Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Movie Rentals, Week of 8/2/04

The theme of this weeks rentals is recent comedies. Here is what I watched:

STARSKEY & HUTCH (2003). Finally, after a month of geeky preparation by watching season one of the old T.V. series, I watch the Ben Stiller/Owen Wilson flick. What a letdown. The movie is somewhat cute, but it just seems like a series of gags other than having some sort of plot. I like Stiller and Wilson, and they make the movie viewable, but Snoop Dogg steals the show as Huggy Bear. Both the original Starskey & Hutch actors make a cameo, and my god, David Soul is unrecognizable! Time has not been kind to his fair-haired features. And where, pray tell, was Antonio Fargas? If you want cheesy fun, I would stick to the original series—and lord help me, they just releases season two on DVD.

BUBBA HO-TEP (2003). This tiny-budget independent film has one of the most wacked-out premises ever. An ageing (and very much alive) Elvis Presley and an elderly black man who thinks he’s President John F. Kennedy, battle a soul-sucking mummy that is plaguing their East Texas retirement home. This film defies definition. It is ostensibly a horror picture, yet has a lot of comedic moments and is packed full of poignancy and heart. This rare combination is what makes it so great. Bubba Ho-Tep is not a silly movie by any means—it is one of the most original, well-made films I have seen in a long time. With cult film-icon Bruce Campbell as Elvis and legendary Ossie Davis as a would-be JFK.

SCHOOL OF ROCK (2003). This cute movie stars Jack Black as a down and out musician who shapes up a group of ten year-old prep school students into a formidable rock ‘n’ roll band. This movie is predictable, but I don’t necessarily mean that as a bad thing: you know the hard-nosed school principal will melt, you know the uptight parents will loosen up, you know the savvy kids will triumph at the end of the day. The performances of Black and the kids raise the film above the level of banal. This is cinematic comfort food, and who doesn’t need that every once in a while?

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