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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

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

Monthly Archives: November 2010

She’s the One (1996)

Wish more people actually saw this.

Reeling from a breakup with his fiancée (Cameron Diaz), twenty-something New Yorker Mickey (Edward Burns, who also directed) impulsively marries Hope (Maxine Bahns) — a passenger he picked up in his cab — after a weekend courtship. Meanwhile, Mickey’s brother, Francis (Mike McGlone), is having doubts about his own marriage to his longtime love (Jennifer Aniston). Soon, Francis finds himself attracted to his brother’s ex.

This film judging by the trailer, the poster, and that plot, you would think that this romantic comedy, would be one of those breezy watches. And it is, just with more than that.

Writer/Director Edward Burns does a great job here of writing this film just the right way, with the right moods. There’s a lot of insight with these characters, and although all these characters make dumb decisions, Burns gives them more integrity, and heart, so they feel like actual real people, making real life mistakes. Burns touches on a lot of elements such as family, and love, and although some of them are hard-hitting, they don’t come of as nasty, and we aren’t turned away by what he’s saying.

The only problem with this film is its direction I felt was way too jaded. Burns’ pace doesn’t feel right with a lot of this material, he starts off slow, then he just about picks up the pace, but then slows it back down again, and your confused as to what kind of emotion this guy is trying to convey with this direction. Also, there’s insight in this film, but nothing that we have never seen before, so when the film is over, you really haven’t learned anything new, you were just entertained.

Edward Burns has this very cool, and slick charm about him, that just automatically has you like his character. Mike McGlone is very good as the stuck-up, asshole brother, that has always been jealous of his big bro, and throughout the movie, you can see him being a selfish prick, but by the end you don’t hate him. Jennifer Aniston‘s character is funny, and this is one of her early performances, so it’s nice to see where she was going to be going after this. Cameron Diaz is equally as good, as the evil, back-stabbing, ex-girlfriend of Burns’ character, that plays around the whole movie, and every time she’s on screen, you can just feel the tension. Maxine Bahns gives a very “cute” performance, I say cute, cause she doesn’t necessarily knock it out of the park, but she’s sweet, and you like her. John Mahoney was simply hilarious as the dad who gave out all the advice, and although some of his advice is so stupid, its just funny to hear him say all this junk, but never does it seem fake.

It’s also nice to end out the film with some nice hits from Tom Petty. Can’t get enough of him!

Consensus: It may not be the best thing, but for a small-budget, R-rated romantic comedy, there’s enough humor, heart, and insight in this film to keep you entertained.

7/10=Rental!!!

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Unstoppable (2010)

Yes people, this movie is about an out-of-control train. Proof that Hollywood has run out of ideas.

A massive unmanned locomotive, nicknamed “The Beast” and loaded with toxic cargo, roars through the countryside, vaporising anything put in front of it. A veteran engineer (Denzel Washington) and a young conductor (Chris Pine), aboard another train in the runaway’s path, devise an incredible plan to try and stop it – and prevent certain disaster in a heavily populated area.

I’m not going to lie, when I first saw this trailer, I said to myself: “this is literally going to be a piece of crap!”. Now that I have seen this, well I can say that it’s honestly not as bad as I expected.

It started off slow, and that is one of my big complaints with this movie, it just didn’t have that steam (pun intended) going throughout the movie, that I would have liked. There are parts in this film, where really nothing is happening, people are just talking about something, or walking, and that’s fine and all, but there were too many scenes like that and it didn’t keep my interest fully.

Despite not much happening at points, this film does keep you on the edge of your seat at times, and it’s suspense works. Director Tony Scott, uses plenty of that gimmicky shake-camera that he always uses, and if you don’t like that, then this isn’t your film, because he uses that shit even when nothing is happening. But I felt like that camera use, added a lot to the suspense, and thrilling elements of this film.

However, this film is very by-the-numbers. You know from the start where this film is going to go, and when, which takes away from the film in a way, but while the fun is happening you don’t care, your just on the edge of your seat. The plot was a little too thin for my liking though. There were parts where these characters were talking about their personal lives, and troubles, and not to lie, some of it was pretty cheesy and recycled from countless other films really.

