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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

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

Monthly Archives: October 2010

Happy Halloween!

It’s the time of the season, so get out all your costumes, candy, and probably already smashed pumpkins, for yet another yearof excuses for kids to have cavities. Just for the right season, here are some reviews of horror movies from yours truly. Enjoy, and please remember watch yourself on them streets, stay safe, and have a great Halloween!

Dance of the Dead (2008) Cabin Fever (2003)

The Shining (1980) Hostel (2005)

House of the Dead (2003) Funny Games (2008)

Audition (1999) The Final Destination (2009)

Orphan (2009) Daybreakers (2009)

Unbreakable (2000) I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)

The Sixth Sense (1999) A Perfect Getaway (2009)

The Mist (2007) Jennifer’s Body (2009)

Whiteout (2009) Scream (1996)

Scream 2 (1997) Scream 3 (200)

Paranormal Activity (2009) Paranormal Activity 2 (2010)

An American Werewolf in London (1981) Quarantine (2008)

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Scream 3 (2000)

Not the best way to end a great horror trilogy, but an alright way.

Sidney Prescott again battling a crazed killer — only this time it’s on the set of Stab, a movie-within-a-movie based on the original Woodsboro murders. Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox), Dewey Riley (David Arquette) and the rest of the Scream gang appear, alongside new characters played by Parker Posey, Jenny McCarthy and more.

So the first films, were just as equally good as each other. They had so many things that were just great about them, that made them entertaining to watch, but at the same time, game-changing. The sad thing is, that this one, doesn’t really do much with those two.

I think the main problem with this film is that the writer of the first two, Kevin Williamson, chose not to be on deck for writing this, because he did some crappy short-lived television series. BIG MISTAKE!! I mean the film does have it’s usual tongue-in-cheek appeal to it as usual, with some surprising twists, as well as funny moments, but it doesn’t have enough of that insight into the horror films it’s making fun of. The film sadly, starts to descend into the horror films they made fun of in the first place, cliche, and formulaic, which is really sad, considering the first two films, were always against that.

But I will not lie, I was still entertained by this film. There are plenty of awesome deaths in this film, and the whole time you are on your feet wondering just who the new killer really is. Also, plenty of “homages”, and cameos pop-up, and although their not that great as you would expect, they still are cool to see, if you can spot them.

Neve Campbell is back doing what she does best, playing the scared, but determined, Sidney Prescott, and that charm never seems to lose. Courteney Cox and David Arquette, are also back, and even better than ever, although I thought their best work together was in the second film. I was a little disappointed that the supporting cast wasn’t as memorable as the first two, but they still do shine in ways. My favorite was Parker Posey, who literally steals the screen with everything she does and says, which really worked for this film, even when it was in it’s most driest moments. Patrick Dempsey, Jenny McCarthy, Liev Schreiber, and Deon Richmond all show up in this film, and do the best with what they can do, which isn’t asking much, but I just wish the script had them made out to be better.

I think this film kind of has me a little scared for the next one, but yet, I’m not all that sure. Williamson is back, and I can only hope that Wes Craven can do with that film, like he did with the first two, and not like he did with this one.

Consensus: Still entertaining, and suspenseful, but the weakest part of the trilogy, with a lack-luster writing job, that turns into more cliche, and formulaic, than the first two.

7/10=Rental!!!

An American Werewolf in London (1981)

A bit dated, but good to watch if you want to laugh, and be scared.

American backpacker David (David Naughton), after surviving a vicious werewolf attack that left his friend, Jack (Griffin Dunne), dead, becomes a murderous werewolf himself. Prowling the streets of London, David learns that his living-dead victims will wander in limbo until he is dead.

This is one of those films that your parents love, because its funny, but also scary, and bloody. You can barely ever find it anywhere in today’s world, but when you do it’s always a treat.

Director John Landis does a great job with this material, because he puts the horror-comedy genre together in such a nice way. He makes a lot of his scenes that are meant to be funny, very funny, and the scenes that are supposed to be scary, actually quite terrifying. However, at first I liked it, then after awhile, it was getting annoying.

The constant tonal changes were pissing me off, cause they switched off right away, there was no pause in between changes, just goes fright from comedy, straight to bloody horror. And it would be fine, if the horror wasn’t so bad, but it really is gory as hell, and will sometimes have viewers turn the other way.

The best thing about this film, that everybody loves about this one, is the great make-up job. The costumes of the wolf looks great and it looks very, very real. But it’s the blood, the gore, and the dead bodies that all look great too, and this film really did change the way horror films have their costumes, make-up, and material all look, and let’s just say it is surely one great job here.

David Naughton is very good here in the lead role. He plays that charming guy character very well, and doesn’t come off as a dick, so when it comes to us being on his side for all of this, we are. Griffin Dunne brings a lot to the table, providing a lot of good humor for the parts he has. Also, Jenny Agutter is very great here, providing not only the looks for her character, but the emotional depth that this film didn’t really have for its characters. That’s the other thing that bothered me about this film was that it never got into the transition of these characters, it was just one-note a lot of the times, and that disappointed me, cause that’s what this film needed.

