telling minor stories to avoid a major one

Netflix Roundup: September 08 by Barbecue Bros
October 1, 2008, 12:54 pm
Filed under: movies, Netflix

September was really the month of the 6/10 movies for me. A few indie highlights among some very mediocre fare (some of it was known going in though).

Dan in Real Life (2007) – 8/10
You know, this film really got a bad rap because of Evan Almighty. And unfairly, too since I think its a really quality film. Steve Carell mostly escapes the trap of Michael Scott mugging and plays a very understated titular role. Juliette Binoche, Dianne Wiest, John Mahoney and Allison Pill were great. And Dane Cook wasn’t awful. A really solid second directorial effort from Peter Hedges (Pieces of April) and a director that I am anxious to see what comes next.

The Grand (2007) – 6/10
Kind of a cool concept: take a bunch of improvisational actors (including Cherly Hines, David Cross, Dennis Farina, Woody Harrelson, Werner Herzog, Chris Parnell and a ton more) and have them play a real poker tournament to see who actually wins and let that dictate the plot. The concept works better in theory than in execution here. The characters are too broadly played, the parody of the poker world wasn’t as biting as it could have been and the movie overall just wasn’t that funny for a comedy.

Spider-Man 3 (2007) – 6/10
I’ve just never been a big fan of the Spider-Man movies (except for a good portion of 2), and this is no exception. I don’t really like Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst, especially when they are the centerpiece of your movies. Any future sequels will be a definite “wait to rent” for me. 

National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007) – 6/10
I’m kind of a sucker for how the first movie wove the history of the U.S. into a big adventure tale. This one is more of the same, with the addition of Helen Mirren and Ed Harris to the cast. And Dianne Kruger is hot.

The Promotion (2008) – 8/10
I was intrigued because Slashfilm was a big proponent of this film, so I added it to the top of my queue once it was released on DVD. It’s more or less typical small indie fare, this time telling the tale of two assistant managers at an Albertson’s grocery store in Chicago vying for a job to be manager of a new store. John C. Reilly is great as ever, and this is the best role in which I’ve ever seen Sean William Scott. Jenna Fischer, Lili Taylor and Fred Armisen round out the cast nicely.

21 (2008) – 6/10
Formulaic but mostly fun. The movie even had me rooting against Kevin Spacey’s character towards the end, so it must have worked on some levels for me. However, MOAR ASIANS PLZ.

Currently have out:
88 Minutes (2008) – Can’t wait to see how awful it is
Smart People (2008) – Have heard bad things, but am interested
Undertow (2004) – Pineapple Express had me wanting to see another David Gordon Green film (yes, I understand there is a huge difference between the two)


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