Posted on 3/27/11 02:22 PM
Growing up, my favorite comedic actors were Eddie Murphy, Bill Murray, and then the guys from In Living Color and SNL like Jim Carrey, the older Wayans brothers, Chris Farley, and Adam Sandler. As time went by I liked guys like Will Ferrell and all the Apatow crew. Now, Danny McBride is at the top of the list. Why? Because he steals the scene in every movie he is in. He's the reason I enjoyed Pineapple Express, made Land of the Lost watchable, and made Eastbound & Down the funniest show on TV of the last 10 years. If you don't like Danny McBride, then skip this movie. He plays pretty much the same character as he did in the Foot Fist Way and Eastbound, but so far it is a formula that works and still cracks me up.
The plot of Your Highness is simple. Danny McBride is the younger brother of a mythical prince Fabious (James Franco). Fabious is the adventurous prince loved by all and Thaddeous (McBride) is the joke of the family who spends his time fighting midgets and smoking magic herbs with the village idiot. Fabious decides to marry the virgin princess Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel) but she is kidnapped by the evil warlock Leezar (who was pretty funny). Fabious, Thaddeous must journey to his castle to save her. Along the way they run into many different people and situations and this makes up the bulk of the film. They are joined by Isabel (Natalie Portman) who was badass and real hot.
The movie is pretty simple and just tries to be fun. It isn't serious in the least bit. It kind of gets off to a rocky start but soon finds its way and just entertains. I don't really like James Franco. I don't think he's that good of an actor or funny, but he was decent; somebody else could have done it better. The special effect were pretty good and the many creatures and villains were cool for the most part.
Your Highness combines the elements of the works of David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express & Eastbound and Down), Apatow, and Monty Python films. It is neither highbrow nor stupid beyond belief. It is a fun R-rated adventure comedy. There are some parts that could be edited and smoothed, but since this was an advanced screening, it proably will before its wide release. If you just want a cool comedy with medieval and mythical elements plus some pretty good action and violence, then check this out.
Also, I got to meet Danny McBride at the premiere. We was a genuinely funny and nice guy, not phoney or pretentious. I've met many other celebrities; some were cool, some were okay, and some were a-holes. McBride really was cool and cared about his fans' opinions. I think this is important because these people will suppport you throughout your career; sometimes I get turned off when I've met somebody and hated them or can really tell they're jerks. Maybe it's better not to meet them in some cases, but I am really happy I got the oppurtunity to go to this screening.
Posted on 2/23/11 08:24 PM
Do you ever see a movie that is almost really good but ends up being kinda bad? That pretty much describes The Adjustment Bureau. Its a movie that could be a 90% or 50%, but treads the fine line and slips into the rotten category.
The movie follows David Norris (Matt Damon), a potential NY Senator. He meets a beautiful woman and immediately has a strong connection with her. After getting her number, he walks into his office buidling and sees everyone frozen in time while guys who look like film noir characters are using gadgets to put ideas in their head. They abduct Norris and tell him that he stumbled upon something he wasn't supposed to see. They are the Adjustment Bureau. They are men who may or may not be angels and work for the Chairman who may or may not be God. Pretty much, they have guided mankind throughout its creation. They led them from hunter gatherers to the Roman empire and so on. When they left men to free will, WWII, The Holocaust, the Dark Ages, The Cuban Missile Crisis, and other catastrophic events have happened. Conversely, they let the Renaissance and great inventions come to fruition. They ultimately guide everything that happens keeping man from free will except what is due to chance. AND, they tell Norris he is not meant to be with Elise (Emily Blunt) because it isn't part of the plan.
Now while that sounds kinda cool and interesting, it could also be interpreted as too farfetched and stupid. I am goind to quickly describes the men from the adjustment burea: they have to wear hats that allow them to magically turn any door to an entrance to anywhere, they have memo pads that have details of every step and action a person will take, they can't use there powers in the presence of water or rain, they have offices and look like characters from Mad Men, and they drive GMC SUVs for some reason even though they powers to do what they want. Plus, they must have glass jaws cuz they can't even take a punch from Matt Damon. They get assigned cases and pretty much keep people in check and make sure they follow the plans that are set out for them but sometimes those plans change in the memo pads. Have I lost you yet?
