Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
I was so tempted to give this one zero stars. I almost did, but I decided to give it a sympathy star only because of one particularly awesome cameo. But, seriously, this is not a good movie. Both Juliette and I were really bored the whole time--she fell asleep several times, only waking up because of loud cannon fire or some such. I had been hoping that At World's End would do better than the second movie but, if anything, it was worse. The script was just all over the place. It almost seemed like it was written by a roomful of overeager kindergarteners who were playing the game where everybody takes turns writing one sentence and then passing it on to the next kid. What's more, they didn't even really try to write any new jokes, they just kept reusing the same schtick from the first movie. I can't speak for anyone else but I'm over it by now. The worst part is that the end of the movie gives a really obvious lead-in to another sequel. Thankfully, that last part is mitigated by the fact that this movie was so bad that there's simply no way I'll see a fourth one. (Yes, I do see the irony here.) I figure that a lot of you are like me and will have to see this one just to finish things off after the cliffhanger at the end of Dead Man's Chest, but just be aware that this movie sucks.
Viewed: 5/25/2007 | Released: 5/24/2007 | Score: D-
I don't think that Waitress quite deserves all the hype it's been getting but it is a very cute film. Afterwards, I commented to Juliette that the supporting characters were mostly written as one-dimensional and kind of over the top, almost as archetypes instead of characters. We had Cheryl Hines as the sassy friend and Adrienne Shelly as the insecure friend, Andy Griffith as the crusty old man who turns out to have a good heart, Lew Temple as the grouchy boss who turns out to have a good heart, Nathan Fillion as the sweet but bumbling new guy in town, Eddie Jemison as the plucky nerd who wants the insecure friend, and Jeremy Sisto as the evil, selfish husband. On reflection, though, I think it actually works OK for the movie's tone and style of humor. I was actually a little confused by my reaction to Nathan Fillion's character, who I found endearing despite the fact that I had some serious moral reservations about his main plot actions. I guess that means he did a good job in his performance. Juliette's only complaint was that she wished a bit for a different ending. I think that the ending she wanted--which, probably, is the ending most people will want--would have been more of a feel-good ending, but we both agreed that the movie as written made its point better. Anyway, if you're looking for a nice, cute movie to take a date to, you might want to check this one out.
Viewed: 5/17/2007 | Released: 5/24/2007 | Score: B-
For being a sequel to a sequel, it wasn't bad. Still, that's not setting the bar very high. The main problem, as has been noted by plenty of other people, was that the writers tried to pack too much into one movie. There were simply too many villains. A movie based around any one of the bad guys could have worked well--each had enough pathos to make a deeper exploration possible--but, as it was, the script felt very rushed. I also felt that the silly parts of the movie went over the top. I was rolling my eyes instead of chuckling. On that one, though, I was certainly in the minority in the audience at the showing I saw.
Viewed: 5/4/2007 | Released: 5/3/2007 | Score: C+
Year of the Dog
Molly Shannon's performance in this film got a lot of hype from the critics and, truth be told, she did a pretty good job. It wasn't enough, though, to make me like the movie. The thing is, if you're not a dog person, I can't think of what you might like about the movie. And even though Juliette and I both love dogs now, the film really only appealed to us for its cute factor. It was just too weird. I think that the film probably wants or expects the audience to sympathize with PETA-style animal rights activism--it certainly treats human relationships, parenthood, and "normal" career development as shallow, annoying, stupid, or pretentious. But then, the other big animal lover in the film is portrayed as neurotic and ridiculous, and no matter what the protagonist says, by the end of the film you're still left with the feeling that her life is empty and unfulfilling. The ambivalence creates a film that neither has the strength to stand on its convictions nor the depth to create a particularly interesting character study.
Viewed: 4/27/2007 | Released: 4/12/2007 | Score: D+