Tell Me What You Think...
I found myself struggling desperately not to smile, to suppress my laughter. But some of the things that Shelly (Anna Farris) said were too funny to deny. As girly a movie as The House Bunny is, I still found it to be mildly entertaining. When she is teaching the girls of Zeta house about eye make-up and says, "The eyes are the nipples of the face", I had to crack a smile. Some statements just didn't make any sense at all like "my heart is racing like a nail." Those are the things that made me lose my "cool".
The House Bunny is most certainly going to become a Broadway musical at some point down the road. It has the same appeal as Legally Blonde. I didn't see Legally Blonde, but I assume that the themes are similar and that the quality of acting and film making are identical.
Anna Farris was perfectly cast in this role and played it over-the-top as the material suggested. I thought it was a little racy for some of the younger viewers that are coming to see it. I was totally weirded out when a man in the theatre, who was there with what I can only hope was his daughter and her friends, laughed very loudly at a comment in the movie made by a frat guy about how he'd never gotten drunk enough for a "hot lunch". Obviously the term "hot lunch" isn't used in the movie, but that's what they were talking about. Try explaining that to your daughter.
The House Bunny is not a good movie. There is an establishing shot of the Playboy mansion that is clearly a painting, and a reflection of people in a handheld mirror that is so disproportionate to where the people are that it looks like a video is playing in Shelly's make-up case. It's funny enough, however, to recommend for people who will be able to tolerate it.
What Happens in Vegas was released in theatres on 5/9/08 and on DVD and Blu-ray on 8/26/08.
What a colorful movie. And it mostly takes place in New York. I'm trying to say nice things about it. Uhh... Cameron Diaz finally got back to looking like an older version of the girl we fell in love with in The Mask instead of a skinny chicken legged, big mouthed annoyance. That's about it, though... oh, it looked really good in hi-def.
What's wrong with it, then? It spells out all of the jokes. It thinks it's audience is a bunch of idiots. I guess that's kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy because by making the joke accessible to idiots, they are attracting idiots to watch the movie. For example, there is a sequence in the movie (which was almost entirely in the trailers) where the screenplay experiments with cause and effect. The problem is, they show you the effect (which is supposed to be surprising) literally in the next scene, not to mention in the trailer for the movie, so it's never really a surprise at all. My point is, if you show her training him, like a dog, to put the toilet seat down; instead of immediately showing her get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and falling in the toilet because he removed the seat... SAVE IT! Don't give-in to the short attention spans of idiots. Most people would appreciate the respect anyway. Wait a while. Have her fall in the toilet later. Make us remember. It's funnier when you forget the set up. She showed him how to put the toilet seat down in the morning and then it jumped to that night. Almost any part of the movie could have taken place that day to make us forget that she had treated him like a child earlier and that he might want to get revenge somehow.
What Happens in Vegas is instant gratification fluff for people who don't like to think. It's got flashy lights and pretty people doing funny things. It's a clown show and it's not worth the time I took to write this. I'm outta here.
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day was released in theatres on 3/7/08 and on DVD on 8/19/08.
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day is nothing if not for Amy Adams and Frances McDormand. I realize that that may sound like a bad thing, but it's not intended to. The movie is endearing in it's simplicity. The 92 minute running time seems to fly by because there are no heavy subplots. Characters are developed through the actions that make up the plot. We learn enough about them in the moments after they are introduced to become emotionally invested enough to care about the outcome of their situations.
Amy Adams is bright and bubbly as always, yet she is talented enough to distinguish this bubbly role from her last two bubbly roles (Enchanted, Junebug). As much as I enjoyed her performances in those movies, I'd like to see her in something a little darker... just to see if she can do it. Frances McDormand is subtle and vibrant at the same time. Miss Pettigrew is a brash, old-fashioned, opinionated, yet, completely insecure woman who, while helping Delysia (Adams) learn that "love is not a game", finds love for herself. When a movie is released that I have absolutely no desire to see, as soon as I find out that McDormand is in it, my expectations go up a little bit. Her understated performances are the kind that keep you thinking about them long after the movie has ended.
The movie itself is just "nice". The story is nice, the music is nice, the sets are nice... Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day is a really nice movie.
I feel bad for kids going off to college this year. Throughout the years there have been quite a few movies about graduation/summer before college. Superbad, Accepted, American Pie, American Pie 2, Can't Hardly Wait, etc. All of the above are infinitely better than College.
