Saturday, August 14, 2010

Capsule Review Cavalcade: I Love LA

This time around I document the movies I've seen since relocating to Los Angeles (minus "The Other Guys," which is the post before this one). A little bit of second-run, a little bit of Netflix, and some recent comedies to hit the big screen.

GET HIM TO THE GREEK (2010) – Rated R, 109 minutes
Russell Brand stars as Aldous Snow, the sex-driven rock star from "Forgetting Sarah Marshall." After releasing one of the worst albums in music history, Aldous goes back to drugs and alcohol, his life a professional and personal mess. Jonah Hill, playing a new character who's fond of Aldous, is trying to arrange a comeback concert. It's a tough sell, and later a tough job, to even get Aldous where he needs to be. Sean Combs (or Diddy 3.1 as I believe he's called now) was a particular highlight, providing healthy laughs early and often as boss of the record company. I enjoyed myself at "Greek," but it suffered from spinning off "Forgetting Sarah Marshall." Funny, but didn't feel like a worthy-enough follow-up. ***¼

TiMER (2009) – Rated R, 99 minutes
What if you knew when you'd meet your true love? That's the basic question of "TiMER," set in a universe where people can implant themselves with a device that counts them down to that precise moment. Unless of course your true love doesn't have one, in which case your timer's blank. The concept alone, once fully realized, provided a lot of discussion and thought among those of us who watched it. The characters were fun, easy to root for, and the movie was clever. Emma Caulfield and JoBeth Williams were among the stars. An easy choice for rental. ****

GROWN UPS (2010) – Rated PG-13, 102 minutes
Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, David Spade, Kevin James and Rob Schneider play five friends who bonded over a grade school basketball championship. When their coach dies 30 years later, everybody meets for the funeral, seeing what each is like all grown up. The funeral leads to a weekend with the families at the lake, which leads to a rematch at the basketball court. "Grown Ups" was a huge disappointment given the reputation of these five actors. A vast majority of the jokes were woefully tame. I did like its stance on kids being brought up in a technological age, but I likely would have enjoyed the movie more if it followed in the footsteps of Sandler's earlier, raunchier comedies. **½

PULP FICTION (1994) – Rated R, 154 minutes
Quentin Tarantino's masterpiece. The revival of John Travolta's career. Wildly funny; the situations I laughed at could only be so funny when presented in this way by these people. Going in, I thought the all-over chronology would annoy me. But it was not an obstacle at all. Supremely entertaining. I can't give it the full five, but I can't pinpoint the reason not to either. Maybe it was the dancing. ****¾

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