Friday, June 08, 2007

DVDs I watched this week, from favorite to least.

Despite unforgettable moments of brilliance, I haven't seen a movie under 90 minutes that felt this long since A Night At The Roxbury. The bracketing story's excruciating, with whimpering feebs pondering the metaphorical ramifications of multiple interpretations of a crime until you have no desire to do so yourself. Judging by its absence from the fourth and most powerful sequence, it's possible the score's earlier obnoxiousness was meant to be satirical. Toshiro Mifune's great, but you already knew that.

The director was rightfully demoted to Zucker Bros. scriptwork for years after this, but Thomas Haden Church, Rob Lowe and screenwriter James Gunn (who should give the material a Buffy-style TV revisioning if he ever finds the time) earn every raise in public profile that followed this film. Plus: Gunn and future wife Jenna Fischer's on-screen meet-cute!

Skating spills, Candid Camera, gay fetish porn, parent abuse.

It doesn't take long to realize that Idi Amin is a magnetic megalomaniac despot, so a feature-length documentary about him should show us a little more than that.

Christopher Walken (reminding us that he's not entirely beholden to camp) and Leonardo DiCaprio (well cast as a manchild) hold their own against clumsy cartoons Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks and John Williams. Unfortunately, the movie continues long after Walken dies.

Halfway through the movie, a retired gangster returns to London to discover his brother committed suicide. 2/3rds through, when he discovers his brother had been raped the night before, he decides to get revenge in the last quarter. Clive Owen doesn't even buy a shave and a trenchcoat until the last ten minutes. The title promises a bit more than all this.

Contains action scenes almost devoid of lighting, arbitrary and incessant use of splitscreen, casualty-free military battles worthy of a G.I. Joe episode and an inscrutable psychedelic climax. Everyone involved in the post-production must have been wearing stretchy, purple Bad Idea Jeans.

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