“Salt”, “The Other Guys”, and “Despicable Me”

November 8, 2010 at 10:12 am (TV/movie review)

I watched three movies in two days over the weekend, so here’s my thoughts (for what they’re worth*):

“Salt”

Spy thriller starring Angelina Jolie

The plot was a little sillier than I expected, even in a spy thriller. But I was still able to enjoy the movie, which had more to do with action and character than anything else (the character wasn’t super deep, but she didn’t need to be any deeper than she was). I was genuinely stressed, and I enjoyed the movie. The action scenes and various devices/disguises were completely unrealistic – but that is what I look for in the genre (see Exhibit A: every James Bond ever – action scenes are meant to be unusual, not lifelike). Bonus points for having a woman who actually removes her impractical shoes before running/jumping/climbing. Tom Cruise was originally meant to play the title character, and then it was rewritten for Jolie. Every so often I imagined Tom Cruise in it, and I was much happier with Jolie. She’s just so much cooler.

By far the least plausible part was the background plot of hundreds of kids brainwashed into becoming Russian sleeper agents who lived as average Americans for years or decades. As my friend pointed out, a Russian sleeper cell has just been found in America. Hmm. I forgive the brainwashing, too, because of what happened in the movie. Sorry, I can’t say any more than that or you’ll have to kill me. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Best line: Would you mind looking after my dog for a while (the hero is on the run and just escaped from the government by climbing out her window and along to the neighbour’s little girl – with her dog in her backpack)?

“The Other Guys”

Buddy cop comedy starring Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell.

The plot was completely rambling and stupid (although the stuff about financial scams in the credits was GREAT); the characters were ugly, charmless, and unfunny (which, to be fair, they were meant to be); and the effects were silly. The worst part was that it was sooooooo self-indulgent. Wahlburg and Ferrell clearly find each other hilarious, and so each scene just drags on and on as they wander past jokes and keep filming for the other two-thirds of the scene. A lot was improvised, and boy does it show. Rating: 0.5 out of 5. I didn’t pay for it, but I resent the time spent trapped in the hole that is this movie. The best part was that the Rock was in it – for two scenes.

Best line: “Aim for the bushes” (not, of course, said by either main character but by the two heroic cops who then jump off a twenty-storey building without any equipment whatsoever)

“Despicable Me”

Children’s comedy voiced by Steve Carell etc

This is about an evil genius who is getting outdone by younger (and infinitely more annoying) competition – so he decides to steal the moon, using a shrink ray. He adopts three extremely cute orphan girls in order to get into the (other) baddy’s fortress, and slowly finds he likes them. This was genuinely funny throughout, with exactly 2.5 sappy scenes (I was wary going in, and was pleasantly surprised). If someone told me it was produced by Pixar, I’d believe it. The humour was better suited to adults than the humour in “The Other Guys” – mostly because it wasn’t based on “Hey, look how unfunny we are! Funny, right?!?!” I was a little disturbed by how fat and ugly basically all the adult characters were drawn, but oh well. I left the movie happier than I went in. The characterisation is well done, and almsot all the character development is done with subtlety (with looks rather than long dull emotional conversations). The hundreds of mini-minions never stop being awesome. Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

One of the best lines (many of the best are visual): I meant to close that. (As they test an anti-gravity gun and a minion drifts, meeping in disress, out of the open skylight.)

*This blog is, of course, free

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