Wednesday, November 4, 2009

DVD Reviews (Sin Nombre, Away We Go, Land of the Lost, The Proposal)

SIN NOMBRE (***) - Starring Edgar Flores and Kristian Ferrer.
Directed by Cary Fukunaga.

Gangs in the USA have nothing on gangs down the continent. That's what I got out of this.

It's the story of two brothers, both too young to be in gangs, but then no one should be in one. They live in a world wherereally, it's the only way for them to survive, and little kids are taught how to murder at the command of their leader. After saving a girl, one brother must go on the run. The other brother pledges to prove his loyalty to the gang by insisting he be the one to kill his brother.

It's a sobering meditation on what loyalty should be.


AWAY WE GO (***) - Starring John Krasinski, Maya Rudolph, Jeff Daniels, Catherine O'Hara, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Paul Schneider, Josh Hamilton, Allison Janney and Jim Gaffigan.
Directed by Sam Mendes.

This melancholy comedy/drama is about a young pregnant couple trying to decide where to move to raise their new family. It's a road trip, with them stopping off at different destinations to hook up with family or old friends to see if they'd want to live in the same city. Each couple they meet with represents a different angle of dysfunction, to the point where the two leads start to feel like a desert island might be best.

Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Revolutionary Road) doesn't seem to have a lot of faith in families, but he does have faith in love, and the chemistry between John Krasinski (The Office) and Maya Rudolph (Saturday Night Live) makes it an okay journey. Rudolph especially proves she can pull off a serious, three-dimensional character.


LAND OF THE LOST (*1/2) - Starring Will Ferrell, Anna Friel, Danny McBride and Jorma Taccone.
Directed by Brad Silberling.

I had no faith in this being good, since it should be a kids movie and they potty-humored it up. It threw in a lot of elements that would only be familiar to fans of the show, but still, it has the most wrong-headed approach to the material.

The series had Rick Marshall, with his children Will and Holly. Here we have characters with those three names, but Holly is a love interest and Will is a tattooed pervert.

When they get to the Land of the Lost, they meet Chaka, the missing-link creature who, here, is also a pervert. There's run-ins with dinosaurs, the lizard-men called Sleestaks, and a sky with three moons. Will Ferrell's dim-bulb shtick can be funny in pieces, but I was too distracted by him and McBride in this world. They just don't belong here.

Funniest part of the movie? Matt Lauer.


THE PROPOSAL (**1/2) - Starring Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds, Betty White, Mary Steenburgen, Craig T. Nelson, Malin Akerman, Oscar Nunez, Denis O'Hare, Aasif Mandvi and Michael Nouri.
Directed by Anne Fletcher.

Formula? Yes. Funny? Sometimes. Bullock and Reynolds are likeable enough leads as the boss/secretary team that fake an engagement to help boss-lady not get deported to Canada. At first they hate each other but halfway through the movie, we get that magic moment...

Anyways, the movie's comic MVP is Betty White as the 89-year-old grandmother who just wants to see her grandson get married before she dies, but there are also funny smaller roles for Oscar Nunez (The Office) and Aasif Mandvi (The Daily Show).

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