May 28, 2009

Night at the drive-in

The kids and I went to the drive-in this weekend. We go about once every summer, although with only one left in the area, I wonder if this might be the last year. I have mixed feelings about the loss of drive-ins. I have fond memories of going when I was a kid, but nostalgia is funny stuff. As an adult, I don't find the experience nearly as enjoyable. I forgot just how rude people can be in the open air, under the cover of night. To say nothing of the condition of the restrooms. But the kids enjoy going despite all that, so who am I to argue? The double bill this weekend consisted of NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: BATTLE OF THE SMITHSONIAN and X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE.

BATTLE OF THE SMITHSONIAN is heavy on the slapstick, much like it's predecessor, but with less plot getting in the way. Some of the gags go too long, which seems to be a Ben Stiller hallmark. The only female character of note is Amelia Earhart. She's a sassy, adventure-loving woman of action. The Roaring Twenties slang gets old pretty fast, but it's hard not to like Amy Adams. Hank Azaria's lispy pharaoh, on the other hand, never found the right balance for me. It wasn't a great movie, but it might inspire more trips to the museum, which isn't all bad.
Final grade: C

WOLVERINE is a jumbled mess. It feels like a story written by committee. It's one thing to break with the comic book canon, but this movie doesn't even fall in line with the previous three X-Men movies. Not even special effects could save this flaming heap. Many of the action sequences inspire guffaws instead of awe. Liev Schreiber and Hugh Jackman do their best to inject some depth into their characters, but they are stuck playing in the shallow end of the pool.
Final grade: D

Click here for my guest review of Katie MacAlister's Crouching Vampire, Hidden Fang at Katiebabs' blog.

May 8, 2009

Star Trek

There is only one thing I wanted from this movie. I wanted it to not suck. Given that it is an odd numbered movie, there was already a high probability of sucktitude. There is so much canon and iconicity working against a Star Trek prequel, it was almost guarenteed to fail.

Before I continue with the review, I have a confession: I have been in love with Spock since I was nine years old. I grew up back in the stone ages of television when there were only three stations on the VHF dial, TVs had actual dials, and afternoon programming was filled with afterschool specials and syndicated reruns. I didn't always understand the double entendres or the socio-political messages but I understood one very important thing. No matter how much the show might try to convince us otherwise, Spock was the man who broke all the pretty girls' hearts. And I can report, with great fangirl squee, that the makers of this movie totally get that.

I can't lie. This is not a perfect movie. Some of the characters lack depth. There are plot holes. Sometimes they over-play their hand. But there were so many things they got right that I don't care about the flaws. It was exactly the movie I needed it to be. As soon as it was over, my husband and I wanted to see it again. Even more impressive, the movie was able to keep Buttercup and Beanpole engaged throughout. They spent the ride home quoting Scotty and Bones, which was hilarious.

I'm going to wrap things up here to avoid spoiling any of the plot, details, or surprises. This is a movie I will buy on DVD the day it becomes available.

Final grade: A