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January 13, 2009 |

By Dustin Rowles | DVD Releases | January 13, 2009 |

Appaloosa: John seemed, well, content, with this Ed Harris-directed Western, writing, “Westerns are so numerous by now, and the way of life they depict so increasingly outdated even in the hinterlands, that filmmakers have to be careful. Follow the formula too closely and they risk boredom. Make a wrong move or two and the whole thing might look like the lobby of a new theme hotel in Vegas. Harris, settling into the director’s chair for the first time since Pollock, gets the essentials right — the stirring confrontations, the freighted decisions, the stunning sunset vistas. His missteps come when he tries to freshen things with humor. Appaloosa is far from a must-see — aside from those vistas, the whole thing would look just as good on cable — but it’s a could-see.”

Mirrors: Who cares about the film when you have lines like this one, from Ranylt: “So it’s with regret that I haven’t seen Kim Sung-Ho’s Into the Mirror (2003), the film Alexandre Aja and Kegger Sutherland decided to square peg up a gnat’s sphincter for the His Nips viewers on my continent who take their meals pre-masticated.” As for the movie, she writes, “Mirrors is too formulaic in its first half and too silly-overwrought in its second to merit a glance from horror lovers, never mind our praise. It might have frightened me into the arms of Christ when I was twelve, but it relies on too many flapping-pigeon bursts and Repulsion-esque hands pushing out of walls to earn my adult respect. There’s too much melodrama, and too little we don’t see coming a mile off.”

My Best Friend’s Girl: Not the worst movie ever made, considering the star (Dane Cook), but the review is a classic, if only because it compiled a series of Dane Cook insults borrowed from The Eloquents. Take this paragraph, for instance: “Dane Cook is total anguish, and not worth a cuntful of cold water. Dane Cook is the Ur-Douche, the uberdouche. While other comedians are writing and working their craft, Douche Cook is doing leg presses while talking to his biceps. Dane Cook is the cinematic equivalent of having your penis inverted without any painkillers. He is a walking personification of suck. Dane Cook is like the retarded, inbred abortion survivor of the most hideous creatures from The Hills Have Eyes plus the congealed spirits formed by the shittiness of classic Ed Wood movies. Even Steve Carrell doesn’t like him. And he loves everybody. What does that make Dane Cook? Nobody. He’s like the holocaust of comedy. Only less funny. Dane Cook is so tangibly loathsome that when he’s out and about, douching it up around the town, puppies lose their cute and fluffy demeanor and bite toddlers without really knowing why, plants stop photosynthesizing in an effort both to commit suicide and to starve that small Dane Cook-sized corner of the world of oxygen, and homeless people think to themselves, “I may sleep in a pool of my own urine every single night, but at least I’m not him.” In fact, I once had a gaping puss filled anal wound that would not heal no matter how many medicated pads I used. I named it Dane Cook.”

Swing Vote: Here’s another brilliant, deadpan line from John: “Movies aren’t the place we go for stark realism, anyway. Ask Batman.” As to the movie, I think this sums it up: “Swing Vote is painfully unfunny. One Democratic operative calls an attack a “right-wing blog-o-smear.” When Bud drunkenly realizes that he left Molly waiting for him at the polls, he runs outside and bangs his head on a sign that reads, “Vote Today.” Father and daughter later exchange these lines: “I’ve been thinking.” “How refreshing.” These clunkers could be excused if Swing Vote was aimed at children, but the question of its intended audience is one of its greatest mysteries. Its thought process mostly occurs on the level of (dumb) children, but there’s enough coarse language and interest in political behavior to convince us that it’s speaking to adults.”

Tyler Perry’s The Family That Preys: Prisco caught the Tyler Perry merry-go-round this time, poor bastard. He writes of the film, “The Family That Preys has been called Tyler Perry’s best movie, but that’s a little like being the prettiest girl in the flag corp. The man’s a brilliant filmmaker, in that he gives his fans what they want or rather what they think they deserve. He’s like Taco Bell. It’s not great, but it’s a safe bet, you know what you’re going to get each time, but don’t be surprised at the indigestion the next day. There are plenty of black artists out there, like Aaron McGruder and F. Gary Grey making interesting films, doing quality work, but nobody’s buying their wares. Instead, Tyler Perry makes millions by making a mockery of his own people, telling them they should be proud to not have ambition, and it’s okay to beat their wives and sleep around. He has the audacity to act as if he’s the sole conduit for the voice of Black America. As long as they are willing to accept it, he’ll never be stopped. Because a brother’s gotta get paid, son.”

Vicky Cristina Barcelona: Of the winner of the Golden Globe award for Best Comedy (a completely worthless award, by the by), John writes, “At 72, Allen appears to have persevered past an embarrassing stage. He’s not making great movies anymore, but he’s cranking out enjoyable diversions. And it’s nice to see him continue the recent trend of lavishing his attention on great cities outside New York. Vicky’s romantic awakening at the hands of a transparent lothario like Juan Antonio is pat, but the performances are strong enough to make up for the character arcs. An omniscient voice-over throughout threatens to send Barcelona off the rails by mostly repeating things we easily learn by watching the action. (The technique should really require committee approval at this point.) The movie is saved by Bardem’s charisma, Cruz’s riveting turn, and just enough romantic philosophy to kick-start spirited debate about what we talk about when we talk about love.”

This Week's DVD Releases / The Pajiba Staff

DVD Releases | January 13, 2009 |

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

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