Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Accidental Husband

So Netflix currently doesn't have "Accident," which brings us to
The Accidental Husband-2008, starring Uma Thurman, Colin Firth, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan

He says: Blue-collar guy sets out to get even with talk radio love expert after his fiancee dumps him due to the doc's glib on-the-air advice.  Insipid, aching-to-be-romantic comedy is a waste of talent on all fronts.  Released direct to DVD in the U.S.  1 and a half stars.

I say- While typing up his review, I noticed how often Maltin uses dashes.  "Blue-collar," "on-the-air," and "aching-to-be-romantic."  Noticed these in many reviews, but this is just ridiculous.  Moving on, this movie was semi-watchable.  Not as far-fetched as "Accepted," but still very unbelievable.  Felt that anyone could have predicted this, and Colin Firth was wasted.  2 stars.

Monday, February 21, 2011


Accepted-2006, starring Justin Long, Jonah Hill, Blake Lively, Lewis Black, the dad from The Secret Life of the American Teenager, and David Daskal.

He says-  A group of teenagers who've been rejected by various colleges start their own in an abandoned mental institution.  Premise is so far-fetched that it keeps you watching just to find out how it's going to resolve itself.  Its message that a college education kills the creative genius that teenagers would otherwise cultivate on their own is hard to swallow after seeing the "self-made students" do nothing but drink and party.  Soundtrack is full of cover songs paying homage to other, better teen-revolution movies.  2 stars.

I say-  This movie was one of the most predictable I have EVER seen.  You know the lines before they're said, and everyone acts so incredibly unrealistically that it plays out like a Nickelodeon sketch comedy from the early 90's.  1 star.


Accattone-1961, starring a bunch of Italian people
Maltin says- Pasolini's first film is a vivid, unsentimental look at the desperate (and depressing) existence of pimps and thieves living in the slums of Rome.  Bernardo Bertolucci was one of the assistant directors.  Released in the U.S. in 1968.  3 stars.

I say- If the Ac section continues as such, kill me now.  This was unwatchable.  Not a huge amount of plot, more a portrait picture, however, the sound is terrible and the subtitles are not vividly seen, they tend to be hard to read.  BOMB

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sita Sings the Blues

Sita Sings the Blues-2008, voices of nobody anybody knows

Maltin says- Animator Nina Paley tells an autobiographical tale of how she was dumped by her husband and contrasts it with the epic Indian saga called the Ramayana.  Three Indian shadow-puppet figures comment on the proceedings (not unlike Mystery Science Theater 3000), all of which is punctuated by the story's Hindu heroine breaking into song-in the appealing voice of 1920's pop singer Annette Hanshaw.  Unusual melage of elements, including highly appealing visual design, makes this a disarming experience, and a unique animated feature.  3 stars.

I say- Had this in my Netflix queue, and it showed up as well as the next alphabetical movie and was happy I could knock another movie out of the book.  I was really surprised by this, and really enjoyed the different animation styles.  This movie, which was not released in theaters, is one of the best animated features I've ever seen.  3 and a half stars.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Abyss

The Abyss-1989, starring Ed Harris and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. Directed by James Cameron
Maltin says- Spectacular underwater saga about an oil-rig crew that gets involved in a perilous mission to rescue a sunken nuclear sub.  Better as underwater adventure than futuristic sci-fi with a couple of crises too many, but still a fascinating, one-of-a-kind experience.  Great score by Alan Silvestri; Oscar winner for visual effects.  Special edition includes 27 minutes of extra footage, some of it all-too-obviously cut from theatrical release.  It fleshes out characters, amplifies plot points, and includes some spectacular special effects--but literalizes the other-worldly finale.  3 stars.

I say-This is my last film in the Ab's!  Now to the Ac's!  I own this movie.  This is probably my favorite James Cameron movie, and I feel that the special edition is the only way to watch this movie.  If you watch the regular version, you completely miss the point.  Great acting, great story, and effects that hold up today.  4 stars.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Absurdistan- 2008, German/French, starring a bunch of people who's names you cannot pronounce
Maltin says-  Whimsical comic fable about a boy and girl from a remote Eastern European village who are destined to make love on a night when certain stars are in alignment.  Their plans are threatened when the community's water supply runs dry, and the women stage a sex strike against their lazy menfolk, who refuse to fix the problem.  Fanciful and lightly amusing, if not as good as the same filmmaker's Tuvalu.  2 and a half stars.

