Some brief comments on a few movies we’ve seen recently, including a couple that fall into the Movies I’ve Missed (Until Now) category:
THE BOONDOCK SAINTS – From 1999, this action movie that has developed a cult following is a crime yarn about a couple of working class Irish brothers from Boston who have a run-in with the Russian mob. After surviving that, they decide to become vigilantes and clean up the town by killing all the criminals they can find, leading organized crime to unleash a legendary hitman on them. Extremely bloody and so over-the-top that it verges on silly at times, it’s also surprisingly funny in places and the action scenes are very good. I can only give it a qualified recommendation, though. Fans of movies like SHOOT ’EM UP might like it, but I suspect it’s too goofy for most people.
MIDNIGHT MADNESS – Another teen comedy from the Eighties that we missed somehow, and in this case, it probably should have remained a movie that I missed. It’s about several teams of college kids running around town looking for clues in a game called the Great All-Nighter. The star is David Naughton, who parleyed his singing and dancing role in a series of commercials for Dr Pepper into a short-lived movie and TV career. Badly acted and not funny, this movie is notable only because of the presence of Michael J. Fox (his film debut) and a cameo by Paul Reubens. Don’t go looking for it.
MY LIFE IN RUINS – I didn’t really mean to watch two Nia Vardalos movies in the space of a week, it just sort of worked out that way. This is a lightweight but fairly enjoyable romantic comedy that finds her working as a tour guide in Greece, leading around a group of eccentric tourists that includes Richard Dreyfuss, Harland Williams, and Rachel Dratch. The ubiquitous Ian Gomez plays a lecherous Greek hotelkeeper. Hijinks ensue, punctuated by the occasional poignant moment. Nia finds true love with the driver of her tour bus. It’s better than I’m making it sound. Worth watching.
The best of the bunch, THE INVENTION OF LYING, is an odd little comedy written by and starring Ricky Gervais. The concept is that the world is exactly as we know it, except that the human race never evolved the ability to tell a lie. So everyone tells the exact truth, no matter what, leading to a near-constant stream of awkward moments. Until the character played by Gervais suddenly discovers the ability to lie, which winds up changing the entire world. This one is smart and very funny in places, touching in others. And it has the added bonus of having Jennifer Garner in it, who, like Sela Ward, is universally beloved by guys the world over.
Michael Herr, R. I. P.
3 hours ago