Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Movie Madness

As is my nature during long holidays, I went home to Huntsville for the break and in the space of 2 days watched 4 new movies. (Notice that I'm only counting the NEW movies that I watched). I'm having trouble finding it but somewhere on this blog is a post where I watched 5 movies in 3 days. (Kite runner was one of them, can't remember the rest).

So, on turkey day itself we gorged ourselves with baked goods and headed to

1. Morning Glory

Let's get the easy stuff out of the way first: Rachel McAdams is smoking hot. As I've said in the past I would love nothing more than to Mac her Adams and it was just as true during this movie.

The film deals with Cuty McCuteface being hired on as the Executive Producers of the last-place TV morning show "Daybreak." She inherites an underbudgeted production with an pervert anchor with a foot fetish (brilliantly portrayed, as always, by the sensational Ty Burrell) who she quickly dispatches and replaces with grumpy-old-man Harrision Ford who is described as the third-worst person alive (numbers one and two being Kim Jong Ill and Angela Lansbury).

The plot is predictable: girl has 6 weeks to save show before it goes off the air, meets an attractive co-worker but has trouble balancing her work and personal life, Mr. Grouch has to soften up in order to be the show's missing ingredient. That said, the show does bring a few aspects of originality to it, on the forefront is the decline of hard news in modern journalism and the attempt to balance entertainment fluff with hard-hitting information (a subject that hits me at the heart). The film also boasts a soundtrack ripped straight from my iPod (Collin Hay and Paulo Nuttini) and a heft dose of McAdams in her underwear, which makes up for how annoying Diane Keaton is. B

2. Danny Deckchair

First off, Rhys Ivans is freakin crazy. In case you're a little weak on your pop knowledge of lesser-known Australian actors, Ivans is the crazy roommate from Notting Hill (There's something wrong with this yogurt), or the crazy kicker from The Replacements (ole, ole-ole-ole), or crazy Mr. Lovegood from HP7.1.

I had heard about this movie year's ago but had never quite gotten around to it. Basically, Danny ties a bunch of balloons to a folding chair and flies off into the Australian countryside, leaving his life behind (before you ask, YES, this movie was made before both Up and the Balloon Boy fiasco). He crash lands in the backyard of a soft-spoken civil servant (played by LOTR's Miranda Otto) and assumes the identity of a visiting professor.

There's nothing particularly astounding about DD, but it has the same quirky-awesomeness of othor low key foreign gems like Waking Ned Divine. You end up just feeling good during this movie and get some pretty good laughs along the way. B+

3. The Next Three Days

It might be because I don't listen to the radio or watch television (thank you Cache Valley and Hulu) but I hadn't really heard anything about this movie. It got a decent review in EW and I was at least aware that Russel Crowe had a break-his-wife-out-of-prison movie on the radar, but I was surprised at how not-marketed this movie seemed to be.

Pity, because it's pretty good.

Crowe is a community college professor and family man. His wife is the hot-in-a-not-in-your-face-way Elizabeth Banks who about 6 minutes into the movie gets arrested and subsequently convicted of murder. Three years pass and her stay in prison as a guilty woman is pretty much a done deal. Crowe then, as the loyal pie in the sky husband starts devising a plan to bust her out of the joint illiciting the help of prison-break-extraordinaire Liam Neeson (in one, great Neeson scene).

Most of the movie is his preperation, stressing the lonliness yet unfailing attitude of raising his son on his own and providing just enough screen time to the freakishly attractive Olivia Wilde in supporting start. We watch as Crowe's simpleton good-guy starts to dive into the criminal world as he tries to acquire the fake identification and funds he'll need (including a few handy how-to-be-a-criminal videos from YouTube that make you wonder, Would that really work?).

It take s a little too long to get to the action but it is building and building, then hits. Act III of the movie is all prison-break and running from the law with a hefty share of "how's he gonna get out of this?" moments that approach incredulity but under the guided hand of director Paul Haggis (Crash) never fall of the pit into the ludicrous. Every time he's in a corner, he finds a "so simple it's brilliant" way through, although taken as a whole it seems like a little too much good luck but not till the credits are rolling and you're on your feet. B

4. Toy Story 3

I realize that I'm probably the last person on earth to not have seen this movie so thanks to some black Friday deals ($10 at walmart) my family obtained a copy (2 actually) and I was able to watch it (I don't watch cartoons in theaters, usually).

Pixar movies come with their share of hype but rarely disappoint (I thought Up was so-so)
and TS3 was no exception. Great animation, great jokes, and a little tugging at the old heartstrings. I did not cry though, so take that all you girly men out there (I probably would've gotten choked up, though, if I hadn't been using every ounce of cinema-watching strength in me to keep my emotions in check).

Still, does anyone else think it's messed up that they took Little Bo Peep away? I mean, she's Woody's girl, that's so not cool. Typical for women though, to disappear once things start getting serious. A- (Just because I can't give a cartoon an A).


  1. Where did you get a hold of Danny Deckchair??? I've been wanting to see that for ages! No fair. =)

  2. I haven't seen one of these movies yet. I'll add them to my list. Ahh, netflix, I'm sooo jealous!