Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Unstoppable (2010)

F-train and I found ourselves with some time to kill on Monday afternoon and decided to partake of a picture show at the Orleans casino. I suggested Harry Potter, but evidently, F-train is NOT the twelve-year-old girl we all suspected him to be. We ran through a list of the other options out loud at In-N-Out Burger and when we got to "Unstoppable" with Denzel Washington, the woman at the table next to us apologized for butting in "but that movie is terrific."

F-train and I were both skeptical, but we put an imaginary pin in it and moved down the list of other options. I was into "Next Three Days," he wasn't. He wanted "Black Swan," but Las Vegas doesn't offer Indie movies.

"Well, let's go over to the theater and see what's playing."


We got there at 3:10.

"Well, Megamind is at 4:30...Unstoppable is starting now..."

Okay then!

"I hope the theater is empty," he says, "that'd be awesome."

There was a couple already inside.

"Nope. Two other people are here...and two minutes ago it was awesome for them!"

"Eh. If it can't be awesome for us, why should it be awesome for them?"

When he's right, he's right.

Except, since we were there to see Unstoppable, the truth is, it wasn't going to be awesome for anybody.

Some say this movie is "Speed with trains." Those people are stupid. Do you remember Jaws? How no one was sure what the threat was exactly and then the Mayor was all "no, we're not ruining the Fourth of July Holiday!" But then they realize the shark was super dangerous and send a bunch of men out on the water to kill it? And then there's 85 minutes of boring old men conversation out on the ocean and then a final 20 minutes of Jaws killing a bunch of people and then the survivors floating on a plank back to shore?

Well, this movie is that 85 minutes of Jaws. With trains.

Denzel plays this old crotchety old man who has gone to the acting school of cave echoes. You know the school "Son, do you think your training has prepared you for this? DO YOU?" Followed by "I have 28 years on these tracks! 28 YEARS"

And so you kinda wish you were alone in the theater so you can shout "THIS SUCKS" and hopefully hear a cacophony of agreement echo back at you too.


Yeah, so. There's a runaway train. Of course it's filled with toxic chemicals! And there's another train full of school children! Um. And then you're suddenly back in 4th grade and there's a train traveling toward Stanton at 70 miles an hour and a tug train chasing it at 50 miles per hour and how bad do you have to be at math to not roll your eyes when Denzel catches it and hitches the tug to the runaway train just as they tear through the deadly Stanton S curve? Answer is D. Oy.

F-train and I were laughing and audibly booing the screen. Audibly.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The weather outside is frightful

It’s December!

Which means it must be the holiday season! I also know this because not only has my TV been bombarding me with those damn hell ass stupid “open heart necklace” commercials, fuck you Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, fuck you very much, but I also voluntarily rented a Tyler Perry movie. Like on purpose. I KNOW. Also, I completely hated only about half of these movies! HALF! Fa-la-la-la-la!

Children of Invention

I love when people recommend movies to me! Honestly, I will watch anything and at least when people recommend stuff, I know that 1) I’m not the only person besides the director’s mom to watch said film since it hit videostores and 2) exactly whose face to punch if it sucks. Happily for Gerard, I loved this movie! It’s not perfect and the ending is a tad contrived, though not as contrived as I feared it might be, the kids are as cute as buttons (that little girl needs a TV show RIGHT NOW!) and the story is touching and dude, I thought I was gonna start bawling halfway through it. Rent it! Oh…it’s about a single immigrant mom raising two kids without the help of their deadbeat dad. Yeah, it kinda hit close to home.

Deep Water

Zeem recommended this movie and it was fantastic! It’s a documentary about a 1960s yacht race around the world. It follows the stories of the 8 or so Englishmen who decided to do what had never been done before (nonstop solo sail around the world) and try to win fame and money for themselves in the process. I don’t care who you are, you’ll cry. Oh man.

Slap Shot

Drizz recommended this movie and I will have his head come WPBT for it. IT’S TERRIBLE! Okay, the first five minutes are funny. And as a new hockey watcher and nascent Rangers fan, it was interesting to learn about the penalties and stuff. But the rest of the movie? GARBAGE. Absolute, just poke my eyes out and bash my head in garbage. And Drizz will pay.

Winter's Bone (2010)

This movie is FANTASTIC! I think Mary would like it. It’s about hillbillies in a place like West Virginia. But not. Or it might be. Anyway, the oldest daughter has to find her father or the law is gonna take their house. She meets some real bad peoples along the way.

What the #$*! Do We Know!?

You know what I don’t know? How I ended up renting a 3 hour movie about quantum physics. But, as I learned from the film, there are multiple realities all existing at the same time, so perhaps while I was watching this movie, an alternate Dawn was watching the Patriots game. There is no plot. There is no nothing! We never touch! Matter deosn’t exist! Your life is not only a lie, it’s not even your life! Or is it? Hey, let’s play basketball with a little black boy and draw on our naked bodies. You think I’m kidding, don’t you?

Knight and Day

Action star Tom Cruise is back! He plays an agent protecting Cameron Diaz from bad government CIA guys. This movie is just funny, action packed mindless fun. I enjoyed it, will never think about it again. Brava!


It’s funny watching a movie about commercial aviation set in the 1970s. People are smoking in planes. There’re three course meals offered, people eat with actual silverware. They dress up to fly! Security schmecurity! Astin would love it! The premise is the Chicago airport is snowed in. That same night a man buys a huge life insurance policy for himself and plans to blow up his plane to Italy so his wife can pay their debts. It has the feel of a documentary, but it’s not.

Airport 1975

Oh look, and it has a sequel! This one stars Moses and he’s all “listen up, dahrlin’ I’ll save you.” And he does. I liked the first one better. Way more believeable than this "a commercial airliner crashes into a single engine plane in midair and Charlton Heston parachutes into the cockpit to land the plane" one.

Dorian Gray

I love this story and I think I’ve seen a movie rendition of it before… this one isn’t bad, but it’s not better than just reading it. In fact, it’s worse. I don’t think they quite capture the process of Dorian Gray’s corruption. They make him out to be too evil too soon. It cheapens it.

Yellow Handkerchief

No idea what this movie is about. There’s a middle aged man who was just let out of prison and a teenage girl who has run away from home and a retarded guy with a car who follows them around…and then at the end there’s a yellow scarf flying from a boat. If you like artsy movies where you can pretentiously discuss lighting and mood and have no interest in plots or being awake, this is the movie for you. If however, like me, you thought this was movie version of that awesome short story you read in elementary school about the decapitated girl who wore a yellow handkerchief to keep her head attached to her body, this is NOT the movie for you.

The Last Airbender [Blu-ray] (2010)

This movie didn’t suck nearly as much as everyone said it would. I mean, sure, it sucked, but it just sucked a regular amount. I barely even rolled my eyes. I’m not familiar with the Airbender series, so I guess maybe that’s why I wasn’t angered or anything. But I wasn’t. It’s your standard kids with powers fare.

The Messenger (2009)

This movie was so so so good. It’s about an injured soldier from Iraqi Freedom or the Afghanistan war being pulled from the field while he heals and assigned to work with a Desert Storm vet (Woody Harrelson) on the Angel of Death squad telling families that their loved one has been killed. You follow them as they go to each house with the news and see how they spend their days in between those visits. It’s raw and moving but not preachy or annoying.

Happy Tears (2009)

Speaking of annoying. This movie stars Demi Moore and that actress I always confuse with the Weeds actress… Parker Posey, maybe? Blech. It’s terrible! She’s a bored rich housewife to a crazy trust fund baby and Demi Moore is married to a gay guy hoping to turn him straight. They are trying to put their ailing father in a home. All of which would be a fine premise for a movie, but why are there animations and stupid flashbacks involved? BLAH. DUMB. ANNOYING.

Karate Kid (2010)

I actually saw this movie on a plane a while back, but just forgot to review it. I liked it. Which, for a Ralph Macchio fan girl is crazy high praise. I thought they updated the story well…though, it’s bullshit how they portray China as if it’s just like America, but the people just speak Chinese. During all the chase scenes through the streets, I was like, Chinese police would have shot them by now. It’s good, the ending isn’t even a complete rip-off.


I knew nothing about Pinero until I rented this movie starring Julia Roberts’ ex-boyfriend. I’ve become a Pinero the man fan, though, in general, I hate when criminals become romanticized and more famous than my languishing law abiding self, but Pinero the movie is pretty bad. It jumps around, the dialogue is weird, Ben Bratt tries his best, but he’s probably miscast. He’s just too clean cut and pretty to play a hardened criminal dying of Hep C. But he is pretty.


I knew nothing of Basquiat except a fleeting reference to him in NYC’s “know the speed limit” campaign commercials. Like Pinero, this movie jumps around and is more of a outline of a movie than a movie movie. It’s weird. Cast is good. But weird.

Jonah Hex

OH MY GOD. HOW DID THIS MOVIE GET MADE? How did it get marquee actors to star in it? HOW AM I NOT FAMOUS? AND RICH? AND IN POSSESSION OF NINETEEN OSCARS? So the plot…um…this guy gets hanged by this other guy but then he is saved and spends the next hundred years looking for the guy who hanged him. Yeah, nobody dies in this universe. And then there’s revenge. Or something. Kill me.

Broken Flowers

This movie is part of Bill Murray’s “take me seriously as an actor” phase. It’s okay. He gets a mysterious letter from a woman saying she had his baby 19 years ago. So he visits all the women with whom he has slept in the past 20 years looking for his baby mama. Unclear whether he finds her…I dunno. He brings them flowers. Meh.

Six Wives of Lefay

Speaking of “just shoot me in the face” movies… just shoot me in the face. Tim Allen stars in this particular crapfest. He is killed in a parasailing accident and his six wives fight over how to bury him. Or ex wives wives. Blah. It’s awful awful awful. Awful. AWFUL. Oh, and then it turns out he's NOT dead. AWWWFFFFUUULLLLLLLL

Beautiful (2009)

I’m not sure what this movie is supposed to be. It’s kind of a cross between a Stepford Wives and American Beauty – but like the worst parts of those movies. You think there’s an interesting mystery to be solved, but discover, nope. Nothing interesting here. And then there are random deaths at the end. Meh.

The Kids Are All Right (2010)

I mostly liked this movie. It’s about a lesbian couple and their two kids getting to know the sperm donor. I didn’t like that the sperm donor's girlfriend is this totally hot black woman who is way into him. I literally sat there counting down till the moment when he summarily dumps her. Hollywood. He does get his though. Kinda.

The Extra Man (2010)

This movie is super weird. I couldn’t tell when it was supposed to be taking place. They drive old 1950s cars and they all wear suits and even though it’s New York City, there are no people of color anywhere to be found. About an hour in they show the apple dropping in Tiems Square and it’s supposedly 2009. Now I’m super duper confused and what might have been an okay movie falls to plain dumb. But the premise is a dude is fired by his prep school for cross dressing and moves to New York where he becomes roommates with a male escort, played by Kevin Kline. Meh. But all the tortured issues about cross dressing and sexuality just make no sense in present day East Coast America. I don’t get it.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World [Blu-ray] (2010)

It clearly must be the holiday spirit moving me because I…gasp…liked this movie! Even though it stars that sniveling annoying idiot Michael Cera. He just works in this one. The premise is that geeky Michael Cera starts dating this hot girl and in order for their relationship to survive, he must defeat her seven evil exes. Who hasn’t been there, amirite people? Anyway, this movie suffers a bit from the Extra man syndrome where I couldn’t really tell what year it was supposed to be. He talks a lot about PacMan, but he also gets deliveries from Amazon. Of course, the movie takes place in Toronto, so it may just be “Canada” and not so much “1980s.”

Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married Too? (2010)

Yeah. I violated one of my 5 cardinal rules. To be fair, the punishment for violating those rules is pretty immediate in that I end up having to watch a Tyler Perry movie. So, that’ll learn me. OH, but just when I was about to throw myself in front of some fast moving vehicle, THE ROCK shows up on screen! So Ha!

Don't Look Back (2009)

It’s a bad scene when you have to google the title of a movie that Blockbuster says you’ve rented. It’s a worse sign that after reading the Wikipedia entry you’re still not sure what movie they’re talking about. Welcome to “Don’t Look Back.” Also it’s a French movie. AND SERIOUSLY WHY DO I KEEP ENDING UP WITH THESE?!?!?!

Fear Me Not (2008)

Ooh, I liked this movie A LOT. It’s set in Sweden or Denmark or Norway…someplace like that. The dad is taking a sabbatical from his job and begins to get depressed with the monotony of doing nothing. His brother in law signs him up for an anti-depressant drug trial. He starts taking the drug and everything changes. When the company abandons the trial because of bad side effects, dude keeps taking it… real bad stuff happens.

Lottery Ticket (2010)

Um. This movie stars black people, so I rented it. If you have a general philosophy of supporting minority casts and films, except for Tyler Perry, then you should probably rent it too. I have nothing further to say. :/

Happy Holidays everybody!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Remember remember the fifth of November

Well, this is the depressing installment of Dawn’s movie roundups. I think I searched for “death,” and then just rented all of the results. I also really let the movies pile up this month cause I just couldn’t motivate to write anything. (Yup, another failed NaNoMo for Dawn!) Meh. Anyway, get your hot cup of Joe and your cloak of depression and let us begin. Since there are SO MANY movies, I tried to put them in order from best to worst, since I know no one is finishing this post. Sadly, I kept putting so many movies at the bottom, the bad movies kinda start at number 5. Lemon.

“You are a Nazi and I am a Jew. End of story,” says his best friend to Viggo Mortensen’s protagonist. Indeed.

But it is the end of a wonderful story and fantastic movie. It starts off slowly, Mortensen is a professor in 1930s Germany. He regards the Nazis with that casual disdain the American elite have for Republicans. They’re annoying and stupid and he can’t wait till they’re voted out… But then they come to him one day. The Fuhrer LOVED his novel. Thinks he’s a genius! Would he mind doing some research for them. “Oh, well, I guess I misjudged these guys! They’re not so bad.” Then it turns out his best friend has a little teeny Jew in him… they strip him of his medical practice. Freeze his assets. But Mortensen doesn’t want to make any waves. He’s got it good. He tells his friend to buck up “you hated being a psychiatrist anyway. All those whiny patients! Go to France. Surf.” Well… you know how it turns out.
Nazi. Jew. Awesome movie.

Leaves of Grass

I didn’t know what to expect from this movie. The box has that weird surreal art quality of yearbook photos of Ed Norton. Like the 40-year-old virgin movie box. But I actually really liked this movie. Ed Norton plays twins, one a philosophy professor and one a drug dealer. The drug dealer has gotten into a bind and a mobster is after him, so he wants his brother to pretend to be him around town, so he can go to a different town and kill the mobster. It was a pretty good plan…but it wouldn’t be a good movie if it works out, now would it?

The Towering Inferno
It amazed me how old this movie was: 1974! I don’t even have to lie when I say I wasn’t even born yet! OJ Simpson is in it! Crazypants. I actually didn’t like it though. And I know EXACTLY why. The Twin Towers. I know what happens when a skyscraper burns in real life. It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t exciting. It was horrible and gruesome. And this movie clearly had NO IDEA. Obviously, not its fault. But it was hard to watch. All the quips and the extraordinary heroics to save the building and the people with helicopters and zip lines, but in reality, you know, the most we can do is watch the building burn and the bodies fall.

The Gathering

This movie was very interesting. It stars Cristina Ricci, who I will always think of as Wednesday Adams. Wednesday is hit by a car. The driver takes her home and she quickly becomes part of the family. But she has a secret past! (Don’t they always?) Strange deaths start to occur and the father in the family starts to see a pattern. Anytime something terrible happens, the same dozen or so faces can be seen in background. Think Hiroshima – there’s Waldo in the background of the photos of the dead. Pearl Harbor? Waldo again! San Francisco earthquake- NO WAY! Yup. Waldo. Anyway, he sees two of the faces walking around his town and starts to freak! Something bad is about to happen cause…they are GATHERING! It’s cool. Rent it.

The Last Word

This movie is about a guy who makes his living writing “goodbye notes” for people who are planning to kill themselves, but can’t think of what to say to their family. So, he follows them around for the last week or so of their life, looks through their mementos and listens to them talk about their loved ones and then he writes up a “last word” for them and then they kill themselves and their families have closure. Unfortunately, he falls for the sister of one of his clients, but can’t tell her how he knew her brother. Ray Romano is also in it as his current client.

The Life Before Her Eyes
This movie tracks a Columbine type disaster, where the gunman shoots up the whole school, but decides to give these two best friends the choice of which one will die. The one girl is all “shoot me!” The other girl is all “yeah, shoot her!” She then has all this guilt as an adult and stuff. It’s all pretty dumb.

Peter’s Friends

So, a guy’s father dies and he invites his old college friends to come spend one last holiday together. This movie was so perfectly wonderfully depressing. “There’s high school, college and then a black hole.” “Adults are children with debts.” It stars Hugh Laurie! And Kenneth Branaugh (you really must hear me pronounce Branaugh out loud. It’s hysterical.) And that British woman who is always in movies with Kenneth Branaugh! There’s a wonderful scene where she hits on the host of the party by showing up naked to his bedroom and he says to her “I’m not in the vagina business.”
This movie is awesomesauce. Depressing depressing sauce of awesome.

Charlie St. Cloud

I had to go back and see what my Zac Efron movie rating system was like. (I CANNOT believe he lost an acting matchup against Justin Timberlake. This is how we end up with President Sarah Palin, people.) Okay, so here’s my system: 1 star for starring Zac Efron. 2 stars for featuring a shirtless Zac Efron and 1 star for having Zac Efron sing. Zac Efron does not sing in this movie. However, he is shirtless. A LOT. AND WET. The movie is about a promising sailor (like America’s Cup, not Popeye.) But then he and his brother die in a car crash. Paramedic brings him back, but his brother stays dead. But now he can see dead people. So he hangs out with his brother and his friends who died in Iraq. Then he has an affair with a young woman, who is trying to sail around the world. But then three days later, he learns his girlfriend HAS BEEN MISSING FOR A WEEK! She’s in his head! Dun dun dun. Oh yeah, minus one star for Zac Efron making out with some lame chick.

Murder at 1600

Um. Remember when Wesley Snipes was an action hero? Yeah, he made this movie. He’s a DC cop. There’s been a murder at the White House. He has to solve it, while jumping through the Secret Service’s hoops. Can he solve the crime before he becomes a victim of the coverup?! Yes. Yes, he can. Yawn.


Martin Sheen was TOTALLY hot as a young man. O. M. G. His sons are puke compared to him in this 1960s movie about a Bonnie and Clyde couple who go on a serial killing rampage through South Dakota. PUKE. The movie is weird. But not bad.

Crazy on the Outside

Tim Allen stars as a parolee who has to relearn to live with his family again. It’s supposed to be a dramedy. But it fails on every level. It’s not funny. It’s not sad. I hate every single character. UGH. Awful.


So this dude Papillon is convicted of killing a pimp. He is sentenced to life on some prison island. He keeps trying to escape. He keeps failing. Then one day, when he’s 70, he builds a raft out of coconuts or something and he floats away. Dude. Random.

The Last Station

Speaking of random. So Tolstoy evidently wanted to shun all his worldly possessions and live the simple life, but his wife was all “dude, we have 14 children! What the fuck?!” And so his aides try to keep her away from him before he changes his will giving all his money away. And then he dies.

Love & Distrust

This movie is terrible. It should be called Hate and Distrust. Or "Sorry Dawn, you didn’t deserve this." It’s a series of vignettes. Vomit.

Wonderful World

Matthew Broderick plays a pessimist. But then he gets a magical African roommate who teaches him that “thoughts are things” and if he helps others, good things will come. But then the roommate goes into a diabetic coma and his car gets towed taking the dude to the hospital and then he’s fired from work because he was late getting in that day. Then the African dude’s sister comes to stay with him. They have a lot of sex. She thinks he’s going to marry her. He’s all “um…you’re black. We don’t do that in American movies.” She goes back to Africa. Yeah, hated this fucking movie.

Mystery Men

This movie is about a ragtag bunch of misfits who decide they can fight crime. It’s weird and dumb and seriously, just rent "Kick ass." It’s funnier, more touching and frankly more believable. Plus, it doesn’t have the unbearable Ben Stiller in it.

Kiss Me Goodbye

A young Sally Field is preparing to get married again after watching her husband die three years earlier. She inexplicably decides to marry the new guy in the house she shared with the old, dead guy. Turns out the dead guy’s ghost still roams the place. Hijinx? Ensue.

Grown Ups

A group of guys, who played basketball together as kids, gather for their coach’s funeral. They decide to spend the weekend together catching up and letting their families get to know each other. That is the most cogent write up of this wretched, boring, unfunny mess of a movie that you will ever see.

Ramona & Beezus

I loved Beverly Cleary. As a child, I would spend hours in the library reading and re-reading Ramona books. On behalf of both Beverly Cleary AND that child, I want to kick the makers of this movie in the nuts. They make Ramona out to be a trouble making crazy person, even though she just has TERRIBLE parents who lead her to believe that she has to save the family home after her dad gets laid off. AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL. And Beezus sucks. This whole movie sucks. Though I like Aiden and the guy from Las Vegas.

Please Give

This movie is about a woman who buys furniture from old people who have died and apartments of elderly people who are about to die and then resells them for huge profits. She starts to feel guilty about this. You won’t care. Whole flick is terrible.

The Late Shift

So in case you needed NEW reasons to hate Jay Leno, pick up this ditty. It’s the tale of his late night wars with David Letterman and how he jettisoned his manager the minute he got the Tonight Show, even though he would have had NOTHING without her. Kathy Bates is the awesome. I saw a funny “some ecards” it was “I hate Jay Leno because he makes me feel bad that I don’t actually think Conan’s funny.” That’s where I stand.

Wolf Moon

This movie seems to be a premake of the Anthony Hopkins Wolfman movie from last year. Same plot of father and son wolves, where one likes it, the other doesn’t. Same woman who loves the wolf. Though they throw in a sheriff who is a chick with a thick Spanish accent. No bueno.

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

This movie stars the kid Gaby had the affair with on Desperate Housewives and the girl who played Emily on General Hospital. She’s on House now. It’s about a reporter who has a hunch that the District Attorney is fabricating evidence to get his conviction rate high enough so he can run for Governor. To prove it, he decides to frame himself for a murder. Can’t IMAGINE what could go wrong. It’s not the worst movie ever and there’s a neat twist at the end.

Jackie Chan: Kung Fu Master

You know what is the worst movie, ever? Yeah…ugh. So the premise is this kid wants Jackie Chan to teach him Kung Fu so he can beat up the bullies in his class. Blah blah blah. He runs around China trying to get on the set of Jackie Chan movies. Terrible.

Toy Story 3

This movie is the story of what happens to your toys when you move away to college. It’s not pretty. Cute movie though. But sorta depressing too.

Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky

This movie is terrible. Stravinsky cheats on his wife with Coco Chanel, but the wife doesn’t mind because he’s found something to be passionate about again. But then Coco Chanel gets bored with him and dumps him.

American Crime

This movie is awful. It starts out like a faux documentary about a young female reporter who stumbles on the story of her career, but she gets too close and the killer kills her! But the acting is so dreadful and the dialogue so stilted, you mostly laugh. Awful. Awful. AWFUL.

Autumn in New York

Speaking of AWFUL. I don’t understand. This flick was SOOOOO AWFUL. Winona Ryder is 20 years old and dying of some heart ailment. Richard Gere is 400 years old, dated both Winona’s MOTHER AND GRANDMOTHER! But she decides he’s the one for her! And he’s all “okay…but you’re SURE you’re gonna die, right? Cause I don’t do commitment!” And she’s all “yep.” And he’s all “okay, then I love you! I love you forever!” AND THIS IS A LOVE STORY? A “heartbreaking love story” according to the box?? Fuck outta here.

Sex and the City 2

Speaking of “fuck outta here.” Can this Sex and the City thing please DIE ALREADY? PLEASE??? This movie is like a compilation of four different movies ALL OF THEM TERRIBLE! Oh Carrie is all “waaa my life is so boring.” And Miranda is all “waa male lawyers are so mean to me” And Charlotte is all “waaa mothering two children with the help of a pretty nanny is sooo hard!” and Samantha is all “Look at me, I’m not really old! Really!” And then they’re all “Let’s go to Saudi Arabia! GAG. Vomit.


Adrien Brody is so very very annoying. This flick is no exception. He and his girlfriend build a new species that’s part stingray/part girl. They call her “Dren” and raise her as their own. It does NOT turn out well. Then Adrien Brody has sex with Dren. He girlfriend catches him. Dude. GROSS. Then Dren grows wings and er…other body parts… Seriously. GROSS.


I think this was another Cristina Ricci flick. She stars as a discredited nurse at last chance hospital. But the hospital has a terrible past. The patients and staff are dying and time is running out to stop the bloodshed and save the children! Meh. Boring.

See the Sea

This movie is SO freaky. It’s a French short. (Honestly, I don’t know how I keep ending up with these French films. It’s not my fault!) The mother and her baby are at the family beach house while the husband is away. A young drifter girl knocks on the door and asks if she can pitch her tent in the yard. The mother is lonely and desperate for adult company. This will not end well.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Justin Timberlake - Best of a Generation?

Every once in a while, I will hear an argument about who is the best of a generation of actors. Recently, while reading Dawn's most recent post, I came to her description of Southland Tales, a film starring Justin Timberlake. In it, Dawn wrote: "I don’t know if Justin Timberlake has ever been in a good movie, but… no, correction: Justin Timberlake has never been in a good movie and Southland Tales is no exception."


Timberlake has been in a slew of solid films and over that time has proven himself to me to be if not the best actor of his generation today, at least in consideration for that lofty title.

I shared this thought with Dawn, to which she offered some alternative bests of the generation: Zack Efron (I kid you not), Robert Downey Jr. and Johnny Depp.

First, let me clear up the issue of what constitutes a generation. Depp and Downey were born in the mid-1960s. Timberlake was born in 1981. Therefore, it is safe to say that they do not share a generation. This is good, because I agree with Dawn that Downey and Depp are better actors than Timberlake.

Efron was born in 1987. For the sake of simplicity, let's assume a generation constitutes a decade of breadth, in this case, from 1980 to 1990. In that case, Efron and Timberlake share a generation. In reality though, one could argue that a generation, particularly with actors, is much shorter, closer to 5 years. I leave that distinction up to the reader. Regardless, it is safe to use 10 years as the maximum for a generation.

Here is a quick filmography for Timberlake, focusing on the highlights with some commentary:
  • Alpha Dog (2006) - Timberlake played a rich Hollywood kid who gets involved in the escalating disaster involving the kidnap of a minor to collect a drug debt. Timberlake does a solid job of filling the role with the right bravado but also insecurity.
  • Southland Tales (2006) - Admittedly, this is an odd movie, but Timberlake shines as a former soldier returning from war.
  • Black Snake Moan (2006) - Timberlake once again plays a soldier returning home, but this time in the bayou, where his girlfriend is whoring it around town. Timberlake gets extra credit from me for his portrayal of his character's PTSD, especially when he reveals that it first reared its head before he saw any action.
  • The Social Network (2010) - Timberlake plays the founder of Napster, who acts as both role model and adviser to the founder of Facebook. He plays this role well, adding a sense of experience and aged resilience, followed by self-destruction, even though he is still a young guy.
Granted, these are only four roles, three of which were released in the same year. But Timberlake has demonstrated on SNL that he also has a knack for comedy. This is no surprise, since he started acting at a young age on the Mickey Mouse Club.

So, here is where I ask for audience participation. Can you think of other actors who are more deserving to be dubbed the best in Timberlake's generation? I have a couple of possibilities, ironically mostly from the cast of Alpha Dog. However, what do you think?

And the greater question: Who is a better actor: Efron or Timberlake?

Monday, October 18, 2010

October Movie Reviews!

More Than A Game

This is a basketball documentary about Lebron James and his three best childhood friends. I’m not much of a basketball fan, but after the Lebron brouhaha, I rented it to find out who this guy is and why he gets to be on TV for an hour and then gets to move to Miami. Seems pretty unfair all around. It was okay. If you’re a Lebron fan, you’ve probably already seen it. There’s a great part where he and his friends decide to go to the local Catholic school instead of the public high school and Lebron has a quote in there about how they’ve decided “to take their talents to” St. Whatever it was. I laughed. He’s had the same PR staff since he was 14! And they say he’s not loyal.

This movie was weird and creepy and did I say creepy? And weird. Plot? A fish becomes a human girl, but for her to stay a human girl, a seven year old boy has to promise to love her forever. Uh huh. Am I the only one who can imagine the “how could you sleep with my best friend? I gave up being a magic fish for you!” argument that ends with him going “GOD DAMMIT WOMAN, I WAS SEVEN!” And then broken glass? Just me? Okay, moving on.

I love you, Beth Cooper

I loved this movie. I know, I know…who didn’t want to see Sylar cut open that cheerleader’s stupid head and suck her brain out…or whatever it is he did to take powers? But she totally works in this movie. She’s just obnoxious and self absorbed enough to be the homecoming queen type, but vulnerable and insecure enough that you don’t hate the protagonist for being in love with her even though she’s never spoken to him before. It’s a funny silly “one crazy night in High School,” movie that would have made John Hughes smile.

A Prophet
So, this movie is about a French prisoner. Who is in prison in France. For committing some French crime. Oh, but he’s a Muslim, so the other French prisoners are all “You’re not French! You’re Muslim!” And then they beat him up. A kingpin in the prison decides to make him a minion, so then the other prisoners stop picking on him. There is a super gross murder scene. Oh, and the movie is in French. All in all, I give it 7 out of 10 Frances. I hope I do not have to tell you that is not a good thing.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
This movie was retarded. I give it ten out of ten Frances.

After Life
This movie was weird. It’s about a school teacher who dies in a car crash and that guy whose name might be Liam Neeson (or he might be the guy I always confuse with Liam Neeson) is the funeral home director. He is trying to prepare her body for burial, but she is all “dude, I’m not dead!” And he’s all “yes, you are! And I’m preparing your body for the funeral!” But then it turns out that maybe she’s not dead and he’s just a psychopath who finds wounded people and drugs them so they look like they’re dead. But then it turns out that maybe she is dead. I dunno. We’ll call this six Frances.

Nadie Conoce a Nadie (1999)
This movie is sorta cool. It’s a Spanish flick, set in Spain. It’s one of these noirish whodunits, so I can’t say very much more without giving stuff away. But the main guy is a crossword puzzle maker who ends up at the center of an international terror plot against Jesus. No Frances at all for this movie! I give it four Americas!

My Name Is Bruce (2007)
Vomit. Barf. Hurl. Blurgh. This movie is so stupid. It’s supposed to be a spoof on the Evil Dead movies (which I think is why I ended up renting it…during my Evil Dead phase I added it to my queue.) Bruce Campbell plays himself, but an exaggerated version. In the movie, he is hired to kill this monster because the town believes he actually is Ashley, but in reality he’s just a selfish movie star. Of course, he then comes to realize he can put the needs of others ahead of himself and fight the monster after all. I give this movie twelve million Frances.

Southland Tales (2006)
I don’t know if Justin Timberlake has ever been in a good movie, but… no, correction: Justin Timberlake has never been in a good movie and Southland Tales is no exception. This movie has such a star studded cast it’s actually pretty unbelievable how terrible it is. Though, Sarah Michelle Gellar is in it and except for three or four movies, her movie resume is about as terrible as Timberlake's. HOWEVER, The Rock is in this movie AND HE IS SHIRTLESS about 80 percent of the time that he’s on screen. So… this movie earns itself a solid one and a half Americas! You’re welcome. Plot? Dude. Did I mention that The Rock is SHIRTLESS? Moving on.

All About Steve (2009)

Um… so… *whistles* I kinda sorta…um… liked this movie. Judge me? I JUDGE YOU! Yeah, that’s right. Deal with it! Sandra Bullock is wonderful! And the story is very empowering and cute and it ends exactly right. You find yourself rooting for Mary the whole way. Okay, her outfit is a bit off the wall, but other than that…the story of a plucky crossword puzzle writer searching for love in all the wrong ways, is terrific. Hmmm…I saw a lot of movies about crossword puzzle writers.

Alice in Wonderland (2010)

This movie was great! My friend Fisch said he didn’t like it, so I avoided it for a long time, but having pretty much wiped out the shelves at my local Blockbuster (see above where I rented All About Steve) I had no choice, plus, you know I have that Johnny Depp thing. It was great though! Way better than the Alice in Wonderland movie I remember from my childhood. This one made sense and was fun and triumphant and not at all annoying! Definitely six Americas. At least!

Jennifer's Body (2009)
This movie was also great! I was going on and on about how much I loved 2012 on twitter and one of my friends sarcastically (I think) said that if I liked 2012 so much, he bets I’d LOVE Jennifer’s Body. But joke’s on him, I totally did! It’s a brilliant horror movie which also kinda cleverly captures the nature of teenage girl on girl friendships. It really is an almost perfect movie.

Ice Castles (2010)
This movie is, I guess, based on a true story of a promising ice skater who has a freak accident while skating, which leaves her blind. With the help of her boyfriend and inner strength, she competes even with her blindness! You’ll laugh, you’ll cry…um…no you won’t. It’s actually pretty meh. I rooted much harder for Mary in All About Steve. The blind ice skater girl is sad and all, but…okay, I’m going to stop now before I get letters from blind people. Are blind people on the net? Is there a Braille reader for blogs? Okay, so I’m going to stop now. Definitely.

Robin Hood (2010)
Do you remember how terrible Southland Tales was? Yeah, if it were a choice between watching that again or watching this Robin Hood again, I would throw myself off a building. What do you mean “do I know what the words ‘choice between’ means? Of course, I do. This Robin Hood was awful! It’s some prequel to the Kevin Costner Robin Hood, except there’s no awesome “I would die for you,” song and then they splice in footage from Elizabeth and Saving Private Ryan. OH AND IT'S THREE HOURS LONG. NO BUENO. TWO BILLION FRANCES.

Get Him to the Greek (2010)
This was a GREAT movie. 1. P. Diddy > Justin Timberlake ALL DAY EVERY DAY AND TWICE ON SUNDAYS! He was hysterical as the music producer mogul with five kids and a heavy dose of crazysauce. That fat dude from those movies that I usually hate (Superbad? Knocked Up?) was terrific as the straight man assistant (just going to show that I was right! He is NOT funny!) And the guy who plays the has-been rockstar was spot on. The songs were funny, the situations were funny…I laughed so hard… and I was at work, so that was probably inappropriate. GREAT FLICK! SEVEN AMERICAS!

The Experiment (2010)
This movie sucks. Why is that fat black guy from The Crying Game making such bad movies all of sudden? He was great in that “rawr I’m an African dictator and I kill people movie.” The premise of this dungpile is that these guys sign up for a study. They get paid two thousand dollars a day to play their parts in a prisoner/guard simulation. Of course, things go badly when the guards get power hungry and the prisoners say they’re not going to take it anymore. Blah. Four Frances.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010)
This movie was meh. I could tell they really really really wanted me to see it in 3D at a movie theater. But I could really really really tell it was going to suck and I was going to be mad that I had wasted money on it. Um…so the plot is a king adopts a street urchin boy even though he already has two biological children. They all grow up and when it comes time to pick an heir, the father is murdered. Street urchin boy is accused and then he finds a dagger that can take him back through time. The sworn keeper of that dagger is a beautiful woman. You figure the rest out. Yep. It happens just like that. One France.

Titanic 2 (2010)
I tweeted this movie as I watched it. As I believe my tweets to be brilliant, I will recap them here:
“Yes, I rented this. SMH.”
“You get on a ship called the Titantic 2, you deserve whatever you get.”
“I’m a nurse NOT an electrician” – direct quote from Titantic 2.”
“There was one survivor of the Titanic 2, hopefully the third one won’t make any mistakes.”
One hundred Frances.

Letters to Juliet (2010)
I thought this movie was cute. Very very predictable, but it’s a classic, no nonsense chick flick, so what did you expect? American writer goes to Italy, discovers an old love letter seeking advice, she decides to answer it. Old lady comes to Italy to follow American girl’s advice that she look for her long lost love. Old lady’s grandson, pissed the hell off. Voila.

MacGruber (2010)
FOUR HUNDRED BILLION FRANCES. There is nothing funny nor charming about this movie. Also I think some guy sticks a celery in his ass and prances around naked.

Killers (2010)
This movie was good! By far Ashton Kutcher’s best movie. Katherine Heigl did not irritate me and in a movie where her husband turns out to be a spy and there are assasins trying to kill them, I did not once hope that they would be shot to death. Talk about high praise!

Just Wright (2010)
I liked this movie. Queen Latifah is spot on as the tom boyish rabid basketball fan. Common was good as the injured basketball player she rehabs back to health and Clair Huxtable is in it! Definite rent. Six Americas.

Caligula (1979)
I don’t know why I rented this movie. There were a lot of boobs. A lot a lot of boobs. I’m still a little traumatized.

Solitary Man (2009)
This movie is TERRIBLE. It stars Gordon Gecko as a guy having a middle aged crisis and he’s chasing younger women and won’t let his grandson call him grandpa because then people will think he’s old. But then he sleeps with the daughter of his girlfriend and she has her mafia ex husband threaten his life and then he’s all in the hospital with no one and his ex wife comes back and says he needs to choose, the life as her husband again or chasing after floozies. Bah. I dunno. But more importantly, I DIDN’T CARE.

A Quiet Little Marriage (2008)
This movie is brilliant! It’s about a newlywed couple. The wife decides she wants to have kids, the husband has this loser younger brother who he has taken care of his whole life, so he definitely doesn’t want to have kids. So she starts poking holes in the contraception and he starts grinding up birth control pills and putting them in her tea. Hijinx ensue.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

TIFF Review - Everything Must Go

*Yes, TIFF is long past, but I'm lazy and procrastinaty. Ergo, you get these as I write 'em.

We often see the biggest comedic movie stars turn to drama. Robin Williams, Jim Carrey, Bill Murray, Adam Sandler, etc.. Sometimes this is because they want to break away from the schtick that made them famous before it gets old. Usually its because they want some critical acclaim for their abilities as an actor instead of just a wacky guy.

Will Ferrell is no different. He's carved a big path of funny, but long ago it began feeling like more of the same. I would refer to the latest comedy as "Will Ferrell movie 20xx". I'd still go see them, and I'd still laugh, but they weren't exactly deep explorations of the human psyche, or anything new.

Then I saw Stranger than Fiction, a strange little comedy where he played, for all intents and purposes, the straight man. He was in a ridiculous situation, but was just a guy trying to deal with it. It's a great movie that shows how his talents can be harnessed in something other than his normal routine.

Then he went back to Blades of Glory, Semi-Pro, and the like. I still laughed, but now anticipated his next "serious" role.

Everything Must Go falls into that category. Ferrell plays Nick Halsey, a career salesman who starts off the movie having a very bad day. Canned from his job, he comes home to find that his wife has left him and locked him out of the house, along with all his stuff. It doesn't really get better from there. At first.

With no job, no place to go, and no capability to deal with it, Nick restarts his drinking problem, ending yet another trip on the wagon. He plops himself into his chair on his lawn and decides that his front yard isn't such a bad place for a living room. Granted, this has the small problem of being illegal, a situation rectified with a local bylaw allowing yard sales to last 5 days.

What comes next is the story of an alcoholic in a crappy situation trying to sort out his life. As he struggles with denial and avoidance, the realities of his suburban life begin to make themselves known. Secrets, stories, and characters start to come forth, each of them waking Nick up just a little bit more, and helping him come to terms with where he is, and how he got there. The "yard sale" rapidly becomes an obvious metaphor for his emotional burdens.

In the bigger picture, this is a good move for Ferrell. It once again makes him a relatable, "real" character and puts him in an unique situation. But instead of a voice in his head and his life being controlled by a writer, he's in a place that one can actually believe exists. It's another step out of his safety zone and into more grown-up roles.

There's plenty of comedy in here, but don't expect a ridiculous moustache and ignorant rantings. Nick Halsey's just a guy trying do deal. As a movie, it won't make it on too many people's radar - it's just a bit too slow, a bit too scattered, and again, not the typical Ferrell vehicle, which will confuse and disappoint some of his fans. Personally, I enjoyed it, but probably more for some of the individual performances than the whole.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Incredible Melting Man (1977)

'The Incredible Melting Man' (1977)*

“No one has ever seen anything like this.”

