Idiocracy (2006, Director Mike Judge): Rating 7/10I had never heard of this movie until a good friend recommended it a few weeks ago. And I have to admit, I am glad for the recommendation because it is a funny movie. The best part of Idiocracy is the story idea -- Mike Judge envisions a future society where the stupid vastly outnumber the intelligent. The problem starts in the present when all the intelligent couples are so busy with their lives that they delay having kids, while dumb jocks and trailer park men are busy impregnating countless partners. So if that dumb gene ratio is taken a few hundred years in the future, then the future turns out to be pretty idiotic.
A few glimpses of the bleak future -- garbage piled up to the skies; crops are dead; no one drinks water but only sugar drinks; the only items people read are entertainment magazines; local language is a mix of Hillbilly and inner city slang; corporations dominate everything (some big name stores even offer in-store college education); health-care is dismal; currency is severely devalued and the arts are dead. In fact, the most popular & biggest award winning film is called "Ass" and is a 90 minute long movie simply focussing on a man's ass. Phew! Okay, I have to admit, some parts of the movie are indeed scary because present day society exhibits similar stupid tendencies. But Mike Judge has taken present day dumbness and projected it to the worst possible scenario.
Not much to say about the acting in the movie -- with the exception of Luke Wilson, everyone is supposed to be dumb and easily play their part convincingly. There are some logic problems with the plot and some unanswered questions -- for example, everytime someone in the movie talked about the world, it was only in reference to America. I never did quite get if the entire planet was stupid or only America? What about Canada? Is it safe to dismiss this question by saying that in this instance, the movie follows Hollywood summer blockbuster logic -- America is the center of the world, other nations don't matter. Anyway, I did like the overall idea of the movie. And the movie's short length (just about 80 minutes) ensures that the jokes don't get too dull.
Night at the Museum (2006, Director Shawn Levy): Rating 7.5/10I lasted this long without having seen this movie. But then again, looking at the dismal line-up of movies currently at the multiplex, this looked like the only movie which I could sit through. Going in, the trailers had already informed me what the movie was about and when to expect some of the funny moments. I knew there was no point in judging the story or the direction as finding faults would be too easy. So I sat back and enjoyed the movie as much as I could. Here were some positives:
a) Ricky Gervais has a funny cameo -- his character is a loose extension from The Office. An odd quirk to character is that he never finishes all his sentences and leaves words in mid-stream.
b) Steve Coogan and Owen Wilson are an amusing miniature duo.
c) Brad Garrett has some hilariously stupid lines as the voice of the Easter Island statue -- "Dum Dum want gum gum" and "Quiet. My Dum Dum wants to speak." Silly stuff.
d) The camera work is good and that should not be a surprize considering that Guillermo Navarro was behind the lens.
And the moral lesson shown in the movie is that if people read more books, they would be more aware of history and other cultures and would be better equipped to deal with all situations.