1. Movies I watched, June 30th, 2012:

    So I have not been watching a lot of movies in the past 20 days. Ugh. I don’t like having a lull in my mental exercise. I’m trying to write a screenplay of my own, and it’s getting very tough to do so without many movies for inspiration.

    1. Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium" 3.5/10 [Dustin Hoffman gave a gooey, dumbed-down performance to pander to kids. Reminded me of Daffy Duck’s verbal skills. The entire film is candy coated, but so simplistic that it gets boring nevertheless. Zach Mills is—just odd as the central kid of the story. Not in the least endearing. Jason Bateman struggles with a narrative kid-mance with this boy, and Natalie Portman is left with holding the film on her own two shoulders. At least she’s a director’s favorite toy: a block of wood. (get it? get it? GET IT? Wait…what’s there not to get?/EXACTLY.)]
    2. The Fourth Kind" 7/10 [Short, sweet, to the point, effectively paced, effectively creepy, and effectively told. Underrated creepy gem focusing on alien abduction mythology, using a solid found footage/dramatization structure new for the genre. Good to see Will Patton return to the big screen, if just for a small (albeit solid) role.]
    3. **”Snow White and the Huntsman" 5.5/10 [Bad? Not particularly. Boring? Yes. Unimpressive? Most of the time. Charlize Theron rocks as the villainous queen Ravena, sexier than ever and much more cruel (and also impressively written). Chris Hemsworth has a compelling role, with a fluctuating Scottish accent, that the studio is considering basing a sequel off of…would need more background to pull that off. Kristen Stewart is stunning (my heart felt stunned) in the role of Snow White, and actually manages to act appropriately to it. The dwarves are inconsequential minus one scene, and the scope of the battles is as large as its $100M budget would suggest (not big). The best parts are when Ravena is onscreen, during the Dark Forest trip, and the climactic ending. The reinvention of the Grimm lore and its themes are an afterthought to the faux grandeur Rupert Sanders wished to imbue upon the film.]
    4. **”Ted" 7/10 [About as good as I expected it could be. Seth MacFarlane has some small directorial flair, but what it comes down to is a lack of profundity and originality. I know Seth is smarter than "Ted" would suggest. Yet for his first effort, the only thing he had the balls to be unconventional about was the R-Rated material, which is ironically very conventional for him. Another noticeably odd thing is the ethereal material he wishes to include in an otherwise conventional film, which is as close to a “cut-away” gag as “Ted” could afford: cartoony side jokes, like the Jewish kid getting beat up on, or the Patrick Stewart narration. The rest of the film fits to formula to make “Ted,” the unusual quality in the film, stick out more, and thus his jokes punch much harder. Still, MacFarlane has his cake and eats it too. However, despite these gripes (I was hoping for a GREAT film, so my expectations were higher), Kunis and Wahlberg are great, MacFarlane is great, and Giovanni Ribisi is hysterical. The film definitely has its laughs, but the sentimental parts, though not false, felt so obligatory that they weren’t much fun. You could tell MacFarlane just wanted to go play with his raunchy teddy. And no, I have not watched “Flash Gordon,” but that subplot sure didn’t add much to the film. At all.]
    5. Fahrenheit 9/11" 8.5/10 (Re-Review) [Michael Moore had me at "George W. Bush is an asshole." Ok, he didn’t literally say that. But he was preaching truths about the war that no one would listen to, nevertheless. This documentary is effective, emotional, and quite an eye-opener about the war. Watch this with "Capitalism: A Love Story," and you have yourself a Bush-bashing, liberal-loving story that will convince you that we’re lucky to have made it past Bush’s final years in office.]