Welcome to what is the first of three "The Year in..." posts. This one focuses on movies while subsequent posts will focus on games and music. As I'm a selfcentered son-of-a-B, I am of course referring to movies that I've seen and not some general here's how the movie industry did as a whole in 2006. Not only am I not smart enough to make the critical observations necessary for that kind of post, I also don't care. I've decided to limit this post to movies I saw this year that actually came out this year, as trying to remember all of the movies I watched this year would be an exercise in futility.
One thing I should point out before giving my little mini-reviews is that, of late, whenever Linda and I watch a movie in the basement I end up sleeping through part of it. As a result, I may be giving a movie somewhat of a bad review because it didn't make any sense, a direct result of my narcoleptic tendencies. Thankfully I seem to remember that most of the movies I didn't like, Linda didn't like either, so you can rest assured that the movie was probably still bad, just not for the reasons I'm listing. On with the show!
Hostel - I rented this one to see what the hubbub was about. By hubbub, I mean that I heard there were some pretty hot topless chicks in it and there were . It is not lost on me that the lustful urges used to lure the young men to their dooms in the movie were the same urges used to get me to watch the movie. I'm OK with that. After all, my achilles tendons remained intact. The movie was OK. Certainly entertaining but nothing to get all jazzed up about. It's not for teh squeamish though as some of the violence is pretty brutal.
Glory Road - Linda and I rented this over the summer. Think Miracle but with basketball instead of hockey and with boredom instead of emotional resonance and national pride. Total waste of Emily Deschanel too.
Underworld: Evolution - For the life of me, I still can't fathom how it is I can watch these Underworld movies and not understand a goddam second of them. I've seen the first one like 3 times and I still have no idea what happened. Oh well. Kate Beckinsale is smoking hot in her leather catsuit thingy and Bill Nighy is always a hoot. It was a little on the long side and I'm pretty sure I slept through part of it.
Final Destination 3- Not as good as the first two, however if you're a Final Destination fan, you'll still be entertained. The DVD has an interesting cut and paste feature that allows you to put together how the different folks die. At least I heard that it does as I could never get it to work.
Running Scared - Suprisingly enough, this hyper violent "fairy tale" was one of my favorite movies of the year. Paul Walker did an excellent job as a low level mob flunky who finds his life turning to shit when the gun he was supposed to get rid of, due to it's use in a shootout with some corrupt cops, gets stolen by the neighbor's kid and used for an attempted patricide. It's dark, funny, extremely violent at times and filled with a bunch of really memorable characters. This movie will put your sound system to the test too, particularly in the opening shootout. Plus, it's got Chazz Palminteri who is always worth the price of admission.
16 Blocks - You'd think that a movie with Mos Def and Bruce Willis would be pretty good. You'd be wrong. Mos had this really annoying nasal voice througout the whole thing and the bad guy was the blonde dude from St. Elsewhere. Ooooh, very scary. I slept through a big chunk of this one, so maybe it was better, but if it was better I probably wouldn't have fallen asleep.
Dave Chappelle's Block Party - An excellent concert film if you're into hip-hop and such greats as The Roots, Kanye West, Erykah Badu and Black Star. A not so great concert film if you're into Dave Chappelle as he does very little, if any standup. It's still funny at times, especially when he walks the streets of his home town giving out golden tickets, but those expecting a laugh out loud movie will be dissappointed.
V For Vendetta - A pretty accurate rendition of the seminal comic mini-series, especially for an Alan Moore joint, which usually end up getting raped over a barrel when made into movies ("League of Extraordinary Gentlemen", I'm looking at you). Natalie Portman was hot as usual, and Hugo Weaving did an excellent job emoting behind a plastic mask for 2 hours. I was glad to see that they kept V's identity a secret througout the film, as they did in the comics. All in all, a very entertaining action movie.
Inside Man - Spike Lee - good. Clive Owen - good. Denzel Washington - good. Need I say more?
Slither - A hilarious horror-comedy movie about space slugs that come to Earth and prey on the populace of an unsuspecting town. Nathan Fillion is in it, which makes it a must watch in my book. It's a shame this movie didn't do better as it's quite good and Fillion deserves to have some serious leading man money pushed his way so that he can show how he can hang with the best of them. Bill Pardy fans unite!
Lucky Number Slevin - An interesting little crime noir movie with Josh Hartnett, Lucy Liu, Morgan Freeman and Bruce Willis, among others. The movie's got style and keeps you guessing throughout. Plus, for once I didn't find Lucy Liu annoying. Worth a rent if you see it on the shelf.
The Sentinel - Utter shit. The movie made no sense, and it had Eva Longoria, who is one of the most annoying people working in Hollywood today. Avoid at all costs.
Mission: Impossible III - Once you get past the fact that Tom Cruise is in it, you'll be treated to the best Mission Impossible movie of the three and a damn good action movie in it's own right. Turn up the speakers for the bridge scene and rattle the neighbor's house. Ving Rhames is his usual badass self, Maggie Q is fucking gorgeous and the brief appearance of Keri Russell made me remember why I loved "Felicity" so.
Over The Hedge - Absolutely hilarious animated movie based on the comic strip of the same name. The voice talent is amazing, the animation is top notch and it's damned funny. Buy it for the kids, watch it for yourself, or hell, screw the kids. They probably don't deserve it anyways.
X-Men: The Last Stand - Well, Colussus looked cool and it had the Fastball Special. On the one hand, I'd hate for the franchise to go out on this particular note, but on the other hand, the potential is there for them to go out on a far worse note. Let's hope the Wolverine spin-off is better.
The Break-Up - Jennifer Aniston seems to get hotter and hotter in every movie, while jon Favreau gets bigger and bigger. Vince Vaugh was his least outlandish and created a character that was very realistic while still being Vince Vaughn funny. The fights were actual arguments you would expect normal couples to get in which made the movie painful to watch at times, but ultimately entertaining.
Cars - The animation is great, but at 2 hours, it's just too damned long for a kids' movie. My son got up to do other stuff at one point, which he never does when watching a movie. Warning, after watching this, your children may want you to smash into other cars when driving. If you already do that, good for you.
Superman Returns - The best movie of the year and one of the best comic book movies ever made. It pains my soul to see that the aforementioned X-Men piece of crap made more than this movie. I still react with incredulity when I hear that people didn't like this movie, but I also don't understand why people like bananas. No accounting for taste, I guess. This movie will be on permanent rotation in our house for a long time to come.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest - Good, with amazing special effects but ultimately too long and too meandering. Hopefully the third one will be a little tighter and act as a good bookend with the first one. Not enough Keira Knightley in a bodice either.
The Descent - Best horror movie of the year. I was scared out of my mind before they even came across the beasties, so well did the film the claustraphobia of spelunking. Carniverous cave dwellers aside, you couldn't pay me enough money to crawl around in some tunnel under the ground. Neil Marshall now lives atop my must watch list for directors.
Feast - Linda and I watched the making of this movie on Project Greenlight, so I felt obligated to buy it and help John Gulager out. It's actually a really good movie, with lots of gore, humor and hot chicks. I know that IMDB lists this as a 2005 release, but I'm not counting film festivals. I'm talking wide release or DVD release.
So there you have it. 2007 looks to be a stellar year with 300, Ghost Rider, Spider-Man 3, Transformers and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix among others. I may actually see one or two of these in the theater. How exciting!