Netflix Diary

a) Couples Retreat
It's been a while since there was a good Vince Vaughn motormouth asshole vehicle, and this one looked promising, but fell a little flat. The dudes were all hit and miss funny, and the female half of the cast was basically barely used, which meant a waste of Kristen Bell but on the upside, Malin Akerman didn't get too many opportunities to be awful and movie-sinking.

b) Zombieland
Horror comedy is a genre I should probably be tired of by now but I probably won't ever be. This would have been a lot more fun without boring Adventureland dude, whose expressionless face and lack of vocal inflection made him hard to distinguish from some of the zombies, and they even let the fuckin' guy near ruin the movie with monotonous narration. Still pretty enjoyable, though.

c) The Informant!
I really dug this, especially how the cast was full of comedians playing straight man to Matt Damon (who honestly has been hilarious in at least a dozen different things by now, but still has enough of a leading man action hero edge that it continues to surprise). And really, despite the light tone and comedic handling of the material, I felt like it made a more interesting statement than yet another scathing indictment of corporate greed would have. Because really, when you hear about a lot of these white collar criminals and corrupt executives and what they did in detail, they often come off more insane and detached from reality than necessarily diabolical and calculating, so it made sense to play a story like this as a farce.

d) Inglourious Basterds
Although I have to say, Tarantino is pretty dependable as far as anything he does having a baseline of craft and entertainment value, this really kind of felt hollow to me given its huge success. A few really good performances, a few memorable scenes, but considering he delayed the thing for years because of third act problems, the ending still was kind of a shrug for me, big predictable grab for "fuck yeah!" fist-pumping with no attempt to put in a twist or creatively fuse the two storylines that kind of would've had the exact same result with or without the other's existence.

e) The Ugly Truth
Gerard Butler and Katherine Heigl are two people that have starred in a lot of comedies but aren't necessarily themselves that funny, but this movie isn't nearly as strained as I thought it'd be because of that. It's a bit broad, but they mostly pull it off, forgettable as it ultimately is.

f) The Hurt Locker
This was alright, well made with some good ideas and visuals, but really if you put a couple episodes of "Generation Kill" together and called it a movie I'm not sure this would be any better than that (and neither's amazing).

g) "Dead Like Me," season 1
As much as I loved the 2 other short-lived cult series created by Bryan Fuller, "Pushing Daisies" and "Wonderfalls," I had high expectations for this. And while it's definitely a decent show and has its moments, it's just not remotely on the level of those other two. It's temping to blame it on the fact that Fuller left the show after 5 episodes, but it's not like it started off amazing and then lost track. I'll probably still watch the 2nd season and the TV movie since it does have its charms, though.

h) "Twin Peaks," season 1
I've been hearing for literally 2/3rds of my life about how great and crazy and legendary "Twin Peaks" is (having not really delved into much David Lynch beyond Eraserhead, which I love), so it seemed like time to actually sit down with it. That first season is so short that I'm still not totally in a groove with it, though, and I'll watch the 2nd but that one doesn't have nearly as good a reputation. It's funny, the first two episodes I was kind of letting it wash over me with out being real engaged in it, and then that third episode just clicks and it's everything you've heard about and it's hilarious and awesome. I might like this a lot more if I re-watch it in a few years.

i) The Dead Zone
It's funny, I've seen the 'trivial psychic' parody sketch from the first time Walken hosted SNL back in the day so many times that it's hard to not think of that when watching this movie. It was really good, though, shame that quality directors like Cronenberg don't do Stephen King adaptations very often.
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get out of my office
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