Late again. Oh well. Let's see what opened on Friday.
District 9 - 3 stars
This was very good. It started out like a documentary and once it became a straightforward narrative, it still had that gritty, hand held documentary look to it. That made the violence just that much more realistic. And there was a lot of violence. When the third act came there was a lot of shooting and people blowing up, blood and guts flying, ect.
I was really glad I didn't know the story going in. All I knew was it was about aliens living in a slum in Johannesburg, South Africa. I didn't know if the aliens were good or bad. The movie doesn't explain everything. We are left with a lot of questions. It is a hundred times better than the last Transformers movie.
The Time Traveler's Wife - not screened for critics ...
... so it probably sucks.
Bandslam - 1 1/2 stars
This movie sucked. It's about a high school band, but it's obvious that no one involved in the movie has ever been in a band. It's a band as envisioned by movie executives. It's the ultimate poseur movie.
The nerdy kid is brought in to act as a manager for a band. Because he likes music, the lead singer automatically assumes he knows something about how to run a band. And because it's a dumb movie, of course he does. They already have 2 guitars and a bass, but he says it doesn't sound full enough. He decided to bring in keys, strings, and horns. And not once do they ever talk about rehearsal schedules. Sorry, it's hard enough to schedule rehearsals with 5 people in a band. It would be damn-near impossible with 15.
This movie only exists to sell the soundtrack. They have a bunch of original songs, and every time they play one, we have to listen to the whole song. Not just a 30 second snippet, the whole thing. And the entire time they play the song, we have to see shots of people watching and smiling, or the dorky manager dancing. Oh, and the songs are bad.
The one section of the movie I liked was the relationship between Will and Sa5m (I'll get to her name in a minute). He is trying to date her. He wants to kiss her but he doesn't know what to do. Even though he is shy and she is kind of laughing at him, she still likes him and they end up kissing anyways. Then she invites him to go see a movie with her. The movie? Evil Dead 2! Good choice. I liked the aspects of the movie that dealt with their romance.
But her name is Sa5m. Sam, but the 5 is silent. When he asks her what her name is, she writes it down, just so he (and we) can see the 5. Whoever thought up this idea is an idiot. Another thing I didn't like? When he writes in his diary, every entry starts with "Dear David Bowie." Now David Bowie is great, but that idea gets really tiresome after about one entry.
Paper Heart - 2 stars
Charlene Yi wants to know what love is. She only knows about love from movies, and so she sets out to interview a bunch of people to find out about love. One of the first people she interviews is a romance novelist. Seriously. She is knocking movies for the way they portray love, and she talks to a romance novelist.
The movie is made like a documentary but its not really a documentary. Everyone is playing themselves, except the director is played by an actor. The actor's name is Jake M. Johnson. His character's name is Nicholas Jasenovec. That also happens to be the name of the actual director. Get it?
In between interviews with actual people (they could be actors too), we see Charlene beginning a romance with Michael Cera. I have always said that Michael Cera is a genius, but I'm sorry to say he didn't make me laugh here. Maybe he wasn't supposed to be funny, but I couldn't help being disappointed with his performance here.
Charlene Yi is very annoying. She laughs hysterically after everything she says, whether it's funny or not. She acts like a giddy 12-year old girl, and she speaks with this weird monotone. The movie is very tedious.
Ponyo - 2 1/2 stars
Miyazaki has made some good animated movies before, and this is not a bad one, but it didn't do that much for me. It looked great, and it showed a lot of imagination. I just wasn't crazy about it.
The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard - 3 stars
It started out really, really funny. For the first half hour or so, I was thinking this was the best comedy I have seen in a long time. It was a nice surprise, kind of like when I first saw Waiting or Super Troopers. Unfortunately, the movie runs out of steam halfway thru it. It still has a few good jokes, but it stopped trying.
I still recommend it because the first half hour is so funny. The best performance was by Charles Napier. He plays an old car salesman who is the ultimate racist, and he will punch a customer in the face. Good stuff.