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January 27, 2009 |

By Dustin Rowles | DVD Releases | January 27, 2009 |

College: Agent Bedhead lobbies to put this one in our ten worst films of the year, but there were just so many bad films, and only ten slots. Consider it an honorable mention, of which she writes: “As a coming-of-age sex gross-out comedy, College is merely a re-digested version of the genre, the crap molded from the faintly superior likes of Porky’s and National Lampoon’s Animal House. More notably, College is much like PCU but without the failed attempt at any sort of social commentary. Unfortunately, College also lacks the few bits of humor that PCU actually managed to pull off. Further, College treats its women exponentially worse than any Judd Apatow creation would ever dream of doing and proudly displays more pairs of tits than Eli Roth’s Hostel, if you can believe that.”

Fireproof: This one avoided the top ten purely out of remiss, although it does get bonus fun points for featuring Kirk Cameron as a firefighter. Of it, P-Step wrote, “Imagine if some monstrous anthropomorphism of one of those low budget shows on the Christian Broadcasting Network were gene-spliced with a Lifetime Original Movie. The resulting abomination would be something like Fireproof, a ghastly piece of evangelical agit-prop cloaked in a love story about a fireman (Kirk Cameron … oh dear) trying to save his marriage. Given the facts at hand, I was mentally girding myself for a multi-pronged assault on every sensibility I possessed. And really, Fireproof wasn’t as appalling a movie as all that, but neither was it really a movie at all; rather, Fireproof is a pat afterschool special, a sentimental grasp for inspiration with a dull, inevitable arc. Would this film merit any attention at all if not for the divisive fact that it’s larded with pop Christian truisms and perfunctory bits of dogma? No. In fact, it doesn’t merit that attention anyway, save for the disturbing fact that there are people capable of viewing this shit without irony.”

Lakeview Terrace: Ranylt, if anything, applauded the return of Neil Labute, writing: “If I were generous, I could re-christen this new film with cute descriptors like In the Company of Capital M-E-N or Your Fiends & Neighbors, because Lakeview Terrace, though flawed, manages to recapture some of what made LaBute’s first two movies scorch. It’s filled with moments that made me squirm in my seat and gape in horror at my husband, who was squirming even more spastically on my right. Its set-up is manufactured for full, awkward effect: an interracial couple named Chris and Lisa Mattson (Patrick Wilson and Kerry Washington) move into their first home, which happens to be next to the longtime home of an anti-miscegenation bully, a cop named Abel (Samuel L. Jackson) who, unlike Cain, is bound and determined to be his brother’s keeper.”

The Lucky Ones: Ranylt didn’t have much praise for the forgettable The Lucky Ones, starring Tim Robbins and Rachel McAdams, writing: “It’s been a long time since I’ve endured a movie so featureless. Neil Burger’s The Lucky Ones has so little personality that my notepad was virtually blank when I left the theater, and my mind a fair reflection of my notepad. A day later, I still don’t know what to make of the thing. Most movies leave dents or teeth-marks — or at least delicate little paw-prints — on my psyche, but The Lucky Ones was too nebulous to make any kind of impression. They say the mediocre ones are the hardest to write about, but how to do you write about a movie with no presence to speak of? The Lucky Ones ran across the screen like a faint singsong in the distance, not melodic, but not discordant enough to really notice, either. It just kind of squatted up there without much purpose — not political enough to jerk your knees at, not bad enough to annoy, not good enough to esteem, not entertaining enough to pass the time. Is it possible for a movie to be too subtle, even for lovers of subtle, ambiguous, slow-moving film?”

Pride and Glory: Yet another one of those bland cop dramas that arrived about a year after The Departed, Ranylt got the honors with this one (starring Colin Farrell and Ed Norton), as well, writing: “Expecting realism in a fictional product is a fool’s errand, but it can be done. My problem with the Pride and Glory school of filmmaking isn’t the use of exaggeration or sentiment or formula or oversimplification per se — these are good tools in capable hands, and they play roles in many of my favorite books and movies. My problem with this type of film is that it uses these in the service of realism — that it demands to be taken not just as realism but as Reality, even as it misrepresents it. It’s unaware that its own devices are so blatant (and the first rule of realism is Hide the Devices). It coats everything with a sheen and it overplays its hand while posing with faux nuances; directors can’t have it both ways without insulting our intelligence. It’s not so much the final product that irritates — which in this case is neither stinky nor stellar — but the dishonesty of the filmmakers’ intentions and their reliance on stereotype.”

The Rocker: Rainn Wilson’s attempt to open a movie failed, both commercially and critically, as Agent Bedhead reveals, writing: “The Rocker is invested with a lot of talent. The Rocker would have ideally served as a decent starring vehicle for Wilson, who ends up rocking that pocket of puke as far as he possibly can, which isn’t far, considering the limited humor involved with bodily fluids. This isn’t to say that Wilson doesn’t try, because he obviously possesses comedic talent and the slightly off-kilter charisma to pull it off. The laughs just aren’t to be found in this particular film, which is also a shame in that Will “I’ve Made A Huge Mistake” Arnett (who seems to have a hit-and-miss record in choosing projects) is very competent here and clearly, enjoyed dressing up in leopard-print pants a bit too much. As is the case in so many other comedies, the fault lies mostly with the film’s immature script, which was penned by Maya Forbes and Wallace Wolodarsky and based upon a story by Ryan Jaffe.

RockNRolla: In Alex the Odd’s one and only movie review for us (oh, Alex: Where have you gone? Your presence is missed), she concludes of Guy Ritchie’s latest: “By the end of the movie and the inevitable tying together of threads, twists and turns and naked Russian sex parties, the plot moves itself firmly back into the foreground. Suddenly the point of all that characterization becomes clear (from a narrative point of view, not from a “making a movie that doesn’t suck” point of view, because in that case decent characterization is never a bad thing); without some actual empathy for the characters the story would, at this point, fall flat on its face - after all, logically why would we care about the fates of a few criminal lowlifes? But we do. And that’s what makes the whole thing work. It’s a gamble and with the same dialogue but a less stellar cast it’s one that could very easily not have paid off.”

This Week's DVD Releases / The Pajiba Staff

DVD Releases | January 27, 2009 |

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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