Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Dexter, Season 2

I’m working on my New Year’s resolutions already and topping the list is, “Be less obsessed with Dexter.”

Seriously, this show is like video crack for me. I can’t get enough. Woe will be the long wait for Season 3. Motley Queue reader Kaycee was on the nose with her comment that I would love Season 2 even better than Season 1. I don’t want to spoil one bit of it for you readers but this season was so tense and exciting that we watched the whole thing in a sick Netflix binge that involved several bags of potato chips and a two-pound tub of hummus from Costco. It was totally worth it.

And to top it all off, I was just informed by friend Bill that the entire show is based on a series of books, AND he claims the books are even better than the show. If I could figure out a way to insert giant eyeball emoticons here, I would do it. I’ve got the first book reserved at the library and am praying it arrives in time to accompany me on our Thanksgiving travels. There is a certain irony about spending Thanksgiving with my in-laws and a serial killer, no?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Get Smart

A movie review in five words or less: it's better than you think.

I know, the previews looked bad, right? But Get Smart is kind of fun. It's not going to change your life but it's entirely tolerable and even a little enjoyable. Perhaps it's just the soft spot I hold for the old Get Smart TV show, but I was charmed by Steve Carrell in the role of Maxwell Smart. And yes, I even found Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson to be entirely pleasing. Well, there's a sentence I never thought I'd write.

Anne Hathaway was...well...an odd choice for the role of Agent 99. Never mind the fact that she's young enough to be Steve Carrell's daughter, which made their romantic scenes more than a little creepy. I was more bothered by the fact that she has this pale, tired look about her that leaves you with the impression that a vampire just eased her of the burden of carrying all her blood around.

I know she went through some tragic public break-up in her real life during the making of this film, but still...couldn't the make-up team have given her a little under-eye concealer and maybe a spray of bronzer in between crying jags?

On the flip side, the people casting for the Twilight vampire movies could have Hathaway walk onto the set tomorrow and she'll steal the show.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

Okay, so I knew this was a spoof of singer biopics (Walk the Line, Ray, etc.), but I wasn't prepared for this to be so, well, spoofy.

I think I was confused by a bizarre interview I heard when the film was released with the writer (Judd Apatow) and star (John C. Reilly) on Fresh Air with Terry Gross where she did her usual "I'm going to pretend I'm interviewing Kofi Annan and treat this with utmost gravitas" routine to even the most ridiculous of subject matter. I seriously walked away thinking they'd just remade Citizen Kane.

Can we talk about Terry Gross for a minute? She drives me nuts. Is it just me or does she ask the longest questions possible, which are never really questions at all? Like this:

TERRY:"So tell me, Denzel Washington, because I would imagine it must have felt very empowering and emotional, and even a little frightening to portray Malcolm X, such a lauded and loathed figure in African-American society that seemed to embody both the best parts of the civil rights movement and the worst fears of the white cultural miasma."

DENZEL: "Um, was that a question?"

You see my point? Anyway, enough about Ms. Gross. I was totally surprised by the silly and sometimes hilarious parts of the film. There were several moments that seemed to be pulled straight out of The Naked Gun. Lily silly dick and fart jokes that you just don't see coming. Kind of amusing. In a dick and fart sort of way.

The cast was a huge ensemble with some fun surprises (Jenna Fischer, Frankie Muniz, Paul Rudd, Eddie Veder) but it was bizarre to see an entire troupe of current and former SNL stars rounding out the cast, including Kristen Wiig, Tim Meadows and Chris Parnell. I thought it had the stink of Lorne Michaels all over it, which is never a good thing.

There was nothing outright bad about this movie, other than it went on too long, you knew exactly what was going to happen at all times and it settled for funny when it should have been hilarious. Oh, and John C. Reilly, as much as I love him, is just really hard to watch being sexual. Really hard.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Was there something wrong with all of us in the '80s that we thought these were such good movies? Because I'm here to tell you that in 2008, Indiana Jones sucks. Plasticky, cheeseball, put-George-Lucas-out-of-his-misery sucks. At least he didn't throw Jar Jar Binks into the film but you can tell he probably came close, settling for some ridiculously bad CGI prairie dogs instead.

All the hype over Harrison Ford being "so old" was much ado about nothing. His age doesn't factor into the movie at all.

What does factor in is how George Lucas is perilously trapped in another dimension where old-timey villains (Commies! Scary!), lame special effects and cheesy backdrops are de rigueur. I dare you not to notice how incredibly fake and studio-setty the scenery is in this movie. I'm pretty sure I saw at least one set that was used on The Goonies and the entire car-chase-in-the-jungle scene was definitely filmed in the Ewok forest. Sigh.

The plot of Crystal Skull feels like George Lucas went back to his cast-off notes from three decades ago and mashed them all together in what he must have imagined to be a trifecta of intrigue. Reds! Aliens! Peruvians! Huh?

It's all cobbled together by the search for a skull of some master race of aliens in a lost city. Indiana Jones is naturally the only person who can translate all the clues leading to the skull. Did I mention it took him approximately one millisecond to solve a half-dozen complex riddles written in dead languages? Even Harrison Ford seemed to be annoyed by it.

The villainess of the film, played by Cate Blanchett, is the worst parody of a Commie I've seen since the Russian lady on Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. (Admit it, you watched.) But the bigger point is that I feel Commies are a little, how should I say this, not interesting at all today? No? Is it just me?

I know the spirit of Indiana Jones is light fare and I should have watched the movie with a bit more suspension of disbelief but for the love of god, I nearly lost my mind in the Commie car chase scene when Indy & company managed to dodge approximately 9,000 rounds of machine gunfire shot from ten feet away.

It is time to put this series to bed. And while we're at it, let's put George Lucas to bed as well. The kind of bed that sits in a room with bars on the window and in which there is no interior door handle.