Category Archives: Viddy

Movies, videos, etc. In theaters, on computer, on disc, or via Roku.

Greenberg (0 stars)

We watched the movie, Greenberg, on disc. Although Ben Stiller does a decent job portraying a very unpleasant person (a toned-down version of Mr Furious, from Mystery Men), there isn’t anything to care about in this movie (not even Greta Gerwig). Even if you find some part of this funny, this is NOT a comedy. Can’t recommend it.

Inception (3 stars)

2023-08-17: this review is 13 years old. Still valid, but I’ve written hundreds of posts since then. Please look around. Thanks.


Inception was OK. There were a couple of scenes that were spectacular in effect and vision. All the actors were good enough. I’m always happy to see Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

However, the soundtrack was dreadful: loud, ponderous, even pompous music pounding almost non-stop. Why? And why bother with a dream inside a dream inside a dream if two of them are taken up with chase sequences out of a Bond movie (well, only one of those rose to Bondian levels). When you have such an exciting notion as everyone in a dream instantly turning on invaders, why throw that away with militarization. Guns are stoopid, especially in dream-time. We’ve all seen the Matrix; don’t need to see it again. The movie should have been at least a half hour shorter.

Makes me want to see Dark City again – a far better movie.

Jennifer’s Body (3 Stars)

Jennifer's Body

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Despite the fact that I was only mildly amused by Diablo Cody’s Juno, I decided to see Jennifer’s Body, in part, because some reviews said Cody’s screenplay has a special take on both horror and teenage girls. Indeed, the relationship between hottie Jennifer and ersatz-mousy Needy is central, albeit a little sketchy.

The movie is littered with the arch, wry, and sarcastic pop-culture references required of all things hip. Not everyone pulls it off like Joss Whedon, who is such a master he can make it work in another galaxy (Firefly).

I’m not sure whether Cody simply exploits movie clichés or mocks them – both, it seems. Is the thing you fear behind the open fridge door? Ha, no, guess again. Don’t go down the dark hall or into the woods. The movie is dark, creepy, and gory, if not very rewarding of one’s time. You gotta wonder about a small western town with an entire block of abandoned townhouses and similarly abandoned natatorium up a well-groomed hill.

I don’t think the frame story enhanced the film, though I appreciate justice being delivered under the final credits. The explanation of Jennifer’s, uh, condition comes a little late in the film. Her blasé acceptance of her fate makes it hard to care about her. No doubt a pretty girl can lure a guy – even a goth dude – to scale a fence and enter an abandoned house to his own doom, but is there a teenaged girl in America who would jump into a van with a band of strangers headed into the woods? Sure, it actually happens too often, but Jennifer seemed too smart for that and it makes no sense her BFF would let her go alone, except that there is no story if it doesn’t happen that way. And while we’re supposed to laugh at would-be Satanists who get their rituals off the Web, it’s frightening to think what that might inspire.

Although my thumb is slightly down on this film, most of the actors are interesting in their roles, including Amanda Seyfried (who has a very different role in Letters to Juliet), a couple of the teen boys, and J.K. Simmons, a great “character actor” who was also in Juno. And, I’m always glad to see Chris Pratt, the ironically-named Bright from Everwood.

The Cooler (4 stars)

The Cooler

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We watched the Cooler primarily for William H. Macy and Alex Baldwin. They did not disappoint. Maria Bello was a pleasant surprise and equal to the others.

I hate the real Las Vegas, Nevada, and almost every depiction of it. It’s an awful town. This movie touches on the dead-end, endless night aspects of the place. The caricature of mob involvement is a bit old, of course. The fresh aspect is in the notion of the “cooler” himself: a man so unlucky that just being near him ends any lucky you have at the moment.

The violence is at the edge of my tolerance. I understand why this created some buzz for Alec Baldwin, who is a very good bad guy.