Reviews

12ish Days of Movies

Albert DeSantis watches bad movies so you don't have to. Sometimes he also watches good movies. This selection of reviews contains plenty of both.

By Albert DeSantis
Published December 08, 2010

Yeesh, it's cold outside. Let's catch up on 14 movies instead, mostly from 2010 - except when they're not. 12 days has something to do with December, right? Well, anyway.

Vampires Suck

This Twilight parody is slightly less horrible than the last two movies by the duo who made Meet the Spartans and Epic Movie. It's still really lame, but the odd gag works better than it should. Jenn Proske does a deadly-accurate impression of Kristen Stewart's perpetual hair flicking, gasping performance.

Faster

An action movie without much action taking itself way too seriously as The Rock rubs out people who killed his brother. There are brief bits of inspired direction and the odd cool sequence, but it bogs down in a lot of moping and annoying supporting characters. Is Billy Bob Thornton contractually obligated to look hung over in his movies now?

The Two Escobars

An ESPN 30 for 30 documentary that parallels the Colombian soccer team's run for the world cup, culminating in a tragic mistake by player Andres Escobar with the history of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar and his massive influence. The film paints a shockingly intense portrait of the chaos that ruled in Columbia at the time.

The Kids Are All Right

Very quirky film about two stuck-in-a-rut wives and their kids who look for their sperm-donor biological father. Moral of the movie: no matter what team you bat for, family relationships remain the same. Mark Ruffalo is convincingly earnest as the sperm daddy, but how he's treated at the end strikes an awkward note. Still, definitely different and has some big laughs, even if it's a tad sappy.

The Ghost Writer

A well-constructed thriller about a ghost writer (Ewan McGregor) who writes a book for a disgraced former British Prime Minister (Pierce Brosnan), stumbling upon political intrigue, conspiracies, and death. It has a surprising amount of darkly comic wit, looks fantastic, has a few cool twists, and the film's closing minutes rock.

Last Train Home

Aching documentary about the largest annual human migration when Chinese workers flock to trains home for Chinese New Year. By focusing on a single family lost in the masses, desperate parents and their rebellious daughter, you get an emotional connection. After seeing the despairing conditions they work and live in, a "Made in China" label won't look quite right.

Grown Ups

A mess featuring big names like Chris Rock, Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Rob Schneider, and David Spade as middle-aged family men on a patriotic weekend getaway. The stunningly unfunny gags lie there as the actors chuckle and we don't. It's way too sappy by half. The best thing is Steve Buscemi and he's in it for four minutes total.

Restrepo

This documentary is about U.S. soldiers setting up a base in the deadly mountain region of Afghanistan. Plunking the audience into the middle of the soldiers' lives, the film is intercut with interviews about experiences they can never forget. It's refreshingly apolitical, showing the intense life and death stakes, the choices they make, and how they live with them.

Killers

Ugh. This feels like it came from a marketing meeting about trying to make a date movie combining "action" and "comedy" and getting two somewhat notable stars Katherine Heigl and Ashton Kutcher. This story about a woman who falls in love with a former spy and they spend the movie running from assassins doesn't have good action or any decent laughs. You can hear it grind to a halt whenever Heigl and Kutcher pout.

Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy

Honestly, I wanted to see this because Canadian actress Nicole deBoer has a small part and I'll watch anything she's in. Once you get over the same guys plaing almost every role, (Which they do excellently, especially Mark McKinney's baddie) this story of a mood altering drug's affect on society is pretty funny. Like a lot of sketch comedy it can be uneven, but if you can take some dark jokes like Cancer Boy you'll laugh.

Suck

A Canadian vampire rock opera comedy that veers from maudlin to gory serious to campy. The songs are halfway decent, even if they do tend to grind the movie to a halt. Suck benefits from elder rock statesmen cameos like Alice Cooper, Iggy Pop and Henry Rollins. Malcolm McDowell is enjoyably hammy as a vampire hunter. Visually, it looks nice but it does overdoses on post-production editing tricks. Also: another movie featuring Dave Foley and Nicole deBoer!

Mr Nobody

This is a pretty but ultimately frustrating sci-fi story about an old man in 2092 (Jared Leto) who remembers alternate versions of his lives, and deaths, with three different women. The individual scenes are very well done but the story is aggravatingly disconnected, way too much time is spent dawdling on teenage romance, and the eventual explanation feels like a cheat. Cool to watch, though.

Love & Other Drugs

Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway gamely get down to their gear in this unfocused romantic comedy concerning a Pfizer drug salesman who falls for a woman stricken with Parkinson's disease. The leads are good, but what could have been an offbeat history about the rise of Viagra ends up being a Hollywood romance with slightly more naughty bits.

Jonah Hex

A lifeless dud with Josh Brolin looking irritated as the mystical cowboy who can talk to dead people as he growls his way across the Old West getting into badly choreographed gunfights. The story is an illogical mess, Megan Fox can't emote, and a sweet metal score by Mastadon is completely out of place. Avoid if you want entertainment.

Albert DeSantis watches a lot of movies and TV and has been since childhood. More recently, he has written movie reviews for View Magazine in Hamilton for a few years (This may have warped his mind). The two best flicks ever are The Empire Strikes Back and Aliens. Both are sequels. Go Cats!

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