Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Save Yourselves!

My movie selection skills have fallen victim to a swine flu. Please, please, please send recommendations as soon as possible to Casa de Teravainen. I’m begging you.

I have a bizarre fixation that forces me to watch any movie, no matter how bad, from beginning to end (except “Hostel,” which has been more than enough to discourage me from ever going within 200 miles of Slovakia) so I suffered through my last four On Demand selections. Here’s a brief summary of the last four gems I discourage you to bother with:

“The Reader” - Characters speaking English while supposedly living in Germany? Check. An English actress portraying a German speaking English with a German accent? Check. Shocking sex scene with an octogenarian Kate Winslet and an unconvincingly straight Ralph Fiennes? Check. Okay, maybe not the sex scene but seriously, what was with all the hype?

Besides sitcoms with pre-recorded laugh tracks, commercials for "ER," and almost any musical, my only other equally bothersome pet peeve in entertainment is a story where characters don’t actually speak the language of the country where the story takes place. Science fiction and fantasy movies conveniently get a free pass here because aliens/hobbits sound more convincing speaking English with foreign accents. But as for “The Reader,” couldn’t they have just conjugated verbs and repeated days of the week in German with English subtitles? I will never get this.

“Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist” - I so wanted “Juno.” Instead, I got “The Burbs.” You see, I loved “Juno” because it was so perfectly executed on almost every level. As for “The Burbs,” I thought it was fine but it was really only memorable because I had my first frenching with Cheryl Cote at the South Willow Street theater in 8th grade, and I was so relieved that I made out before I got to high school. Similarly, “Nick and Norah” was ehhh, but the wife and I frenched mid-way through the movie and had sex on the couch. Just kidding. She fell asleep around the 25-minute mark, but I couldn’t think of anything else to say.

“The Invasion” – Nicole Kidman is an Australian portraying an American who speaks without her accent at the beginning of a scene, loses track mid-way through a scene, then remembers that her character is American towards the end of a scene and quickly substitutes “buddy” or “pal” instead of slipping with “mate.” In any event, Nicole has done it for me since going nude for “Eyes Wide Shut,” so I’m giving her a pass. I’m pretty sure she could post me up on the block and possibly dunk over me if we ever played one on one hoops. I wonder if she and Cruise ever played H.O.R.S.E. while they were married? Moving on.

“Taken” – Imagine the secret love child of Jason Bourne with any of Steven Seagal’s characters during his illustrious career and you’d get Liam Neeson’s character in this barely compelling suspense/action flick, which tenuously connects to the purpose of my blog (reminder – thoughts on becoming a dad) because Neeson’s character goes on a rampage to save his daughter from becoming a concubine for the Iron Sheik.

Again, we have character nationality issues: Irishman Neeson (who I generally enjoy, by the way) portrays an American in France who only speaks English with a vaguely Northern Irish accent to Frenchmen and Albanian thugs. I didn’t have a problem with the improbable car chases and fight scenes, the predictable villain who walks away before the good guy protagonist is killed, the unbelievably bad aim of bad guys with guns, and the inevitable rescue of his daughter. Truthfully, I rather enjoyed the excessive number of deaths by windpipe chops and other neck breaking moves whose success rate in the movie seems highly suspect. What killed me, though, is that Neeson’s character (I seriously doubt you need a spoiler alert here) shoots his friend’s innocent wife in the arm after she just cooked them a nice chicken dinner. I feel like that part slipped through the editing process mistakenly.

So, please suggest something good to watch On Demand or else I’m going to Blockbuster for some slam dunk options like “Teenwolf” and “Major League” to break this bad streak.


Melissa DelPrete said...

Oh man, I haven’t seen a ‘sat on the edge of my seat, kept my attention, amazing, captivating, that was so great, I’m definitely buying that on DVD’ movie in the longest time! Probably not since The Dark Knight... I did just watch “He’s Just Not That Into You” last night and as a single gal, it was very enlightening... but not so sure it would be your cup of tea. The cast definitely made it better (Ben Affleck, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Aniston). “Curios Case of Benjamin Button” and “Seven Pounds” were both good but definitely slow at times...and Ben Button was LONG! I did enjoy "Twilight". Definitely kept my interest – didn’t love it as much as all the hype it’s getting but worth watching...

I should be receiving “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” through Netflix today – I’ll let you know how that goes... Hahaha.

...oh and I couldn't believe that Liam Neeson shot that woman either. Definitely a 'WTF?!' moment!

Scott said...

Come on...when he shoots the wife was honestly my favorite part of the entire movie. It was hilarious (not sure it was supposed to be). I thought Taken was decent but it had one of the best trailers I have seen in years.

Every action movie wants to be the 4th Bourne. Even the newest Bond movie was trying to get there. I'm alright with it, though...I love the Bourne movies.

As far as recommendations, I don't have many from the on demand list. "Doubt" is pretty good but it's slow at times. There are three really great actors in it (Hoffman, Streep, and Adams) and a good but small performance from Viola Davis. I thought "Role Models" was very funny.

Even though I am slightly embarrassed to admit it, I thought "Marley and Me" was a really good movie. Maybe I could relate since I am a husband and father of 2. I took my son to see it in the theater when "Bedtime Stories" was sold out. We both enjoyed it.

One movie that I would highly recommend (probably not On Demand) if you haven't seen it is "In Bruges". Great story, Brendan Gleason is perfect (as usual), and Colin Farrell is actually really good. Not having to hide his accent helps.