Friday, December 5, 2008

November Round-Up

I saw a few of movies in November, and I've been a slacker. I thought instead of writing a bunch of wordy reviews, I'd stick them all in one blog with a paragraph or so a piece. Think of it as economically-sound blogging.

A super-low budget indie based on a short film of the same name, Cashback may not have been the best movie of the month, but it had to be the most interesting. Art student Ben (Sean Biggerstaff) just broke up with his girlfriend. The breakup causes insomnia, and since he's getting no sleep anyway, Ben takes a night job at the local grocery. All of the workers find interesting ways to pass the time, but Ben's involves the manipulation of time so that he can pursue his art.

It's a strange surreal play on time that has a sweet romance dropped in. If you can deal with Ben undressing women for the sake of art, then I'd suggest giving this one a look.

The Promotion, on the other hand, I really did not enjoy. It has a few chuckles here and there, but interesting it is not. Sean William Scott plays Doug, an assistant manager at a Chicago supermarket. When a new store is opening in a better neighborhood, he applies to be the manager so he no longer has to work in the horrid conditions he endures currently. In comes Richard (John C. Reilly), a transfer from Canada who has more experience than Doug. The two are now in competition for the coveted position. At first, it's friendly, but things quickly get a little crazy, and Doug keeps finding himself in awkward situations. Think about all the horrible things that kept happening to Ben Stiller in Meet the Parents, and now think of them not being so funny. That's how I felt about The Promotion.

Chaos Theory is a very sweet, slightly wacky story about a man who goes from making lists for everything to embracing the chaos of the world. Ryan Reynolds is Frank Allen--a father, a husband, and an efficiency expert. While away on business, Frank gets a little wasted, takes a woman (Sarah Chalke) back to his room, and doesn't sleep with her. He leaves and ends up helping a pregnant woman get to the hospital. After some serious mistaken identity issues, Frank's wife (Emily Mortimer) thinks he's fathered some strange woman's child. All of a sudden, Frank goes from happy family man to crazy man who follows any and every whim--from picking a fight in a bar to streaking at a hockey game.

Reynolds has definitely found a good home for himself in the offbeat comedy world. If you end up liking this, I would suggest checking out Just Friends as well. It's a little more sophomoric, but it's hilarious and sweet.

And then there was Quantum of Solace. I do enjoy a good James Bond movie, and no matter what my friend and fellow critic Mike Mechanick says, I think this is a James Bond movie. No, Q is not in the movie. No, Daniel Craig never utters, "Bond, James Bond." But I don't care! There's slick action, a decent villain, two beautiful women (one happens to be a pretty tough cookie), and Dame Judi Dench is so great as M, she may have stolen some cool from Bond.

This was Bond's revenge film. In the first, he lost the love of his life, in this, his second love almost gets killed. It's not a movie about saving his country, it's a movie about saving his sanity. I thoroughly enjoyed it. And even if you don't think it's classic Bond, it's still one hell of an action movie.

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