So says Capt. Steve West (Alex Rebar) at the start of The Incredible Shrinking Man, a silly slice of low budgeted sci-fi horror written and directed by William Sachs. West, an astronaut leading his crew on a mission taking them to Saturn -- what for, we never learn -- is specifically referring to the “magnificent” sight of the sun through Saturn’s rings.

Then again, he could be describing the next 80 minutes or so, which I think it is safe to say no one has ever seen anything like, either.

Though released in 1977, The Incredible Melting Man has a premise (and title) that comes straight out of the 1950s. Of course, while one generally finds even in the least accomplished B-movies of that earlier era some sort of moral or message -- say, about the dangers of allowing scientific progress to go unchecked, or communism, or the bomb, or what have you -- the emphasis here is a little different.

Rather, The Incredible Melting Man is a film about sticky goo. Mostly.

Following a vague opening sequence in which the Saturn mission apparently goes horribly wrong, West lands wrapped in bandages in a sparsely-filled room in what looks like a warehouse. It is a warehouse, actually. But we’ll call it a “Psychological Research Center” because of the hand-lettered sign hanging outside.

Left alone, West swiftly removes the bandages to discover he has become the titular character. He’s melting. It’s incredible, man.

The doomed mission’s only survivor then wastes no time expressing his disappointment by attacking and killing a nurse, then taking off into the surrounding woods. Such anti-social behavior is explained via mumbo jumbo from the doctors about radiation and the fact that “he’s going to need human cells to live on” so “his instinct will tell him to kill.”

The viewers instinct will tell them this is hardly an explanation, but I imagine most getting this far will still be curious to see what happens next.

'The Incredible Melting Man' (1977)And what does happen next? A sequence of awkward set pieces involving numerous random folk, all punctuated by more mucky mayhem committed by an increasingly syrupy Steve. These scenes include a fishing expedition, a kids’ game of hide-and-seek, an involuntarily-topless photo shoot (with the often-topless cult film star Rainbeaux Smith), an elderly couple stealing lemons, and a man eating leftover turkey.

There’s a sheriff impotently running around trying to figure out why heads and other body parts are turning up all over his jurisdiction. He’s not helped very much by two others who know more about it all than they are letting on -- an avuncular though mostly unpleasant General Michael Perry (Myron Healey) and the weirdly morose and uncharismatic Dr. Ted Nelson (Burr DeBenning).

Strictly amateur hour top to bottom in this one when it comes to editing, cinematography, script, acting, mise en scène, and just about every other aspect of filmmaking one can name.

For example, at about the half-hour mark the entire opening sequence is repeated as a flashback occurring in the melting man’s memory. I mean, it was less than thirty minutes ago. We remember. (And this despite the fact we’ve been told “his mind is... completely decomposed.”)

That said, seeking other of the film’s many goofs is a big part of the fun here. Late in the film a woman finds herself trapped in a farmhouse kitchen, the viscous villain awkwardly trying to push his way inside from a connected room. She spots the back door. Does she run out? Nah. She locks it.

And then finds herself a meat cleaver.

Speaking of, that inexplicable choice allows for another of numerous examples of the film’s sort-of-interesting-for-the-time gruesome makeup effects, provided by the since-celebrated Rick Baker who’d go on to earn a half-dozen Oscars for such.

The film eventually oozes its way to a finale of sorts, with an ending so messy it needs a custodial crew to clean it up. No, I’m serious. There’s a janitor... with a broom and dust pan.... Okay, don’t believe me.

Some might remember this one famously received the “Mystery Science Theater 3000” treatment, although the original film is plenty full of gelatinous grins even without the wiseacres in silhouette pointing ’em out. Keeping in mind the usual scales of cinematic valuation, one star seems the most suitable grade here. But some will nonetheless find reason to seek out The Incredible Melting Man, including those who enjoy and/or appreciate campy goodness.

Also, those who like sticky goo.

Friday, September 24, 2010

3.5" Movies - The Runaways

How does an adult, bald male write about the Runaways and not come off sounding like a perv? He doesn't. So, I apologize in advance.

So, for those who didn't read the last post, well, why are you reading this one? But still, some quick background. Most of my movie-watching is done on my iPod Touch, to and from the office. So, I watch movies on a very small screen in about 15-30 minute segments. Because of this, it sometimes takes several days or even weeks to finish a movie, depending on the distractions in my life. 3.5" Movies hopes to provide reviews of movies seen in this odd format. So, let's get to the review.

The Runaways is a movie about the teen girl rock group headed by teenager Cherie Currie, played by Dakota Fanning. The most famous of the band is Joan Jett, played by Twilight star Kirstin Stewart.

The movie follows the typical rock star movie pattern. The band members are down and out. They start the band, in this case thanks to the machinations of their adult male manager, Kim Fowley, played by Michael Shannon. They make it big, feel discord with thier old lives (mostly via Fanning's Currie), get involved with drugs and sex, become jealous of each other, and then break up. That's it. I just explained the whole movie in those few sentences.

The reality is that with certain genre movies, you can almost predict the story before it starts. This movie played entirely into the stardom-followed-by-a-fall genre. So, in order to enjoy the movie, you have to kinda accept that nothing in the plot is going to be fresh; and trust me, nothing is. However, what is fresh is the interesting and impressive transformation of kid star Dakota Fanning into a very adult-themed Cherie Currie.

I've been following Dakota Fanning's career since she was a goddamn infant. The SciFi channel, before they went all ghey and renamed themselves SyFy (is it just me, or is this as weak as the wannabe girls who change their names to Lauryn to be different), aired a mini-series called Taken in 2002. It was a multi-generational mini-series about aliens visiting Earth. It's been a long time since I've seen it, but I remember that I was very impressed by the little actress who was, I think, like half-alien or whatever. She was something important that the aliens wanted. Regardless, she must've been 6 or 7 years old back then (when filmed, 8 y.o. in 2002), but I was amazed at her ability to actually act.

Thankfully, Fanning's career took off. Still, being a kid star, she focused on kid films. That recently changed when she took a role in a movie no one saw where her character was raped. I suppose it was intended to help her break from the Disney stuff, but all it did was create controversy in the papers. Unfortunately, the controversy did little for the film, which did not do well in the box office.

She then had a role in the Twilight films, but there, she plays a young vampire and, in my estimation, comes off as a child.

Cherie Currie, though, was a role that was seemingly made for Fanning. After the first few scenes, you don't see kid-star Fanning anymore, but instead, Cherie Currie, all sexual energy with absolutely no focus or control. In an early scene, she glides around her HS auditorium's stage in skin-tight pants during a talent show lip-synching with David Bowie. In later scenes, none of which actually depict sex but imply it, she is shown to be a strung out rockstar sex symbol in none of its glory.

This is all to say that Fanning transcends the cookie cutter (and watered down) storyline and actually gives an impressive, adult performance. Gone is the Fanning that starred in such fare as the Cat in the Hat and Charlotte's Web. Welcome the Dakota Fanning that grinds against the floor in skin tight pants, mimics a drug overdose, and then can actually successfully play the other side of the coin, the pensive girl who realizes that he rockstar days are over and she's just another one in the crowd.

So, I'm giving the movie a 6 out of 10. It really needed to stop pulling punches and the rockstar portion of the movie was too compact to really appreciate the rise-and-fall nature of the storyline. But I give Dakota an 8 out of 10 for successfully transitioning to adult material in a way that will surely help her find better adult roles in the future.

Until next time, keep 'em 3.5"!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

3.5" Movies - MacGruber

I love reading FilmChaw posts, but I haven't posted on here in months. It must be because my consumption pales in comparison to Dawn, the patron saint of Netflix, I don't attend any cool film festivals like Astin, and I can't get myself to delve deeply into random flicks like the Goat. But we all have our movie-watching quirks, so I've decided to embrace mine. 3.5" movies, for the guy who watches more movies on his iPod Touch in 15-30 minute increments than any other form of media.

When it comes to watching movies on an iPod Touch, I've discovered a real surprise: some movies are better in mini-form. The mini-format is not just size, but also time. I literally watch most of my iPod Touch movies in brief intervals while riding to and from work. And I will often bounce between different things, so it may take me a week to finish a 2 hour movie. Amazingly, while I am probably breaking all of the rules of movie-watching, I find that some films are actually way more enjoyable than I expected (usually based on others' reviews), leading me to believe that some films may actually benefit from my micro movie style.

Let's get to the first film in this hopefully long series of posts. The first is a sleeper of a film, by which I mean it utterly failed at the box office, despite lots of promotion: MacGruber!!!!!! The title doesn't actually have six exclamation points, but it should!!!!!!

MacGruber is a comedy based on the micro-sketch that has been airing on Saturday Night Live sporadically for the last several years. On SNL, the sketch is basically a riff on MacGyver, the 80s TV character who was known mostly for taking random objects and turning them into whatever tool he needed to stop the bad guys or disable the bomb or escape from the trap. So, MacGruber on SNL (played by Will Forte) was merely a skit with a needy, emotional version of MacGyver and usually two other actors, generally a female sidekick (Kristin Wiig) and the special guest of the week. Invariably, they would be locked somewhere, diffusing a bomb, when MacGruber would get distracted by some personal issue, at which point, the bomb would explode presumably killing them all...until the next MacGruber sketch.

With this background, its easy to see why the movie looked like a dog. MacGyver is a pretty old reference for a parody and the sketch was always limited, but the movie transcends these issues. The parody is broadened from MacGyver to general action movies, with takeoffs from a variety of films too lengthy (and likely too obscure in some cases) to list here.

Perhaps the greatest strength in the film was its willingness to accept an R rating. Most comedies attempt to go broad to attract the teen audience, but MacGruber was pure R. That means boobies and bad words, two things that help any action or comedy movie.

As MacGruber, Will Forte is absolutely hilarious. The character is well realized and multi-dimensional, not to mention delusional and just plain awesome. For instance, a running gag is that MacGruber does not use guns...but he does have a patented move where he rips out the bad guys' windpipes with his bare hands. It's absurd, disgusting, violent, and hilarious all rolled into one.

