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Old April 29 2011, 07:46 PM   #405
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

59. Team America: World Police (B-)
60. Bullets or Ballots (A-)

Team America: World Police: I'm of two minds about this movie, which I've seen more times than I would have ever expected based on the premise of a marionette movie from the creators of South Park. On one hand, this movie can be profoundly stupid. It seems that it takes every joke, and just runs with it...usually right into the ground (think of the Film Actor's Guild joke, a bit of dumb but effective humor that is used again and again). On the other hand, many of those jokes (and all of the musical numbers) are absolutely hilarious. The puppet sex scene is brilliant (though, like most jokes in the movie, it is allowed to go on for too long).

Bullets or Ballots: This gangster film seems to get lost amidst all the other gangster films produced in the 1930s, which is a shame, because I definitely enjoyed it a great deal more than the more well-known The Public Enemy. Humphrey Bogart plays a great villain (it's hard not to wonder how he ever became a romantic lead after parts like this), and Edward G. Robinson is equally good as the lead. He's also well-cast, because when he supposedly defects to the mob after being fired from the police force, you believe it -- it's pretty easy seeing the star of Little Caesar as a gangster. When the twist finally comes down the line that he's been playing the gangsters all along, it's a genuine surprise, too.

Unlike many other pictures I've seen from the 30s, the scenes never drag, either. If I had any complaint, it would be that the usual direct address to the audience in the beginning using title cards (telling the audience that the film isn't meant to glorify the gangster -- well, duh!) go on to parodic excess. And if I were to complain again, it would be that the title has almost nothing to do with the movie, which never comes down to the presented choice.
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