Sunday, July 13, 2003

This turned out to be a four-movie weekend, as will sometimes happen. So here are my capsule reviews:

Die Another Day - Second best of the Pierce Brosnan Bond films, but that's not much of a complement. This was a great movie, up until he started getting gadgets from Q again, at which point the screenwriters either got lazy or were sent out for donuts. Don't get me wrong; I think Brosnan may be the perfect James Bond, but the writing he's had to deal with is much worse than scorpion venom. B

Pirates of the Caribbean - Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio may be the best screenwriters in Hollywood when it comes to formula blockbusters. They know we want one-liners, great action, and big explosions, but that it'll all feel hollow if the action doesn't flow from the characters. But if their writing was the only thing this movie had going for it, it would have been at best a C+. Johnny Depp took what could have been a write-in and instead turned in a performance you can't take your eyes off. A

League of Extraordinary Gentlement - Well, they took an incredible idea, and managed not to fuck it up too much. But the most interesting thing about this movie is that the "heroes" mostly teeter on the edge of outright villainy. Most of the characters are at least given an "I regret my mistakes" speech, but Hyde is horribly misused. If you set this up against Pirates of the Caribbean, the contrast is telling. One of the two is populated with animatronic characters, and it's not the one you'd expect, given their origins. C

Undercover Brother - Wonderfully funny and weird movie starring Eddie Griffin (a Kansas City native, by the way). Yeah, it's stupid, but every couple of minutes something would happen that'd almost knock me off the couch laughing. Caveat: Clueless white folks might not get why it's funny to hear white person after white person say "He's so articulate!" Second Caveat: While the movie is good, and the outtakes are a blast, the rest of the DVD features are dull, and, as usual, the deleted scenes just serve to remind us all of why they were deleted in the first place. Also, the DVD forces you to sit through a preview for Johnny English before you can watch the movie. And I do mean forces you. The remote doesn't work at all. Imagine watching the movie, loving the movie, and buying the DVD so you can watch whenever you want, but every time you do, you have to sit through a trailer for some piece of crap that you have no interest in and that'll probably be in theaters for about 15 minutes before heading straight for the sale rack at Target. Who, exactly, thought that was a good idea? B for the movie, and an F for the DVD design team.

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