Also to be commended are his supporting case. Kristin Wiig is great as his female sidekick. She actually looks like a funny Jennifer Aniston; funny as in not as good looking but close enough, and funny as in she doesn't make every movie instantly suck by her presence. In fact, Wiig is a comedic star in her own right and more than holds her own in the movie. One of my favorite scenes involves Wiig dressed as MacGruber to be used as bait. She has MacGruber telling her how to act via an earpiece, but she is so skittish and a shrinking violet, particularly in comparison to the blustery MacGruber, that the scene is chock full of laughs. I really wish I could tell you the exact scene that had me rolling on the floor of the subway laughing, but I'd hate to ruin it.

Finally, I have to give props to an actor who is woefully underrespected in my humble opinion: Ryan Phillippe. Phillipe plays the role of the straight guy, both as his character and by the sheer fact that the usually-serious actor is in such a wacky comedy. And he's good. His acting is solid, and he somehow grounds the movies and the characters around him.

And to round out the cast, props to Val Kilmer, who played the villain, Kunth. Obviously, the name was picked so that MacGruber could make lots of lines about pounding that Kunth. It can be a bit of an old gag, but really, when do you ever hear the C-word used in film, especially in a comedy.

And for you wrestling fans out there, there is a scene you will absolutely love, with cameos of a handful of WWE stars. For you non-wrestling fans out there, its not a wrestling scene, so don't worry about it. You will not lose anything by your inability to identify the Big Show.

I'm giving MacGruber an 8 out of 10. It's laugh-out-loud funny, it doesn't pull any punches, and it has a surprisingly strong cast and story.

Until next time, keep 'em 3.5"!

TIFF Review - Bunraku

Mix a Noir, Western, and Samurai film, place it in a pop-up book, and make it look like it was all created by Guy Laliberté - that's Bunraku.

In a future where guns have been banned, violence has returned to the old forms of melée combat. The martial arts, swordplay, and straight-up street brawling are the weapons of choice. Within this world, new rules apply. A mobster can rule a city with a small army, but be challenged by any gang of twenty. The Woodcutter Nicola (Ron Perlman) owns this town.

A vicious killer himself, he has 9 lieutenants who go by the names Killer #2-10, ranked by their ability and who they killed to move up the ladder.

All of this is explained in the opening sequence, where Killer #2 (Kevin McKidd) single-handedly takes down a gang of 20 freedom fighters who want to free their town from the grasp of "the most powerful man east of the Atlantic".

A drifter (Josh Hartnett) comes into town, along with Yoshi (Gackt), both with similar destinations, but different ideas on how to get there. The Drifter is a brawler with incredibly fast hands who is seeking vengeance. Yoshi is a Samurai in search of a family heirloom. Naturally, both roads lead to Nicola.

The local bartender (Woody Harrelson) has his own history with Nicola, but is injured and old. In these two men he sees his chance at retribution, and he manipulates them into becoming partners in their endeavours.

An original tale? Not on paper. Mixing a drifer out of a Western and a Samurai out of the world of Kurosawa isn't that much of a stretch, as the genres share themes. The noir aspect adds a veneer of style that ties it together. But what truly makes Bunraku worthwhile is the visuals. "Bunraku" is a traditional form of Japanese puppet theatre, and the movie takes place in this world. Surreal landscapes and surroundings, transitions through comic books, fight scenes out of side-scrolling video games, and a world that looks made out of paper mâché makes for a visual feast. The fight scenes move between quick and dirty brawls to choreographed clashes of style, to dance routines disguised as efficient fighting techniques. By the time the acrobats start kicking cowboy-ass, you may believe you're watching a Cirque du Soleil presentation.

Stylistically, Bunraku fills me with the same hope as Scott Pilgrim vs The World. It's original, modern, relevant, and an important part of the presentation. It's not style for style's sake, but a valid representation of the ideas within the film. If cinema continues to move in this direction, it could easily reinvigorate a generation raised on interactive fiction, games, and graphic novels to enjoy movies.

The story falls apart towards the end - the long road to the climax eats up so much time that it would be a three-hour film if it finished at the same pace. That isn't to say it's a slow trip, but a full one. Fights, explanations, poker games, synecdoche, and backstory are all presented. The ending simply wraps them all up. But this shortcoming of the film can be forgiven for the visual feast presented throughout.

TIFF Review - The Trip

The Trip is a movie that keeps lying to its audience. We were told it was a two-hour movie, but it's really a six-part British series. It's advertised as a road movie about two funny British actors touring restaurants, but it turns out to be much more.

Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon play two comedian friends named... Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. Exaggerated versions of themselves, Coogan is a pretentious prick and Brydon is a passive-aggressive impersonator trying to make the best of a generally insufferable situation - being stuck with Coogan.

Now, put two funny guys together in a car, hotels, and restaurants, and you're guaranteed some laughs. They come in various forms throughout the film, Brydon's hit-and-miss impersonations, back-and-forth reconstructions of movie cliches ("We awake at dawn!"), commentaries on epicurean feasts, James Bond revisited, Coogan's acerbic critiques of Brydon, and the kind of humour one finds when two old friends start playing off one another. If the film was simply these two touring the north of England and shooting the shit, it would be enough for two hours of funny worth your time. But as the movie progresses, it becomes obvious this is only the shell of what's being presented.

Ostensibly a magazine-writing job, Coogan's ulterior motive for this trip was to romance his girlfriend. His girlfriend who has asked for a break and moved back to America to continue her journalism career. Having committed to the job, he's gone through his list of friends and ended up with Brydon. Between tasting menus, Coogan is on the phone with his girlfriend, his ex-wife, his son, and his agents. His professional life isn't where he wants it either. He juggles feasts with various relationships, career insecurities, and sexual conquests. Through it all is his old friend.

Brydon is a family man, with a wife and baby he adores, living the life of a celebrity of some fame, but without the international exposure or trappings of Hollywood recognition. He's content with this existence, it gives him a comfortable life, but without taking him away from those he loves. He has no desire for that flaring moment of super-celebrity, and in fact fears it - if it was to be achieved, how would he follow it? In many ways, he's positioned as Coogan's mirror-image - secure, content, faithful, he followed the path Coogan didn't take and found happiness.

The movie bounces between the awkwardness of two people who don't really get along, to peeks at the deep friendship they seem afraid to admit, to Coogan's personal issues. It is all tied together with humour and heart and gourmet food.

And what food. I'm anxious to see the full 6-part BBC series, because I can only assume it spends more time on those dishes. Six gourmet restaurants in the British countryside, beautiful locales (I now understand why the Brits emigrated to Canada - feels like home), and tasting menus that make me yearn for a wallet-busting restaurant visit.

If there's one complaint I have, it's that the point of the film seems a bit lost. It's part travelogue, part conversation piece, part road-buddy flick, and largely a comic showcase. But the bittersweet ending left me with one impression - The Trip is an excellent improvised study of fame disguised as a funny British road trip movie.

If you like wry British humour, gourmet food, and amusing, sometimes hilarious conversation, you definitely need to see this. Hell, if the thought of dueling Michael Caine impersonations appeals to you, you need to see it.

TIFF Review - Score: A Hockey Musical

Canadians are a proud people. Every once in a while, a Canadian movie causes those deep-seeded red-and-white feelings to rise to the top. A film can come along that captures our spirit and humour and love of our country. Score: A Hockey Musical is not that film.

A pandering, uneven, and largely derivative hockey movie, Score is a disappointment. The fact that it was the gala opening for the Toronto International Film Festival just increases the embarrassment.

Farley Gordon (Noah Reid) is a home-schooled teenager who has been sheltered from the world. His one non-educational activity seems to be playing shinny at the outdoor rink across the road from his bedroom with the locals. Naturally, he's the best player on the ice. He gets discovered by the owner (Stephen McHattie) of the Brampton Blades, a minor-league team full of players who will never see the NHL. Convinced to go against his granola-munching elitist parents (Olivia Newton-John and Marc Jordan), he joins the team.

Of course, being the sheltered son of neo-Trotskyist pacifists, he's SHOCKED that there's some physicality in the game he loves. The Blades are, of course, the roughest team in a league of goons. Bench-clearing brawls are commonplace, their star is a guy named "Moose" who is obviously the league's prize fighter, and the fans want blood.

His talent shoots Farley to national superstardom in a single game. By 3 games in, he's got an agent, underwear ad, and is testing a cologne. The fact he's the best player since Sidney Crosby (stated numerous times, along with his ignorance of who that is) gets him protected by his teammates, until he covers up during a fight with another team's goalie. Now he's not only a pariah to his team, but a national disgrace.

Etc, etc... the whole thing follows the hockey movie playbook. There's the female best friend from childhood who secretly loves him (and vice-versa), but gets temporarily turned off by his jackassery due to fame. His coach doesn't get this gentle kid, but is under ownership orders to play him. Teammates accept him, reject him, accept him again. His parents go from dead-set against his choice to realizing they're bad parents. It's all in there.

Even the fighting. Which is possibly the most disappointing aspect of the movie. This is 2010. Fighting is still a part of the game, but not to the extent it was in the 70's and 80's. The movie pretends the Blades are the Broad Street Bullies, loaded up with Hanson brothers. Fighting is hockey, and hockey is fighting. If you don't fight, you're a pussy who a country will turn against. Vague justifications are given, and a completely unbelievable solution is found. Seriously - had the writer not heard of Wayne Gretzky? Oh wait, he had to have, because Wayne's dad Walter is in the movie.

There is one scene, where a team-on-team battle becomes a ballet that almost makes a point about how even the fisticuffs have a poetic motion to them - but since it's not followed up on, it can be easily forgotten.

Obviously, the writer knew he'd written every other hockey movie out there, so he tossed in some song-and-dance numbers. Remember, it's "A Hockey Musical". The songs are generally forgettable, pedantic, and stretch to fit the plot. There's some clever wordplay here and there, and even the occasional catchy tune, but overall, it's a tacked-on effort that makes you wonder why they bothered.

Granted, the dream sequence with Walter Gretzky and Theo Fleury was pretty hilarious, if only a minute long.

Then there's the supporting cast - the team and coaches are fine (and Chris Ratz is funny when he gets to speak). Stephen McHattie is awesome (as always) as the owner of the Blades. Oliva Newton-John gets by on being, well, Olivia Newton-John. Marc Jordan comes off as "I guess Eugene Levy was busy". Allie MacDonald (Farley's best friend-cum-girlfriend, Eve) is cute enough, but pouts and sighs her way through the role. There's also vague Italian guy who's generally useless. In short - the cast is either serviceable or distracting.

