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June 2010 Review Roundup

Despite racing out to a very fast start in the first couple of weeks, travel and aftermath ate the second half of the month, necessitating some rather abbreviated reviews this time. (Josie is getting a major piece, so that's forthcoming.)

June 5 - Splice (8/10); Get Him To The Greek (4/10)
June 6 - Ninja Assassin (7/10)
June 12 - Josie and the Pussycats (9/10); The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus (4/10); Boogie Woogie (2/10)
June 13 - The A-Team (8/10)
June 14(?) - Youth In Revolt (4/10?)*

Month's Movies Watched: 8
Previously Unseen: 7
Theatrical: 3
Home: 5
Year-To-Date: 51
YTD First-Timers: 46
YTD Theatrical: 13
YTD Home: 38

* I discovered in August that I'd never reviewed or logged watching this, so the date and score are guessimates.

"The A-Team" Review

The classic Eighties Mr. T showcase gets a big dumb popcorn movie update. This is a good thing. The new cast is good, though Mr. T is too iconic to replace. Sharlto "District 9" Copely steals every scene he's in and Jessica Biel's hawt. Stuff gets blowed up real good, so what more do you need?

Score: 8/10. Catch a matinee.

"The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" Review

There are people - I call them morons - who believe that the only reason The Dark Knight was such a big hit was because ghoulish moviegoers wanted to see Heath Ledger's final performance as if he didn't rule as The Joker and the movie wasn't excellent. The problem is that it wasn't his final performance; The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus was and unfortunately, curiosity as to how director Terry Gilliam covered for his fallen star with the assistance of Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Ferrell, is the primary reason to sit through this opulent, but dull film. (Also, the new Spiderman, Andrew Garfield, has a major role as an annoying prat here.)

Gilliam has always been better with style than substance and his intricately art directed films make Tim Burton look like a kid with a crayon in comparison. But, so what, when the alternate realities and universes and time jumps serve to distance the viewer from the story, a yawner about why deals with the Devil (neatly played by an obviously cast Tom Waits) aren't recommended. The actors are fine, especially the poor Ledger fillers and the cute Lily Cole (who looks like a gringo Devon Aoki with her apple head), but in the end, it doesn't matter except to remind why most will consider The Dark Knight to be Ledger's last, and finest, outing.

Score: 4/10. Catch it on cable if you've got HD; otherwise rent the Blu-ray if only to look at the design work.

"Boogie Woogie" Review

This was the longest 85 minutes of the evening, so let's make this fast.

What Was Good: Heather Graham's boobs, though they're barely on display. Amanda Seyfried's incredible legs, showcased in miniskirts that are more wide belts than skirts. Some other bits of nudity and lesbian activity.

What Wasn't: Everything else.

Tedious, banal, dopey, insipid - hey, check out my Roget's skills - it makes rich twits and the art world even more uninteresting than you'd initially suspect. Just terrible. I finished watching it out of spite though my girlfriend took the better path and fell asleep 10 minutes in.

Score: 2/10. Skip the movie and look up the skin on the Internet.

"Ninja Assassin" Review

I watched this a few weeks ago and barely remember any of it except there was a lot of ninja stuff and assassinations with blood everywhere. Oh, and chicks make lousy ninjas. I liked it, but it was like cinematic Chinese food.

Directed by the guy who did V For Vendetta, it looks like a Japanese flick, but was produced in English, something I didn't know going in and wondered why the dubbing was so good. Der. If you likes the chop socky, Ninja Assassin, delivers the goods.

Score: 7/10. Catch it on cable.

"Get Him To The Greek" Review

Russell Brand is the annoying twat from Forgetting Sarah Marshall again and Jonah Hill plays a variation of the same fat guy he plays in everything in Get Him To The Greek, an overpraised comedy that was only worth it because I snuck in after seeing Splice.

The premise - get Brand's wanker from London to L.A. in three days - occasionally pays off with wild party scenes and some of the more eclectic cameos you see in a comedy (hint: a Nobel Prize-winning economist and a douchebag drummer appear as themselves), but the hints at depth that have effed-up recent Judd Apatow films (he produced this) don't add up to squat. No one really changes, so it's all a damp squib.

When it's funny - Sean "Puff Daddy/Puffy/P. Diddy/Diddy/that jerk who used that Police song to rap about Biggie/Poofy Dad" Combs just KILLS IT in every scene and will be the subject of a YouTube clip reel - it's hilarious, but it's too uneven and the ending is just weird.

Score: 4/10. Catch it on cable. Or sneak in after seeing something better you paid for.

Observation: Elisabeth Moss is actually passably cute here without her disfiguring bangs from Mad Men.

"Splice" Review

There's a reason why playing God does not equal being God and Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley find out the hard way when they make a little science project/child and it goes all pear-shaped and sideways on them. Excellent, creepy special effects and a good structure, but it gets predictable at the end as it shifts into a rote horror mode. Brody and Polley - who is an underused and appreciated talent - are better than the material deserves, but that's what makes it good.

Score: 8/10. Catch a matinee.

And despite what some people saw, Dren is too weird looking to be "hot" unless you just keep your focus between the neck and the knees.
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