College wants to be Superbad just as much as, if not more than Drillbit Taylor. The three kids fit the descriptions of Seth, Evan and McLovin and they have essentially the same personality traits.
The frat guys at the college are over-the-top and contradictory. As a joke, they send our "heroes" to an all frat party without telling them that it's an all gay frat house and then proceed to haze them in one of the most homoerotic party scenes I've ever seen. It actually made me a bit uncomfortable.
To exact revenge on said frat guys the three main characters turn into the illegitimate love child of Kevin McCallister and MacGyver. They put glue on the toilet seat, they release diarhetic pigs in the house and set off the fire sprinklers which they've rigged to spray beer all over the house. All this in one night while everyone in the fraternity house is sleeping.
Obviously, the movie is ridiculous, the acting is horrible, and the dialogue is silly. There are plenty of alternatives to choose from, and I encourage you to do so... stay away from College at all costs.
Alternatives to College: American Pie, Can't Hardly Wait, Animal House, 10 Things I Hate About You.
I just wrote a long review of this movie and when I clicked submit, I got a generic internet "cannot open this page" error message. When I clicked on the "back" arrow there was no review.
Maybe later I'll attempt to rewrite the genious that was my original review of this movie, but for now, just know that Hamlet 2 was a disappointment.
I've said it before and I'll say it again. It's rare to see a comedy that doesn't make you laugh at least once and I do remember laughing during Step Brothers. I just don't remember exactly what happened that made me laugh.
John C. Reilly was nominated for an Oscar. He's actually a pretty talented actor, I don't know what happened. He was in Casualties of War, Days of Thunder, Hoffa, What's Eating Gilbert Grape?, Boogie Nights, The Thin Red Line, Magnolia, The Perfect Storm, The Good Girl, Chicago, and The Aviator. Tallageda Nights was a gateway drug and it's been downhill ever since. Someone needs to organize an intervention for him and get him off whatever happy pills Will Ferrell has been slipping him.
Will Ferrell is a fucking cock-tease (and I mean that in the most hetero way possible). He has been making crap movies forever and then he goes and makes Winter Passing, Melinda and Melinda, and Stranger than Fiction. I get all excited because I LOVE Will Ferrell in serious roles. Then he stops doing them. I'm going to call him Jim Carrey from now on.
Step Brothers has one joke in it: they're children in grown-up bodies. Their parents are enablers and while I'm almost 30 and still living at home, at least I'm mature enough to recognize how pathetic it is. These two buffoons think it's OK... that's the gag... drawn out for an hour and 45 minutes. I can't imagine that there is anyone in the world like these two characters, but the only characters more pathetic that Dale and Brennen, are their parents. How do you wait until your kid is 40-years old to insist that they grow up, get a job. These are the worst (clean and sober) parents ever put on film.
If you haven't seen Step Brothers already then you probably have no desire to see it anyway, but for your own sake, don't rent it when it's on DVD.
Alternatives to Step Brothers: The 40-Year Old Virgin, Superbad, Wedding Crashers.
Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins was released in theatres on 2/8/08 and on DVD on 6/17/08.
Netflix shipped Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins to me on July 14th and I just couldn't bring myself to watch it until today. I have to say, there were a few glimmers of acceptable movie there, but overall, it was pretty much crap.
If physical/stupid humor is your thing, then you might like it, but Roscoe Jenkins relies way too heavily on dog sex, skunk sprays, over-the-top sibling rivalry.
This movie was essentially a black version of Meet the Parents in reverse (in Roscoe Jenkins, Martin Lawrence is bringing his fiancee home to meet his parents... and his visit is similar to Ben Stiller's in Meet the Parents). You know everything is going to work out in the end for the characters who deserve it even though there are some bumps along the way.
The best part of Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins was the outtakes. This is an incredibly funny group of people and when they weren't reading from a screenplay, I found myself laughing out loud. Even during the movie when it was clear that they were allowed to improvise I found myself laughing. Unfortunately, the funny parts aren't really worth sitting through the movie.
Alternatives to Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins: Little Miss Sunshine, Meet the Parents
The bottom line is that this is a last ditch effort to rake in some cash before summer's end. Unfortunately for Universal, the marketplace is way too crowded right now for Death Race to make much of an impact on their pocketbooks. With Tropic Thunder gaining momentum through word-of-mouth buzz, The Rocker, The House Bunny, Star Wars, Mirrors and of course The Dark Knight out there and with Hamlet 2 on the way, this R rated actioner doesn't really stand a chance of earning much for it's producers. I'd never realized how much of a dumping ground the end of August was.
