Thursday, July 30, 2009

Dog Day mid-Afternoon

I really don't remember if it was during the kid's Spring Break or Summer of '08 that we saw Beverly Hills Chihuahua in our trusty dollar cinema. It was unclear, a blur, a haze. Like an overripe peach in a blender. We hadn't seen a movie in a while and with good reason. The pickings were slim. As evidenced by our ending up in a Disney talking-dog movie.

Now please don't get me wrong. I have nothing against Disney, nor do I make it a point to avoid talking-dog movies. My youngest son happens to really like Snow Buddies which is a delightful adventure invol... no it's not. It's a kids movie that uses as many catch phrases as it possibly can in hopes of staying "current". Again, there's nothing wrong with that. There's an audience for that. I'm just not included in that audience, which is fine. Wow, that sounds cynical.

Beverly Hills Chihuahua uses the same formula. Cram as many catch phrases in the movie as possible and pass them off as jokes. Throw in a few worn out colloquialisms in hope that people have either forgotten about them or still haven't heard them yet. This formula is framed around a chihuahua named Chloe (Drew Barrymore) who is the pet of a very rich woman "Vivian" (Jaime Lee Curtis) who treats Chloe like a spoiled child. The Mexican gardener "Sam" who is apparently a confidant of Vivian. Hmm. Gardener, rich woman in large house... Nah.

Anyway Sam has a dog "Papi" who is also a chihuahua that he takes with him to his gardening duties for some reason. Papi falls for Chloe and is determined to impress her but Chloe is having none of it. Throw in other spoiled dog friends of Chloe (who seem to be as fond of dog clothing as Chloe and Vivian) to be the smack talking comedy relief of Beverly Hills petdom.

Vivian is called away on something or other probably involving whatever business she's in. I don't remember if it was mentioned. So she leaves her niece "Rachel" to take good care of Chloe and everything works out just fine and the movie ends. HAH! Thought you were going to get off easy did you? Nope. The self-centered niece takes off with her friends to Mexico and takes the self-centered dog with them. Dog gets lost. Ensuing plot complications lead us to a heroic-tragic German Shepherd named Delgado, a rat and iguana that fill our R2D2 and C3P0 requirement, and some diamond thieves that fill out our villain quota nicely. Our villains even get an evil dog with witch to interact with our heroes.

It's a Kids, Buddy, Comedy, Road-movie to Mexico. It really succeeds as a kids movie if nothing else. I remember talking with my neighbor as we exited the movie with our kids and agreeing that it was well worth the $1.50 for the ticket. But not much more.

*UPDATE* 3:21pm 7/30/09
It has been brought to my attention that the trailer (below) for Bevery Hills Chihuahua can be confusing if you don't speak German. If that is indeed an issue for you then please follow this link to see the trailer in English.

Trailer for Beverly Hills Chihuahua

Trailer for Snow Buddies

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Results are In, dadgummit

The people have spoken. All four readers of our little Cow Town Movie Blog have had their voice heard and even though there is no clear majority...

I vow, by the end of July, there will be a review of Drew Barrymore's magnum opus, Beverly Hills Chihuahua. I will do this not because it will be easy, but because it will be hard!

Now if you will excuse me, I have to go psych myself up for this.


Friday, July 10, 2009

The X-Files... For Kids!

The usual suspects and I were not able to see Monsters Vs. Aliens during it's first run in the theaters so they were quite interested to find out that it had made it's way to the dollar cinema a week or two ago. Which, of course falls right into my plans BWAHAHAHAHA!

Ahem... please excuse me.

Far be it for me to deny my children a first-run movie simply because my blog deals (on occasion) with dollar movies, and would somewhat legitimize my writing about it here. Anyway, we met the neighbors there and for reasons I'd probably discover if I paid attention to that sort of thing, the tickets were back down to $1. from the $1.50 they seem to be charging there now. I decided not to complain.

Monsters vs. Aliens is, on the surface, about a group of monsters that have been hidden from society in a top-secret underground (presumably) facility for the last 40 some-odd years. When a one-eyed UFO crashed down to Earth they are called upon to save it as nothing else seems to have any effect on the gigantic egg-shaped robot, thingy. The underlying theme of the movie is that the soon-to-be newlywed Susan is hit by a meteor on her wedding day and grows into the 50 Foot Woman. It explores how she deals with becoming a "monster". I was pleasantly surprised at this turn of events because it's an uncommon direction for a kid/buddy movie to turn.

The voice for Susan is played by Reese Witherspoon who does a wonderful job adding her voice to this flick. In my opinion she really should stick to voice acting as a primary source of income. I only say this after her aggressively average performances in which she has to both speak and act in the live action movies I've seen her in. Drew Barrymore should also take a hint from Witherspoon on this front. Granted, Beverly Hills Chihuahua is no Monsters vs. Aliens but Drew is a much more convincing chihuahua than she is a person when it comes to acting. I'll re-live said chihuahua movie here if you really want me to. Maybe if I can figure out how to place a poll on this blog then you can make your voice heard about voice-actors in dog movies.

The other monsters are a The Blob character named Bob (Seth Rogen), a Creature from the Black Lagoon type monster named the Missing Link (Will Arnett) I think they could have done more with this character but what do I know, and Dr. Cockroach (Hugh Laurie) who has a giant cockroach head on a human body from an experiment reminiscent of The Fly. People now seem to associate Hugh Laurie with the TV show House but I've never watched it so I always equate him with the buffoonish Hugh from the BBC Blackadder series. Much funnier than a cranky doctor if you ask me. There was also a nod to the Japanese giant monster movies with an enormous (apparently) baby caterpillar that is Mothra, or something.

The General that is in charge of the monsters is W.R. Monger who is played quite well by Kiefer Sutherland and is eventually portrayed as a good guy despite his name. I know! Modern day Hollywood made a military figure into a good guy! Will wonders never cease? The character of the president is played by Stephen Colbert who is only a bumbling fool in about half of his scenes but he does get to show off his mad piano skillz. The alien is played by some guy I never heard of but fills the generic alien badguy role just fine. That is if you consistently apply the "when in doubt give the bad guy a British accent" rule. Susan's TV news reporter fiance' is also played by some guy I never heard of but fills the generic-but-all-too-accurate role of self centered, arrogant, aloof, empty suit of a TV reporter adequately.

This is a really good kids, buddy, action, comedy if you like that kind of thing. We'll probably get in on DVD when it comes out.

Trailer for Monsters vs. Aliens

Trailer for Beverly Hills Chihuahua

Trailer for The Fly

Trailer for The Creature from the Black Lagoon

Trailer for The Blob

Trailer for Attack of the 50 foot Woman

Trailer for Mothra