Thursday, February 23, 2006

Rental Reviews

Red Eye. Rated 'PG-13'
Synopsis: A woman is kidnapped by a stranger on a routine flight. Threatened by the potential murder of her father, she is pulled into a plot to assist her captor in offing a politician.
Comments: I must admit that I've become leery of anything stamped 'Wes Craven' ever since he got the Gen Y seal of approval after 1996's Scream (which I admit to liking, but not necessarily what it did to the "horror" genre). However, I still give him the benefit of the doubt if I find some aspect of one of his movies attractive (i.e. werewolves and hottie Joshua Jackson in his previous cineturd Cursed). And that's why I rented Red Eye. I love thrillers and the concept seems enticing.

I enjoyed the movie. I thought it built some genuine suspense and had plausible performances. Though some may be turned off by the fact that the majority of the film takes place in one location (the interior of a plane), I felt it was handled well and kept a good flow. Not the most intense suspense I've seen, but a good rental.
Verdict: Worth the rental. Not necessarily one to add to the ol' DVD collection. Great ending.

Junebug. Rated 'R'
Synopsis: A dealer in "outsider" art travels from Chicago to North Carolina to meet her new in-laws, challenging the equilibrium of this middle class Southern home.
Comments: I remember seeing the trailer for this film and instantly being drawn to it. Though the premise is incredibly understated, it's a very well executed 'slice of life' film. I loved the juxtaposition of the small town mentality vs. the (as perceived by the family) snooty urbanites. Perhaps because I grew up in a small town myself, I could totally feel and appreciate the conflicts in the film.

The movie has a little something for everyone: great performances, comedy, drama, tears. I really enjoyed it. I feel like I got to know the characters, so naturally I was drawn into their individual personalities and respectively where each of them were coming from.
Verdict: Loved it. You can't help but fall in love with Ashley Adam's character, Junebg. She as endearing as she is tragic. Ashley rarely disappoints (Drop Dead Gorgeous, Psycho Beach Party, Pumpkin). And, as much as I hate to admit this, the O.C.'s (god, that leaves a bad taste in my mouth) Benjamin McKenzie does a great job as the embittered younger brother. I'd buy this movie. Definitely worth a look.

The Chumscrubber. Rated 'R'
Synopsis: A darkly satiric story about life crumbling in the midst of a seemingly idyllic suburbia.
Comments: Wow. I'm not sure where to begin with this waste of 108 minutes of my life. The trailer looked so promising and even I have to admit I wasn't quite sure what this movie was about when I saw the trailer. All I knew was that it had a great-looking cast (Glenn Close, Ralph Fiennes, John Heard, etc.) and the film itself looked great in the trailer...that's where the greatness ended.

I'd read several reviews of this movie and people seem to love latching onto one person's opinion and running with it. The more familiar and "alternative"-sounding the reference (in this case, Donnie Darko), the better. Well, I'm here to tell you, this movie had zero in common with the good movie, Donnie Darko. I think people like to compare the two because [A] They couldn't form an original opinion if they wanted to, and depend waaaay too much on other people's reviews to decipher movies for them. And [B] Both Chumscrubber and Donnie Darko are remotely (and even that's a stretch) similar in the sense that they both are dark (thematically) films with touches of surrealism.

The movie starts out promising, delivering the great visuals, fresh approach the movie trailer hinted at, then it goes down hill after the first 15 minutes. The movie doesn't know what it wants to be. At first you think it's going to be a dark comedy, then you think it's going to be an "edgy" message film, then you think it's going to be an ensemble piece, then you think it's going to be a twisted commentary on society and its polarizing effects on Gen. Y/X. It was all of these things and it all wound up making a huge wreck of a movie, which is disappointing because it had potential. There are some great bits 'n pieces here, which if edited correctly, could have been a good film, but as it is, it's a convoluted disaster. Not to mention the whole lame attempt at incorporating a video game character (thus the title of the movie) into an already bloated hodgpodge. What a waste of $4 and 108 minutes.
Verdict: 'Mess' is the keyword here. That combined with lackluster performances all around (Allison Janney and Glenn Close being the exceptions). Save your money to rent Donnie Darko or The Doom Generation instead. Two movies with directors that knew how to execute their vision.


Blogger nccountry said...

I thought Red Eye was a pretty good movie, i might even watch it again!

Saturday, February 25, 2006 8:51:00 AM  

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