Reviews in a line or two: the final edition

As you all probably know by now since I’ve switched to a new format of post-’70 reviews, these little “Reviews in a line or two” posts are no more. The following are all of the reviews from the series that were never published. (Please excuse slight changes in format throughout the post; these were copied & pasted from the drafted “three films per installment” posts.)

(Image: Movie Man's Guide)
(Image: Movie Man’s Guide)

The Tigger Movie (2000)
Dir: Jun Falkenstein
Voiced by Jim Cummings, Nikita Hopkins, John Fiedler, etc.
I have some serious nostalgic love for Winnie the Pooh, and as a kid Tigger was my favorite character… so you can imagine how excited I was when I discovered that this was available on Netflix. It’s a super cute film with a lovely message of friendship, and I enjoyed every minute of it.
The score: 4/5

(Image: Chomikuj)
(Image: Chomikuj)

The Surrogacy Trap (2013)
Dir: Adrian Wills
Starring: Mia Kirshner, David Julian Hirsh and TV Cher Horowitz (Rachel Blanchard)
Lifetime seems to be stepping up its game with their “LOOK AT THESE INSANE PEOPLE DOING INSANE THINGS” breed of film lately. I was whole-heartedly expecting a total cheesefest out of this but it had a little bit of real suspense going on (if you could get past how incredibly stupid Kirshner and Hirsh’s characters were). Rachel Blanchard does a great job of making her character seem like a true maniac, though she gives the type of exaggerated performance one would expect from a Lifetime movie.
Corny Cliff Scale score: 4/5

(Image: aceshowbiz)
(Image: aceshowbiz)

From Prada to Nada (2011)
Dir: Angel Gracia
Starring: Camilla Belle and Alexa Vega
This preview was on the DVD for Girl in Progress, which I enjoyed. And based on that trailer, this looked a lot better than you’d expect from the corny title. On the plus side, it’s more than a bland romantic comedy. The characters tackle financial crisis, career aspirations, family values and cultural appreciation in addition to their romances. I also think they did a pretty good job of modernizing “Sense and Sensibility,” though in some ways they obviously relied on the earlier film more than Austen’s novel. On the negative, I had trouble caring about any of the main characters. Belle and Vega are both generally believable in their roles, but I found it hard to become invested in their journeys. Oddly enough, “Sense and Sensibility” is one of my favorite Austen novels. Maybe it was the obnoxious Katy Perry song in the opening that killed any potential for emotional investment.
The score: 2.8/5

(Image: Unpaid Film Critic)
(Image: Unpaid Film Critic)

Phyllis and Harold (2008)
Dir: Cindy Kleine
This documentary follows Cindy Kleine as she spends twelve years investigating her parents’ 59 year marriage, uncovering the secrets of Phyllis and Harold Kleine. She interviews them about how they met, how they fell in love, and what their lives have been like. Intermixed with the interviews are old photos and video clips of the couple, as well as clips of them reading their old love letters to each other. Some of the footage comes from a 1998 short film that Cindy made about her parents, but with her father’s death she feels free to include more detail and family drama. This is a pretty fascinating film and obviously a very personal project for Kleine, who ends up telling a bit of her own life story in addition to that of her parents.
The score: 4/5

(Image: tumblr)
(Image: tumblr)

Talhotblond (2012)
dir. Courteney Cox; teleplay by Trent Haaga
starring Garret Dillahunt and Laura San Giacomo
I love a good Lifetime cheesefest and knowing the history behind the case that this film is based on, I knew this would be the perfect shade of horrible-brilliant. It definitely delivers the cheese. Garret Dillahunt gives what may be my favorite terrible LMN performance of the year. Corny Cliff Scale Score: 3/5

(Image: themoviedb)
(Image: themoviedb)

The Gods Must Be Crazy (1980)
directed and written by Jamie Uys
starring N!xau, Marius Weyers and Sandra Prinsloo
I loved this film in terms of the use of slapstick and the commentary on “civilization”/consumerism, but I didn’t love the fact that it centers partially around a caricature of a Kalahari bushman. It’s definitely an interesting watch. I can’t give it a score because I feel conflicted, haha.

