MOVIE REVIEW(S): Ocean's 13, Hostel: Part II, Knocked Up, and more...
What the hell is with the positive reviews for this film?
I loved the first, disliked the second, and was deeply hoping the third would bring back memories of the former instead of the latter...
Instead, I had to endure a tedious, unfunny, meandering, and anticlimactic non-heist film. It was mildly entertaining in spurts (due to the stylish direction and awesome actors), but the whole thing felt so damn pointless.
I call it a "non-heist" film because the characters aren't really doing anything. Everything feels so trivial. Of course, they make the non-heist as complicated as humanly possible, but it's all build-up and no payoff. The first half of the film consists of them basically making sure the asshole casino owner (played rather plainly by Al Pacino) doesn't receive his 5 diamond ranking for the hotel. In other words, they went from knocking over multiple casinos and stealing millions of dollars to making sure a hotel judge has a horrible stay at the casino he's grading. What devious masterminds!
Things do become a bit more interesting later on (the rigging of the dice was amusing), but it feels like the group is trying so hard to pull off this "amazing caper" simply to screw over a guy we don't really care about. The gang seems to be investing an unlimited amount of time, effort, manpower, and money to pull off the supposed impossible, but without ever once having an understandable reason to do so. Maybe it's out of boredom.
Also, the way they've incorporated all the characters feels very forced. They don't need 13 people for this, but they make sure everybody gets something to do, even if it means having to come up with a completely random and pointless set of gags and/or stunts.
I hear in the next Ocean's movie, Danny's going to call up the guys to accomplish the biggest task of all... cleaning his pool. It may not sound exciting, but don't worry, they're going to make up for the lack of ingenuity by incorporating plenty of snappy back-and-forth dialogue and a non-stop series of complications that the gang somehow overcome ("Oh no, the filter's clogged! There's no way we can fix this thing! It's impossible! Unless... Do you think we need one more guy? *cue entrance of Clive Owen*").
Ugh. What a perfect continuation for the summer of disappointing threequels.
5 out of 10
Hostel: Part II
Damn, this movie sucked something fierce.
To summarize: it's basically a retread of the first film, except done worse.
The opening segment (involving Jay Hernandez from the first film) was incredibly disappointing, and completely destroyed the one thing I loved about the original (that the victim got payback). All of the characters (except for the actual leading female) are awful and annoying. The gore felt almost ludicrously over-the-top, bringing to mind the hilarity of Roth's "Thanksgiving" trailer from GRINDHOUSE.
The only thing I liked was the brief look into the actual business being run. The two "customers" being focused on probably could've been more interesting (like that creepy dude who was interested in surgery from the first film), but I liked how things played out in the end. Well, kind of. The movie seemed to end rather abruptly, and it's during that cut-off that things were finally getting good.
I originally gave the first movie a 7/10 in theaters, but on DVD I found it lost a lot of its impact (thus dropping to a 6/10). This sequel, on the other hand, is inferior in almost every way to its predecessor (and I haven't even watched it on DVD yet).
4 out of 10
This movie is one of the funniest and most relateable movies I've ever seen. It's complete perfection in every way.
The script feels like it was tailor-made for me. Some of the conversations here were almost exact replicas of those that I've had with my friends (such as the discussion about Munich). Granted, their conversations are a helluva lot funnier than mine.
As far as acting goes, Seth Rogen is hilarious as the amiable slob, and Katherine Heigl is surprisingly wonderful as the out-of-his-league hottie who gets (as the title implies) knocked up. She's definitely more than just a hot piece of ass (although she's obviously that, too). Rogen's group of friends are also very funny (albeit gross and obnoxious), as is the oh-so-charismatic Paul Rudd as Heigl's sister's husband. These are easily the most entertaining cast of characters to come together in a film for a very long time.
I also appreciated how the movie avoided overly slapstick gags, and just stuck to having extremely clever (and believable) dialogue. It gave the story a free-flowing and natural feel, something that made buying into the proceedings all the easier.
Simply put, I think this film could become one of my all-time favorites (and it's already a guaranteed front-runner for my top 10 of 2007). Another comedy classic from director Judd Apatow. It's funny as hell, but it also has heart. More movies should strive to be like Knocked Up.
9 out of 10
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
Brilliant visuals/cinematography, excellent music, and sensationally epic filmmaking... compiled with an overly convoluted plot that continually drags, while only sporadically enticing.
They should've just made one sequel and cut out half of the unnecessary bullshit subplots.
And that's that on that; I have nothing left to say.
6 out of 10
Shrek the Third
Occasionally funny, but surprisingly bland sequel. It was made simply to milk the franchise, not because it had a worthwhile story to tell. The CGI looks the best it ever has (is that even a shock?), but the rest of the production feels tired and lazy. The once hilarious characters have now become annoying. I will say though, Antonio Banderas manages to come out unscathed by keeping intact the amusing fervor of Puss-in-Boots.
Honestly, Shrek could've killed everybody in Far Far Away, followed by committing a horribly graphic suicide, and I still wouldn't have cared. In fact, that might've been a better ending. At least then we could be rest assured that this franchise would be officially dead.
Easily the worst of the three.
5 out of 10
You can find my thoughts on other movies through my Flixster account, here: