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Catching Up on Some DVDs

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Scott Roberts
Catching Up on Some DVDs
on Jan 3, 2011 at 4:44:16 pm

Since nothing good is currently playing in theaters (that I haven't already seen), I took some time to catch up on some DVDs of 2010 movies that I never got around to seeing in theaters when they were out:

The Kids Are All Right

I didn't really have much interest in this film based on the concept and trailer, but it's starting to get a lot of awards buzz for its screenplay, so I thought it would be worth a rent.

In the end, it was OK, it was better than I was expecting it to be. I thought it was going to be another Juno, a quirky indie screenplay filled with unnatural, forced pop culture references told in an annoying and inappropriate way (I think, say, Scott Pilgrim did it in a much more clever fashion). Not to go off into a Juno tangent, but I thought that was possibly the worst screenplay to ever win the Best Original Screenplay Academy Award (her water breaks and she yells "Thundercats Go!"... Get outta here, Diablo Cody, seriously...). But I was happy to find out that The Kids Are All Right is nothing like Juno.

I was actually surprised to find out it's not even really a comedy! It's much more of a drama about family conflict. Sure the lesbian parents make it more interesting, but this movie could have essentially been tweaked and rewritten with heterosexual parents and still would have worked the same. And for that I commend it in the sense that there were lesbian parents and they functioned just like a normal family (which was the point). But at the same time, I was also like "what's so special about making them lesbian parents?" By that I mean the film's main focus seemed to be less on the parents sexuality (except for a few possibly unneeded scenes here and there) and more about the kids finding and connecting with the guy who is their donor father. All that being said, it is probably more interesting (and more progressive I suppose) to have lesbian parents. And I'm sure it put more butts in the seats.

In retrospect, it's a pretty decent movie, I was entertained the whole time, that's what usually matters most. Though I think in a few years most people will forget this movie existed. That happens to a lot of movies though, remember Last King of Scotland? Yeah, I barely do either.

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Despicable Me

I was kind of hoping for a WALL-E/Toy Story/How to Train Your Dragon level of brilliance here, and I don't think I saw that. Despicable Me felt more like a children's film than what I'm used to seeing with these critically acclaimed computer animated films. But a great children's movie it was.

I thought the animation and design were spectacular, but I thought there may have been a CUTE overload. Everything was just too cute for its own good, haha. But I think that's what makes it a really good movie for kids. Other than a few inside jokes here and there, I just didn't think it also appealed to adults like other modern animated films recently have. But again, I feel like like it went for a certain demographic, and nailed it in that regard.

I don't think in any way it was a bad movie, but maybe it just wasn't for me. Didn't connect emotionally, even when they were clearly trying to. I'll take Woody and Buzz in the incinerator any day of the week.

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Exit Through the Gift Shop

This was a really good documentary about renegade street artists. It started as a documentary about one of the most famous street artists, Bansky, but eventually evolves into Banksy focusing directly on the documentary filmmaker who set out to focus on other people (if that makes sense). It's funny and fast paced, and definitely worth checking out if not only to see some of the incredible street art displayed throughout the film.

The trailer is kind of awful though, and doesn't really do the film much justice.

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Devil

I originally never planned on watching this, because I thought it looked kind of stupid. And I didn't like that M. Night Shyamalan was producing this movie that obviously contained some sort of twist ending. But I was at my friend's place this weekend, and he rented it, so I watched it for free.

It was slightly better than I thought it would be, but still not a good movie. The best thing it has going for it was decent pacing and a short 80 minute run time. A few moments of tension and mystery don't make up for its overall mediocrity. Didn't care for the ending either. I was a big fan of the upside-down city shots in the opening, however. Still, I wouldn't really recommend Devil to anybody.

But it was better than Shyamalan's last few directorial efforts.

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I also watched the new Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith review over at Red Letter Media (he posted it on New Years Eve). It's a must see conclusion to his epic prequel bashing. I'm sure I don't need to tell you about it if you watched the first two prequel reviews, but if you haven't seen any, I suggest you find 5-6 hours of time in your schedule somewhere to watch all three of them. The basement/serial killer schtick gets kind of annoying and slows the reviews down, but you can just skip over those parts to observe the hilarious film analysis.

Check 'em out here:
http://www.redlettermedia.com/


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Mike Cohen
Re: Catching Up on Some DVDs
on Jan 6, 2011 at 3:21:27 pm

To add to this thread, because not all movies deserve their own thread, last night we watched "Salt". Basically, Angelina Jolie wants to be Matt Damon. She is pretty good at jumping around, fighting and similar stunts - that's fun to watch. However the writers neglected to give her much talking. And because she is acting alone much of the time, she is somewhat one-dimensional. The filmmakers tried to make it a "real world" movie - that is, less Michael Bay, more Paul Greengrass - but the plot was just silly. But fun to watch. I give it 3 bananas out of four.

Mike Cohen


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Scott Roberts
Re: Catching Up on Some DVDs
on Jan 10, 2011 at 4:45:11 pm

Last night I watched The Crying Game for the first time. I didn't even know what it was about, I just heard *of* it. Haha, wow, it didn't seem that completely bizarre as I was watching it for some reason, but now that it has simmered in my head overnight, as a whole it now feels like some messed up dream. Between the Irish terrorists, the transsexual love story, sporadic gunfights, and awesome Forest Whitaker side-role, I don't even know what to think about this film. I guess I liked it?


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Tim Wilson
Re: Catching Up on Some DVDs
on Jan 10, 2011 at 6:34:09 pm

[Scott Roberts] "the transsexual love story"

Transvestite. Only the clothing.

NSFW language, so I'm not embedding, but you really need to check this out: youtube.com/watch?v=6npfjWoBCRM

I never understood why The Crying Game was named what it was, and I was never "fooled" and therefore not shocked by what turned out to be the big secret...which remarkably, really did stay pretty well secret...but I thought it was remarkable. I really loved how messy it was, more reflective of a whole life than is normally able to be shown in a short space, and thought it hung together really well.

To be honest, I haven't thought about it much since the theatrical release...except when I think about Forrest Whittaker, and I do often. I think he's tremendously underrated, one of the very best folks walking the land. Another favorite of mine for him: "Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai." Definitely worth a gander.


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Stephen Smith
Re: Catching Up on Some DVDs
on Jan 10, 2011 at 7:03:54 pm

I have never seen the Crying Game and think it is not a movie for me....does it make Ace Ventura extra funny once you have seen the film? :-)

Stephen Smith
Utah Video Productions

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Scott Roberts
Re: Catching Up on Some DVDs
on Jan 10, 2011 at 10:13:37 pm

@Tim:

Haha, well now I know the difference between wierdo and executive transvestite. Learn something new every day!

I assume it was titled the Crying Game because Dil sings a song called "The Crying Game" (by Dave Berry, i just looked it up) at that club near the beginning, then plays it again on the stereo near the end of the film (after everything has gotten truly chaotic). What is the deeper significance of the song? I don't know, I didn't read too deeply into that when I watched it last night.

And I must have seen Ghost Dog like 10 years ago, and I remember almost nothing about it. Just Forrest walking around an urban area with a sword. I should probably rewatch it, I'm sure I'd appreciate it more now that I'm a little older and such.


@Stephen:

Haha yes it actually does make Ace Ventura funnier, I just went back and watched that scene again, now I know the song they play in the background is indeed "The Crying Game." That's something I never picked up on the first 10 times I've watched Ace Ventura!

Here's the clip again if you wanted to watch it (maybe NSFW because of 2 seconds of Jim Carrey's naked butt):







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