Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous

[Amazon Link]
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[2.0 stars] [IMDb Link]

I wanted to like this movie a lot more than I did, but it's one of those sequels made with all the loving care necessary to quickly cash in on the success of the original. There are some feeble efforts at quirkiness and wit, but apparently whoever was in charge of that was fired at some point early in the production process.

Although Sandra Bullock's character, Gracie, has gone back to her lovable slovenly ways after the original movie, she veers into stupid vanity after her boyfriend dumps her over the phone and moves to Miami without telling her. (I guess Benjamin Bratt wisely avoided the sequel.) It takes the kidnapping of Miss USA and Captain Kirk to jolt her back into action.

The movie is very long. I fell asleep and missed the (I assume) thrilling climax. Couldn't help but notice that the movie kept clunking along for quite awhile after the thrilling climax.

Last Modified 2024-02-04 5:05 AM EDT

War of the Worlds

[Amazon Link]
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[4.0 stars] [IMDb Link]

We haven't been seeing many summer blockbusters this season; this is only the second.

The special effects are unsurprisingly awesome. And they don't get very cute with H. G. Wells' original story. Details differ: it's modern-day of course, and Mars isn't explicitly named as the source of the invasion. But (minor spoiler) the aliens are finally laid low by microbes, not by resourceful humans.

Tom Cruise plays a divorced working-class guy with a surly son who doesn't like him much and a precocious but troubled daughter. Apparently the custody agreement says the kids are to visit him on alien-landing weekends. This whole dysfunctional family plot gets stapled onto the invasion plot; the result is kind of clunky, but the movie moves too fast to really notice. Similarly, Cruise spends most of the movie trying to get to Boston, where his ex-wife is. Exactly why he thinks that's a good idea is never quite explained, other than it makes the movie happen.

Last Modified 2024-02-04 5:06 AM EDT