Thursday, August 30, 2007

Movies I watched last week, from favorite to least.

I don't normally put movies I've rented before on this list, but I'll make an exception here, as I COMPLETELY FORGOT that I already had (a first). I was inspired to rent it last week after seeing the wtf artwork, and was smacked by intense deja vu from the PRE-credit opening song (you heard me) on. Stacy Keach plays an intense, slow-speaking therapist in a castle-turned-military-insane-asylum who's crazier than the character actors shrieking gibberish around him. The movie's fucked up enough without trying to remember where and when you saw it before and how the hell you ever forgot.

I get that Will Ferrell doesn't want to do that cross-eyed insanity in every movie, but did he have to go without it here? Still, his less inspired performances are more enjoyable than Jon Heder at his best. The mood is pro forma compared to Talladega Nights, and Jenna Fischer is wasted as saintly proof of Heder's heterosexuality. Only Will Arnett's murderous skate chase of Ferrell across ice and off truly scores, but it'd be hard to make comedians on ice unfunny.

I assumed that the plot - folks trapped in the Alaskan wilderness - would keep John Sayles from indulging in his usual didacticism, but somehow the guy fit a movie's worth of preaching and politics in the first third. Was it really necessary for a laid-off cannery worker to take it out on two lesbians in order to get a laid-off pulp mill worker haunted by the past out on a boat? But if you want a movie where David Strathairn is the lead, this is the shit you have to put up with.

First sequence features David Caruso and Helen Hunt. Second features Caruso, Nicolas Cage and Michael Rappaport. Cage later lifts Hope Davis for 40 reps. Samuel L. Jackson, Ving Rhames and the bartender who said "our man in Amsterdam!" all have smaller, notably less juicy roles than they did in Pulp Fiction, which came out the year before. Perhaps in response to Cage and Caruso's refusal to keep kosher, director Barbet Schroeder seems determined to stay as calm as possible.

Stars none of the actors that made Malibu's Most Wanted enjoyable.

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