Paul’s DVD Reviews: Escape from Reality TV

Cleaner (2007)

I didn’t know this was a straight-to-DVD release until after I’d watched it. Might that have influenced my decision to rent it? Probably, so I’m glad I didn’t know, because I really enjoyed the movie. Great cast, interesting story. Okay, maybe not the most brilliant movie, but if TV was this good I’d be home every night!

Outsourced (2006)

What a sweet movie! It may not make you think very hard, but it will make you smile. After some of the gloomy movies Donna and I have watched recently, this was just what we needed to cheer us up.

WALL-E (2008)

I ordered this on Blue-Ray to watch while my grandchildren were here last Thanksgiving. I was surprised, when the movie was first released, to hear that conservative & religious groups were up in arms over the film’s trashing of the planet/decline of humanity message. What, a Disney movie with a social message? So I had to watch it. A great film for kids; a good film to show a friend you’re trying to introduce to sci-fi. But it’s no 2001, or even a Contact.

Transsiberian (2008)

Good but not great. You can’t go too far wrong with Woody Harrelson and Ben Kingsley, but the script is predictable: you see the plot twists coming a long way ahead. And it starts slow, real slow.

Jesse Stone: Death in Paradise (2006)

The Jesse Stone series (four movies to date with a fifth coming in March ’09) is rock solid, as is Tom Selleck in the lead role. He really does fit the part; you’d think the original books were written with him in mind. After four, though, the formula begins to intrude on one’s enjoyment: there’s always a gangster to be killed, some sort of domestic violence case for him to get involved in; his ever-present struggles with women and scotch, and, as my wife observed, isn’t it kind of creepy that he always gets involved in the life of a teen-aged girl, never a boy? Yeah, all that, but these are still great movies, and I can’t wait for installment # 5.

Lone Star (1996)

Was 1996 that long ago? Lone Star seems old-fashioned, but in a good old-fashioned way: it tells a fascinating story clearly. The set-ups to the 1950s flashbacks seemed mechanical, but that was my only gripe. I loved it. I loved seeing Frances McDormand in what I thought was a very early role, but in fact Fargo was filmed that same year. Question: why was this movie rated R? Yes, there was some violence, some non-graphic sex, some swearing . . . but nothing I haven’t seen in hundreds of PG-13 rated movies. Was it race-mixing? Have our values changed that much in 13 years?

Monster (2003)

If you’ve been reading my reviews, you know I normally avoid movies with dark and depressing subjects, but this one was fascinating and in an odd way a pleasure to watch. Charlize Theron does an incredible turn as an uneducated alcoholic prostitute; Christina Ricci is equally good as her young lover. The story’s true (well, mostly true); the sex and violence not overly graphic; the acting memorable . . . now I want to read the book.

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© 2009 – 2011, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.


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