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New and used DVD mini-reviews
This week's update By: doc     visit DWF

Buy it! Movies really sucked this year and damn few were worth either the hard-earned dollar a working man pays to see them, nor the valuable time you could be better utilizing surfing the web, viewing fine quality webpages like this one. Some of these reviews may seem a bit negative, but the scorn heaped on these multi-million dollar abominations is well-garnered. Read on and find out why.
Buy it!
Boat Trip (2002)
In his continuing quest to flush his career down the toilet (see "The Fighting Temptations") Cuba Gooding Jr. dishonors all Oscar winners with this unfunny and embarrassing tribute to homophobia. The plot centers on the fact he and his buddy are booked on a gay cruise, but here's the funny part, they aren't gay! Woohoo you can just imagine all the funny business that you can wring out of that goldmine scenario! Well, any retarded chimpanzee could have perhaps, but the lobotomized writers of this fine piece of entertainment didn't. It's worse than "Return to Gilligan's Island" with the Skipper and his "Little Buddy" bunking together.

Buy it!
Cheaper By the Dozen (2003)
I always had a problem with "Eight Is Enough" because I always considered it about "Six Too Many" but this movie out-sucks even that campy, unfunny, undramatic TV schlock-fest of multiple sibs and the zany hi-jinks that ensue in a birth-control challenged family unit. There's the obligatory scenes and subplots involving each of the little bastards, but most of them just aren't worth the trouble. At least seven of these kids could have endecd up on the cutting room floor with no appreciable loss of funny. Another thing, why do all these giant movie families exist in a universe where a gym coach not only can afford to raise 12 kids, but can buy a big house where they all can live? Hollywood screenwriters should visit the planet Earth now and then and get a grip on real-world finances.

Buy it!
Cold Mountain (2003)
This movie has "cheap pander for Oscar voters" written all over it. It's so true to the time-tested formula of past Oscar winners you can almost put an ingredients label on the side of the DVD box: Pathos, strong women characters struggling against adversity and 19th century hardship, uneducated and underprivileged hygiene challenged yokel who is wise in the ways of the wild, evil oppressive patriach, sensitive and hunky male love interest seperated from independent female so she can struggle against adversity and hardships. Its all here and in color! And in the great tradition of all Hollywood period costume dramas, no black characters at all, which is quite a feat seeing as it supposedly takes place during the Civil War. Bravo!.

Buy it!
Dumb and Dumberer (2003)
As if this movie didn't have enough wrong with it going in, add Cheri Oteri and Bob Saget to the mix. Instant torture fest for the eyes and ears. D&D has not one funny scene or joke. The extreme agony of sitting through this insulting, demeaning and soul-sucking experience is bad enough, but just as you think the suffering is over, they subject you to out-takes of even un-funnier fuckups. This movie is a good example of how little respect the studios have for audiences. The production is minimal, the writing atrocious, the acting amateurish, the only star is Eugene Levy picking up a paycheck. The cynical fucks who foist this crap on the public bank on a certain percentage of morons going to see it on the "strength" of the previous 2 stinkers. Hey, anyone stupid enough to see the second one would be dumb enough to go see the third, right? The title aptly describes anyone who shelled out cash for this bomb, and the friend they went with.

Buy it!
Finding Nemo (2003)
You got to love a movie for kids that teaches the valuable life lessons of Finding Nemo; your Mother and all your brothers and sisters could be brutally eaten alive at any moment, then the second you leave the safety of your home for your first day of school you'll be seperated from your remaining parent. Of course, in a Disney movie even 2 year olds realize there will be a happy ending. In real life they realize they will be found as well; their abused, naked, badly decomposing skeleton in a nice comfy shallow grave padded with moss courtesy of a paroled sex offender. Who wants popcorn? I'm headed to the snack bar!

Buy it!
Gerry (2002)
This is a movie about two egocentric, self-absorbed pricks walking around the woods ad-libbing pseudo-intellectual and average-guy inanities, knowing that a certain section of the movie-going public will pay to get in and sit through the worthless mess, and some will even react positively to the insult. Basically, its a documentary about just that. Prepare to take a nice nap if you aren't a Affleck and Damon obsessive. However, there seem to be enough of those to turn a nice profit for this waste of film-stock. Fortunately, just when you feel you can't stand anymore excitement, one of them murders the other for no discernable reason. Unfortunately, that leaves noone to murder the remaining asshole.