Now this movie was based on a short story by Philip K. Dick. Other movies based on his works include Total Recall, Minority Report, and Blade Runner. It is also extremely similar to Dark City. Both movies could either be really dumb or genuinely smart and captivating by others. Dark City made it work, this movie didn't. There is such a fine line between brilliant and original and dumb and ridiculous.
This movie could have been fantastic but it just came off as dull. I'm not a Matt Damon fan. I think he is a decent enough actor and makes mediocre movies, but his character was just too plain. He really didn't seem to be weirded out when these "angels" abducted him and told him how they control the world like a bunch social workers. He stayed a little too humorous without actually being funny. At the skeleton of this story, it is not sci-fi at all but a romance. Basically, it is a disguised chick-flick. Nothing was really surpsising or captured the audience.
The Adjustment Bureau was far too light-hearted for its subject matter and just wan't mature enough to succeed as a serious film. The dialogue and characterization of the Adjustment Bureau agents was just corny. The direction was overall poor. This would be perfect for Christopher Nolan, or even someone like Guillermo Del Toro or Peter Jackson to accomplish such a delicately complex plot. Even David Fincher or Arronofsky might do a good job making it more grungy and deeper. Instead of reaching the heights of movies like Inception, Dark City, or the other films based on Philip K. Dick's stories, it landed in the pile of soon-to- be-forgotten movies. This first-time director was not good at all. The whole issue of free-will vs. Gran Plan was toned down and executed too neatly.
So in the end, The Adjustment Burea was not terrible--but it wasn't good either. It could have been great, it had such potential, but it finsihed as tedious, dull, and chick-flick esque. It is worth checking out though, some people might enjoy the complex and crazy plot, but others will see it as a big cluster f**k. I just think it could have been ten times better to carry it over that fine line of fresh and rotten.
Posted on 2/16/11 07:58 PM
Paul is a 2011 sci-fi/comedy starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Seth Rogen and directed by Greg Mottola (Superbad), not Edgar Wright. It also features Jason Bateman, Kristin Wiig, Sigourney Weaver, and a bunch of cameos. Pegg and Frost play two English geeks who go to Comicon and then travel across the Southwest to visit popular UFO-related hot spots. Frost is a struggling sci-fi author and Pegg is his illustrator. Along the way, they meet Paul (voiced by Rogen) who looks like the stereotypical alien. They try to help him escape the men in black and reach a meeting point where his people will take him back to his homeworld. This isn't a spoiler or surprise, it's 90% of the film.
This movie might divide some people. It has the chemistry of Pegg and Frost again, but it doesn't really have the exact same feel as their other movies. It does have Mottola directing instead of Wright (Superbad was real funny, Adventureland sucked). It wasn't a huge dissapointment, but it did blow some potential, especially since this is the pair's biggest budget and gives them some pretty capable co-stars. Paul the alien was kinda funny, but not that hilarious. It was just an average performance by Rogen (who I actually really like). There were a lot of funny jokes and sight gags in the movie, but only a couple made me crack up. Others kinda bombed and went by without a laugh. Nerds will love this movie, but it has plenty of other comedy for most audiences.
The thing I liked most about this movie are the inside jokes and references. It references many popular sci-fi movies like Aliens, Close Encounters, Star Wars, Star Trek, E.T., X-Files, and even Mac and Me (I was the only one in the theater that got the joke from this awful 80s family movie). It also has tracks from Electric Light Orchestra who are noted for their association with flying saucers at their concerts and album covers.
In the end, Paul is kind of a slightly above average movie. It has Simon Pegg and Nick Frost together again, a decently cool storyline even though it was pretty predictable, nice special effects, and plenty of quick jokes that some people might not immediately get. A few scenes fell flat and the director definitely only used half the film's true potential. Paul certainly felt more like a Greg Mottola movie than a Pegg/Wright/Frost flick. But, if you're a sci-fi fan like me and really like Pegg & Frost I'm sure you'll like this movie. If you just like comedy in general, it's worth at least 1 viewing.
