Sunday, November 22, 2009

UPDATES- September

College has been very crazy this semester so I stopped reviewing movies for a while. However, I've still been going out to see (as well as downloading) as many movies as I can afford. Since it is approaching the end of the year, I'll probably do a list of my favorites in a variety of categories for this year and perhaps even the decade. But for now, here is a quick run-down of all the movies I've seen since I last wrote a review. October and November will soon follow. I'll stick with a simple "good," "okay," and "bad" rating system.

The Informant- Matt Damon stars as Mark Whitacre, a man who informs on the price fixing scheme at his corn production company to the FBI. Damon pulls off this really screwball version of what is essentially Russell Crowe's character in Michael Mann's The Insider. However the humor that is advertised in the previews really doesn't reflect Steven Soderbergh's intent with this movie (which he directs with his usual distinct and yet always evolving visual style). This movie is more in line with the type of humor we saw last year in Ethan Coen and Joel Coen's Burn After Reading Surprisingly enjoyable for a movie thats about corn, a character's inner ramblings, and how Scott Bakula and Joel McHale somehow make convincing FBI agents. RATING: GOOD

The Surrogates- A semi-tolerable thriller about a world where people relax in the comfort of their homes and send out their physically-identical, self-controlled robots (known as Surrogates) to go to work. Bruce Willis stars as an FBI agent who is investigating the murder of a Surrogate which led to the death of its operator. The film has some good philosophical arguments present but the story often leaves those behind in the name of big-budget action sequences. Also, the joy of seeing Bruce Willis and Ving Rhames together again since Pulp Fiction quickly turns into a gimmick. Lately, the rule of thumb with Bruce Willis seems to be that any movie where he has hair in it, will most likely be bad. When he's bald, it's usually just okay. RATING: BAD

Brief Interviews With Hideous Men- Based on the short story by David Foster Wallace and written-directed by actor John Krasinski (of The Office fame), the film deals with a variety of relationships between unrelated characters in which a young woman (Julianne Nicholson) tries to learn about the male mind for her graduate studies by talking to the men in the respective relationships. As perceptive as the film might seem, it basically tells us that confessions can expose the truth but it seems that Krasinski and co. are unhappy with the reality that sometimes the truth is that we all have human needs that might border at times on the side of selfishness. A lot of the ho-hum plot is made up for by having a wide array of talented actors in the ensemble (Ben Shenkman, Timothy Hutton, Chris Messina, Will Arnett, Will Forte, and Christopher Meloni to name but a few). RATING: OKAY

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