As for the movie itself? It's a Jason Statham movie. Think Crank meets The Transporter. Death Race's biggest flaw it the fact that it's non-stop action. "... flaw?" you ask. Yes, flaw. I was so bored with the action that I was actually nodding off at the end of the movie. The few non-action scenes were a relief and might have actually held my attention if they were any good.
Also, Paul W.S. Anderson needs to not make movies anymore. This was written and directed by him and it shows. He is the same man as was behind Alien vs. Predator. There is one scene in Death Race where Tyrese's car is out of comission. He tells his navigator that they have to "... get back in this race!!!!" The movie cuts to a scene with Statham and then cuts back to Tyrese driving at full speed yelling "I'm Back!!" with absolutely no explanation as to how he fixed the car.
This really is just wall to wall action, so if that's what you're looking for, then see Death Race.
Alternatives to Death Race: The Fugitive, The Fast and the Furious, Fight Club, Crank, and The Condemned
I stopped watching Strange Wilderness when Steve Zahn's character, while urinating, was attacked by an ostrich thus lodging his penis in the ostrich's throat. His colleagues took him to the hospital where the doctor told a sexy nurse to massage the ostrich's neck in order to relax it. What they didn't think of was the possibility that the sexy nurse might be giving Zahn's character an erection making it more difficult to resolve thi issue...
I don't know how it all worked out because I turned the movie off.
Alternatives to Strange Wilderness: Star Wars: The Clone Wars
This is the first movie this year that I walked out on. Star Wars: The Clone Wars might be one of the worst movies ever. I'll update this after I've had time to stew a bit.
More to come.
I want to kill George Lucas. I won't, but if he were to die suddenly, I would be leaping for joy (on the inside). Now, normally, I wouldn't wish death on anyone. This man, however, has single handedly destroyed a his own legacy. If he had left "well-enough" alone (and by well-enough, i mean absolute genius), Lucas would have gone down in history as the man who changed the face of science-fiction by creating the best science-fiction trilogy... ever. He ruined his chances with the completely useless, horribly written, directed, and acted prequels which had inferior special effects to their 1970/80's counterparts. Then he destroyed his name, as far as I'm concerned, this year with the release of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
To defend this movie by saying "it's a kids movie" is insulting to kids. Kids can recognize quality films just as well as most adults. The only difference there should be between kids movies and those geared towards adults is the subject matter and the level of violence and language, the quality doesn't need to be any different.
There is no scroll at the start of the movie like in the other Star Wars films. Someone narrates what should have been in the scroll in 1940's style newsreel dialect. Similar to the newsreels in Starship Troopers. All of the movies in the series (except Sith) were rated PG and yet they weren't too concerned about whether the kids in the audience could read. For some reason, Yoda assigns a Padawan learner to Anakin, even though Anakin is still Obi-Wan's apprentice at that point. His students name is Ashoka, who, if the movie were live-action, would have been played by Hillary Duff or Miley Cyrus. She keeps referring to Anakin Skywalker as "Sky Guy" and Jabba the Hutt's son as "Stinky".
I almost didn't review this movie because I really didn't want to revisit it, so I'm going to stop here, but let me say this: As long as they keep releasing Star Wars movies, I'll keep seeing them, but if I ever see Jabba's gay cousin Zero again, I may have to kill George Lucas.
Alternatives to Star Wars: The Clone Wars: anything.
Have you ever gone to see a movie that you knew was going to be bad? A movie that you thought would be so bad that while you were watching it, you were waiting for the movie to fall flat on it's movie face? I have. It was called Tropic Thunder. I sat there, and every time the plot would become more ridiculous or they'd add a new element to the back story of one of the characters I'd think to myself, "...ugh, here we go...", and every time, the movie would either go in in a completely different direction than I thought it was going, or the cast would deliver the satirical material with such a biting wit that it... filled me with glee.
Once again, Robert Downey, Jr. steals the show. Not to the extent that he did in Iron Man, but that's just because of the nature of the film. If not for the performances of the rest of the cast, Tropic Thunder may as well have been called Kirk Lazarus (Downey's character's name). This was an ensemble effort, though, and the lot of them were mind bogglingly hysterical. Jack Black, Ben Stiller (who i usually despise), Jay Baruchel, Brandon Jackson, Nick Nolte, Danny McBride, Steve Coogan, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Cruise and Bill Hader are all pitch-perfect in their portrayal of these silly, silly people.
