Sunday, August 3, 2008

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Late to the Party

It's been a week since I've seen it, but I just wanted to make sure the magic wouldn't wear off before I started writing about it. And there's another movie that came out at the beginning of the Summer, but I just got around to seeing it. And I don't need to sit around debating with myself how I felt.

STEP BROTHERS
Will Ferrell and Adam McKay are magic when they get together. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy was instantly quotable (yes, that counts for a lot), and gets funier with repeat viewings. Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby offered the same nonsensical tone with an actual plot, with sexy results. But Step Brothers...hoo boy, did I love Step Brothers.

There's more of a plot than Anchorman, but less so than Talladega Nights. Lay-abouts Brennan (Ferrell) and Dale (Academy Award Nominee John C. Reilly) still live at home with their parents. Dale's father (Richard Jenkins) meets Brennan's mom (Academy Award Winner Mary Steenburgen), they marry, all four move in together, hilarity ensues. Okay, so it's more of a set-up than a plot, but at least it goes somewhere.

As the first R-rated film of their collaboration, Step Brothers allows Ferrell and McKay to up the ante. Masturbating to the weather girl? Adultery in the men's room? Mary Steenburgen shouting, "What the fucking fuck"?!? The climactic Wine Mixer? I don't do it justice in print, but the execution on film is HILARIOUS.

Everyone in the cast is pitch-perfect. Jenkins almost steals the show as the put-upon patriarch of this crazy clan, while Adam Scott is a perfectly hilarious villain, playing Brennan's devious, more successful brother. The chemistry between Ferrell and Reilly, first seen in Talladega Night, is just awesome. They are clearly more blood brothers than stepbrothers -- comically, anyway.

Step Brothers is mindless entertainment, it is true. (And thank goodness for that -- it's nice to kick back and relax after three viewings of The Dark Knight) Trust me when I say it's hilarious, it's awesome, it hits all the right notes. And that Jon Brion score is GAH! amazing. ***1/2


INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL
Well, Indiana Jones (Academy Award Nominee Harrison Ford) has returned: older, campier, computier than before.

Indy and greaser Mutt Williams (Shia LaBeouf) search for a missing professor (Academy Award Nominee John Hurt), winding up in a quest for a mythical City of Gold and the Crystal Skull of the title. Russian commies are the villains this time out, led by paranormal investigator Colonel Dr. Irina Spalko (Academy Award Winner Cate Blanchett).

The Indy movies have always had a great balance between the exciting and the ridiculous. This new one, an attempt to recreate 50s B-flicks, is no exception, though there were times where I had to keep my eyes from rolling. I can accept refrigerators that can survive nuclear blasts. I can accept forays into the supernatural and trans-dimensional.

I just cannot accept Shia auditioning for a new Tarzan movie, nor will I ever accept the use of CG animals. What, they couldn't find real prairie dogs? And why fake monkeys -- did they kill all the real ones in the first three movies (those fucking dates!)? Not a big fan of Janusz Kaminski's cinematography in this one, either. Too much white light. Too fake-looking. I get that there's a "feel" about this film, but it was awfully distracting.

But whatever. It's great to see Indy back in action. Hell, it's great to see Harrison Ford back in action, still in shape and still doing most of his own stunts. The guy's still got it, and looks ready for a few more. Everyone is clearly having a good time, especially Blanchett. I'd love to see her do more roles like this, like maybe in a Bond film. She just nails it. Perfectly.

Overall: Great fun. I'd see it again, but I can wait for the DVD. ***

1 comment:

Amanda said...

See I felt the opposite. Blanchett really annoyed me, and I felt it was very "Look! Indy is old and clumsy now! Watch him do the same stunts with less accuracy!"

Oh well. It was fun, CG monkeys or not.