I did like seeing Denzel Washington actually do some good to this film though. He’s got his usual charm that everybody knows and loves him for, and although his character may be pretty lazily written, he still does what he can with this character, and that’s all we asked for. Chris Pine is also good here as well, mostly playing second-in-command to Denzel, which is not a bad thing, cause he handles it all pretty well. There are also some nice side performances from Rosario Dawson, Ethan Suplee (who’s back on the big-boy diet sadly), and Kevin Dunn.

Consensus: It’s exciting with it’s actual thrilling moments, but Unstoppable is let down by it’s lazy script, and utterly by-the-numbers story we have seen, time and time again.

6/10=Rental!!

Signs (2002)

Well I’m at least glad that the aliens decided to invade Pennsylvania, a state that I live in. So basically I’d be dead by now.

Everything farmer and former priest Graham Hess (Mel Gibson) believes about the world changes when he finds an intricate pattern of circles carved into his fields, mysterious markings that cause a media frenzy and test Hess’s faith. Ultimately, he uncovers the circles’ origins, which will forever alter his and his family’s lives.

Director M. Night Shyamalan get’s a lot of ish, because people say he can never top The Sixth Sense, and basically say that every attempt to do that, has failed miserably. I honestly have no idea what these people speak of, cause if they think “that” is true, then they must have not seen this.

My favorite thing about this film is that its an ordinary, regular alien invasion movie, except instead of focusing all on the havoc, and mayhem this disaster causes, we focus on a family, still in grief, and what they do to cope with the strange events that are happening. And that was what as really neat about this movie, is that we don’t see much, actually going down, from other perspectives, we only see one perspective, which gives us the real great way of filming, and showing that sometimes what you don’t see, is sometimes scarier than what you do see.

This film does, and will give you the creeps at moments, that you wouldn’t have expected. The way M. Night uses the camera as a type of mood, just keeps on giving you the chills, cause you don’t always know what’s going on, and that is the creepiest thing of all.

However, the one problem I had with this film was that not all my questions were answered by the end. I mean of course they weren’t just formally brought up in my face, but I still never got a lot of things. Why did the aliens invade this place? What did they want? Why the hell didn’t this family go somewhere populated? And, why the hell isn’t the military involved with any of this? So many questions, left with so much unanswered thoughts.

Mel Gibson probably gives one of the best dramatic performances of his, long, Jew-hating career. M Night draws a performance from Mel Gibson that is as subtle and deep as those that came from Bruce Willis in the first two films. If you have never understood the word “nuance”, then watch this: it could be the best performance Mel will ever give. Despite rumors to the contrary, Mel wasn’t cast solely because he has a “G” in his name to match the one in the title. Joaquin Phoenix is also very good here, providing a lot of anger within this character, and more anger, means more problems with the family, and he triggers it all so well. Rory Culkin, and Abigail Breslin, are so cute, and funny, as the two little kids of the family, and make this story a lot more compelling, cause when you throw kids into any dangerous movie, you can’t stop watching. Especially these two kids, I mean their just so precious.

Consensus: It may leave all the questions unanswered, but Signs works so well as suspenseful, and masterfully directed creep fest, that doesn’t show you a lot of what’s going on, which is the scariest thing of all.

8.5/10=Matinee!!!

Love and Other Drugs (2010)

I never thought Viagra could make such a romantic love story.

Pharmaceutical representative Jamie Randall (Jake Gyllenhaal) becomes a player in the big game of male-performance-enhancement-drug sales and, along the way, finds unexpected romance with a woman (Anne Hathaway) suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

So despite all the mixed reviews this film has been getting, my big sis and I decided, what better way to spend our Turkey Day then to go and see this new film. And well, it’s not as bad as everyone says, it’s just not that good either.

The one thing about this film is that it does a fine job at balancing heart, and humor. The beginning of the film is very quick, and funny, although very dirty, with plenty, and plenty of nudity and sex, that may either have you looking away, or loving every moment of it. Depending on how pervy you are. The only problem is that this quick pace, with plenty of jokes, doesn’t keep on going throughout the film, and as the film delves more into dramatic territory, we lose the sense of comedy.

