Film ratings [13/14]

“Are you kidding me? RoboCop?!”
Anchorwoman

There is only one good scene in RoboCop 3; an anchorwoman recites the fabricated news that RoboCop has once again killed a lot of people. Then, in the best performance of the film, her face turns to puzzlement and, while standing up, she shouts to her colleague, “C’mon, this is bullshit! Are you buying this? Are you kidding me? RoboCop?!”, and she just walks away. Which is what everybody should do when trying to watch any of the RoboCop sequels.

I remember liking the sequels when I was little, but perhaps that was because everything looked cool and awesome back then with all the explosions and the melodrama. However, I’m amazed that Michael Bay didn’t direct both of these. Sure, both films do actually have more depth than any film Bay has ever made, but they abide by the same basic rule: explosions equal entertainment.

Mega, gigantic update this week because I love you all! … All right, I was behind two weeks with my film ratings, so this week I’m catching up, and boy, it’s a good one. Funny Girl, Departures, Kathy Griffin, the RoboCop sequels, Drew Barrymore, an amazingly-campy Taylor-Burton flick, and Studio Ghibli in one update. An explosion of awkward randomness, if you ask me. Ten above the legendary and distinguished line of cinematic greatness, ten below it. Because it’s too confusing (i.e. too tiring for yours truly) to discuss them all, here are my picks.

Funny Girl

Let’s be honest here, Barbra Streisand is one of my all-time idols, in music and film. So, anything I’m going to say regarding Funny Girl should be taken with a grain of salt.

I had heard of Funny Girl, knew that Barbra (we’re on a first name basis, Barbra and I) had won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in it, but silly me had never seen the musical. Now that I have, I can’t live without it, to be fair. The music is superb, the comedy is hilarious, the staged theatrical performances are fantastic, and every single scene stays with you for ever and ever. When you see the ending, Barbra as Fanny Brice singing “My Man” on an empty, blacked-out stage, with the intensity of love, sadness and perseverance, you can’t deny that this performance was above Academy Award worthy.

I thought Omar Sharif was a bit of a kink in the perfection cable, though. Yes, he’s a great actor, but for this role I didn’t quite understand why they picked him. He looks fatigued throughout the entire film, I don’t really get his sex appeal in this particular role and, still being honest, from time to time the chemistry between Barbra and Sharif (we had a falling out, Sharif and I, so no first names there) seems a bit out of place.

Nevertheless, it doesn’t matter. The overall quality of this musical film is excellent. The soundtrack will have you smiling from beginning to end, from “If a Girl Isn’t Pretty” till “My Man.”

Valkyrie

Strange isn’t it, that even Valkyrie had me smiling from beginning to end. Oh, not because of its subject matter. Though I feel a bit saturated by films about Nazi-Germany (I mean, enough is enough; perhaps it’s different for North-American audiences, but from first grade till university we’re pumped with Nazi history over here; I don’t need American films doing the same as well), if one is done right and with care, it can really impact a person. Schindler’s List definitely did and more recently, The Reader, though a bit more flawed, as well.

But United Artists’s big return to excellence, the majestical Valkyrie? Every Nazi is a stereotype in this film, there is no depth or complexity to any of the characters, and even though the Operation Valkyrie story could’ve been quite interesting, in this form it only bored. The message of the film was probably that these men were heroes, standing up to Hitler for the greater “good” of the nation and its citizens. And you know what? I could’ve got that message from a one-liner. Two hours of straining “acting” footage is a bit pointless then, not?

I don’t have to say anything about Tom Cruise’s performance, right? Right.

Step Up 2: The Streets

Now, this is a film Tom Cruise would’ve been perfect in. His mediocre acting would have looked Academy worthy compared to everybody in Step Up 2: The Streets, Touchstone Pictures’s attempt to show that it has definitely turned into a sequels-for-money label.

Yes, it’s all about the dancing in this film, I get that. It’s not called “Step Up” for no good reason. (Though you can have a whole discussion whether or not this is actual “dancing worthy of recognition and the title ‘dancing’.”) But when even the dancing bores you in a dance film, someone’s in trouble. Especially considering that these dance competitions that are staged in the film are supposed to be off the hook. (All right, slang coming from me is ridiculous. I don’t do slang. Stereotypes do unfortunately, so that’s why Step Up 2 is slang after slang after slang.)

The Producers

Mel Brooks’s a genius. Period. (Even in a slightly flawed production. Wait, did I just disregard my own “Period.”? I’m a bitch, really. Period.)

Film ratings
Film Studio Grade Stars
Departures Shochiku
9.7
5 stars
Alien Resurrection 20th Century Fox
6.7
The Secret Life of Bees Fox Searchlight Pictures
8.8
4 stars
Boom! Universal Studios
6.6
Funny Girl Columbia Pictures
9.6
5 stars
Kiki’s Delivery Service Studio Ghibli
9.6
5 stars
Valkyrie United Artists
8.1
3 stars
Holiday Columbia Pictures
8.5
4 stars
Mad Max Warner Bros.
8.2
3 stars
Monster Newmarket Entertainment
9.0
4.5 stars
21 Columbia Pictures
7.1
1 star
Baby Mama Universal Studios
7.9
2 stars
Step Up 2: The Streets Touchstone Pictures
6.5
Million Dollar Baby Warner Bros.
9.4
4.5 stars
The Producers (2005) Universal Studios
8.5
4 stars
He’s Just Not That Into You New Line Cinema
7.2
1 star
I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry Universal Studios
7.3
1 star
RoboCop 2 Orion Pictures
5.9
RoboCop 3 Orion Pictures
4.7
Kathy Griffin: She’ll Cut a Bitch1 Bravo (NBC/U)
7.8
2 stars

Footnotes

  1. Clarification: I actually love Kathy Griffin, and I loved this standup show as well. But when I have to review it as a motion picture, my ratings system doesn’t preference it. []

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