Bride Wars: A short one, so here is Dustin’s review in its entirety: “Anne Hathaway plays Emma, a mousy, big-toothed school teacher, and the weakfish half of a best friend duo, opposite Kate Hudson’s Liv, an aggressive attorney who picked up some legal jargon TNT’s “Raising the Bar.” She is what people call Type A. Because their lives are so empty and meaningless, all they’ve ever wanted was to get married in “The Plaza” in June and have Marion St. Claire (Candice Bergen) be their wedding planner. They get engaged on successive days. Because of a scheduling mix-up, they are booked on the same day at “The Plaza.” Both refuse to change their wedding dates, and they refuse to seek the simple solution: A double wedding. They have a falling out. In order to bring meaning to their empty, sad little lives, they decide to be petty and sabotage one another’s wedding days. This is called the narrative hook. Emma gets increasingly aggressive; she dyes Liv’s hair blue and steals her best friend’s thunder at a bachelor party by dancing more sexually provocative than Liv. Liv begins to lose her aggressive streak; she switches Emma’s light-honey tanning cream with dark orange, then loses her edge at work, rolls over and cries. She places her hand on her sternum repeatedly to indicate sadness. Her fiancé supports her; he is a good guy. Emma’s husband is kind of a dick. Liv’s brother (Bryan Greenburg) is a good guy with an eye for Emma. Emma’s father is played by the guy who played Paulie in “Mad About You” (John Pankow). Kristen Johnson plays a self-absorbed drunk forced to fill in as Emma’s maid-of-honor after the falling out. Gary Winick (Tadpole), who was once thought to be talented, directs. He is no longer thought to be talented.
Bride Wars is a bad movie. It is a very, very bad movie. Do not go see it. Unless you are an older lady with a very low threshold for entertainment, you will regret it. I have wasted more time writing about it than the movie deserves.
Hotel for Dogs<:Well, no dogs died, which is the best compliment Agent Bedhead could muster: “Generally speaking, predictability is a bad thing when it comes to judging a film. However, those parents whose children were traumatized by the shamelessly exploitative Marley & Me will find the formulaic reliability of Hotel for Dogs to be positively innovative. So, no dogs die in this film, and no legs are visibly humped either. Since this film’s target audience is the elementary school range, there is a fair amount of toilet humor, but that’s nothing unexpected when it comes to a dog-centered film. First-time director Thor Freudenthal and his three screenwriters (Jeff Lowell, Bob Schooley and Mark McCorkle) have very loosely adapted the book by Lois Duncan. To be accurate, the filmmakers have pretty much nabbed the book’s title and departed from the source material otherwise. The result is a respectable family outing that the children in the audience will enjoy the hell out of, and, while this is not an extraordinary film, it does successfully make the human-canine connection, unlike that aforementioned other dog movie.
JCVD: Prisco was impressed with the Jean Claude Van Damme film, in which he plays himself, writing: “This movie put me flat on my ass. I absolutely did not expect this movie to strike me in the way that it did, both touching and amusing in even amounts. Jean-Claude Van Damme pulls it off, and it should have been more in the cheesy humorous vein of The Last Action Hero or the forthcoming My Name Is Bruce. Instead, what emerges is a heartwarming, captivating tale of an action hero collapsing in defeat. It’s not just an amazing character study of a fallen star or an indictment against the entire movie industry, but it manages to be about a man suffering a loss and trying to put the pieces of his life back together. It works almost as well as the movies that it borrows from, Dog Day Afternoon and Being John Malkovich. But like Sylvester Stallone doing Shakespeare or Steven Seagal without a ponytail, there’s just a slight can’t to the storytelling that prevents the movie from being great.”
The Uninvited: Yet another Asian horror remake. And an inept one, at that. Prisco writes: “Hooray for Hollywood! Once again, they’ve managed to take a perfectly good Asian horror film, sanitize and Americanize it for our protection, just so that a bunch of tweeners can get a good scream on. Despite inept directing and a dreadful script, the film manages to float listlessly on the strength of forceable cleavage and some wasted performances by actors too talented to be in this awful remake of Ji-woon Kim’s Changwa, Hongryon (A Tale of Two Sisters). It’ll join The Eye, One Missed Call, and all the other completely forgettable re-packaging of re-chewed ideas. While it manages to be slightly better than the usual mediocrity, it comes off as an unimaginative Disney Channel spookfest with all the chills of a “Goosebumps” episode and all the suspenseful mystery of an Encyclopedia Brown paperback. “
What Doesn’t Kill You: A South Boston mafia flick featuring Mark Ruffalo and Ethan Hawke. Prisco kind of dug it, writing: “Like the dun-snow covered streets of Boston that this Irish Mob biopic depicts, What Doesn’t Kill You trods a well-walked path. Not merely just the mobster “coming of thuggage” drama that comprises 35 percent of all frat-film collections, but more specifically the Southie Irish mob of Boston. I’m not even talking about an old path. This comes on the heels of Mystic River and The Departed. Since those did pretty goddamn good at the Academy Awards, you’d be hard pressed to blame the makers of What Doesn’t Kill You. It’s quite a good film, well played and portrayed, with a gritty realism that far surpasses its “R-less” predecessors, but it falls apart in the end under a morality-play pathos and awkward pacing. While it has a promising start, it’s beholden to its biographical roots, and therefore has to stick to the rather lackluster finale, which feels like watching the eleventh hour stragglers staggering down Comm Ave well after the Boston Marathon has ended. By the end, you find yourself scratching your head and wondering why you’re supposed to be watching this.”
While She Was Out: Horrible movie, but for five great death scenes, as Dustin writes: “But as bad as While She Was Out is — and it’s bad enough to elicit an actual facial reaction in Keanu Reeves — there are still five scenes in this short, 80-minute film that damn near make suffering through the rest worth it. Four of those fives scenes involve Basinger doing that Baptizin’, and the manner in which she picks off her aggressors is so deliciously awesome Jason Bourne and his book-beating death scene would weep with jealousy. She pokes a tire iron through a man’s nostrils, people! Through a man’s nostrils! That is one hell of a Baptismal. Unfortunately, the rest of the film is so laughable, absurd, and illogical that most DVD players will spit it out with an audible, Pffffft, and shut down if you ever bring the disc within a ten-foot vicinity (and you’ll get a chance to test that theory on Tuesday — the theatrical window for While She Was Out is apparently only four days long).”
Finally, if you’re into straight-to-DVD sequels, there’s one to Legally Blonde called Legally Blondes that I wouldn’t have any interest in but for the fact that it’s directed by Savage Steve Holland, he of Better off Dead and One Crazy Summer fame.