Smokin' Aces wanted really bad to be cool. It's not. It wasn't without characters I enjoyed. Jason Bateman is in maybe 5 minutes and frankly steals the movie. I've been singing his praises for decades, I'm glad people are using his talents these days. Ultimately, the movie just a mess... and worse than that a really trite one.
The remake of The Hitcher is as terrible as one might expect. Sean Bean is good, but frankly underutilized. It did inspire me with a low-budget script idea, however, that I may actually start writing after my current script.
Dreamgirls is not good. First of all, as musical aficionados already knew, the music is pretty lousy, and none of the songs are even remotely plausible as sixties hits. Oddly, considering that, the movie works best cinematically when it remembers it's a musical and not a biopic, which isn't nearly often enough. Eddie Murphy's performance turns out to be vastly overpraised. It's nothing that he didn't accomplish week in, week out on Saturday Night Live. It only seems amazing when compared to his output of the last 15 years. Jennifer Hudson, however, is easily as magnificent as the reputation suggests, and provides every single worthwhile moment - including some that are quite incredible - almost by herself.
Alpha Dog is almost good. In fact, if it wasn't for the horrible, embarrassing, overacted scene with Sharon Stone in a really crappy and poorly proportioned fat suit at a key dramatic moment, I'd have felt it was a good but flawed movie instead of an interesting failure. Anton Yelchin, Ben Foster and Justin Timberlake all give fantastic performances that come close to grounding the movie. Unfortunately, director Nick Cassavetes' instincts are depressingly Hollywood, which is a poor fit for this story. Not to mention, it's an "ensemble" movie that forgets key characters for long periods of time, and Emile Hirsch doesn't have anything close to the charisma necessary to convince me he's the cool leader of that group, the title character, and when the movie comes to focus on him, it stops dead.