Sunday, October 23, 2011

This week in DVD - October 23rd

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

As I stated in my original review, I'm not a huge fan of the franchise.  I liked this more than the third one, but it's still not a good film.  I wanted more mermaids and Ian McShane's "Blackbeard", but I'm of the believe that almost any movie would benefit from more Ian McShane.  I guess there are already talking about making a fifth one, so there's no escaping this I guess.  If they made it a prequel about Blackbeard, then I'd be all over it.

Anyway, if you're a fan of the franchise, you'll probably enjoy this enough.  I guess there are worse things to rent, but it's loud and not a few good story.

Bad Teacher

Read my original review here.

I thought this was okay.  It was pretty funny in parts, but not up there with some of the better comedies that came out over the summer.  It just wasn't good enough to be put in the instant classic category or demands repeat watching.  One of my requirments for a classic comedy is to be quotable and I don't think there's a lot here that you'll hear your friends quoting back to each other.

It is an unrated cut, so of course, I'll give it another watch.  It's worth a rental if you haven't seen it, but there are better comedies from this summer that are already out on DVD.  Horrible Bosses beat this to DVD despite coming in the theater out two weeks after Bad Teacher.

Beautiful Boy

The basic story is that you're following a family after the aftermath of a tragedy.  In this case, a couple's college age son goes on a killing rampage at his schoool.  Intially they believe he's one of the victims, only to find that he's the shooter.  They had just talked to their son the day before and he really gave them no indication that anything that serious was wrong with him.  The rest of the movie are the parents dealing with that.

It's hard to watch at times because of the emotions involved and the situation and I found it kind of frustrating, because you never get much of an explanation as to why it happened.

The good part is that the partents, played by Michael Sheen and Maria Bello, really bring it.  This is an actor's vehicle more than it's about the story.  I feel bad in a way for Maria Bello, she's a much better actress than a lot of the movies she's been in.  Small roles from Alan Tudyk (Firefly) and Moon Bloodgood (Falling Skies) round out the cast.  You even get a little Meat Loaf.

Pretty good direction from first timer Shawn Ku.  He also co-wrote the film, but I think he was stronger with the direction.  He got a lot out of the performances with not much of a story.

I think it's worth a rent for the performances alone.

Red State

This is another movie that I almost feel like I should write as a standalone review, as it was barely in the theaters and Kevin Smith caused quite a buzz with how it was promoted.  However, since it came out on DVD this week, I'll keep this in the DVD section.

The basic premise is that a group of friends, led by Kyle Gallner, go out to hook up with a cougar that he's been talking to online.  The promise of sex rallies his friends to go out.  Shortly before this you are shown that there is a religious cult in town that is protesting the suicide/death (I can't remember which) of a homosexual.

From there, it jumps into what almost seems to be a religious horror film, but then it turns into a gun fight with the ATF where politics and PR come into play.  It's actually a pretty interesting story when you think about it.  I'm not going to go into details, since this is a newer movie and most of you haven't heard of this or seen it.  My spoiler rules come into play anytime I like a movie.  This is no exception.

I really liked the performances.  They made this on a small budget, but managed to get a great cast.  Kevin Smith somehow rallied actors like Melissa Leo, John Goodman and Michael Parks, who is great as 'Pastor Abin Cooper'.

I really liked Kerry Bishe (she belongs to the body in the poster...HOT!) as 'Cheyenne', but I'm a little biased as I've had a crush on her since she was on Scrubs.  She shows some emotional range here though and now I take her a little more serioiusly as an actress.

The main kid was played by Kyle Gallner, who was just in Beautiful Boy.  It was kind of weird to watch two movies back to back with the same kid actor not knowing he was in either film.

Red State is a thought provoking movie.  You can look at it as a shot against religious fundamentalism and you can look at it as a shot against the government.  If you want to dumb it down, you can just look at it as horror/action movie.  I think there's a little something for everyone here, except nudity.  There's no nudity.

Red State was written and directed by Kevin Smith. It's a totally different movie from him, but I think it's is best movie since Clerks.  That's saying a lot for me, since I'm a huge Kevin Smith fanboy and I've pretty much liked everything he's done.  I think the only two Kevin Smith movies I don't own are Jersey Girl and Cop Out.

This is a strong rental recommendation.

I watched a few other movies this week, but I'm running out of time and they were older movies, so I'll save them for next week's post.

Oh yeah, click on my Amazon link or buy me something off my wish list, will ya?

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