Buy it!
Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde (2003)
Directors and screenwriters with real talent, who have carefully honed their craft and work for years developing a project of depth and meaning with a grain of an original thought must want to eat their own spleen when they are confronted with movies like this, and topping the box office for weeks on end to boot. It has all the intelligence and entertainment value of a Tony Robbins infomercial, but that won't stop millions of bubble-headed bimbos from shelling out good money to be insulted by this pink plastic pukefest. Its tone is so upbeat and perky you could easily miss the offensive details: the moronic plot device utilizing gay dogs, the spectacle of a Senate aide addressing Congress about a piece of fluff legislation and getting a standing O, and finally the line from the bowels of screenwriter hell that must have Ben Hecht whirling in his grave like a frog in a blender: "We never thought one person could make a difference before you came along." That line alone should damn the makers of this movie to the fiery bowels of perdition for all time.

rBuy it!
Lord of the Rings : Return of the King (2003)
Peter Jackson's command of special effects, combined with a budget increased by a factor or infinity, has risen significantly since his schlock-horror classics Dead Alive and Bad Taste. However, his command of dialogue, directing actors, creating scenarios, framing scenes, pacing, scene transitions, timing and style have deteriorated badly since he had a kid with a fake baby zombie head run across a playground in an half-assed approximation of the animatronic zombie baby. The kids standing in for the hobbits bear an eerie resemblance to that zombie baby stand-in. State of the art cgi combined with high-school drama class live action and emoting make this third installment a real chore to sit through. My ass was so numb it must have thought I had torn off my own legs and hurled them at the screen in an effort to get Frodo and his boyfriend Sam up the fucking mountain. Never has a cast so heavy with legit respected Shakespearean actors hammed it up so badly. Well, not since The Two Towers, anyway.

Buy it!
Love Actually (2003)
Director Richard Curtis spewed a huge amount of smiley-face romantic sewage with Andy MacDowell and Hugh Grant in Four Weddings and a Funeral. Imagine all that love and touchy-feelie posturing multiplied by 4! This film tells the inspiring message that no matter how fucked up you are, someone is out there to love your worthless ass. Well sure, if you got the $20, hookers ain't picky. The low-point of this already below sea level smarmy excuse for a chick-flick is Billy Bob Thornton as the President. I thought we just got rid of an ignorant, boorish and loudmouthed sexist hick last election?

Buy it!
Master and Commander (2003)
From the trailers and hype surrounding this movie, you'd think it was an action packed epic along the lines of Gladiator, with its macho-man papparazzi puncher Russell Crowe leaping about in a swashbuckling manner while firing cannons aft and furling the mains'ls port. You'd be wrong. However, if you enjoy violin and cello duets and long discussions about the male mystique, this is right up your alley. It seems to be more a study of male bonding during those long, long voyages far from feminine company. You make the connection.

Buy it!
Matrix Reloaded (2003)
In the ratio of pre-release hype to entertainment value of the final product sweepstakes, this movie has to rank as one of the all-time winners, approximating the ratio of the total mass of the known universe to a grain of sand. The best description of this movie I ever heard was "delivers enough second-rate humanistic philosophy to make you wonder whether Gandhi's secret dream might have been to dance around in slow motion and pump bullets into everything that moved." I can't add anything to that.

Buy it!
Matrix Revolutions (2003)
The big question was, after the cartoonish over the top action of 100,000 Agent Smiths in Matrix II, how in the world would the very fat and rich Wachowski Bros top it?!?! The answer is, with a long-winded, incomprehensible, convoluted and illogical denouement delivered in the lamest way possible- a guy sits there and just tell it to the star! No action needed! The action sequences they did bother to include might have been outtakes or even actual footage from the first 2 movies, I only saw them once apiece so its highly possible. They sure looked the same. This trend of pre-planned trilogies would have to be rethought if the moronic herds didn't schlep to these abominations religiously like lemmings over the cliff. After you have their money, its too late, and the completist mania demands they buy all 3 DVDs, then a few months later the Collector's Editions with self-congratulatory commentary, behind the scenes horseplay, illusion destroying 'how they done it' featurettes and all the other indespensible extras you've come to know and love here in the DVD age. All over a film that isn't worth one-frame of the artistry in classics like Good Fellas that don't even include a trailer. Pure. Marketing. Genius.

Buy it!
Peter Pan (2003)
This movie coming out at the same time as all the publicity surrounding Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch brings up some interesting parallels. An androgenous pale fairy-boy dances and sings while leading a gang of Lost Boys in over-night sleep-over shenanigans, all the while ignoring the fangirls slavering for his dick. Meanwhile, evil District Attorney Capt. Hook locks Peter in the "Shitter of Death" for 45 minutes, taunting him about the stench. Luckily, Peter's rotting nose-holes are immune to all odors and he escapes with the aid of some pixie dust and a 3 million dollar bail. I don't want to give away the ending but it involves Mark Garagos suing for damages over Tinkerbell's resemblence to Billy Jean. "Billy Jean is not my lover, the kid is not my son and visa versa!"

