Rich Knight
Former Contributor

WRITTEN BY Rich Knight

Hesher

You know what I hate? Movies that could have been great but aren’t. Hesher is one of those films. Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a head-banging squatter who ditches his digs and moves in with a family that doesn’t want him? Hey, that sounds pretty good, man. I could dig that. Or so I thought. The problem is that the family he decides to shack up with has a doped-up patriarch (Rainn Wilson) and a son who can’t stop screaming and crying. If this sounds more like a drama than a comedy, then you’re right, it is. In fact, I think the key to enjoying Hesher is to not think of it as a comedy (not even a black comedy). Because it’s not. Not in the slightest.

Bridesmaids [Blu-Ray]

Was Bridesmaids the funniest movie of the summer? Negatory. I’m going to have to give that award to Horrible Bosses. But Bridesmaids is still a thoroughly funny and enjoyable film. My only complaint -- not enough Tim Heidecker.

Priest [Blu-ray]

If you saw the trailer for Priest a few months back, it’s probably no big surprise when I tell you that it’s not a great movie. But here’s what might surprise you: It’s not a bad movie, either. In fact, I actually thought it was a little too short, and that’s saying something. I seriously wanted more.

Dylan Dog: Dead of Night [Blu-Ray]

Dylan Dog is a very sneaky picture on multiple levels. One way it’s sneaky, is that it’s a detective story, and there’s a whole lotta sneaking going on here. And another way it’s sneaky, is that it’s a third-rate, straight-to-DVD piece of garbage that managed to sneak its way into the theater, which is most impressive in that regard. Most impressive, indeed.

Rango [Blu-Ray]

Rango, unbelievably, is a true, blue Western with all the tropes and quirks of the genre. So, how this was made into a movie (and a kids' one at that) is beyond me. But I’m glad it was, because Rango is a whole lot of fun.

Season of the Witch [Blu-Ray]

Oh, Nic Cage, Nic Cage, Nic Cage. I don’t even know where to begin with you. As a fan of you and not your general body of work, what can I say to a movie like Season of the Witch, where I barely even remember that you’re even in it, even though you’re the star of the film? I don’t know, man, I don’t know.

Scream of the Banshee

I could call Scream of the Banshee awful -- it is, after all -- but I won’t. That would be too easy. It’s an “After Dark Original” movie and it was co-produced by the Syfy channel, so really, calling it crap would be like picking on a cripple. And who wants to do that? So, what IS good about it then? Well, it made me laugh. That’s good for something, right?

Elektra Luxx

You want to know a good movie about porn? Boogie Nights. Everything about that film just makes me want to buy a flashy shirt, pull down my dungarees, and get into the industry, shaking what my mama GAVE me. But you want to know a shitty movie about porn? Elektra Luxx. Everything that’s great about Boogie Nights is absent in this film. It’s not even really about porn, even. What a tease!

The Island [Blu-Ray]

Mr. Michael Bay and I have a pretty lopsided relationship. One minute, I want to embrace the man tenderly and whisper in his ear, “Well done, sir, well done,” when he makes movies like Bad Boys and The Rock. And the next, I hope he gets run over by Optimus Prime.

Biutiful

Inarritu’s 21 Grams and Babel were way too long. His latest film, Biutiful, is also too long, but at least it only follows one character so it’s easier to digest. I wouldn’t say that it’s as good as Babel, it’s just a little easier to follow. There’s still way too much going on, though, and it’s also way too depressing for its own good.

Drive Angry [Blu-Ray]

Drive Angry sucks because it’s not consistent with its excessiveness. Early on, the film gets it right by having Cage wearing sunglasses and delivering lines like, “Hell’s already walking the Earth,” before he blows up a car for no apparent reason. That’s cool! It’s also cool when he bangs some waitress while smoking a cigar. Vintage badass right there. But you know what? After those two scenes, it gets all talky and boring.

Blue Valentine [Blu-ray]

Blue Valentine is a movie you have to see twice to fully appreciate. The nuanced performances by Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, which earned her a Best Actress nomination, I might add, are great, of course. But they’re all the better when you watch it a second time and realize that half the time, they weren’t even really acting at all. Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams were in love.

The Manchurian Candidate [Blu-ray]

The original Manchurian Candidate, in hindsight, is actually a semi-prescient movie, what with the assassination of John F. Kennedy a year after its release. It’s also a masterful picture that deserves to be seen by anybody who loves cinema in general. That said, skip the 2004 remake and stick with this one. Oh, and Frank Sinatra really can act. But he can’t do karate.

A.I.: Artificial Intelligence [Blu-Ray]

2001’s A.I. is a beautiful film…by Steven Spielberg. Whether it would have turned out as beautiful if it had been directed by Stanley Kubrick, as was originally planned, is questionable. It probably would have been more cynical, like a cross between 2001: A Space Odyssey and Lolita, or something like that. Even so, what Steven Spielberg did with Kubrick’s vision is impressive, if a bit over the top and mawkish.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Somehow, I don’t know how, I’ve now seen all three of the Narnia movies without any real enthusiasm to see any of them. And while this third film in the series may not be as surprisingly entertaining as the first movie, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, it’s definitely better than the atrocious sequel, Prince Caspian.

The Fighter [Blu-Ray]

You can take your King’s Speech, your Social Network, and your Black Swan and go put them in a drawer somewhere. They were all phenomenal films, don’t get me wrong, but for me, The Fighter was the best picture of last year, hands down. No other film evoked the same kind of emotions in me that The Fighter did, and for that, I find it superior to all the rest of the films that were heavily lauded last year. I even liked it better than the original Rocky.

The Next Three Days

The Next Three Days should have at least had the success of an action-packed Liam Neeson movie (more on him below). The action is sturdy, the suspense is taut, and the overall story is ridiculous, but fun. So what happened? Well, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part One is what happened. Both movies were released on the same weekend, meaning a lot of people might not have seen this excellent thriller back when it came out. Hopefully, now that it’s out on DVD, it will get the recognition that it deserves.

For Colored Girls

Tyler Perry’s best moments are when he’s dressed up as a woman and mispronouncing words like “Hellejujer.” The problem is, he’s not content on making movies that are just about Madea. So, what happens when you give Tyler Perry the right to make a film adaptation of the stage play, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf?

Faster

What happened to you, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson? You were supposed to be the next big action star, man. You were supposed to be the next Ah-nold. But instead, you made vapid, uninspired movies like Race to Witch Mountain, The Tooth Fairy, and shudder The Scorpion King. How could you let your fans down like that? But hey, what’s this? You have a new, action-packed thrill ride of a movie with you holding a gun and looking all menacing on the cover?

Hatchet II

The original Hatchet was fun. Was it the worthy successor to Halloween and Friday the 13th like it was being presented? No. Not even close. There’s just something about Victor Crowley that’s not as iconic as Michael Meyers or Jason Voorhees to me. But still, it was fun, and Hatchet II is a worthy sequel that’s even more gruesome than the original.

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