Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Did You Hear The Young, Crazy Superman in the Air got Tenure?

This is a double week of movie reviews, although it's about the same as some of my previous week's worth. It's a modest bunch of movie, none of which truly stand out, but since it was nominated for several awards (and I enjoyed it, along with the director's previous works), I selected "Up in the Air" as my pick of the week. "Tenure" was close, but I think I need to watch it again to see where I stand on it. I also don't think it would appeal to many. Next week's movies are quite the beast. I will finally watch and review "Avatar," which I will try to do as objectively as possible (I'll also pretend I'm watching it on a big 3-D screen for full effect). But, that's next week...here are this week's movies (Side-note: I really like my title this week):

*Up in the Air – (3 ½ Stars)
Up in the AirGeorge Clooney is Ryan Bingham, whose job it is to fire people when their own company doesn’t have the intestinal fortitude to do so. He spends his days literally up in the air flying from point to point on his seemingly cold-hearted endeavors. However, in an effort to save money, Ryan’s company takes the advice of its inexperienced recent hire (Anna Kendrick) and begins to implement a new means of firing people. Feeling his way of life being threatened, Ryan tries everything he can to stay in the air, which leads to Natalie (Kendrick) accompanying him on his journeys.

“Up in the Air” takes the viewer on a tough journey. Due to the nature of Ryan’s job, we are witness to a number of individuals at their lowest. But there are plenty of light moments to lift the mood as well as many funny moments. Ryan’s slow turn from the detached, disconnected (albeit charming) loner who spends most of his time on the road is engrossing and the interactions between Natalie and Ryan are often amusing and insightful.
(Netflix) (109 minutes – Rated R for Language and some sexual content – 2009)

Crazy on the OutsideCrazy on the Outside – (2 ½ Stars)
“Crazy on the Outside” finds Tommy (Tim Allen) released after a three year stint in jail. Fully intending to turn his life around and restart his father’s painting business, he runs into some snags in the form of his parole officer, a zany sister and his old partner in crime. Allen’s directorial debut is a well-meaning comedy with some funny moments, but it just doesn’t quite deliver what it could have.
 (Netflix) (96 minutes – Rated PG-13 for Sexual content and language – 2009)

The Young Victoria – (3 Stars)
The Young VictoriaVictoria (Emily Blunt) is the only heir to the throne of England. Unfortunately, nobody seems to really think she is fit for the job. “The Young Victoria” chronicles the early life of England’s longest serving monarch including her romance with her future husband, Prince Albert. The movie is a great looking period piece with pretty good acting all around. However, the directing leaves something to be desired. “…Victoria” shows signs of being an excellent movie and perhaps in the hands of a better director it would have been. But clunky cuts and strange transitions bring an otherwise entertaining movie down.
 (Netflix) (105 minutes – Rated PG for Some mild sensuality, a scene of violence, and brief incidental language and smoking – 2009)

“Did You Hear About The Morgans?” basically ended up being exactly as I had expected. Take two of the most annoying “romantic” leads in movies (Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker) and have the bicker and argue. Mix in a typical “witness protection” storyline that throws them into the middle of nowhere and you have the “big city/country” angle. There are some moments that are funny, and the movie does have a redeeming quality about it, but I just couldn’t get past most of everything else to really enjoy the movie.
 (Netflix) (103 minutes – Rated PG-13 for Some sexual references and momentary violence – 2009)

Tenure – (3 Stars)
Tenure“Tenure” stars Luke Wilson as college professor Charlie Thurber, who has never been able to gain tenure, despite being an intelligent and well-meaning guy. He seems to finally be on track to gain tenure at Gray University until a new Yale educated professor is hired into the department as direct competition. With his Bigfoot-obsessed colleague at his side (David Koechner), Charlie sets out to show that he has what it takes to earn tenure. “Tenure” is not as funny as it could have been (and this is its biggest drawback), but there are a lot of good moments throughout. Perhaps I enjoyed the movie more because I identified with Charlie’s plight, but I enjoyed tagging along on the journey.
(Netflix) (89 minutes – Rated R for Language, some sexuality and drug content – 2009)

What do you do if your arch-enemy becomes the President of the United States? Based on the graphic novel by Jeph Loeb of the same name, “Superman/Batman: Public Enemies” has DC’s greatest superheroes team up to stop Lex Luthor in his latest bid to take over the world. Or has he finally turned over a new leaf? As a comic, the story works a lot better. There are certain intangibles that just don’t translate from comic to screen and this is the case with “…Public Enemies.” The movie is good, the comic is better.
 (Netflix) (75 minutes – Rated PG-13 – 2009)

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