Monday, October 20, 2008

My 2008 Movie Odyssey - Part VIII

The Natural (1984)
This fantasy/love letter to baseball mostly works, with a wonderful performance by Robert Redford and a great score. However, too many plot points are either contrived or completely unexplained for it to get my ringing endorsement.

The Guns of Navarone (1961)
This film has a lot in common with The Dirty Dozen, featuring a ragtag group of soldiers who embark on a potentially futile mission during WWII. However, with the exception of David Niven’s eccentric explosives expert, none of the characters are particularly memorable. The climax is thrilling, but the plot meanders too much in the second act.

Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter (2001)
I’m not quite sure what I was expecting, but I was definitely not expecting an amateur production with unexciting slapstick fights, vampires preying on lesbians, Jesus joining forces with a Mexican wrestler, and the occasional musical number from out of the blue (one of which I am sure was inspired by "Every Sperm is Sacred" from The Meaning of Life). The production values are shoddy, the script is on par with your average student film, and overall the film is more dumb than sacrilegious (which says more about its intelligence than its theology).

The Great McGinty (1940)
I suppose it was groundbreaking in its time with its views on politics, but I didn’t find its social commentary particularly biting, and it was not nearly as funny as Preston Sturges’ other works. Overall it is a well made film, but disappointing when compared to the rest of the Sturges canon.

Hudson Hawk (1991)
I had heard conflicting opinions of this film: some have said it is a travesty against cinema (it did win the Razzie for worst picture) while others have said it is actually a good, fun movie. It has a couple interesting ideas (most notably using objects on site to facilitate the heists instead of having a backpack full of high tech gadgets) but is very silly (the bad guys are trying to reassemble a gold-making machine that Leonardo da Vinci invented and disassembled because it would mean the end of the world as we know it). It almost works as a parody of action films (akin to Last Action Hero) but is still fairly dumb and way over the top. Ultimately, if you are able to turn your mind off to the absurdities of the plot, you get a mostly enjoyable 100 minutes of forgettable entertainment. Think Van Helsing.

Coming up next: A couple rich spoiled brats who change after meeting a woman.

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