Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian

Sometimes I wonder why studios can’t be happy with a successful movie that ends with just the first movie.  Then I get a clue and remember that this is show business, which means squeeze every last penny you can from anything remotely successful and repackage the rest.  When Night at the Museum came out, I enjoyed it, but felt it was a one-shot deal.  Definitely a decent family movie, but that was about it.  Then I heard they were making a sequel…

So, in the midst of Star Trek mania and Terminator frenzy, the latest entry tries to make some waves before Up is released.  I found myself with some time to kill in the afternoon and chose to go check it out at Regal.  it was an average mid-afternoon – nothing too spectacular.

Museum 2 finds us a couple of years removed from the first movie.  Larry (Ben Stiller) has moved on to become a successful inventor of “made for TV” products and no longer working for the museum.  He is saddened to discover that the exhibits are being dismantled and sent to the Smithsonian…..but not all of them.  He follows the exhibits to Washington, where the tablet begins its work hijinks ensue.  Amy Adams is the love interest and does a great take on the speaking style of the 20s.  Hank Azaria leads a cast of supporting characters that have fun.  Of course, the ending is predictable, but you knew that before buying a ticket.

My advice:  dollar theater or DVD – not necessarily a big-screen feature, but better than some other choices, particularly for the family…

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog

I had been hearing about this one for a while, and never got around to seeing it until I noticed I could rent the re-release DVD from Netflix.  Not sure what drew me more to watching this, the fact that Neil Patrick Harris is in it or the story behind the whole project.  Wikipedia it if you’re not familiar with the DHSALB story.

Anyway, so it’s a 42-minute, 3-act musical about evil villains, superheroes, laundry marts, and the homeless.  I really don’t like 99% of musicals…and my exceptions are all rather offbeat ones (Avenue Q, Across the Universe, South Park Movie, etc.).  At first I did think the singing was cheesy, but later that became the charm of the whole thing.  It had great production value considering the time and budget it was done under.  The whole cast and crew really put their full effort into this series and it shows completely.  The story was a bit rushed, but considering they only had 42 minutes to work with, they at least told everything they needed to so it could be self-contained, albeit a bit too quickly.

The DVD extras were the standard commentary tracks and some behind the scenes interviews.  But they were great interviews about the production, the music, and a wrap-up, gave a lot more depth to the production of the musical and just how much effort everyone put into it.  Another great part of the extras was the Evil League of Evil auditions which were fans of the musical that sent in their audition tapes as villains applying to be in the ELE.  The ones that made it to DVD were the cream of the crop, and seriously some of them were amazingly funny.

My advice: Yes, you can get this for free on the internet, but the DVD extras of the cast interviews/thoughts and the ELE auditions are worth it.  Plus watching all three acts together without streaming lag or having to load the next video is nice.

Observe & Report

I’m a fan of Seth Rogan, and that’s pretty much why I wanted to see this movie.  Also, it came out right when Paul Blart: Mall Cop did,and with 2 mall cop movies out at the same time, this one definitely looked better.

In all honesty, I didn’t think it would be that good, but it looked okay enough to spend a few bucks at the cheap theater.  The trailer was not a good representation of the movie; I was expecting a whole “dork guy going after hot chick” plot, and instead was pleasantly surprised with a bit more deeper story than that.  The acting was good, a well-rounded cast of characters that played off each other rather well with their unique quirks.  There was a lot more action than I originally thought, usually the stuff you see in the trailer is the bulk of it, but there was quite a bit of good fight scenes and stunt work.  I’d have to say the best part was definitely the ending, not as cliche as you would expect from this movie’s premise.

My advice: This is a higher-brow dumb comedy.  Give it a chance, a rental at least.  I’ll check the DVD out because I’m sure there’s some great outtakes and deleted scenes to be had.