Thursday, September 15, 2005

I'm back, baby!: A buffet of recaps

That's right, kids. Uncle Jeff is back in the ... what's the word I'm looking for? Ah, yes ... hizzouse. Did you miss me? If it's any consolation, I had a great vacation, and I got some great video of a monkey's balls. (No joke. National Geographic's got nothing on me.)

Since a few movies had stacked up before I went jet-setting, it's time for a few mini-recaps. Don't worry ... we'll get the fully-leaded versions going shortly.

SLAY THIS, BUFFY: "The Grudge"
Really had no interest when this came out last year, but the trailer was creepy enough that I caught it on HBO. Turns out that trailer was dead-on: This is one creepy movie. Basic story is an American girl stumbling into a Tokyo house with one bad history. Definitely some "boo" moments, but overall it's just one of those weird Japanese-flavored films with bizarre, unsettling images, i.e. "The Ring." I'm sure the original Japanese version is far superior -- it usually is -- and this wasn't any great shakes. But the scenes and overall mood were curious and oddball enough to keep me watching, even if Sarah Michelle Gellar doesn't wear anything particularly revealing, much less make out with another girl. Ripoff.

YOU SUCK, AND YOUR EYEBROWS DO, TOO: "At Home at the End of the World"
I really don't know how this ended up in our Netflix queue, but I'm thisclose to writing a letter of complaint. Sure, I technically may have put it in there, but shouldn't there be some kind of warning when a movie sucks so bad? Best I can tell, the missus wanted to see this because it was written by the guy who wrote "The Hours," which me and the fellas always like to watch after cracking open a few beers. Anyway, we're treated to a story of two misfit friends who are sort of gay and drift to and from each other over the course of several years, albeit rather unconvincingly. All you need to know is that Colin Farrell is the biggest name, and he sucks more than usual. I would have rather gargled a box of thumbtacks.

File this under "Obligation Movie," but fortunately it's pretty good. Yes, there are subtitles. Yes, there's a lot of talking, meaning there's a lot of reading. But the story of a guy paralyzed from the neck down who just wants to "die with dignity" is actually somewhat uplifting. The vast majority of Americans still have no idea who Javier Bardem is, but he's incredible playing a fiftysomething guy fighting for his right to die after being paralyzed almost 30 years earlier. No question the (true) story is slow to get going, but for being focused on a guy who spends most of the movie lying in bed, it moves along nicely. Genuine emotion, some humor and a thought-provoking premise ... not a bad formula. Then again, the director, Alejandro AmenĂ¡bar, is only a year older than me and also has done "The Others" and the original "Open Your Eyes" (before it was bastardized as "Vanilla Sky"). So clearly I must hate him.


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