Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
was actually a pretty darn good film. It was predictable as all get out… knowing the premise of the film from the previews, it was pretty obvious how it would turn out from the moment Jim Carrey’s character first opens his journal exposing that pages were missing. If you missed this in the opening minutes, perhaps it is because you don’t watch a movie as critically as I do, but for my money – the storyline was pretty darn transparent.

What was good about the film however, were the character development and acting skills. You really empathized with the lead characters and were genuinely concerned about resolution. Kate Winslet did her best job to date as Clementine. Tom Wilkinson also did a fine job. I have always thought of Kirsten Dunst as a pretty good actress, but her performance in this film was flat. It always seemed like Kirsten playing a character poorly and never convinced me that she was Mary – the character from the film.

If you want to see a slightly offbeat romance – check this film out. You should probably pay attention if you don’t want to get confused, but if you do focus, it is quite easy to follow… and as stated above… to predict. In the end, it doesn’t matter because most films are predictable and as long as it goes where you want it to… all is forgiven.

RATING 8 out of 10

Next up is Walking Tall. WT is inspired by the Bufford Pusser saga of the same name. For those of you who do not remember the story of Sheriff Bufford Pusser – don’t worry… this film has nothing to do with the original. (Although, you should check out the original Walking Tall for the story of the real Bufford Pusser as portrayed by Joe Don Baker.)

This time it is the story of Chris Vaughn (The Rock) returning home to find his small town overrun with cookie cutter bad guys. As per usual, action-hero, The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) kicks in some teeth, blows some things up and generally causes mayhem with his own brand of justice. The other thing that survives from the original Walking Tall is the trademark ass-kicking stick.

This is a fun movie. If you want typical action-hero schlock – you have found it. Once again, I think that Dwayne Johnson has been sold short in the script department. His WWF/WWE character portrayals as The People’s Champion and The Rock have proven that he can act. Not only is he a huge ripped behemoth, he can actually act. You get to see glimpses of it in other action flicks (Scorpion King, The Rundown) but he is never allowed to really show it. Do not look for any deep dialogue, great direction, or even decent acting in this film either… look for things to get smashed and bones to get broken. You will find plenty of both.

PS Johnny Knoxville has turned into a pretty darn decent actor himself. Check him out as Vaughn’s quirky sidekick.

RATING 7 out of 10

Rounding out this triple play of films is Hidalgo. Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings trilogy) portrays a worn-out wild west star who heads to the middle east to win the greatest long distance race in the world. He confronts enemies, fights his inner demons, and attempts to triumph over both. Sounds impressive, huh? Its not. It is campy, juvenile, overly dramatic, poorly directed, uninspired, boring and tired. To further muddle an already lame script, it ventured off into the same old “the poor Indians were slaughtered by White Man” left-wing rhetoric. Sure, we know it happened and it was sad – but do we have to relive it every single time there is an American Indian portrayed in a Hollywood film? Can’t someone either assume we all know it or maybe find an original way to run that same flag up the pole?

Mortensen however, did a fine job of acting.

Great family adventure if your kids are under 12.

RATING 5 out of 10