VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: The Dictator (2012)

4.4/5 stars, 8.4/10 from  Clint
5/5 stars, 9/10 from Carolyn.
Native rating: 3.2/5 stars (Netflix), 6.6/10 (IMDB).

Carolyn was laughing the hardest I’ve seen her laugh in months(?) or a year(?).

I wasn’t quite laughing as hard.

This is way closer to Borat than Bruno in terms of subject matter AND how good it was. Definitely a must see. I am torn about not giving it 5 stars – maybe I am mis-rating it.


VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: Still Waiting… (2009)

3/5 stars, 7/10 from both of us.
Native ratings: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 5.0/10.

Using a Ween song doesn’t save this movie, though it’s still good. It’s just not the same as the first movie. It lacked the nuance and great dialog; the plot — even though that was never the driving aspect of the first movie — was not as good either. “The game” didn’t exist — just references to it.

A lot of the great cast was replaced with cast that wasn’t quite as good. Remaining was Calvin (the timid tinkler), Naomi (the bitch), Dean (Justin Long), Radimus (the hispanic dude), Natasha, and David Koechner.  However —

the hot blonde who “would eat your ass out like a hamburger if I was still in my bi phase” is Janet Varney –who voices Korra in the new Avatar cartoon Legend Of Korra. So that soundclip is just being begged to be overdubbed on some Korra animation.

Still Waiting is ultimately a shadow of the first movie, but still good. Still in the same vein. Just a much much lesser version.


VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: Waiting (2005) (Waiting 1)

Waiting (2005) –
5/5 stars, 9/10 from both of us.
Native ratings: Netflix: 4.5/5 stars. IMDB: 6.8/10.

This does for the restaurant business what Clerks does for the convenience store business… Only more situation-based. Still with great dialogue frequently delivered by the creepiest Ryan Reynolds you’ve ever seen (no wonder they buried him alive… oh wait, that was another movie).

Hilarious ridiculousness, and a great cast — including Anna Faris, Justin Long, David Koechner, Lus Guzman, Allana Ubach, Andy Milonakis, Emmanuelle Chriqui, and a brief appearance by Wendie Malick (from Dream On and Just Shoot Me).

They thank “God, for not existing” in the credits.

Then the next day we watched the sequel…


VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: S1m0ne (2002)

Clint: 3.6/5 stars, 7/10.
Carolyn: 4/5 stars, 8/10.
Native ratings: IMDB: 6.1/10. Netflix: 3/5 stars.

Watched this to see the remaining unwatched Andrew Niccol-directed movie, after really loving In Time, The Truman Show, and Gattaca. (Though I liked Lord Of War way less than the other 3.)

What a great post-modern idea: Computer-generated actors becoming popular without the public realizing it — and of course between when the movie came out and now, it’s happened in real life, at least once, specifically in Japan with a pop singer who turned out to be a computer-generated composite of several band members: .

A great idea, but this movie didn’t explore the technosociological implications of the idea as much as I hoped. It was more about Al Pacino getting in over his head (“Say hello to my cgi friend!”), and how crazily the public can be easily manipulated. That made it not quite fulfill my own made-up internalized potential hope for what this movie should be (somethign I always advice against people having in the first place). Carolyn wasn’t bothered by that as much. Maybe I shouldn’t be.

Still a good movie.

Very interesting that Andrew Niccol married the woman who played Simone — who was not originally credited in the credits, leaving people to think she truly was computer-generated in the movie. (They were going to do it, but the Screen Actors’ Guild pressured them into not doing it, for fear that it would be the end of all actors, much like what the movie depicted.) This movie also has Catherine Keener (surprisingly playing a light, non-bitchy, warm person), Winona Ryder, and a way-younger Evan Rachel Wood.


VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: The Lazarus Project (2008)

Clint: 3/5 stars, 7.6/10.
Carolyn: 3.6/5 stars, 8/10.
Native rating: Netflix: 4.5/5 stars. IMDB: 6.0/10.

A quite interesting movie that threw us for a loop not once, but twice.

The ultimate message is about if someone involved is in a murder, especially indirectly; It is that Maybe society should just let them get on with their life, instead of punishing them and making them feel the consequences of their crime for the rest of their life, making recidivism very likely by reducing their future choices. If you serve your time, you shouldn’t be forced into a lower caste. You should either get a life sentence, or not.

Also that the death sentence is a savage way to deal with things and not necessarily the best. When your car stops working correctly, you don’t destroy it to keep it from hurting you again–You fix it.

Laws also need to be applied properly. If you didn’t pull the trigger, you’re not the murderer, and shouldn’t be treated as one for the rest of your life. Laws equivocating one action with another are not justice.

Ultimately, forgiveness is the message of this movie — one that’s lost to most of our society. Especially Texas, and especially conservative Christians.


VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: The New Guy (2002)

5.5/10 on IMDB, but we give it 4/5 stars,
with 7/10 from Carolyn, and 7.6/10 from Clint.

“It was funny, but not spectacular,” says Carolyn.

I think this is one of the ultimate nerd-fantasy movies. “A high school senior [DJ Qualls] branded uncool in the ninth grade gets himself expelled so he changes his image to cool kid at the town’s other high school [to impress girls like Eliza Dushku].”

We also have Zooey Deschanel, Lyle Lovett, Eddie Griffin, and cameos by Tony Hawk, Kool Moe Dee, Vanilla Ice, Tommy Lee, David Hasselhoff, and Henry Rollins.

This is the only movie directed by its director, and the only non-TV movie written by its writer, who wrote for Growing Pains and currently writes Melissa & Joey, whatever that is. So it’s a movie primarily made by relative nobodies. It shows. It does not have a Hollywood sensibility to it.

They go the ridiculous route whenever possible — which is my preference for things. It’s almost cartoonish in its unrealisticness. This high school is about as realistic as Crowley High from Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil.

And that’s good. This story wouldn’t be nearly as funny or endearing if it was contrained by real-world realism. This is an idealists’ movie, and above all a ridiculous coming-of-age comedy: And that’s what helps make it good, and stand out as a unique movie worth seeing.


VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: In Time (2011)

5/5 stars from both of us, 9/10 from Clint, 9.6/10 from Carolyn.
6.6/10 on IMDB.

Written & director by the writer/director of The Truman Show and Lord Of War — who also directed Gattaca.

This movie wins based solely on its incredible concept — a world where everyone has a 1-year death-clock countdown starting at age 25, and the only currency used to buy things is time. More time to be alive.

People in the ghetto with one day left to live, struggling to earn another day. Muggers who steal your time. Rich people who have thousands of years of time. There’s a metaphor for Occupy Wall Street in this, and this movie also has some parallels to The Hunger Games: A future, freedom-crushing society that benefits some at the expense of others.

Like the real world. But with a currency based directly on consequences, rather than hiding behind the complication of dollars-and-cents currency.

Also, it’s neat to see Amanda Seyfried as more than just a ditzy blonde… Here she looks like a red-headed girl from Tron. Didn’t even realize it was her. She rocks the medium-red hair!
And Justin Timberlake has slowly become tolerable, which is in itself an utterly amazing feat.

In the end, never in my movie-watching life have I seen so much macroeconomic justice dispensed by two people. Yay.