I liked the fact that this film added the Parkinson’s disease angle to the film cause it really does work well with the film, and puts a lot of heart into the story, when all it seemed like it had was a penis and a vagina. However, the film does get way too sappy, especially in that last act, that just totally loses its funny side. I liked the cute little things this film did, it just stunk that it felt so sloppy, because the drama was way too hard. I almost felt like the only reason they put most of this drama in was to add more time on the film, and try to get more tears flowing. That didn’t happen, and the pacing is totally lost, which sucked cause in the beginning, that’s what this film really did have going for itself.

This film is basically a film to showcase just how good these two leads are, and they don’t disappoint. Jake Gyllenhaal’s character I thought I was going to hate because of his deauchy character, but soon by the middle you start to like him, and actually relate to him, mainly because of Gyllenhaal’s sweet charm. The best performance here is from Anne Hathaway who really does knock this out of the park, and makes this very troubled character, seem very realistic, very true, and very smart. Which has us like her so much more than I expected, and the chemistry these two create together, feels genuine, and not put on for an act at all, and you feel it with these two, which adds a lot on to the film. Funny little performances in this movie also come from Hank Azaria, Oliver Platt, and the one who brought the most laughs, Josh Gad.

Consensus: It may be a bit un-even at plenty of points, and loses itself by the end, but the chemistry between the leads, and a nice balance between heart, and humor, makes this romantic comedy, a good one to say the least.

7/10=Rental!!

Happy Thanksgiving to all, and to all a good eat!!!

Well everyone, it’s that time of the year, where you just pig out non-stop on anything you can find. I’m having some nice Turkey, with mashed potatoes, corn, and of course to top it all off, gravyyyyy! Yummmmmmmmmmm! I can’t wait, so for today I’m just going to send you guys off with this little Thanksgiving Day treat, and be on my way, and do whatever it is people do on Thanksgiving.

Have a great Thanksgiving everyone!!

Righteous Kill (2008)

Two of my favorite actors, together on-screen, for a full film, too bad this was the film it had to be.

Robert De Niro and Al Pacino drive this taut thriller as New York City detectives tasked with investigating a rash of vigilante killings that are linked to an old case, suggesting they might have put an innocent man behind bars.

Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, are two of my favorite actors working today, and it’s such a shame that they have never been able to share the screen together for a full movie. But it’s an even bigger shame they had to film in this shit.

The biggest problem with this movie is that its screenplay is just the same old shit really. You have seen this cop film before, it’s all by-the-numbers, and pretty generic, the new, cool thing about it though is that these two legends are in the starring roles, which in itself, is just a gimmick. This whole film basically is just an excuse for the big twist ending at the end, and although it’s OK to say the least, it just feels forced, and put out there to spice up the story.

It sucks too cause this film looked like it was going to be a fun, exciting, little crime mystery thriller, when in reality it’s dull for the whole film through. We are constantly stuck at random plot “happenings”, that don’t really seem to move the story forward, more just to rely on De Niro and Pacino for their acting skills. With this film it just does get taken over by big Hollywood productions taking two big stars like this, advertising it as something amazing, and just making this a total bore-fest of a film, with nothing new, or cool, to show for it.

Now on the other hand, the film may just be a gimmick to get these two together, but I will not lie, they both do very good jobs, probably cause their just basically playing themselves. Both have obvious great on-screen chemistry, and the scenes with them work mainly because they just have that screen presence that nobody can deny, and that’s probably the strength of this film. Donnie Wahlberg, and John Leguizamo also show up, and do good jobs here as well, but their roles are more made for the fact that they are a bar down from De Niro, and Pacino. Carla Gugigno is strong, but her character is very odd, and the “relationship” between her, and De Niro is kind of weird. Oh and let’s not forget to mention, 50 Cent is here too, and he does whatever he does.

Consensus: De Niro and Pacino do all they can with this material, but the can only do so much until they fall victim to a run-of-the-mill, dull, and disappointing thriller.

4/10=SomeOleBullShitt!!!

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994)

The movie that got Jim Carrey on the map, and with great reason.

Barely competent pet private eye Ace Ventura (Jim Carrey) is put on the case when kidnappers abduct Snowflake, the Miami Dolphins’ mascot. As Ventura tries to unravel the mammal-napping and save the day, the perpetrators have something else in mind.