I hate Ben Stiller. I put him on a list of actors that I generally avoid along with Nicolas Cage, Bill Paxton and Bill Pullman. I don't think much of what he does is funny and I'm sick of that character he plays; you know, the one he played in The Heartbreak Kid, Night at the Museum, Meet the Fockers, Envy, Along Came Polly, Duplex, Meet the Parents, and There's Something about Mary; the awkwardly, uncomfortable, good-looking good guy who would be able to get the girl and succeed at his job if it weren't for either a specific, zany character trait, or just a general overall clumsiness. We get it... we got it in 1998... now it's old. With the summer coming to a close, I had pinned my hopes on Pineapple Express to keep this incredible summer movie season from going out with a whimper. Like I said, I thought Tropic Thunder was going to suck, so Pineapple Express was pretty much it. I was generally indifferent about Pineapple Express leaning towards not really liking it at all. Unlike David Gordon Green with Pineapple Express, Stiller did an amazing job mixing the action and the funny. He created one of the best satires of the movie industry that I've ever seen.
And, by the way, that's what it is, folks, a satire. Anyone who's planning on boycotting or protesting this movie for any reason; whether it be because of Downey's portrayal of a white Australian actor playing an African-American wrought with stereotypes, or because Stiller's character goes "full retard" in an effort to win an Academy Award; really should kill themselves. These characters are jabs at Hollywood, NOT black people or "people with intellectual disabilities". If you can't see that, then maybe you're the ones with the intellectual disability... or maybe you're just retarded.
See Tropic Thunder.
There are a lot of bad movies out there. I'm willing to bet that there are some studio executives that look at a screenplay and say, "This movie is complete shit. See if Tim Allen is available". What a lot of people don't realize is that there are "good" bad movies and "bad" bad movies.
"Good" bad movies: Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, BASEketball, Dude, Where's My Car?, Grindhouse (Planet Terror and Death Proof), Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008), Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, Weekend at Bernie's
"Bad" bad movies: Epic Movie, Cool as Ice, Son of the Mask, The Hottie and the Nottie, It's Pat, and Hell Ride.
Hell Ride is the definition of style over substance. Writer/director/star Larry Bishop, wanted this movie to be cool so badly, that he made it inherently uncool. The movie is more of a display of Bishop's lusts and desires then a coherent story. In one scene, the main character, Pistorello, is trying to get information from an insanely gorgeous woman. All this ridiculously beautiful woman wants is for him to fuck her and proceeds to tell him to do so for about 5 minutes straight. There are three other scenes in the movie: a road scene during which people get shot, a flashback of a woman getting her throat slashed and then being set on fire, and a psychedelic peyote scene. The first two of those scenes are repeated over and over again with testosterone driven transition segments (and nothing says testosterone like cursing, tits, fighting and beer.)
Quentin Tarantino produced this schlock, and while that was the extent of his involvement, it seems as if Quentin wrote and directed it as an homage to 90's Tarantino movies.
Alternatives to Hell Ride: Grindhouse (Planet Terror), Pulp Fiction, and Kill Bill Vol. 1 and 2
Fool's Gold was released in theatres on 2/8/08 and on Blu-ray and DVD on 6/17/08.
This is going to be a short one. Everything that could be wrong with a movie, is wrong with this movie. I would encourage everyone to go out and buy a copy of this just to break it in half and throw it in the garbage, but if sale go up that much, they might make a sequel... and that would be the end of all things.
I say unfortunately because I was a fan of the series for it's first couple of seasons and, if I recall, I stopped watching because I had other obligations, not because I stopped liking it. The most unfortunate part is that Mulder and Scully really won't be able to survive this mess.
The first movie, The X-Files: Fight the Future, was very good. It had the same feel of the show, and since it was made while the show was still airing, there was very little character development needed. This movie apparently takes place several years after the shows end, because there are things going on in the characters lives that I didn't know about. Since I didn't see the series through to the end, I have to assume that the back story was told at some point because they just talked about there lives as if we would all know what was going on.
I Want to Believe's first big problem was it's story. The movie should have been a continuation or at least a tangent off of Fight the Future. Instead, we get a brand new story that followers of the show might care about, but casual viewers understand or care about. This movie was all about the characters and less about the case that they were working on. I enjoy a character study as much as the next guy, but that's not what I'm going to an X-Files movie for. If you want to see a good character study go see The Visitor, In Bruges, or The Wackness.
