I honestly think my library does this just to piss me off. All of the following Blu-rays came in at the same time (except Pulp Fiction, that was on HDNet Movies), which means I had to shut off my social life for a week just to get through them within the 7 day limit (yeah, I work a couple of jobs, so my free time is limited):
Pulp Fiction (1994) 8/10 - I’ve only seen this movie once before, many years ago, but at that time I instantly fell in love with it. For some reason, I liked it a little less this time around but still had a blast watching it. Like The Good, the Bad and The Ugly, this film has cool characters and a great soundtrack, but it also shares the pacing problems that come with the less interesting moments sprinkled throughout the long runtime (for example, the whole Christopher Walken/wrist watch scene actually bored me, just as the bridge scene in The Good, the Bad and The Ugly does). Still, Tarantino has this movie oozing with soo much style and masterfully written dialogue that it arrests you from beginning to end. It's of my opinion that Tarantino hasn’t come close to matching the brilliance of this or Reservoir Dogs since. Also, I couldn’t believe how hard I was laughing at the “aww man, I just shot Marvin in the face” line and the "Dead Nigger Storage" bit. Still hilarious all these years later.
Limitless (2011) 6/10 - It had potential but never really went anywhere. The premise of a man being able to unlock his full brain capacity (with a pill) to amazing results, considering that we only use 20% of our brain (not actually true), should’ve made for a very compelling film. Instead, they give us the most unappealing protagonist they could think of, who does not change or grow in any way possible from his experiences. He’s just a unsympathetic d-bag from beginning to end. The movie’s ending is open, since there wasn’t any real story to speak of (it seemed to be more about the pill and it’s effects then our protagonist) and the so-called “antagonists” come across as mere speed bumps. Cool idea but nothing really developed out of it.
Your Highness (2011) 5/10 - It’s about as bad as I thought it would be. I wasn’t a fan of Danny McBride walking into this movie, it’s his lack of versatility more then anything that bothers me, and this movie really doesn’t do anything to change that. James Franco, on the other hand, adapts well with the medieval setting and effortlessly plays the charming prince. The whole story is cartoonish in both premise and execution, with the villain being played strictly for laughs as opposed to any kind of character building threat. This all plays out in your typical ‘misfit goes on a quest to obtain an item that will be used to defeat some kind of evil threatening the land and will step up to become the hero at the end’ plot line. Laughs are scarce throughout, and the intermixing of obnoxious modernized characters in an old world setting never really melds as effectively as it could, with the characters all coming across like the overblown paper-thin stereotypes you’d expect to see on Saturday morning. Of course, I didn’t like Monty Python and the Holy Grail either, so maybe this just isn’t my thing.
Paul (2011) 6/10 - Could’ve been soo much more but it’s evident from the very start that it was going to be a lifeless genre spoof. Despite Seth Rogan’s voice giving me a migraine, the character of Paul is likable and he’s an absolutely breathtaking visual effect (best part about the movie). The other two main protagonists, Pegg and Frost, are disappointingly underwritten-nerdy Comic-Con going stereotypes. They even throw in an overdone religious stereotype to act as makeshift love interest (I’m sure the religious bashing will offend many as it’s a little harsher then you normally see). All the protagonists and antagonist in this movie are soo cardboard and uninteresting, that it was literally the character of Paul staying my hand from the power off button. As you would expect from this kind of parody, it’s chock full of sci-fi movie references and for the most part, they largely miss the mark (and I consider myself pretty nerdy when it comes to this kind of stuff). When compared to Mottola’s other work, I didn’t like it nearly as much as Superbad and would equate the entertainment value much more inline with his dreary Adventureland.
Rio (2011) 6.5/10 - Enjoyable. It really shouldn't be as it’s story is simply standard, the characters lack any kind of depth and the musical numbers are mediocre, but the whole thing is just soo lively that it’s infectious. As with Horton Hears a Who!, the character animation is absolutely gorgeous and I just can’t praise it enough. Pixar may own subtlety but Blue Sky absolutely cements themselves as the masters of cartoony animation. Dancing is something that’s hard to pull off and Blue Sky makes it look easy. Despite the music being forgettable, the actual musical sequences themselves are well made. The opening number for instance has excellent choreography and is handled with such vigor that, as short as it is, it impressed me much more then anything Disney has done in the past decade. This is one of those movies that can be flipped on just to enjoy the positive energy, whether you’re actually watching it or just using it for background noise.