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Funny People


Funny People is 2 movies that overlap each other. One of which, I wanted to see... the other I did not.

I really liked the story of the struggling comedian hired by a formerly successful 'has been' to write jokes for him and then finds out that he is dying. I was bored by the movie about said has been, trying to rekindle a romance with a former girlfriend who is now married with two kids.

The number of cameos alone is worth the price of admission... if you care. They don't have anything to do with the movie except that they are all 'funny people'... except for James Taylor... and Eminem...

Adam Sandler gives a strong dramatic performance and Seth Rogen shows us a different side. Don't be fooled by the title, folks, Funny People is a drama. It makes sense to me though; most comedies are about regular folks in funny situations. I think Apatow takes an interesting dramatic turn by putting funny people in a serious situation.

Funny People is unnecessarily long, and you never laugh hysterically or cry like a baby. It's only mildly emotional and wears out it's welcome at about 90 minutes in. That being said, I did enjoy it enough to recommend it. Weird, right?


Umm... yes?

The long and the short of it is that Orphan is exactly what you expect it to be. All of the cliches are there (the woman with the history of mental illness/alcoholism, the loving husband who is supportive of her through it all until she tries to warn him about an evil little girl, camera angles that imply danger when there is none... until they use the same angle again later on and there is danger).

Orphan is about 40 minutes too long and some aspects of the story don't make sense, but it is generally well acted and directed. If you want to see a serious horror movie there's no reason not to go see Orphan.

The Hurt Locker

Yes, but mine is a much milder recommendation than those mentioned on the poster.

The Hurt Locker is one of those movies that you need to hunt down. It has supposedly expanded from limited into wide release, and yet I had to visit a whole in the wall art house in order to see this "...near-perfect...", "...ferociously suspenseful...", "...full-tilt action picture." To say I was disappointed would be an overstatement, but not nearly as big an overstatement as "full-tilt action." I'm 100% sure that the reason I didn't LOVE this movie was because I was expecting God on the screen and what I got was a movie. A good movie... but still, just a movie.

The performances were perfect. If it weren't so early in the year and this wasn't such a limited release film, I'd say Jeremy Renner and Anthony Mackie are shoe-ins for acting nods at the 2009 Oscars. Brian Geraghty does a good job playing the same character he always seems to play (see The Guardian and Jarhead... actually, don't see The Guardian). You also get super short performances from RaLph Fiennes, Guy Pearce, and David Morse... but the thing that took me completely out of the movie was the casting of Evangeline Lilly. She makes her American, credited, feature film debut, portraying a character that is the complete opposite of her character on Lost, a role that she has been invested in for the last 5 years. I just kept thinking, "Kate wouldn't say that".

At the end of the day, The Hurt Locker is a very well made movie. I do feel like it's just a series of vignettes, bringing stories that the writer heard about military bomb specialists together into one movie. The story was slightly lacking and was only brought together due to the strong direction and acting.

Definitely check The Hurt Locker out if it comes to a theatre near you, but you shouldn't go out of your way to seek it out. It'll be out on DVD before awards season so you'll be able to see the performances soon enough, and that's really the only reason that someone might confuse this for a "near-perfect movie".



Knowing was released in theatres on 3/20/09 and on DVD and Blu-ray on 7/7/09.

If someone were to tell me the idea for this movie, I would have totally bought into it. When they followed the idea up with the plan to cast Nicholas Cage, I would have asked for a refund. I HATE Nicholas Cage.

Knowing has an interesting premise and that's about it. Just about everything else is pretty awful.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince


Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is, without a doubt, the best movie in the franchise. That makes sense, however, because it was also my favorite book in the series.

In the tradition of Harry Potter movies the book was at least 10x better than the movie and as always, they had to exclude a tremendous amount of action and information due to time constraints. While I have always taken issue with this in passing, it is something I have come to expect and understand. I'll get into some of my biggest problems later on, but for now, let's just talk about the movie.

Dark, funny, emotional but weirdly less intense than I was hoping for from a penultimate entry... this is still the most well acted, directed, and structured film in the franchise. The dialogue is fun and filled with that dry British wit that comes through in the books and is often missing from some other blockbusters... since they aren't from England.

Radcliffe, who was originally the most awful weak link from a titular character since Val Kilmer in Batman Forever (yeah that's right, I said he was worse than Clooney in Batman and Robin, watch them again, B&R is probably the worst movie ever, but not for Kilmer's lack of trying), has honed his craft and really stepped up his game. He still hasn't nailed the big emotions, but he's gotten subtlety pretty down pat. If you can make out the dialogue through his accent, Grint is consistently funny and Emma Watson has always been the best of the three. The grown-ups are just kind of along for the ride, but Helena Bonham Carter is great as the diabolical Bellatrix Lestrange and I love Alan Rickman in almost anything he does.

