful.
Camera work is mostly follow stalking style, so be prepared for some unnecessarily shaky scenes.
Maybe it’s a disappointment because I expected too much (and that included Bruce Springsteen’s title track).6½.