Tuesday, January 5, 2010

DVD Views: December 20 and January 5

With everything going on last week, I got behind and never did get a chance to do a video views column, so this week, I’m pulling double duty and doing two weeks worth of DVD releases.

Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs ** ½
There is a lot of manic energy in this animated film about an inventor who finally invents something that works, when he comes up with a way to turn water into food, and the sky starts dropping hamburgers and any other type of food his small island town wants. The film is fun, and is probably something that kids will want to watch again and again - it is colorful and fun, but it doesn’t go anywhere and sooner and later all the constant movement gave me a headache. For my original review please see: http://davesmoviesite.blogspot.com/2009/09/movie-review-cloudy-with-chance-of.html

The Final Destination 3-D **
As with all the Final Destination since the first one, the only reason to watch this movie is the cool death sequences where strange events all culminate in a grizzly death. The deaths here are fine, and fun in a cartoon like way. Other than that, the film is almost painful to watch as the writing and directing are atrocious. Seeing this movie in the theater in 3-D was fun, if not satisfying, but I think watching the film at home, even if they give you 3-D glass, won’t really be worth it. For my original review please see: http://davesmoviesite.blogspot.com/2009/08/movie-review-final-destination-3-d.html

Jennifer's Body ** ½
I find it a little strange that one of the only horror films written and directed by a woman in recent memory turned out to be every teenage boy’s wet dream. Smoking hot Megan Fox plays Jennifer who becomes possessed and seduces boys and then eats them. The only one who can stop her is her best friend Amanda Seyfried. I cannot say that Jennifer’s Body is a good movie, because it isn’t. It is sloppily directed, and despite the presence of some of the trademark Diablo Cody one liners (some are great), not very well written either. But Seyfried is quite good as the heroine, and Fox is a hell of a lot of fun as the demonic Jennifer. This is not a good movie, but it is a hell of a guilty pleasure. For my original review please see: http://davesmoviesite.blogspot.com/2009/09/movie-review-jennifers-body.html

Julia *** ½
One of the year’s most criminally overlooked films, Julia stars Tilda Swinton in an amazing performance as an selfish alcoholic who gets drawn into a kidnapping scheme that goes horribly wrong. Swinton is fearless in her performance, making Julia into one of the least sympathetic characters in recent memory, but one that we completely and totally understand. Director Erick Zonca (The Dreamlife of Angels) creates a wonderful film around Swinton’s performance, even if there are probably too many twists and turns near the end of the film. A must see. For my original review please see: http://davesmoviesite.blogspot.com/2009/10/movie-review-julia.html

9 ***
A dark, wonderful animated film about the end of humanity, and the only things left on earth are a group of rag dolls created by a scientist, and the evil machines that now run everything. What the film lacks in originality – the story is pretty much predictable at every turn – it more than makes up for it in style. Produced by Tim Burton, and directed by Shane Acker, this is a must see for fans of animation not aimed at children. For my original review please see: http://davesmoviesite.blogspot.com/2009/09/movie-review-9.html

Paranormal Activity *** ½
The year’s scariest film will probably not lose all that much on home video. The movie is shot entirely with a video camera by a young couple who thinks that their house is haunted. The footage the camera captures, particularly at night when they are asleep is subtle, yet terrifying. This is a movie that gradually ratchets the suspense higher and higher until it becomes unbearable. Watch this one alone, late at night in the dark. For my original review please see: http://davesmoviesite.blogspot.com/2009/10/movie-review-paranormal-activity.html

A Perfect Getaway ** ½
An interesting little thriller about two couples who hike to a remote tropical paradise the whole time suspecting each other of being murderers. Steve Zahn and Milla Jovovich are good as the lead couple – a screenwriter and his wife – who meet ex-Army ranger Timothy Olyphant (even better) and his girlfriend on the trail. A series of grisly murders have taken place, and Olyphant seems suspicious. The film is well made by David Twohy (Pitch Black, Below), but the story is far too predictable to make this a truly satisfying film. For my original review please see: http://davesmoviesite.blogspot.com/2009/08/movie-review-perfect-getaway.html

World's Greatest Dad ***
Robin Williams once again proves why he is a far better dramatic actor than a comedic one. Here, he plays a mild mannered teacher with an asshole of a son (brilliantly played by Daryl Sabata). When the son kills himself while masturbating, Williams, a frustrated writer, decides to write a poignant suicide note for his son, and soon the kid that everyone hated has become a martyr on which everyone sees themselves. Written and directed by Bobcat Goldtwait (yes, that Bobcat Goldtwait), the film doesn’t quite push itself as hard as it could in the final act, yet is still a dark comedy gem. For my original review please see: http://davesmoviesite.blogspot.com/2009/11/movie-review-worlds-greatest-dad.html

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