Saturday, July 30, 2011

My Top Ten: #5 - Fight Club (1999)

This is the 6th installment of My Top Ten. Check the rest of the top ten: #10 - The Big Lebowski. #9 - Not Another Teen Movie. #8 - Reservoir Dogs. #7 - Super Troopers. #6 - Back to the Future.

Fight Club (1999)
Rated R
Starring: Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Helena Bonham Carter, Meatloaf
Directed by: David Fincher
Tag line: How much can you know about yourself if you've never been in a fight?
Running time: 139 Minutes
DVD

#14 on IMDB 250, nominated for an Oscar (Best Effects, lost to The Matrix)

Quick summary: A ticking-time-bomb insomniac and a slippery soap salesman channel primal male aggression into a shocking new form of therapy. Their concept catches on, with underground "fight clubs" forming in every town, until an eccentric gets in the way and ignites an out-of-control spiral toward oblivion.

I saw the movie before I read the book, I know that’s a cardinal sin, but I hadn’t yet discovered what kinds of books and authors I enjoyed. It was after watching Fight Club that I became interested in Chuck Palahniuk. I’ve since read all of his books, and Fight Club isn’t even the best one (that would be Survivor). The book is better than the movie, but that’s not a knock against the movie. Most people say that the book is always better than the movie, and they usually mean that the movie doesn’t do the book justice. That’s not the case with Fight Club, the book is just better.
But with no prior knowledge of the book, I went in to the movie with a blank slate. Which I think is a great way to go into a movie, especially one based on a source material. You don’t have any preconceived notions, and you can’t be let down if it doesn’t match the ridiculously high standards we all set for the books we read. If you read the book first, then there is no element of surprise to Fight Club, while it’s still cool to see movies based on books you’ve read, it’s not new.
Brad Pitt’s Tyler Durden is one of the coolest characters in modern cinema. He was everything he was supposed to be. I don’t think another actor could have pulled it off. In fact, I don’t think another actor could have pulled off Edward Norton’s role either. They were pretty much perfect for this movie. Helena Bonham-Carter is the right kind of crazy for the role of Marla Singer. She’s weird to begin with, and I think she was just being herself, but with an American accent. But she was great. The rest of the cast was good too, I especially enjoyed that Meatloaf was in it. His songs are one of my guilty pleasures (namely Paradise by the Dashboard Light, I would do anything for love, and Bat out of Hell), and it was great to see him acting.
I am glad I had not read the book before watching the movie, because otherwise, I would not have been as in awe at the end. I would have already known, and that would have hurt it for me.
But since Fight Club, I am cautiously optimistic about any of Chuck Palahniuk’s books being turned into movies. I want them to be made into movies, because I think they would be great, but I don’t want them to be made into bad movies. Choke, Palahniuk’s other book turned movie, was ok. It wasn’t nearly as good of a movie as Fight Club, but it could have been worse, way worse. If they keep making them, I’ll keep seeing them, but they’ll all be judged (unfairly) against Fight Club.

The Trailer:

Friday, July 29, 2011

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Rated PG-13
Starring: Chris Evans, Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving, Stanley Tucci, Hayley Atwell
Directed by: Joe Johnston
Tag line: Avenge
Running time: 124 Minutes

Quick summary: In 1942, Steve Rogers is a weakling who wants nothing more than to serve his country during the war. After being rejected four separate times, he tries once more and is selected to a special branch of the Army. He beats out the rest of his squadron and is chosen to be made into the ultimate super soldier. 

Captain America is probably one of my least favorite superheros. It’s him and Superman, neck and neck. Captain America always just seemed kind of lame to me. He wasn’t very cool, didn’t have any real super powers, and was too much of a good guy for my liking. I like my hero’s to have a dark side, like Wolverine or Batman. It’s why Han Solo is better than Luke Skywalker. That touch of bad side that every great hero needs. Captain America just does not have it. He’s too gung-ho. He’s too good.
With that being said, I still wanted to see the movie, because I have, to date, seen every comic-book movie that has come out this year, so I would be remiss if I left Captain America, what is supposed to be the biggest, off of my list. So I watched it. And it was pretty good. It wasn’t spectacular, but it wasn’t awful, either.
The cast is good. I really like Chris Evans, have since Not Another Teen Movie. I think he is funny and awesome and a pretty good actor. It’s crazy that he’s been in 7 comic movies (2 Fantastic Fours, Scott Pilgram, Cpt America, The Others, Push, and TMNT). To me, it seems like the dude loves comics. And I am ok with that. Even if he hates comics, so long as he keeps being awesome, I am ok.  He nails Captain America.
It’s crazy to me that he plays both the frail Steve Rogers, and the superhero Steve Rogers. In the past, they would have hired another actor or just used him and tried to make him look weak. But in this, the digitally shrunk him down, while keeping him in perspective and keeping his performance. Apparently they did the same with The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, but I haven’t seen that yet. But it’s weird ho w much different Evans looks when shrunk down to a weak looking dude.
I like Tommy Lee Jones. He always plays authoritative commanding officers or cops so well. He does a good job in this one too. If I was making a movie with an older, Southern Cop, I’d want it to be him.
Hugo Weaving does a good job as Red Skull. I thought it might look dumb, what with the red skull and all, but special effects are so much better than they used to be. He plays a pretty good bad guy. He’s not the cool bad guy you want to root for, but more like the evil bad guy you want to see lose. He’s the perfect villain for Captain America. He’s a Nazi. Who better for Captain America to fight?
In these Marvel Movies, I am always looking for the Stan Lee cameo, and he was there. I didn’t miss it. I almost missed it in Thor. I don’t know why I like it so much, because normally I hate cameos. But it’s funny because he never is playing himself, he’s always just some guy with a line. Usually a funny line.
I really just wanted to know how this film is going to tie in with The Avengers, which I am totally excited about. And it does. So that is awesome.
As for the movie, it was pretty good, as I said earlier, but it wasn’t amazing. Of the comic book movies I have seen this year, I’d put it as third. Behind X-Men: First Class, and Thor, but ahead of Green Lantern.
This movie cost $140 million to make. While that is an astounding number, it’s less than half what it cost to make Avatar. And Captain America is better than Avatar.
Here, then, is the trailer:

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bad Teacher (2011)

Bad Teacher (2011)
Rated R
Starring: Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel, Justin Timberlake, Thomas Lennon
Directed by: Jake Kasdan
Tag line:She doesn't give an 'F'.
Running time: 92 Minutes

Quick summary: A comedy centered around a foul-mouthed, junior high teacher who, after being dumped by her sugar daddy, begins to woo a colleague -- a move that pits her against a well-loved teacher.

