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The Forbidden Kingdom

Eh... I can't in good conscience recommend The Forbidden Kingdom to anyone.

To be fair, I'm gonna have a hard time reviewing Kung-Fu movies, Westerns, War and Mob movies. I just don't care for the genres. That being said, The Forbidden Kingdom had every opportunity to change my mind. There have been several instances when someone has mixed one of the above genres with a genre that I actually enjoy and made a movie that I can recommend... Jarhead, Back to the Future Part III, Dick Tracy just to name a few (and by a few, I mean the only ones I can think of right now).

The movie was both over explained and under explained at the same time. When we weren't listening to some longwinded explanation of the necessary backstory voiced over a flashback, we were either listening to a long winded explanation of a secondary characters unnecessary backstory, or watching an overlong fight sequence. What we should have been doing (short of going home to play Grand Theft Auto IV) is listening to a credible explanation as to how the main character travelled thousands of miles and hundreds of years just as he is about to be killed after witnessing a murder. I'm still waiting for an explanation for all of the floating around that happens in kung-fu movies, too, by the way.

The timeline of the movie is unclear as well. This is due mainly to the terrible editing job. Most people scoff at the editing award at the Oscars. When an editor does a good job, you shouldn't know it... you'll know it if (s)he does a poor job and this was one of those times. The main character seems to master the art of kung-fu and develops an attachment to Jackie Chan over a very short period of time.

The bottom line is, I tend not to enjoy kung-fu movies, however, this movie did nothing to win me over. I don't like westerns, but I did like 3:10 to Yuma and The Assassination of Jesse James last year so it wouldn't have taken much. This movie was perfectly placed to open the kung-fu movie "door" for me, mixing it with fantasy and comedy... but it failed.

Baby Mama


I love 30 Rock. Unfortunately, this movie can only influence its audience in one of three ways. 30 Rock fans will go and be completely disappointed. People who have never seen 30 Rock will think that this movie represents the level of humor on the show. Or people will not think of 30 Rock at all... and still hate it.

Tina Fey did not write or create the characters for this movie although it seems like the role was created for her. There really aren't enough funny moments in the movie to recommend it, in fact, if you've seen the trailer, you've seen all of the funniest parts. It's super predictable and not at all original. Baby Mama is safe from beginning to end and boring as a result.



This is a very late review... Cloverfield was released in theatres on 1/18/08. That's when I saw it and I assure you that had this site been in existence, I would have been very excited to review it. It was released on DVD today and I'm typing this as I'm watching it.

The hype for this movie began in July '07 when the ridiculously cryptic teaser trailer was attached to the release of Transformers. It was a simple concept, it was "home video" footage of a going away party for Rob, who is moving to Japan. After an earthquake shakes up the party, the guests all go to the roof to get a better view of what was going on outside. They see a large explosion and stampede out of the building to avoid being hit by debris, consisting of chunks of building and the head of the Statue of Liberty. There was no title for the movie, only a date (1-18-08) and a producer, J.J. Abrams (Lost, Alias). Needless to say, the Internet went crazy.

Every commercial from that point forward lowered my expectations just a little bit more. The acting and special effects looked terrible and the dialogue hokey. My low expectations may have something to do with the fact that I absolutely LOVED this movie. It was received well by the majority of critics, however, so maybe it wasn't just the level of the bar that I had set for it.

I'm actually surprised at how long it took Hollywood to be inspired by the success of The Blair Witch Project (which I also loved). The hand held camera method of telling a story from the perspective of the characters is very effective. It adds a sense of realism that can actually put you in the situation that the characters are in if you let it. The difference between Cloverfield and Blair Witch is scale. This movie is huge and the special effects are huge; yet the story stays so personal because of the way it was filmed and the way it was acted. The cast does a great job making their performances seem candid.

Cloverfield has it's share of haters, though, and some of their points are valid. The shaky camera movements were difficult to watch in theatres (this is not a problem on the small screen, though). The amount of trauma that the characters survive is mind-boggling. If you believe in the power of the human spirit to overcome insurmountable odds in order to survive, then you'd still have to admit that the camera shouldn't have made it through the ordeal. The camera style itself seems to contradict its purpose because the fact that the camera is functional and still has battery life at the end of the movie is pretty unrealistic.

If you let yourself get past the problems with the movie, you will definitely be entertained, though. The acting and special effects were not terrible and the dialogue really wasn't that hokey.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

I'm gonna go ahead and say yes... but it was a close call.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall has a lot of things going for it. The characters are great and their reactions to the things that are going on are realistic, and therefore funny. All I kept hearing about the movie was how funny it was and that there was full frontal male nudity. I wish I could go back in time and see the movie not knowing about the nudity because I want to know if the shock value would have made it feel less forced. It was unnecessary and, really, not that funny.