I think it's unfortunate that the filmmakers feel the need to reintroduce concepts like "Lord Voldemort was Tom Riddle when he was a student at Hogwarts", and "magic"... at some point at the beginning of all the movies, they make a big deal about magic as if the character's are rediscovering again for the first time in 2 years... this time, Dumbledore cleans up a mess with the wave of his wand to the sound an enormous swell of music and an amazed look and implied gasp from Harry, who has been going to magic school for 5 years. It's unfortunate because they could be using that time to include little pieces of info that have been excluded that might give the world more depth for the people who haven't read the books and more detail for the people who have.

It's a tough to review the movie entirely for the movie having read the books. I know about things that should happen in the next movie that I'm not sure how they will address since they didn't plant the seed for it in this installment as Rowling did in the novel. Also, there are events that were explained in the book, that you just kind of have to accept in the movie. At a point towards the end, Dumbledore needs to retrieve an object from a birdbath-like pool of magical water that "must be drunk" in order to get the object. The magical water will cause the drinker great pain, but it cannot just be dumped out, it has to be ingested. I remember that when I read the story, I never questioned it. However it was explained, whatever information I had at the time, was enough... In the movie you just kind of have to take Dumbledore's word for it.

My only complaints about the movie stem from having read the book. The last chapter of the book has been left out and would have added a tremendous amount emotion and a stronger cliffhanger for the next movie. The book had several more "memories" from Voldemort's past involving his parents and his abusive grandfather. The book went into more detail about the horcruxes and what they mean about how the whole thing will end and there was a stronger sense of menace from the Death Eaters and an overall lingering doom.

This was a very dark and surprisingly bloody movie for the PG rating it received. As a movie it was entertaining and very well crafted. It certainly is the Empire Strikes Back of the Harry Potter series in every sense of the analogy and I highly recommend that you see Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. There is a prerequsite though, you really do need to see at least the 3rd, 4th and 5th movies if you want to follow what's going on in this one and I would suggest you start from beginning and read the books. They're better.



Bruno is the raunchiest R rated movie I've seen. I understand that it originally received an NC-17 and I'm having a hard time imagining what was cut to give it the R.

I'm telling you to see it because it's funny, but this is much less satirical than Borat was. In Borat, Sacha Baron Cohen's character was a foreigner that was in no way, shape, or form an accurate depiction of what people from Khazakstan are actually like. What made the movie so shocking was the fact that Americans completely bought into the fact that a modern Khazaki(?) didn't know how to use a toilet, would carry a rooster in a bowling bag, and would wash his clothes in the Hudson river. The intolerance of Americans shone through like a beacon to xenophobes, racists and homophobes. The movie wasn't antisemitic, the Americans in the movie and in the theatre watching, agreeing with the the concepts in the movie are antisemitic.

The problem with Bruno is that while Borat was seemingly never intended to mock foreigners, Bruno is mocking homosexuals to a certain extent. The stereotypes of foreigners were not accurate, but in order to fully embarrass his victims, Bruno is an overexaggeration of gay stereotypes that, while I do believe that it's OK to laugh at...

... I also think it might be setting the "gay movement" back some by giving homophobes, and even rational minded heterosexuals reason to look at people like Bruno and think that that's how gay people really are.

I liked watching Bruno, it was funny and shocking, but I do think that this one was much more scripted than Borat. Also, I don't care one way or the other about offending anyone, whether the be straight or gay. I think I was just expecting a more innocent "fun-poking" (no pun intended) of American intolerance. Instead, this time we got people giving honest, appropriate reactions to inappropriate behavior.

Fired Up!


Fired Up! was released in theatres on 2/20/09 and on DVD and Blu-ray on 6/9/09.

I can't think of a single reason to recommend this movie, and so I won't.

Public Enemies


Public Enemies was long and boring.

Johnny Depp was fine, it was a little weird seeing him act like a real person and not a boarder line cartoon character, i.e. Jack Sparrow, Ichabod Crane, Willy Wonka, Sweeny Todd, Ed Wood and Edward Scissorhands. I wouldn't have even noticed that Christian Bale was in the movie if he wasn't so terrible. He couldn't even pull off an American accent. When it really came down to it, it kind felt like the three main actors didn't care about the material... and so neither did I.

I don't think it was all the actors' fault, the dialogue wasn't great and the camera work was awkward. Most of Depp's dialogue could have been used as catch phrases and the last few lines of the movie, including the two sentences that are written on the screen, are so emotionless that i honestly couldn't believe I sat there and stared a Marion Cotillard for what felt like an hour to read it. Director Michael Mann's decision to film the entire movie with digital handheld cameras, kind of took me out of the whole experience. It gave the movie, which took place in the 1930's, a more modern feel which contradicted the elaborate, accurate, beautiful sets. If I was the set designer, I would have been pissed that I spent so much time making it look like 1933 only to have the director film the movie like it takes place in 2009.

Even with the star power and talent of Depp, Bale, Cotillard, Giovanni Ribisi, Channing Tatum, Billy Cruddup, Stephen Dorff and David Wenham being directed by the same man who brought us Heat and Collateral, Public Enemies was too bland a film to recommend.