Movie Reviews: Monsters, Nazis, and WeedJanuary 24th, 2009 by Michael Kwan
Quarantine looked like it had a lot of promise. When I first saw the trailers for this horror movie, I actually thought it could be pretty good. A group of seemingly random people get confined inside a building, because there is apparently some kind of unknown threat that authorities don’t want to see get out. We see the fear in their eyes and some rabid beast lurking in the shadows.
The story was a little slow to start, but with the first attack inside the apartment building, I thought that I would be in for quite the ride. Unfortunately, things didn’t really go as planned. While Quarantine, a remake of an earlier horror movie based on the same concept, does have some chilling moments, the overall action leaves quite a bit to be desired. It’s not as enthralling as 30 Days of Night and it doesn’t have the same incredible cringe-factor as you’d get from The Exorcist. Worse yet, the trailer pretty much gives away the ending, ruining half of the point of a scary movie in the first place. Talk about spoiler.
Valkyrie presents a fascinating story about a group of Nazis who attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler, offering all sorts of potential for being an utterly fantastic movie. For some reason or another, I have a fascination with Nazi movies, whether they take place during World War II (Schindler’s List) or in the modern era (American History X). For this reason, I got pretty excited about watching this unique perspective, reminding us that not all Germans were alike during the reign of Hitler.
Tom Cruise leads the charge, but if you do head out to watch Valkyrie, don’t expect much in terms of action. This is more of a thriller/drama and the bulk of the film covers the planning of the assassination attempt. Unfortunately, the characters are all cardboard cutouts. Tom Cruise can be good and Kenneth Branagh can be stellar, but there was something lacking here. The concept was a good one, but the execution just wasn’t there. If they were going to minimize the actual action, they should have spent more time with proper character development. That said, the guy who plays Hitler is pretty entertaining in a strange kind of way.
Pineapple Express is easily one of the strangest films of 2008, being the first stoner action movie that I have ever seen. There are stoner movies and then there are action movies, but we thought that never the twain shall meet. Well, they did meet and it was a lot better than expected. Following the pedigree of other Judd Apatow movies, I guess I should have expected some good laughs. Seth Rogen and James Franco really deliver as a pothead and his dealer, getting mixed up in affairs that are way over their heads.
Some of the laughs are easily on the lighter and cheaper side of things, like the fight scene with Danny McBride’s character (shown above), but that’s part of what gives this film its charm. These are just regular guys, one of whom happens to witness a murder, and they get caught up in some great coincidental action. Their ineptitude and uselessness will leave you in stitches… even if you’re not high while watching this movie.
Filed under Arts and Entertainment.