Now that I think about it there were several gags in the movie that seemed forced. The restaurant host that had a man crush on the rock star was kinda forced. The Dracula musical puppet show storyline was just kinda thrown in there and stuck out like a sore thumb.

There are a few reasons that I really liked Forgetting Sarah Marshall. The spoof of the crime show that Sarah Marshall starred in was hysterrical as was every scene that Paul Rudd was in. The other reason is, as I said earlier, the characters... Typically in a romantic comedy, you are meant to HATE the antagonist. Not here... there is a moment in the middle of the movie that you actually begin to understand and feel bad for Sarah Marshall and her eccentric rockstar boyfriend. Mila Kunis's character is perfect, but you can still understand why Peter is conflicted when it comes time to make the inevitable decision between staying with her or going back to Sarah.

Overall, I'd say that this is a major step down from Superbad and Knocked Up, but it's still a very funny addition to Judd Apatow's comedy empire.

Smart People


Smart People isn't really about anything. There's a lot of things happening, a lot of ridiculously unrealistic dialogue, a surprising amount of beastiality (Sarah Jessica Parker = horse), but there's no real plot. The characters all have things going on, but they never amount to anything as far as this movie is concerned.

Please don't let the fact that Ellen Page is in a movie trick you into seeing it. Diablo Cody's screenplay for Juno was genuine; Mark Jude Poirier's screenplay shows such pomposity that you actually begin to question how smart he is. It actually reminded me of a scene in an episode of Friends... stick with me here... Monica and Chandler wanted to adopt a baby, i think, and Joey writes a recommendation letter to the agency...

Monica: It doesn't make any sense.
Joey: Of course it does. It's smart! I used a thesaurus!
Chandler: On every word?
Joey: Yep.
Monica: All right, what was this sentence, originally?
Joey: Oh. "They're warm, nice people with big hearts."
Chandler: And that became, "They're humid, pre-possessing homosapiens with full-sized aortic pumps"?

... you see what I'm getting at? I'll admit to using a thesaurus to spruce up my writing every once in a while. I'll even sometimes throw in a big word that I actually know just to prove that I know big words and can use them in sentences... it makes me feel good about myself. People don't talk like that all the time, though... not even "smart people".



What a disappointment. I laughed precisely three times. If you don't pay attention to the words, the dialogue might actually sound witty and entertaining. This is a testament to Clooney, Zellweger, and Krasinsky because if you happen to pay attention to what they are saying, you'd realize that the dialogue isn't witty at all. In fact, some of it doesn't even make any sense.

This movie is all over the place. Sometimes it's overly dramatic, sometimes it's cartoonish. It is very rarely funny and it's certainly not a "screwball" comedy. There was one "screwball-y" scene that could have been saved for a live action Looney Tunes movie starring George Clooney as Bugs Bunny. If they had advertised this movie as a light drama, and most of the attempts at witty banter had been removed from the screenplay, I might... might have given it a good review. Unfortunately they didn't and it wasn't... so I couldn't.

Run, Fatboy, Run


Of all of my negative reviews, this is the one I regret the most. I wanted to LOVE this movie. I liked it. Should you pay $10 to see it in the theatre? No.

This movie (contrary to what the title would have you believe) has a lot of sweet moments. It also has a lot of funny moments. The problem is, I went in with pretty high expectations. Every movie I've seen Simon Pegg in has been one of my favorite movies of the year it came out. Shaun of the Dead is one of my favorite movies... ever. Hot Fuzz was great... even Mission Impossible III. While I enjoyed Run, Fatboy, Run, it probably won't make it through the summer in my top 20 of the year. If Simon Pegg is trying to fill in the romantic comedy space on his resume, mission accomplished.

Part of the problem with this movie is the progression of Pegg's and Hank Azaria's characters. When we meet him, Whit (Azaria) is great. He is a perfectly reasonable guy who makes perfectly reasonable decisions for the situation that he is in. We're meant to hate him simply because he's the antagonist to the funny slacker with the heart of gold. Meanwhile, Dennis (Pegg), is a prick. He left his pregnant fiancee at the alter on their wedding day. He's a deadbeat who hangs out with rejects and degenerates and can't pay his rent. About two thirds of the way through the movie, the writers realized that they had it backwards. At that point Dennis becomes a determined, dedicated go-getter and Whit turns into this "it's all about me, I do petty things to make myself feel better and curse at children when things don't go my way"... guy. It also relies very heavily on slapstick and gross-out humor. This isn't always a bad thing, but it's not why I go to see a Simon Pegg movie.

Run, Fatboy, Run is a strong rental. Look for it at Blockbuster, put it at the top of your Netflix queue. It's a satisfying, entertaining movie... but I really didn't feel like it was worth the trip to the theatre.