Monday, June 19, 2006

The return of Four-Sentence Movie Reviews!

Long, long overdue for some (non X-Men or Superman) movie thoughts up in these here Fried Rice Thoughts. Here's I've eaten eating popcorn to lately...

The Lake House: This is what happens when I spend a Saturday afternoon with my mother, or more specifically, what happens when I say, "What movie would you like to see, Mom?" I almost fooled Mama Cass into seeing Nacho Libre - describing the plot as "a monk who wrestles to raise money for a monastery and win the love of a nun" - until she saw a poster of Jack Black's physique squeezed into lucha libre tights. Back to Keanu and Sandra part deux, the words "magical realism" came to mind as I watched this, but literary pretentions don't really apply - especially when I kept wondering how bad a case of blue balls Keanu must've had. But it's touching, it's intriguing, it's funny in places, it's stupid in others, and it's... probably a rental.

Hostel: Speaking of rentals, I was so ready for this to be "horror porn" awful that it actually didn't seem so bad. Sure, there were scenes that made my testicles ascend into my stomach (what would the female equivalent be?), but most of the grislier violence takes place off camera and left to your imagination - which is the way it should be. But Teenage Ian (who I'm still quite in touch with) would've loved all the naked women and bloody carnage. And I don't think I've ever rooted more for the "good guys" to be sliced, sawed, snipped, torched, tortured, eviscerated, and killed by the "bad guys."

The Break-Up: The biggest surprise to me is that Jennifer Aniston wasn't funny at all. Yet this is Vince Vaughn's show; she just plays the uptight, high-maintenance straight girl. If you like seeing couples who shouldn't be together argue, but would rather not hang out in front of the fitting rooms at The Limited, this could be your movie. But even if you like Vaughn (which I do), his chatterbox charm is much more enjoyable (and tolerable) when he's paired with someone (Owen Wilson? Jon Favreau?) who can match him joke-for-joke.

Underworld: Evolution: A much-appreciated birthday gift from Mis Hooz, full of vampires, werewolves, slashes, fangs, decapitations, and Kate Beckinsale in tight, tight, pleather pants. Much less cheesy than the original, but mostly because the terrible, execrable actors in that movie have been wiped out. And the special effects are really cool, especially the wings and talons that the big baddie gets to stab, throw, and pull everyone with. Did I mention that Kate Beckinsale's in tight pleather pants (and finds herself out of them, at one point)?

Poseidon: Of all the movies I've seen so far this summer, this is the one I enjoyed the most. I know - it looks like a floating (sinking? capsizing?) turd in a swimming pool, but it was actually mindless fun with impressive special effects and set design, and I enjoyed how ruthlessly the script treated the characters. I must've been in a bloodthirsty mood that afternoon, because I wanted to see more people drown and die. But I'd like to say one thing to Hollywood: Josh Lucas won't become a movie star just because you keep shoving him in my face and telling me he'll be one.

Water: Not the alternate title for Poseidon, as I originally believed. If you're not familiar with this, the movie takes place in 1930s India where widows are expected to join their husbands on their funeral pyres, marry the brothers of their lost spouses, or spend the rest of their lives exiled in ashrams. The main character is relegated to a "widow house" at eight years old, without ever having met the much older man she was betrothed to. I'm not sure if the backstory of the director's struggles to make this project is more interesting (and troubling) than the film itself, but it's heartbreaking to see how women were (and still are) treated in other parts of the world - largely under the pretense of religion.

Mission: Impossible III: I really wish I could've watched this film untainted by my perceptions of Batshit Crazy Scientology Boy. Because I think this may have been a good movie, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I was watching Tom Cruise's public image reclamation project. I don't give one single $#!+ about Ethan Hunt's personal life; I want to see him use cool gadgets and shoot people. But Philip Seymour Hoffman is such a good villain, and probably had a lot of fun spouting J.J. Abrams dialogue, until he has to play Cruise's punching bag.