I had the last week off work, and the weather was atrociously hot, so I wound up watching a bunch of movies. Here’s the run-down.
Shutter Island – The surprise wasn’t all that surprising, but it was still worth the journey. With this film, Martin Scorsese delivered a masterful psychological thriller, and DiCaprio did a pretty good job of convincing me that he can act. (8 out of 10)
Grown Ups – This was exactly what I expected from the ads. This movie pulled together a great cast of some of the best comedy actors out there: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, and Rob Schneider. But somehow when you put this all together, it was less than the sum of its parts. This cast can’t help but put together a funny movie, but with that kind of comedic firepower, I should have been doubled over laughing, not just chuckling here and there. (3 out of 10)
Eclipse – Yes, I’ll admit to having read the “Twilight” books, and to having watched the first two movies. This wasn’t a great movie by any stretch of the imagination, but it was much better than the first two movies. The only downside was Bryce Dallas Howard, who seemed in over her head as Victoria; though she didn’t get much screen time, I much preferred Rachelle Lefevre in this role. (5 out of 10)
Knight and Day – It’s been almost 10 years since I enjoyed a movie that starred Tom Cruise (Minority Report in 2002). This one won’t revive his career, but it was a satisfactory escape on a hot day. It was a totally predictable action-comedy with a smidgen of romance thrown in. (6 out of 10)
Toy Story 3 – Although their reputation is built on outstanding computer animation, the truth is that Pixar has always been focused on telling compelling stories. Computer animation is their chosen medium, but they consistently put the message first. The short film, “Day & Night” that preceded Toy Story was charming, but the feature film drew me in so quickly and completely that I had soon forgotten it. A few critics have called this the best of the three Toy Story movies. I haven’t seen the other two in many years, so I’ll refrain from that judgment, but it was certainly the best movie I’ve seen in a couple years. (10 out of 10)
Blown Away – After Toy Story 3, it was inevitable that the next movie would come up short, and boy did this one! Tommy Lee Jones’s Irish accent was terrible, and Jeff Bridges performance was truly forgettable. It was like watching Speed with worse acting (yes, worse than Keanu Reeves) and a few more explosions. (3 out of 10)
Iron Man – Another disappointment, the more so because I had heard good things about this one. This was good for about the first 30 minutes, but then went quickly downhill. The middle of the movie spent far too long showing him trying to perfect the Iron Man suit, and the end was too cartoonish after the rest of the movie taking a realistic approach. (4 out of 10)
The Italian Job – Low expectations, high satisfaction. I’d not really heard anything positive about this movie, but it turned out to be a reasonably entertaining crime caper. My only complaint is that I’d really like to see Seth Green cast as someone other than the tech guy. (6 out of 10)
Also, mixed in there, I saw a few previews for movies that might be promising. The most promising of the bunch looks like Inception, directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Leo DiCaprio. Other intriguing previews were for The Green Hornet, The Other Guys, and Salt.