I say-  I saw this movie about a year ago or so.  I really enjoyed it, but knew where it was going from the beginning.  You see, I saw the trailer for this movie before a screening of "My name is Bruce," and it's a movie where if you see the trailer, you've seen the whole movie.  Good acting and story, if not a little far fetched.  2 and a half stars.


Absolution-1978, British, starring Richard Burton and Billy Connolly

He says- Burton gives a commanding performance as a humorless, by the book priest who teaches at a boys' school, and falls victim to a snowballing practical joke played upon him by his pet student.  Straightforward melodrama loses credibility toward the end.  Written by Anthony Shaffer.  Filmed in 1978, unreleased in the U.S. until 1988, four years after Burton's death.  2 and a half stars.

I say- This was a really bad dvd transfer.  The sound was terrible and it had lots and lots of moments where it looked like the film was skipping vhs style.  Other than that, I felt that the film was very slow but picked up near the end, but I thought the ending was implausible.  Usually there's a reason why movies stay shelved for that long.  1 and a half stars.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Hangar 18

Hangar 18-1980, starring nobody anyone cares about.

He says-This Sunn Classic picture alleges that the U.S. government is concealing a captures UFO.  Slickly made, but about as credible as The Three Stooges in Orbit; shown on tv as Invasion Force with new ending that undermines entire film!  One and a half stars.

I say- God what was this movie?  It felt like a really bad syfy movie but without the fun, and of course, those fun movies aren't in this book.  This was incredibly cheesy with no redeeming qualities whatsoever.  BOMB

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Only the Lonely

Only the Lonely-1991, starring John Candy, Maureen O'Hara, Ally Sheedy, Anthony Quinn, Jim Belushi, and Macaulay Culkin
He says-  Chicago cop, who still lives with his mom, falls in love--and has to overcome his mother's resistance and his feelings of guilt over leaving her.  Sweet, sentimental update of Marty shines with performances that are right on target, including O'Hara's first since 1973's The Red Pony.  Three stars.

I say- I loved this movie!  I could not believe I have never seen this one before.  It really makes you miss John Candy.  This movie is incredibly sad, and makes you really feel for John Candy.  You can tell this is a Chris Columbus movie from the very beginning.  I read that when Maureen O'Hara arrived on set, she did not have a trailer.  Only John had one, for the studio could only afford one trailer.  John gave his to Maureen.  3 and a half stars.

Absolute Power

Absolute Power-1997, starring Clint Eastwood, Ed Harris, Gene Hackman, Laura Linney, and Dennis Haysbert.
He says- Aging thief pulls off one valedictory jewel heist, but along the way accidentally witnesses a sexual assault and murder involving none other than the President of the United States.  Barely credible (and fatally diluted) adaptation of David Baldacci's best-seller by William Goldman.  Eastwood and Harris play a fun game of cat and mouse, but Hackman is over the top and the whole thing runs aground in the second half.  2 stars.

I say- Man, this took a lot longer than usual for Netflix to send this to me.  And then I realized I actually watched this movie about a year ago.  I really did not like this one,  Clint Eastwood is one of the best directors around, and he normally does better than this.  He looks bored and all of the supporting actors are amazing, but in roles other than this movie.  Everyone seems clownish and I really think this was a paycheck movie for everyone involved.  One half of a star.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Disney's A Christmas Carol

Once again, another one not in order!

Disney's A Christmas Carol-2009, starring Jim Carrey, Carey Elwes, and Colin Firth

Maltin says- Retelling of the Charles Dickens classic through performance-capture technology enable Carrey to play Ebenezer Scrooge and all three ghosts who visit him one fateful Christmas eve; other actors play multiple parts as well.  Other than that, this hybrid of animation and live action serves no apparent purpose except to go flying over and around the streets of Victorian London.  The story is still effective but it's been told much better before.  2 and a half stars.

