August 17, 2007, - 1:33 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
There are so many new releases out this week, but the only one I really liked was “The Invasion.” “Superbad” was depraved, but hilarious. Here are my reviews:
* “The Invasion“: This remake of the original “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” also bears resemblance to “Night of the Living Dead.” I liked it a lot and recommend it for non-stop action, creepiness, and everything you’d want in a thriller.
In place of the original’s male Dr. Bennell, Nicole Kidman plays the modern, female version–a divorced psychiatrist. She begins to notice weird behavior among her patients and her ex-husband, who suddenly has an interest in their son. She notes that people have a lack of emotion in their eyes. She and her fellow doctor friend, dashingly played in this movie by James Bond’s Daniel Craig, discover a weird virus from outer space that mutates and causes humans to become zombies who try to infect the rest of the human race.
Together with Craig, they try to save her son from her ex-husband and the rest of the zombies.
While I found the film exciting and filled with edge-of-your-seat, non-stop action (car chases, staving off the infected zombies, etc.), I had a few reservations. Nicole Kidman speaking in a feigned American accent with exaggerated “R”s, is always a little weird and hard to believe. A little bit of cognitive dissonance comes with her ever spoken line. Sticking with her authentic Australian accent wouldn’t have affected the movie and would have made her more credible.
Did not like the single-mother-as-hero bit, with every man in the movie–even the dashing doctor played by Craig–ultimately being unreliable, creepy, and worse. We get enough of that message from a daily dose of “Oprah.”
While there is a fantastic conversational scene at an Embassy dinner party, I could have done without the political statements made by a Russian diplomat, who asks Kidman’s psychiatrist character,
As an American, how do you explain Darfur, Iraq, New Orleans? Give me a pill to see the world as you Americans see it.
HUH? America didn’t cause what’s going on in Darfur. That’s Muslim Arabs, comrade. New Orleans? G-d and the weather caused that, NOT Americans. Iraq? Are you forgetting how “peaceful” it was there for Iraqis under Saddam Hussein. Puh-leeze.
He goes on to say that it’s impossible to have a peaceful world because that’s not human. In later scenes, when the viral zombies take over and there is no emotion, we see newscasts of peace breaking out all over. “President Al-Sadr” is a “peaceful development”?! On which planet?
As my friend, Detroit Free Press film critic, Terry Lawson, points out, “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” on which this one is based, was a clarion call against the spread of Communism. I like that message better, and today, they could have made it about Islam. **** UPDATE: I stand corrected (or Terry does). Read reader Red Ryder’s comment on “Body Snatchers” (in the comments section below). ****
Still, overall, I really liked and enjoyed the movie, for the thrills and the overall entertainment value. I’ve learned that with Hollywood, you can’t have everything. And with this one, the negatives are minor and far outweighed by the complete package.
* “Superbad“: More like, Superwarped. Boys will be pigs. That’s the theme of this one.
I have mixed feelings about the movie. The only thing supergood about it is the soundtrack. While I cannot really recommend it because of its extreme depravity and disgusting themes and antics, I must admit I found it extremely hilarious and laughed non-stop. Very difficult not to.
Still, it’s movies like this and the callous “do anything to get laid” teenage attitude on-screen that sends awful messages to America’s boys as they attain manhood. It puts added pressure on them to grow up earlier and earlier and help further decay America’s broken moral culture. Blame Hollywood for making my saying so prompt accusations of prudishness, rather than looking beyond the comedy to the disturbing mantra of this movie. In short, while funny, it’s low class.
The plot: A day–and night–long odyssey featuring two best friends and their nerdy sidekick. All three are virgin geeks who dream up the idea to buy alcohol and get their female friends drunk so they can have sex with them that night at a party. The movie follows their journey–full of twists and turns and two crazy police oficers–to get alcohol at a party store and at a random party. Probably the funniest gag in the movie is uber-nerd Fogell’s fake Hawaiian driver’s license with the one word name “McLovin.” Not a spoiler, since it’s in the movie’s trailer ads on TV.
Yes, I laughed, but again only while being embarrassed for laughing . . . and a little nervous, too. Sometimes what’s funny is kind of sick. And there was a lot that was just flat-out sick and indecent in this movie. The guys who thought it up–actor Seth Rogen and his friend Evan Goldberg–were pretty warped to dream up some of the things they did. And the messages for American teens–most of whom aren’t old enough to get into this “R”-rated movie–are not good ones.
The friendship of the two main characters, the two best friends, is one of close comraderie and male soulmates. But that really isn’t enough to justify the depravity that goes along with it and for which the friendship back story was really developed only as an excuse for unlimited raunch.
As I said, I found the movie hilarious and sick at the same time. And I’m embarrassed to admit I found it funny. Definitely not for kids, and definitely not for parents accompany their kids.
Thank G-d most guys I know are not like the ones in this movie. G-d help us from those who are.
You’ve seen them before in “Porky’s,” “American Pie,” and now, this. And you neither want them to date your daughter . . . or turn out to be your own son.
* “Death at a Funeral“: The only funeral that should have taken place is the one at the the production and distribution houses that chose to put this movie out. Completely disgusting, stupid, and not funny, this funeral “comedy” merits skipping at all costs.
The plot: Two English brothers are putting on the funeral of their late father. A comedy of errors ensues, from the wrong body being delivered to a wheelchair bound great-uncle who has accidents with his catheter and flying fecal material and sewage. That’s funny? Not to me. Meanwhile, a cousin is about to announce her engagement to a man who mistakenly ingests drugs and goes into hallucinations. He gets naked and rants and raves at the funeral. Funny? Again, not. And finally, there’s the midget who threatens to show photos of their father and himself engaged in a homosexual love affair. Funny? Not on your life. And maybe that’s why a dead person is at the center of this lifeless, disgusting bore.
Avoid like the plague. Gives new significance to reasons why Americans hate arthouse movies.
* “Arctic Tale“: Environmentalist global warming tripe costumed in cute animal characters and their scary ends. Meant to traumatize your kids into believing. Read my complete review.
* “The Ten“: This movie is made up of ten vignettes that are supposed to remind us of The Ten Commandments. But instead it’s just a depraved display of the sickening and silly, perverting The Ten Commandments with their mention in this waste of time film. Jessica Alba and Paul Rudd are in this celluloid disaster.
Sorry, but neither repeated gay rape scenes of inmates in prison, nor Wynona Ryder having sex with a ventriloquists’ dummy, remind me of The Ten Commandments. Ditto for two neighbors competing to see who can buy the most MRI machines. Like I said, just stupid. And a waste of your life.
Tags: actor, Al-Sadr, America, Bennell, car chases, catheter, Daniel Craig, Darfur, Death at a Funeral, Debbie Schlussel There, Detroit Free Press, diplomat, divorced psychiatrist, Evan Goldberg, film critic, hallucinations, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Iraq, James Bond, Jessica Alba, McLovin, MRI, New Orleans, Nicole Kidman, Night of the Living Dead, Paul Rudd, President, psychiatrist, R, Seth Rogen, Superbad, Terry Lawson, The Invasion, The Ten, Wynona Ryder