Movie Madness

My movie reviews and rants at your fingertips.

Monthly Archives: September 2009

Pandorum

I may be biased since I saw the weekend box office gross ahead of time. This isn’t an indication of anything to most people, but it does tip me off in how well the movie works. Of course, I have a special place in my heart for box office bombs (i.e. Push, Babylon A.D.).

Seeing Dennis Quaid in a sci-fi movie certainly got me in the door. What keeps you is the story. Part Resident Evil, part Event Horizon, this film revolves around Bower (played by Iowan Ben Foster). He awakens to find the ship dark and on the fritz. He and his Lieutenant Payton (Quaid) both suffer from memory loss, increasing their already disoriented atmosphere. The film revolves around Bower attempting to reset the reactor so they can continue their mission and find their bearings.

As Bower traverses the ship, he is met by survivors. Of what isn’t clear until near the end, but you know it’s a creature of some sort. At first it bugged me about the poorly shot creatures, but then I realized the more vague they were on screen, the more effective the tension was. On top of all this, is the concept of pandorum. A PTSD meets paranoia syndrome that may or may not be affecting the survivors. Adding this adds confusion of what is real and what is not. One specific moment Cam Gigandet brings the concept from idea to a cause of their predictament. If you enjoyed Doomsday or Event Horizon (or would love to see a mash-up of the two), give Pandorum a ride. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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The Informant!

Matt Damon once again shows he’s more than just a one note actor. The Informant is an awkward comedy gem. It isn’t a movie exactly, but more of an experience. Few movies (especially those outside of action/adventure) truly have a palpable environment. It takes place in the nineties, following a scientist who works for a well-established corn company. He hears about a mole leaking information of their processes to a competitor and then the ball starts rolling. The F.B.I. brings him in to assist on mounting a “price-fixing” case. Scott Bakula makes his biggest role to date as the agent assigned to aid Damon’s character.

This clearly could have been painted as a drama and probably would have worked. The uniqueness is in how Damon and director Steven Soderbergh transform the script into a dry comedy. The humor sneaks up on you, something few comedies today dare due. One line in particular let me know early on this was not to be taken seriously. If you enjoy a dry comedy with a great cast (filled with comedians in straight roles), experience The Informant. 3 out of 5 stars.

Jennifer’s Body

This isn’t a horror movie per say. Let me start with it.  What it is a movie about a strained frienship pushed even beyond its breaking point by a hunger for flesh.  Diablo Cody’s dialogue drenches the movie.  Hearing Megan Fox reciting Cody’s dialogue never clicked for me.  It was almost as if Fox was attempting to be smarter than she could be (acting). But the awkwardness works for this movie.  Everything about it is slightly off center, keeping an air of cleverness throughout the movie. 
Amanda Seyfried does an excellent job as the heroine/narrator of our story.  Adam Brody definitely hasn’t lost his indie charm, something he relies on heavily in this film. Fox does well considering she appears to be nothing more than a prop.  The humor each character and situation contains is slightly morbid, but quick and witty more often than not.  Tommy Tutone’s only hit song makes an appearance in this film that breaks the fourth wall, as if letting you in on the joke. 
Though it has the horror element, it works like a comedy.  If you like morbid humor and witty pop-culture laden bromides, give it a spin.  If you want to see it only because of Megan Fox, it may be over your head.  But when you get it, you’ll love it. So, to borrow my friends rating, 3.75 stars out of 5

Tyler Perry’s I Can Do Bad All By Myself

Tyler Perry is at it again, this time he creates a movie with more eccentric characters. Madea Goes to Jail suffered from a poor second plotline (As a note: All Madea movies seem to have two plot lines: One with Madea, and then the actual plot, which he weaves together in the 3rd act). ICDBABM had Madea in a small supporting role, something just big enough to get Madea fans in the door. Those who stick around beyond that won’t be disappointed.

Taraji P. Henson leads this film, effectively stealing the spotlight from Perry. The three young kids cast alongside her and Adam Rodriguez shine in a plot that is very dark. Henson plays a lounge singer/mistress who drinks her pain away and avoids her family. When her niece and 2 nephews show up on her doorstep, she makes it clear she wants nothing to do with them and spends most of the time they’re together trying to get rid of them.

This film also has a lot more music than his previous films. Of course, when you got Gladys Knight and Mary J. Blige in the cast, there better be some singing. The scenes with the preacher seem to fall flat. Other than that, Tyler Perry creates a Madea movie without Madea. And once the credits roll, you realize it doesn’t matter. 3 out of 5 stars.

Sorority Row

Another crap horror remake of a crap horror movie. Nothing original this time around. In fact, it’s almost more fun to see how many movies it references or mimics (incidentally or otherwise). Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer are to blame for this film being made. Between the two of them, the plot is all there. Someone killed and covered up by friends, only to have someone reopen old wounds.

I went for two reasons. I truly thought this might be entertaining and the cast. I’m a fan of Rumer Willis, Margo Harshman, and Briana Evigan (I seem to be in the minority on that). The movie had a few gags and some gallows humor, but its more fun to laugh at than with. Those who watch horror movies for the gore and boobies, look elsewhere. Though there is a little of each, they are just another thing to draw more attention to the flawed plot.

I’ve seen this movie twice. I thought it would improve following a second viewing. It’s happened to me before with great films (Watchmen, Citizen Kane, Michael Clayton, to name a few), but this doesn’t qualify. It’s 2 stars out of 5, but a 2 star movie that you wanna buy anyway.

Halloween II

I don’t know what I expected this time around, but this was anything but bearable. Though someone suggested to me that it had a certain Lynchian quality (something I could agree with), it has no where near the depth that Lynch provides. The story is all on Laurie Strode this time, instead of following Michael around. This is the first film in the franchise to truly explore the psychological effect that Michael had on Laurie. I found myself bored and annoyed with the whole film. The only part that worked was the final scene involving Laurie and a reference to the beginning of the film.

Only because I like Scout Taylor-Compton in this role and the Lynchian atmosphere, I’m gonna give this movie another spin. But from start to finish, this is nothing more than a 1 star movie. Watch the original instead (the Rosenthal one). 1 out of 5 stars.