Friday, November 6, 2009

One-Line Movie Reviews VIII

A Bug's Life (1998) - No, I've never seen A Bug's Life until now (although I did see its Dreamworks competitor, Antz). Yes, it was a great oversight on my part. The only Pixar feature film I've missed, I am now at peace with myself now that I've watched it. Pixar's early magic holds up well... what else is there to say? Verdict: SEE it. Of course, you've already seen it, so the verdict is futile.

Moon (2009) - Want excellent science fiction? No? Well, want an excellent movie subdued in its aspirations, subtle in its presentation, and overachieving as a result? Then watch this film. Sam Rockwell is fantastic as pretty much the only (human) character in this independent film, and Kevin Spacey does a wonderful job of evoking HAL and avoiding HAL at the same time. Superb. To give anything away would be sacrilege. Verdict: SEE it.

Ong-Bak (2003) - So, Muay Thai fighters have been feeling left out of the wave of martial arts movies, eh? Well, if this is the best they can do, it's their own fault. The lead actor is a phenomenal martial artist, yes, but the rest of the film is derivative boredom. We have a director who not only thinks he's the next John Woo, he copies John Woo verbatim. We have yet another script from the meat-grinder that is martial arts movie scripts. Nothing exciting here. Verdict: SKIP it.

Paranormal Activity (2007) - This is the film that, like its Blair Witch predecessor, garnered alot of under-the-radar buzz and took advantage of an extremely creative marketing campaign. Also like The Blair Witch Project, this film has many good moments, using its documentary style to full effect. However, don't believe the hype... it's not that scary, and the theatrical ending does the movie no justice (find the original ending for a better conclusion to the story). Still, a budget of $11k? Kudos to the filmmakers. Verdict: SEE it, but don't expect too much.

A Perfect Getaway (2009) - Who says Steve Zahn isn't creepy? Who says Milla Jovovich isn't in any good movies? Yeah, this movie is a pleasant surprise. As with most movies of this type, the twist is all too contrived, but it does work (unlike most movies of this type). Timothy Olyphant plays one of the best characters of his career. Follow newlyweds through their jaunt through the Hawaiian wilderness while they try to figure out which pair of lovers is killing everyone else. Verdict: SEE it.

Slumdog Millionaire (2008) - I missed this one in theaters, and do I feel stupid. Danny Boyle hits a grand slam with this unusual tale of love. There are no names in this film (unless you happen to follow Bollywood, which I don't usually follow), and everything about Slumdog Millionaire is a breath of fresh air. Rags to riches, indeed. I probably don't have to say too much about this, since everyone with a brain has certainly already seen it. Verdict: SEE it. Oh, yes... SEE it.

The Spirit (2008) - A comic book adaptation from that uber-great of comic-dom, Frank Miller. Taking one of his childhood favorites, The Spirit (created by the uber-uber-great Will Eisner), and copying the revolutionary technique that director Robert Rodriguez gave us with Sin City, Miller gives us complete and utter crap. Yet another garbage movie I couldn't be bothered to finish. Even the beautiful Eva Mendes couldn't save this one (then again, she couldn't save Ghost Rider, so what was I expecting?). Verdict: SKIP it.

Surrogates (2009) - A graphic novel adaptation starring Bruce Willis as an FBI agent living in a world in which people only go out in public as robot fascimiles of themselves. Crime, disease, and all the other bad shit humans do to each other apparently disappears as a result of these robot puppets, but so does everything that makes us human. A great concept that suffers due to the film's failure to do anything but scratch the surface of all the wonderful questions such a concept asks. Not bad, but not overly good, either. Still, it was entertaining. Verdict: SEE it. Or SKIP it. Not really going to push this one either way.

Up (2009) - Pixar's latest entry in the world of computer animated cinema. And, boy, is it brilliant. I'm hesitant to claim that it's better than Wall*E, but it's damn close. Funny, sad, hysterical, and depressing, Up is populated by likeable curmudgeons, talking dogs, insane exotic birds, and a fat oriental kid. If that don't make a good movie, who knows what does? Verdict: SEE it. And SEE it again.

Zombieland (2009) - A zombie farce about a nerdy kid, a crazy zombie killer hell-bent on finding a Twinkie (Woody Harrelson), and two sisters out for themselves. Consistently funny, which is a bit of a disappointment because the set up lends itself to gut-busting laughs, of which there were fewer than expected. Still, it's an enjoyable movie and definitely a must for zombie and comedy fans. And Bill Murray's cameo is brilliant. Verdict: SEE it.


  1. Totally agree with most of the reviews although I haven't seen all the movies. Really looking forward to Moon. My cast saw Paranormal Activity at a midnight showing at a local college and were scared shitless. Their stories about watching the film were probably better than the film itself. Right now, I'm watching Army of Shadows which is quite good.

  2. Apparently Joe and I don't have brains.

  3. I loved Moon. Every sci-fi writer and director should be forced to watch it.

    A Bug's Life was cute.

    Slumdog Millionaire was a great exercise in balance.