Movie Review Roundup

It’s been a while since I posted a movie review. And once again, that’s not because I haven’t been watching movies. It’s because of sheer laziness. And so now, to atone for that laziness, I give to you a few highly recommended movies, both old and new.

First up, we have Rise of the Planet of the Apes (aka The Movie with the Easily Confused Title). I saw this in theaters last week, not sure what exactly I was in for. I’d heard good things, but sometimes that’s setting myself up for disappointment. In this case, they were spot on. Sure, the movie oversimplifies in some areas–particularly in its depiction of how the scientific approach toward drug development is handled, I’d imagine–but it’s a movie about apes, people. Keep that in mind. The effects were incredible, and used perfectly. I really started rootin’ for them there apes. Three and a half stars, and definitely theater-worthy. This is better on a big screen.

Then there’s Red, a movie that came out back in 2010 that I finally got around to. In this case, the buzz I’d heard hadn’t really been glowing, although a friend had recommended it heavily, and that’s mainly why I gave it a chance. I’m very glad I did. Bruce Willis is an ex-special forces guy who’s since retired and been classed RED (Retired: Extremely Dangerous). Someone starts trying to kill him. He doesn’t take kindly to it, and takes matters to stop that person. It’s a fun movie, and is now officially one of the few movies where I didn’t hate John Malkovich in the film. They’re few and far between, folks. Three stars for this one. Maybe a smidge higher.

Last night, Denisa and I watched The Tourist, another film that got a lot of buzz, then the reviews didn’t pan out. But I’m of the opinion that no two hours spent watching Angelina Jolie is a complete waste of time, and I’m always ready to see what Johnny Depp has to offer. This was diverting and interesting, but it also had some really frustrating plotting and was fairly predictable. Jolie is the ex-girlfriend of a mysterious man who’s wanted by the government, and Depp is a hapless tourist brought into the plot to capture Jolie’s boyfriend. Hijinks ensue. Two and a half stars, but hey–Angelina Jolie. She tends to make up for it. I wasn’t sorry  I’d watched it.

The Train is one that was totally new to me. It’s from 1964 and stars Burt Lancaster as a train engineer set on keeping a train full of stolen French paintings from making it to Germany. It’s got a bit of a convoluted beginning, but once it gets going, it’s really good stuff. Tense action scenes, unpredictable plot–really a good WWII war movie. I have no idea how I hadn’t heard of it before. Three and a half stars.

Peggy Sue Got Married–a film from 1986 about a woman who goes back in time to her high school years by some mysterious twist of fate. It stars Nicolas Cage and Kathleen Turner. I really enjoyed it, primarily because it handled the time travel so well. So . . . realistically, if that makes sense. There’s no elaborate plot–no big quest to figure out how to go back. She’s just there, and she has no clue how she got there. I don’t know–hard for me to explain what I mean in just a few minutes. It’s a good film, one that makes you think about life choices and their effects. I wasn’t totally down with what Peggy Sue ends up doing, but I liked the journey. Three stars.

And . . . I’m out of time. See ya!

3 thoughts on “Movie Review Roundup”

  1. Heh, I just went to find Peggy Sue Got Married on Netflix–I haven’t seen it since high school. It’s much different to watch it as an adult. Though I do still remember Michael’s pitch to go live in Utah “because polygamy’s legal there.” Ha! Um, no, it’s not, dude, but I suppose in the 60s they looked the other way.

  2. I thought The Tourist was better than I expected (but I had low expectations). It seemed to me to be trying to evoke the Cary Grant/Audrey Hepburn era a bit, and I thought that was pretty cool to see a modern movie capturing the old glory days a bit. Except for the F word (words? I specifically remember at least one) thrown in that completely contradicted that attempt. Angelina did look great…could they have maybe made Johnny a little less oaf-y looking??

  3. Stacy–Yeah, I’d imagine watching Peggy Sue in high school is a very different experience compared with watching it now. And I got a kick out of that pitch, mainly because it seemed like something stupid Michael would say and actually believe.

    Gretel–I think the oaf-ishness is one of the things that made the movie under-perform. Ladies don’t want their Depp looking oafy. And the Grant/Hepburn flair was there–it’s just the plot and dialogue that wasn’t. Venice looked gorgeous on Bluray, though.

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