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Zorro, Stealth, Better Off Dead, Aeon Flux… and The Island Too

On the way back from watching Aeon Flux with Dan tonight, I though back on the movies I had recently seen and realized that I hadn’t blogged about any of them… so here’s my attempt to make up for that…

Just before another Dan and I infiltrated (here too) Lincoln Square, we went to see The Legend of Zorro, which I expected to be a formulaic but enjoyable sequel to The Mask of Zorro, a movie that I recall enjoying. Instead, I discovered, to my disappointment, that I had paid to watch formulaic crap (as opposed to a formulaic gem, you see). Understand that I don’t mind formulaity in and of itself. However — perhaps just because I wasn’t in the mood, or perhaps because the movie really did suck — I just found very few redeeming qualities about this one. Its plot didn’t do anything remotely intriguing, and it was pretty long to boot. I can only be entranced by Catherine Zeta-Jones’ breasts for so long; eventually I need plot twist if I am to continue being enthralled. It never came, and I got lost somewhere between the 973rd and 1092nd predictable plot element. Grade: D+ (1.5/5)
The next movie I saw, if I recall correctly (no guarantees at 1:18 am), was Stealth, which I watched with Jon on DVD shortly after Thanksgiving. I expected mindless action that I would soon forget. Instead, I saw familiar plot elements twisted in new and interesting ways. Yes, we started out with the standard human-versus-self-created-machine-that-becomes-superior idea that has been around forever, and yes, I guessed many of the twists before they happened — with one huge and delightful exception. Nevertheless, the fact that the twists were there, even if they were well forshadowed, made this movie a lot better than I expected or could have reasonably hoped. Oh, and Jessicia Biel is hot in a flightsuit (and a swimsuit in the movie as well). Grade: B+ (3.5/5)
Last night (Friday), after the regular Friday lunch with Courtney, I helped set up for the state FLL tournament, and then hung out with Courtney and her new-boy-obsessive (but redeemingly hot) friend Ann. We somehow ended up bringing home John Cusack in Better Off Dead. Apparently one of Courtney’s all-time favorites, I found it strange to be laughing at most of the gag jokes that are now so hackneyed as to be almost useless. While I am no scholar of the ’80s, I think I figured it out: this movie was still funny with these “old” jokes because they weren’t old at the time. They really were funny, and since they were new, it was ok to take that kind of humor seriously. And that made it actually funny as opposed to the reprocessed junk that is so common these days. Nothing to write home about, but probably worth the rent. Grade: B- (2.5/5)
Finally, to tonight. It was time for another mindless action Flic with another hot babe — this time, Charlize Theron in Aeon Flux. And again, I was wrong in one of those respects. It was less mindless that I expected (like the other one could even be questioned). In fact, I found some real depth and importance within the Island-esque underlying world created for the film. Of course, Charlize was hard not to like as well. Grade: B (3.0/5)
Alas, that last paragraph reminds me that I didn’t ever write about the Island, which I saw with Scott and Dan back whenever it was that it came out in theaters. Aside from several glaring plot holes, and a plot that could be understood, more or less, by watching the trailer a few times, it wasn’t too bad. Scarlett Johansson was a nice touch as well. Grade: B (3.0/5)

Updated with numerical grades

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