This movie is not that good. It had the potential to be really funny, but it just falls short repeatedly. With a pretty solid cast, it looks like it should be funny. But the cast turned out to be not as good as it looks.

Cameron Diaz plays such an awful character. I hated her. I don’t really like Diaz all that much as an actress anyways, but I don’t think that a vulgar, terrible person is really her forte. She isn’t just a bad teacher, she is an awful person.

The potential for comedy had nothing to do with Diaz, it was all Jason Segel and Justin Timberlake. Jason Segel is one of the funniest actors around, and has been for years, and Justin Timberlake is so surprisingly funny, especially when he is on SNL, that it makes me want to hate him, but I just cant. He’s too funny. But in Bad Teacher, he isn’t that funny. He just plays a kind of dorky guy. He doesn’t have any funny lines or situations, he’s just in the movie. Segel, on the other hand, is just about the only funny person in the movie (other than Phyllis from the Office, who has nailed that kind of naïve, older lady bit she does so well on the Office).

I just wish it had been funnier. I don’t like being let down by comedies, its one of the worst feelings in the world.

If you’re looking for a comedy that came out this year, I’d steer clear of Bad Teacher. I am sure Bridesmaids, The Hangover part II, Horrible Bosses, or any of the other comedies of 2011 will be far funnier. I haven’t seen any of them yet, but wish I had chosen any of them over this one.

Here’s the trailer, if you’re interested…

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Next Three Days (2010)


The Next Three Days (2010)
Rated R
Starring: Russell Crowe, Elizabeth Banks, Brian Dennehy, Liam Neeson, Olivia Wilde
Directed by: Paul Haggis
Tag line: Lose who you are to save what you love.
Running time: 122 Minutes
Blu-ray

Quick summary: Three years after his wife is arrested and charged with murder, a college professor, who believes she is innocent, comes up with an elaborate plan to break her out and flee.

Is it wrong that the only reason I wanted to watch this movie is because it was set in Pittsburgh? The cast, while good, wasn’t a draw for me. Neither was the director, Paul Haggis, who has done some good movies in the past. It was just the setting. I wanted to see familiar sights in a movie. It helped that the story was an interesting one, but I would have probably seen it regardless just for the setting.

While watching it, I noticed something. None of the characters seemed like they were from Pittsburgh. I didn’t understand. If you watch movies set in New Jersey, New York, Texas, Boston, or in any other place with a different dialect or predominant accent that people recognize, the actors sound and act like that. Now, I know not everyone from Pittsburgh talks the same way, but it’s pretty common. That kind of pulled me out a little bit, because I wanted so bad to hear Pittsburgh, not just see it. But, you can’t win em all.

As for the movie, it was pretty good. I don’t normally go for Russell Crowe movies, but he was good. I believed him. I wasn’t sure about Elizabeth Banks, because I’d only seen her in a few other movies, mostly comedies, but she did a really good job. The supporting cast was good too. Brian Dennehy and Liam Neeson weren’t used enough, if you ask me, since both are awesome, but at least they were in it some.

I made the mistake of reading some reviews of the movie before I started writing mine, which I hate to do. I don’t want someone else’s opinion to affect mine. But the reviews that I saw rated the film as average, saying that the talent of the cast was wasted on this movie. But I don’t think it was wasted, if anything it made it better. Another of the reviews complained that the plot was implausible, and that baffles me a little bit. It’s a movie, it doesn’t have to be plausible. Nobody really wants to watch a movie about normal people doing normal things. They want outrageous and crazy things to happen. They want to see people in impossible situations and how they handle it.

Is it just me or is every movie that has been made in the past 5 years a remake or a sequel? I didn’t realize this was a remake of a French movie until the Blu-ray arrived from Netflix and mentioned it on the summary. That kind of bummed me out, and it does more and more these days. It seems as though American cinema is incapable of an original idea for a movie.

It’s not like this was an old French movie that was being adapted and updated for an American audience, the original, Pour Elle, was made in 2008. We are remaking movies every two years now. Give the world a chance to see the original before you redo it. That’s all I’m asking.

The Next Three Days is an entertaining and interesting movie, well worth a look if you’re into thriller, jailbreak movies.

Here’s the trailer:

Monday, July 25, 2011

My Top Ten: #6 - Back to the Future (1985)

This is # 6 on My Top Ten. The others - 10. The Big Lebowski. 9. Not Another Teen Movie. 8. Reservoir Dogs. 7. Super Troopers.

#6 - Back to the Future (1985)
Rated PG
Starring: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Crispin Glover, Lea Thompson, Thomas F. Wilson
Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
Tag line: He was never in time for his classes... He wasn't in time for his dinner... Then one day... he wasn't in his time at all.
Running time: 116 Minutes

# 69 on IMDB 250, won an Oscar (for Best Editing, nominated for Best Screenplay, Best Sound, and Best Song – “The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis)

Quick summary: In 1985, Dr. Emmett Brown invents a time machine, his friend, Marty McFly, a high school student, accidentally travels back in time to 1955 and prevents his parents from meeting, putting his life, and the rest of his family’s lives, in danger. He must race against time to correct his mistake and put the future back on track.

Back to the Future may go down as my favorite movie of all time, so you may be wondering why it’s not at the top of my list. It very well could, and probably should be, but when making this list, I took into consideration more than just how much I loved the movie. I looked at what the movie meant to me, especially the first time I saw it, what it means to me now, and how it changed me, if at all. And while I love Back to the Future, not just the first one, but the whole trilogy, it didn’t have the greatest impact on me as a fan of movies, or as much as some of the others that will come later.

It’s one of the movies that I will stop and watch as much as I can whenever it is on TV, and it seems to be on quite a bit, especially ABC Family. I just love it. I can jump in at any point and watch and it doesn’t matter. I just love this movie, and its sequels. Even though Part III is clearly the weakest, I still love it. It doesn’t matter what is going on, I’ll stop and watch.

I don’t know if I can even fully explain why I love the trilogy. They aren’t really great movies by the traditional definition, but they are entertaining to me. I guess it reminds me of childhood, even though I wasn’t old enough to have seen it in the theater or to even really remember it from my actual childhood, but it reminds me of that time, and I love it. To me, Back to the Future is just classic.

I still base my entire belief of the ability to travel through time on Back to the Future (I don’t actually believe in time travel, but if it is possible, it better be exactly like the movies or I’m out). The science is probably horribly wrong, but I don’t care. Deloreans are still cool to me (even though they were never actually cool), and if I could, I would buy one and install a flux capacitor. Don’t tell me that wouldn’t be sweet and you wouldn’t be jealous. I would be the coolest person alive. (Or just a huge nerd. Either way.)