Oh, and Nelly Furtado is in it for some reason. She doesn't really sing, act, or do anything else. Just cheers in the back row as a some sort of super-fan.

It's a shame that this movie fails so much. It starts of with John McDermott singing "O Canada", just like he does at Leafs games, which stirred my patriotic heart. Sadly, it just got more pandering from there, to the point where it went from funny to sad. But hey, if you like playing "where is that in Toronto", it's fun for about 10 scenes, then they've covered them all.

If you're Canadian or a hockey fan, I recommend watching this film alone in a small room and not telling anyone. You'll chuckle, maybe cheer a bit, and then grow increasingly anxious to grab another beer and maybe forget about the rest of the movie, since you know how it ends. If you're American - please forget this movie exists and never watch it. We don't need your opinions of us further ruined.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

September to Remember

Huh. Did anyone else realize that remember rhymes with an awful lot of our months of the year? No? Just me? Well, then YOU'RE welcome America! Um...and Canada. And possibly Mexico, if the Rooster reads this blog. Which he probably doesn't.

The Crazies

This movie is AWESOME! And that was before I even watched the whole Deadwood series in a week and learned all about Bullock. It’s scary AS HELL, in terms of both gore and psychological thrillage… I just made that word up, didn’t I? It’s got yer government cover-ups and your shootings and burning alives, oh and yer pitchfork stabbings…AHHHHHHHH. OMG. Seriously. I screamed for hours.

Death at a Funeral

This is the movie I thought I was renting when I rented the British Death at a Funeral, last year or earlier this year, it’s starting to run together. This version stars Martin and Chris Rock and Tracy Morgan and Danny Glover. And would you believe, TRACY MORGAN is the best part? Everyone else stinks. Chris Rock as the straight man is stilted and boring. Martin as a cad hitting on a teenager, yawn. Even the guy who accidentally takes hallucinogens and starts tripping is lame and boring. Definitely see the British version instead.

Repo Men

This is one of those set in the future sci fi adventures that I hate so much. And seriously, why doesn’t Jude Law just shave his head or wear a wig instead of us making us watch his hairline recede in slow motion movie after god awful movie? Ah, but enough snark, how about a plot. So… um… they have invented artificial organs to make up for the shortage in organ donations. Naturally, such organs are expensive, so people need to take out loans to pay for them. But the bad loan company is evil and charges them interest and so now they have to pay for the organs AND the privilege of borrowing money. And when they fall behind, the bad mean company sends out men to repossess (that word has A LOT of esses in it) the organs. Jude Law’s wife doesn’t like what he’s doing so she wants him to quit, but his partner refuses to let him go and rigs and\ accident that costs Jude Law his heart. So now HE must take out a loan for an artificial heart! Then I think Jude Law falls in love with a woman who has so many artificial limbs and organs that she’s mostly machine. I dunno. This movie is wretched. Booo.

Youth In Revolt

Man, I hate Michael Cera. I’ve been watching old Arrested Developments and my only regret about that series is that it made him famous. And now he is unleashed unto the world making crap movies like this dung heap. He’s a kid in love with a girl who is way too hot for him. And so he conjures up an alter ego who does bad things to make him seem more rebel than dweeb. And then she falls for him, but now he has to go to prison. The only one that’s funny is Michael Cera’s mom. But she’s also a whore. Blah. Snooze.

The Runaways

Yeah, because what I really want is to see little Dakota Fanning as a coke whore. Sigh. I’m not into this kind of music and I’d never heard of Cherie Whatever or her Girlettes before, so maybe I’m not the movie's target audience. But as a biopic, it’s merely okay. I actually empathized most with the manager and felt like I was supposed to be siding with the girls…right? The chick from the Twilight movies was as single dimensional and vacuous as she is in those movies. I used to think it was the character Bella, but now, I see it’s the actress. If you can’t make Joan Jett in the 60s exciting, you fail at life.

Green Zone

Oh man, yet another terrible movie. I don’t know why they say this is part of the Bourne series, it’s not. Damon plays a regular old marine, who is navigating the fine line of a “friendly occupation.” The movie is basically about whether he can trust this Iraqi dude as they search Baghdad for the bad guys in Sadaam’s administration. In the end, he can’t. No, he can. Wait, no, he can’t. Oh…maybe…YESS HE CAN! Aw…lemon. Nope. I’m not kidding. That’s how the movie goes.


THIS MOVIE KICKED ASS! I can’t begin to tell you how much I feared this movie was gonna blow chunks. But, no, instead it BLOWS YOUR MIND! The premise is that this nerd boy decides to dress up like a superhero and see if he can make a difference. He can’t, he gets his ass kicked. (“They shouldn’t call him kick-ass, they should call him ass kicked” – Nicholas Cage as Big Daddy.) But he inspires this father and daughter team to do the same thing and they are ARMED! And then he spawns a nemesis, a Richie rich kid who is trying to win his father’s affection. MAN, this movie is GREAT GREAT GREAT!!!

Clash of Titans

I liked this flick a lot. I’m totally into mythology and that’s what this movie deals with. The demigod son of Zeus trying to save makind from Hades’ power grab. There are cool monsters (“Release the Krakken!”) And neat fight scenes, the story isn’t totally predictable and the end is surprisingly satisfying.

Extraordinary Measures

Um…Brendan Fraser plays a dad of two kids dying of some weird children’s disease. Harrison Ford is the aloof scientist who has a cure in theory but is too anti-social and poor to test it on human subjects. Um…it’s supposed to be one of those “tug at your heart strings” movies. But, I didn’t feel a single tug. I dunno, I just didn’t care. Maybe they shoulda gotten cuter kids. (Oh snap! No she didn’t.) Or maybe Brendan Fraser and Kerri Russell are just too annoying…yeah, that was probably it. The kids were plenty cute. (Save!)

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

UGH. SKIP. SKIP. SKIP. I think this is a beloved children’s book series? I don’t know, I don’t have kids, but this movie strings together every dumb cliché about being yourself and sticking up for your friends from every live action kids movie since the beginning of time, yet still comes out with a stinker. The main kid is trying to be cool, so he ditches his chubby elementary school best friend, but then still isn’t cool and the chubby kid becomes cool and then they have to eat some cheese off the floor… blech. Boooo double booo!

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

I rented this movie in my never ending quest to see all of Johnny Depp’s movies. He isn’t in it very long though, and then I realized this was the famous “last Heath Ledger” movie. It’s okay. It’s got Jude Law’s receding hairline in it too… um… the premise is weird. It’s all about magic and the devil and the dreamworld, meh. If you are trying to see every Johnny Depp movie, then definitely rent it!

The Spy Next Door

So, if I say that “Jackie Chan is the romantic lead,” is that enough to tell you to run, run very far and very fast away from this movie? Cause if it’s not, you need your head examined.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Ooh, ooh I get to give my pretentious “the book was better” line on this one! Well, it would be pretentious, if the book wasn’t basically beach lit that everyone and their mama is reading right now. Oh, but what if I add “the book was better, but the other two in the trilogy are infinitely better,” that is TOTALLY pretentious! Woo! Suck on that! Where was I? Right…the movie. It’s basically a murder thriller. An old man is dying and before he goes he wants to find out what happened to his granddaughter fifty years ago when she disappeared from the island. The movie is in Swedish, with subtitles. It’s very dark and grainy. I highly support the upcoming remake with Daniel Craig…they could have done more. The movie glosses over some stuff way too quickly, though, it’s still fairly long. Not a good combo.

Dirty Work

Very random comedy…where Norm McDonald runs a revenge for hire business (incidentally, I could SO run a revenge for hire business!) Hinjinx ensue. It’s funny in parts… not anywhere close to Dodgeballs funny, but decent. And short, so there’s that.

The Last Song

Well, I will say two things about this movie. First: I rented it because Miley Cyrus was in it. I like her. Second: I did not know it was a fracking Nicholas Sparks movie. However, at the movie’s end, I did not feel violent towards anyone involved. I cannot say that about the last two Sparks movies that I saw. It’s a pretty standard “family movie.” You know, bad NYC teen’s mom ships her off to her dad’s house in…um…somewhere else that’s not NYC where people talk funny and life moves slower. She learns to love again. Or gets self esteem. I dunno…whatever the point those movies always try to make, this one tries to make as well.

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

I didn’t know what to expect from this movie at all. Not sure why I picked it up. But I’m glad I did, it was a quirky, not annoying period piece. The plot is something like a homeless woman in pre world war 2 England pretends to be a hotshot publicist and gets a fancy job for an actress. She comes to realize that she’s not the only one pretending to be what she’s not.

City Island

This movie is TOTALLY not what I was expecting. It’s about a family in the Bronx. And everyone is keeping secrets, but then the secrets come out and boy are they dumb secrets like “I don’t want to be a prison guard, I want to act!” Oh, well, and “oh, this is my son that I had with some whore before I married you.” And “I’m a stripper, dad.” But other than those, the secrets are way dumb.

Harry Brown

BLECH. I saw this movie when it was Gran Torino and the I hated it then too.

Grand Canyon

At first, I thought I hated this movie. It’s one of those vignette style pieces set in LA where the white people run into the black people by some unfortunate happenstance but then interact: think Crash. Except this movie starts to make fun of itself for being that and then I didn’t hate it. That this movie was made way before Crash and didn’t win an Oscar, pisses me off. It’s great! And the writing is great…though the ending is weird.


Shut it. Do I come to your blogs and judge you?


I had a big debate with my coworkers about whether Tom Hanks has sex with the Weeds lady in the movie. My argument was absolutely NOT this is a kid’s movie and that would make her a pedophile! I was wrong. So, very very sadly ewwww, grossly wrong. Aside from the pedophilia, the movie stands up as the cute fun story that I remember.


This movie does not stand the test of time AT ALL! Except for the first ten or so minutes when the dumb blond girl gets eaten, this movie is not scary for even a second. Well, okay, and maybe at the end when the captain gets eaten. But really, it’s just a lot of old men yakking away. Snooze job! And why did I think that Jaws was like a super shark science experiment that went wrong? Nope. He’s he’s a regular old shark. ZZZZZZ


STOP IT! I see you saying it three times in your head. Jerks! Um… I liked this movie more when I was a kid, it’s kind of uneven, but I still liked it today. And I was singing “shake shake shake zanora” for the rest of the day, so, you know, there’s that.

