Monday, November 24, 2008

A big weekend, movie-wise

I (OK, the wife and I) got to see 5 movies this past weekend, and despite the law of averages, I had an overall good experience. All of these movie have been out for a while, so I'm going to assume that you already have some idea of what they're about. We started off on Saturday evening with Wall-E. This movie was quite good; head and shoulders above the normal Pixar fare. I really liked it, especially the minimalist approach to dialogue (at least until humans enter into the story). This is one of those movies that will definitely appeal to the kids, but can still entertain adults. The future of humanity, as well as how they got where they are, is a fairly adult bit of the movie, but it's just far enough in the background that it won't spoil the film for younger viewers. The second movie that I saw was Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Yes, of course I've seen this movie several times already. This time, however, I saw it with Riff Trax. For those of you who don't know, Riff Trax was spawned by a TV series called Mystery Science Theater 3000, in which a former janitor and his robot pals would watch bad movies and make fun of (riff on) them. Riff Trax are MP3 files that you can buy and play along with modern movies. Trust me, they're hilarious and you need to see one as soon as possible, Sunday was an even bigger day for movies at my place. We started with Tropic Thunder. I didn't hate this move, despite Ben Stiller being in a starring role. Jack Black was fairly amusing, but Robert Downey Jr was the real reason to see this movie. He played a method actor who refused to drop character until the movie was complete. Imagine Downey playing a black man as portrayed in late 1970's movies. Yeah, it was like that. The second movie on Sunday was Hellboy 2. This movie was that rarest of gems, a good sequel. Hellboy was a good, fun movie and Hellboy 2 lived up to its predecessor. The action, script and special effects were all on par with the first movie. Even the acting lived up, which was a bit of a concern, as David Hyde Pierce did not reprise his role as the voice of Abe Sapien. I was also quite impressed with Seth MacFarlane as Johann Krauss. Who knew he could actually play a (somewhat) serious role? Movie # 3 for Sunday was The Incredible Hulk. This one slowed things down a bit, after the fast-paced action and nonstop wisecracks of Hellboy. It was, however, a very enjoyable movie - Edward Norton did a very good job of portraying Bruce Banner's struggle to deal with this beast that shares his body. I'm really looking forward to seeing the special edition on DVD - I understand that the deleted scenes available there make the movie even better (thanks for the tip, Slice of Sci Fi). Overall, a good movie weekend for me. Let's see if I can't simplify things a bit to wrap thing up. I'll try to rate the movies on a 5 star scale (I'm not rating Harry Potter - I was watching for the Riffrrax). Wall-E ****1/2 Tropic Thunder **1/2 Hellboy 2 **** The Incredible Hulk ****

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