Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Killer Bs

Yesterday my career reviewing B movies progressed nicely, as well it might: for B movie critics January and February are like Christmas, Easter and the Super Bowl all in one. Over the holidays moviegoers gorge themselves on top-shelf product, and now is that quiet time--with the Oscars still weeks away--when the studios slip loads of stuff into theaters that no one much wants to see. In the modern movie era, I wonder if a major, blockbuster hit was ever released in January?

So last night found me at a virtually empty Eastgate Cinemas, where I first caught the Owen Wilson crime farce The Big Bounce and then the hip-hop dancing extravaganza You Got Served. I liked them both.

Owen Wilson cracks me up, though of late I have mostly seen him in small roles in films like The Royal Tenenbaums and Meet the Parents. So The Big Bounce is refreshing because, like Shanghai Noon, it lets Wilson shamble amusingly through a starring performance. And the film's stunning Oahu locations were a welcome respite from Wisconsin in February.

You Got Served took me to another warm locale, South Central Los Angeles, where teams of inner-city youths settle their differences in fancifully choreographed dances. The story is every sports film you've ever seen: will the underdogs win? (I'll give you one guess.) But the dance sequences are sensational and funny, if overedited. I confess there's something I don't understand about the very premise of the film--does this elaborate dance subculture really exist? But the film has cameos by Lil' Kim and the MTV network itself, and I guess they know better than I do.

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