The second problem was the dialogue. Some of the worst of the year. There was one scene that I made a mental note of so that I could talk about it. I remember the trite arguement Scully was having with Mulder and I really wish I had held onto what they were actually saying, because it was pretty terrible. So much for mental notes.
Long story short (a concept this movies creators didn't quite understand), we will most likely not be seeing another X-Files movie any time soon. If I Want to Believe had come out 2 or 3 years after Fight the Future, they may have been able to make another movie and fix the mess that they made (assuming the third film was any good). After making their core audience wait for 10 years and then presenting them with this... I do believe it's over for The X-Files.
Never Back Down was released in theatres on 3/14/08 and on Blu-ray and DVD on 7/29/08.
I've read a lot of reviews for Never Back Down that compared this movie to the 1984 classic The Karate Kid featuring Ralph Macchio and an Academy Award nominated performance by Pat Morita as Mr. Miyagi. I'll give them that... if you replace karate with mixed martial arts, Pat Morita with Djimon Hounsou and Ralph Macchio with... some guy... you will have a very similar experience with a slight difference in quality.
What I'm ashamed to know, however, is that if you change all of the fighting terminology in Never Back Down to hip-hop dancing terminology... you'd have Step Up 2 the Streets. Both movies end the EXACT SAME WAY. There is an "illegal" competition that the contestants only find out about by a text message sent out the day of the contest with it's time and location. One of the two main characters (either the antagonist[s] or the protagonist[s]) is disqualified from the competition and the conflict between the two moves out into the parking lot, where the good guy(s) prove that they are better than the bad guy(s) once and for all. In both movies, after the big climax, there's a scene during which it's implied that the two parties have developed a mutual respect for each other and will be able coexist peacefully in the future. Now to be fair, there are some aspects of the original Step Up in Never Back Down as well, but they couldn't possibly have skipped all of those crucial plot points and moved straight into sequel material, the audience might not have been able to follow what was going on.
It always confuses me when legitimately talented, Oscar nominated actors, like 2 time nominee Djimon Hounsou (In America, Blood Diamond) agrees to these flimsy projects. He was fine, and like the dancing in the Step Up, movies the fighting in Never Back Down is entertaining to watch. The movie, however, is cheesy and predictable. Don't waste your time.
It's way too late to get into this, I have to work tomorrow... not making movies, by the way, because I don't know how, Rob Cohen.
Check back tonight or Saturday for more.
It's Saturday... and I still can't get over the age difference between Brendan Fraser and the actor that plays his son, Luke Ford. Fraser is 39 years old and Ford is 27 years old... Which means that mathematically, Brendan Fraser's character (Rick) would have been 12 years old when Ford's character (Alex) was born. So, the question is, why didn't the production team make any attempt to change either of the actors' appearance? Of course its possible, make-up, hair, CGI... something to make it so that they don't look like brothers instead of father and son. Or here's a suggestion, change the script so that they are brothers. Wait I have another suggestion, cast someone younger as the son... or even better, scrap the whole damn thing and leave well enough alone. There was absolutely no reason to make this movie anyway.
Another casting issue? Maria Bello taking Rachel Weisz's place in the franchise. Bello is a fine actress, but she was totally hammimg it up in this because, what does she care? She knows the material is ridiculous and it's not really her character, why not have some fun with it? A good rule of thumb is that if an Academy Award winning actress refuses to reprise a role that she created because she doesn't like the script, change the script. If not to make it good so that she'll sign on, then at least to write her character out of it so you don't make the movie worse than the screenplay is already forcing it to be. Wait I have another suggestion, why not just scrap the whole damn thing and leave well enough alone.
So the only way to destroy this "mummy" is to stab it in the heart with a specific knife which is in the possession of the daughter of the witch that put the spell on the "Dragon Emperor" in the first place. I was in complete awe of the absolute stupidity of the screenplay when after discovering that another mummy had been awoken, and that it would try to get to the "pool of eternal youth" by placing a diamond called the "eye of Shangri la" on top of a tower in the Himalayas guarded by abominable snowmen, Fraser's character was a little leery of the idea that a "magical knife" had the power to destroy the Emperor once and for all. He is fighting an undead king from thousands of years ago withe the help of 2000 year old women and snow monsters, and, strangely, he doesn't believe in magic.
Needless to say, this movie is absolute trash. Everything about it is unbelievably unwatchable and I can only hope that no one does so that they end this awful, awful franchise.