(Image: Sidewalk Soundtracks)
(Image: Sidewalk Soundtracks)

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains (1982)
directed by Lou Adler and written by Nancy Dowd
starring Diane Lane
I think the best word that can be used to describe this film is “amusing.” Or better yet, two words, “mildly amusing.” I like Diane Lane’s performance – she’s very convincing as a smarmy teen who wants so desperately to be cool and tough – but the movie as a whole didn’t win me over completely. The score: 2.5/5

(Image: Collider)
(Image: Collider)

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 (2012)
dir. Bill Condon; screenplay by Melissa Rosenberg
starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and a creepy CGI kid

This is the best (read as: most hilariously bad) film in the entire Twilight series. I had the pleasure of seeing it at a surprisingly full matinee showing during which my fellow movie-goers yelled at the screen (“RIP HIS HEAD OFF!”), threw popcorn and gasped as though it was the most shocking film they’d ever seen. The movie is no masterpiece, but the theater experience sure was a fun one. Corny Cliff Scale Score: 4.5/5

(Image: Amazon)
(Image: Amazon)

Mamma Mia! (2008)
dir. Phyllida Lloyd; screenplay by Catherine Johnson
starring Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Amanda Seyfried

This one was pretty much exactly like I expected it to be. It wasn’t great, and I’m not a huge fan of Amanda Seyfried so I had trouble getting into the story. It does have a few moments very worthy of watching, though. The score: 2/5

(Image: All Movie Photo)
(Image: All Movie Photo)

The Switch (2010)
dir. Josh Gordon and Will Speck; screenplay by Allan Loeb
starring Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman
The Switch was better than I expected it to be (because I was getting it confused with the movie where Jason Bateman and a younger actor switch places), but it was still pretty much a dud. As an avid fan of Arrested Development I love Jason Bateman, but he couldn’t save the film for me. The score: 1.5/5

(Image: csmonitor)

Waiting for Forever (2010)
IMDb synopsis: “A Hollywood-set romantic tale of a guy who is content to live his life without a job yet with the love of his life, a young actress.”
Dir. James Keach; Written by Steve Adams
Starring Rachel Bilson and Tom Sturridge
Netflix recommended this to me after I watched Keith, so I had mildly good expectations for it. Unfortunately, it didn’t reach those expectations. Bilson gives a solid performance and handles her character’s emotions well, but the film didn’t grab me like I hoped it would. The score: 2/5

(Screen capture by TMP)

Bachelor Man (2003)
IMDb’s synopsis of this is long, so here’s mine: A normal guy who usually has a lot of luck with the ladies gets thrown off of his game when his dream girl moves in next door.
Dir. John Putch; Written by Rodney Conover, Jeffrey Hause and David Hines
Starring David Deluise and Missi Pyle
This is a good early Millennium corny rom-com that smartly decides not to take itself seriously… at all. David Deluise and Missi Pyle are both under-appreciated actors and they (Pyle in particular) are great here in the lead roles. It was a bit more raunchy than I expected, which was mildly disturbing because I’m used to seeing Deluise as the dad on Wizards of Waverly Place, but overall it’s an enjoyable comedy. The score: 3.8/5

(Image: Movies Illustrated)

Rock Slyde (2009)
IMDb synopsis: “A down and out private detective engages in a turf war with a upstart quasi-religious cult.”
Directed and written by Chris Dowling
Starring Patrick Warburton and Andy Dick
Part religious satire, part straight comedy and part parody of classic detective films, Rock Slyde is somewhat successful in bringing the laughs but often feels like it’s trying too hard. I had very high expectations for it (especially from the beautifully designed poster, which definitely gives a nod to detective greats – see above), and it didn’t meet them but I wasn’t terribly disappointed either. The score: 2.8/5

