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Dinner for Schmucks (2010)
Could have been worse...
...if they had managed to get Jennifer Aniston, Will Ferrell and Vince Vaughan into this work of comic genius. Rudd (himself) and Carrell (more or less himself) seem to have become shorthand, along with their sadly omitted buddies, for all that is appalling about a Hollywood 'comedy' these days.
Nothing sharp, just the same old combination of low quality slapstick and 'oh I'm so stupid 'cos I let me ambition get in the way of my true love' garbage. She's way to hot for you anyway Ruddy. She's running an art gallery and was definitely getting on the good foot with the artist guy. You know it too, don't you, Mr Cuck fantasist.
Mr. Nice (2010)
You're twisting my mellon, man.
It is with tedious inevitability that we are dragged like school children in a gallery through the (ostensibly quite interesting) life of Howard Marks. I felt like I was stoned just watching it. Time seemed to have have completely stopped functioning. Simultaneously I could see exactly what what going to happen next, whilst obtaining a massive sense of deja-vu from what had gone before. I then went to the fridge and ate everything I could find in it and began staring at stuff in my sitting room for ages and ages, mainly to avoid looking at the screen. Nothing to see here, nothing new to say. Not worth renting unless you are still impressed by a bit of grass because you're a first year Geography student from Kettering.
The Break-Up (2006)
Do NOT look directly at the screen.
I suppose in reality that almost all movies are a vehicle for the major stars appearing in them. The stars get to put across the personality traits that we have come to know them for, and indeed, to love them for. This is very much the picture with 'The Break-up', a platform upon which Jen 'n Vinny can strut their (undoubted) comedic skills. Er. Except for one small problem. It just isn't funny. It isn't even remotely funny. It's in fact about as funny as paper cuts. It's the opposite of a romantic comedy - it's a sad little piece about a break-up, which has a stab at being funny here and there, but the overall effect is like telling gags at a funeral - they might be funny, but no-one's in the mood to laugh.
Don't watch it and you'll have a better evening.
Casino Royale (2006)
If this Bond were to fight the other Bonds in a knock-out tournament then he'd annihilate Brosnan in round 1, flatten Moore with a glance, pull the Aussie's head off in 20 seconds, murder the Welshman and possibly break into a light sweat whilst tearing Sean Connery's ears off. I reckon he'd probably do OK against Superman, Godzilla and the X-Men.
Great movie; gritty, punchy and above all a genuine attempt to reset the series in an altogether more unpleasant reality. I think they succeeded thanks to both the chicks dying, some proper fighting, and a web of bad guys (of which we have only seen the very tip of the iceberg) rather than just one guy with an absurd scheme to blow up the planet. No silly henchmen was a plus too! Go and see it. You'll like it.
The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
Utter utter sexist rubbish.
I have to confess that this movie really was extremely likable, except for its conclusion, which was the worst of the worst kind of hideous schmaltz, and this is what ruined it for me.
Taking the positives then; Streep is fantastic, Hathaway looks great when she's been through the makeover, Emily is very funny and Tucci is very endearing as the art director. The film is sharp and witty whenever it is dealing with the fashionistas, and the world of fashion is well rendered. In fact, it is quit a warm portrayal of the business.
The problem is that Andy Sachs (Hathaway) has a bunch of friends who, deliberately, I guess, are dull and nerdy. They all envy Andy's job, but fail to support her as she presses on with her big break - she leaves parties, she misses her boyf's birthday - and the implication is clear; she's a woman who should be supporting her man and her friends, not the other way round. Eventually Andy gives in to the crass idea that these fair-weather idiot friends are worth pursuing relationships with instead of committing herself to her job. She abandons her prized ambition in some dreadul faux-enlightenment scene in order to work on a crappy newspaper and return to the little goals she had when setting out. If your friends can't accept that becoming the editor of Vogue is a good ambition, and that they should perhaps show some support along the hard path, then you should ditch the friends, not the ambition.
I hate films that set up this ridiculous dichotomy for women. No film like this would ever be made about a man (ironically a similar point is actually made in the film), and no woman should ever be led to the point of view that if your man doesn't like it and chucks you that he's automatically right.
I would have liked this film enormously if Andy had said 'balls' to her 'friends' and proved that bright, intelligent, motivated women can really have it all these days.
You, Me and Dupree (2006)
Help! Get me outta here!
Oh my god this is a bad film. Actually, that's being unfair to bad films, as this is true effluent of the purest variety. Poorly written, unfunny, stupid and very irritating, it made me want to leave, but unfortunately I was in the middle of a row and it was tricky to escape. I was possibly also paralysed by the brain-melting power of this movie. Even my 10 year old Godson found it unfunny, and he doesn't have the most sophisticated sense of humour.
Anyway, Matt Dillon, you should have known better. I can stand this kind of drivel from the totally one dimensional Owen Wilson, but you should know better! If you can spot that 'Crash' is a good script, then what happened when you read this one? It isn't 'Something About Mary' is it? It wasn't even a comedy, really, was it? Wake up!
Not bad, not bad.
We got to the end and the wife said she hadn't enjoyed it, but I thought it was rather good. I guess this sums up what was something of a curate's egg of a movie - good in parts. It is of course spectacular beyond belief, with plenty of amazing action being played out against the most vivid backgrounds, but I guess the only negative was a somewhat convoluted story, and slightly unintelligible dialogue from Davy's Crew (the molluscs seemed to get in the way a bit). But don't let me put you off. The whole thing is well worth your time and money and I was especially amused by one of Cap'n Sparrow's spectacular escapes - good use of fruit. Good sea monster too. Go sea!
King Kong (1933)
So much better
I have my clothes made by a terribly old, hideously expensive tailor who works in Savile Row in London. He uses the same materials and techniques that were used since eternity when making high quality clothes, charges through the nose, and never ever calls me by my Christian name. It's schmutter made in a bygone era, but the results are immaculately cut, perfectly precise items of clothing that exactly fit their purpose.
It is much the same with this (the original) version of King Kong, and Peter Jackson's new version. The original uses sharp story-telling and precision film-making to achieve a great result, with the whole story wrapped up before Jackson has even managed to get off Skull Island. The original version is Savile Row quality, the new version is K Mart. For enduring satisfaction, I recommend Savile Row every time.
King Kong (2005)
Essentially the same movie as the 1933 version, but spun out to 187 minutes as opposed to the original 100 minutes. So what do we get for our extra 87 minutes? Absolutely nothing. It must be somewhat embarrassing for Jacko (who can't help but make big, fat, 3 hour plus movies) that the 1933 version is so much more exciting, precise and well made. The 2005 version will disappear into history as a flabby, over-emotional pile of rubbish whilst Fay Wray et al will remain a classic of the cinema forever. Could have been a great remake, but turned out to be a self-indulgent, CGI-heavy bore-fest. Pack it in Jacko, you can make movies of 100 minutes or less and they can be good!
Come on Hollywood!
I think that movies like 'Oldboy' highlight the fact that if you want to watch high-quality, thought-provoking film, then you must first check that it wasn't made in America. This leads us to an explanation for the conspicuous failure of Hollywood to actually make any money for the last few years, and a criticism of the formulaic 'blockbuster' approach to movie-making. 'Oldboy' isn't the greatest movie ever made, but it is certainly a complex and unique piece of work. Hollywood should take note, understand that things like this can sell, and regain some of the pioneering spirit that built the business in the first place.