Woo-Hoo!!! (And a Few Quick Movie Reviews)

17 06 2010

My home network seems to be working again. \o/ Woo-Hoo!!! Now perhaps my writing life can return to something resembling normal. I am planning on sending off some submissions this weekend for various projects before heading out of town for a week of family vacation. 

I have some book reviews to be looking for in the future. I’ve been working on a story-by-story of Apex Book’s Dark Faith anthology as well as reviews for The Tel Aviv Dossier (speaking of Lavie Tidhar, you should go by Strange Horizons and read his short story “The Night Train” this week — good stuff!) and Sarah Canary.  I’ll post these sometime after returning from vacation.

In the meantime, here are a few short 6-pack movie reviews:

  • Priceless (5 out of 6 glasses of fine Champagne) — A fun French romantic comedy starring Audrey Tatou (from Amelie and A Very Long Engagement). I enjoyed this one more than I expected to. All of the characteres were flawed, sometimes downright unlikeable, and yet, in the end, you still wanted them all to have a happy ending. A good flick to watch with your partner.
  • Shutter Island (4 out of 6 Coors) — Martin Scorecese’s homage to Hitchcock. The film delivers some very fine performances and a great atmosphere, but the twist ending felt a little forced, and I saw it coming fairly early in the story. The soundtrack, an orchestra repeatedly pounding a single note, was a little overbearing at times. Overall, worth watching. I enjoyed it, but not one of Scorcese’s best films.  If by a different director, my expectations might not have been so high.  
  • Fly Me to the Moon (1 out of 6 Kool-Aid) — Uhm. Why did these flies not have six legs? How could the Grandpa have lived so long (flies have a pretty short lifespan)? Who thought maggots could ever, ever be cute? No, this movie didn’t work for me. My seven year old liked it, however. When I asked about the leg thing, he just replied “C’mon Dad! It’s just a cartoon!” Maybe so, but not a cartoon I want to sit through again.
  • Paranormal Activity (5 out of 6 Miller Light) — A fun low-budget horror movie with that Blair Witch feel. There is a simple premise: a couple investigates a haunting in their house much like the TAPS folks would on Ghost Hunters. Very well done. Very effective. I really liked the alternative ending on the DVD. I thought it was better than the theatrical ending.
  • Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (4 out of 6 Butterbeers) — A solid film adaptation for those who have already read the book. Nice visuals. Nice performances (it has been fun to watch the actors grow over the course of these movies). Unfortunately, those who have not read the books must be completely lost at this point.
  • Little Children (6 out of 6 Budweiser) — A sprawling suburban epic. A story of adultury and a pedophile/pervert that managed to have a heck of a lot of heart and humor mixed in, too. Great performances all around, especially from Jackie Earle Haley, who played the pedophile/pervert. I really loved the narrative technique used in this film; it worked well. Highly recommended.
  • Sherlock Holmes (5 out of 6 Guiness) — It’s not the Sherlock Holmes you remember from the stories or those PBS shows, but the character is still recognizable as Holmes. This is a fun action movie — nothing more, nothing less. The steampunk inspired settings were well done. Holmes and Watson had a solid bromance going on. I enjoyed the movie very much, and hope there’s a sequel.
  • Gentleman Broncos (3 out of 6 Honey Brown Ale) — This is a tough one to rate. If I were to watch it again it might get three more beers or three less. I don’t really know if I can say it was a good movie. I can say, however, it was entertaining, and I laughed many, many times, just not always for the right reasons. Jemaine Clement (of Flight of the Conchords fame) as a snobby SF writer channeling Orson Wells was hilarious. Sam Rockwell turns in multiple over-the-top and humorous performances in a series of bizarre fantasy scenes. Recommended with reservations. If you liked Nacho Libre and Napoleon Dynamite you might like it. I think I did… If it were to come on TV, I wouldn’t change the channel. It may be the best or worst movie I’ve ever seen. The very fact that I can’t decide makes it memorable, if nothing else. I think it could be a great midnight movie one day. I could see this one gaining a cult following.
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