Buy it!
Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
Johnny Depp's channelling of Keith Moon's drunken junkie persona would have the geriatric rocker spinning in his grave if he ever realized he's actually been clinically dead since the 70's. Depp adds just a fine touch of fey foppishness to create a truly irritating and obnoxious character to offset Orlando Bloom's colorless, bland and forgetable non-character. All this and Disney cartoonish special effects, happy monsters, sexless romance and bloodless violence too. Enjoy with a Coke and a smile.

Buy it!
Runaway Jury (2003)
There are a finite number or realistic and rational scenarios any one person can come up within the realm of courtroom dramas, and Grisham seems to have reached that limit few books ago. The plot of this movie is so far-fetched it makes Being John Malkovich look like documentary. This movie is less plausible than more reality TV shows, and that's saying something. Of course all the baddies are Right Wing gun nuts and all the honest do-gooders are leftist, liberal trial lawyers. This movie alone should get John Edwards elected president, if I remember my high-school civics lessons correctly. Of course I was smoking a LOT of pot back then. This movie had me reassessing the pros and cons of taking up glue sniffing again.

Buy it!
School of Rock (2003)
As much as I like Jack Black, this movie did not entertain me in any way, shape or form. I actually felt bad for the guy. Jack, if you needed the money, why didn't you come to me? The problem many original, over the top talents fall into involve a director who writes and direst a 'vehicle' for them to show-case their unique, over the top talent. Robin Williams, Jim Carrey and many other comedic actors have taken this route and made a caricature of themselves in the process. The problem is, a unique talent, in a vacuum, has no resonance. This movie sounds like Black is making up his own lines and making up his own funny business and schtick right there on the set. This rarely results in an entertaining outcome. The seemingly effortless work he did in Hi Fidelity and in his Tenacious D project was carefully honed and thought out, and based on ensemble work with other writers, actors and directors. This movie however, is Jack Black Un-leashed, free to explore the un-funny excesses fo that persona he created. Too bad, because I really do like and respect the guy. This movie is a failure on all levels. I hope he learns from it.

Buy it!
Stuck On You (2003)
There is no way a movie with the scenario the vastly over-rated Farrelly brothers have cooked up could ever be funny. It would make a nice between commercials time waster on SNL, but it might not have the legs to last even that long. To guarantee it would suck they hired Matt Damon, who has never been funny, and Greg Kinnear, who has only been funny as the foil for Jack Nicholson's venom. Any movie based on such a thin premise could only be green-lighted if a movie studd like Damon threw his clout behind it. BTW, haven't we had enough movies about Hollywood with cameos from stars and LA and Hollywood landmarks and all that crap that movie industry types are obessed wtih but that the real world could give a flying fuck at a rolling donut about? Apparently not. After spending the huge amount of creative energy it took to shit out the first part of this turd, the Farrelly's ran out of fiber for an actual ending. The movie sort of tapers off like it was nipped off by a particularly well-toned sphincter. Voila, another film triumph is created, warm and steaming for your viewing pleasure.

Buy it!
Underworld (2003)
Expect a lot of rip-offs of the Matrix the same way you can bet there's going to be a plethora of wizards, dwarves and ring movies popping up in the next few years. Unfortunately they won't all have the budget of their blockbuster predecessors: Underworld doesn't seem to have been afforded the money for a decent transformation scene when people turn into werewolves, so they came up with a neat bit of movie trickery to get around it: Don't show the transformations! This movie reminds me of a supernatural West Side Story with Vampires as the Jets and Werewolves as the Sharks. Kate Beckensale does all her own singing in the role of "Maria". Stunning dancing/fighting choreographed by Jerome Kern. "When your a Lycan, you're a Lycan all the way, from your first mutilated corpse to your last Lycan day!"

Buy it!
Gigli (2003)
This movie has already been so widely panned anything you say is redundant now. The dialog sucks, the plot is ridiculous, derivative of other caper movies (in the worst way possible) and the acting is lame and hammy. It may be the director's fault, or maybe the 2 headed Bennifer beast is now too big to take direction, especially in this vanity vehicle. The two stars seem to be hateful, self-absorbed super-egos so deluded by their own publicity and cortege of flunkies and sycophants they were blind to the fact this movie sucks ass in every detail and every line. Not one scene is entertaining or without an uncomfortable dialogue sequence. You want to cringe for the actors that they had to deliver some of these lines. The lost tragedy here is that Martin Brest made some good movies in the past, and his career is probably wrecked. I don't think he can blame anyone but himself on this one, because he also wrote this mess. Its so bad it casts doubts on the validity of his past stuff.
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