Today is Halloween and I can think of nothing better to rant and muse about than movies. So, yes, I'm torturing you with another entry of the deceptively named "One-Line Movie Reviews." I still have great designs for this recurring "article," but I'm as of yet too lazy to implement any (that, and I'm technically still homeless).
Appaloosa (2008) - Ed Harris directs this fantastic Western starring himself and Viggo Mortensen. This one flew under the radar last year, and unfortunately so. I already used the adjective "fantastic," but I shall use it again: fantastic. With Renee Zellweger as a confused and confusing love interest and Jeremy Irons as the villain, this one should not be skipped. Verdict: SEE it.
Friday the 13th (2009) - Ah, yet another beloved horror franchise joins the Hollywood "reboot wave." We already had to suffer through what Rob Zombie did to Michael Myers, but you know what? Jason Voorhees came out relatively unscathed. In fact, I rather liked it. Yes, it's cliche. Yes, there's nothing new here. But, it was done well and (surprisingly) acted well. Verdict: SEE it.
Gran Torino (2008) - I must say this now: Clint Eastwood is the best living American film director. I will repeat that: Clint Eastwood is the best living American film director. In all seriousness, Gran Torino knocked it out of the park, and is one of his best. Even more notable was Eastwood's acting. I, for one, am very glad that he rescinded on his statement to stick to being "behind the camera." Verdict: SEE it.
Marley & Me (2008) - I love dogs. I love movies about dogs. This movie is no exception. Based on the best-selling memoir, this movie is funny, sad, and everything else in between. The ending is predictable, but it still hits you hard. Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston are solid and believable, and the dogs they used to portray Marley through his life were awesome. Verdict: SEE it.
My Bloody Valentine (2009) - Man, oh, man. Slasher films typically suck. This one is no exception. But the reason this one sucks is a bit out of the ordinary. With what could be the best slasher script in many, many years, a bunch of B-list (or worse) actors decided to phone in their performances, collect a paycheck, and walk off set guilt-free. Really, this could have been very, very good. Verdict: SKIP it (unless a horror fan).
Ned Kelly (2003) - A film I had seen years ago, I watched it again with a buddy after recommending it to him. One of Heath Ledger's finer roles, this is an Australian Western based on the true story of Ned Kelly, an outlaw in Australia's version of the Wild West. The ending is, at first, unbelievable. But, as they say, truth is stranger than fiction, and I was quite surprised to find out that it really happened. Excellent film; highly underrated. Also starring Geoffrey Rush and Orlando Bloom. Verdict: SEE it.
Orphan (2009) - At face value, this is just another one of those creepy-kid thrillers that usually bore intelligent audiences to tears. Orphan, however, offers a nice twist (one that actually works and doesn't feel completely contrived) that propels the film ahead of its brethren. I couldn't help it... I liked it. Verdict: SEE it.
Punisher: War Zone (2008) - Fans of Ghost Rider, rest easy. This entry into the Punisher franchise has usurped any possibility of anyone ever calling Ghost Rider the worst comic book adaptation ever again. I couldn't even finish this dreck. It opens stupidly and just gets worse from there. Much worse. I wouldn't recommend this one to my worst enemy. I have a strong theory of why this movie was sooooo bad, but it'll seem sexist, so I'll refrain from stating it (email me if you want to know). Verdict: SKIP it. SKIP it. SKIP it.
Terminator Salvation (2009) - Let me get this out of the way: McG is a shitty director. He's barely better than Paul W.S. Anderson and Uwe Boll. That stated, the production design and the acting (along with the franchise's history) carry this film and it's not that bad. No, nothing made much sense, but it was a nice action film with some hints of James Cameron's vision left intact. Still, I hope someone comes to their senses and replaces McG. Verdict: SEE it (particulary if you're a Terminator and/or a Cameron fan).
X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) - A sloppy movie, and one that's not much better than the dreadful X-Men: The Last Stand. Like Spider-Man 3, this film suffered from "unwise fan input" (pointless appearance of Gambit, anyone?) and no amount of fanboy arguing can explain the amount of stupidity in the script. All that aside, the relationship between Wolverine (Hugh Jackman, as always) and Sabretooth (now Liev Schreiber) was outstanding. Had we had a movie based solely on their interaction, we'd have had an amazing movie. Verdict: Meh. SEE it for Wolverine/Sabretooth... mute the rest.