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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

Monthly Archives: July 2010

Chasing Amy (1997)

If only my girlfriend was a lesbian. Then things would be very interesting.

After comic book artist Holden (Ben Affleck) falls in love with the perfect woman, Alyssa (Joey Lauren Adams), he discovers she is a lesbian in this comedy from writer-director Kevin Smith. With no help from his friend, Banky (Jason Lee), Holden tries to make a relationship with Alyssa work. Although Holden knows Alyssa cares deeply about him, her homosexual past may conspire to come between them and ruin everything.

Look at every film that Smith has written/directed, and compare it to this. You’ve got Clerks, Mallrats, Zack and Miri, Clerks II, Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strikes Back, and Cop Out. There are all crazy, stupid, and raunchy comedies, this is the farthest thing from.

Kevin Smith has always been perfect with showing how real people actually speak, especially when it comes to talking about dirty shit, but with this he explores more into the world of sex, love, and desire. Yes, there is that occasional raunchy bit, but Smith never gets too wild with it to the point of where we lose main focus of where we’re at. We see and hear the sexual politics that go into both sides of the sexual desire, and gender, and both sides are equally understandable. The insight is huge, and it all seems to realistic to be from a movie by slacker Kevin Smith.

The film shows us how we look at sex from one gender to another, and can either see it as something wrong, or something that has to do with love. We are always quick to judge somebody or something for what they love, or do, and never to get down to the core of what love really is. This point struck a huge core with me, and it moved me as the film went along. Smith doesn’t just badge the other sex and stay with the guy’s point of view, he gets sensitive with his points and never seems like he’s ranting or telling us how we should treat others, he’s just simply showing us the world we live in where sexual criticism is around every corner. There is also some big points on friendship brought up, and how far it gets to a point of where it actually may become something more. Smith never lets loose of the brutal reality that we face when we are in love, where we start to alienate others, and we focus on the big mistakes our lover has made in their past. We sometimes never see a person for what they are in front of our faces, but what they did in the past, and as sad as it may be, I know I have defiantly done that in the past.

However, despite all this raw and emotional stuff about love, there still is a lot of comedy, and humor that will have you chuckle. Theres crude dialogue, blunt descriptions of sex, and obviously an overkill of Star Wars and Comic book references, but it all pertains to the story, and shows how all these people live, and makes the subject material go more deeper and more accessible.

The whole cast, that was fairly un-known at the time, does a great job here. Ben Affleck in the main lead, as Holden, is kind of a deuchy character to begin with, but after awhile you get to see him as somebody more. There is one scene that really does show off his great emotional strive he can go into as an actor, where he is telling his love for Alyssa, and it seems so true and genuine. Joey Lauren Adams is perfect with the bisexual Alyssa. Her high-pitched voice may get annoying with some characters, but with her it adds on a lot more to her likability as female lead. She’s funny, raw, and overall very confused, just like any other woman in her shoes would be. The chemistry her and Affleck have feels genuine, and as the friendship builds up, you can feel the love between these two also build up. Jason Lee is also great as Affleck’s best friend, who is funny, but also jealous in a way of Affleck and his love for Alyssa.

I just wish there was so much more I could tell you how much I loved about this film. It will take you by surprise by how loving, touching, insightful, funny, and moving it really is. There is so much to see here, but don’t take my word for it, get out right now and go and see it.

Sorry guys no consensus, this is just too great for that.

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The Promotion (2008)

Do people really compete like this for grocery store managing?

Hoping to buy a house, grocery store assistant manager Doug (Seann William Scott) applies for a manager position at his chain’s new location. Doug feels confident about getting hired until recent arrival Richard (John C. Reilly) applies for the same job. In order to secure the coveted promotion, the competing employees go head-to-head in minor battles, often resorting to cruel behavior.

This film I barely even heard about when it first came out, and now I can see why.

The comedy is not what these two comedy greats are known for. Usually both are in dumb, raunchy, and sometimes just goofy comedy, that results in random rambling, and quoting for the rest of our lives. This is not like that style of comedy. If anything, it’s just weird comedy. And it soon starts to become a little depressing, because both of these guys just set out so hard to beat out the other one.

For the bulk of this film you feel like you have been here before. And you wind up waiting for it to move into original territory – but it never does. The Promotion doesn’t have as much comedy as I expected and not nearly enough drama to fill the gap. And as such, it never quite connects with its audience. You will find the same premise in movies like Employee of the Month – the only difference is that this one is just a little more serious.

Seann William Scott is funny, and plays a different character than from what he would usually play, but he isn’t as hilarious as I was expecting. Although, it was weird how I could believe him as this straight-laced, serious super-market co-manager. John C. Reilly won my heart in the end, and although the film kind of lets his character down by the last act, but he still had a lot of heart within his character, that made him a bit more likable.

Consensus: The cast may be game, but The Promotion starts off original, then falls into cheap and forced laughs, backed by some disturbing moments by the end of the film.

2/10=SomeOleBullShitt!!!

Inside Man (2006)

A Spike Lee Joint, for people who don’t like Spike Lee Joints.

Dispatched to the scene of a bank robbery, detective Keith Frazier (Denzel Washington) must match wits with a cunning thief (Clive Owen) who’s always one step ahead of the cops. When a loose-cannon negotiator (Jodie Foster) is called on for help, the unstable situation spins out of control. Keith soon finds himself questioning the motives of everyone around him.

One of my fav directors, Spike Lee, is always known for making witty dramas on race, prejudice, sex, gang violence, and etc. I know plenty of people who don’t like his films mostly because of his opinions on the various subjects. But this is one everybody can enjoy.

Lee does not write this film, which I was pretty bummed out about. I like how all of his films usually have a compelling script, with some great character spotlights. This film doesn’t really have much of one. It is your ordinary heist film, but there could have been more that went the extra mile. We get little hits on prejudice and race, but the questions are brought up to the point of where it’s the main theme. For some, I guess their glad it wasn’t like that, but for me, who loves it when Lee get’s big into the themes, I was kind of bummed.

The good thing about this movie is that it is entertaining, with a screenplay that has plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing. I like hostage films, like Dog Day Afternoon, and this was a fun modern-day scenario twist. It keeps you on the edge of your seat, and although not everything is not fully explained, it soon does all come together. Everything you would expect from a heist film, is turned on its side, and made in a smart way.

