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Mad Money (2008)
Don't rush to see it
Mad Money was mildly entertaining...very mildly. It can't seem to muster the energy to be more so. Because of the movie's structure, you more-or-less know where the movie's headed and you basically just have to sit and see how it gets there. Along the way, the characters are making what seem to be really obvious mistakes that any law-enforcement official with a lick of sense would catch on to in no time.
The main characters are pretty nonchalant about stealing gobs of money, and the supposedly vigilant security staff is equally blasé - barely expending the energy to raise an inquiring eyebrow when they see suspicious behavior. Significant others are also pretty halfhearted in their attempts to point out the negative consequences of their loved ones' behavior, and end up just going with the felonious flow.
Why not rent a copy of the Italian Job or Ocean's Eleven instead?
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)
Not Oscar Material, but Very Smart
This is one of my favorite movies. It's full of extremely clever one-liners that I never get tired of. "Oh, yeah? Clap!" The main character acts like a brainless bimbo but, if you pay attention, the movie gives you subtle hints she's a lot smarter than she lets on. Acting brainless is a little social camouflage so she fits in with her airhead friends.
It's fun to watch everyone playing it way over the top: Rutger Hauer is the perfect creepy head vampire, Paul Reubens seems to relish his role as the main vampire henchman, and Donald Sutherland delivers yet another quirky performance in a career full of quirky performances.
Oh, and watch for a fairly obvious continuity error about, maybe, halfway through.
A visual treasure hunt in a heartwarming storyline
I read a write-up about Cars several months ago, so I was vaguely aware of it when a friend suggested we go see it today. I had no idea where the plot would lead, but figured a Pixar film was a good bet.
The film was marvelously rendered; several times I could have sworn I was watching real film footage instead of animation, especially scenes showing passing landscapes.
The characters were also cleverly drawn, with subtle touches viewers might or might not notice, such as goatees, mustaches, horns, and udders (I'll say no more about that - you'll have to find out for yourself) represented by various car or tractor parts.
Finally, the "Monument Valley" sort of landscape where the majority of the story takes place was a car lover's dream, where you could pick out parts of Tuckers, Deusenbergs, Packards, and Rolls Royces, carburetor filters, hood ornaments, and other automotive goodies.
Even if you're not a motor-head, the story is heartwarming, the characters are entertaining, and the humor keeps coming at you at all levels - kids to adults. I'll be getting the DVD because I know I'll have to watch it over and over to catch all the puns and "in" references.
I look forward to it already.