Here’s some quick recap reviews of films seen on DVD or torrents…
- Wanderlust – terribly disappointing effort from several The State alums (Wain, Marino). I really, really wanted to like this film and almost paid real money to see it out in LA back in March. Hate to be a capitalist here but glad I saved the dough. Woof. Aniston continues here streak of crappy-to-below-average (ok, her wildly unbelievable D.D.S. role in a slightly better-than-average Horrible Bosses had some great lines) films since Office Space, Rudd is at his Apatowian one-note best (which for SM is about as pleasant as a hot coffee enema), all of the side characters are easy stereotyped cliches (save for Joe Lo Truglio’s nude writer who had a few moderately funny scenes) and standard hetero-normative, arch conservative worldview – hey! Let’s just go back to being fakehappy capitalists but we will make $ off these freaks! Fuck you guys – you didn’t sell out enough (see everything from Apatow after F&G/Cable Guy) and you didn’t make it funny or subversive enough (see Wet Hot American Summer, Stella) – you got serious middle-of-the-road quality. VERDICT – skip it, maybe see it on Comedy Central in a few years when your recovering from knee surgery and you are drugged up to the gill slits on painkillers. Maybe you will get a few chuckles.
- 21 Jump Street – meh. Had a few moments here or there but didn’t live up to the hype. Tatum funnier than Hill, not like that is surprising as Hill has built a career out of people remembering his movies as being funnier than they were (see Superbad and all of the Apatow films). I will say I at first found the whole Rogen/Goldberg/Hill pro-male homosexuality/males-in-platonic-love-with-each-other thing unnerving as no one I knew who liked the movies saw any of the obvious messages (hello, drawing dicks and telling your best friends you LOVE him may not mean your gay but I don’t think many teenage boys are doing that outside of the movieworld – although SM does NOT think it’s a bad idea to see more enlightened attitudes amongst teenage boys but that is a discussion for another time) which made me feel as if I was reading too much into them. Not sure I was but again, for another post. This time I saw the buddy-buddy comrade as a plea for friendship with meaning and care for one another, a decent message wrapped up in some 80’s nostalgia. VERDICT – Get it from the library on DVD.
- A Cat in Pairs (Une vie de chat) Absolutely delightful French hand-drawn (yeah, that’s right, people still do this) animated feature. The film has been out for a few years overseas and has now washed up on shore with it being shown at the Chez Artise or the Shartist as my betterhalf calls it for no other reason than it’s hilarious. I can NOT recommend seeing it there as it is dubbed in English which everyone at SM thinks is EXTREMELY WRONG to do. Seriously, dubbing into English is second only to seeing theatrical movies on tv with commercials breaks wedged into them on the List of Movie Desecrations. The movie is especially great for cat lovers, duh. VERDICT – Find it on DVD with subtitles when it’s available. Or get a torrent of it ASAP.
- The Pruitt-Igoe Myth – Very interesting doco on the rise and rapidly fall of one of the first housing projects in the US down in St. Louis. What started out quickly as being a celebrated idea to help in the war on poverty becomes a nightmare within a decade. The doco has engaging talking heads, decent narration and a good flow. It does tend to lean heavily on stock footage that seems to be repeated as if to help stretch the film – a minor quibble for a worthwhile film. VERDICT – Watch it on DVD or streaming.
- Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie – I don’t get it. I know, I know, these guys are favorite comedians of comedians I really like (Zach, Ferrell) but there brand of humor does not make me laugh. At all. I’ve tried several times to watch their shows or standups but….nothing. I do like the fact that somehow they got $ from some companies to make this, maybe that is the elaborate joke like Tom Green’s magnum opus Freddy Got Fingered. A “movie” chalk full of shrim. Ok, I did really like the running gag of Tim “adopting” a boy from the used toilet paper seller and a few of the cameos worked. VERDICT – Only for those initiates of timanderic. Watch at your own risk or if you love scatological humor. If you are into poohumor? There’s a brilliant scene in this movie for you.