This was Michael J. Fox in his prime. He was the man in the mid-80’s. There was this whole thing that recently has come to light that he wasn’t even the original choice for Marty McFly, that it was actually Eric Roberts, and they even started the movie with Roberts, and had to go back and re-shoot when they decided on Fox. But if he wasn’t in it, this movie would have failed. He makes this movie great.

Christopher Lloyd is crazy and off the wall and awesome. I don’t understand it, but somehow, over 20 years since the release, he looks so much younger now than he did then. It must be the white hair. I wish Crispin Glover had stayed on for the whole trilogy, because he is awesome. I didn’t even know that he wasn’t in Back to the Future Part II until a few years ago. I spent most of my life thinking it was him, totally shattered my world (not really).

I still do not own any of the Back to the Future movies. It’s a shock to me, too. But I fully intend on buying the box set on Blu-ray in the next couple of days. It needs to be in my permanent collection. It is imperative.
The trailer:




Man, trailers from the 80’s were a lot different than they are now. They basically give it all away, don’t they?

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Rocker (2008)


 http://www.blogger.com/post-create.g?blogID=8514786352403692119
The Rocker (200?)
Rated PG-13
Starring: Rainn Wilson, Christina Applegate, Jason Sudeikis
Directed by: Peter Cattaneo
Tag line: He always knew he was going to be huge
Running time: 102 Minutes
DVR (from fX)

Quick summary: After being unceremoniously kicked out of the rock band Vesuvius just before they made their big break, drummer Fish resigns his fate to a normal life. But after moving in with his sister and her family, Fish discovers that his nephew’s band is in need of a drummer for their Prom gig. Fish fills in and the band takes off, becoming nearly as big as his former band, giving Fish the opportunity to relive the glory he missed out on.

Rock & roll comedies, when done well, are some of the funniest movies out there. The standard for excellence lies with This Is Spinal Tap. There will probably never be a funnier rock & roll comedy made, but all the others aspire to reach that level. Below Spinal Tap, there is a pretty substantial gap, not that there are no other good rock comedies, but everything pales in comparison. School of Rock, Tenacious D: Pick of Destiny, Airheads, Walk Hard, and Rockstar all fall far short of This is Spinal Tap, though I do think each of them is quite funny. The Rocker falls somewhere in the middle with the rest of those.

It’s not great; it’s kind of corny and kiddy, but its not terrible either. The cast is pretty good, though it looks like a bunch of NBC actors got together to make a movie in their free time. Jason Sudeikis, Rainn Wilson, Fred Armisen, Will Arnett, Jane Krakowski, and Aziz Ansari have or were members of the casts of various NBC shows. And the supporting cast not from NBC is funny as well: Bradley Cooper, Jane Lynch, Emma Stone, Jeff Garlin, and Christina Applegate.

I like Rainn Wilson. He is great as Dwight Schrute on The Office. He is that character, so it’s hard for me to see him as anyone else, but he did an ok job in The Rocker. It could have probably worked with other actors in the lead role, but Wilson wasn’t terrible. He was kinda funny, and over-the-top, but it worked. The supporting cast made the movie, though. They were far funnier than Wilson was.

The music in the movie was actually pretty awful. Normally, rock movies have god rock songs, but the songs in The Rocker were kind of lame. The band in the movie, A.D.D., was more of an alt-rock, emo band and their songs were pretty whiny. The music is part of what made all those other rock movies so good. The music in Spinal Tap was actually good. The same is true of Rockstar and the Tenacious D movies. I wish the songs hadn’t been so lame, so that it would have actually been rock & roll, it would have been a cooler movie that way.

I started watching it one morning, knowing full well that I wasn’t going to be able to finish it, but I kind of got into it, so I set the DVR to record the rest of it. It took me a few days to get through it, as I would watch bits and pieces as the week went on, but that didn’t really detract from it. Being a PG-13 movie, not a whole lot was cut out for TV that I could see.

I’d say if you could or wanted to only watch one rock & roll movie, then it must be This Is Spinal Tap. If you’ve got time for two, then Rockstar. If after that, you still have time or the inclination to watch more, then watch any of the others, including The Rocker.

Here is the trailer:




Thursday, July 21, 2011

Oldboy (2003)

Oldboy (Oldeuboi) (2003)
Rated R
Starring: Min-Sik Choi, Ji-tae Yu, Hye-jeong Kang
Directed by: Chan-wook Park
Tag line: 15 years of imprisonment, five days of vengeance
Running time: 120 Minutes
Watched: Netflix

Quick summary: After being imprisoned and tortured for fifteen years, Oh Dei-Su is set free. With no idea why he was imprisoned or by whom, he sets out to find his captors and get revenge.

People have been telling me about this movie for a few years now, but I kept putting it off. I guess it’s because foreign movies can be hit or miss sometimes. I didn’t want to waste time on something if it was going to be awful, and it is harder to tell with these movies. There are no recognizable actors for me, nor am I familiar with the directors, usually, so I have no frame of reference or interest to draw on.

But then I read online that they are remaking it. Not in Korea, where it was originally made, but here, in the U.S. I’ve said it before; I don’t understand the trend to remake foreign movies for the American market. If the movie is good enough, then it should stand on its own. We don’t need an Americanized version. But in reading about the possible remake in the works, I came across two bits of information that were interesting: Will Smith was in talks to star, and Spike Lee is going to direct it. That seems interesting to me, but I wanted to watch the original before they Americanize it.

So after watching it, I do not believe that Will Smith could pull it off, nor do I think Spike Lee could make a better movie.

Oldboy is a thriller, and it’s shocking. Both are good things in movies, if you ask me. And Oldboy does both really well. At times, you can relate to Oh Dei-su, not knowing what is going on and trying to piece it together on the fly. I like movies that don’t spell it out for you. I like twists and I like sudden realizations that you don’t see coming.

My main complaint is not with the movie itself, but with the fact that it was dubbed into English. Who’s the person who decided that dubbing movies was a good idea? It never matches, and it makes the movie harder to get into. The whole time, you get distracted by the fact that the words don’t match up with the mouths. Add to that the fact that the voices don’t match the actors. The voices belonged to Americans, and did not fit at all. I would rather watch the movie in Korean without subtitles than watch the movie dubbed in English. At least then the performance would have belonged solely to the actors on screen. I wish they would stop dubbing movies.

Oldboy is a really good movie. It’s thrilling and weird and awesome. It may not be for everyone, but it is better than most American thrillers that have been made in the past several years. And it's available on Netflix Instant, so that's awesome.