There are also some beautiful shots of New York City, not as beautiful as the one’s in 25th Hour, but they still give off the post-9/11 vibe that all of Lee’s films do now.

The one part of this movie that keeps it going, is the incredible ensemble cast. Denzel Washington is perfect here, he’s funny, strong, and you can also tell that he’s a character, when pushed to the edge, he can really just set off, and become your worst nightmare. There is one scene that shows it, and its great. Clive Owen plays the villain in this film well, and he’s smart. He doesn’t give too much of his villainous character away, and by the end you actually start to wonder if he’s the good guy, or the bad guy. Jodie Foster’s character is played well, but she’s put in the film without any real reason, and it doesn’t make sense as to why she’s in there, but it’s still well-acted. Chiwetel Ejiofor, Willem Dafoe, and a great casting job of Christopher Plummer, are also all good too at what they do, and each give in their own little tidbit of acting skills.

Consensus: Inside Man is not one of Lee’s best, and not like his others at all, for better or worse, but keeps you on your seat with its twists and turns, and great ensemble cast.

8/10=Matinee!!

8 Mile (2002)

Who ever thought Eminem could rap.

The people of Detroit know 8 Mile as the city limit, a border, a boundary. It is also a psychological dividing line that separates aspiring hip-hop artist Jimmy Smith Jr. from where and who he wants to be. A provocative fictional examination of a critical week in Jimmy’s life, 8 Mile stars multi-platinum recording artist Eminem in his first feature-film leading role, along with Kim Basinger, Mekhi Phifer, Brittany Murphy and Eugene Byrd.

I have seen 8 Mile numerous times, on VH1, and other times, but never the full thing in one-sitting. I mean I would be dumb to tell you guy’s new stuff about this movie, that half of you already know, cause everybody has seen this movie.

There are plenty of things in this movie that just keep you going. The constant rap battles are awesome, and funny at the same time, cause who doesn’t love to see Xzibit get called a bitch and faggot. There’s no score for this one, so if you enjoy lots and lots of rap music, be ready cause you going to get a butt-load here. Lose Yourself, is in this movie, and it just gets you going so much.

The one thing that keeps this film going is it’s just overall tone. Some Eminem fans may be taken back by the depressing tone that the movie takes, but it works in its favor. The streets of Detroit are so scummy, so beat-up, and so dirty, that when these people talk about hard times, or rap about it, you know what their talking about cause of the hell-whole they live in. The film reminds me of a grittier, less glamorous Saturday Night Fever. And the main problem these people have with their lives is trying to get out of this ghetto.

The problem with this film is that it is way too overly familiar. It’s almost like the film is just Rocky, with a dope beat. The screenplay was good, but it didn’t go the extra mile (pun intended), to fully become something emotional and true. I also feel like the film since it was produced, and directed by a lot of white people, it doesn’t feel as genuine, but none the less, I still felt a good deal of emotion in the film. I also wish more things with Eminem and his ex-girlfriend were reconciled, or shown for that matter, cause by the end were just kind of like wondering what the hell happened.

Eminem does a great job at playing a role that he basically does in real-life. He’s funny, angry, and has a lot of good rhymes to support his angry side, but in the end is still a guy that keeps on looking for a change. Brittany Murphy (R.I.P), is also good here as the neighborhood tramp that Em falls for, and although she isn’t in many scenes, she is just still convincing. Underrated Mekhi Phifer is the shit in here, playing the dude who hosts all the rap-battles, and he does a great job of adding that emotional strife to the character, as well as having a lot of energy to show a likable character. Kim Basinger is a bit mis-cast here, she doesn’t prove to be too gritty, and low-life that she can be believable, but she does have some OK scenes.

Consensus: 8 Mile is a familiar story, but is straight-up gritty, engaging, and at the same time, a great watch, with good performances, including a surprising one from Eminem.

8/10=Matinee!!!!

Collateral (2004)

L.A. is just a really shitty place now that I look at it.

Max (Jamie Foxx) is a failed comedy writer living in Los Angeles who makes a living as a cab driver. One very tumultuous day, he figures out that the fare Vincent (Tom Cruise) he’s been driving around all day is a contract killer, committing a series of hits. Now, it’s up to him to somehow stop the killer from executing the last witness… as well as himself.

The one thing I like the most about Michael Mann is that his stories may not be the best on paper, but when their played out, they are simply riveting. Heat, a film where cop chases bad guy, seen it done a million times, however, it’s considered his best work. For me, this is his best.

The film starts off really nice and slow, with a couple of nice little talking pieces, but then as soon Vincent gets in the car, it’s zooooooooom…..fast-paced thriller here we goooooo!!! Let me just say that this film does keep you on the edge of your seat. Your watching as these two dudes go from one place to another, killing people, and get stuck in the stickiest situations, but somehow end up getting away.

The way Michael Mann films everything is just brilliant here. He shows L.A. at night, at makes it beautiful, then gritty, and the beautiful again. The cinematography is rich in design because Mann is constantly switching cameras. Some scenes he will use a HD camera to get that real look of these dudes running through the streets, then you got you digital camera for the real real look, and then he uses 35mm for one scene that will just totally knock your socks off. Mann shows L.A. in a way that makes it one of the most beautiful places to be, despite the violent under-belly.

Between all the gun shooting, running, stealing, etc. There are still many moments of talking, and these people aren’t just talking non-sense that you would hear in your typical action thriller, these people are giving some honest insight into life and death, and how will your legacy be viewed as, once you are dead. It was surprising how much was actually said, and meant something in this film.

I had a few problems with this film, and I can see others did too. There just so happened to be too many coincidences in this film. I can’t give away too much, but at the end, it kind of makes you think, OK, why in the hell is he looking for this one person, out of the 2.5 million people in L.A. Also, there is another scene that will have you basically going, OK, bullshit. Sorry about being discrete, but once you see these scenes, then you’ll notice what I’m talking about.

Tom Cruise, goes against type playing Vincent, the bad guy, and makes one of the best career choices of his life. He is just brilliant here. When you first get to meet him, you can tell he’s a big charmer, a nice smooth-talker, and then you get to see him in action. You are just totally mesmerized by this dude. He’s great at what he does, and that just adds on an extra level of creepiness for his character that the film strives so much for. Jamie Foxx is even better, playing a dude that just wants nothing but to get out of this sticky situation, but there is just one scene where you see him totally change. It’s a great scene cause the whole time we’re rooting for him, and then we see him actually turn the other cheek, we are more ready than ever. The supporting cast is also good in here too. Filled with stars such as Jada Pinkett Smith, Javier Bardem, Mark Ruffalo, and a touching scene with Barry Shabaka Henley.

Consensus: Collateral may have unrealistic things in its story by the end, however Mann directs this film with inspiration, giving off great performances from the cast, and a suspenseful story, that have could been done wrong so many other ways.

9/10=Full Pricee!!!

The Mist (2007)

I hope I’m stuck in a supermarket when a mysterious mist comes to me. I could have all the food I wanted.

After a brutal thunderstorm pounds a small town, the residents (Thomas Jane, Toby Jones, Marcia Gay Harden, Andre Braugher, and more) discover a malevolent mist hangs over their homes, killing anyone who remains outside. Now, trapped in a grocery store, a band of survivors must make a stand against the deadly fog.

Frank Darabont is known for directing Stephen King novel adaptations (The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, and The Majestic). All are good films, but are dramatic pieces, this is not so much like any of them, but in a surprisingly good way.

The Mist is one of those B-movie thrillers that is very campy, but used so well, to the point of where you almost forget what your watching. Darabont does a great job of using a tense atmosphere to convey enough emotions for when the real action comes, you are on the edge of your seat. There is barely any score music at all, and it works well, because this is just a prime example that silence sometimes can be the scariest thing of all. The film also never really jumps into the action, or “The Mist” right away, it just calmly goes step by step, and you still can feel the suspense of what’s going to happen.

Darabont’s script works very well cause it shows how real human beings, if put in a situation like this, would react or the choices they would make to come out alive. He does a lot of religious bashing with the majority of the people forming a band together, and answer God’s call.

I did have a problems with this film that actually got in the way more than I thought. This film is a B-movie in a way, and the special effects in this are really cheesy. When they first pop-out at you, I started to chuckle cause it reminded me that I was watching something from the Sci-Fi channel. The screenplay is good, but these people are just so stupid sometimes that I couldn’t just want some of them to die. There is one instance where they are trying to convince this one dude that there’s a monster outside, and they have tentacle from it, but he keeps on thinking it’s just a joke, and their trying to make him look stupid. I’m just sitting there thinking, too late my friend, you already do look stupid. There are plenty of other instances, but I can’t give them all away.

And shall we not forget that ending!!! Or should I say………THE ENDING!!!!!! Right before I watched this my friend Bill told me after I see the ending I will say, “what the fuck”, but he didn’t tell me in what kind of emotion. The ending is kind of a let-down, but its also pretty depressing, and since it’s different from the original source material, I didn’t quite know what the whole point of it was. For some, it will piss people off, or just be an OK ending. Me, I’m still trying to decide.

The cast is alright to say the least, and they do good jobs with their material. Thomas Jane, is good here as David Drayton, the one man that seems to have the brains, as well as the strength to do almost everything smart in this movie. Toby Jones is the man in this movie, he plays the geeky brave dude really well here, and he is instantly a likable character. Marcia Gay Harden does the best job, playing a character that is so unstable, crazy, and just so unlikable, that you really do just want her dead. She does a great job with ll of her speeches, about God, and religion, but she makes this totally unlikable character, that somehow you just want her to shut her face.

Consensus: The Mist is well-acted, tensely written and directed by Frank Darabont, but is a let-down with its ending, some plot holes in the script, and the unintentionally hilarious special effects.

7.5/10=Rental!!!

Grown Ups (2010)

I sure hope these guys don’t hang out like this in real life.

Comedy superstars Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Rob Schneider, David Spade and Kevin James team up for a story of five childhood pals who reunite after 30 years to mourn the loss of their old basketball coach. Gathering at a July 4th celebration where their families meet for the first time, the friends find themselves acting a bit inappropriate for their age.

Looking at the trailers, I was already skeptical going into this. And none of my expectations were wrong.

This film has just some of the laziest screenplays ever written. The film looks like its centered towards the whole family, but there was plenty of sex, fart, poop, piss, death, and boob jokes, that didn’t even seem like they were supposed to be funny. There is also too much slapstick to like also. I felt like a lot of times the film didn’t have a good joke, so they just relied on somebody getting knocked in the face, or falling into poo, for a good joke. When it isn’t at all. Then at the end they have this huge emotional break-through, when the whole time their cracking jokes and making fun of others around them.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t laugh, or chuckle a little bit, but most of that was because of the cast, that no matter what, tries their hardest to bring the screenplay in full force. Adam Sandler is playing his safe card in this one, not getting too annoying, but also not being too serious. He’s just fine. Kevin James is playing the usual dude, that is always made fun of because he’s, well, fat. Chris Rock needs to go back to his old days of being the crazy-ass black man, because him being serious, isn’t helping anybody out, especially his career. David Spade is not a ladies man, and although I have always supported him, here he doesn’t do anything for me. And well Rob Schneider, is just the dude, who’s there, and gets made fun of. Salma Hayek, Maria Bello, and Maya Rudolph, are actually pretty funny here as the wives, but once again are weighed down as well. And could really any of these guys, score these major babes. I rest my case.

The one thing that made me wonder to myself is: just what the hell is going on with these comedy icons that I loved so dearly? They try their hardest, but the script just weighs their asses down so low, they can’t get back up. I’m hoping that these actors find something good sooner or later, cause now it’s just getting depressing, watching them fall worse by each film. Oh well I have faith and I know that these guys can do it.

Consensus: Grown Ups at its best is just a mindless family comedy, kind of, that has some funny moments mostly because of its cast, but the jokes, and lame script just weigh everything down to a point of where you don’t know if your supposed to laugh.

4/10=SomeOleBullShitt!!!!

Unbreakable (2000)

Comic book superheroes do roam the world, I’m telling you I saw Spider-Man yesterday in my neighborhood saving a cat from a tree.

Bruce Willis plays an ordinary man who makes an extraordinary discovery when a train accident leaves his fellow passengers dead — and him unscathed. Is he truly unbreakable? The answer could lie with the mysterious Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson), a man who suffers from a disease that renders his bones as fragile as glass.

After the huge success of The Sixth Sense, M. Night Shyamalan hd to make something as a follow-up that would get more people into him as a director. I think it worked with this one, still I’m not quite sure.

M. Night still uses the creepy atmosphere to convey an emotion the whole film. We don’t quite know what’s going on, until a freak accident occurs then we fully understand it all, kind of. The story moves at a credible pace, and it’s not just about the constant jolts and scares, it’s more about the characters themselves, and how they live with the life they were given. M. Night engages you in the story, and with a couple of twists and turns, the story stays on its feet. I also like how M. Night uses these awkward long shots to show the tension on-screen, and most scenes just have one camera, moving around a room.

I felt bad for this film mostly because the whole film is just an excuse for a huge twist ending. And in reality, the twist ending is kind of silly, and very very weak. I don’t know how they could have done a better one, to convey so many shocks, but what I know is that the ending they have was sort of, stupid to say the least.

The film brings up the question: What if there really was a real-life superhero in this world? That question wasn’t quite brought up enough times to fully have us imagining a world with one. We only get about 3 instances of somebody being a hero, and it didn’t really strike me as real, or anything reasonable. I thought if they focused more on this question, they could have made the ending a lot better than it actually was.

Bruce Willis is once again, the upset husband, but he does play it well. He’s always very good at playing this every-day man character, and adds more substance than just another regular dude, but a guy that is trying to get over the fact that he may have a super power. Samuel L. Jackson is always known for being such a powerful presence in films, but in this one he sort of goes for the creepy role, one that needs restraint, and he does it pretty well. Robin Wright Penn, plays the strong female lead, and has some great scenes where she just lets all of the doubt and anger from her relationship out, and it’s a good performance.

Consensus: It may not be as strong, or shocking as The Sixth Sense, but M. Night Shyamalan’s follow-up is still engaging, with real characters, played realistically by the actors, and great story-telling from Shyamalan himself.

6.5/10=Rental!!

She’s Out of My League (2010)

A system that I never need to go by, cause I’am just that much of a player.

When he starts dating drop-dead gorgeous Molly (Alice Eve), insecure airport security agent Kirk (Jay Baruchel) can’t believe it. As his friends and family share their doubts about the relationship lasting, Kirk does everything he can to avoid losing Molly forever. Kyrsten Ritter, Lindsay Sloane, Jasika Nicole and Andrew Daly also star in this charming romantic comedy about unlikely lovers.

I saw the shallow trailers for this and knew right away, this film was doomed from the start. It just looked stupid, and un-funny. Then I saw all the positive feedback it got, and then my interest level went from a 1 to a 8. See what I did there………

The film’s screenplay is where a lot of the good things from this film lie. It’s humor is very very raunchy, and at times way too vulgar, but somehow it works. It’s funny, and also insightful much to my surprise. Being a guy myself, I kind of have the same convos with my boys, as we talk about chicks, sex, and just a lot of other crazy stuff, and I could relate to this film and the convos these dudes had.

However, at the same time it feels like a poor man’s Knocked Up. Yeah, I laughed a lot, but all of it does seem a bit too familiar (lame dude, ends up with hot chick). Also, the film does seem a bit too vulgar for its own good. Like there is probably a sequence where this one whole family says “fuck you” about 20 times at the dinner table, in a row. Like I think the word “fuck” is funny when its used in certain situations, but when your just using it, just to use it, it’s not funny, it feels forced.

Jay Baruchel is funny here, and he’s also likable, but sometimes I just wanted to slap him, and say “get over it man!!!stop acting like a geek all the time!!!”. He stumbles with his words all the time, he’s awkward as hell, and most of all, he’s basically the same character we’ve seen in plenty of other rom-coms, where the dweeb falls in love. The supporting cast is good, they have a lot of funny moments but they just feel like representations, of characters from Apatow films.

Consensus: She’s Out of My League is funny, and has a lot of good insight, that shows you how real people talk, but its taken down by its over vulgar, and over-familiar jokes. Its good while it lasts, but it’s forgettable in the end.

5/10=Rental!!

The Origins Project

Yo yo everybody,

My buddy old pal Marshall, from the bangin’ site Marshall and the Movies has been putting together some sort of project together lately. Its pretty awesome, not gonna lie. he calls it “The Origins Project” and this is where he asks fellow bloggers, like myself, questions that will have you either choking up over the memories, or feeling like a straight-up G because of how cool you sound when you say that you have no problems as a blogger (yeah, that’s right, that’s me). Anyway go over and check it out, because I’m part of the latest submission for the project right here:

http://marshallandthemovies.com/2010/07/20/originsdantheman/

Go check it out, write a comment telling me how much you love me, or just trash talk me. I love that too! Also, super duper thanks to my main man Marshall for putting this genius idea together.

Thanks everyone!

White Men Can’t Jump (1992)

This title is so false! They have obviously not seen me hoop it up on the courts.

Pretending to be a goofy white guy with no skills, Billy Hoyle (Woody Harrelson) earns his keep by hustling pickup basketball games in Los Angeles. But when one of Billy’s victims (Wesley Snipes) subsequently becomes his partner, the pair gets a taste of real success. They must also contend with some shifty characters — and their own competitiveness

A good sports comedy in today’s world is hard to come by, especially in today’s world. But when used right, it brings comedy lovers, and sports lovers together.

The best thing about this movie is that it comedy almost never seems to get taken out of proportion. A lot of the stuff they say in here is straight up laugh-out-load funny, but it never becomes one of those huge joke fests that you can’t take seriously. However, I will say some of the best yo-momma jokes come from here, ones that I have never heard, and will use soon on some sucker who’s trying to diss me and my game.

There is also a lot in this film that is real. The film shows these two guys’ lives, and how their own wives live with the fact that their two men, are just boyish characters. The film shows how if you make one decision on, or off the court, you never know what the out-come may be, whether it be good or bad. I had a problem with the film by the middle act, where it seems to get stale. The jokes are flying everywhere but they don’t seem to stick quite as well as the first act. Also, the little sub-plot with the gangsters trying to find down Harrelson and take over his debt, was kind of dumb, but hey it didn’t totally ruin the movie.

If your a huge b-ball fan, like me, your going to love the basketball playing sequences themselves. There shot in a nice style, with just the right type of music, to bring out the energy a lot in a film, that strives so well for it.

The trio of leads is what makes this film its best. Wesley Snipes is at his funniest, as big-time street baller Sidney Deane. he brings out all the charisma he has in his character, and it works in his advantage cause we actually end up liking him a lot more than you expect. Woody Harrelson’s character, Billy Hoyle, starts off as likable and smart, but then he kind of turns into a dick head, and you start to kind of dislike him, mostly cause you don’t know his intentions. But besides that he still gives a funny performance here. Rosie Perez almost steals every single scene she’s in, cause that high-pitched voice just works so well with this material, and really does have you laughing, even when the film is semi-serious. She played the same character in Do The Right Thing and every other movie after, but hey it always seems to work. The genuine chemistry between Snipes and Harrelson is what makes the film click, but also the message that the film brings up. Whites and Blacks, may never get along when it comes to the sport of basketball, and that is not racist, it’s just the truth on how both sides see the game differently.

Consensus: The plot may meander, however, White Men Can’t Jump is a great blend of fun, sports, and comedy, lead by a great trio of leads.

8/10=Matinee!!!

The Express (2008)

Interesting look, at a guy I had no idea about.

Rob Brown stars as trailblazer Ernie Davis, the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy. Dubbed the “Elmira Express” because of his tireless drive, Davis also lived up to the title off the field fighting for racial equality. Director Gary Fleder’s inspiring biopic co-stars Dennis Quaid as Ben Schwartzwalder, the crusty Syracuse University coach who teaches Davis the game and in return learns much from his bold civil rights achievements.

The key to a good football movie is to be more than just a movie about football greats. Sure, the game sequences need to be authentic, but to fully capture an audience, a football movie needs to be about life, not just the big game.

Usually, when it comes to sports movies, or sports biopics, I always know a thing or two going in, about the subject. But with this one, I didn’t know who Ernie Davis was, and at the end of watching this, I think I really did get to know him, which is how all biopics should be. Davis was more than just a black football player, he was an out-spoken hero in the Civil Rights movement and we see how he fights through all the racism everywhere he goes, just to finally win the game.

However, the film does get a bit too preachy with its message about racism, mostly because the same message has been used in many other race meets sports films like Remember the Titans, Ali, and countless others. And a lot more of this film is very predictable, and basically stuff you have seen before.

Rob Brown here is good as Ernie Davis, and plays him with barely any knowledge of who this real character is, and plays it strongly. The best in the cast here is Dennis Quaid, who plays the tough-but-fair coach. He’s a dick for the whole first hour or so, and then you can see him transform as a character, as Davis starts to transform into a better human, and it all seems believable.

I think the main thing the film was going for is being influential, and it really is. It gives the viewers the look at a life, probably no one has ever heard of, and makes us feel like we can do something like he did.

Consensus: The Express is predictable, however, it features two powerful leads, and an inspiring story, about the life of a forgotten American life, that is also the most important one too.

7/10=Rental!!

Inception (2010)

I don’t mind to sound corny or anything, but this movie really is a dream come true.

Inception deals with the concept of sharing dreams with Leonardo DiCaprio as Cobb, a conman who enters the dreams of others and steals ideas from their subconscious (known as “extraction”) for unknown employers. After a lengthy career in dream thefts and being away from his family, Cobb is offered a job of the seemingly-impossible task of “inception,” the crime of implanting an idea instead of stealing one, and he assembles a crew (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Ken Wantanbe, Ellen Page, and Dileep Rao) to pull off the perfect crime with hopes of being able to return home.

Christopher Nolan, would probably be known to your everyday person, as the guy who directed The Dark Knight. That is true, but he is also the director of plenty of other movies, that the everyday person may not know about, that totally mess with your mind. Films like: Following, Memento, The Prestige, and Insomnia. In this, he combines both of his different styles together, and gets my favorite film of 2010 thus far.

The script itself has all the elements of The Matrix. There’s a lot of talk about life, and how we are living a dream-world, and our minds create illusions for ourselves, and all that other hickory-doo. However, it comes out in such a good way, that it’s too hard to ignore. It never shows us the “What if…” side, but always brings up the side about dreams, and our illusions, and how we make things up in our world, just to make ourselves feel better with the life we have, and what would we do if someone was to take them away from us. It makes you think a lot, almost too much for a damn summer blockbuster, and I might just think twice about my dreams when I wake up the next morning.

The plot, at first, may confuse the crap out of so many people, hell, it confused me, but after awhile you start to get a whole feel for the film, and you understand what’s going on, how everything happens the way it does, and although the answers may never be fully explained to you through words, you kind of make assumptions as the film goes along.  It doesn’t hold your hand the whole time, but yet, it doesn’t let you go, and fall behind, creating a wall between the material, and the audience, which is hard for any psychological thrillers in today’s film world.

But any film can have a good script, and cool plot, but still boring as shit. This is where this film is different from all others of the same kind. The action scenes were also very good. They were more stylized and tense than bombastic, something along the lines of James Bond, where Nolan obviously draws inspiration from, and I thought that it worked perfectly well for a film with this kind of concept. The tense situations the characters get into toy with the minds of the audiences without throwing them out of the film, and when bullets and fists start flying, you get treated to some of the most unique action scenes. But it’s not just the fight sequences that make this film fun, it’s the visuals, and all the tricks Nolan has up his sleeve to make things unique. The visual aspects in this film will take your breath away. I liked how Nolan, in a world where 3-D is on every the big screen every damn weekend, he sticks it straight, with the original 2-D visuals, which I think I loved more than any 3-D film I’ve ever seen. He uses a lot of CGI, but it doesn’t look like it at all, it really does look these people are walking around in a world, that they have created themselves, and as they start to change it around, it looks even cooler, cause your wondering, just how they made this seem all realistic. My favorite scene that rightfully shows how great of a director Christopher Nolan can be with the setting, and many tricks, is the fight scene in the hall-way. If you saw the first trailer, you have seen what some of it looks like, but the whole scene with that makes you think: “How in the hell did they do this?”. It is literally the greatest film sequence I have seen in awhile, probably one of my favorite Top 5.

The whole ensemble cast is what really lifts this too. Leonardo DiCaprio, is well, what you would expect him to be, is great as usual. He plays that sort of troubled, straight-forward guy in almost all of his movies, but it’s never really seem to have worn out. The film may be advertised as the Leo show, when in reality, its the rest of the cast, that keeps us in. Ellen Page ditches her smart-ass teen days, and actually shows some good acting skills, giving us a look at the potential she has, as a serious actress, although she will always be remembered as Juno. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who is one my favorites, is showing up in more stuff, and is good to see on-screen cause he handles a lot of the big dramatic scenes, really well, almost showing up Leo. Yes! I said it! Gordon-Levitt vs. DiCaprio on PPV. That’s something I would always pay to see. Tom Hardy is good here, bringing a lot of funny moments to the film, but not without showing he is still a bad-ass, and can whoop some booty. Ken Watanabe is also good, however, I couldn’t understand him a lot, he still doesn’t lose his composure while on-screen. Cillian Murphy, another one of my favorites, shows up and gives some more good scenes, with an American accent, that actually seems real. It was also good to see Marion Cotillard, playing a different type of role, than the strong female lead. She is playing a crazy chick, and is shown in some pretty dramatic scenes, but she still holds her own, and I have to give her props for that, cause I could see plenty of actresses messing that up. I was disappointed to see Lukas Haas, Michael Caine, and Tom Berenger, get little bitch roles, but it’s whatever, I was glad with the cast they got.

The film is not perfect, the film doesn’t show us a glimpse into these characters lives. They don’t have enough in their roles to show how great they are or how great they can really be. But despite that, I still had a good time watching these actors perform all together.

Consensus: Inception is the rare summer blockbuster that has almost everything you could want in a film: fun action, interesting plot, original screenplay, unique and stylish visuals, inspired direction, and wonderful performances from an ensemble cast. It’s not perfect, but it’s damn sure as hell close to it.

9.5/10=Full Pricee!!!

Happy Accidents (2001)

I hope my spouse is from the future. Everything will be great.

Ruby Weaver (Marisa Tomei) is tired of being the “enabler” in relationships and has decided to give up the role of doormat. She’s also on the verge of giving up on love when she meets a sweet, small-town guy, Sam Deed (Vincent D’Onofrio), who changes her mind. It seems Ruby’s finally found a sane boyfriend — until Sam divulges that he’s a time traveler from the year 2470. Now it’s up to Ruby to decide whether love can conquer all.

I first saw the trailer for this film awhile back last year, and I thought to myself “what a bunch of stupid junk”, and didn’t look back on it since. Now, I regret that situation more than ever.

This film is more of a sci-fi thriller, than it actually is a romantic comedy. The story is so rich and original, mostly because it keeps you guessing. Like 12 Monkeys, the narrator is unreliable, and we sometimes put our own conclusions together with the story. But the film isn’t just all about tricking you, and keeping you on the edge of your seat, it’s also about the love, and finding someone despite their problems. When Sam tells Ruby he’s from the future, she is taken back, but at the same time, she kind of puts that to the side, and accepts him as a person, instead of this nut, that if you heard right away was saying this goofy crap, you would run for the hills and never look back. Yeah, later on, she gets creeped out more, but she still stays with him, and even though there is that 1% chance he may be telling the truth, she still sticks with him, only to get more answers.

There is also plenty of comedy to go along with this film. The things Sam says are funny, but also the situations they are put in, and how Sam basically has a reason for everything that happens in the future, is actually pretty funny, although it may have a bit of dumbness to it.

I had a problem with the film that kind of ruined it for me by the last act. The score is just soooo freakin’ annoying. Its got like this weird old kind of score music you would hear from an old episode from the Three Stooges. I think the film could have really benefited from something a lot better, then just an odd type of score, especially for the last act, when it was at its most emotional.

The best thing about this film is its two great cute characters. Marisa Tomei as Ruby, is at her all-time high with this performance, showing a lot of compassion, and overall believability. She has a lot of great moments where she’s just freaking out, and she has that great romantic comedy timing, that really benefits here in any move. Vincent D’Onofrio may not be the greatest looking dude out there, but he’s still a great character mostly cause he is very cooky, but likable. And just because of this likability, you have the slight belief that maybe this guy is telling the truth. The two build a great chemistry, that although starts out really funny, gets more and more emotional, and it all feels real. Also, be ready for a very funny Anthony Michael Hall cameo, that guy really is the freakin’ man.

Consensus: Happy Accidents could have been more emotionally powerful, but takes you by surprise, as it is hilarious, original, and likable performances from the quirky cast.

8.5/10=Matinee!!!

The Soloist (2009)

Jamie Foxx playing a black musician, who isn’t named Ray.

This true-life drama tells the poignant tale of Los Angeles newspaper reporter Steve Lopez (Robert Downey Jr.), who discovers brilliant street musician Nathaniel Ayers (Jamie Foxx), and the unique friendship that transforms both their lives. In helping his new friend deal with his demons, Steve ends up battling with his own.

Just watching The Soloists’ trailers you can already tell this has got the same idea like the movie Shine. However, just by watching this, you can see how badly these people involved want an Oscar.

I give a lot of credit to director Joe Wright, who directed a favorite of mine Atonement. He gives that same sweet lush feeling to Los Angeles, that he did to an English Manor, or war site. He also gives us a real look at the scum that is Skid Row. However, he showed it to us too many times, to the point as where we’re actually wondering what the main story at hand really is. Either it’s a story about friendship, schizophrenia, or the majority of homeless people in LA. And with all these different stories coming into place, it feels episodic, and not one long narrative which it could have really gone for. I feel like the film went down too many avenues, and just not resolve anything.The film does do a good job at showing the struggle and frustration of dealing with mental illness, for the people that have one, or are helping a person with one. And the film mostly shows us the real nature of friendship, and how rich and pure it is, when pushed to other limits.

The one thing that will really capture your heart in this film, is the music itself. I’am not in love with orchestra music, however, I can at least appreciate the beauty that is within it, and that is what this film expresses the most. We see how Nathaniel sees the music as its playing, and really it is beautiful.

Jamie Foxx was OK in this film, he wasn’t totally insane to capture my heart, as bad as that sounds, but when he’s playing the music I could almost feel like he was just acting like Rain Man who could play music. The real stand-out here is Robert Downey Jr., who is one of those rare actors that can show off about 10 different emotions on his face at one time, and you feel like you know this character. He is sometimes a dick, but other times you can feel for him, as you know he is trying his damn hardest to make the best for this dude. Their chemistry feels real, especially at the end, and this is where the real heart of the film lies. They become friends because they both want to change each others lives, without either one knowing. I liked how a lot of real actors were used to portray their own story, and it gives you this real feeling that the film strives for.

Consensus: The Soloist has two strong leads, with a couple of powerful, inspiring messages, but it’s narrative is jaded, and goes from one end to another, and you just feel like it could have been a lot better.

7/10=Rental!!

Coraline (2009)

Nightmare Before Christmas was so much better.

Curious young Coraline (voiced by Dakota Fanning) unlocks a door in her family’s home and is transported to a universe that strangely resembles her own — only better. But when her Other Mother (Teri Hatcher) doesn’t want Coraline to return to reality, our heroine must summon an amazing amount of courage to go home and save her family.

So Coraline is another stop-motion pick written & directed by Henry Selick, the same dude who did Nightmare Before Christmas, James and the Giant Peach, and the legendary Monkey Bone. But to be honest, this guy should just stop where he’s goin before he destroys his legend.

The film has some great stop-motion visuals. There is a lot of things done with the camera, that I can tell took a lot of effort, and it looks good as it keeps up with the story and the action. Almost all the detail is there, I just wish the story was.

I feel like kids that went into this, probably couldn’t go to sleep until they were 13. I mean this is some freaky stuff, that is just bound to have you sleep with a night-light on for awhile. With all of the implied and overt threats of violence of an uncensored Grimm’s Tale, Coraline fails to entertain as a family film while falling flat on its face as a thriller. Would someone please explain to me the purpose an extended burlesque routine by a nearly naked lady in a film targeting CHILDREN?

The problem with this movie is not just its rating, but the story itself. The film starts out incredibly slow, and very dark and creepy. And I don’t mind if that was the boat they were trying to go for, however, there was barely any happy moments in this film. Everything was dark, and odd, and it was just all slow.

The cast is alright here. Dakota Fanning is good as Coraline, as she adds a lot more sas onto her character than you would expect. Teri Hatcher is good here too, as the mom, who is really creepy, especially when she’s being a bitch. But the reason I’m giving this movie bonus points, is because, Keith David is in this. I love him, he’s the man. Nuff said.

Consensus: Coraline may look good, but it’s stretch of the PG rating, and deep, dark story, just adds on worse to the slow pace.

3.5/10=SomeOleBullShitt!!!!

The A-Team (2010)

Basically it’s like the show, with steroids.

This updated feature-film take on the hit 1980s television show follows a group of Iraq War veterans on the run from U.S. military forces while they try to clear their names after being framed for a crime they didn’t commit. Along the way, Col. Hannibal Smith, Capt. H.M. “Howling Mad” Murdock , Sgt. Bosco “B.A.” Baracus and Lt. Templeton “Faceman” Peck help out various people they encounter.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the original show, but I have at least seen a couple of episodes to know what I was getting myself into.

The film works best when it’s showing it’s over-the-top action, that will totally have you getting rid of all disbelief, but at the same time will keep your eyes on the screen, cause it is a lot of fun to watch. However, the film is overly edited with CGI, and special effects, that at times did have me question, just what the hell was going on.

There are also some funny moments, however, there’s just not enough. I wish they relied a little bit more on the humor within the film’s screenplay, rather than clunking it with just a bunch of crazy ass violence.

The cast is good here, and what adds a lot more to this film, then I expected. Liam Neeson understands what movie he’s in, and makes no attempt to make his character other than a two-dimensional good guy. Bradley Cooper has the good looks, but also the charm, spot-on timing, and enthusiasm, that makes all his crazy stuff believable. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is playing Mr. T’s role, he never brings the charm of Mr. T to the role, but yet he doesn’t substitute it with anything else, so he was just basically ehh. The most risky move in this film was casting Sharlto Copley, who has only appeared in one other movie, District 9. But I’m glad they took this step, because he’s funny, crazy, and overall the best out of the whole cast. However, I wish there was more moments between these guys, where they got to show their talents off together.

Consensus: Much like tv show, The A-Team is loud, fun, and well-acted by this weird ensemble, but is too packed on with CGI, and not enough scenes of comedy that could have made this film better.

6/10=Rental!!

Funny People (2009)

I could only wish that everybody was as funny as the title says.

When famous comedian George Simmons (Adam Sandler) is given a second chance at a new beginning, he and his assistant, a struggling comedian, Ira (Seth Rogen), return to the places and people that matter most…including the stand-up spots that gave him his start and the girl that got away (Leslie Mann).

With Judd Apatow’s last two at bats (40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up) he has shown that he can make hilarious comedies, with heart-felt messages somewhere in between. This is no different, except it kind of is.

Apatow as the writer is perfect. He always fines a perfect balance of heart and hilarity, and this is no exception. The jokes as usual, are hilarious, if you like a lot of boner jokes, and it almost never slows down. The stand-up seems just wreak with hilarity and a lot of originality. When Simmons gets cancer, you would think that the most would slow down, and get very very serious, however, Apatow changes that and never stops bringing out the jokes, and surprisingly a lot of them had me laughing-out-loud. You can tell that he has matured, and his writing makes you have more hope for him in the future.

Although, Apatow as the director, now that’s a stretch. He overuses the slow-zoom to show his characters being emotionally effected by something, it’s almost too obvious at times. Also, the first act between Rogen and Sandler works so well, it was this close to getting a 10/10, then came the next story with Sandler and Mann, then it just kind of lost me. It’s less of a buy-one-get-one-free deal, and more a but-one-and-get-one you really didn’t ask for deal. Both stories just don’t seem connected, and although the jokes kept up during the last act, I still didn’t find a reason for it. Oh, and the film is about 2 hours and 30 minutes, so be ready to be looking at your watch many times.

Apatow does a great job of blurring the line of fiction and non-fiction to create compelling, realistic performances from the cast. George Simmons is sort of the dream role for Adam Sandler. Mainly because Simmons is a goofy comedian, Sandler gets to indulge in that goofy side, we all know and love him for, but he gets to show the characters darker parts, and does a fantastic job at it. Although, I think the film could have done a better chance of showing Simmons in a more positive way sometimes. Simmons is a dick, especially towards the end, but we never get to see him come out of that dark shell, and understand who he has come to be.

The rest of the cast is perfect too. Seth Rogen (who is looking very, very slim) plays probably the least Seth Rogen he has ever played, because he doesn’t do that famous “Rogen chuckle“, and instead he does a character with nervous twitches, and mega-awkwardness. Leslie Mann is funny, but more serious than her usual character, and seems a lot more genuine during the last act, than she has, in a long time (yes, I’m talking about you George of the Jungle). There are other little characters that will make you laugh such as Jonah Hill, Jason Schwartzman, Aubrey Plaza, RZA, Aziz Ansari, but the most surprisingly funny one was…………….Eric Bana! He comes in the film and you expect him to play this really deuchy character, cause the whole film they talk about him so badly, then you meet him, and he’s downright lovable. He’s hilarious, sweet, and really cool. Kind of makes me forget about The Hulk.

The film probably should get an Oscar for the film with most cameos, if there ever was one. I mean you got Dave Attell, Sarah Silverman, Andy Dick, James Taylor, even Tom from MySpace (I don’t know how that guy still has a career). But the funniest one is between Eminem and Ray Romano, that will just have you cracking up, although it does seem really random. Better yet, you never know, Eminem probably wasn’t acting.

Consensus: Funny People is consistently funny, as well as being heart-felt, with great performances from the whole cast, even though the last act may take some away, and not very inspired direction.

9/10=Full Pricee!!!

Do the Right Thing (1989)

A title in which nobody in the film does.

On a sweltering hot day in a Brooklyn neighborhood, everyone has their own issues to deal with and tensions between Blacks and Italians rise. Issues of pride and prejudice, justice and inequity come to the surface as hate and bigotry smoulder–finally building into a crescendo as it explodes into violence

Spike Lee’s films are ones that I thoroughly enjoy, as hard as they are to get through, their enjoyable. This is probably one of his most challenging ever, but also his best.

Lee’s screenplay is what really makes this film click, mostly cause it’s all so real. You have comedy, drama, racism, tension, political justices, all of these things are talked about or happen in one day, and it all seems too real.  I mostly like how Lee controls the camera to keep up with all the stories in one day. You see all these people in one close-knit community, how they react with each other, and what their differences are as people. Everybody has something to say, and I enjoyed hearing almost every word of it, because this is how real people actually speak, especially when it comes to the subject of racism.

The main reason why Do the Right Thing is so memorable, is because of its final 30 minutes, and main message at hand. The huge ass riot at the end, is filmed so well, you can just feel the intensity coming off the screen, and you feel like this is how a real riot would ensue and end. Also, Lee ponders the question that hits us many times throughout this movie: “who does the right thing?”. To be brutally honest, it may seem like an easy answer, but after watching this film, you can’t really tell who does, or who should have, everything is just based on first instinct. Lee also does something that almost never happens in race films such like this, he shows us both sides of the story. Lee doesn’t always back up black people, and with this you can see that he shows the white people, as good people too. Lee raises us with a lot of questions, and instead of just having us answer them right away by what he shows us on film, he makes us keep pondering the questions to ourselves, even after the film is over.

Spike Lee as Mookie, is good, because the guy is so laid back, so chill, and so cool, that he really is a great character to watch, as he basically walks through the streets of Brooklyn, delivering pizzas for about 2 hours each. Danny Aiello as Sal, is also very powerful here, playing a guy that seems so tough with his work, but then you see the people that come into his place, and you can understand why he is, like he is. There are just so many more memorable characters in this film, like Ossie Davis, playing the neighborhood drunk, or John Turturro, playing the son of Sal, who is just a total d-bag. So many more characters but I would be taking forever if I had to explain every single dynamic one.

Everything about this film will just make you understand racism a whole lot more. Even though it is about 20 years old, it still holds up today showing us a look at just a small little neighborhood, that can still have racial tensions, as much as any other place. Just remember to be ready for a second viewing, and always raise the question: “who does the right thing?”.

Consensus: Lee’s masterpiece, although about 20 years old, is just as powerful as it was then, with it’s powerful performances from memorable characters, and a direction and script from Lee that shows the many people that live in the world, who deal with racial tensions, just almost every day.

10/10=Full Pricee!!!!

When You’re Strange (2010)

Screw you Oliver Stone! This is how the real story goes!

Composed entirely of original footage from 1966-71, Tom DiCillo’s documentary about the Doors filters truth from myth, reveals new insight into Jim Morrison and his bandmates, and captures the essence of the iconic rock group and the era. DiCillo’s film pays tribute to the Doors and their music and to a generation’s struggle for individuality and authenticity during an unstable and transformative epoch in America.

I love The Doors’ music. All of their songs from Love Me Two Times, The End, Light My Fire, and of course everybody’s fav, Break on Through, they just all capture my soul into this world of dark and surreal symbolism. Which is what this film captures so well.

But the idea that it captures the bands essence is also its problem. The film, much like the band itself, is moody as hell. There is just this dark feeling in the film, with its monotonic narration from Johnny Depp, and creepy feeling, that may turn some viewers off. I was turned off a bit by this feeling, but then when the music kicked in, I was taken back in the film.

Another problem with this film, is that although it does a great job of showing us details about The Doors during the careers, we never quite get to understand who all of these people are, except for Jim Morrison. The remaining band members didn’t want to get too involved with the project, but yet, I kind of wish they did, because we barely get to see or hear any of the stories about these three other guys. I think we mostly understand the Jim Morrison story, but we never do with these dudes, and this could have been the perfect movie to show it off, however, it just mostly shines on Morrison again.

Despite the negatives, the film is a mediocre rockumentary. The soundtrack consists of all Doors music which I love, and it moves at a a great pace where it almost matched everything that the film is talking about at that time. Also, a lot of the footage in this film is just perfect and the editing is great. Some of these videos I have never even seen before, and are pretty rare, as well as they add a lot to the wildness of The Doors, showing plenty of nutty concert footage, as well as videos that Jim took himself.

Consensus: When You’re Strange might not tell the full story, and be a bit much for viewers, if your not fans of The Doors already, but it has great rare footage, as well as great music to move along with the story, and tell us just about one of the best bands of all-time.

5.5/10=Rental!!

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