AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004)
The Alien franchise is full of scares, a sense of dread, and lots of R-rated violence. The lesser Predator franchise is full of new and interesting weapons that do lots of R-rated violence. Alien vs. Predator is full of uninteresting characters, silly ideas, and a distinct lack of R-rated violence. What's so important about the R-rated violence? It's an in-your-face demonstration of how powerful and dangerous the Aliens and Predators are. Tame the violence, tame the monster. And then there is an imprisoned Alien queen and a Predator that has to get assistance from a human that further serve to defang the monsters. And what's with all these Aliens being on earth to begin with? One of the major issues of all four Alien films is "We can't let this thing get to earth. Ever." But apparently they were here all along. Yet all the damage this movie does to its parent franchises could be overlooked if it was any good. Unfortunately, the characters are little more than cardboard cutouts, spending most of their time running around a pyramid so full of perils and booby traps that it never achieves even a modicum of believability. And what’s with the pyramid? Apparently, thousands of years ago the Predators came to earth and taught ancient civilizations how to build pyramids because there is no way humans could have figured out how to build something as massive as the pyramids with stone age technology. What a dim view of human ingenuity.
Monsters vs Aliens (2009)
Dreamworks is getting better. This film is quite entertaining, features amusing characters and some interesting locations, and never really devolves into the strings of references that plague earlier Dreamworks efforts. There isn't a whole lot that's truly memorable in the film but it is quite fun while it lasts.
Iron Man 2 (2010)
While it lacks some of the heart from the first one, Iron Man 2 is still a rip-roaring ride with lots of cool visuals and a still electric Robert Downey Jr. in the title role.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1982)
The Tim Burton film, while beautiful, is grim, grim, grim. This filmed stage production starring Angela Lansbury is far more entertaining. It is still grim, but the grimness is balanced out by a heavy dose of dark humor. Seeing the stage production made me understand why someone would want to make a movie out of it.
For Your Consideration (2006)
This indictment of Hollywood’s tendency to do almost anything for an award would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.
Coming up next: a Leonardo DiCaprio double feature.