The Trailer:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hobo with a Shotgun (2011)


Hobo with A Shotgun (2011)
Rated: Not Rated
Starring: Rutger Hauer, Pasha Ebrahimi, Robb Wells
Directed by: Jason Eisener
Tag line: Delivering justice, one shell at a time...
Running time: 86 Minutes
Blu-ray

Quick summary: After realizing that his old town is overrun with violence and depravity, a homeless man begins a quest to rid the city of filth with the aid of a prostitute and a shotgun.

So the movies title alone is enough to make me want to see this movie. I love super-descriptive, clearly titled movies. Hobo with a Shotgun, Snakes on a Plan, Megashark vs. Crocosaurus. These titles leave nothing to the imagination. They put it all on front street. I dig that. As bad as the other two movies were, I still enjoyed them. It was with that same hope that I wanted to see Hobo with a Shotgun.

And I gotta say, the movie was a disappointment. It just wasn’t that good. It was all ultra-violence and ridiculous acting. I don’t know what I was expecting from a Rutger Hauer picture, but I guess I wanted it to be cooler. With a title like that, how could it not be cool?

First of all, they mix up Hobo with homeless person. And as my brother pointed out to me a little bit ago, Hobo’s and Homeless people are vastly different. Homeless people are, typically, more down on their luck than hobo’s. Hobo’s are more like migrant workers, looking for work from town to town, and riding the rails from place to place. Homeless people typically stay confined to one location. They mixed the two up quite frequently during the movie, and it was distracting to me. He’s either homeless or a hobo, he can’t be both.

Rutger Hauer is one of those actors who is familiar, but you can never remember any movie he’s been in. The only other role I remember him in is Surviving the Game, which is an awesome movie with Ice-T. But after checking his IMDB, I actually don’t know that I have seen most of his movies. He was in Batman Begins and Sin City, which are the only two I recognized. But he’s got a cool name. He wasn’t the only actor I recognized though, as Rob Wells (from Trailer Park Boys) had a small part in this. That was the coolest part for me.

The whole time watching the movie, I kept thinking that this was a mediocre attempt at making a Robert Rodriguez movie. It felt like they were trying to make a Dawn of the Dead or Machete type movie. Turns out, I was right. This movie was based on a fake trailer made for Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s Grindhouse double feature. Those movies were so much better than Hobo with a Shotgun.

The main difference between those movies and this one were the others were fun and funny. Hobo wasn’t that funny, just strange. And ridiculous.

I’d say, watch one of the others rather than Hobo with a Shotgun. You’re not missing much if you skip this one.

But, if you’re still interested, here’s the trailer:


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My Top Ten: #7 - Super Troopers (2001)

The fourth in my Top Ten series. The others: #10 - The Big Lebowski, #9 - Not Another Teen Movie, #8 - Reservoir Dogs

# 7. Super Troopers (2001)
Rated R
Starring: Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Paul Soter, Steve Lemme, Erik Stolhanske, Brian Cox
Directed by: Jay Chandrasekhar
Tag line: You dont mess with the law. The law messes with you.
Running time: 100 Minutes
DVD

Quick summary: A Highway Patrol station is in jeopardy of being shut down due to budget cuts, and it’s up to the zany, prankster staff to do battle with the local police station and uncover a drug ring in order to save their station, and their jobs.
Such an immensely funny and quotable movie. I swear we watched this almost weekly in college. It is laugh out loud funny from start to finish. Even with the number of times I have seen it, it’s still funny. I could watch it over and over again, and laugh at the same parts every time. I love it.
It came out of nowhere. One day, somebody said, “You gotta see this.” And they were right. I had heard nothing about it. Don’t remember seeing a trailer for it at all. It was just one of those under the radar movies that just appears on DVD one day. I wish I had heard of it sooner, so that I could have been the one to spread the word to all of my friends that I discovered this awesome movie, that would have been sweet. But I didn’t, I can just be glad that I saw it when I did.


I bet cops, especially highway patrol cops, do not like this movie at all. It paints them as goofballs who do not take their jobs very seriously, and I bet most cops take their jobs seriously. I only wish, one time, that if I got pulled over, the cop would try the Cat Game with me. Check it out: 





With every comedy I watch, I am looking for the next Super Troopers. An unheard of comedy that just doubles me over with laughter when I wasn’t expecting it. I haven’t been able to stumble across any comedies like that recently, but I keep hoping that Broken Lizard can hit gold again. There was a significant drop off on their next three movies, Club Dread, Beerfest, and The Slammin’ Salmon. I can only hope that they do in fact make a true sequel to Super Troopers, and that it is just a good, if not better, than the first.


And the fact that they got Brian Cox, a legit actor, to be in their silly cop movie, makes it even better. Because he is genuinely funny in it, and seems to be enjoying himself. 


This is probably one of my most oft-quoted movie. It's to the point where I don't even realize that I am quoting it, parts have just entered my everyday vocabulary. It just happens without me thinking about it. Though that is probably true of most of my favorite comedies when I think about it. I love Super Troopers. 

The trailer:






Monday, July 18, 2011

Sherlock Holmes (2009)

Sherlock Holmes (2009)
Rated PG-13
Starring: Robert Downey, Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams
Directed by: Guy Ritchie
Tag line: Dangerously Alluring
Running time: 128 Minutes
Watched: Blu-ray

Quick summary: Sherlock Holmes and his partner, Dr. Watson, hunt down Lord Blackwood, a serial killer and occultist who they believed to have been hanged.

Robert Downey Jr.’s career renaissance is awesome. He was huge in the 80’s, in almost every movie, he was everywhere. Then he had his troubles, and kind of faded from the limelight, but in recent years, he has exploded, grabbing huge roles in blockbuster movie franchises. And he’s been great in them. He is awesome as Iron Man, he was hilarious in Tropic Thunder (for which he won an Oscar for playing a white Australian playing a black American from the South), and he is great as Sherlock Holmes.

I was never big on Sherlock Holmes mysteries, or any of the books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I was familiar with them, and may have even read one or two, but they were by no means favorites of mine. So when I saw they were making a Sherlock Holmes movie, I wasn’t that interested. But I like RDJ, and I like Jude Law, so the casting looked good, and I like Guy Ritchie’s movies, which tend to be pretty cool, so I knew I would eventually sit down and see it, but I wasn’t running out to a midnight showing the night it opened. (By the way, I don’t think I have been to a midnight opening of a movie since X-Men: Last Stand).

Sherlock Holmes was pretty good. It stayed true to the source material, as far as I could tell, though I was glad they left out the biggest Sherlock Holmes cliché (“Elementary, my dear Watson”). As I said earlier, Robert Downey Jr. did a great job as Sherlock Holmes. I think its awesome that I can watch him play all of these various characters while fully aware that it’s him, and yet still be drawn into the character. He did it in Natural Born Killers, in both Iron Man movies, Tropic Thunder and in this one. He really is a very talented actor. I also really like Jude Law, and think he was well suited for Dr. Watson. He was pretty cool, and didn’t portray Watson as a bumbling idiot or boring.

