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Thursday, August 06, 2009

Free Time

With nothing but time on my hands lately, I have mostly been entertaining myself with books and an exceptional number of movies. In the past 5 days, I have seen 4 new movies. I think that's some kind of record for me.

So, with nothing else to blog about, here are my brief, un-professional reviews:

Funny People
Basic Premise: Famous comedian (Adam Sandler) finds out he is terminally ill, so he hires a young protege (Seth Rogen) to be both assistant and friend as he tries to mend the wrongs from his excessively vapid lifestyle.

Review: Okay. It had a lot of funny parts, and a lot of touching parts that were appropriately acted, but in the end, I thought it fell short on many levels and it was too long. It was 2 hours and 40 minutes, and those 40 minutes could have easily been chopped. Don't waste your money on it in the theater, wait for it to go to DVD.

Frost/Nixon
Basic Premise: Based on the play, which is based on the real life interview that David Frost conducted with Richard Nixon in 1977, this film is excellent. It is directed by Ron Howard and features a slew of quality actors.

Review: Excellent, excellent movie. Who knew that an entire film based around dialogue could be so tense and contain so much excitement? Watching the climatic moment when Frost is drilling Nixon to try and get a confession and an apology from him concerning Watergate was like watching a verbal boxing match (later, I watched the actual interview, which was available as a special feature on the DVD, and it evoked the same level of excitement). So, I give this high marks: Superb directing, wow-factor acting.

Sicko
Basic Premise: Michael Moore's documentary about the failures of American healthcare.

Review: While I think the material was good, at this point, it's nothing shocking or revelatory. Also, I am tired of Moore's style. It was unique and bold with "Bowling for Columbine," but by now, it feels tired and trite.

New in Town
Basic Premise: A high level Miami executive (Rene Zellweger) gets transferred to New Ulm, MN to run a failing manufacturing plant there where she inadvertently finds herself attracted to the plant's union manager (Harry Connick Jr). Guess what happens next?

Review: I thought this would be cute because I live in South Florida, and I have lived in Minnesota (and know where New Ulm is), and I thought that the play on the differences of the two regions might be fun to watch. It was not. Nothing about this movie was appealing. It was only 90 minutes long, and I fast-forwarded through about 30 minutes. Everything about it was cliche, and even Harry Connick Jr's undeniable charm and good looks couldn't improve it. After watching this and the terrible "He's Just Not That Into You," I think I can declare the genre of romantic comedy dead. No, I don't even want to peek at this summer's "The Proposal" or "The Ugly Truth" -- both look awful. I wish that someone in Hollywood could put out a romantic comedy (a la "When Harry Met Sally") that has snappy dialogue, dynamic characters (that actually have depth and are not just form-fitted stereotypes), and a truly engaging/convincing romanticism.

So, I guess I'm the next Roger Ebert, right?

Good lord, I wish this baby would come: I have cleared my Netflix queue, I have seen most of what's in the theaters, I finished my book earlier today, and lord knows that summer TV is crap. Soon, I may have to take up knitting or something!

23 comments:

Erin said...

Be thankful because in a few months you will wonder why it takes so long to read a brief magazine article and getting through a 2 hour movie in less than 3 hours is a miracle.

I do appreciate the reviews. I am also not that into romantic comedies. I break down every so often and claim a girls night but I get frustrated with them. We do need a good one to come along again.

Badgergirl said...

Thanks for the reviews. I saw the play version of Frost/Nixon and was debating whether I wanted to see the movie. Looks like I'll be getting my hands on a copy of it to watch!

JojaJogger said...

I too know where New Ulm is (grew up less than 10 miles from there). There was only one scene in that movie that made me laugh, and that was when she first walked out of the airport, Minnesota cold will definitely take your breath away. I'll put Frost/Nixon in my Netflix queue, though, thanks.

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

you were most likely joking about knittig, but it isn't such a bad idea actually. you could buy supplies, learn to knit, and possibly knit her up some cute little socks. worse case (which isn't so bad) is that you go into labor before you get this all done.

