Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

After years of rumors and hype about the possibility of a fourth Indiana Jones movie, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull had a lot to live up to. Whether it did or not is something you'll have to decide for yourself—and certainly there are a fair number of outraged fanboys out there—but, as for me, I loved it. In some ways it's a little goofier than at least the first two films, relying a bit more on one-liners, and Indy has gotten a little more superhuman in his toughness (especially considering that he's also nearly twenty years older than he was in The Last Crusade). But despite all of that it's still very much an Indiana Jones movie, and does everything that it should. It has great action sequences, of course, as it should, but it also brings back that sense of discovery that I remember from Raiders of the Lost Ark. And, most importantly, it has Indy, himself, exactly as he should be. What I think was particularly good about Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was that by making Indy's sidekick young and male (unlike Marion Ravenwood or Willie Scott) and unfamiliar with Indy (unlike Short Round, Sallah, or Henry Jones, Sr.) we almost get to see him with new eyes. I'm sure that some of you will disagree with me, but I think that Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is a worthy successor to the Indiana Jones franchise, and I give it my wholehearted recommendation.

Viewed: 5/22/2008 | Released: 5/21/2008 | Score: A

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Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Once again, the Apatow crew have made a winner. This time it's Jason Segel who fronts the movie as the writer and star. Many of you will remember him from Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared, but my first experience of Segel was as Seth Rogen's sleazy roommate in Knocked Up. This certainly shows him in a different light as the heartbroken Peter, although I gather that it was really Knocked Up that was the departure for him. Anyway, I thought he was really quite good in this film, managing to come off as pathetic, likeable, and funny all at the same time. The rest of the cast did a good job as well, including Mila Kunis, who I'd never really cared for in That 70's Show, but seemed to be well cast in this film. (She's also become quite beautiful since I last saw her, which certainly helps for being the love interest in this kind of movie.) Of course, what was really great about Forgetting Sarah Marshall, like all the rest of the recent films that this group has put out, was the writing. Not only was it uproariously funny, but it had a sense of honesty to it that I've come to expect from this team's films. If you're in the mood for a great comedy, definitely check this one out.

Viewed: 4/17/2008 | Released: 4/17/2008 | Score: A-

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