I could have done without Rachel McAdams, to be honest. She wasn’t that impressive, though this was the first time I have seen her in something other than a romantic comedy or The Notebook. She just didn’t seem to fit in with the other actors, probably because she didn’t even pretend to be British. They just cast her as an American, which was probably better than having her attempt to fake a British accent (though RDJ does a great job with it, I just don’t think McAdams could have been as convincing).

Mark Strong, who played Lord Blackwood, did a great job as well. A lot of times in movies, especially movies like this, they make the bad guy out to be more goofy and eccentric. But they had him be bad. And he was good at it. I don’t know if I have seen him in anything else, but he looks familiar.

It’s nice to see Guy Ritchie getting big-time blockbusters, he certainly deserves it, but I hope he doesn’t get away from what makes him great. Movies like Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch were awesome.

Before watching this, I had no desire to see the sequel, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, which is coming out soon, but now, I am a little bit interested. Still not enough to shell out $9 to see it in the theater, but I’ll certainly add it to my Netflix in a couple of months.

Sherlock Holmes was nominated for two Oscars, for Best Art Direction and Best Score, though it did not win either. Robert Downey Jr. won a well deserved Golden Globe for his performance as the title character.

Check out the trailers for both Sherlock Holmes and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows: 





Sunday, July 17, 2011

My Top Ten: #8 - Reservoir Dogs (1992)

The third in the series of My Top Ten, check out # 10 - The Big Lebowski, and #9 - Not Another Teen Movie

# 8. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Rated R
Starring: Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Steve Buscemi, Michael Madsen, Lawrence Tierney, Chris Penn, Quentin Tarantino
Directed by: Quentin Tarantino
Tag line: Every dog has its day
Running time: 99 Minutes
DVD

# 65 on IMDB 250

Quick summary: After an easy jewelry heist goes south, the surviving members of the heist begin to suspect that one of them is a rat.
I was going to put both Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs on my list; in fact, both were on my initial list of 20. I even considered combining them into one and having them be equal in my top 10. But then I started thinking, as good as Pulp Fiction is, Reservoir Dogs is even better. And Reservoir Dogs has had a bigger impact on me than Pulp Fiction has.
It’s such a cool movie, though; all of Tarantino’s movies have a certain “cool” feel to them. I still don’t know how he does it, but he just keeps making cool movies. Even the Kill Bill movies, which I didn’t like at first, were cool. I have since grown to appreciate them. His movies have cool characters, who speak coolly. Cool things happen in them. They are just cool movies. It’s funny, because when you see Tarantino and hear him speak, he is just so un-cool. He looks and talks like a huge nerd, which he probably is, but he can sure make cool movies.
That’s what I was drawn to about Reservoir Dogs. Its coolness. There is something about the idea of a group of men, wearing suits and sunglasses, calling each other color based nicknames that is cool to me. And they were criminals. They weren’t clean cut good guys. These were the bad guys. Just so cool.
The cast was great. Everybody I have talked to about it has a favorite color. Mine was Mr. Pink. I think it’s because, at the time, I was going through a Steve Buscemi phase. I thought he was awesome. And I kept watching his movies. When they released the special edition DVD’s years ago, they had different colors for each of the characters; I bought the pink one, of course. I also have a Mr. Brown (Tarantino’s character) action figure that had interchangeable heads (one normal and one with a bullet hole in it). It was the only one I could find, or else I would have bought Mr. Pink. Every time I put on a suit, I think for a second that I look as cool as the characters, knowing full well that it’s not true.
The story is great. Tarantino is good at that. His movies are all very dialogue-centric, which normally isn’t the best thing for action-y movies, but he makes it work because the dialogue is so good that it doesn’t matter. He could probably make a movie that entirely consists of a group of characters sitting around a table talking, and it would be awesome. Just two hours of people talking. I would love it. And you know Harvey Keitel would be one of them, and Samuel L. Jackson. Those two alone could make it work.
Reservoir Dogs is the movie I used to help define what is cool. There haven’t been very many cool movies since it, in fact, I can’t think of any movies off the top of my head that even come close to being this cool. Actually, now that I have thought about it, Lucky Number Slevin is the closet movie to being this cool, and its still not half as cool as Reservoir Dogs.
Plus you can watch it instantly on Netflix (if you’re into that sorta thing), which is awesome. 
The trailer:





Thursday, July 14, 2011

24 (Complete Series)


24
Fox
Starring: Keifer Sutherland, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Carlos Bernard, Dennis Haysbert, Elisha Cuthbert
Created by:Robert Cochran, Joel Surnow
Seasons: 8 (+1 movie: 24-Redemption)
Episodes:192
Watched: Instantly on Netflix

Quick summary: Each season of 24 comprises of 1 twenty-four hour period, mainly centered around the exploits of Jack Bauer, a federal agent with the Counter Terrorism Unit as he tries to defend the country and save the world.

I avoided 24 for the entire run of the series when it originally aired. It didn’t seem like the type of show that would appeal to me, at that time. But it got such great reviews and won several awards, so I decided I would give it a shot. 8 months later, I have seen the entire series. All 192 episodes and the made for TV movie. I am exhausted. I do not want to watch any more TV shows for quite some time. Unfortunately, Rescue Me, Breaking Bad and Weeds are all getting back into season, and Dexter and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia should be back by the beginning of fall, and then it’s time for new seasons of all the major network shows. Great.

Back to 24, I have to say that I was enthralled with the first two or three seasons of it, once I started. It was crazy. Every episode was a cliffhanger, you were always in suspense, and you could never know who to trust. After that, it did get kind of stale, and very repetitive and predictable, but at least you could tell that they were trying for fresh ideas.

It was a very innovative way to tell the story. Rather than jumping all over the place for one season, everything happened exactly in order. Though, between seasons, they did jump ahead months and years at times, but I can understand that, though I don’t like it.

Kiefer Sutherland was pretty awesome as Jack Bauer. He’s like a modern day MacGuyver that loves guns and killing people. He can diffuse anything, knows several different fighting styles, can drive anything, handle any weapon, and get out of any sticky situation. He’s thwarted the Russians, the Chinese, unnamed Middle Eastern and African countries, and domestic terrorists. He’s stopped chemical threats, biological threats, arms dealers, rogue government agents, conspiracy networks and nuclear attacks He can do anything…well almost anything. All that talent, and he cannot say “nuclear” correctly. Every time, he said “nuculer.” It is so annoying. Sometimes, he said Nuke instead, which covered it up, but if he had to say the full word, it was torture.

