Surrogates (Jonathan Mostow, 2009)

Surrogates presents some good ideas surrounding the concept of culture’s continuing interest in anonymity through technological advances in alter egos sans Facebook, Twitter, Chatroulette, etal.  A surrogate is a beautiful “robot” that takes the place of the real human and lives his life with the supposed benefits of being young and attractive.  Unfortunately the film is bogged down in its genre’s most annoying cliches.  As an example ONE fat guy / uber geek non surrogate (whose is of course, proud of his overweight, real presence) singularly controls surrogate surrvellience for the entire city of New York.  Make sense?  No.  Then … Continue reading Surrogates (Jonathan Mostow, 2009)

Up In the Air (Jason Reitman, 2009)

A sweet, contemplative, and gentle story – Clooney should never have such relationship problems but it doesn’t take away from the film.  Understandable Oscar nods to George Clooney, Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick.  Superior to Juno without Diablo Cody’s pretentious diatribe, Junior Reitman makes a mature and enjoyable film.  Credit sequence would make Saul Bass proud. **** / ***** Continue reading Up In the Air (Jason Reitman, 2009)

Whatever Works (Woody Allen, 2009)

This one doesn’t work so well.  It does get a bit better with the arrival of Patricia Clarkson but its so inferior to the better of Woody’s more recent romcoms – Vicky Christina Barcelona, Melinda and Melinda and Mighty Aphrodite.  The mishmash of romantic entanglements never makes sense and the ham-handed portrayal of his southern characters is very pretentious especially, after five minutes of dialogue, they mutate into New York sophisticates.  Also, I was pretty disappointed with the performance of Evan Rachel Wood. ** / ***** Continue reading Whatever Works (Woody Allen, 2009)

5 Quick Pics

The Girlfriend Experience (Soderberg, 2009) LOVE the way this film looks and I found the script very funny.  At the end the amateurish acting doesn’t distract. *** 1/2 / ***** Drag Me to Hell (Raimi, 2009) The scariest film I’ve seen in years.  Alison Lohman charms as usual and the kitsch works throughout. **** / ***** In the Heat of the Night (Jewison, 1967) Satisfying in the way Rod Steiger’s sheriff slowly develops a vague appreciation of Poiter’s Mr. Tibbs without being overly preachy in the slightest way.  Instilled with a wry sense of humor and stands up well to … Continue reading 5 Quick Pics

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (Carlos Saldanha, Mike Thurmeier, 2009)

Back are the familiar herd from Ice Age:  The Meltdown for a pretty charming if forced narrative involving a “mystery” world of dinosaurs in this third installment of the animated series Ice Age.  Sid (John Leguizamo), the beloved and simpleminded sloth steals three eggs of an unknown species anticipating and jealous of the forthcoming birth of his “brother,” the son of his elephant leader Manny (Ray Ramano) and his “wife,” Ellie (Queen Latifah).  The eggs hatch and out come three baby tyrannosaurus rex, whoops.  Mommy rex finds the young and snatches them back along with Sid.  Thus begins the journey … Continue reading Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (Carlos Saldanha, Mike Thurmeier, 2009)

Party Down (John Enbom, Dan Etheridge, Paul Rudd, 2009)

My favorite television series of late courtesy of Starz, aka Starz Entertainment, LLC, a wholly owned television programming subsidiary of Liberty Media Corp. This is scintillating funny stuff – the dude that stole the show in Stepbrothers (one of the more underrated films of 2008), Adam Scott, forges ahead as glum, pill and vodka shot popping Henry Pollard, a down on his luck actor who’s claim to fame is a particular commercial that has him exclaiming “Are we having fun yet?!”  Next to him are other struggling actors including those played by the brilliant Jane Lynch, Kyle Bradway, Roman DeBeers, … Continue reading Party Down (John Enbom, Dan Etheridge, Paul Rudd, 2009)

Hotel For Dogs (Thor Freudenthal, 2009)

Let me not mince words here – this is a bad film.  Offensive on many fronts not the least of which the following thematic elements:  1.  Typical (ala Annie, hey!  I already had to explain this to my kids one other time and I don’t want to again) movie cruel animal control people, 2.  Awful foster parents, 3.  Awful foster kids that by nature pick locks, steal from their parents and engage in other criminal enterprise, and 4.  The new trend in these films – casting a barely developed, but quite attractive, young nymphet (Emma Roberts) to play the female … Continue reading Hotel For Dogs (Thor Freudenthal, 2009)