Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Quickie DVD Reviews

For those of you who do not choose to brave the teaming, smelly, rude, snotty, coughing, encumbered-with-small-screaming-children, or otherwise hideously objectionable public to go see movies in the theater, following are one minute reviews of current DVDs available at your local multi-national conglomerate 'o entertainment. Now, some critics out there will review DVDs based on all the extras, etc., but I'm going to have to stick to movies that I have actually seen, or for which I know what extras are available. So, some of these are just mini-movie reviews, and some include information on the "extras". Don't hate me for not having a press pass, I don't get invited to the junkets, or at least not yet. Enjoy.

Corpse Bride
As much as I love Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, and as much as The Nightmare Before Christmas was truly great...I can't recommend this one. It is beautifully done, but it was somehow...not fun. Besides, the "groom" is a an indecisive man whore—now he loves Live Chick, now he loves Dead Chick, now Dead Chick is sacrificing her happiness so that Live Chick and Man Whore can be in love and get married. Snore. And I've heard there are no DVD extras worth mentioning, which is a crime. Verdict? Pass.

In Her Shoes
Curtis Hanson, who directed L.A. Confidential and Wonder Boys, which are both really wonderful films (rent them), and 8 Mile, which is kinda pretty great if you are into that sort of thing, (Eminem and an anorexic Brittany Murphy not withstanding), laid a lemon this time around. Maybe he doesn't do well with stories about women. This is certainly a chick-flick, which I'm not necessarily against, and it does have the goddess Toni Collette as it's star, but it manages to be kind of dull. I know all the critics were giving it 3 or 4 stars, but not me. Or Girl Kid, she hated it. Verdict? "Enh."

The Aristocrats
I rented this last night. I'd tried to see it in the theater, but I'm glad I wasn't able to find some "without teenage child" time to see it then, because the extensive DVD extras make this one worth a look. This is a movie about an old vaudeville joke that comedians reserve for each other...generally speaking, it has become far too filthy for public performance. Be warned: DO NOT watch this with your children, even if they are adults, you'll feel bad and wrong if you try. The idea of the joke is that there is a simple set up, and the punch line is "the Aristocrats!". The middle of the joke is entirely up to the sensibility of the teller. Over time, comedians have developed a tradition of one-upmanship, with each person trying to tell the grossest, filthiest, vilest, most pornographic story imaginable. In that regard, Bob Saget wins (yes, Bob Saget), but George Carlin manages a close second in the opening few minutes of the movie. Gross, gross, gross. I didn't really think any of it was all that funny, but it was interesting, (boys of a certain mind-set will probably find it hi-larious). My favorite bit was when Cartman tells the joke to the rest of the South Park boys at the bus stop. And the mime was pretty...um...funny? Verdict? Rent it, but don't say I didn't warn you—view this one on an empty stomach at your peril. And if you happen to run across Bob Saget, cross the street. That guy is one sick fuck.

Lord of War
Director Andrew Niccol really did his research for this movie. He interviewed several actual arms dealers over a couple of years, and Nicolas Cage's character Yuri is a composite of several real people. This is a work of fiction, but the stories told all happened...to someone. There's a scene with a long line of Russian tanks extending into the distance that is not computer generated, the tanks were real ones on loan from a real arms dealer, who Niccols has said told him, "Just have them back by December, I have to deliver them then." I wonder who got them? The AK-47s in one warehouse scene are real too, Niccol found it was cheaper to buy the guns from a dealer than to create fake ones. (He sold them to the government after filming.) More: the opening long shot of the movie depicts a bullet's life from sheet metal to it's final ending in a child's skull, and is just gutting, and totally worth the price of admission right there. Verdict? Rent it. We saw it twice in the theater.

Flightplan
Jodi Foster is usually great, and I love Peter Sarsgaard, but this one is a pass. Boring and predictable. Verdict? Save your money.

Fog
Girl Kid saw this with her friends, and she thought it was...wait for it...boring and predictable. Pirate Ghost Zombies, with a romantic ending. This sounds fun to me, but Girl Kid swears it's not worth the effort. There, now you don't have to see it. Verdict? Are you kidding me right now?

MirrorMask
A collaboration of Neil Gaiman and David McKean, and made for only four million dollars, this is a flat-out a work of art. I can't even begin to describe it, other than to say it's a mixture of live-action and animation. It's not available until February 14th, but go ahead and pre-order it now. A must have, it's beautiful, it's amazing...and I don't even know what the extras will be like. Verdict? Do you have to ask? BUY!

Serenity
I've talked about the cancelled Firefly series before, and this is the movie that takes off where the series left off. Rent the Firefly series first (you'll be glad you did), and then rent this. No exceptions, I'm ordering you to do it. Verdict? Please, just to make me happy....

Incident At Loch Ness
This one has been out for a while, but I'll include it here—director Werner Herzog is my personal god, I love him so much. This movie is...well, I won't ruin it by telling you anything the title doesn't already reveal. The thing I will tell you is: DO watch the commentary with Zach Penn and Werner Herzog, it's more funny than the movie itself. Verdict? Rent it, bitch!

Well, that's it for now. I'm going to go eat dinner, 'cause I'm hungry!
Love, Your Mistress

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