Posted on 9/23/10 02:45 PM
Bullet is a gritty crime drama starring and written by Mickey Rourke. It details a thug's return home after doing an 8-year bid in prison. The film also features Tupac Shakur, Adrien Brody, Ted Levine, Donnie Wahlberg, and Michael K. Williams (Omar from The Wire).
In the film, Butch "Bullet" Stein returns home to his dysfunctional family after doing 8 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit. He refuses to snitch on some Italian and Irish gangsters he was connected to, who in turn watch his back when he gets out. As soon as he gets out, he immediately robs some white suburban kids trying to buy dope in the projects of NYC. He strips them naked and makes them run all throughout the building. He then shanks one dealer in the eye who had connections to his old prison enemy, Tank (2Pac). In prison, Bullet also shanked Tank in the eye leaving him to wear an eye patch and vow revenge (an eye for an eye) when Bulley gets out. Afterwards, Bullet gets back to his old ways of robbery, crack smoking, and heroin addiction.
Bullet resides at his Jewish family's home. His younger brother is portrayed by Adrien Brody who is a nihilistic but talented artist and fellow cohort in crime.
His older brother is played by Ted Levine, an isane ex-Marine who went nuts in Vietnam. Levine gives a real Oscar-worthy performance as a man who patrols his neighborhood in full fatigues and spends the rest of his time creating new spy gadgets in his metal-door bolted room. He, alongside his pitbbull Captain Crunch, instructs inner-city kids on how best to cut a man's throat and set booby traps. Levine was both crazy and really hilarious at times and had the standout role.
Bullet's parents were always upset over their three sons, who were as the best way to put it, f*ck-ups. Their overly-dramatic laments were the only cliched dialogue in an otherwise gritty and realistic movie.
Rourke gives a great performance in this greasy crime drama. The film is really well shot with some cool shoot-outs and fight scenes along with a great soundtrack. It reminded me of King of New York, Taxi Driver, Fresh, and other previous films that show the gritty and poor side of a dirty New York City. Like in The Wrestler, Rourke goes out of his way to portray a down-n-out pathetic but sympathetic character. He's a 35 year-old Jewish thug/ex-con who still hangs around all the dope spots and carelessly confronts anybody who crosses his path-always resulting in trouble.
All the characters are great, Tupac made a great villain. Rourke gives one of his best performances, a classic for any type of goon who starts at the bottom and stays there. Most of the dialogue was gritty, smart and real, and the storyline was decent, but not all entirely original. It did have a fantastic ending though. Bullet does not go out of its way to have a deep moral meaning or message to live by. Instead, it simply shows the tough lives a group of people trapped in small-time crime.
Bottom line, anybody who is a fan of gritty crime dramas should check out this cool little flick from the mid-nineties.
(P.s., this is my first review in a long time. I haven't been on this site much since it freaked out and I was hoping it would be fixed soon but that doesn't look like that's gonna happen. Also, before all the problems, I had about 1100-1250 movie ratings but now I only have 650. A random half just dissapeared. Has this problem happened to anyone else?)
Posted on 9/11/10 10:31 AM
The Cottage is a 2008 British comedy/horror film. It is directed by Paul Andrew Williams. It's style is similar to the early work Peter Jackson and thats how I stumbled on it. It combined gory horror and grotesque violence with dark comedy and witty dialogue.
The Cottage details the kidnapping of a young woman named Tracey by the brothers David (Andy Serkis) and Peter. They take her to a seculuded cottage outside a remote village. The harsh David and wimpy Peter are very inexperienced in crime and try to hold her for a 100,000 ransom from her crime boss father. In the meantime they are aided by the fat and incompetent Andrew, Tracey's stepbrother. While holding her ransom, Andrew is pursued by Asian gang members and Peter is tormented by Tracey and moths (his number one fear). David uses a phone booth in the strange village where the weird residents warn him to lock his doors and not to wonder off.
