In Good Company (2004)

Anyone who’s been a part of a corporate takeover or merger will know exactly what’s happening here – the office politics, the economics, and the games people play from inside their cubicles. Anyone familiar with a sales job, and the pressures of tight budgets will immediately sympathize with main characters who seem to have more invested in their day jobs than their own lives and families. And finally, there;s that last little target audience group for this movie – people who found romance in all the wrong places, but kept at it anyway.

This pretty much describes the movie – three plots, three philosophies intertwined between a young ambitious sales guy (a boy, really) played by Topher Grace, his cautious subordinate, who’s twice his age – Dennis Quaid, and a love interest – Scarlett Johansson – who’s smart enough to know she’s creating a terrible situation by dating her father’s younger boss – but inpulsive enough to take the plunge anyway.
Continue reading “In Good Company (2004)”

Ocean’s Twelve (2004)

That Danny Ocean (George Clooney). He’s smart enough to fool a ruthless casino owner Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia), but he cannot hide from him too long. So the gang is back, and with Terry on their tail, they have no choice but to get back to stealing expensive things in elaborate ways. The entire cast of Ocean’s Eleven is back (with a few new faces, and a couple of cameos) for another round of sassy, stylish heists. Check it out.

The first remake of this 60s Rat Pack classic (you know, the one older people remember, with Sammy David Jr, Dean Martin, and Frank Sinatra) was a pretty cool film. It came out of nowhere in 2001, a year that had its fill of capers – The Score, Heist come to mind. So when this star-studded remake, headlined by Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Julia Roberts came to theaters at the end of the year, people were skeptic. Surprisingly, the movie did well, despite being largely style over substance. A great soundtrack, an amazing cast that kept on adding the punchlines, and a decent plot that kept moving at a fast pace.

Continue reading “Ocean’s Twelve (2004)”

National Treasure (2004)

So I went to see National Treasure today. Why so late – two weeks after it opened? No, my decision had nothing to do with the fact the movie stayed on top of the box office for 2 straight weekends (and possibly will stick around a bit more). I really wanted to see this flick ever since I saw the trailer – which was very recently. In fact, if you think about it, the movie kinda crept under the radar, and boom – big promotion, talk shows, loud trailers, which is all very typical of Bruckheimer. And, before you turn your nose, please remember that while Jerry Bruckheimer has delivered us some stinkers, he’s also been involved with some great movies and TV shows, and I believe, Nicolas Cage has chosen very well this time.

National Treasure is being compared to Mummy and Indiana Jones. I like both franchises, and would feel very protective of anyone trying to cash in on them, or even worse, bring them down by creating an ugly sibling. I went into the theater expecting an admirable homage, but being very worried about a good thing that will any minute turn out boring and plain dumb. I was surprised. First of all – the movie is not like the two big franchises mentioned above. Maybe in spirit, but definitely not in execution. There are parallels, but they are so far away from the originals (and quite far from the last adventure genre fiasco – Tomb Raider), that you cannot think of the movie as homage. It has its own universe, its characters, and as you may have guessed it, an open ending that will result in a sequel.
Continue reading “National Treasure (2004)”

Everybody Loves Raymond – nobody loves his women

I am still seething from Monday’s episode. Yes, while the rest of the civilized world was watching NFL, and suddenly got a glimpse of women’s breasts (and while we’re on this topic – how long are we going to keep witnessing wardrobe malfunctions that are nothing but awkward ploys to promote shows?), I tuned in to CBS, and figured what could go wrong with a safe, family-friendly Listen Up, followed by Raymond, and finished off with creepy but sensitive Horatio and CSI: Miami? Well, if you’ve seen this week’s episode, you’ll agree that plenty wrong can be hidden in a seemingly politically correct show that tries very hard to offend only its cast members.

Yes, I’m talking about the “Boys’ Therapy” episode, a 23 minute romp that I almost turned off in the first 2 minutes when I heard the glee with which the women (Debra, Marie and Amy) uttered to word “therapy”and pounded it into the men (Ray, Frank, Robert). Yes, what better way to instill insecurity and inadequacy in your audience than by declaring that “therapy will solve all our (and YOUR) problems”? I actually expected to see flashing 1-800 numbers during the show to encourage people to “start dialing”, and put their lives in order. But that didn’t happen.
Continue reading “Everybody Loves Raymond – nobody loves his women”

The Triplets of Belleville (2003)

Here’s the best animated film of 2003, which wasn’t even noticed in theaters. Only after a few positive mentions at some film festival, this cartoon got its second life. Now it’s out on DVD, and I absolutely must have it.

What a joy it was coming out of a half-empty theater back in the winter of 2004. I just watched this unknown flick, co-produced by France, Belgium, Canada and UK (read: very small budget), and I wanted to sit down and watch its sequel, or prequel, or anything else with so much energy. I don’t know why Disney is preaching the death of 2D animation – with a bit of creativity even stick figures can be entertaining. Not so say this movie involves stick figures. Quite the opposite – it combines some 3D shots, some b/w animation, and a few tricks, but at its heart, it’s a good old hand-drawn animation.

Continue reading “The Triplets of Belleville (2003)”

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Jim Carrey in yet another serious role? Kirsten Dunst in a dramatic turn? A film with no specific narrative, and no standard timeline? You probably think that it’s one of those “art” movies that are going to go over your head, have all the critics salivate for a few months, get a few awards and be forgotten. You might be wrong.

What a movie! What a script! Regardless of how much money this flick will make at the box office, it’s one great achievement. And, to make things even more interesting, let me tell you right away, this is a very “accessible” movie. Not dumbed down, but rather, presented in such a way that you can view it as a love story, or as a study of human nature’s futility. The movie works on many levels, and you’re not required to “get” everything in order to come out of the theater feeling satisfied and entertained.
Continue reading “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)”

Miserable Sex and the City

OK, I admit it. I was one of those gals that went to a series-finale-of-Sex-and-the-City party. There were lots of single gals there, who loved the show. And we drank lots cosmopolitan martinis, tried to talk frankly about sex, and tried to wear the funkiest things we had in our closets. Needless to say, I really was looking forward to series finale of Sex and the City, and was really disappointed by the ending…

I was not disappointed because the series ended, but the way it ended. There was so little of the show I fell in love with on the screen that evening. And it was especially disappointing because just before the finale, we watched the interviews with the cast and the crew, and the clip job of past seasons. We were reminded why we all liked the show–all the outrageous conversations that the four women had, all the men that they had been with and then had to let go for various reasons, all those designer gowns…. There was so much build up, but it all went down the drain at the last episode unraveled.
Continue reading “Miserable Sex and the City”

Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason (2004)

If I could sum it up in one comment, I can say that it’s not a ‘reasonable’ movie. This sequel to the first Bridget Jones is, for the most part, a re-hash of the original Bridget formula but made to look different. Those who saw Bridget Jones’ Diary can easily spot the similarities between the two.

But there one major difference between the two, and it’s not positive for the second Bridget movie. The first movie showed Bridget as clumsy and accident-prone, but very intelligent too. That’s what made the character of Bridget engaging and, at the time, classify Bridget as ‘Everywoman’. In the second, Bridget is less intelligent and very ditzy in her thinking and talking. Very often she embarrasses herself and others. It’s like whoever did the script for the sequel didn’t take into account the intelligence of the first. I was very disappointed. Continue reading “Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason (2004)”