Monday, June 11, 2012

PCP on DVD - Backlog clearout of reviews (again)

Thanks for dropping by to take a hit of PCP here at CRAPOLA.  Thanks to the full schedule I have when it comes to being a new father, full time employment, and grad school, I have yet again developed a backlog of DVD reviews.  So to clear these all out so I can start posting individual reviews as I watch each movie, here is a clearout of short reviews of everything I've caught recently on DVD, 18 films in all, in alphabetical order.  As the summer goes on, I'll be seeing a few more films in theaters and I'll aim for a quick turnaround on those reviews, and any movies I catch on DVD I'll try to review within a week of watching as well.  Sorry for the weak posting schedule lately, I'll endeavor to do better in the future but in the meantime I thank you for your patience!  Now on to the reviews!

12 Angry Men (1957)  My rating:  10 out of 10.  This legal classic from 1957 still holds up incredibly well today.  Shot on a minimalist set (the jury room is where 99% of the film takes place) and with characters only going by their juror numbers, this adaptation of a play is a remarkably powerful film.  Henry Fonda as juror # 8 is the star of the cast in this film about sending a man to the death penalty.  If you haven't seen this movie yet, go see it, I can't recommend it enough!

Contagion (2011)  My rating:  7 out of 10.  Far more realistic than any other film about a cataclysm that I've ever seen, this story about the spread of a catastrophic illness throughout humanity will make you want to take a bath in Purell.  Unfortunately it is a bit slow at parts, and some characters that are featured early in the film disappear without their story being resolved, which is frustrating.  Still a decent film though.

Footloose (2011)  My rating:  5 out of 10.  This remake of a classic had no business being made, except for the fact that Hollywood is having an extremely hard time coming up with original ideas these days.  The dance scenes are of course well done, but the acting isn't the best.  Like the overwhelming majority of remakes coming out of Hollywood, I don't think you'll find anyone that thinks this was better than the original.

Green Zone (2010) My rating:  8 out of 10.  It's the Bourne Iraq War.  Starring Matt Damon and directed by Bourne 2 and 3 director Paul Greengrass, this film has a lot of visual similarity to the Bourne films.  Set in the early days of the Iraq War, this film benefits from 20/20 hindsight about the horrendous mistakes made by the American government when it came to the prosecution of this war that we're only just now getting out of, by highlighting those mistakes in flashing neon letters for all to see.  I'd be curious to hear from any veterans of the recent conflict their thoughts on this film, in terms of its portrayal of combat as well as the political message behind the film.

The Help (2011) My rating:  10 out of 10.  Outstanding performances from a very talented cast (including one Oscar winning performance and 2 Oscar nominated performances) make this film an enjoyable one to watch.  It strikes me as a little bit racist though, having the white girl ride to the rescue of the domestic help, but maybe that's just how I (and some others) see it.  Most see it for what it also was - an extremely well acted film.

13 more quick reviews are after the jump, including Real Steel, In Time, Moneyball, and more!

The International (2009) My rating:  6 out of 10.  Clive Owen stars in this ho-hum story of a super greedy international bank that does shady things including killing those that try to stop them.  A little bit too over the top in terms of the realism of the plot, but at the same time it does make you wonder just how far some companies would go for a profit.

In Time (2011) My rating:  7 out of 10.  This sci-fi take on a Bonnie & Clyde style story has a few interesting things to say about a society of the haves versus the have-nots.  It also has a very intriguing premise that takes the phrase time is money way too literally.  It's worth checking out.

Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)  My rating:  6 out of 10.  Kung Fu Panda 2 lakes much of the heart of the original, and instead fills it with kinetic motion that moves way too fast, presumably to keep the short attention spans of the target audience.  It sacrifices plot and development to the altar of spectacle, but it doesn't even pull off the spectacle all that well.  I'd much rather go back and watch the original compared to this.

The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)  My rating:  7 out of 10.  Matthew McConaughey is great as a sleazeball lawyer that does much of his business while riding around in a Lincoln.  It is a good story of what happens when an attorney realizes his client may be an even bigger sleazeball than he is himself, and he now finds himself in a precarious situation.

The Losers (2010)  My rating: 6 out of 10.  Despite the presence of the gorgeous Zoe Saldana, and Chris Evans being in yet another film based on a comic book (something he's done 6 times as 4 different characters), the Losers is only average.  The A-Team did it much bigger and better on a similar plot.

Margin Call (2011)  My rating:  8 out of 10.  An all star cast headlines this little-seen film about the downfall of a company at the start of the stock market collapse.  There are some phenomenal actors in this film that I'd watch in just about anything.  Here they're working off of an Oscar nominated script, so they turn in some great work.

Moneyball (2011)  My rating:  9 out of 10.  This biopic about the GM of the Oakland A's shows how he changed the rules for player analysis and turned the A's into a contender despite having the restrictions of a much smaller payroll than their competitors.  A good sports movie, but probably less enjoyable to a non-sportsfan.

Real Steel (2011)  My rating:  8 out of 10.  When I first saw trailers for this film, I mocked it soundly, thinking it was going to be awful.  Turns out there's an enjoyable film underneath the shiny robot exterior despite the cliches inherent in underdog boxing films.

The Three Musketeers (2011)  My rating:  5 out of 10.  This film is yet another version of the classic Dumas story.  Go see a different version.  Any version.  Even the Disney version with Chris O'Donnell is better than this, give me that one any day.

Underworld:  Awakening (2012)  My rating:  6 out of 10.  Kate Beckinsale and her tight leather clothes are back in the franchise after skipping the 3rd film, this time taking a 12-year time jump in to the future into a world where the existence of Vampires and Werewolves has become known to humans, and Beckinsale's Selene awakes from cryogenic sleep to once again war with the Lycans.  At this point the series is starting to get a bit stale, yet the ending leaves open the possibility of the 5th film in this series.  It better be better than this.

A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas (2011)  My rating:  5 out of 10.  Maybe it's because I wasn't high or maybe it's because this movie was just that boring, but either way I definitely felt that outside of the Neil Patrick Harris sequence and the claymation sequence that this movie was not particularly fun or enjoyable.  This movie won't be a new Christmas tradition for me, that's for sure.

V for Vendetta (2005) My rating: 9 out of 10.  One of the better graphic novel adaptations out there, this anti-fascist tale resonates still today, especially as the Guy Fawkes mask V wears from the film has been showing up at protests worldwide against governments around the globe.

What’s Your Number? (2011) My rating:  6 out of 10.  This light romantic comedy is cute but utterly predictable.  Anna Faris is as always willing to do anything for a laugh, and her real life husband Chris Pratt shows no shame playing a side character that had the unfortunate nickname of "disgusting Donald."  Cute movie for a date night, but nothing to write home about.

Ok so once again I am all caught up on my DVD reviews.  Thanks for dropping by CRAPOLA for a hit of PCP!

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