Johnny Depp plays John Wilmot, the Earl of Rochester and poet/playwright. I would have given up on this movie early on, except Johnny Depp can act. Otherwise, I wouldn't have watched the main character piss away his wealth, title and marriage in a joyless self-destructive spiral of debauchery, in this 17th-century version of Less Than Zero. A reminder that Olden Times were filled with mud and disease. I wasn't happy that I watched it. A film for those who thought "Leaving Las Vegas" was too cheerful.
Overall Rating: 3 (where 1=Worthless, 10=Fabulous). E8FR: 0312-2213*
Grim depiction of a nice guy's life spiraling downward due to his bad choices and some random misfortune. Feels like Cuba Gooding Jr's bid for a leading-role Oscar, but the movie just isn't engaging enough. The final scene presents a glimmer of hope for the future, but it felt as if there was an original, less cheerful ending that a test audience thought was way too depressing, so the denouement was rewritten.
Overall Rating: 3 (where 1=Worthless, 10=Fabulous). E8FR: 0000-2322*
28 Weeks Later.
Sequel to the reasonably good "28 Days Later," but this one has way too many "WTF?" moments that just don't make sense. I found it hard to connect with the characters while they were predictably being picked off one by one because I kept thinking "Well, if you hadn't been so stupid, you wouldn't be surrounded by angry fast zombies right now, would you?"
Overall Rating: 3 (where 1=Worthless, 10=Fabulous). E8FR: 1000-3442*
I don't mean to be culturally insensitive, as this is based on a Korean legend (which I'm sure is beautiful and mythic), but this movie is about giant snakes fighting over a glowy ball hidden inside some woman. Written and directed by the same person (a warning sign), it starts with a 20-minute flashback (another warning sign). Then the woman is chased by the giant snake and his evil fan club, causing much collateral damage to Los Angeles. When a pragmatic government agent points out that they could solve everything by shooting the woman, everyone reacts like he's a bad guy. If I was forced to say one nice thing about the film, it would be that the computer-generated creatures are pretty good.
Overall Rating: 3 (where 1=Worthless, 10=Fabulous). E8FR: 0100-3420*
The Scorpion King.
This movie surprised me. Perhaps it was because I had very low expectations that I found it reasonably enjoyable. It's essentially a Conan movie where someone replaces all occurrences of "Conan" and "Cimmerian" with "Mythais" and "Akkadian." (Note: In this film, Akkadians are legendary muscular assassins, whereas they were really better known for their whimsical scrolls and soft cheeses). No surprises. Mythic anti-hero hacks his way through increasingly large number of antagonist's minions until the final fistfight. But it was adequate 92-minute diversion of the sword-and-sandal variety.
Overall Rating: 5 (where 1=Worthless, 10=Fabulous). E8FR: 1100-4320*
I Want Someone To Eat Cheese With.
Normally, I worry when one person writes/directs/stars/produces a movie. But this is a decent self-deprecating comedy by Jeff Garlin, who plays an overweight actor looking for love. A number of cameos by Chicago actors/comics. No nudity, but you'll be rewarded if you've been yearning to see Sarah Silverman in her underwear. I neither connected with the characters sufficiently nor found the writing witty enough to really recommend it, but it wasn't a waste of my time.
Overall Rating: 5 (where 1=Worthless, 10=Fabulous). E8FR: 3200-0001*
* Evan's Eight-Facet Rating. From 0 (None) to 4 (Lots!) of each of these:
Humor, Sexual References, Nudity, Sexual Activity – Action, Violence, Gore, Profanity.