Friday, March 12, 2010

3 Flick Vignette

Nick van der Leek reviews DATE NIGHT, TOOTH FAIRY and THE FOURTH KIND

By way of introduction, and summary, let's be clear. None of these flicks are big fish like Alice in Wonderland or The Hurt Locker. If you've already seen those, or tickets are sold out, consider these. Basically Date Night is a 'safe' movie for couples thirty-something and older [especially couples who never get out], Tooth Fairy is young family fare and The Fourth Kind is fodder for teenagers who want the bejesus scared out of them. Sort've. Let's start with Date Night.

DATE NIGHT is harmless fun, but more harmless than fun

Steve Carell is one of those funny men that's not always funny. He's not a Jim Carrey. His comedy is a bit forced, and not in a good way. He's great, of course, in 40 Year Old Virgin, he's good in Get Smart, he's not so good in Evan Almighty. In Date Night, sorry to say, he's off his game. There are a few chuckles, for example when they [Carell and Tina Fey] return to the restaurant with an attitude. Tina Fey - who? Yes you won't have seen her before in films, but she's appeared in 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live - but don't let that tickle you, because she's not funny either. This stuff may have looked funny and clever on paper, on screen it doesn't deliver. Mark Wahlberg makes a somewhat amusing appearance. Carell is funny screaming at him to put his shirt on the film, but that's about all I remember.
Director Shawn Levy calls this an action comedy. It's neither really. If you think I'm wrong, stick around for the retakes at the end of the film and tell me if you think any of them were funny. 6/10

The Tooth Fairy is tongue in cheek, quirky with a feel good message for young families

I'm not the target market for The Tooth Fairy, that's for sure. I like Dwayne Johnson [The Rock from Scorpion King and Escape to Witch Mountain fame] though, but after this flick the Arnold Swartzenegger vibe wears off quickly. I found the acting weak, the story weak, but the premise not bad. Ashley Judd also appears, along with Julie Andrews. The plot is loosey goosey, the outfits lame, but young children will almost certainly be entertained. The message does strike a cord especially in these troubled times, but it's not delivered convincingly. 6.5/10

The Fourth Kind is terrifying - or is it?

This is a difficult review to write for a number of reasons. Let me start off by saying I missed a sizable chunk of this flick, the first 20-30 minutes, and it still scared the SHIT out of me. It's been a while since I've had a movie grab hold of my skeleton and make my skin crawl the way this one did. Which other movies scared me? ALIENS when I was a youngster, VENOM and more recently, The Blair Witch Project.

The Fourth Kind deals with alien abductions said to have occurred in the Alaskan town of Nome over 9 days in October 2000. The film stars Milla Jovovich and two other actors that may ring distant bells. If you're not exposed to any spoilers, you ought to be scared shitless, and for that I'll give this flick a decent score - 7.5/10. I am though, going to provide spoilers below, so if you intend to see The Fourth Kind, and intend to be terrified by it, don't read the section below.

Below is Nome, in Alaska. Not much to it is there. In fact the story of how Nome came to be is quite interesting. Even Wyatt Earp paid this place a visit in the gold rush days.

And this is what the place looked like in the gold rush days. The place provided a lot of fodder for stories, so why don't you read up about what really happened in Nome, right here. Meanwhile, back to the film that is said to be set in Nome, but obviously isn't.

The power of The Fourth Kind is that it leads you to believe alien abductions really took place in the Fall of 2000. And in Nome. It relates that actual footage was used. Never-before-seen archival footage is integrated into the film. The film investigates the actual footage. Really? For starters, Nome doesn't look anything like it is portrayed in the movie. No tall Pines, no high mountains. No out of the ordinary missing persons were reported. Director Olatunde Osunsanmi has cleverly played on people's fears, and also stretched the truth somewhat. He plays the documentary angle, even his movie press release cleverly omits names and facts relating to the movie, but provides enough details to create what appears to be news, but is in fact nothing specific [thus nothing specific can be contradicted]. There was even an attempt to fabricate news for people like myself, disturbed by the movie, who would then search online for further evidence.

Fact is, none of the footage you see in The Fourth Kind is genuine [do I hear a collective sigh of relief?], and the actress who played Dr Abigail Tyler is Charlotte Milchard who can be found on IMDB. If you know this in advance of watching the film, then it gets a rating of 3.5/10 which is, as you guessed, not worth more than a cursory glance.

More on The Fourth Kind

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