Happy new year – crappy movies

We rented a few last weekend, here’s the good, the bad and the ugly (make that the crappy, the fun and the long).

Hard Cash
Hey look!  An action movie with Christian Slater, Val Kilmer, Daryl Hannah and William Forsythe.  Paula, Mark and I looked at each other, shrugged and rented it.  Don’t you make this same mistake.  I now understand why this stinker went straight to video.  It starts off crappy and low-budget and then… well, it sucked so bad we turned it off.  I got my good deed for the year out of the way early… I took the bullet for you on this film. 2005 is looking great already (it certainly can’t get any worse).

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life
The Christian Slater stinker left a bad taste in our mouth, a little mindless fun in the form of a sequel to a movie based off a video game was in order.  The Cradle of Life is a fun, fast action flick with a likable cast of characters headed up by the smart-Alec, butt-kicking Croft (played by the first lady of lips, Angelina Jolie).  Okay, I’ve gotten over that she used to carry around Billy Bob Thorton’s blood in a locket and it no longer creeps me out to look at her.  The acting is great across the board and the great cast does what they can with a mediocre script.  Don’t expect a detailed thriller and you won’t be disappointed.

The Return of the King (Extended version)
Make sure you set aside more than four hours to watch this fluffed up version of Peter Jackson’s final installment.  Either add the extra time or get a mini-fridge and a catheter for your TV room.  Though it is long, it is a fun watch (and given the choice, I’d rather sit through this than Gandhi).  The added scenes don’t add significant plot points from the book but merely suggest them (e.g. there are some added scenes with Eowyn and Faramir in the Houses of the Healing, enough to remind book fans of the romance between the two but not enough to give people who haven’t read the books an idea of what happened).  My major complaint remains that Peter Jackson changed some significant and not so significant story-lines that I thought did add to the books.  In particular I was disappointed by his handling of the Saruman sub-plot and when the undead army appeared (the whole point in the book was the suspense of the pirate fleet landing… the movie tells you in advance that the pirate fleet is friendly).  One big plus of the extended DVD:  they’ve extended the scene of Peter Jackson getting stuck through the chest with one of Legolas’s arrows… it’s a cathartic (but as far as directors screwing stuff up goes, I still think George Lucas is more evil).  

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