Saturday, June 11, 2011

My Week In Movies - The One Where I Give Jack Black A Chance

Bye Bye Birdie (1963) I continue my mild obsession with early Ann-Margret with this staring vehicle which was designed to make her a movie star. It's a reworking of the popular Broadway show, brought to the big screen with two of it's original stage performers - the awesome Dick Van Dyke and the super awesome Paul Lynde. The cast also includes Janet Leigh and as himself, Ed Sullivan. The story follows the nation's heartbroken teenage girls as their singing idol Birdie (a bargain basement Elvis knock-off) has been drafted into the service and will be leaving showbiz. To celebrate his departure, Ann-Margret wins a spot on television to kiss Birdie bye-bye for all the girls in the U.S.A. There's plenty of dated material, but you simply can't beat the majority of the musical numbers in this film. Shot with a bright palate of colors, the zippy songs are fun and a joy to watch. Check out this super fun number on YouTube.

Gulliver's Travels (2010) As a general rule of thumb, I can't stand Jack Black. He's a one trick pony in my book, and I don't even like his one trick. There's only so many times you can use the word "awesome" in one 90 minute period before I've gotta jump ship. The only reason I came to see this film is because it is family-friendly and my kids wanted to see it. That being said, I rather enjoyed this silly reworking of the classic tale. Jack Black does use "awesome" and many variations of that word way too many times for one movie to hold - but it's silly story and good heart won me over. There is a great supporting cast including Jason Segel, Emily Blunt and T.J. Miller and not to give anything way but this breezy little movie plays by my number one rule for a good movie - end on a musical number! My biggest complaint is not with the movie itself but with the rental DVD we got from a Redbox. I kid you not, 9 1/2 minutes of unskipable commercials before the movie. I couldn't chapter past the promos, couldn't fast forward them, could not even jump to the menu. This is totally not cool! Among the mandatory viewing is a three minute Ice Age cartoon that no one should be subjected to under any circumstances. We saw it in the theatre before RIO and did not need to be forced to watch it again. It's one thing if the movie studios want to leave the bonus features off rental discs, but don't make me watch something I didn't ask for!

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