Other than that, and the ridiculousness of the plots and threats, it’s a pretty good show. I don’t think I can recommend it to anyone, really, because that’s asking someone to give up an immense amount of their personal time to watch a TV show. I did it, and at first, I was ok with it, but now that I have finished it, I kind of regret it. There was so much more I could have done with that time, like go outside, read several books, write a book, do anything else. But I chose a show. I’ve done it before. I find out about these great shows after they end, and I have to watch them to completion. I did it with Lost and Prison Break. I get so wrapped up in them that I have to finish them. It’s a curse, I guess, but thankfully it’s over.

I’ve been trying to combat it, either by ignoring shows that look marginally interesting, or starting them from the beginning when they are new, that way I am only wasting an hour a week over a larger period of time, rather than all that time at once.

24 is a good show, but I don’t know if it’s great. There are better shows out there, but it certainly was innovative and original, at least in the early seasons. And I think every TV actor working today has been in at least one episode during the eight seasons it aired.

I did the same thing with The Sopranos and Lost, and 24 ended a little better than both of those two shows. The Sopranos just kind of ended in mystery, and Lost’s ending was kind of weird and a bit of a let down after so much involved and devoted time. 24 ended in a way that left it open. They could revisit it again in the future, or it could be the end. But they didn’t commit to one way or the other. I still would have preferred some closure, as I feel like I earned it after the time I put in, but I wasn’t disappointed with the ending, just relieved.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Netflix

So, as many of you may have heard, Netflix sent out e-mails to all subscribers today, outlining a change to their service. Beginning September 1st, Netflix plans will be seperated into Instant and Disc only plans. You can subscribe to one or the other, or both. The Instant plan is $7.99, and the Disc only plan is $

When I signed up for Netflix, the beauty of it was that I could have Instant and Discs for less than $15 a month. That was a sweet deal for me. Just a month ago, I decided to bump my plan up to 2 discs at once along with the Instant, it was only $4 more dollars, so it was still worth it to me, especially for the blog. But now, I am probably going to have to drop it back down to one disc at a time. It's not a huge injustice, but it is annoying. This is the second major increase in cost since I joined a little over a year ago, that's a little excessive, if you ask me.

Don't get me wrong, I love Netflix. I have no problem giving them my hard earned money in exchange for their services, but I would like it if the price didn't go up, or the plan didn't change multiple times a year.

What say you, readers? Let me know what you think in the comments.

My Top Ten: #10 - The Big Lebowski (1998)

In the following weeks, I am going to be reviewing my all-time Top 10 favorite movies. Some of these aren't the best movies, some of them aren't even good movies. But I love them all for one reason or another. Here now is #10. Enjoy.

10. The Big Lebowski (1998)
Rated R
Starring: Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Tara Reid, Julianne Moore, John Turturro
Directed by: Joel & Ethan Coen
Tag line: They figured he was a lazy time wasting slacker. They were right.
Running time: 117 Minutes
DVD

#134 on IMDB 250

Quick summary: “The Dude” Lebowski has his rug soiled when he is mistaken for another Lebowski, a millionaire. The Dude seeks restitution for his rug, and with the help of his bowling pals, sets out to get it.

I couldn’t leave this off of my list of top movies. I just could not. It is such a great movie. It’s funny and original, which are two excellent ingredients for a comedy. The story is great, but the characters are what make this movie.

Jeff Bridges is The Dude. I have a hard time seeing him as anything other than The Dude. He is hysterical in this movie. And while he makes the movie, he is partially overshadowed by John Goodman. Goodman is outstanding and hilarious and crazy all at once. He has some of the most memorable and quotable lines in the movie.

The rest of the cast is outstanding as well. With the exception of Tara Reid, who is pretty awful. But this movie was made back when she was still pretty and not weird looking, so she serves her purpose. Everyone else is awesome.

The Coen Brothers don’t make bad movies, but The Big Lebowski is by far their best movie. Fargo, No Country for Old Men and O Brother, Where Art Thou? are all great, but just not to the Lebowski level.

There are annual Lebowski festivals around the country where thousands of people show up because they love this movie. It’s got a cult following, and it deserves it. I have never met a person who hated this movie.

I actually have two copies of this on DVD. I am not sure how I ended up with two, but the good news is, I can wear one out and still have a back up copy.It's number 134 on IMDB's top 250, but I think it should be way higher than that.

Check out the trailer:




Sunday, July 10, 2011

I Am Number Four (2011)

I Am Number Four (2011)
Rated PG-13
Starring: Alex Pettyfer, Timothy Olyphant, Dianna Agron, Teresa Palmer
Directed by: D.J. Caruso
Tag line: The first three are dead, he is number four.
Running time: 109 Minutes
Watched: Blu-ray
Quick summary: An alien, one of the last of his kind, is in hiding and on the run on Earth. He’s on the run from rival aliens, who are hunting down the surviving members one by one, in order. The first three have been killed, he is number four.

I feel like almost every movie I have seen this year is a comic book adaptation, an alien flick or both. I don’t know what it is about alien flicks, but they are all the rage these days. I Am Number 4 isn’t a traditional alien movie, as the aliens are living on Earth and look like humans. So that’s a little bit different.

While watching the movie, I kept thinking that it was a pretty original story, surviving aliens being hunted in numerical order, one by one. And that aspect of it is original; however, at the end of the day, it’s still an alien movie. And it follows the same formula as most other alien movies: a dying alien race is on the run/in hiding/being hunted by their enemy and it is up to one of the last surviving members or a team of survivors, with the help of humans, to fight off the enemy and ensure the survival of the alien race. It’s basically the same plot as Transformers. So it’s not that original. But that’s okay, because it doesn’t have to be wholly original; it’s an interesting take on the alien movie.

It was a decent flick. It was pretty entertaining, and kind of fun. It was pointed out to me afterwards, that it is basically Twilight with Aliens, which it kind of is now that I think about it. The only real difference being that the kids in I Am No. 4 are way better than the kids in Twilight in terms of acting skill. It is nowhere near as bad as Twilight or any of the versions that followed it.

Alex Pettyfer was pretty good as No. 4. I have never heard of him nor seen him in anything else, but he wasn’t bad. That’s always good for the person who is carrying you potential movie franchise. (From what I have seen, they are planning on making this a series, or at least were when they made it.). The girl (love interest) wasn’t bad either, she doesn’t drag it down and is much more interesting than Kristin Stewart. She did  a pretty good job too, and is apparently on Glee, a show I have no intention of watching. Timothy Olyphant is awesome. And he is on Justified, a show that I love. He looks kind of weird at first, because he clearly has a wig on, but shortly after loses it and looks way more normal. The girl playing No. 6, Teresa Palmer isnt bad either. She handles some pretty boss action sequences.

