Saturday, May 30, 2009

REVIEWS! Appaloosa (2008), House (2008), Ping Pong Playa (2007)

Appaloosa is an Ed Harris project (he directed, co-wrote, and acted in it) and let me tell ya - it's good. Ed Harris has been one of my favorite actors for a long time, he's just one of those actors who is good in whatever role he is in. He's a hell of a director as well. Appaloosa is a modern character study Western - a meditation on friendship, loyalty, and how doing the right thing is never the easiest thing. Sounds trite but it works. It's a gorgeous movie that is a little slow but worth sitting though. I will add this to my modern Western collection when I see it on sale.

House (2008) is not a remake of the 1986 Steve Miner movie with the classic tagline, "Ding Dong. You're Dead." It's a straight to DVD hunk of confused genre junk with Michael Madsen as the twitchy bad guy. Nice to see Mr. Madsen has lost his creepy bloat - must have laid off the sauce - and can still play a convincing spooky lunatic. House is an example of why it's not a good idea to throw everything into the pot and hope for the best. Is it a haunted house movie? Is it a vengeful spirit? Is it Satan, perhaps? Creepy hillbillies? Couples in need of counselling? C'mon...Amanda and I were bored simply because we got tired of trying to figure out what the hell was going on in this confused mess. Skip. Avoid. Gong.

The real surprise was Jessica Yu's "Ping Pong Playa". Basically the story of a Chinese-American guy -Chris - who wants to be a basketball star but he sucks at basketball. His family is deeply involved with ping pong - Chris doesn't want anything to do with ping pong but gets stuck subteaching his Mom's ping pong class. A loveable loser story who teaches kids to be kids, learns to embrace his heritage, and learns he sucks at basketball. Ping Pong Playa was extremely enjoyable and funnier than any of the Jack Black vehicles I've seen. It just worked from start to finish. Plus it has the song by The Chops, "I Love Cereal" - my new make me happy song.

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