It's time to take some movies home for Christmas, and this week is a pretty hot one for new releases - we have one of the funniest comedies of the summer, an awesome WWII action flick, and, uh, a movie about talking rodents that save the world.
The Hangover - This baby came out of nowhere and made instant stars out of its three male leads - Zach Galifinakis, especially, went from being a weird guy with a beard on the Internet to a bona-fide movie actor, and Bradley Cooper immediately started boning Jennifer Aniston in the tabloids. And for good reason - this riotous, anarchic comedy deserved all the praise it got. Starting from a very simple premise - a bachelor party in Vegas goes horribly wrong when three friends wake up from a blackout bender and try to put the previous night's events back together - The Hangover piles on the gags and crazy situations until the whole thing combusts into a ball of hilarity. Oh, and Mike Tyson's in it.
Inglourious Basterds - Quentin Tarantino is nothing if not uneven, but this latest flick, which he's allegedly been working on for over a decade, is one of his most reliably entertaining in years. Several plots intertwine in this WWII tale, but the real fun is the Nazi-killing posse of the title led by Brad Pitt in one of his patented "incomprehensible accent" roles. Some gore, some laughs, and an absolutely unforgettable and Oscar-worthy performance by Christoph Waltz as the SS colonel Hans Landa, the movie's antagonist. Every scene he's in blazes with intensity, and if he doesn't get an Oscar nod it'll be a damn dirty shame.
The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard - This didn't do as well at the box office as it deserved to, but it's a fun little comedy with a very 80s plotline - a bunch of hard-charging salesmen must move cars from a lot to save the business. But in the era of cash for clunkers, is America really ready to laugh at predatory sales tactics? Jeremy Piven is perfectly cast as sales genius Don Ready, and the movie also features Ed Helms and Ken Jeong from The Hangover if you want to do a thematic double feature.
G-Force - How about a triple feature? Yeah, after The Hangover, Zach Galifinakis decided to make this CGI animated comedy about superspy guinea pigs on a top-secret mission. The cast for this thing is just bananas - Nicolas Cage! Penelope Cruz! Steve Buscemi! - but I still couldn't muster up the courage to go into a theater playing it.
Taking Woodstock - Sort of inexplicable Ang Lee historical comedy about those crazy hippies and their sexual shenanigans. I couldn't really understand why this movie got made, to be honest - do the kids today even know what Woodstock was? I mean, there's kids in high school who weren't even alive for Woodstock '94! Some good performances from comedian Dimitri Martin and Liev Schrieber as a towering transvestite, though.