What happens next is the discovery of a farm and the dark secrets that it holds. I don't want to give away the information because its the type of movie you should go into fresh, but it soon becomes similar to a Texas Chainsaw Massacre type of horror.
This film is probably to the backwoods cannibal genre as Shaun of the Dead is to zombie flicks. This film is definitely worth one watching. It may not have enough jokes to satisfy a ton of laughs, and not enough horror to satisfy suspense fiends but it tries its hardest to find its balance and I think it did a pretty good job. Andy Serkis acted very well as a down-on-his luck British gangster and Jennfier Ellison was great as a real bad chick. If you are a fan of Peter Jackson's early work, British horror, and some fun gory violence, then I would recommend this bloody dark comedy. If any film can make me laugh at disembowling and also keep it tense during a good chase scene in the dark, then it must be my type of movie.
Posted on 3/26/10 07:57 PM
I was lucky enough to go to a screening of this film the other day with Vincent D'Onofrio and Jan Harlan, Stanley Kubrick's brother-in-law and producer on all his films since A Clockwork Orange. Harlan discussed the the young soldiers during this war and how they were thrust into a situation they didn't comprehend, shipped to a place that might have been another world, and fighting people they could not understand. I believe that Kubrick captured this confused mindset perfectly with all the greatly developed characters in this film: Joker, Cowboy, Animal Mother, Rafterman, 8Ball, Doc Jay, and Pvt. Gomer Pyle.
Joker was a young Marine with wit, leadership capabilities, and courage. He was a correspondent for "Stars and Stripes" but still saw some heavy combat during the course of the film. He wore 'Born to Kill' on his helmet with a peace sign on his collar. He wanted to be the first on his block to get a confirmed kill but still found it difficult being immersed in the strange Vietamese combat. Animal Mother was a born-soldier who really didn't understand the war, but he didn't care either-he just wanted to kill. the same can be said for Doc Jay. Rafterman was a camerman for Joker who hadn't seen combat but had the joy of a child on Christmas when he finally got a kill.
R. Lee Ermey played Sgt. Hartman, one of my favorite film characters of all time. He played the perfect Marine drill sergeant (which was easy since he was one). D'Onofrio's Gomer Pyle was a simple-minded chubby soldier who eventually completetly unwinds over the course of boot camp and Hartman's tutelage. D'onofrio is perfect as a contrasting simple fellow with a dark insanity erupting. D'Onofrio explained that Pyle wasn't a "killer" (serial or spree), he was just a man who killed.
D'onofrio played an excellent character but his finale was my biggest problem with the film. Kubrick didn't allow the audience to see the horrible descent that Pyle took. There is no logical reason that he should have reacted as he did. Hartman was a hard ass drill sergeant, but that is how they have to be. Pyle struggled at first but eventually overcame and made it into the infantry. He should not have done what he did based on what happened and that really really bugged me about this film. My other criticism is that Kubrick went a little too heavy with the Marines molding "killers." He should have stepped back a little bit (probably to the same level as in Dr. Strangleove-it still kept the message, but did't pound it on you as much).
One of my other favorite things about this film is that it takes place in urban Vietnam instead of the jungle like Platoon and Apocalypse Now did. Harlan said that the entire Vietnam section was shot in a abandoned gas works in East London. I found this amazing, I thought it would have been shot in East Asia or LA. The combat scenes were well shot, the soundtrack was great (like all Vietnam films), and the boot camp scenes were realistic and finely-detailed. All of the characters were fantastic with compelling and humorous dialogue (Kubrick din't hold back and kept it very real). D'ofrio explained the authentic vigorous training they went through and how Kubrick had to hire actors in their 20s instead of 18-year olds because they couldn't convey the proper emotions.
With the exception of Hartman and Pyle's demise and the overly done anti-war message, this was one of the best war films I have seen and one of Kubrick's finest made. Harlan explained that Kubrick spent very much time on this film, and it really shows in the final product. If you haven't seen Full Metal Jacket, check it out immediately.
Black Sabbath (I Tre volti della paura) (The Three Faces of Fear) (The Three Faces of Terror) (1963)
Posted on 2/26/10 01:30 PM
A very good three-part Italian horror film from American International Pictures. It scared the hell out of me when I was a kid; it doesn't hold up as well now but is still a nicely done movie.
"The Telephone" part was real Alfred-Hitchkock-ish and interesting. The Russian vampire segment with Boris Karloff was pretty good and fun to watch. Finally, the segment called "The Drop of Water" set in Victorian England. When I first saw it I had nightmares and had to leave my lights on. It was real creepy and built up tension very well with sounds and eerie events. I'm sure if I watched it now, the corpse-ghost would be real dated, but it would still be a scary story.
Anyway, if one of the greatest bands of all time took their name from the title, it has to be pretty damn good.
Posted on 2/19/10 09:47 PM
This was the best throwback film that I have ever seen. Most films that parody a particualr genre are done too over the top, or try way too hard to spoof a particular scene or character.
In this film, everything was done perfectly: The casting, direction, cinametography, score....everything was just as it should have been. Instead of digitally making the film look like it was from the 70s, the director shot it using the technology from back then. the sound effects were great and vintage sounding and the score was dead-on. I really felt like I was watching an actual blaxploitation that was filmed in 1973.
Michael Jai White was perfect as the lead character. He was just like a Fred Williamson/Shaft/Yaphet Kotto/Bernie Casey type of protagonist. Tommy Davidson and the rest of the secondary cast were perfect homages to the supporting cast of every other blaxploitation film.
I preferred this to Tarantino/Rodriguez's Grindhouse. I felt like Quentin tried too hard to make a great film instead of creating a quick, fun, and cheap 70s style B-movie.
This movie did not try to pretend to be anything else besides a modern B-movie done in the right classic style. It wasn't over the top, it din't try to spoof Shaft or Hitman or Foxy Brown; it was just a perfect throwback that every other pardoy film of the 70s genre should take quick notice. If you love the blaxploitation genre like me or just films from the 1970s (the coolest films created, the only B-movies ever created right), then check this movie soon and support it.
Posted on 1/25/10 03:54 PM
I'm a diabetic and this movie tried to be so sweet it put me in a coma. Too bad it wasn't before Diane Keaton's nude scene.
It was well acted by Keaton and Nicholson (definitely not Keanuu Reeves) but was overly predictable and had the typical chick flick ending. Also, it is very hard to relate to characters and feel for them when they're all upper-class playwrights, moguls, socialites, and their privileged children. Not a very realistic look into the love lives of middle aged people.
Sure, I understand that its supposed to be a throwback to screwball comedies of the 40s; I just think it is too influenced by the modern chick flick and comes off as pretentious.
Posted on 1/23/10 09:25 PM
This movie really wasn't what I was expecting. I'm a huge Rob Zombie fan and saw his first three movies (and really enjoyed them) but this cartoon was much different. I thought it would be similar to a Creepshow comic or some sort of pulp fiction/Ed Wood inspired story with a Rob Zombie touch. Instead, it bore animation similar to a Nickelodeon cartoon...if those cartoons had naked women onscreen constantly. It was shocking but funny to see the weird and sexual situations in the film but it got old after a while.
With Nazi zombie bikers and classic horror film characters, I thought it would be more of a cool movie with action and grindhouse/B-movie humor. Instead, Superbeasto is a typical wannabe playboy celebrity with Dr. Satan as a wimpy nerd who wants to be a villain...not really as original as Zombie should have done. Finally, its musical score was by Hard n Phirm, the cliched comedy group that plays an acoustic guitar and tries to humoroursly sing and describe the film's plot. I really wish Rob would have put in a score from a drive-in or classic horror movie. Even his own music which he has never used in his films before would have fit in better than the corny acoustic songs.
In the end, it was a different animated film for Rob Zombie fans, people who enjoy sexually charged humor, horror fans, people like me who are so tired of computer animated films, and weirdos who like naked cartoon women.
Maybe I'm biased, but I'll take this over any shitty Pixar movie any day...