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Jul 27, 2010

Seriously Overdue Movie Reviews: The Losers, Shutter Island, How to Train Your Dragon, Splice, Get Him to the Greek

The Losers
The only thing memorable about this forgettable action flick will be how similar it is to The A-Team. Wait, I take that back - Jason Patric added some much needed energy to this otherwise bland affair with his creepy villain, a man who became scarier the less he said. The rest is all a blur filled with preening, ridiculous action and over-the-top slow-mo.

Fletch's Film Rating:
Expectation:
"You seem a decent fellow. I hate to kill you."
Reality:
"I want you to punch me as hard as you can."
LAMBScore:
Large Association of Movie Blogs

Shutter Island
I get the feeling that I'm going to really regret my initial feelings on this one by the time I get around to its second viewing. I'd spent so much time focusing on how obvious the "twist" was going to be that I didn't spend enough time watching the movie with it in mind. I doubt that a renewed look at it will have me in the "OMG masterpiece!" camp, but I've underestimated the quality and rewatchability of Scorcese before, and I should have learned my lesson.

Fletch's Film Rating:
Expectation:
"It's in the hole!"
Reality:
"Darn tootin."
LAMBScore:
Large Association of Movie Blogs

How to Train Your Dragon
If you look up "Overused Phrases" in the dictionary, you just might come across a picture of someone telling you to look up something in the dictionary when they really ought to just come out and say what they mean to. But if you look up "Charming Movie," you just might find the poster for How to Train Your Dragon. Sure, it doesn't hurt when the always self-effacing Jay Baruchel is your vocal lead, but who can resist the Scottish (Vikings)? The adorable pug-like dragon? The spunky heroine and photogenic setting? Not quite a Pixar-ian effort, but a very enjoyable way to spend 100 minutes or so.

Fletch's Film Rating:
Expectation:
"Darn tootin."
Reality:
"Darn tootin."
LAMBScore:
Large Association of Movie Blogs

Splice
I'd have a much easier time reviewing Splice if I could figure out what it wanted to be when it grew up.

Is it a commentary on man's quest to play God and the consequences that come from such actions? Is it a metaphor for the inherent evils of man - not the scientific forays, but the natural instincts? Or is it just a creepy psychological thriller hell bent on delivering a shocking (read: ludicrous) ending?

Because you can't tell me that it's all three. It can't have its cake and eat it, too.

Fletch's Film Rating:
Expectation:
"Darn tootin."
Reality:
"Whatever." (mostly for the ending; it's a Darn Tootin before that)
LAMBScore:
Large Association of Movie Blogs

Kick-Ass
The first half is an effective and funny spin on Spider-Man, assuming Peter Parker was never bitten by a radioactive spiders and thusly had no great responsibility to worry about. The second half puts its lead character in the back seat in favor of the Big Daddy/Hit Girl storyline, and that was just fine with this reviewer, as they had the more compelling narrative to start with. Nic Cage has rarely been funnier. The three-minute interlude in which Big Daddy tells his origin story via comic-book-come-to-life are the best of the movie - haunting, touching and beautiful, all smack bad in the middle of an otherwise crass (in a good way), hyper-violent tale.

Fletch's Film Rating:
Expectation:
"You're the best...around!"
Reality:
"Darn tootin."
LAMBScore:
Large Association of Movie Blogs

Get Him to the Greek
Succeeding perhaps where Sacha Baron Cohen failed (?), Russell Brand effectively takes his Aldous Snow character, scene stealer extraordinaire of Forgetting Sarah Marshall fame, and expands him in GHTTG. He's still a drunken waste of a rock star, but Brand has the chops to pull off the sober scenes just as well, if not better, than the supposedly riotous ones, making a late-night, lonely call to his former lover (Rose Byrne) hilarious as well as tender. Make no mistake, though - this is first and foremost a "wacky road trip" movie, and at that it succeeds as well, though to varying degrees. Jonah Hill brings with him his own unique charms (turning it down a notch, thankfully) and Byrne is all but unrecognizable as the Winehouse-ian Spice Girl that never was.

Fletch's Film Rating:
Expectation:
"You seem a decent fellow. I hate to kill you."
Reality:
"Darn tootin."
LAMBScore:
Large Association of Movie Blogs


8 people have chosen wisely: on "Seriously Overdue Movie Reviews: The Losers, Shutter Island, How to Train Your Dragon, Splice, Get Him to the Greek"

Nick said...

I think I'd rate Kick-Ass and "Dragon" higher, especially "Dragon." Up until Inception, How To Train Your Dragon was my favorite movie of the year.

Castor said...

Glad to see you enjoyed Shutter Island and Kick Ass, certainly some of the highlights of this miserable year.

The Mad Hatter said...

Oh man...the only one of these that exceeded expectation was GREEK? I think I just died inside a little bit.

Kaiderman said...

I'm with Hatter... not even Dragon? I hated everything about that one going in and I think it's one of my favorite films this year... over Toy Story 3 even.

Fletch said...

Nick - Repeat viewings are in order for both Dragon and Kick-Ass. I enjoyed both a lot, but I think some time has given me some perspective that has taken me off the adrenaline highs of seeing them (or at least Kick-Ass). The more I think about the finale of Kick-Ass, the less I like it, for example. Dragon was very well-made, but the "best movie of the year" talk is pretty ridix for a movie that treads a whole lot of familiar ground.

Castor - I'm renegging on my original opinion of Shutter. I was pretty down on it, but the more thought I gave to the trick, the more impressed with I became. Too bad that doesn't work for Book of Eli...

Hatter - you gotta keep in mind that the time you see a movie and/or the pre-release hype can play big factors. Obviously, across the board, my expectations are too high, so I get disappointed a lot, but in the case of Greek, I went in after not really liking the trailers and having seen reviews from the likes of people like, um, you, who had me prepared for a shitty movie, which it wasn't for me.

Kai - I went in with pretty high hopes for Dragon - I'd say the reception it got was similar to Kung Fu Panda, so I was expecting something of similar quality, which it just about was. I dunno, maybe it'll jump to an "It's in the hole" at some point.

Nick said...

For the record, I didn't say "Best movie of the year," I said "favorite movie of the year." As we all know, there's a difference :P .

Anh Khoi Do said...

Splice should be very easy to review, because Vincenzo Natali, its director, said in an interview that the film is not trying to ask any questions. All in all, while I appreciated the cast's performance, I had some reservations for the script's ludicrous ending and few plot holes.

Finally, so far, the best films from 2010 are Shutter Island, 7 Days and At Home by Myself... with You, in my opinion.

Fitz said...

I don't think the ending of Shutter Island was ever intended to be a twist, but a way of re-examining what we saw beforehand.