2011 Pre-Holiday Movie Reviews

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In order to escape the life-sucking monotony of constant work, I managed to break away for the late showing of a few movies. Sadly, most were so unmemorable as to not even warrant the time to review in full. So I’m going to just lump them together here.

IMMORTALS (2011) — ★★★½☆

They should have named this one “Immordulls.” It’s as if someone said: “Hey, lets make a bigger-budget version of ‘300’ – people will pay to see that.” Because that’s all this flick really is. It has the same ambiance of ‘300’, without the script, acting, or direction. When Mickey Roarke (who plays the evil king) is the best actor in a movie, you have a problem. He does a good job, actually but … come on … it’s Mickey Roarke.Technically, it’s a gorgeous piece of work. So I’m giving it a decent rating more on technical merit than on entertainment value. The ending is kind of stupid – with the Gods intervening and the absurdly chaotic main battle going on (which may be realistic but it turns the battle into little more than background noise).

Recommendation: If you just want to “watch something” that has high production values and lots of swords and blood, this will do you.

A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas (2011) — ★★★½☆

Again, my rating here is more on technical merit. Of the three H&K movies, this is the most well-made. The jabs at 3D movies are spot on and also very well done. Neil Patrick Harris is at his lascivious best and pretty much steals the movie. Cho and Penn are now older adults in their characters, so a lot of the humor that worked before seems a bit lame in this movie. Of the three films, the second (“Guantanamo Bay”) is the best. I just didn’t find this movie all that funny – I wanted to, but other than NPH there weren’t many big laughs or socio-political comments.

Recommendation: If you’re easily amused and you liked either of the other two H&K movies, check it out. If you’re looking for something to top “Cock-Meat Sandwich” this ain’t it.

Tower Heist (2011) — ★★★☆☆

Three-stars may be a bit harsh as this was actually a funnier movie than “Harold and Kumar 3,” and better-acted film than “Immortals.” But because the cast was so good, and because the premise was so good, the failure of execution is more damaging. The best part in the film is Alan Alda who plays a scumbag banker who swindles millions. If you’re used to only thinking of Alda as good ole “Hawkeye” you’re in for a shock. My main gripe is that none of the cast is allowed to really be funny – or even act for that matter. Except for Alda, every one of them is playing a watered down version of the same character they always play. And the heist itself is … well … dumb.

Recommendation: If you feel like just shutting your brain off for 100 minutes, maybe catch up on your text-messaging in the theatre, this is the film for you.