Saturday, January 21, 2006

Short attention span theater

I've been stumbling through bits and pieces of movies lately, and while none is worthy of a full recap, it doesn't hurt to share a few quick thoughts.

In other words, I'm feeling lazy today. Sue me.

Decent, barely: "Love Actually"
We actually own this because it's a classic "Wife Will Watch Anytime" movie. Alas, that doesn't keep her from flipping to it when it's on HBO, and I've seen a few different parts in recent days. While this tale of a bunch of people in London during the holidays is watchable, it's a little too sprawling and silly in parts, and would be better with one or two fewer storylines and less schmaltz. Even so, most of the performances are pleasant, from Hugh Grant as the Prime Minister to Thomas Sangster as a lovesick kid to Bill Nighy as a washed-up rock singer hoping for one more Christmas-themed hit. He's actually the best, for this line alone: "Hiya kids. Here is an important message from your Uncle Bill. Don't buy drugs. ... Become a pop star, and they give you them for free!"

This gets funnier with each tabloid headline: "Mr. and Mrs. Smith"
You may recall my review from a while back. While I saw it in the theater, My Eternal Beloved didn't, and I suspect all the Brangelina stuff piqued her curiosity. I watched only to the point where the married assassins made up with each other and went after the real bad guys, because the story kind of loses some steam from that point on. Still, even if Pitt and Jolie aren't extending themselves as actors, they seem to be having fun, especially Pitt, who usually is enjoyable as a smart-ass. And a little bang-bang action -- guns, people -- is never a bad thing. Not a great movie, but not horrible, either.

Better latke than never: "Crossing Delancey"
I really didn't watch this as much as catch a scene or two in between Scrabble plays. That's right, it was a hot time at the ol' house that night ... some Scrabble and an '80s romantic comedy (I guess). This is another favorite of The Light of My Life, who shelled out big bucks to buy a couple of VHS copies off eBay -- one for her and one for her Jewish friend who lives in Manhattan, near the setting of this movie. Best I can tell, Amy Irving is a single Jewish woman who can't decide if she likes a guy (Peter Riegert) she was set up with by a marriage broker. I'm sure there's more to it, but the important thing here is that I won the Scrabble game. Yeah!

Wait a minute ... Drew Barrymore wasn't available?: "Poison Ivy: The New Seduction"
And now for a movie most definitely not selected by my wife. Some people are just now discovering Jaime Pressly as the hilarious ex-wife of Jason Lee's title character in "My Name is Earl." She really is a scream and still pretty hot in a white trash way. But some us first met Jaime through a straight-to-video sequel to "Poison Ivy," Drew Barrymore's comeback movie. While Drew moved on to "Charlie's Angels" and other middling fare, intrepid directors kept the "Poison Ivy" series going -- with Alyssa Milano as Lily in the first sequel, then Pressly as Violet in this movie. I first saw this back in my bachelor days, and when it was on one of the HBOs last week, I had to TiVo it. Sadly, I'm on a tight schedule these days, so I fast-forwarded to the parts where Pressly gets naked. Fortunately, that a lot of scenes, bless her heart. If you have a little more time and no shame about seeking this kind of thing out, here is a great piece of late-night trash. I'm sure Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Winslet regret turning it down.


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