Once Upon a Mattress (2005) – When stage plays are translated to cinema, especially comedy musicals, I think they are often best served by simply filming a “stagey” version such as this, rather than trying to un-stage it. Seeing Tracy Ulman prance around the set as the delightfully un-delicate Princess Winnifred is a joy which would be muted if we were in a real (or real-looking) castle, wearing real (or real-looking) period costume. And some familiar faces from the supporting cast, such as Carol Burnett and Tom Smothers, are really best when seen on stage. More fun that I had expected from a story whose engine was Zooey Deschanel’s premarital pregnancy!
Godzilla: Final Wars (2004) – Godzilla flicks are becoming like James Bond flicks for me — I’ve seen so many of them that all their action scenes blur together. So I couldn’t remember if I’d seen this before when I put it on. I think I should be able to remember which one it is, though: this is the Godzilla movie in which Godzilla appears before the opening credits, and then isn’t even mentioned again until it’s time for him to appear for the final battle. As a conscious remake/mashup of Godzilla vs. Monster Zero and Destroy All Monsters, this movie has both some of the most annoying aliens ever (seriously, I wanted to slap that one “X” guy every time he appeared on screen) and some of the most unlikely “classic” Godzilla foe revivals (King Caesar? Hedora? Wow).
The Dinosaur Project (2012) – I knew nothing about this one when I turned it on; I thought it was just another lame SyFy Original. It’s actually an enjoyable British-made “found footage” movie about an expedition to the Congo to find the Mokele-Mbembe, in which a pterosaur-caused chopper crash and some well-drawn character conflicts combine to cause havoc. The CG dinosaurs are respectable, the South African shooting locations are convincingly authentic, and the conceit of having everyone wear a mini wireless videocam on their person somewhere helps avoid the problem of “Put down the damned camera while you’re running for your life, you moron.”