So there’s this movie called The Beach Party at the Threshold of Hell that stars Daniel Baldwin (is that B or C grade Baldwin? Or is it D? I can never remember.) coming out today. It also has, oddly enough, the ‘National Lampoon Presents’ qualifier attached to the beginning, although we all know how much that counts for these days. Suffice to say, I will not be mentioning this film below, but I thought I would share with you the kinds of freakshow anomalies I come across while trudging through the back alleys of Amazon’s release lists. See the service I provide for you? See?

The Bank Job –
I noticed something while looking over my review for The Bank Job (ok, this will be totally tangential to the film itself…it’s a good enough heist flick, definitely worth a rent. Now, with that out of the way…). The wordcount for it is 530. Now, take a look at my recent reviews-Hellboy 2, for instance. It has a wordcount of 1350. Ouch. I’ve obviously gotten a bit more windy in the last 5 months. The question is, is that a good thing or bad? My review for The Bank Job is written well enough, I guess, but it essentially is nothing more than what I like to call an “eloquent recap.” I’m telling you what happened, eloquently enough, but it’s simply a blow-by-blow of the plot and actors, yada yada yada. Pretty dull, in fact. In my piece for Hellboy 2 I actually make a few decent observations about the nature of the film as muse for del Toro rather than a simple comic book adaptation (well, at least I think so). It’s not just a decently written breakdown of the various elements – I’m trying to make broader points that tie into the visual genius of del Toro as a filmmaker.

And no, I’m not having a blogging crisis in which I desperately seek validation from you, my semi-frequent readership. I’m just wondering: which do you prefer? Short and sweet yet slightly monotonous? Or longer, more detailed, and with more (I hope) expansive observations? Or, more simply, have I become a windbag in desperate need of an editor? Sound off in the comments, and remember: be honest.

Recommended if you liked Ocean’s Eleven, The Italian Job, or Ronin

The Year My Parents Went on Vacation
I missed this one when it hit the Circle (our local arthouse) earlier in the year. A incisive look at the waning years of Brazil’s last military dictatorship as seen through the eyes of a child abandoned by his parents searching for a better life, this one looks like it could hit the sweet spot emotionally. It also revolves around football (why do we Americans have to re-brand things -i.e., soccer – with idiotic names all the time?) and the World Cup. Critical reception has been good. Probably worth a look.

Recommended if you liked Cinema Paradisio or Life is Beautiful

Meet Bill
I’m a sucker for Aaron Eckhart, ever since I saw him in the absolutely fabulous Thank You For Smoking (if you haven’t seen it, rent it immediately – it’s the film that Jason Reitman debuted with before directing Juno). I’ve heard little about this one. It appears to be a mid-life crisis comedy of some sort (perhaps a more lighthearted version of About Schmidt?), and has a thrilling supporting cast, which includes Elizabeth Banks, Timothy Olyphant, Jessica Alba, and Kristen Wiig. In lolcat speak, “I haz an intrest.”

Recommended if you liked About Schmidt or wished American Beauty had been, you know, less depressing.

Hit the jump for the stragglers, but you’ve been warned: it’s not pretty.

Penelope
Christina Ricci has the snout of a pig in this movie, making intimacy…uh…difficult. You have to wonder what the pitch meeting for this one was like before it was greenlit. EXEC: “So this girl has the nose of a donkey? A dog? What is it again?” ARTIST: “No, it’s a, uh, pig’s snout.” EXEC: “Why a pig? Why not something sexier, like a llama? Those are sexy, right? Yeah, let’s give her the nose of a llama.” ARTIST: “Well, sir, the pig snout is crucial to the themes of alienation that I’m working with…” EXEC: “Wait, didn’t that other talking pig movie make millions? ‘Babe,’ right? Is this the sequel?” ARTIST: “Uh, no…” EXEC: “Talking pig movies are all the rage these days. Let’s make 6 of them.”

Recommended if you like girls who (literally) look like pigs. Also if you visit www.piggirl.com with any kind of regularity.

Shutter –
I’m still reminded of a line from James Berardinelli’s review of this film: “For a good clue to the quality level contained herein, take the title of the movie and replace the ‘u’ with an ‘i.’” Also, since Luke generally tends to like the scary flicks, his 1 1/2 star rating is comparable to Chinese bamboo torture, watching a 24 hour Carrot Top marathon, or the bubonic plague.

Recommended if going to the bathroom by yourself is still somewhat terrifying.

Step Up 2 the Streets
Nothing screams high drama like replacing key words in your title with numerals (as previous critical darlings 2 Fast 2 Furious and Cradle 2 the Grave proved). Actually, I’m just going to let the title speak for itself. And the poster. I think that sums it up.

Recommended if sweaty, half naked women bouncing around in the rain appeal to you. In other news, this becomes the number one rental for the week.

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