Just some thoughts on movies I have seen recently via Netflix…
Blood Diamond (**)
As soon as this was listed, I added it to my Netflix queue. That was 4.5 years ago. I actually even had it shipped to the house one time (probably 3 years ago) but never got around to watching it and sent it back. Finally watched it last month. Was it worth the wait? Not really. Hey, look, I know it speaks about the evils of some real-life horrors going on (while telling a fictional tale alongside) in regards to the diamond trade and while that is commendable, I felt the movie was way too long and a tad bit boring. The movie features lots of gore and violence but not in the “fun” Hollywood blockbuster way and that’s part of the reason I just couldn’t enjoy the movie, I thought it was going to be more an action movie.
Sucker Punch (***)
An action-fantasy that surprisingly went under the radar considering Zack Snyder wrote & directed. I guess he used up all his fanboy goodwill points with Watchmen and Legend of the Guardians. Visually, this is a stunning movie. The fantasy portions of the film are amazingly well done with beautiful CGI and there is great eye candy throughout the movie as well. I mean, it’s an action movie with girls running around in skimpy skirts the whole time, what’s not to like? Not a great movie, but I enjoyed it, even if the ending was a letdown.
Black Death (**1/2)
Set in 1348 just as the Bubonic Plague (AKA – the Black Death) was wiping out Europe’s population. Really cool old school gritty, solemn gothic vibe to this movie. I’ve seen it described as a horror movie, but I think perhaps just calling it an action/suspense or action thriller is better suited as it doesn’t even begin to get a bit supernatural until the second half of the film and it’s not done in an over-the-top fashion. I liked the ending, seems like it could be setting up a sequel that would take place years after these events.
Take Me Home Tonight (**)
Wow. If ever there was a misleading trailer, this is it. I was expecting an over-the-top fun comedic love letter to ’80s teen movies (while not bordering on parody) but what we have here is more of a boring heartless dramedy. That said, I suppose in tone, it does fall in line with what I would classify as ’80s teen dramedies (basically any of the Hughes films from that era) but what this filmlacks is soul. Much like some portions of the ’80s, this movie is an empty shell and it’s actually quite mopey and depressing at times. Topher Grace does fine in the lead role but I really wish Ana Faris would had a larger role (she looks GREAT as a brunette, by the way, kind of reminds me of Margaret Colin). And even though the movie ends on a happy note, Topher’s love interest comes off as shallow by the end of the movie and you’d think he be better off without her. By the way, just to give you an idea of how little faith even the studio had in this movie — it was filmed in 2007 and sat on the shelf for FOUR YEARS before finally being released in 2011.
Your Highness (***)
More action-comedy than comedy (some truly gory moments happen), Your Highness was only slightly less the movie I thought it was going to be and I will admit the trailer showed all the best parts. Though I’m not much of a fan of Eastbound & Down, Danny McBride himself is often quite hilarious and he basically brings the Kenny Powers character to the Middle Ages. I’m aware the movie is juvenile, silly and low-brow but what else did anyone expect from McBride? Very little in the way of plot, Danny carries the movie entirely through his dialogue. A sequel is teased at the end, while I don’t think we’ll get it (the film was a bomb across the board), I’d be all for it. And gee, is Natalie Portman one of the hottest actresses right now or what?
The Eagle (**1/2)
What can I say? I’ve been in the mood for a little sword & sorcery lately although there’s not much sorcery going on here. The Eagle is based on a book (“The Eagle of the Ninth”) that centers around a young Roman military officer and his slave traveling to England in search of the Ninth Spanish Legion’s lost eagle standard in order not only help bring some respect back to Rome but also clear the name of the officer’s father who lead the Ninth Legion and is believed to have died a coward. This is a more straight-forward traditional swords & sandals tale that balances adventure with drama.
Hey look, another adventure/fantasy film!I thought Iron Man 2 was kind of a dud so it’s nice to see Marvel make a better effort here, much better than I expected and I enjoyed the scenes in Asgard a lot. It’s just a shame much of the movie was spent with Thor being powerless and stuck on Earth. Oh well, at least we’ll have The Avengers next year and hopefully Thor 2 at some point because I would LOVE to see Asgard and its gods further explored and featured.