Wednesday, March 28, 2012

This Week in DVD - March 28th

A Horrible Way to Die

More like a 'Horrible Movie to Watch'.  Hilarious, I know!  The movie felt like it was filmed by someone drunk or with epilepsy.  Seriously, it was continually out of focus, and when it was in focus it was shaking or moving around needlessly.  You know, even the cheapest hand held video cameras have image stabilization and auto focus features.  You know all the complaints people have about the shaky camera work in The Hunger Games?  This is 10 times worse than that.  It felt like a bad attempt to mask a bad movie with 'artistic' camera work, but it ended up being nauseating and annoying.

Oh, what's it about?  A serial killer escapes prison and resumes his work. Meanwhile, his ex-girlfriend, who helped put him away and is also a recovering alcoholic, is trying to put her life back together.  However, once she knows her ex has escaped and the bodies start to pile up, she knows it's not too long before her past catches up with her.  It's actually not a bad premise for a horror film.  If only they had actually done a good job with it.

The movie is told is such a disjointed way that I was never able to get into it.  They'd show you something, and then 5 minutes later in the movie, show you what led up to those events.  What is this Memento?  Just tell the 'effing story like a normal person!

It's very slow too.  Despite being just 85 minutes, it felt like it was closer to 2 hours in length.

1 out of 5 Death Stars - You can skip it.

The Whistleblower

Rachel Weisz stars as Kathryn Bolkovac, a cop who goes to Bosnia on a contract for the UN.  While there, she uncovers human trafficking and sex slavery of women and naturally tries to put a stop it.  Unfortunately, she receives resistance or no help from pretty much everyone.  To make matters worse, the UN appeared to be aware of it and covering it up and even co-workers were involved.

This is based on a true story, but at least they acknowledged that some things are fictitious or composites of multiple people.  Even if this is only half true, it's still pretty shocking.  You'll probably feel a little sad, angered or even sickened after watching it.  It's effective as far as making you aware of this issue and feeling something about it. On that level, the movie feels important.

The pacing is a little slow at the start, but I thought evolved into a pretty good thriller.  I guess you could almost call it a docu-thriller/drama.  The movie is carried by Rachel Weisz and it's one of her better roles.  I think because of the nature of the film, it didn't get the attention it deserved.

3.5 (out of 5) Death Stars - I'd recommend renting this one, but understand that it may anger you a bit.  It's not a feel good movie.

Happy Feet Two

I was disappointed in this considering that I actually kind of enjoyed the first one.  I knew it was bad news when the sequel started out with a terrible pop music montage that did nothing for the story other than to exist in the movie.  The montage was so bad that I almost turned it off, and I was only five minutes in.

I found many of the characters and voices annoying.  There are lots of unrelated subplots that are introduced and then just dropped or go nowhere.  At 100 minutes, it seems like there was too much going that was unnecessary and could have been streamlined.

It seems Happy Feet Two existed primarily to shoehorn in another Queen song.  Did Queen campaign to get in this movie or bankroll it?  Don't get me wrong, I actually love Queen, but it was just too much.  Everything felt forced.

I will say it has some great animation though.  Generally, I can get through even the worst of these films as long as the animation is up to par.  The movie is harmless enough, but better suited for kids.  There's not a lot to appeal to a broader audience.

 2 (out of 5) Death Stars - If you need something to entertain your kids for 100 minutes.


Out on DVD this week:

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

I liked this more than I was expecting considering I was very leery of another movie using the backdrop of 9/11 as a plot device.  Like I said in my original review, there have been very few that have been able to use 9/11 in a way that wasn't offensive or uncomfortable.  Having said that, I still don't think use of 9/11 was necessary.  They could have told the same story without it and not invoked all the feelings that creates.

ELaIC is carried by the performances of Thomas Horn and Max von Sydow, who was nominated for best-supporting actor.  I really liked Sandra Bullock as well.

It's based on the book by Jonathan Safran Foer.  If you're going to rent a movie of his this weekend, I actually recommend his previous film, Everything is Illuminated, over this one.  It's much lighter and funnier film if that's what you're in the mood for.

 3.5 (out of 5) Death Stars - I still think it's a movie worth renting.

Is that right?  Only one previous movie I need to recap this week?  Weird!  Must be another slow week for DVD releases.

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