Consensus: Not the greatest horror flick of all-time, but a good one none the less, with a good direction of horror and comedy, as well as great make-up jobs.

7/10=Rental!!

Paranormal Activity 2 (2010)

Never ever walking around the house alone again!

People hovering over beds for hours while asleep, moving shadows across the floor — the unexplained, terrifyingly real supernatural forces are back, and this time, a baby and a dog become part of the nightmare as the camera rolls.

So basically everybody that goes to this film, will be expecting Paranormal Activity, but with a baby and a dog thrown in the mix. Which in a way is kind of true, because creepy shit is still happening, and people are still being dumb asses. But hey the formula really hasn’t gotten tired yet.

I really did like the first one, it kept me on my toes throughout the whole thing, and at the end of it, when I went home, I couldn’t sleep with the lights off. This one, almost did the same thing. This one starts off slower, and little things happen here, and there, but when it gets crazy, holy shit, it really does get crazy. In the first one, shit was happening really bad by the 1 hour mark, here, shit gets really out of hand by the 30 minute mark, which meant the next half hour was completley nuts on every level. Did it all deliver? Yes, and I was surprised, because they still find different, and new cool ways to make all this creepy things happening so realistic.

The one thing that actually made it in ways almost better than the first, was the fact that in the first, you saw most of the shit happening, in the bedroom usually, or the hallway, but in this one, you have cameras around the whole house, so you literally get to see everything bad, go on in each part of the house. This worked, cause not only are you scared of walking around your own house, you can’t go in certain places cause it almost reminds you of places in this movie.

Just like the first one, I had the same problems with this one. These people are very very stupid. In all honesty if I noticed something completley bat shit going on in my house, my first stage wouldn’t be denial, it would be to get the hell out that house. Some characters in this film notice, but the dad is such a dick to the fact of there actually being demons, that when he sees all this shit happening on film, he just feels salty, and calls everybody crazy. If that was my dad, in all honesty, I would go to a freakin’ Motel 6, and have his ass get possessed for the night.

So probably the main question about this film, is if this is better than the first? In ways, it is, but in others its not. This film has a bigger budget mainly because of the first’s destructive take at the box office last year, so they had a lot more type of effects to show, which kind of took away from the scare factor for me. Now don’t get me wrong, this film had me shaking in my pants many, many times, and they literally will make you jump, but I feel like the first did such a good job, at not showing all these crazy things, that it almost made it scarier, especially by that end. I didn’t really have a great interest in these characters as I did, with the first, and the acting was good just like the first, but I wasn’t necessarily cheering for these people by the end. It’s almost as good, just not as quite.

Consensus: This film doesn’t change the horror genre by any means, but it does offer up the scary happenings, premise, and effects that had us watching the first.

9/10=Full Pricee!!

Scream 2 (1997)

A rare horror sequel, that actually works.

In the two years that have passed since the fateful events in Woodsboro, newswoman Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox) has written a best-seller, which has been turned into a film starring Tori Spelling as Sidney (Neve Campbell). As the movie premiere looms closer, the cycle of mysterious deaths begins again. Dewey Riley (David Arquette) heads straight to Sidney’s college in an attempt to protect her from impending doom.

So awhile back I reviewed an old horror gem, Scream, and let’s just say, I loved the hell out of it. I haven’t seen this one, in quite some time now, and I can’t say that my views on it, haven’t changed really, I still love it as much as the first one!

Of course the best thing about this film is the writing. The first film dealt more with the conventions a slasher/horror film, in this one its more about the conventions, of a sequel, and horror movies themselves. The dialogue is surprisingly a lot more funnier than the first, and there are parts in this film, just like the first, I found myself laughing at, even in the midst of all this violence. There is also a lot of references to the first movie, which at first are annoying, but as it goes on, they sort of move the story along, as you see how both are actually connected.

But the writing, is nothing without it’s bloody violence, straight from the horror master, Wes Craven. This film does a much better with showing great, bloody killings. In the first film, the killings were bloody, but never treated as something great, in this one, you can kind of tell that Craven loves seeing these kids murdered, and that love is soon transferred to us. I know it all sounds weird, and sick, but it’s just how Wes Craven is, that sick sick bastard. There’s also a great deal of suspense with this film, especially one scene in a audio recording room, that had me very very tense.

The problem I had with this film, that I didn’t have for the first one was that I wasn’t guessing at the end who was the killer. By the last 30 minutes you kind of guess who is doing all of this, and it’s because that one person isn’t around for the whole like last hour, so of course its going to be a little bit obvious.

In the first movie, the characters were more of stereotypes than actual people themselves, but in this one, we actually get to know them a little. Neve Campbell is back, and better than ever, doing what she does best. David Arquette, and Courtney Cox, are back, with a lot more sexual feelings between each other now. Jamie Kennedy also is back, with some even funnier insight into just how horror sequels actually work, and as usual, he’s always a riot. Jerry O’Connell, plays the new boyfriend, who is kind of a schmuck. Liev Schreiber has also got some good scenes, where he plays the good guy, and bad guy, at different times very well, and Sarah Michelle Gellar is also in this, with a good scene from her. Must I not forget Timothy Olyphant, who as always, plays his character to the brink of greatness. Also, the film begins with Jada Pinkett Smith, and Omar Epps, and not only is that sequence very very good, but their performances are even better.

Consensus: Scream 2 may not be breaking new ground like the first one, but it still has funny moments, many scary moments, as well as enough blood, to satisfy any horror fan, that wants to be surprised by a horror sequel that actually works.

8.5/10=Matinee!!!

La Moustache (2005)

Weird plot, weirder movie.

Marc (Vincent Lindon) has worn a mustache all his adult life. One day on a whim, he decides to shave it off. Certain his wife (Emmanuelle Devos) will comment on the drastic change in his appearance, Marc is baffled when neither she nor friends notice at all. Even more disturbing is that once he calls attention to it, everyone insists he’s never had a mustache.

This film has a very interesting plot, that at first is weird, then as you re-read it again, you wonder just how can they make a whole movie out of this? The fact is they can, but it’s not that satisfying.

The main problem with the movie, is that it really doesn’t know where to go by the middle of it. The first two acts are good, showing some good suspense, and overall total confusion, but as soon as things change up, they really start making no sense, and the film just kind of lolly gags from scene to scene, waiting for the end.

Also, the film literally makes no sense. I stayed with this film probably throughout the whole 84 minute time limit, but it was so hard for me to actually do that, cause I had no idea what I was watching. When people use the term, “scratching my head”, I actually was cause I was that confused out of my mind. But it’s not like it was my fault for me not getting it, I tried, and tried, and tried, but this damn film wouldn’t let me, cause it felt like it needed to be ambiguous, and weird.

The one thing I did like about the movie, is that the film is directed very well. There are some very good tense moments in this film, and you can feel it, mainly cause of the direction it went in. And I just wonder what the hell happened to the director’s mind when that damn middle act came up, cause it went somewhere else. The cinematography is also good, especially one shot, that plays a big role in the film, it really shows us the world that this guy sees.

Vincent Lindon is good in this film and plays his character well, even though the guy is going that crazy. Emmanuelle Devos is also good with some very good emotional scenes that give her character more dimension than we could have thought. The two create a bond that may seem troubled at first, but it works in their advantage, cause you can feel the love between each other.

Consensus: It works well in the first two acts, then by the middle it gets completley lost, with its lazy, and odd direction of its story, and basically not making sense at all. It all just could have been executed better.

4/10=SomeOleBullShitt!!

Whiteout (2009)

The best thing I love about movies, is when I can see the characters breathing, during the whole freakin’ thing!

The lone U.S. marshal at a research station in Antarctica, Carrie Stetko (Kate Beckinsale) stumbles upon the continent’s first murder victim. With only three days left until the sun sets for six months, Carrie races to solve the complex mystery before darkness falls.

Basically, this film sucks. I just thought I’d throw that out there to give you an idea, of the kind of review you should expect.

This film tries to act like it’s different, and inventive, which really pissed me off, cause it’s neither. It’s your ordinary who-done-it thriller, mixed with a bit of slasher elements, that don’t work either. The film tries to keep you on the edge of your seat guessing who the killer is, but in the first 20 minutes I already knew, as well as my mom, who is always clueless to movies.

I also think that filming action sequences in a blizzard aren’t the best idea. I’m pretty sure when one person is wearing a jacket and goggles, everybody else is too, so you can’t really tell who’s who, especially when the film’s cutting from one angle, to another. You literally cannot see anything in this movie, especially in their most crucial moments, and I was just appalled that they actually thought this was going to be a good idea.

I don’t think Kate Beckinsale got the memo that this was a thriller, so be thrilled. She shares just about no emotions, to anything that’s going on, and she is basically piss-poor at everything in this movie, especially with the real shitty dialogue. Gabriel Macht comes out of nowhere as a U.N. detective, and sucks as well. Columbus Short, and Alex O’Loughlin actually made their parts more bearable, but still they can’t help but be taken down by this terrible script.

Consensus: It acts like it’s a new, original thriller, that keeps you guessing forever, considering its awfully predictable, unbearable to even look at, and just terrible performances.

1/10=SomeOleBullShitt!!

Max Payne (2008)

I actually thought this was OK. Bring on the hate mail….

Mark Wahlberg stars as title character Max Payne in this gritty noir crime thriller that centers on an undercover New York City DEA agent (Mila Kunis) who teams up with a female assassin to avenge the murder of her family.

I have always loved Max Payne the video games. In all honesty, they are probably my two favorite games, because it’s one of the first games to keep me playing, with a compelling story, suspense, and plenty, and I do mean, plenty of action. And as much as this film gets a lot of crap, for being crappy as anything, I will say it is entertaining, and for a true fan, like myself, I at least enjoyed it.

The main reason this film does disappoint is because, it has many differences from the video game itself. Although, they got the main jiff of the story down, which isn’t too hard to do in the first place, but there are other elements to the story that this film seems like it’s forgetting. People, who are not familiar with the game, will not understand that his family is killed, mainly because it is shown in the middle of the film, rather than in the beginning, and people are killed off, earlier than in the game.

Also, I got really annoyed by how the film at first was about this guy trying to find out who his family’s killer was, but then it suddenly turns into a film about these crazy drugs, that make people go mad, and see weird demon shit. Speaking of that weird demon shit, they really got on my nerves. In the game, they are mentioned a lot, but you never see them, and they don’t get involved with the story. However, with this film, they couldn’t get enough of these bastards in this film, and that is the main thing that annoyed me.

The film is also not as action-packed as one might expect from playing the game, or from seeing the trailers, but when their is action, it’s exciting, just like the game. Of course, there’s also the very famous “bullet time” sequence, and although it is a bit crappy, I must say, I still liked how they put it in there, and made it reasonable. This film also held my attention, because of it’s really great-to-look-at visuals. The snow, rain, constant colors hitting the screen, all look great and add more to the film, even when it is totally bland.

Mark Wahlberg tries his best with this film. He plays Max Payne well, mainly because Max originally didn’t have many emotions, so Wahlberg plays him, with not too many emotions, but isn’t terribly bland. Mila Kunis was laughable as an assassin, so she was basically not believable at all. Beau Bridges does a good job with the material he’s given, so its a good performance by him. Chris O’Donnell, Ludacris, and Donal Logue show up in this film too, and well their just whatever with this film.

I will say that I was excited to see this film when it first came out, back in 2008. And I did see it then, I thought it was OK, but that was before my time of movie reviewing days, now that I know what I like in movies, I never thought I’d still like this. I think that this film will, hopefully be re-done by somebody new, with a whole new everything hopefully, cause in all honesty, this could make a great movie one of these days. And I will be the first one to see that happen, or I can only hope.

Consensus: It may not be a great film by any stretch, with plenty of differences from it’s original source material, but Max Payne is entertaining enough to satisfy a loyal Max Payne video game lover, as well as anybody looking for stylized action.

5/10=Rental!!

She’s Having a Baby (1988)

I guess John Hughes can actually make films, that aren’t just about whiny teenagers.

This John Hughes classic follows high school sweethearts Jake and Kristy Briggs (Kevin Bacon and Elizabeth McGovern) as they settle into married life. But Jake’s not completely sold on the idea of giving up his freedom — or his fantasies of a dream girl. Kristy decides to speed things up by going off birth control without telling Jake — until three months later, when they’ve failed to conceive, and Jake agrees to go to a fertility clinic.

Much thanks to my man Peter, at Magic Lantern Film Blog, for mentioning this in his posts. I’ll make sure to keep on watching, what you say to watch my man.

Writer/Director John Hughes has always be known to make films that express restless teenagers, in a very adult-like situations, but with this one, he actually steps out of that shell, and puts real adults, in real adult situations, and the transformation is just great. So many people rag on this movie nowadays, saying this isn’t his best work, and their entitled to their opinion, but honestly, this is one of his best, mainly cause he is able to juggle out humor, and drama so well with this picture.

The screenplay is brutally honest. I’m not a father, nor am I husband of any kind, but the insight that is given here, is so real. These young couples in love, always move into nice, little suburban homes, have the kids, and become that pitch-perfect family, but do they really want that? The film brings this question up many times, as well as others, and it shows you the hard-ships that a wife, and husband, go through, when it comes to that idea of being dedicated, and having to put up with responsibility, ideas that this film bring up so well.

But the film has plenty of emotionally strong moments as well, that work, especially towards the end. The climax, works so well, that by the end of the film, after everything is all said and done, you are just stuck thinking about that little dramatic series, which rarely happens in films. There is also plenty of comedy in this film, much ado to Hughes great sense of satire when it comes to the “American family”, and how people view it as, and fantasize it as.

The one real problem I had with this film, that many others seem to have, is that it doesn’t know when to stop. John Hughes puts plenty of fantasy sequences in this film, to convey the sense of unbelievable feeling, and there are some parts, that are true, and funny, but other times, I found myself actually annoyed by how many there were, and how long they went for. There is just one stupid dream sequence, involving all the neighbors, and their lawn-mowers, as their dancing around, and its amusing for the first 3o seconds, but then it goes on for about 4 minutes, and then I just got annoyed.

Kevin Bacon and Elizabeth McGovern really do shine in this film, and keep you watching, even when the film is a bit stale. Bacon at first, starts off as this funny, immature, dude who isn’t ready to handle grown-up decisions, but by the end, you see him transform into somebody better, and more mature, and it’s all believable, but he still brings a lot of humor to his character. McGovern, is also very good, showing a lot of strength in her character, as well interest, even when it seems her character is pretty boring, compared to Bacon’s. Alec Baldwin also shows up in this film for about 3 scenes, and totally nails each one, mainly because he plays a deuche bag, and we all know he’s good at playing that, or is it an act?? hmmm…….

Consensus: Different, more mature, and overall smart film, by John Hughes that hits all levels of drama, and comedy, as well as showing great insight into the suburban life.

9/10=Full Pricee!!

Harvey (1950)

And I thought my imaginary friends were weird.

Affable tippler Elwood P. Dowd (James Stewart) lives with his sister, Veta (Josephine Hull), and her bashful daughter. They hate his drinking, but what rankles them more is his faithful companion: a 6-foot-tall invisible rabbit named Harvey. Elwood’s embarrassing flight of fancy is foiling Veta’s plans to marry off her daughter, so Veta decides to commit Elwood. But when she confesses she’s seen Harvey, the doctor institutionalizes Veta instead!

I was apart of this new, and hip movie selection piece, called the Film Community Potluck, presented by my boy Castor. Basically go over there if you want info on how to do this all, because you need to, I had so much fun watching a movie, I would have never watched on my own time.

The one thing I was surprised by in this film, was how funny it is still, 50 years later. Now of course, there are plenty of parts, where you just get a chuckle, cause you know they were hilarious back then, but there are moments in this film, that just made me crack out loud. And when I was laughing I was surprised, cause I never thought I’d find myself laughing at a film of this nature.

However, the film is not only funny, but it’s also full of heart. The main character Elwood P. Dowd, does some of the nicest things to the people around him, and it’s a film that shows you, just because somebody may be a little crazy, doesn’t mean their terrible people, and should be getting rid of. It’s a nice, sweet, heart-warming message, that still holds well, 50 years later.

James Stewart plays this main character, Dowd, so well that it doesn’t even seem like he’s acting. The role seems challenging, because he has to sometimes talk to nothing, and act like he’s having a conversation with someone, when he’s really having it with no one. Josephine Hull is the best in the supporting act, and brings so much humor, and energy to her scenes, that at times it doesn’t feel like her scenes are meant to be in this movie, but it still works none the less.

Consensus: Harvey is not the greatest film ever, but it’s a timeless story with great acting, a funny script, and a heart-warming message, for the crazy person inside all of us.

8/10=Matinee!!

Blow (2001)

Proof that Johnny Depp can do anything, and it’ll always be cool.

Johnny Depp plays real-life coke smuggler George Jung, who rises from poverty to become one of the biggest drug dealers in America before his eventual downfall.

One of the things about this movie, is that right from the beginning, you start to think of this movie as Boogie Nights, or Goodfellas, for that matter. However, it would be wrong to compare it to both, considering their all different, they just share the same love of coke.

Coke is a terrible thing we have in this world. People do it, people get addicted, and then they die. But I have always been interested in seeing how it got in to our country in the first place, and this film shows us the rusty beginnings. We follow George through his whole life basically, as he goes from one drug dealer, to another, to another, and it’s all so entertaining. We see all these different people, some real, some fake, but it’s all great cause were there along for the ride.

The screenplay is filled with some good humor, as well as some true insight, on how these people feel about business, drugs, and the world. But it’s not just all about the fun in this movie, it’s also about the harsh reality that is the drug world. We see these people destroy lives of others, as well as themselves, and it’s a harsh reality because they always get themselves stuck in the same stupid situations. It’s more sad, then it is riveting, because they can’t escape it, cause they make all this money with drugs, and when that’s over, they got nowhere else to go, so they go right back to the drugs.

There are moments in this film that are glorious, especially by the end, where you really do feel emotionally attached to the story, but there are just other moments where it’s too messy. I feel like with this film, they were trying to give us so much, in big heavy doses, to the point of where, we were just kind of like whatever to it. I wish some parts were toned down, for the story’s sake, but those moments are blown out of the water, by some very good scenes here.

Johnny Depp once again is just perfect here as George Jung. Depp uses his charm, wit, and overall coolness about him, that keeps us attached to this character, and watching. Jung may be a bit full of himself, but I still felt attached to him by the end of the film, and he’s just a very sad character. Penelope Cruz is also good here, playing his crazy wife, that brings so much to her scenes. Ray Liotta is also very good, and him and Depp, have some very good scenes together, that add a lot more emotion to the story. I thought it was funny that Rachel Griffiths was in this movie playing Depp’s mom, considering she’s about 7 years younger than Depp in real life, but it’s all good, cause she’s good, at being a naggy bitch of a mother. Also, let’s not forget the man Paul Reubens, who is terrific, as well as hilarious, as Derek Foreal, a very feminine drug deal.

Consensus: It’s a bit messy at points, but Blow delivers on providing an interesting story, with a smart, as well as true screenplay, and an amazing performance from the Johnny Depp.

8.5/10=Matinee!!

Henry Poole Is Here (2008)

Expecting so much more, than what I actually got.

Rather than living his last days to the fullest after he learns that he only has six weeks left on Earth, Henry Poole (Luke Wilson) cuts himself off from his fiancée and his family — and binges on Twinkies, pizza and liquor. But a fortuitous miracle and a clash with his eccentric, meddling neighbors derail Henry’s plans.

With a plot like that, you would expect a hilarious, and at times, moving story about faith, and how people believe in it. However, all we get is straight-up low-key stuff here.

The screenplay is nicely written, because it doesn’t make fun of these people for believing in their faith, or doesn’t condemn any sort of religion, however, when it comes to actually moving the story along, this film doesn’t do well. The first half or so is funny, but then by the 45 minute mark, everything starts to get totally cheesy, and dramatic. I didn’t buy any of this mainly because I felt like all this was just made for the story to go on, and come to an ending that I could predict right away.

I think the film just had a problem with bringing enough emotions out, because it all feels contrived. And I wish there was so much more to this story than what I was given, mainly because it started off with such promise.

Luke Wilson is good here as Henry Poole, the only problem is that I just think his character was used as a reason for the story to be told, rather than an actual person, with real actual feelings and thoughts. It’s hard to stick by your main character, especially when it just seems like everything he does, is to just move the story on. Radha Mitchell is also good, but I thought it was pretty coincidental, how she just so happened to be living next door to Poole. George Lopez shows up, and does nothing funny (highly disappointed), and Cheryl Hines is in here for a couple of minutes, and doesn’t do much, which sucked as well.

Consensus: Started off with a promise, then sadly fell right into cheesy, unbelievable, drama, that doesn’t seem real, and only used to tell a story.

3/10=SomeOleBullShitt!!!

Rachel Getting Married (2008)

I hope my wedding is as bangin’ as this one.

Longstanding family conflicts resurface when drama queen Kym (Anne Hathaway,), a former model who’s been in and out of rehab for 10 years, returns to her parents’ home just before her sister Rachel’s (Rosemarie DeWitt) wedding.

Jonathan Demme is known for directing big-budget films like Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia, and of course, the disappointing, Truth About Charlie. But with this he goes the indie-role, stripping-down all the big cameras, lights, and set pieces, and shows us a true, and realistic look, at a family, with more skeletons in the closet, then they can choose.

The best thing about this film is that you do feel like you’re there as this whole wedding weekend is going on. The constantly annoying toasts, seating arrangements, family fights, and most of all, the wedding itself, all feel real, and your actually taken on for the ride. It’s got a very close documentary feel, and the camera follows along, as you watch with shock as the story follows on too.

You can have so much style, and no substance, but that is not the case with this film. The writing is superb showing us the real problems, real families go through, and how other people try to cope with one member, constantly messing everything up. There are plenty of scenes that make you feel uncomfortable, but that’s just how life is, especially with your family, and it’s all too real.

The only problem I had with this film was the final act, which I thought could have done so much better, with showing more emotion, and more connection to the audience. I wish there were more scenes that conveyed as strong of emotion, as I thought it would have, but I guess what I got was good enough.

Anne Hathaway takes control in this film, and it’s just a perfect performance from her. I must say, it was pretty strange seeing her play somebody different, but Kym, herself, is strange, and by the end, Hathaway fully embodies Kym, and it’s just great to see. The rest of the cast is kind of little names that you may have heard of like: Rosemarie DeWitt, Bill Irwin, and Debra Winger. They are all great and I can’t lie, but they each all surprised me with how much emotion they actually showed in this film. Oh, and must I not forget we have Tunde Adebimpe of TV on the Radio, he does good here too.

Consensus: With enough bite, and enough realism to keep you engaged, Demme’s stylistic Rachel Getting Married, succeeds in conveying heavy emotions, as well as providing powerful, and strong performances from the cast.

8/10=Matinee!!

9 (2009)

I don’t know how safe I would feel knowing that a bunch of potato sacks, were my last hope on earth.

In a post-apocalyptic world, a small community of rag-doll robots hides in fear from dangerous machines out to exterminate them. But when a brave newcomer named 9 (voiced by Elijah Wood) joins the group, he inspires them to stand up and fight for their survival.

Right as soon as this movie started going, I knew I had seen this somewhere. It’s story is just so familiar that really, I couldn’t find any imagination within this film. Many sci-fi films like Terminator, Blade Runner, and even Star Wars all came up while I was watching this film. Also, I wasn’t that engaged with the story. But I can’t really blame myself for that reason, because in ways it almost seems like the story, and characters are second nature when it comes to the look of this film. Which sucks, cause I’m game for any kind of film, just give me a story to work with, which this did not.

However, the visuals are great. The look this film has is just perfect, because it looks and feels like a video game, a very very cool video game. Director Shane Acker has most of his attention centered at the detail of the look, and it shows very well. The film gives off this place of despair, and loneliness, and it does feel like that because Acker doesn’t shy away from showing us this brutal after-world.

There is also a great deal of action within this film that is stunning. You follow along as the action goes by, and you see it all happen, which is always good. But that is the problem with the film, because I don’t know who they had this centered towards. Kids may want to see it because of the animation, and cute little characters, but this is strictly a grown-up animation movie, which is just weird saying. There are scenes that show warfare, and dead bodies, and the bad things in this film, are genuinely creepy, and I can just see little kids, being freaked totally the fuck out by this film.

The characters as I stated before weren’t really developed, but the cast I guess is just so-so. Elijah Wood is alright as 9, John C. Reilly basically does what he has to do in a good way, Jennifer Connelly is just there, as well as Crispin Glover. The two that stand out for me are Christopher Plummer, and Martin Landau, mainly cause there voice actually fits the characters their portraying, and they do well with what their given.

Consensus: It may not have an engaging story to begin with, but it’s commitment to stunning visuals, as well as a gloomy mood, make this film work with older people, but not with kids.

6.5/10=Rental!!

Shallow Hal (2001)

Big women need love too.

The writing-directing siblings Peter and Bobby Farrelly train their camera on Hal (Jack Black), a terminal bachelor obsessed with scoring a knockout babe. A chance encounter in an elevator with a self-help guru imbues Hal with the (hallucinatory) power to see people’s inner beauty over their outer shell. Soon, he finds true love in Rosie, a 400-lb. social worker who appears to Hal in the lithe form of Gwyneth Paltrow.

The Farrelly Brothers are always known for their gross-out hits like Dumb and Dumber, and There’s Something About Mary. But never are they really known for their more sweeter comedies, like Fever Pitch, and this one.

As usual, this film has a lot of jokes within that work, and others that do not. There are plenty of fat jokes that will make you chuckle, but then you wonder if you were supposed to. At the end, it almost makes you think that making fun of fat people is wrong, which is kind of what this film was doing the whole time, so of course the whole message of this movie was kind of confusing.

But that doesn’t matter because this is a sweet little comedy. The irony is what works the best with this film, and although some jokes are a miss, others will have you laughing, but not as much as you would have expected from these two dudes. The Farrelly Brothers aren’t as immature with this film, and don’t provide a lot of gross-out humor, but it still does have it’s good moments, just not the best compared to other outings by these two. Also, they provide a lot more sweeter moments in this film, that do hit well much to my surprise.

Jack Black in the beginning really got on my nerves in this, but after awhile he started to grow on me. As the story goes on, he gets better and better, playing this funny, sweet guy that I can actually see getting the real Paltrow in real life. Nah, I was kidding, sorry Jack. Gwyneth Paltrow is also good here, playing a likable personality as Rose Mary. Jason Alexander is in this, and provides a lot more of the funnier moments, cause he plays an annoying deuche so well, to the point of where he isn’t annoying. I don’t know, it’s hard to explain, but he’s good in this too.

Consensus: A lot more sweeter and held back than their other comedies, The Farrelly Brothers make a romantic comedy, that may not be the funniest of theirs, but it still has enough laughs, and charms to satisfy.

5.5/10=Rental!!

American Teen (2008)

Being a teenager really can suck.

“American Teen” follows the lives of five teenagers–a jock, a popular girl, a heartthrob, an artsy girl and a geek–in one small town in Indiana through their senior year of high school.

Watching this film had me think of all of the stereotypes in my high school, and how these 5 on screen, are so interesting, but yet so real.

The film works well with keeping you glued watching, and interested at how real this is. These are how teens in the 21st century are, and although their not the brightest bunch, they still are human. And when I watched this, I just thought of all these kids, and how their stereotypes just ruin them, and they have like no chance to get anywhere away from that. This film does go a lot deeper than just the stereotypes that we see, and the challenges they face hit so close to home sometimes, its almost too real to be true.

However, the biggest problem I had for me, was that although i know this film is real, that’s without a doubt, so many ways I felt like it was scripted in ways, to keep the story interesting. Like moments where these two teens are in the hallway talking to each other about their feelings, just seems so cliche, that it honestly can’t be in a documentary. And also, I feel like the camera sort of takes away the reality from the situation, cause some people are sort of held-back to do, or say anything, cause they know their being filmed, which I hated, cause I just wanted to see a lot more at times, but the film just cuts right away from it.

The thing that keeps us most involved is the stories about these characters. The most interesting one was the artsy girl, Hannah, who’s liberal ways of living, make her like an out-cast compared to the rest of the small town of Warsaw. She goes through a lot of changes as a character, and watching her on screen, is just great, cause you really do feel like if you saw her in real life, you would probably hang out with her. The geek, Jake, has a good story because he’s looking for love, and it’s just sad to see how his whole love life pans out. The jock, Colin, has a good story on what pressure of sports, and a lack of a personal life, can do to you. But I wasn’t as interested by the heartthrob, and popular girl (Mitch and Megan)’s story. I didn’t find them a perfect fit for these other stories, and didn’t convey enough emotions for either of them to keep us glued on the screen.

Consensus: It’s not an amazing documentary, if you can call it that sometimes, but its entertaining, and provides a great deal of reality for people looking to see how teenagers act to everything they get in life.

7/10=Rental!!

Jennifer’s Body (2009)

Though she was eating people, Megan Fox is still, and will always be bangin’.

After a supernatural romp with a satanic emo band, hot cheerleader Jennifer (Megan Fox) is transformed into a demon with an insatiable appetite for high school boys. Now, it’s up to Jennifer’s BFF, Needy (Amanda Seyfried), to protect the guys from the bloodthirsty man-eater.

When it comes to writing a specific, and different way that challenges viewers beyond belief, Diablo Cody is the one for the job. If you hated Juno for all it’s crazy slang talk, then be ready to hate this, because there is plenty of that here. I didn’t hate the dialogue, and it wasn’t quite annoying to be honest, I just thought it had problems with its tone.

The film had its funny moments, I did laugh every once and awhile, and I was surprised. But the comedy leans more towards darker territories by the end of the film, which got ugly, and real quick. The film puts itself under the “comedy/horror” genre, but in order for that to be true, you need scary moments, and this had none. I think they were trying to show us gruesome, and disgusting images, to convey a scream or two, and it didn’t do that at all, instead it just made me sigh, and wish there was actually something more original. And when you start to kill people left and right, it starts to become less funny as the body count goes up, so adding jokes in after a person dies, is not funny, it’s just sad, and a lame way to convey laughter.

But the film by the end starts to get a lot better. There is a lot more action, blood, and violence all over the place, and it actually does a nice job. I thought that the blood was used in a nice way, and it didn’t seem exploited in any way.

This is the role that Megan Fox was born to play, although I don’t know if she even had to act. The whole movie is basically a 1 hour and 42 minute tease fest, from Fox, and I was just on the edge waiting to see something, instead I got nothing. So, I guess she does an alright job with this, considering that a lot of it is special effects. But the real star in this film is Amanda Seyfried, who brings so much more to her character than you would have expected. The film is more about her than it is as much about Fox, and with good reason, cause Seyfried can act.

Consensus: Jennifer’s Body wants to be so many things, and fails badly, but it still kept me laughing, entertained, and getting many glimpses of Megan Fox, although we never get the full show.

5/10=Rental!!!

Scream (1996)

Wish more horror films were like this.

One year after the death of Sidney Prescott’s (Neve Campbell) mother, two students turn up gutted. When a serial killer appears, Sidney begins to suspect whether her mother’s death and the two new deaths are related. No one is safe, as the killer begins to pick everyone off one by one. Everyone’s a suspect in this case.

I hate the usual horror films. Occasionally there will be some that actually are very good at what they do, but after awhile, they all turn out to be the same old crap, following the same old formulas, and not changing anything. Which is why I love a film that can actually be honest and say that their are formulas, and try to change it all.

Wes Craven is a master-mind when it comes to horror films. He knows how to write them smartly, knows how to direct them intelligently, and knows how to basically make the most gorgeous blood baths you have ever seen. With Scream he basically is parodying what he is most known for, horror films. But while he’s parodying it, he’s also making a great, and smart horror film.

The main reason why this film is so great, is because the dialogue is just so smart. There are moments in this film where I caught myself laughing at just how cliche it could be, but the good thing about those laughs, is that I’m supposed to laugh. There are constant in-jokes to other horror films that you’ll catch, as well as some funny talk about the construction of how horror films are. Moments like when the person about to be killed, should turn around, or going through random doors to escape the killer, when the easiest would be to just go outside, and etc. You can almost sense Craven is winking at you half of the time. These kids aren’t making old mistakes as much as they are making, new mistakes, which makes it more fresh, and actually quite unpredictable.

The problem I had with this film was that about 15 years later, not all of the dialogue stays fresh. The constant one-liners may have seemed a lot funnier back in 1996, but now where we have horror/comedies like Shaun of the Dead, or Zombieland, this film just seems a bit too corny for its own good. Also, the film is a bit tense with its story, because it does get pretty gory and bloody which I liked. But it didn’t quite work as much, mainly because I knew what was going to happen, by the end, mainly cause the film was telling me what was going to happen, although the plot twist at the end, does come off as a shock in a way.

The cast here is actually very good. David Arquette and Courtney Cox, actually first met on this set, and now that their husband and wife, you can tell the foreshadowing here, because they actually are very good, especially when their on-screen together. Neve Campbell is your average slasher main chick, who’s just there to yell, and “scream” (pun intended), and is believable. Skeet Ulrich, and Matthew Lillard play your average deuche cakes in slasher films, and do a pretty good job of it, not going to lie. Jamie Kennedy is good as the horror film nerd, who has one of the best scenes, where he’s watching Halloween, and he’s telling Jamie Lee Curtis to turn around, and the irony is that he’s saying it while the killer’s behind him, and it’s almost like he’s saying it to himself, cause get it his name is Jamie??? Oh god, sometimes I just quack myself up.  And that’s actually not a bad thing, that’s probably what this film was trying to do. Also, let’s not forget The Fonz as our school principal, if only he was mine, I’d be cutting class so many times. Let’s also not forget the infamous Drew Barrymore scene in the beginning, great stuff.

Now that Scream 4 is in the making, I hope that they can do something with that film, like they did with this. Cause it seems all films nowadays have turned into what Scream was making fun of in the first place. So let’s hope that it gives the 21st century slasher films, the wake-up call they deserve.

Consensus: Scream is a horror film, with a great script, that’s filled with wit, satire, and smart dialogue, but doesn’t forget about the blood, and the occasional jumps and scares we would expect from a horror film.

8.5/10=Matinee!!

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