Movie Night: Date Night

Greetings blog-watchers! Now I know you’re confused, but Google tells me none of you actually exist, which isn’t very nice at all. So, for the zero readers I have, I present this weeks’ Movie Night pick: the web-spider confusing Date Night. I was tempted to make it a “Special Event” as an excuse to use more “-Night” terms, but effort. Coming into the film as a fan of 30 Rock, and a non-fan of The Office: USA Edition, I thought it would be interesting to see how two of the vaunted comedic talents of recent years (which makes me sound really old) would play off each other. That, and my original choice was unavailable.

Since I previously admitted bias, take this opinion with a grain of salt: I felt Tina Fey had the best lines, while Steve Carell had the best moments. When Carell was really in the scene, you could honestly believe that Phil and Claire Foster truly loved each other, but his dialog felt lacking at times. On the other hand, Fey caused us to gamble our pant-dryness level on many occasions, but felt like she was mostly there as a vehicle for the delivery of the jokes. Put together, however, and it works. While the movie missed some opportunities on a larger scale, it really felt more in line with what I expected from a comedy: good, clean fun. Personally, I felt more could’ve been done with the cops, and the Holbrooke character, but they weren’t exactly the focus, so it gets a pass. A genuinely good movie: 4/5.

Movie Night: Animal House

Movie Night returns to form with a bye week pick, again visiting the classic era of cinema with Animal House, which I am informed is John Belushi’s second-best movie. First being The Blues Brothers. Now, as a precursor to this review, I should mention that, shockingly, I’m not American, so some of the references may have been lost on me. Thankfully, pop culture is more than happy to provide filler for the gaps in my education, Futurama being the front runner in this case. Regardless, on with words.

Released in the late ‘70s, Animal House still holds up rather well when compared to modern films. It’s certainly a better comedy than most modern attempts at the genre, and that’s a sobering thought. A touch crude for my tastes, but I guess that’s the target audience. Not knowing a great deal about the National Lampoon publication, the little I do know doesn’t fill me with hope for actually liking it. Despite initial reservations, the film is an entertaining, if low-brow, affair. I had no problems with the majority of the cast, except for Donald Sutherland as the English Professor, but even then only because I’d previously seen Invasion Of The Body-Snatchers, and he reminds me of Gene Wilder. Aside from the toplessness, I’d recommend the film to really anyone, provided they were mature. 3.5/5.

Movie Night: Hobo With A Shotgun

Brought to you late via the magic of Daylight Savings Time. For those paying attention, it may occur to you that my gameplan, such as it is, has been lacking. Ah, it is but a cunning disguise, concealing the fact that I have no gameplan. Should really work on that. Tonight’s film highlights my selection process: if all else fails, pick a funny name. Let’s catch this train, before it derails. (It is a topical joke.)

First off, for what started as somewhat of a joke for a contest entry, the final product shows remarkable polish; far more than I expected, and more than some “blockbuster” films I’ve seen. The colour choices help tell the story, which is good, because they’re fairly noticeably. I’m not usually one for films that seem to ask you to shut your brain down for maximum enjoyment, but I really had fun on this ride. The kills were akin to classic slasher “hall-of-famers”, even if by comparison they were fairly tame. Gratuitous gore aplenty, and it feels so good. The villains were despicable enough you wanted them turned into blood fountains, and the hero was likable enough that you could empathise with the position he was in. The only downside was the actress playing the female lead. I’m not sure she had enough experience to do the role justice, and in a movie like this, it really shows. All in all, a grand old romp through the gore garden. 4/5.

Movie Night: The Omega Man

Movie Night rolls on another week, with the 1971 film The Omega Man, AKA: “The Ωmega Man”, and is based on the novel I Am Legend, which some might recognise as a Will Smith movie. Which is unfortunate. Having only really known about the film from references, most notably The Simpsons: Treehouse Of Horror, this made a great selection for bye week.

The movie holds up rather well, despite being over 40 years old (isn’t THAT a sobering thought?), and given the technological limitations of the time. The Family were too reasonable for my tastes, seeing as how I expected them to be slightly more monstrous. Realistically, you could’ve replaced them with a non-specifically religious cult for the same effect. I also would’ve liked to see Charlton Heston be isolated more; once the major players were introduced, things started to feel rushed. Almost as if there was another quarter of the movie that was cut, without being properly checked for continuity. Some pacing issues and minor editing glitches put a bit of a crimp in an otherwise solid story. Overall, 2.5/5.

Movie Night: Sucker Punch

Movie Night, brought to you late this week by the letters N, R, and L, in conjunction with the Children’s Television Workshop. But seriously, it’s late due to Rugby League finals. Not entirely convinced I made the right choice, but what can you do, eh? As the title says, the movie of the week is Sucker Punch. Not being American, I’m not sure how much this movie was advertised or anticipated, but here I saw nothing about it until a week or so after it had been released, so that’s always promising. Anyway.

Sucker Punch is a trippy little tale about the ideal of “freedom”. At least, that’s my interpretation of it. As previously noted, I’m hardly an authority on these things. The “dream sequences”, for lack of a better term, are rather heavy-handed on the slow motion, but it never gets tired. The action is suitably impressive to justify it. While I never got fully invested with the characters, I could still understand where they were coming from, and their motivations. The ending felt a little tacked on to me, as if the creators wanted to send the audience hope somewhere near happy, rather than abrupt horror. More movies should take opportunities when they can, rather than sticking to formula, even though that’s what sells. Sucker Punch had the feel of an indie project given a Hollywood budget, and it worked really well. Rating wise, 4.5/5.

Movie Night: Raiders Of The Lost Ark

Movie Night this week is another pick of mine, and another film that’s gone under the radar for a little bit. I mean, that’s understandable, isn’t it? It’s not like it was a major release that’s been out in the world longer than I have, right? …Right? Anyway, moving right along.

Although I’m still not fond of action movies, Raiders was at least able to keep me watching with interest, unlike other movies that shall remain Lethal Weapon. Besides a somewhat generic plot that had me asking a couple questions at the end, the only real problem I had was with Harrison Ford. Not that he’s a bad actor, I would’ve preferred to see more done with him. I was a little distracted by the actor who played Sallah, until the credits revealed it to be John Rhys-Davies, which led to my brain filling in Sliders references when available. Overall, I can see why it’s a favourite of people, and I might even be willing to rewatch it. Later, of course. 3.5/5.

Movie Night: Lethal Weapon

Tonight’s Movie Night is another Bye Week pick. I can’t really think of too much to say here. It’s been out for a little while, so I’m assuming most of you would’ve seen it if you were remotely interested. Keep in mind, I’m not really an action movie type of guy.

Mel Gibson “acts” crazy, but trash tv has taught me it’s probably not an act. Credit where it’s due, it DID fit the character. The movie as a whole felt… empty to me. I was expecting either more plot or more action. And yes, I know one of those things was a real long shot. It just felt like filler for the most part. I never felt engaged enough with the story, and there wasn’t enough action to switch my brain off. Overall, not my cup of tea. I’d give a 2.5/5.