Saturday, August 23, 2008

Vicky Christina Barcelona: Well, at least it LOOKED pretty....

Two girlfriends go to Barcelona for the summer. They meet an exotic, hot-blooded artist. He has a violent history with an exotic, hot-blooded ex-wife. Everyone meets everyone and everyone sleeps with everyone, and then the movie ends pretty much the same way it began.

No character development.

No storyline or satisfying conclusion.

But Spain sure looked pretty.

3 out of 10. Half a point for Javier Bardem looking cool. Another half point for Penelope Cruz so authentically portraying a crazy latina. And ten full points for my date. But then I have to subtract 8 points for Woody Allen's inability to focus the camera half the time. It was distracting. I thought I needed glasses.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Tropic Thunder: It's a Hollywood Thing. You Wouldn't Understand.

There is a lot in Tropic Thunder that any movie-goer can appreciate.

We're given a plethora of Hollywood stereotypes to mock and laugh at. Action Heroes, Serious Method Actors, Drug-addled Comic Actors, Scumbag Producers, Desperate Agents... expensive movie sets, clashing egoes, overdone movie premises... Budget overruns, delays in production... they even go into the Actors-Portraying-Mentally-Retarded-and/or- Gay-People territory.

The idea of a movie about a movie, involving all of these elements, is, in and of itself, funny enough.

And the movie is funny enough, too. Don't misunderstand me.

But throughout it, I got the sense that I wasn't really privy to the REAL joke here. It felt like Hollywood wasn't mocking "stereotypes" so much as they were mocking actual, specific people who FIT those stereotypes. And I don't know those people. So I can't laugh at those people like the insiders in Hollywood can laugh at those people.

This movie wasn't made for me, or for you, or for the common, everyday movie fan. It was made for the guys who work in the backlots making sets. The Gaffers and Lead Grips. The ladies who work the Kraft Food Service. The Sound Technicians and Make-Up Girls and the guys who have to squeeze Eddie Murphy into those stupid Fat-Guy suits in nearly every movie he makes these days. And yes, it was even made for the actors, actresses, producers, directors, and agents, who have to kiss each other's asses from day to day to make a living, but who really, secretly despise certain individuals in the business.

This is a movie tribute to the people who have to deal, from day to day, with the Big Egoes. And I think that's pretty cool.

Not necessarily really FUNNY, but hey, way to throw them a bone, Ben Stiller.

The humor was good enough to keep me laughing about half the time. It was a little too graphically violent, and frankly, gross, in some parts for me to laugh with the reckless abandon that a comedy movies should allow me. When Ben Stiller is licking the blood off the bloody entrails hanging off a decapitated head, pardon me for holding back a little. And everyone else in the theater seemed to feel the same way. You heard a lot more muffled, ashamed, nervous tittering than full-on belly-laughing.

I give it a 6 out of 10, and I recommend that anyone who didn't like Pulp Fiction stay home.