Charlie Bartlett (Anton Yelchin) is a rich kid and awful student who beings doling out psychiatric advice and prescriptions to his fellow students. (Image via All Movie Photo)

Charlie Bartlett (2007)
dir. Jon Poll; written by Gustin Nash
starring Anthon Yelchin, Robert Downey Jr. and Kat Dennings
Robert Downey Jr. gives the best performance of this predictable, lackluster romantic comedy/drama. Anton Yelchin has trouble carrying the film, because he seems like he’s trying too hard (and the script has the same problem). The score: 0.5/5

Will Bella choose the controlling vampire or the obsessive, jealous werewolf has her long-term beau? Will she even survive to make the decision, with a gang of vampires ready to kill her? (Image via All Movie Photo)

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010)
dir. David Slade; written for the screen by Melissa Rosenberg, based on the novel by Stephenie Meyer
starring K-Stew, R-Pattz and Taylor Lautner
(Yes, I have watched these out of order.) This installment in the Twilight saga succeeds in being so much more ridiculous than the rest, especially in terms of dialogue, that it kind of won me over. It’s definitely worth watching for a laugh. The serious score: 0.5/5; Corny Cliff Scale score: 4/5

Pothead Cooper (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) and former A-student Josh (Tom Everett Scott) search for a suicidal roommate, in hopes that the school will take pity on them and give them automatic 4.0 GPAs. (Image via Education Database Online Blog)

Dead Man on Campus (1998)
dir. Alan Cohn; written for the screen by Michael Traegar and Mike White
starring Tom Everett Scott and Mark-Paul Gosselaar
This dark comedy features a ’90s power cast and a pretty funny script. It was a whole lot better than I expected it to be, though it doesn’t quite meet the potential of its morbidly humorous premise. The score: 3.5/5

Mena Suvari stars as an anti-domestic violence blogger who becomes the target of a vicious stalker. (Image: IMDb)

No Surrender (2011, Lifetime)
dir. Tristan Dubois; written by Mike Ades and Scott Abramovitch
starring Mena Suvari, Stephanie Bauder and Serge Houde
This is a pretty typical TV movie in the sense that it tries to tackle a big issue (in this case, domestic violence) but is completely unsuccessful because the script and performances are so ding-dang cheesy. Everything is so awkward and stiff that the film’s message is forgotten amidst all of the unintended laughs from the audience. The score: 2/5

(Image: New Video)

Eminem AKA (2004)
dir. Mike Corbera; written by Mike Corbera and Rick Underhill
When I lived in Kentucky during middle school, Eminem was the big thing in music, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t use the fact that he was a fellow Detroiter to my social advantage. (“Oh yeah, we run into him everywhere when we go back to Michigan!”) This was an interesting watch for nostalgic purposes. The score: 3/5

Brittany Murphy stars as a girl who falls for a grave-digger after her fiance commits suicide. (Image: Cinema Paradiso)

Zack and Reba (1998)
dir. Nicole Bettauer; written by Jay Stapleton
starring Brittany Murphy, Thomas Jane, Sean Patrick Flanery and Debbie Reynolds
Equal parts dark comedy and quirky romance, Zack and Reba is a very interesting watch. Brittany Murphy carries it very well in her leading role as one of the title characters and many of the film’s laughs are successful. It won’t appeal to everyone, but it works for fans of offbeat, slightly morbid humor. The score: 3.8/5

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5 thoughts on “Reviews in a line or two: the final edition

  1. Are you making this the final edition of this feature simply because you know I haven’t seen ONE of the films listed above? Don’t be angry! I’ll order The Tigger Movie from Amazon right now!

    Like

    1. Yes, Todd, you know I always schedule my blog posts with your viewing history in mind. :P I actually just got tired of pushing them all back in favor of other (cooler) posts and wanted to get them all out of the way in one shot.

      Like

    1. She is only able to smile when being arm-wrestled by men three times her size. She considers it a special talent. :P

      Phyllis and Harold was very good. I can never keep straight who has Netflix and who doesn’t, but if you do it’s available for streaming on there!

      Like

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