Our Idiot Brother (2011) – I enjoyed this film so much more than I expected to! The ensemble cast is great. Solid performances are given across the board, and Paul Rudd brings a surprising sympathetic nature to his character. I expected the film to be more of an over-the-top comedy than it is, in which case I wouldn’t have liked it as much. One of my biggest pet peeves is when a film tries too hard to be funny (but not hard enough to become a delightful cornballer). I was pleasantly surprised. It defied all of my negative expectations, and I really enjoyed watching it. The score: 4/5
Young Guns (1988) – Kind of an odd watch in that I don’t feel strongly about it one way or the other. The story is fine but I had a hard time buying most of the actors in their roles. I liked the mix of Western visuals with ’80s tunes though, haha. The score: 2.5/5
Riddick (2013) – I vaguely remember enjoying The Chronicles of Riddick way back when. I saw that one in a tiny old theater (it may have even been single-screen) while on a camping trip when I was 12 or 13. Haven’t seen it since, don’t remember much about it, which (in combination with the fact that I’ve never seen the first film) may have put a damper on my enjoyment of this one. I got very little enjoyment out of this film on any level and took great issue with the character of Dahl. I would have rather watched a feature-length version of the Riddick: A Man and His Computer-Animated MonsterDog tale that filled up a large chunk of the film early on, because then I would have at least appreciated its silliness. The score: 0/5
Blue Crush 2 (2011) – Surprisingly decent straight-to-video, in-name-only sequel to one of my favorite early millennium cornballers. The performances are a bit shaky and the soundtrack can be very obnoxious, but it’s an enjoyable watch overall. Blue Crush meets Crossroads meets “Friends don’t let friends poach elephant tusks” PSA. The score: 3/5
The Reinactors (2008) – This is an odd, funny and fascinating documentary about the people who dress in character and stand on Hollywood Boulevard, posing for pictures with tourists. It’s a fun watch, but take its portrayals of these people with a grain of salt, as they’ve been disputed by some of the subjects (see the IMDb boards for one rebuttal). Since I’m unsure of its accuracy I don’t want to score it, but it is an entertaining documentary.
How to Be a Serial Killer (2008) – I chose this on Netflix one day because I saw that it starred Matthew Gray Gubler, who I’ve enjoyed watching in other things (Criminal Minds, 500 Days of Summer). It’s a pretty successful dark comedy, though not the best I’ve seen. I love its semi-documentary/instructional video style, and the performances are pretty good all around. I enjoyed watching it. The score: 3.5/5
Young Adult (2011) – This exceeded my expectations by about three million miles. The preview never appealed to me and I’m not the biggest Diablo Cody fan, so I ignored all of the buzz about it until I got reeeeeally bored during an insomnia-fueled night spent browsing the web and ran across it on Netflix. I’m so glad I finally gave it a chance. Good story, very good performances, A+ soundtrack. I liked it a lot. The score: 4/5
Daydream Nation (2010) – Another one that exceeded my expectations, though not by quite as great a distance. I’ve liked Josh Lucas in everything I’ve seen him in, and he gives another very good performance here. I found Kat Dennings to be more tolerable than usual. I wouldn’t say I loved the film, but it succeeded in holding my attention and was decent for a random Netflix selection. The score: 2.5/5
A note from Lindsey: You may have noticed from my “new to me” list in the month’s wrap-up that I saw a few other modern films this month, including Don Jon and Simply Irresistible. Don Jon I will not be reviewing because four years of journalism courses taught me to avoid conflict of interest. I have been a member/contributor of JGL’s hitrecord.org since 2009. It is because of him that I have a single Hollywood film credit, on a documentary hitRECord put together for the Inception bonus features. While I don’t feel that this has in any way shaped my evaluation of the film, I believe in preserving my journalistic integrity, even if I’m just a blogger who no longer intends to work professionally in the field of journalism! Other films, like Simply Irresistible, will be getting full reviews of some form (period films, Classics of the Corn, etc.).