My big complaints about the movie were that the Special Effects weren’t great and the bad aliens were dumb. Some of the effects were good, but some of them just looked poorly done. That’s not what you want from a big time Hollywood movie. Especially if you’re looking to build a franchise. Normally, the bad aliens in alien movies are just as cool, if not cooler, than the good aliens. That wasn’t the case with I Am Number Four. The bad aliens were dumb. They looked dumb, they were super tall, had gills, weird tattoos on their heads, and seemed weaker than the good aliens. The good guys, on the other hand, looked just like humans, had cool powers and went by numbers, which is cool somehow. Other than that, it was decent.

Was it better than Avatar? I think so. I found it to be more enjoyable. The good aliens were way cooler than the blue aliens of Avatar, however, the Navi were cooler than the bad aliens of I Am Number Four.

Here is the trailer for it: 

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Slammin' Salmon (2009)

The Slammin’ Salmon (2009)
Rated R
Starring: Jay Chandrasekhar
, Kevin Heffernan, Erik Stolhanske, Paul
Soter, Steve Lemme, Michael Clarke Duncan, Cobie Smulders
Directed by: Kevin Heffernan
Tag line: Bring a bib, it's gonna get messy

Running time: 90 Minutes
Watched: Blu-ray


Quick summary: The wait staff of a Miami restaurant is challenged by the owner, a former heavyweight boxing champion, to raise $20,000 in one night to cover his gambling debts or else.

First things first, the title is bad, both for a movie and for the  fictional restaurant in the movie. I get it that Michael Clarke Duncan’s character is Cleon “Slammin’” Salmon, but if I was going to open a restaurant I would not call it the Slammin’ Salmon, regardless of my name. If it weren’t for the fact that this is a Broken Lizard  movie, I would have probably skipped it entirely.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Broken Lizard, they are the comedy troupe responsible for Super Troopers, one of the funniest movies of the 2000’s. They are also the ones who made Club Dread, which most people hated, but I thought was pretty funny, and Beerfest, which a lot of people liked but I was on the fence about. Broken Lizard consists of Jay Chandresekar, Paul Soter, Kevin Heffernan, Erik Stolhanske, and Steve Lemme. They write, direct and star in their own movies. (And Chandrasekhar has also directed several episodes of a bunch of the TV shows that I like: Psych, Arrested Development, Chuck, and Community. He also directed The Dukes of Hazzard remake.)

But based on the strength of Super Troopers and Club Dread, I added The Slammin’ Salmon to my Netflix. When it finally came to the house, I watched it. And it was ok.

It’s completely unfair to compare The Slammin’ Salmon to Super Troopers. Super Troopers, for me, is one of the funniest movies of all time, to expect that they would be able to top it or even match it with another movie would be naïve.

That being said, I was expecting Super Troopers in a restaurant. It wasn’t that. It was still pretty funny, and had a ton of cameos, which was cool, but for the most part, it was just ok. If you’ve ever worked in a restaurant, then it may be funnier than if you hadn’t, but even if not, there is still some humor in it. But if you want a restaurant based comedy, The Slammin’ Salmon is not nearly as good as Waiting, which was far funnier, in my opinion.

It’s hard for me to see the Broken Lizard guys as any characters other than the characters they each played in Super Troopers, but they still did a pretty good job in this one. The rest of the main cast was ok. Michael Clarke Duncan was pretty funny as former Heavyweight Cleon “Slammin’” Salmon. He certainly looks the part of a heavyweight. It was cool to see Cobie Smulders in something other than How I Met Your Mother, and she was pretty funny. The other waitress, played by April Bowby, was not as good, and was mostly annoying to me. There were quite a fewcameos in this as well (Will Forte, Morgan Fairchild, Lance Henrikson, Jim Gaffigan, Sendhil Ramamurthy), which is pretty cool.

It’s not the funniest movie, and like a said, Waiting is a funnier restaurant comedy, but The Slammin’ Salmon is ok. There are less funny comedies out there. And this is an adequate fill-in until Super Troopers 2 comes out (supposedly in 2011).

Was it better than Avatar? For me, it was more entertaining. But then, I worked in a restaurant for years, and can relate to the characters a little bit. I cannot relate to 8 foot tall blue aliens.

Check out the trailer:

My Top Ten: #9 - Not Another Teen Movie (2001)



 This is the second installment of My Top Ten. #10 was The Big Lebowski.

10. Not Another Teen Movie (2001)
Rated R
Starring: Jaime Pressly, Chyler Leigh, Chris Evans, Eric Christian Olsen, Randy Quaid
Directed by: Joel Gallen
Tag line: They served you Breakfast. They gave you Pie. Now we're gonna stuff your face.
Running time: 89 Minutes
DVD

Quick summary: At John Hughes High, the football star, Jake, takes a bet from a teammate, the cocky blond guy, that he can’t transform the normal, pretty/ugly girl into Prom Queen by the Prom. Along the way, Jake is challenged by his evil sister, Cathering and cheerleader ex-girlfriend, Priscilla. This spoof hits all of the popular teen movies of the past twenty years or so.

Spoof movies can sometimes be great (Spaceballs, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, basically anything Mel Brooks, Scary Movie) or they can be awful (Date/Epic/Superhero/Disaster Movie, each Scary Movie after the first one), Not Another Teen Movie is closer to Spaceballs and Robin Hood: Men in Tights than it is to the recent genre spoofing movies of the recent past. It’s actually a far better movie than the movies it is making fun of, for the most part.

It’s crude and gross, its ridiculous and stupid, but its so very funny. I laugh every time I watch it. I watched it so much that my DVD copy is pretty much ruined. I would watch it over and over again.

When my friends and I went on our Senior Trip to NYC, we watched NATM (as we came to call it) over and over. To the point where we had the lines, and the song, memorized. At the end of the week, we still were not tired of it. We could have kept watching it. It’s such a funny movie.

I don’t even think I could name all of the movies it satirizes, but I am going to try. American Pie, The Breakfast Club, She’s All That, Pretty in Pink, Bring it On, Varsity Blues, Cruel Intentions and 10 Things I Hate About You are the only ones I can think of off the top of my head, but I know there are more. It takes the most memorable scenes from all of them, and makes them hilarious.

The cast is hilarious, they all do a great job spoofing the characters from the originals, and they do a really good job with it, too.

If my DVD copy still worked, I would probably watch it right now. I may need to look into getting a replacement copy, so I can watch it whenever I want to.


