I watched a lot of movies this week, many of them were not good!
Yep, I watched a lot of movies this week, that’s all I have to say about that.
Ramona And Beezus (2010, Elizabeth Allen, United States Of America) ***
Cute, and well acted. I’d like to have more to say about Ramona And Beezus, but the word cute perfectly sums up the movie. It’s not profound or seeking to be as such, Ramona And Beezus is a cute tale of a family remaining a family even through some mildly tough times. The only area where I was actually disappointed was in the sequences where the film takes us into Ramona’s imagination. Those sequences were okay, but I wanted the film to go deeper to truly give me the big and bombastic imagination that a child possesses. Ramona And Beezus may not have been terrifical, but it was still pretty darn good.
Tears Of The Sun (2003, Antoine Fuqua, United States Of America) **1/2
I had fond memories of Tears Of The Sun, turns out they were misplaced. I can see why I liked this film when I first watched it, but now I can also see why it’s not that good of a film. Antoine Fuqua does a great job of trying to glean emotional responses from the audience, but he never sets up characters who are worthy of the emotional responses he wants. We never learn more than maybe three sentences of back story about all the characters in the film combined, and that presents a big problem when you want me to care about their actions and ultimate fate. I don’t know what drives these characters, why their decisions in this movie are at odds with their previous behavior, and so on. Tears Of The Sun is the final two hours of a four hour movie, but it’s missing those first two hours and thus feels very incomplete. I did like the action, but since it was lacking the emotional core I spoke of earlier it ended up as empty mindless action. I know that’s not what Mr. Fuqua intended, but that’s the film he gave me, an empty action film.
Astro Boy (2009, David Bowers, Hong Kong/Japan/United States Of America) **
A movie about a robot that is more human than the rest of humanity should possibly feature some humanity. Maybe I’m asking for too much, but I wanted real humanity on display, not the fake and manufactured crap this movie gave me. I didn’t want the best movie ever made, I didn’t need the greatest animation ever put to film. But, I needed something to make me sit up and take notice, and Astro Boy made me sit further back and kind of grimace. I know that my daughter will say she liked it, but to be honest she chuckled maybe two times, and I only let out one chuckle that I can recall. Astro Boy isn’t comedy, so that’s not a major gripe, but it’s a part of the larger problem with the film. This is a movie without soul, it is a lifeless creation that failed to elicit an inkling of caring on my part, and that doesn’t sit well with me.
Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland (1989, Michael A. Simpson, United States Of America) 1/2*
Any movie that features a gay man deciding out of the blue to have sex with a chick and then turning straight because of it is bound to have some issues. If only that were the only issue Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland had I might have been able to say something positive here. This film is a prime example of why I became convinced in the early 90s that the horror genre was going to die. I love stupid slashers that are fun, but stupid slashers that are just stupid, well they are a waste of my time. Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland isn’t just stupid, it is the type of film that gives horror a bad name. It’s not fun, it’s kills are banal, there’s no suspense or atmosphere, the acting is atrocious, and I could go on forever. This movie made me feel like I needed to wash my brain out with soap.
The Strawberry Shortcake Movie: Sky’s The Limit (2009, Mucci Fassett & Michael Hack, United States Of America) *
In case my readers have forgotten, I have a five year old daughter. Sometimes when I let her pick what we’re going to watch we end up with Jurassic Park, other times we end up with The Strawberry Shortcake Movie: Sky’s The Limit. There’s not much I can, or want, to say about this film. It worked for my daughter and it’s not that bad of a movie life lesson wise. That’s really all that counts, sure I didn’t enjoy it, but I enjoy watching her enjoy a movie, that’s all I ever need.
The Time Traveler’s Wife (2009, Robert Schwentke, United States Of America) **
This was from my fiancee’s queue, but I too was interested in seeing The Time Traveler’s Wife at some point. Unfortunately it was a repugnant experience, with a lead actor who lacked a heart and a romance that was pure manipulation. The Time Traveler’s Wife is a decent film from the technical side of things, but I was lost the moment that Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams were about to have sex for the first time and Robert Schwentke decided to flash back to a very old Bana creeping on the six year old version of McAdams. That’s when I knew this was a movie about a jerk who manipulated a young girl into loving him once she turned into an adult. The movie never recovered from that as Bana’s character only became more deplorable in his actions and his passive manipulation. If he didn’t want to be alone then he should have gotten a dog or something, not manipulated another human being into constantly suffering because of him.
Big (1988, Penny Marshall, United States Of America) ***1/2
There was a lot of downtime where the movie was really inert, I didn’t remember it being like that at all. Otherwise, my memories were pretty spot on, this was infectiously charming. Tom Hanks has such a great grasp of comedic timing, and of just letting loose and really seeming like a kid trapped in a mans body. The piano scene is still great, but I won’t lie to you, I think a lot of the love I still have for this movie is based in nostalgia. But, I laughed quite a bit, and I had a good time, that plus nostalgia equals a win.
The Terminator (1984, James Cameron, United Kingdom/United States Of America) ***1/2
I still liked this for the same reasons I had the last time I watched it, and I still had the same issues as the last time I watched. It’s a wonderfully created world, great characters, excellent action, and all that. But, there are still a few moments where the prosthetic work is awful and that sex scene is ridiculously out of place. This viewing was to introduce my fiancee to the film, and she really liked it, despite being somewhat surprised with how flippantly Arnie was killing people in the early going. I think she was suspecting more of a build up as opposed to him killing people from the get go, but she’d have to vouch for that because she could have been thinking something completely different.
The Terminator takes home movie of the week honors, it’s far and away better than everything else. Still, Big is a great one, while Ramona And Beezus was surprisingly engaging. It may not have been rated the lowest, but The Time Traveler’s Wife is easily the worst of the week, that movies idea of a love story really rubbed me the wrong way.