Thursday, June 16, 2011

Skip it or Rent it: My thoughts on the latest DVD releases

As some of you probably know, I work at Blockbuster Video, which means that I get to watch A LOT of movies.  My girlfriend also works at the local library, which also has a pretty good movie collection. Needless to say, we try to catch up on what's newly released on DVD. With this blog, I'm going to give my thoughts on some of the latest DVD releases and whether they are worth seeing or not. I hope you enjoy this blog!
Hall Pass
This is one movie I was waiting to see since I saw the trailer for it attached to Due Date. The storyline of two married men having a week off from marriage was an interesting concept. I thought the direction of the Farrelly brothers would provide huge laughs and leave me rolling on the floor. The cast was also solid with Owen Wilson, Richard Jenkins, Jason Sudeikis, Christina Applegate, and Jenna Fisher from The Office. Instead, we get a lazy movie that is stuck in neutral and goes nowhere.  There is a scene in the movie involving pot brownies, which is probably the laziest attempt at humor in these sorts of comedies.  The last half hour turns into a cheap Apatow picture with its attempt at having an ending filled with heart.  There are not a lot of funny lines or even funny moments in this movie.  It's just floating around, dead in the water, and going nowhere.
Rent it or skip it? Skip it

The Roommate
Cheesy B-movie fun at its finest.  It's hard to take a movie seriously where they put a cat in the dryer.  This is over-the-top and campy, but it's never, ever boring. Leighton Meester stars as the roommate and sells this role pitch perfectly.  A lot of people have compared to this movie to Single White Female with its premise, and I'd say that is an accurate assessment.  Minka Kelly is the unfortunate soul that is stuck with the roommate that turns out to be obsessive, a little wacky, and very, very dangerous.  Nothing that happens here is terribly shocking or unique, but it's slickly made, well-acted, and moves along pretty quickly.  This movie was a nice little surprise.
Rent it or skip it? Rent it

The Dilemma

This movie was flat out terrible from start to finish. There are no laughs to be had, and as Gene Siskel used to say, there is nothing worse than a comedy without laughs. Kevin James is married to Winona Ryder, and one day Vince Vaughn discovers that she is cheating on him with Channing Tatum. We then see a series of bumbles and stumbles as Vaughn tries to inform his friend of this situation.  Meanwhile, they are going through a big event at work, so they both need to be on the top of their game.  Queen Latifah and Jennifer Connelly are also wasted in this seriously dreadful and dull comedy.  It's even more shocking when you see that the great Ron Howard directed it.  I don't know what anyone was thinking when they put this movie together.  I understand they were trying to do something different, but this is a gigantic misfire.
Rent it or skip it? Skip it

True Grit

Now this was a great experience watching this movie.  Jeff Bridges puts his own twist on Rooster Cogburn and gives another fantastic and screen-engaging performance. Matt Damon, as usual, is solid and dependable, but the real surprise here is young Hailee Steinfeld.  Now this is a performance that is filled with great fight and a huge heart.  This is how a movie like True Grit should look and feel.  It's ugly, rough, tough, and takes no prisoners.  The Coen Brothers hit another run with this project as they know how to film a chase movie just perfectly.  It's dark, beautiful, and very, very suspenseful.  The final act of the movie is also surprisingly moving.  Yes, it's better than the original True Grit.
Rent it or skip it? Rent it

Gnomeo & Juliet
This is a simple, yet effective kid’s movie.  The premise is simple: two gnomes in competing lawns fall in love.  Of course, because they are in competing lawns, they have to go through a lot to end up together.  The voice cast is extensive and it would take many paragraphs to name all of them. I'll just say that the names are as unique as Hulk Hogan and Dolly Parton.  The movie features a lot of great jokes and puns for adults, but I'm not exactly sure how kids will react to it.  For me, I had a ton of fun with it and thought it was quite charming and cute.  It's not as good as Tangled, but it's still very enjoyable and goes down easily.
Rent it or skip it? Rent it

No Strings Attached

This movie reminded me a lot of Going the Distance with its combination of R-rated comedy and heart.  Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman star as friends who just have sex, nothing more.  Of course, they realize that it's pretty complicated to do just that.  Yes, this movie is rather predictable at times, but the journey along the way is filled with a great supporting cast, great direction by Ivan Reitman, and some very funny lines.  It aspires to be more than its premise.  It's one of the better romantic comedies I've seen in quite some time.
Rent it or skip it? Rent it

Green Hornet
Seth Rogen as a superhero might seem like a far-fetched idea, but it works for the first half of the Green Hornet.  He has great chemistry with his sidekick Kato, played by Jay Chou.  The first half is very interesting  as we learn about his rise from slacker punk to crime-fighting machine.  The second half, however, is just another shoot 'em up action movie with no rhyme or reason.  The build-up takes us nowhere and the movie goes on autopilot.  It turns into a loud movie and completely gives up.  If only it would have been as interesting as the first half and stayed on that course.  It might have been a great movie.
Rent it or skip it? Skip it

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