Archive for August, 2008

Sydney White
24 August, 2008

Sydney White is a modern take on Snow White and works well in the going-to-college genre.

Amanda Bynes plays the titular character who goes off to college. She attempts to join the most popular sorority but her superior character and working class origin get her tossed out, only to land with the other outcasts. Bynes brings the same joie de vivre and light-hearted comedy that she brought to What a Girl Wants and She’s the Man. The plot follows the classic formula but the actors make it enjoyable. (Also, despite the impossible virus infection, it features a delightful amount of Apple product placement.)

Anyone who liked Revenge of the Nerds or Legally Blonde will probably like Sydney White.

Enchanted
24 August, 2008

Enchanted continues the long tradition of Disney films. In a clever twist, this one combines some cel animation with live action, including the requisite fairy tales and musical numbers remain.

Amy Adams is perfect as Giselle, the fairy tale princess-to-be. She is both pretty and dulcet-toned enough to be a princess and plays the role with just the right amount of sweetness without becoming saccharine. Susan Sarandon, while having relatively few scenes, does an outstanding job as the antagonist. Patrick Dempsey, however, bumps me as the romantic lead. I think someone like Hugh Grant or Tom Cavanaugh would have been better cast in the role.

Anyone who liked Beauty and the Beast will probably enjoy Enchanted.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2
24 August, 2008

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 does not live up to its predecessor.

I liked The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and am a big fan of Rory and Joan, so I went into this film with high expectations. Alas, this sequel just fell flat. It dragged and felt twice as long as its nominal two hours.

I recommend skipping this one, even as a rental.

Tropic Thunder
24 August, 2008

Tropic Thunder does for Nam films what Zoolander did for fashion.

Ben Stiller, who cowrote, directed, and acted in the film, surprised me with this movie. Given the hubbub around its use of “retard”, I expected something closer to Dumb & Dumber. Rather than insulting people with disabilities, that scene (and the whole film) really insults actors. Stiller is frighteningly ripped for the film, in keeping with his character’s attempts to emulate Rambo. Jack Black plays his role very well. But it is Robert Downey, Jr. who steals the show. His performance as the Oscar-winning method actor is incredible.

This movie is unexpectedly funny, especially for those who have seen a lot of 80s Nam films and who found Zoolander humorous.

A Run-By Rucking
19 August, 2008

As part of its Olympic coverage ESPN ran a piece about Cornelius Horan, the loon who ran Vanderlei de Lima off course during the 2004 Olympic marathon. In an interview Horan mentioned that de Lima was physically quite a bit smaller and had a look of terror when Horan rushed him.

Horan ought to pick on someone more his size. The Rugby World Cup is only three years away. I suspect that there are a few forwards that would be willing to discuss his interruption of sporting events.

Sometimes a Cigar Is just a Book
13 August, 2008

Some weeks ago, after having a nightmare, my oldest asked me if I had nightmares. In that conversation I mentioned that I could only remember one specific nightmare. I have recurring themes like the baddie that will not die no matter how many rounds I put in him but only one actual plot has returned. Even though I only had that dream twice, each time was traumatic enough for me to remember it.

I have a dream that recurs at least of couple of times per year. (It engenders not so much fright as anxiety, so perhaps it is better categorized as a nightpony.) There are two flavors of the dream. In the first I am searching some room at home and discover a stash of books I forgot I had. In the second I am browsing in a book store and notice interesting books (perhaps by some of my favorite authors) of which I’ve never heard.

In both cases the anxiety comes from my concern that the books somehow evaded my notice and may do so again. I wonder what it says about me that the most recurrent arc in my dreams is that I may have missed a good book.

Let’s Go with the Latter
6 August, 2008

I heard a radio advert for Diver’s Institute that had copy like “Are you the kind of person who wants to test their limits or have someone hold your hand and tell you everything will be all right?”. Presumably they are targeting a macho demographic. But I think they’d have more success with the latter, preferably buxom redheads. Just sayin’.