Monday, August 30, 2010

August Downs

And we’re hitting August up just under the wire! I have seen a lot of movies this month. However, I’ll only write up about half of them lest I break filmchaw. Yeah, this is only half of the movies I've watched in the last 30 days...what of it? I'll fight you.

The Love Guru

This movie is all about the Toronto Maple Leafs! Which, as we all know from @astinto, is actually a real hockey team! So the movie is about the star of the Toronto Maple Leafs – a black guy – having a meltdown on the eve of the Stanley Cup Finals (like the Superbowl in the NFL, except dragged out for a whole bunch of games) because his wife is sleeping with the well endowed goalie on the opposing team. In order to heal his heartbreak, so the Leafs can win the cup, the owner of the team, Jessica Alba, hire a Love Guru from India – Michael…um…shoot…oh Myers! He also has a cameo as Michael Myers, Toronto Maple Leafs fan, late in the movie. There is elephant sex. On ice.

$5 a day

Quirky father/son roadtrip movie. It stars Christopher Walken, so it’s kinda creepy too. He’s the dad. He’s dying and looking for forgiveness from the son he framed for grand theft auto five years prior. The title refers to how much he spends on living expenses. Everything else he grifts, steals or wins from radio show trivia games. There’s no need to rent this movie, but if you happen to find yourself in a closed space and it’s playing on a big screen somewhere, there is no need to stab yourself in the face.

The Killer Inside Me

No shade, but I pretty much think Casey Affleck really is a serial killer. I would prove it, but I fear as I got too close, he would add me to his collection. What? His face is way too…like angelic! Anyway, this movie pretty much confirms my fears. He kills. A lot. And the whole time he’s all “aw, shucks, ma’am, did I spill your blood all over your pretty bed sheets? My apologies.” DUDE! Um. I guess this is a good movie, I like Goldie Hawn’s daughter and even Jessica Alba didn’t make me hurl. But part of what happens when you have a boy next door murderer story is that you try to keep everything calm and serene, so yeah, it’s gory, but also a bit boring.

The September Issue

Yarf. A documentary about a fashion magazine! Double yarf. I rented it because I thought they were going to uncover the real truth about Vogue or Vanity Fair or whatever magazine this was about. That truth being that Satan is really the Editor in Chief and the architect of what passes for women’s fashion. But no. This thing takes itself and fashion totes seriously. Blah. There’s even a part where the cameraman for the documentary gets a part as a model in the magazine. And then the head editor in chief lady calls him fat and asks for it to be “touched up.” Okay. That part was funny. I also hated the head lady’s smug daughter. Who, is all “nah, I’m going to be a lawyer even though my mom keeps saying I should be the Managing Editor of this magazine.” Screw you, Princess. Yup. Dawn is a hater.

Brooklyn’s Finest

Have you seen The Departed? Did you wonder how that movie would be with B celebrity actors and more black people? Then run right out and get you some of this. Seriously. It’s a black Departed. I like black people. I liked The Departed, I liked Brooklyn’s Finest.

The Young Victoria

I was a bit sloshed when I saw this. So…um…it’s about a Princess and then her uncle dies, so she becomes a Queen…and then she marries her cousin and they have a lot of kids off-screen and then he dies. Oh and someone shoots at her. Pretty much if you’re tired of movies about Elizabeth, but you like movies about royals, then this flick is for you.

When In Rome

Why does Veronica Mars keep making terrible movies? Why? It’s like she is the modern-day Sarah Michelle Gellar: boss TV actress, crapola movie star. Um. The premise: Veronica Mars goes to Italy for her younger sister’s wedding, meets a man, frolicks in a magic fountain. Hilarity ensues. Well, minus the hilarity. It is predictable from the opening scene to the closing dance montage. God, it isn’t even a good “chick flick” so far as those go. Blech.

Shutter Island

THIS. MOVIE. WAS. AMAZING! So you think you know, but NOPE YOU HAVE NO IDEA! Just great! Even the brain tumor guy with his speech impediment was good. And Leo, well, Leo was in top form, his best outing since The Departed. I don’t want to ruin anything, but basically, it’s about a crime that happens on an island for the criminally insane. You can try to pay attention to every little detail along the way, you still won’t figure out the twist! Great flick!

From Paris with Love

And then on the other side of the spectrum, we have this dungpile of dog poop. Awful. Just awful. John Travolta plays a super spy who comes to Paris looking for a terrorist cell. He is assigned a young intern guy and it just so happens that the intern’s girlfriend is in the cell! Wretched. Just vile. Lots of explosions, sadly none of them destroy this DVD. And believe you me, I would have happily sacrificed my DVD player if this thing self destructed. Dude, they stop to play chess on an active runway! ARRGGGHHHH

The Back-up Plan

Ok, now this is a chick flick – but it’s a good chick flick. I mean, wholly implausible boy meets girl fall madly in love even though she’s expecting stuff…but that’s understood from the phrase “chick flick.” J Lo is actually charming. I also like the fat black guy from Law & Order’s last season.

Dear John

Aaaandd we’re back to awful. I owed Nicholas Sparks a kick in the shin for The Notebook, now I also owe him a knee to the groin. Dreck. Oh, premise? Um. Guy on military leave meets this girl, they fall in love and write letters back and forth, until she dumps him to get engaged. TO HER DAD’S DYING FRIEND WITH AN AUSTISTIC SON. Eyeroll. Oh, the girl also doesn’t drink. Whatever.

Happy Endings

Soo…this movie is weird. But good weird. It employs many of the techniques found in terrible movies like omniscient narration and flash backs and vignettes style storytelling, but it is not a terrible movie. It’s quite good. I love Lisa Kudrow in it. It’s about an unorthodox family. There’s some weird abortion stuff, but all in all, I liked it. Definite recommend.

Our Family Wedding

This movie was hilarious. To me. Here’s why I qualify that: the movie is about an interracial couple: The Ugly Betty girl and a black guy, who are getting married. Now, the black father is a rich celebrity, the Mexican parents are working class joes. So all the offensive, stereotypes are about the Mexicans. I mean offensive. But since I’m not Mexican, I thought it was funny. O_O What?

The Greatest

Why did I rent this movie? I do not know. It had that British guy on the box. You know the one, he was Remington Steele and then everyone was like he should be James Bond! And then he was, but now he’s not. Well, so he’s a dad in this and he’s married to Susan Sarandon and their oldest son dies. But before he died he impregnated this girl and so she comes to live with the couple and the youngest son (now only child.) I suppose it’s an interesting peek into grief. Susan Sarandon is pissed off that she is getting a grandchild because now people won’t feel quite so sorry for her about losing her son. Remington Steele doesn’t want to talk about the dead kid and throws himself into prenatal caring for the preggo girl. Meh, it’s okay.

Saint John of Las Vegas

Wow, I really am unintentionally doing a “good/bad/good/bad” style review today cause this one is most definitely ABSOLUTELY BELCH AWFUL! I just invented that phrase. Belch Awful TM. It stars Steve Buscemi, who I usually love. Also Sarah Silverman who can be hit or miss and the black guy who used to sell Nancy Weed in Weeds. It’s supposed to be a modern-day Dante’s Inferno, with Las Vegas in the place of hell. I didn’t know that going in. I just saw Steve Buscemi, Las Vegas and chips on the box and figured it was about poker. It wasn’t. Boo. The best part of the movie is the Harold from Harold and Kumar setting himself on fire repeatedly. But I think it was mostly envy.

The Ghost Writer

Hey! It’s the James Bond guy again! But now he’s playing Tony Blair…or a guy that looks and talks EXACTLY *like* Tony Blair…let’s call him Bony Tlair? Anyway, he’s all a private citizen now, trying to write his memoirs, but his ghost writer has killed himself. So he hires a new one and we discover that maybe it wasn’t suicide after all! And when the new ghost writer finds out the secret the old ghost writer uncovered, his life may be in danger as well! Dum dum dum. The movie has like 15 really suspenseful minutes, unfortunately, it’s almost two hours long. So, um, I dunno, rent it on a plane maybe.

Home for the Holidays

It’s Robert Downey Jr. and Dylan McDermott! When they were young! I kept pausing the movie and taking pictures of the screen with my Droid X. Wanna see them?  What do you mean what was the movie about? I have pictures. Of a young Robert Downey Jr. AND Dylan McDermott on MY PHONE! Haters.

Remember Me

Oh. MY. GAWD. It’s the James Bond guy. AGAIN! I didn’t plan this, I swear! I don’t even really like him. This movie is one of those whiny, teenage angst movies starring shirtless white twenty-somethings. Those movies are almost always terrible unless John Hughes is directing. John Hughes is dead. Nuff said.

Me & Orson Welles

You know who I DO LIKE? Awww yeeeahhh, Zac Efron. Me like him long time. This movie is about a young kid in the 20s or 30s or 50s getting his first break as a bit part in Orson Welles’ Julius Caesar. I give it four stars. 1 star for starring Zac Efron. 2 stars for featuring a shirtless Zac Efron and 1 star for having Zac Efron sing.

The Joneses

I cannot remember the last good movie David Duchovny made. And I just saw this movie two days ago. Premise? Really? You wanna know? Okay. David Duchovny is a living billboard. He walks around wearing fancy watches and buying expensive golf equipment so all the people in the neighborhood will buy them cause they want to be just like him. Right. Cause he’s so cool. Eyeroll.

Date Night

I thought this movie was going to suck because I’m not that big a Steve Carrell fan, but surprisingly, I laughed, jumped, was entertained almost all the way through! That the gratuitous “nudity” was of Marky Mark instead of some underfed Hollywood waif, double bonus score! It’s funny and actiony and all around well done.

The Bounty Hunter

This movie is every bit as terrible as you thought it would be from the horrible commercials and posters. I don’t for one second believe that Gerard Butler and Jennifer Aniston were ever even on set at the same time, much less married, divorced, but falling in love all over again as he tries to apprehend her on an outstanding warrant. There is zero chemistry and the writing is atrocious. I don’t want to wear out “Belch Awful TM” too quickly, but this flick is Belch Awful!!!!!!!!