Saturday, January 27, 2007

Here comes the Lightning Round.

Alright, here's, I dunno, maybe half a dozen blazing-fast reviews of both things I've been thrilled by and things I've been duped on:

Smokin' Aces: Yeah, I was duped. But who wouldn't've been? A cast that featured literally a dozen name actors (Ben Affleck, Ray Liotta, Jeremy Piven, Jason Bateman, heck, even Matthew Fox), some of whom have about 45 seconds of screen time, some of whom die almost immediately, and some of whom appear and disappear without any real logic to their movements. It's one of those rampantly violent non-stop action movies that slips from crudely enjoyable to "what the hell is going on?" territory almost immediately. That being said, it dances the number it came for better than most low-IQ a-bunch-of-Russian-guys-with-guns-and-explosives-shoot-at-American-guys-with-guns-and-explosives movies. I could break it down for you and mention all the highlights (Alicia Keys and Ryan Reynolds, for instance) amid the lowlights, but instead I'll just quote Stephen Hunter of the Washington Post, who puts it better than anyone: "All in all, another thoroughly enjoyable step on the road to damnation."

By the way, don't think you couldn't fill up a Blockbuster rack with that movie genre I made up back there. I could get it half full just with Ray Liotta movies.

The West Wing: I'm on Season Three now, and the honeymoon is over, it's starting to scrabble a little to make politics still seem interesting. But those first two seasons are absolutely stunning. It's a completely different kind of show from anything else ever to be on television. Except, of course, for Studio 60 or Sports Night.

Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared: I'm cobbling these two together because they're pretty much the same show, since all the writers and actors just switched over to Undeclared after Freaks and Geeks went under. Freaks is the better show, and if you haven't seen it, sit down sometime and watch the first five or six episodes. It takes a little while to get addicted, but it's some of the smartest, most on-the-money writing ever about high school.

You know, if Freaks was released to TV next fall with the same cast and crew, it would be a guaranteed hit. Think about it: it would star two ER vets (Linda Cardellini and Busy Phillips), a bona fide movie star (James Franco), fully recognizable best-friend types (How I Met Your Mother's Jason Segel, plus Seth Rogen from You, Me, and Dupree and The 40-Year Old Virgin), plus consistent appearances from Lizzy Caplan (The Class and Mean Girls), Ben Foster (X-Men 3), and Joanna Garcia (Reba). It's a shame everyone had to wait to get famous until after the show was over.

Plus, the writing/directing crew featured Judd Apatow (producer of Anchorman, the 40-Year Old Virgin, Talledega Nights), Paul Feig (director for Arrested Development, The Office), Mike White (writer of School of Rock, Orange County), Ken Kwapis (director of About A Boy, Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants - which we've covered before), and Jake Kasdan (director of Orange County).

Tell me that's not a dream team today.

Sexual Life: Speaking of Ken Kwapis, I checked this one out because he wrote and directed it and it featured a lot of my favorite actors. It was awful, I mean, it was terribly, terribly boring. I guess I should've figured that from the title - since I could tell that it wasn't going to be a raunchfest from the reviews, I thought that it would be a fun comedy where everyone jokes about sex while hijinks ensue. Instead, the structure of it was this: one person talks about fidelity and commitment with their significant other, and then goes out and sleeps with someone else. That person then talks about fidelity and commitment with their significant other, who then goes out and sleeps with someone else. This cycle continues until (woah woah!) the story comes full circle. It's like the world's slowest slap in the face.

"It's a comedy of manners!" reads the Netflix description.

Yeah, it's not.

Sabrina: I don't know why it took me so long to finally watch this. Featuring William Holden, Humphrey Bogart, and Audrey Hepburn and written and directed by Billy Wilder. It was, unsurprisingly, fantastic. I'm not a classic movie guy, because I'm not convinced that just because something is old and beloved doesn't mean it was ever any good, but I've got to say that it's awfully appealing anyway. And it doesn't have that "we're projecting this image of the highway or the ocean on a sheet behind them" look that most movies of the 1950's that feature driving or sailing have. Even though I'm sure they were projecting the highway and the ocean behind them whenever they featured driving and sailing, it's just you can't really tell. The bottom line is that it just shows an attention to detail other films of the day lacked.

Wait, film projection? What the hell am I talking about? Sabrina features three of the finest actors of our century, and is written and directed by possibly the greatest writer/director of all time. That might have something to do with it's greatness.


Geez, it's been a long time since I've posted. Next time'll be quicker, I guarantee it.

1 Comments:

At January 28, 2007 2:19 PM, Anonymous Assistant Village Idiot's wife said...

Sabrina is PJ's favorite film.

 

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