*Gasp!”  Is it the middle of May already?!  I feel like I’ve been exiled on the Island of Enslaved Word Slingers, chained by iron shackles to a computer for all but a few unconscious wee-hours, and fed ever-less appealing slop, the steady diet of which has made my stomach roil for the past couple of days.

I need a break.

Since I won’t have a real break for a couple more weeks, when Mom comes into town and we embark on our Nashville adventure, I’m going to take advantage of this dreary, overcast Saturday — how appropriate when I am feeling under the weather — to finally post a new movie report card.

As always, chime in about these entries, and also let me know about the flicks you’ve been watching lately!

Film Grade Comment
Due Date (2010)

F

It’s very rare that I call a film a failure, especially when it stars one of my favorite actor (in this case, Robert Downey Jr. — did he lose a bet with someone to end up in this movie?), but this film is just a mess. It’s worse than The Hangover, which I disliked as a wanna-be loony comedy. This, my fellow movie-watchers, is MUCH worse.  Due Date lacks a lucid script, any on-screen chemistry between its stars, and gags that are funny (rather than simply being disgusting or appalling).
The Wolf Man (2010)

B

I saw this in the theater when it came out (to mixed reviews) and have watched it on DVD several times since, and it’s just a terrific monster movie filled with suspense, first-rate special effects, and chilling atmosphere. This movie received tepid praise; I’m not sure what people expected, but I think it does an awesome job of harking back to Chaney-era horror films.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 (2010)

A

Excellent, dark addition to the H.P. pantheon and a suspenseful penultimate episode in the phenomenal series. I absolutely adored the animated segment that accompanies explanation of the Deathly Hallows tale. Kudos to Ben Hibon (Stateless Films – A.D., Codehunters, Heavenly Sword).
TRON (1982)

A

Yes, the world remains divided about this film, and I’m definitely on the TRON-geek side – its brilliance survives the test of time.  It imagines a world in cyberspace in way that has never been done before or since. Until, of course … see next entry.
TRON: Legacy (2010)

A

There were mixed emotions, naturally, in the TRON geekdom about how to follow up the groundbreaking masterpiece. Chalk up this reviewer’s vote for “It works.” Legacy recreates the cyberspace world of the original film, but with the advantages of current film-making effects, while advancing the story in an interesting way and throwing in cameos and DVD extras that fans can truly appreciate.
Love and Other Drugs (2010)

C+

A friend had panned this film so strongly I determined not to watch it, but then my roomy wanted to see it because Anne Hathaway is naked in it (rolls eyes), so I joined in. Prepared to be appalled, I wasn’t. Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal aren’t always believable as lovers falling for each other, and it gets sappy (chick flick alert), but with a supporting cast that includes Gabriel Macht, Hank Azaria, and Oliver Platt, it’s not a waste of time at all. The script also has some intelligent commentary about the state of healthcare and a few choice gags about Viagra. Oh, and of course, a naked Anne Hathaway.
GasLand (2010)

B

This eye-opening and heartbreaking documentary shows what unregulated extraction of natural gas has done to people, animals, and the environment in several states.
Slither (2006)

A

Too funny!  Nathan Fillion as a small-town sheriff fights off an alien attack that turns one of the townsfolk (Michael Rooker) into its leader, who then sends these fat, slimy slugs to infect all available brains, making everyone into zombies. Strong language and too many ‘80s-horror-film gags to mention!
The Fighter (2010)

B

The dramatized story of boxer “Irish” Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg, not a favorite of mine but well suited to this half-confused, half-determined role) and his crack-addicted brother (Christian Bale, certainly not his fighting weight – is he getting ready for a reprise of The Machinist?). The film is a poignant portrait of an overbearing family and the unlikely success story that emerges from its miserable descent.
Megamind (2010)

A

Hilarious and stunningly animated story of a misunderstood villain (voice of Will Ferrell), his heroic alter ego (voice of Brad Pitt), his outrageous creation (voice of Jonah Hill), and the girl who inspires him (voice of Tina Fey).  Right up there with favorite animated films like How to Train Your Dragon and Despicable Me.
Conviction (2010)

A-

Splendidly acted film about the real-life drama of Betty Anne Waters (Hilary Swank), who always believed in the innocence of her brother (Sam Rockwell) in the murder case for which he was convicted and imprisoned for 12 years before being exonerated by the evidence she uncovered. To accomplish this, she earned her GED, then a bachelor’s degree, then a master’s in education, and finally a law degree, then passed the bar and reopened the case, all while raising two boys by herself and working part-time as a waitress.
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