I say-  I thought Jim did a great job playing all of the characters, however, I found the whole movie pointless.  There have been a million versions of this, from the Muppet version, the Scrooge McDuck version, the Bill Murray version, and the Patrick Stewart version.  We have a million copies of it, and I found the animation, while interesting, to be completely useless.  It looks creepy and I would have rather seen it in live action with the actors in different kinds of makeup.  1 and a half stars.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Here's another out of order one:

Antichrist-2009 Danish-German-French-Swedish-Italian-Polish, starring Willem Dafoe
He says-  In grief because their infant son fell to his death while they were making love, a couple retreats to a remote cabin in a forest in order to work through their feelings.  Intense, gorgeously designed drama becomes increasingly gruesome, with some scenes so brutally graphic they're almost impossible to watch.  This isn't saw-type torture porn, it's grimly serious, but also very difficult to decipher, with touches of fantasy thrown in.  To say it's not for all tastes is an understatement, but those interested in writer-director von Trier may well find something to their liking.  2 stars.

I say-  One of the worst movies I've seen.  Overly artsy, with extremely thick accents make this movie one to miss.  Relatively predictable with good gore, but a lot to take in.  BOMB

Monday, February 7, 2011

James and the Giant Peach

So here's another out of order one.  I'll watch whatever comes up on Netflix while I'm waiting for whatever the next alphabetical one to show up.

James and the Giant Peach-1996, starring Paul Terry, Pete Postlethwaite, Richard Dreyfuss, and Susan Sarandon

Malty says-  Wondrous adaptation of Roald Dahl's fantasy about a beleagured boy, tended by two harridan aunts, who discovers a magic pathway inside a giant peach.  Together with a grasshopper, a spider, a centipede, a worm, a glowworm, and a ladybug, he sets sail for the city of his dreams--New York.  Starts with live action, then segues to stop motion animation to bring Dahl's typically bizarre but delightful story to life.  Gets better and better as it goes along, with impeccable voice characterizations and charming songs by Randy Newman.  A rare movie that creates a world all its own, and an even rarer children's film that has real wit and imagination.  3 and a half stars.

I say-  I actually really liked this movie.  Thought it was very creative and true to the book.  One thing I learned though was that the actor who plays James got bit by a spider in a scene, and after that refused to act.  What a wimp!  But it really did feel like a Tim Burton movie, mainly because he coproduced.  3 stars.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Absolute Beginners

Absolute Beginners-1986 British, starring David Bowie, Patsy Kensit, and Eddie O'Connell

Lenny says- Energetic, original musical set in London, 1958, when teenagers first came into their own.  Highly stylized film suffers from two dimensional characters and a misguided attempt to add substance by dealing with the rise of racism in England....but its virtues almost outweigh its shortcomings.  Pulsating score supervised by jazz great Gil Evans; musical highlights from Sade and jazz veteran Slim Gaillard.  And don't miss that incredible opening shot!  Adapted from Colin MacInnes' 1959 novel.  2 and a half stars.

I say- God, where do I begin with this one????  I really HATED this movie.  I love David Bowie, but he's done much better work, such as Labyrinth.  They broke the biggest rule with musicals in this movie, which is the songs need to be catchy.  I just finished it and can't remember a single song.  BOMB.

The Absent-Minded Professor

The Absent-Minded Professor-1961, starring Fred MacMurray

He says-  MacMurray discovers flubber (flying rubber) in this Disney audience-pleaser, but no one will believe him except Kennan Wynn, who tries to steal the substance.  Broad comedy and bright special effects make this a lot of fun.  3 stars.

I say-  Perhaps it's because the Robin Williams version was so bad, but I couldn't get into this.  I know Hollywood likes to remake everything, but sometimes the new version ruins the old one.  I thought the special effects were creative, the story was predictable, and the main character was unlikable.  I mean, seriously, who misses their wedding day for a third time?  1 and a half stars.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Absence of Malice

Absence of Malice-1981, starring Sally Field, Paul Newman, and Wilford Brimley
He says-  A reporter is duped by a scheming government investigator into printing a story that discredits innocent Newman; while she hides behind the privilege of the press, he determines to get even.  Absorbing drama by former reporter Kurt Luedtke with two charismatic star performances.  Filmed in Miami.  3 stars.

I say--God this was a snoozer.  I really found this to be a movie with no real action and it was just 2 hours of talking.  Paul Newman was good, but I felt like he deserved better material.  And Wilford Brimley didn't even mention diabetes once!  He comes in at the very end to explain everything, which makes his character rather useless.  1 star.