Sep 23, 2008

Austin at The Movies

Or, Austin and Tracie renting a lot of movies.

As you may know, Tracie and I still don't have cable, or any TV. This doesn't mean we necessarily watch the tube less, we are just able to choose what we watch, sometimes to our detriment.

Last week and this week we've rented a lot of movies, and not from McNeil video, (shocking, I know) but from Hollywood video. With our UVU Starving Student card, we get movies for free, and 2 of those on the list we had a raincheck for, so we actually only paid for 3 of these. Anyhoo,
Here are my reviews of what we watched, in case you're curious as to what to watch or not watch next. Listed in order of when we watched them.

Cocktail: We watched some of this at the gym and it made us want to see the rest of it. For those of you who don't know, it's an 80's movie where Tom Cruise wants to live the 80's American Yuppie dream, but learns more about life from a wise Australian bartender and becomes a successful bartender. His life is shattered when said Australian bartender steals the love of Tom Cruise's life, a hideous Gina Gershon, so bartender Cruise moves to Jamaica, where all bartenders run to when their mentor betrays them. In Jamaica, bartender Cruise meets girl next door Elizabeth Shue, they fall in love, but he instead goes after gross rich socialite sugar mama. Tom Cruise's early choice in the ladies is not the best. Long story short, he mends his ways, Australian mentor kills himself, and world-wise bartender Tom Cruise opens his own bar with hopes to again live the American Yuppie Dream, with Elizabeth Shue by his side. 2 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Penelope: Christina Ricci stars in this wonderful modern fairy tale with perpetually weird-looking leading man James McAvoy. She's an heiress who's been cursed with the nose of a pig until one of her own accepts her for who she is. In short, I loved it. In long, it could have been longer, it seemed overly clipped and cut, Reese Witherspoon pops into the movie and pops out just as abruptly, Christina Ricci's pig nose is much more cute than horrifying, but the show is stolen by (as always) Catherine O'Hara as the well-intentioned but judgemental mother of cursed Penelope. But, brilliant or at least very good performances all around. Of all the movies we watched, this one had my favorite ending. I recommend it. 4 out of 5 stars.

The Invasion: This was the one I was least interested in seeing, as I'm not one for sci-fi thrillers. That being said, I really liked this newest update of Invasion of The Body Snatchers. Nicole Kidman is fantastic as always, Daniel Craig makes a better Bond than scientist/Nicole Kidman love interest, but I was impressed with the fear and terror in the movie without it being gross, gory, or over the top. Very well done. 3 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Baby Mama: This was the movie I wanted to see the most. When we first went to Hollywood video, this wasn't available so we got a rain check for it. For those of you who don't know the premise, I'll tell you: Tina Fey is a successful business woman hungry for a baby, Amy Poehler is (to put it nicely) a crude, immature white trash woman with a fertile uterus for hire. I think they both are two of the funniest women (or just people) making movies right now, so I was preparing for a laugh out loud fun fest. What I got was a movie I really enjoyed, a lot less formulaic than I expected, as well as a lot more heart. My main criticisms for this movie were it was too short, I wanted to see more from these characters, and my other criticism is the writing was a bit weak, it had one of the most talented casts I've seen in a long while (besides Fey and Poehler, it had Sigourney Weaver, Steve Martin, Greg Kinnear and others) and it didn't seem to worry enough of getting the most out of the cast. All in all, a really good movie even with less effort. 3 out of 5 stars.

Be Kind Rewind: What the heck were they thinking? Man this was lousy. I was willing to forgive the far-fetched premise (Jack Black's brain becomes magnetized in a freak power-plant sabotaging mishap, and then erases all the videos in his friends store, so they go about remaking all the movies) just so I could watch Jack Black do his thing. What I got was annoying, overly-sentimental drivel. Too much plot, too much drama, especially for such a ridiculous idea. Even the funny parts, very few and far between, couldn't make up for the overall stink of this movie. 1 out of 5 stars.

Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day: I wasn't planning on getting this. When we tried to rent Baby Mama, they gave us a rain check for this by accident. I corrected them, but they let us keep this one. Man, am I glad they did. I really really liked this movie. Frances McDormand of Fargo fame is Miss Pettigrew, a governess who is hired as a social secretary by flapper Amy Adams. Both learn life lessons from the other and have a lot of fun in the process, letting the audience have fun as well. 5 out of 5 stars.

The Jane Austen Book Club: Best for last. I picked this up on a whim as I remember Tracie saying she wanted to see it. We watched this last night and I absolutely, unreservedly loved it. A+ cast, characters, plot, dialogue, story, everything. Though it certainly classifies as a "chick flick" it didn't resort to a big, sappy, teary ending, but was enjoyable the whole way through. 5 out of 5 stars. And one extra for the heck of it.

Those are our movies, I'm going back tonight to return the last 4, anyone seen anything lately that you'd recommend?


JanB said...

No, I haven't.
But thank you for the suggestions of those last two. I'll have to check them out.

Heidi Ferguson said...

Thats funny that you guys did this because Aaron and I also did this recently. We rented: The Pick-Up Artist (80's movie with Robert Downy and was absolutely horrid, didn't even finish it) Joe vs. the Volcano (another 80's, I'd never seen it and it was pretty good), Miss Pettigrew lives for a day (it was surprisingly good, right? Although Amy Adams was annoying at first) and No Reservations (which I liked because there was good chemistry.) The beauty thing about opening a new Hollywood account is that the first month everything is half priced...otherwise it's overpriced I think.

Charity said...

I loved Penelope! Such an awesome movie. I was just telling my sister about it yesterday. And I think I must be the only one who thinks James McAvoy is cute. Weird. But yeah, I really want to see Ms. Pettigrew too. :)Thanks for the movie reviews.

Amanda said...

fun to read your reviews... i'll have to check out all those movies... i've seen Baby Mama... but the others look great too...

lynette said...

this is good to know. i'm going to go rent a few of these right now on iTunes!

Heather said...

Thank you for the movie reviews. I was wondering just what to rent at Blockbuster.

The family did see Penelope on DVD from Blockbuster, and I loved the film. I thought that James McAvoy was really cute, and did a good job in the movie. I loved that his character thought that Penelope was beautiful in the very beginning, (then the camera snaps) (He is also in the Patriot, and in Hocus Pocus)

As for the last two movies, would have never bothered to see them. Now with your review, I would be sure to check them out.

Charity said...

HEY! I just stumbled into your blog! How cool is that?

Charlo said...

baby mamma disappointed me. It had so much more potential. It wasn't horrible, just not at it's best.

Penelope was pretty good, I agree. Not a 5, but still enjoyable. I was a bit shocked by it's "dark moment" in an otherwise innocent movie... evil as it may be, it would have been interesting if it was darker... but not as kid friendly.

Austin said...

if i'm thinking of the same "dark moment" you're thinking of, i thought it was kinda funny. :)