Well – with about 40+ hours on A330s and B777s this week – it leads to a nearly automatic movie review post. Here are my lightning quick movie reviews from best to worst.
Vicky Cristina Barcelona (6/5) – Delightful from beginning to end – I loved the narrator popping in from time to time – it was like a book/movie combination. Maria Elena appeared at the perfect time as the plot needed a boost – I *knew* it was her when the phone rang in the bedroom scene. Magnificent editing – thank you Woody Allen for the fine editing touch. Scenes of Barcelona and Spain were very lovely and brought back many memories. Required viewing for folks going to the IMS Learning Impact meeting in May in Barcelona!
Baby Momma (5/5) Great fun – the middle could have been edited more crisply – I was getting bored with the repetition until Greg Kinnear appeared and things got interesting. I loved the ending and plot resolution.
Momma Mia (4/5) Good stuff. I always wish musicals would shorten the numbers. The cast did a fine job technically but all the older leads seemed completely mis-cast. The daughter was very well-cast as was her fiance – they belonged in a musical – the others did not – they were film actors – not singers. The plot and location were so wonderful – that I forgave the casting flaws and just enjoyed the film.
Traitor (4/5) I liked how they explored the dimensions of faith and the various levels of faith and how people interpreted the world differently based on the depth of the faith. The lead character was so well acted that you *had* to watch – so much depth.
Madagasgar 2: Escape from Africa (4/5) I had low expectations of this but was nicely surprised. The plot is a remix of Lion King but with enough fun differences that it was not bothersome. The little old lady is a *stitch*. This film series just makes lots of really likable characters.
Get Smart (3/5) – Had a lot going for it – and while I love Steve Carrell – he was mis-cast in my opinion. He is a *comedian* – Smart needs to be more of a straight guy who just bumbles because of his nature. Steve kept delivering it as if it were funny. Get Smart is funny when it is trying not to be funny. Don’t get me started about Steve Martin as the Pink Panther. Grrr.
Body of Lies (3/5) I generally liked this – it gave me a bit of the Bourne style of filmmaking which I love – I got a little tired of the Russell Crowe character being an idiot *continuously* – he could not have been that stupid. I liked the end of the film – again a study in people and trust and friendships.
Burn After Reading (2/5) – I wanted to like this – I liked the characters – I came back to watch it several times on the trip – after 20 minutes it was so painfully boring. Sure deadpan is fun and the Cohen brothers know how to do it (like No Country for Old Men) – but deadpan does not mean dull. This film was dull – but I watched a bit because I liked the characters – I just did not have the patience to get to the end of the movie after three tries.
Step Brothers (2/5) Wow – lovely cast – horrible film. I love Will Ferrel and John C. Reilly – the script was simply so bad and again went to the same cliche over and over and over and over (and over). I could not finish watching it. Perhaps a better approach would have been to simply film Mary Steenburgen reading the script – at least I would have watched that until the very end :)
Slum Dog Millionaire (1/5) Basically crap – again the same plot device over and over. Lead character says a line and then bad guy slaps him – then we have several flash backs to childhood and the TV studio – the the lead character says a line and the sequence is repeated. The plot was nowhere and going nowhere after the first hour – the first hour could have been done in a 2-minute montage. The only redeeming thing about the film was beautiful filmography in the youth scenes – beautiful colors – beautiful camera work – great locations and costumes. I wanted to like this – but it was just a bad Oliver Twist meets Clockwork Orange and zero reason to be emotionally connected to the characters.