[Rickey's in-depth analysis of the various cinematic offerings currently showing at a movie theater near you. Rickey will use his critical skills to weed out the dreck from the moderately watchable, thereby saving you money and vastly improving your quality of life. Don't say we never did anything for you, OK?]
Granted, nobody was expecting director Michael Bay to craft a modern day version of “The Seventh Seal” from a Saturday morning children’s cartoon, but still… something feels very unwholesome about watching flag draped coffins of U.S. soldiers being escorted off a plane by giant robots in a military base somewhere in the Middle East. Kitsch I can take, but perverted patriotism is another thing altogether. And the less said about the movie’s insinuation that the Obama Administration would attempt to negotiate peace with a villainous race of alien robots the better. Oh, and what are your feelings about paying to see a minstrel show in the year 2009? Because this movie features two gorilla shaped robots with gold teeth who “don’t read too good” talking jive to each other. It’s a pretty shocking thing to watch, especially when you consider that Steven Spielberg, the director of “Amistad,” and the upcoming biopic "Lincoln” is the executive producer on this film. I honestly can’t come up with a single reason to recommend this movie to anyone, and I liked “Armageddon” for crying out loud.
Brüno. (I just want you to know how difficult it was to get an umlaut symbol to appear in this post). Well I suppose that this movie attempts to push your buttons in a better way than the previous one we just reviewed. If you consider Sasha Baron Cohen attempting to lure Ron Paul to bed more sublimely enlightened than an alien robot humping Megan Fox’s leg, that is. Brüno operates in the same way that Borat did: it attempts to mine comedy from the conceit of an outsider illuminating our inner prejudices. The problem is that Cohen targets some very low hanging fruit – talk show audiences, a group of redneck hunters, Paula Abdul – and the movie comes off more as a series of cheap shots than a witty social commentary. While it’s true that all good comedy is born from a certain degree of derision, I feel the same way about this movie that I do about some of Andy Kaufman’s stuff: going to an extreme length to rile up and upset people just isn’t all that funny. Also, there’s serious full frontal male nudity in this one. Regardless of how enlightened you may consider yourself to be regarding alternative lifestyles, nothing can prepare you for the first twenty minutes of this movie and the sight of a singing dancing penis. Nothing.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Every year, I get dragged to one of these films about children magicians brandishing wands and saying funny made up words. I agree to this because sitting through these movies morally entitles me to pick the next eighteen films we watch together. This installment of the Potter franchise focuses on some sort of magical book, a talking sofa, and children magicians falling in love. Yay. Between these movies and “Twilight,” I’m seriously concerned about one day having “the talk” with my bewildered progeny and needing to explain that adolescent romance doesn’t necessarily include spells, potions, or general supernatural tomfoolery.
Bottom line, if you liked the last few Potter films, you’ll probably like this too. They’re all kind of a blur to me at this point. You’d think that after six semesters of sending their kids to this Hogwarts place, the parents would’ve sued the pants off anyone associated with a school that subjects it’s students to trolls, giant spiders, dragons, and similar outlandish dangers. (I’m assured that all this will be resolved in the upcoming “Harry Potter and the Order of the 2nd District Court”). Also, they’d better hurry up and make the final movie because the kid playing Ron Weasley looks like he’s about 30 in this one.
On the Docket !
District 9. A sci-fi action movie about aliens arriving on Earth then being rounded up in a ghetto in South Africa? Shot in documentary style by a newcomer director that nobody has ever heard of? I’m telling you, there’s absolutely no way this can fail. I am dead serious about this.
Public Enemies. This one shouldn’t take too much arm twisting to convince the Mrs. to go see. She gets to see Johnny Depp play the charming John Dillinger and I get to watch a slick Michael Mann movie about a bank robber. A win-win situation if I’ve ever heard of one.