Sunday, June 8, 2008

Triple movie review: You don't mess with the kung fu skull

One of the things I grew up doing while waiting for movies -- once the multi-plex took over from the single-screen cinemas -- was to play "mix up the movie titles." Nothing better to do while hanging out in the lobby on a freezing cold February day in Boston, eh?

So, I saw three movies over the last week, and the mixed-up title would have been the subject of this blog.

Other possible mixed-up movie titles based on what was playing at my local AMC theater:

  • What Happens in Narnia...

  • Iron Stranger

  • Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Sex

  • Made of Panda

  • Sex and the Panda

  • Iron Panda

  • Panda Racer

The word "Panda" in a movie title is simply irresistible. So...

Kung Fu Panda: A- Quite a lot of fun with my 8-year-old son. Jack Black's voicing of the main character is excellent, and they allowed his personality to mold the character animation quite a bit; how could you not? Lots of laugh-out-loud moments, and really great, somewhat unusual (which is nice) art. Best bit -- when Po, the titular panda, performs the super-killer-hyper move involving the minor twitch of his pinkie, he says, "Ska-doosh." Very Jack Black. Very funny. Half-grade off for pulling out almost every trope in the kung fu sack.

You Don't Mess with the Zohan: B Solid "B" movie. Ha ha. If you go to this movie expecting Adam Sandler and Co. to engage in an enormous amount of over-the-top pseudo-hasidic silliness, making fun of Jews, Arabs, gays, straights, rednecks, etc... you won't be disappointed. Sandler is consistently goofy and never misses a chance to refer to sex as, "making the sticky." If that line revolts you, please avoid the movie. My favorite dialogue (note: Zohan is attempting to escape his Israeli super-star anti-terrorist status in the states, and so is pretending to be...)
Zohan: I'm from Australia [with a glottal, "hutzpah" "h," somehow, at the beginning of "Australia."]
Friend's Mom: Oh, it must be so much nicer there since they got rid of appartheid.
Zohan: Oh, yes. Much cooler.

That's about the size of it. Nice cameos from Henry Winkler (if you ever dreamed of watching the Fonz puke out of a limo, this film's for you), Dave Matthews as the violent, anti-everything red neck, Chris Rock as a taxi driver from Cameroon, Mariah Carey as herself (the low point of the film, frankly... she's just not funny), George Takei, Kevin Nealon (why?), Rob Scheider (of course) and John McEnroe. Full point off for not having English sub-titles for all the Yiddish or semi-Israeli slang or whatever it was. That woulda been cool.

Indiana Jones and the yadda yadda yadda: C+ It's an OK movie. What sucks about it is that it's just an OK movie. No really funny lines or memorable bits. No really amazing action sequence... They go down a couple waterfalls in a car/boat/thing? Really? That's all you got for me, Indy? Oh... and riding a motorcycle through the college library? Seriously? That counts as action these days? Yeesh. No really good interaction between Indy and his... uh... young friend. No really villainous villain. It all felt very phoned-in to me. I'd place it 3rd in the pantheon, behind (duh) the original and "Last Crusade." Major points off for [minor spoiler alert] the big "Ohhhh...." near the end being, "The city of gold doesn't literally mean gold... it means treasure... and knowledge was their treasure." Yeah. Right.

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