X-Country2 said...

Oooh, I haven't seen any of those. Thanks for the review, and good luck getting that baby out soon!

Kerrie said...

Hi there,
I just found your blog when I was searching for something about "21 days to a habit" to put in my blog called mom vs marathon! Anyway, just want to let you know that I featured your blog in my blog today (not that I have a big audience; mostly my Facebook friends from high school...).

Anyway, about your post: I'm looking forward to Julie & Julia by Nora Ephron. I read a review recently that said it was better than WHMS. So, if you haven't had your baby by tomorrow, there's a recommendation from me -- a running mom from Seattle who you don't know. :)

TNTcoach Ken said...

Ha just remember, 'knit one, pearl two'.............

inmytummy said...

If you're up for another movie in the theater, 500 Days of Summer was really good.

teacherwoman said...

Thanks for the reviews! I did see the Proposal and The Ugly Truth and thought both were pretty good, mostly for the humor. If the humor wouldn't have been there, I probably wouldn't have like them at all.

Nicole said...

Thanks for the movie reviews! I've been following along with your blog for a while now (although I'm pretty new to the blogging world....). Anyway, I was reading Dooce.com the other day and thought of you. A comical (but real) birth story entails. Thought it might entertain you: http://www.dooce.com/2009/08/04/labor-story-part-three. She's just hilarious!

Natalie D said...

Haha, I am glad you are keeping busy! Maybe you can start decorating and making a baby blog?? : )

Marlene said...

Thanks for the reviews!

I admit, I still enjoy the cliche and cheesy romantic comedies... even New in Town. Going to see The Ugly Truth this weekend.

It's like, I kow they suck, but I like them anyway. :p

Have a good weekend, hopefully with a baby delivery.

Shannon said...

Be very thankful and relish the time my dear. Your life is about to change forever & happily, will never be the same.

Jena Simms said...

In about one week you are going to read back over this entry and laugh, maybe even cry....

Fair Weather Runner said...

oooo i love your reviews. i saw the ugly truth last week, and you are right, isn't worth going to see, you didn't miss anything. it was HORRIBLE. i've been wanting to see funny people, but now i may just wait for netflix. although i will now add frost/nixon to my netflix line-up!

hope the baby comes soon! :)

Carolina John said...

i liked sicko a lot too. i actually asked some of my canadian blog friends a few questions about their health care system, and they said everything that MM said. hopefully now we will actually get some health care reform that michael moore will have no influence over but will take credit for anyway.

and i liked frost/nixon too.

lifestudent said...

I'm embarassed to admit that I find the Ugly Truth oddly appealing. I dont know why. I generally wait until DVD anyway, but I guarantee this will be on my rental list ;) And I have stared at He's Just Not That Into You several times before slowly passing by. Eventually I will rent that too.

With a baby, you actually appreaciate mindless (and mind-numbing) movies. Ones with plot and deep characters are too much for my small mommy brain.

cinemarie said...

Go see Julie & Julia - it's written and directed by Nora Ephron, who also wrote When Harry Met Sally!! It's also about a blogger who writes about Julia Child... I think it's going to be good - and it comes out TONIGHT! :)
I work in the TV/Film industry and think you did a fabulous job at reviewing these movies !! :)

RunningLaur said...

Crochet is easier, it's only one hook to keep track of. :)

p.s. I hardly ever look at my blog's analytics, but finally did today. Over 5% of all of my hits come from your site - no website other than google is close to that. You're a blogging rockstar!

RunnerGirl said...

Thanks for the reviews. I haven't seen any of the movies, but they are on my list, along with Julie and Julia :)

Adam said...

That funny people movie looked good. But, you're right - probably a DVD.

I'll take a pair of knitted mittens please.

Viv said...

Thanks for the review Jess. I am going to add Frost Nixon back to my list queue on Netflix. I removed it earlier thinking i would not like it.

Aka Alice said...

OK...it's Friday night...If there's no post by tomorrow morning, I'm going to think that we have a new baaaabeeee!!!!!