I thought I would give you another edition of John Royal: At The Movies, a quick primer on some of the movies that I've seen recently, and hopefully some good guidance.
GO SEE THESE:
UP: This is Disney/Pixar's latest creation. And frankly, I don't know how these guys do it. I didn't think it was possible to top Wall-E, which I truly thought was last year's best movie. But they did it. The first half-hour is, like with Wall-E, very sparse on the dialogue, but it's some of the most moving, emotional film making that I've seen in years. Truly, if you don't shed some tears in this section, you're not human.
But don't worry, there are lots of laughs and adventures later on in the film. The kids will love Kevin and Dug. The voice actors are exceptional, as always, and include Ed Asner, Christoper Plummer, Delroy Lindo, and Pixar regular John Ratzenberger. I think that what continues to amaze me most about these Pixar films is that these characters -- computer animated all -- are often some of the most fully-realized human characters captured on film in any given year.
Drag Me To Hell: I mentioned this some the other day, and while I feel the movie would have been even better had Bruce Campbell appeared, I've still got to say that this is a damn fun movie. Sam Raimi seems as liberated as he has been in years -- since at least the first Spider-Man. He's back with the dark humor and cheap effects he pioneered back in the 80s with the Evil Dead films. I saw the twist coming, but my best friend, who's a real horror film fan, didn't. I don't know if that means I just know Raimi better than he does, or else it just means I've read too much literature. Still, it's good, clean fun with lots of goofy effects and bodily fluids. Don't worry, though, the film is rated PG-13.
The Girlfriend Experience: I appreciate what Steven Soderbergh tries to do. He offsets his commercial stuff with more experimental work. It allows him to try new things, and I guess that it allows him to keep his street cred. But this movie just didn't do it for me. In quick, it's the story of a high-priced escort trying to deal with her life and her boyfriend who is becoming less willing to accept her job. I'm sure there's some promise in the story, but the problem is, I could never detect a story. He does some of that standard time-shifting crap he's a fan of -- see Out of Sight or The Ocean 11 movies or Solaris. But for the time-shifting to work, there's got to be something to serve as an anchor, and here, there's just no anchor.
For the lead role as the escort, he cast porn star Sasha Grey. She's fine, I guess. But the character just seemed kind of one note and monotone -- I could never care about what happened to her. I don't know if this is because of her lack of talent, or if it's what Soderbergh was trying to get from her, but it just didn't work. And any pervert fun from having a porn star cast as an escort in a legit film is lost by the fact that there's no nudity or sex. And the film committed the cardinal sin. It was boring. It's not even 80 minutes long, but I was constantly looking at my watch, amazed at just how slowly time was passing.
Well, that's it for today's edition of John Royal: At The Movies. And don't say I didn't warn you.