The trailer:


Thursday, July 7, 2011

He Was a Quiet Man (2007)

He Was a Quiet Man (2007)
Rated R
Starring: Christian Slater, Elisha Cuthbert, William H. Macy
Directed by:Frank A. Cappello
Tag line: He seemed like such a nice guy.. He pretty much kept to himself...
Running time: 95 Minutes
Watched: Blu-ray

Quick summary: An unstable man, on the brink of violence, inadvertently becomes a hero after he guns down a co-worker who went on a killing spree in their office. Afterwards, he struggles to cope with the newfound success and admiration he receives.

Just looking at the movie poster that was on Netflix was enough to peak my interest. That doesn’t really look like Christian Slater. He looks like a loser, with a receding hairline, big glasses, and a bad moustache. Then I read the summary, and it piqued my interest. It sounded weird and interesting, and a lot of times, those turn out to be some of the best movies.

So I watched it. And it is a quirky movie. It has some really weird parts to it, but it’s a very interesting story. A borderline crazy man is all set to go on a shooting rampage in his office, and a co-worker beats him to it. So rather than be the villain, he gets to be the
hero. And he is tormented by it.

It’s such an odd movie. And an odd choice of roles for Christian Slater. I haven’t seen a movie of his in years. I don’t even know if he’s done any movies this decade. Other than that short-lived NBC show where he played a schizophrenic, he was off of my radar. But from what I remember, mostly from Kuffs and Broken Arrow, he’s usually a smarmy, cocky guy. He is the opposite of those things. He doesn’t even sound like himself in this movie. It’s very interesting. I like when actors step outside of themselves to play different roles. I won’t say that he was great, but he was certainly interesting.

Elisha Cuthbert and William H. Macy were the other two main co-stars, and were both pretty good. Elisha Cuthbert had to take on the most demanding and awkward role in this, playing a woman who becomes a paraplegic after the shooting. William H. Macy resumes his trademark of being in everything, even obscure movies, and he is good as always. Not great, but not bad either.

It’s not a great movie, and at an hour and a half long, actually feels a little too long, but it’s interesting. It’s one of those movies that leave you feeling weird at the end. It’s not a happy ending, and nothing is really resolved, but it doesn’t end the way that you thing
either.

Was it better than Avatar? I don’t think know if it was better, but it was more interesting. And I would rather be interested than bored. Check it out.

Here, now, is the trailer:

The Invention of Lying (2009)

The Invention of Lying (2009)
PG-13
Starring: Ricky Gervais, Jennifer Garner, Louis C.K., Rob Lowe
Directed by: Ricky Gervais & Matthew Robinson
Tag line: In a world where everyone can only tell the truth... ...this guy can lie.
Running time: 100 Minutes
Watched: Blu-ray

Quick summary: Set in a world in which no one has ever told a lie, struggling screenwriter Mark Bellison stumbles upon the ability to bend the truth and begins using to take advantage of society for his own personal gain.

What if everyone was always absolutely brutally honest? What kind of world would that be?

The Invention of Lying takes that idea to the extreme, not only has no one ever told a lie, but there is no such thing as fiction or art. All movies consist of a man reading about factual events from history. There is no real decoration either, because that would be lying as well.

There are no little white lies or even keeping quiet to avoid hurting someone’s feelings. They flat out tell each other if they are fat, ugly, old, weird, whatever, with complete disregard for how the other person will feel. But no one really gets offended either, because they don’t lie to themselves either. So it’s not really bad for anyone in this alternate reality at first, since everyone is the same.

For the most part, the comedy in this movie comes from the blunt honesty people have when talking to each other. The sheer absurdity of hearing people talk that bluntly with each other is funny. But after a while, it loses it’s edge, and stops being as funny. But all in all it was a pretty funny movie.

The cast is excellent, there are so many funny people in this. Ricky Gervais, Louis C.K., Jonah Hill, Tina Fey are all very funny people. And then there are the people you weren’t expecting to be funny or to be in this movie, like Rob Lowe, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Edward Norton.

I’ll admit I have been on the fence about Ricky Gervais for quite some time. Sometimes he can be really funny, and other times he just annoying. In this, he was more on the funny side, which was good. Because I don’t think I could have stood him for an hour and a half if he annoyed me.

It wasn’t the funniest movie, but it was interesting, and original, and funny.

Was it better than Avatar? Yeah, I think it was.

It’s nice to see PG-13 comedies every now and again. You don’t always have to resort to vulgarity to get laughs, and the Invention of Lying didn’t.

Here’s the trailer: 


Monday, July 4, 2011

Baby Mama (2008)

Baby Mama (2008)
Rated PG-13
Starring: Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Greg Kinnear, Steve Martin
Directed by: Michael McCullers
Tag line: Would you put your eggs...in this basket? 
Running Time: 99 Minutes (2 hours with commercials)
Watched: On DVR, from FX

Quick summary: Kate, a successful, single business woman seemingly has it all, but the one thing she wants more than anything else is a baby. After discovering that she is unable to have a child herself, she hires a poor, working class woman to be her surrogate.

I had zero interest in seeing this movie when it first came out. It was of no interest to me, regardless of the fact that Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are two of the funniest women on the planet; I still couldn’t get past the premise. It seemed like a chick-flick to me and it seemed dumb.

But it was on FX the other night, and nothing else was on, so I just started watching it, and you know what, it wasn’t that dumb, it was pretty funny. But I couldn’t stay and watch it all as the wife and I were getting ready to head out, so I set the DVR to record the rest. Funny thing about FX is, they don’t just show movies once, but a couple of times a day, so when we got home and were getting ready for bed, it was on, and it was on the exact point where I left off, so we watched a little bit more, but ultimately fell asleep before it was over, luckily it was all still on the DVR for us to finish at our leisure.

It’s a funny and cute movie, which is not what I was expecting it to be. It had a bunch of funny people in it, and they all were funny. I actually think Tina Fey is funnier than Amy Poehler usually, but Amy Poehler got the better role in this one. She was able to be the absurd and ridiculous character and get away with more. Tina Fey was kind of forced into the role of straight man here, but she handles it well, and was still very funny.

Usually I prefer to see movies for the first time unedited or interrupted, but I don’t feel that this one was hurt too badly by being edited for TV. For starters, it was only PG-13, so there wasn’t too much to cut out in terms of language, and since I watched the bulk of it on DVR, I was able to skip the commercials, which is awesome. DVR may be the greatest invention of our time (I recorder Point Break the same day, so I get to watch that whenever I want now. How cool is that?).

Baby Mama isn’t the funniest movie out there, I don’t even think it was the funniest movie in 2008, but it is a funny movie, and it’s one of those comedies that both men and women can enjoy, so that’s a plus.

Was it better than Avatar? I think so. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are super funny, and I would rather laugh genuinely for an hour and a half than laugh for three hours about how stupid something is.

Check the trailer: