Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Killing Room (2009)

I didn't love this but I didn't hate it either. It's been categorized has a psychological thriller and I can't entirely agree with that. It is not a thriller but definitely psychological.

Four strangers (Timothy Hutton, Clea DuVall, Nick Cannon and Shea Whigham) are all brought into a windowless room for an experiment where they will be paid $250 at the end of the day. The experimenter Dr. Phillips (Peter Stormare) explains the goals of the procedure to the participants and then leaves the room. That's when the psychological part takes over. He says the experiment will consist of four parts with one person getting eliminated after each part. Nobody knows what's going on and, worse than that, they don't know who's next.

I usually try to avoid straight to DVD movies, especially after the August debacle, but the trailer for this looked really interesting. The movie had it's moments, and I did like the psychological part of it, but the movie fell flat as a whole. If you want to watch it, I'll let you judge for yourself.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Away We Go (2009)

I absolutely loved this movie. This indie comedy has two people that are truly in love and not in the basic romantic comedy style. I read a review that said John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph's characters came off as smug, and that couldn't be farther from the truth.

Burt and Verona (John and Maya) are getting prepared for the unexpected little miracle that came to be. The hope is that Burt's parents (Catherine O'Hara and Jeff Daniels) will be available to help raise the child since they live in the same town. When that whole thing falls through, the two thirtysomethings set out to find the best possible place to raise their child. They visit cities across the continent and get help from friends and family. Their journey leads them to find out more about raising a child than they thought existed.

You will have a hard time finding two happier, nicer people in a film. The chemistry the two of them had was spectacular and you almost thought you were watching a documentary of sorts. The supporting cast, especially Allison Janney and Jim Gaffigan, was terrific and the movie made me laugh out loud throughout while being genuine at the same time. One of the best of the year so far. Watch this movie.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Zombieland (2009)

Short, sweet and one hell of a lot of fun. As far as zombie movies go, this is one of the better ones. And as for zombie comedies, those people will be happy because this isn't anything like Shaun of the Dead.

All characters, with one exception that I will not go into because of its hilarity, are named after their hometowns. Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) is out on his own in a world almost entirely made up of zombies. He has since created a list of about 30 rules to help him stay alive in the world that constantly involves movement. While walking down a deserted highway, an SUV with bulldozer-like modifications comes along and out pops Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson). They agree to ride together and help Tallahassee's unending quest to find a Twinkie. On one stop, they meets sisters Wichita and Little Rock (Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin). Love, lust, carnivals and distrust soon follow.

This movie was just an outstandingly fun time. One of the best movies I've seen this year and would be the best comedy of the year if The Hangover didn't exist. Just a great load of fun and I highly recommend it.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Land of the Lost (2009)

This movie was funnier and better than Year One, but not by much. It had too much computer animation for Will Ferrell's comedic style.

Dr. Rick Marshall (Ferrell) has been shunned and ostracized from the scientific community after years of failed testing and an embarrassing national interview. Now stuck teaching middle schoolers, Marshall is approached by Holly (Anna Friel) and she convinces him to retest his equipment that would transport him to alternate universes. After finding the right locale to perform the test, and getting lead out by a rude tourist trapper named Will (Danny McBride), the test goes right and all three are floating through time and space. In the new land, they meet Chaka, Enik and the Sleestaks, and get chased by a smarter-than-your-average dinosaur. Can't get more simple than that.

The reason this was slightly better than the aforementioned Harold Ramis comedy is the teaming of Ferrell and McBride because they work so well off of each other that you can't help but laugh at some of their conversations. The movie as a whole was bloated and rife with spots of boredom, which is why I say nay.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Year One (2009)

So, there was one thing missing from this comedy: Comedy. It just wasn't that funny. Apart from a few one-liners and some sight gags, nothing worthwhile.

Zed and Oh (Jack Black and Michael Cera) are a couple of hunter-gatherers in a pre-civilization tribe. After Zed eats from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, Zed is banished from the group and Oh follows him. On their journey, they come across Cain and Abel, Abraham and Isaac, and Sodom and Gomorroh. Everything begins to intertwine and it's not that hard to figure out.

This just was not that funny, which is disappointing considering the amount of funny people in the movie. Everyone from Harold Ramis to David Cross to Paul Rudd to Bill Hader, should have made this movie watchable, but it was not to be. Hank Azaria as Abraham was the funniest part of the movie, but not enough to redeem it.

Friday, October 9, 2009

State of Play (2009)

This movie was great political thriller that had a gripping plot and terrific acting to boot. I don't know why I kept this sitting on my desk for over a month.

Cal (Russell Crowe) is a grizzled veteran of a newspaper reporter who likes doing stories the old-fashioned way of making source-type friendships with people in every organization. When a sex scandal begins to break about Cal's former college roommate and current Congressman Stephen Collins (Ben Affleck), Cal must act as both a friend and reporter. He begrudgingly brings along Della (Rachel McAdams) who is in charge of the paper's online newsblog. She is only interested in the sex part, at first. When the story begins to twist and turn, and scandal becomes conspiracy, Cal, Della and Rep. Collins all begins fighting for the truth and their lives.

While the twists weren't necessarily surprising, I really enjoyed the road this movie took. The director made sure every aspect of the story was being told, even if words weren't spoken. Bonus points: hearing Helen Mirren, as the editor who only cares about what sells, swear up a storm at points.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Monsters vs. Aliens (2009)

I laughed so hard at certain parts of this movie. This one had so many more adult jokes than any other "children's" movie that I've seen. Most of them hilarious.

Susan (Reese Witherspoon) is about to marry her dream man in a storybook wedding in a hillside church. Out of nowhere, she is hit by a meteor. Once inside the church for the ceremony, Susan begins to glow and enlarge, a clear result of radiation. Soon thereafter, the government comes and takes her away. When she awakens in a holding cell, she meets other monsters BOB, Dr. Cockroach and the Missing Link (Seth Rogen, Hugh Laurie and Will Arnett). When an alien craft comes to retrieve the radiation from the meteor that struck Susan, the feds release the monsters to help fight the aliens. Bouts of both humor and full-fledged action commence.

Despite a simple, sometimes dull story line, the huge amount of outstanding voice talent more than made up for it. Aside from those mentioned before, the cast includes: Rainn Wilson, Paul Rudd, John Krasinski, Ed Helms, Renee Zellweger, Amy Poehler, Kiefer Sutherland, Jeffrey Tambor and, what was the best of them all, Stephen Colbert as the President. Anything he said made me laugh.