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Movie Reviews (3/21/15)

Movie: Bad Milo! (2013)
Rating: *1/2 out of *****
Notes: Being the weirdest movie you'll see all year does not also make for a particularly good movie. This is what happens when you cross "Gremlins" with "Child's Play"...and a hemorrhoid. Duncan's (played by Ken Marino) stress is so bad that his bowel obstruction becomes a tiny-tot monster that murders his enemies. The gore tends to be primarily excessive splatter, but the body horror is mostly (with one glaring exception) and thankfully left to implication, though that doesn't make it any less uncomfortable. Scary is what it isn't, with every move telegraphed, and the monster too much like a Henson labs abortion to be any more frightening than an 80's slasher that didn't age well. Things get even stranger when the solution is proposed to snuggle up to it as a placating move - this might be taken better if the comedy portion of the program was effective, but the laughs just don't materialize - it takes itself too seriously. Maybe only worthwhile if you want to see Patrick Warburton get eaten by a 12"-tall homicidal case of piles.

Movie: In A World... (2013)
Rating: **1/2 out of *****
Notes: The daughter of the film industry's biggest movie trailer voice-over talent stumbles on an opportunity to rise as a first female voice in the industry, which puts her at odds with him and his chosen successor. It's a genuinely unique concept with loads of potential, but the story is handled like an old episode of "Ally McBeal". There's love interests, girl talk, romantic trysts, social faux pas, broken-up buddies, sister relations, but precious little in the way of movie trailer voice overs, and when there is it's relegated to a subplot. Lake Bell as the main character is likable, but her dialogues with others are seemingly improv'd and often unfunny. Ken Marino (from "Bad Milo" fame) plays the nonthreatening protege whose challenge is so weak that there's barely any recognizable antagonist until the last 30 minutes of the story, at which point attention has drifted due to all the chick-flick nonsense. It's tolerable and its heart is in the right place, but it has all the drama of a slice-of-life TV episode.

Movie: Captain Phillips (2013)
Rating: *** out of *****
Notes: Tom Hanks stars in a fictionalized account of the hijacking of a cargo ship by Somali pirates in 2009. While there are pre-credits epilogue placards describing what happened to Richard Phillips after the ordeal, much of the story's details are outright made up except for the core elements. As such, "Captain Phillips" tends to force the drama, particularly towards the end, and leaves the indie "A Hijacking" a better tale of a similar incident. Tom Hanks is just as charismatic as always, and the first-timer actors playing the Somali pirates do a worthy job meeting Hollywood's standards as well. There's very little action, as tension is the primary tactic used to maintain interest. However, the events on the ship are so short, and the duration of time spent in the subsequent lifeboat so long, that expansion and compression of time seems a bit absurd, with day and night gyrating wildly from moment to moment as an anxious score tries with only some success to convince the viewer to not notice that events are taking days to unfold. Character development is quite absent, as we rush towards the big military hoo-rah for the Navy in the last third. Hanks is the biggest reason to check in, and even he tends to overdo it by the end. Watchable, but highly procedural.

Next: Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2, Bad Grandpa, Narc

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