Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Three New Reviews from Jason

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No need to mince words: "Running Scared" is one of the worst, most absurd and inept thrillers I've ever seen. Everything about it is bad, from the annoying, overly stylized editing (that would give Tony Scott a headache) to the idiotic plot twists, to the uniformly terrible performances (Paul Walker overacts so strenuously trying to be "tough" that I was afraid he was going to pop a blood vessel), to the laughable, sub-sub-sub Tarantino dialogue that tries to work "fuck" into every sentence so many times that it becomes unintentionally funny. But even all that fails to adequately describe the stupidity of this movie. By the time it pauses for a very long, utterly retarded sequence in which Walker's character's wife (Vera Farmiga) rescues a kid from the funhouse-like apartment of a husband/wife team of child pornographers and murderers that has absolutely not one thing to do with the rest of the movie, I could hardly believe a script this awful ever got produced. I guess that's Hollywood for you.

This largely entertaining feel-good film is based on the true story of New Zealand resident Bert Munro (Anthony Hopkins), who incredibly set the land-speed world record back in 1967 at the Bonneville Salt Flats on an Indian motorcycle he'd been re-tooling for years using mainly household appliances. The film is charming and fun during his long boat and road trip from New Zealand to the Salt Flats - strangely, it's when he reaches his destination that the pace slows (taking the film to an overlong 127 minutes) and the corniness of the film becomes a bit too much. Still worth seeing for its sheer likeability and for Hopkins' exuberant and cheerful performance, one of his best in a while.

The animation in "Doogal" is absolutely gorgeous. The colors are bright and the landscapes are lush and look truly three-dimensional. It's also got a surprisingly good score. So it's a shame that in every other department it's such an uninspired bore. The script is an endless series of bad puns and mostly witless references to other movies - literally, almost every single line is something like "Zeb's dead, baby. Zeb's dead". And that's one of the better ones.

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