Assorted Movie Reviews

I had a lot of downtime during a recent trip for work and managed to squeeze in several movies. These were watched over the course of a 24-hour workday on a 12″ laptop with tinny speakers and often in 15-minute spurts, so my movie viewing experience may not have been the same had I watched them straight through while lounging on my couch.

Ray: Jamie Foxx was excellent and the music was lovely, but I don’t think this is one I would watch again. Most biopics, despite often revealing some less-than-complimentary traits, tend to ultimately show their subjects in a favorable light. I came away from this one wondering if Ray Charles really was as self-absorbed and uncaring as this film portrayed him.

Super Troopers: Screwball state troopers against grouchy local cops in the battle for jurisdiction. I’d been meaning to see this one for a long time. I was not disappointed. It had a lot of crude and physical humor, but it did not rely on the embarrassment of its characters for the joke (like, say, most Ben Stiller movies). It was more akin to the first Police Academy or Ghostbusters, except not remotely appropriate for children. Very funny. I’m definitely going to watch this one again.

I, Robot: Will Smith plays the same cop he’s played a hundred times, only this one is trying to figure out whether or not robots are killing people, thus breaking the Three Laws of Robotics. I read the book ages ago and my memory of it is quite vague, but I did not recognize any of this aside from a couple names and the Three Laws. And you know, that’s fine. The story was fun, I couldn’t predict the ending too far in advance, and the effects (especially the robots themselves) were awesome. There was one random bit that baffled me: why was Lake Michigan dried up? It didn’t seem to have anything to do with the plot. Maybe they just wanted to add something to the backdrop to further demonstrate that this was supposed to happen in the future – it was pretty neat-looking, after all.

King Arthur: I like interpretations of the Arthurian legend. As it is a legend (as opposed to a novel or well-documented historical event), I don’t believe there is one true version. So my complaints about this movie have nothing to do with its supposed deviation from the story of Arthur and his knights of the round table. Here Arthur is a Roman fighting the Saxons in Britain one last time before he and his knights get to go home. This film was slow and often confusing. People spoke like they were spouting poetry instead of dialogue (which is okay to a point but this killed the realism) and too many actions were completely unmotivated. For instance, Arthur finds Guinevere because he randomly decides to bust into a building on somebody else’s property. What? Oh well, if you like insanely long battle sequences, neat costumes, and pretty scenery, you’ll like this one.

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