I guess this will be the final part of my ‘End of Year DVD Blitz’, considering it is the new year, after all. Four more here, then I’ll have to start my ‘Start of Year DVD Blitz’ (since I still have a bunch to watch).
Apparently Machete is a character from the children’s film Spy Kids and stemmed from a fake trailer in Grindhouse, but this Robert Rodrigue (and Ethan Maniquis) film stands on its own just fine.
In Machete, Machete (Danny Trejo) is a Mexican badass that likes to use, uh, machetes to hack people up. And there’s plenty of that intentionally fake, gory violence that was employed in Grindhouse, though for me it was still cringeworthy watching limbs and heads hacked off. The film features of trio of sassy ladies — Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez and Lindsay Lohan — and excellent bad guys, such as Robert De Niro, Jeff Fahey and in probably the best role of his career, Steven Segal.
Machete is fun, entertaining and loud-out-loud funny at times, though the ‘fake exploitation’ angle does get a little old quickly. It’s a movie you’re likely to remember a few years from now, though you’ll probably have no idea what it was all about. I actually have trouble remembering right now, but I do recall it was fun while it lasted.
3.25 stars out of 5
The Disappearance of Alice Creed (2009)
Perfect example of a tight, well-written script and excellent direction (by J Blakeson).
Gemma Arterton is the titular Alice Creed, who is kidnapped by two goons (Martin Compston and Eddie Marsan). It seems like a standard kidnapping film, except that it’s not. The Disappearance of Alice Creed is an intelligent film full of thrills, tension, and twists and turns. Shows that you can make a great film that doesn’t have to be lengthy (96 minutes) and has a limited set and budget (most of it takes place in a couple of rooms), as long as it has a good script, a good director and good actors.
This film might have gotten most of its press from the fact that Arterton gets her kit off but it’s definitely one of the better thrillers I’ve seen this year.
4 stars out of 5
Skrek Forever After (2010)
I liked the first Shrek and liked the second, and I can’t remember whether I saw the third (and don’t care). I kind of approached this fourth, and supposedly final film in the franchise with the same indifference — thinking that it would be pretty funny but wary because I was afraid they have milked the same jokes too far.
As it turned out, I was pleasantly surprised. In this one, Shrek, married with children, is bored with living ‘happily ever after’, and in a moment of weakness hastily signs a contract that turns his world upside down. By creating an alternate universe and a brand new villain (Rumpelstiltskin — played by Walt Dohrn), DreamWorks has reinvigorated an otherwise stale franchise. A lot of the jokes have been recycled, but there are some new ones to keep things fresh and funny. The magic and the excitement may no longer be there, but the laughs certainly are.
It may be because my expectations were relatively low, but I think this one was definitely better than the third film, whether or not I actually watched it.
3.5 stars out of 5
Get Him to the Greek (2010)
I’ve always thought any movie with a Judd Apatow connection has been overrated. Some of them may have been pretty good, or at least different to a lot of the same old crap we had been seeing over the last few years, but none of them have been, in my humble opinion, as great as they have been made out to be.
Get Him to the Greek is, and I don’t say this lightly, the WORST movie I have seen this year. Maybe not from a technical standpoint, but I truly loathed this film, to the point where I had to challenge myself to finish the damn thing. This is incredibly rare for me as I’m usually known to be quite generous when it comes to reviewing movies.
Where do I start with this crap? It’s a comedy-drama that is brutally unfunny for the vast majority of its 109 minute running time. I wasn’t even in a bad mood, so I can’t blame it on that. I actually thought Russell Brand’s character Aldous Snow was the highlight of the 2008 film Forgetting Sarah Marshall (from which this film spun off), but here he was just an annoying prick. And despite his girth, Jonah Hill, whom I’ve never been a big fan of, simply cannot carry the film as the protagonist. Maybe he tries too hard, but neither him nor Brand are likeable or sympathetic characters. And don’t even get me started on P Diddy, who received rave reviews for his performance as a foul mouthed record company head. His act got old on me real quick too. Only Rose Byrne’s character, Jackie Q, cracked me up a couple of times.
Am I being too harsh here? I dunno. All I do know is that I have rarely felt such passionate distaste for a film. If people being incredibly obnoxious and vulgar, constantly swearing (in an unfunny way), constantly vomiting and being obsessed with anuses is your idea of humour, then maybe you might like it better than I did. The randomness worked well in Sarah Marshall because Snow was a minor character, but here it felt contrived. I just didn’t get this one.
0.5 stars out of 5