This film is the one that is basically known for introducing us to the crazy goon himself, Jim Carrey. And let’s just say that I’m so thankful for that.

The film is genuinely funny, but also goofy. If you don’t like the kind of humor, where it’s jokes are just crazy, and the things that happen are even crazier, then this is not your cup of coffee. But for me I laughed my ass off so much during this movie, mainly because I love this type of humor.I think the main reason why this film is so funny, is because it’s pace is quick, and so are the jokes, which makes it even better, cause it’s a lot more enjoyable.

Even the action in this film is pretty good. There’s a nice car chase in here that actually works, and even when it’s tone does change into the mystery, it doesn’t get really serious the whole time, which is hard to say about a lot of mystery comedies, all seem to get serious at one point, and this film doesn’t even take itself that seriously, which I liked.

The only problem with this film is if you don’t like really stupid, dumb movies, your not going to like this one. I liked this one a lot, cause I like certain comedy films that don’t take themselves so seriously, and can do it with a smile on their face, which this one did very well. Some I know hate the hell out of this film, but for me I couldn’t hate it at all.

Jim Carrey is the main reason this film works. All of his crazy physical comedy, gags, faces, poses, and everything else makes this film funny, and his character ultimately likable. Some that don’t like Carrey won’t like this, cause all he is in this film is a goofy dude, that you can’t take seriously. Courtney Cox shows up, and is pretty good as the love interest, who looks as banging as she always has. And then you got the nice cameos from Dan Marino, Tone Loc, and Sean Young.

Consensus: Some will hate this, depending on their fondness of Carrey, or the type of humor, but others who don’t mind it, will have a great time, watching Carrey’s great performance, and the funny jokes that come throughout this film.

8/10=Matinee!!

Buried (2010)

The closest to 7 minutes to heaven I’ll ever get with Ryan Reynolds.

While on a job in Iraq, civilian contractor Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds) is attacked and kidnapped, then awakens to find himself buried alive in the middle of the desert with nothing but a lighter, a candle, a cell phone and a knife. Does Paul have the instincts he’ll need to save himself?

The premise is very simple, and ever since that scene in The Vanishing, I have always been wanting to see a whole movie actually dedicated to the fact that somebody’s in a casket.

Most of my praise has to go to Director Rodrigo Cortez, who with his first film, shows that he is indeed a force to be reckoned with. He uses the art of claustrophobia, a underrated art in the cinema world, to his advantage. I liked how the whole film was inside the casket, no pan-outs of people on the outside, or other sub-plots, just Reynolds on the phone, and trying to stay alive, while in this casket, and all of it works.

For the 90 minutes of this film, I will not lie to you, I was on the edge of my seat. Every single phone call that happened, we hear more, and more as to what happened, and how he got there, and it’s great cause it all works, and the story makes sense. Cortez really works to the fact that Reynolds has got little time to live, with an incredible score that will just keep the suspense building, as well as some neat little camera tricks to give you even more a sense of claustrophobia.There is also very good, and effective lighting used in this film, because the only lighting in this film, is the lighting presented in this film, which is hard to pull off, especially in a film, in today’s world.

The screenplay was well-written. It built well on the story, and the heart of it all in the middle, but it got way too political by the end. In the middle, to final act, you’ll notice that the film starts to bring up messages about American industrial military complex, and how they don’t do their best jobs, and how they don’t want to get caught with anything, and yudda yudda yudda. That’s the only problem I had with this film, it kept on badgering me with its message, to the point of where I was kind of annoyed. I mean your a film about a guy in a box, underground, for 90 minutes, don’t try to be something bigger, and more meaningful.

The real showcase for this film is the main of the hour and 30 minutes, Ryan Reynolds. He basically carries the whole film himself, because all you really do see is him, and he plays this character so well, that you can’t take your eyes off of him. He uses humor when needed, and he is emotional wrenched throughout the film, and you immediately hold on to him, and cheer for him, hoping for the best. Break-out role right here, I hope he gets more of these.

The whole film is basically a leading up to the last 5 minutes of this film, where I won’t give anything away, but I cannot lie to you, those last 5 minutes are probably the most suspenseful, I have encountered ever. And needless to say, the ending of this film, is probably the best of the year.

Consensus: Buried works as a suspense thriller, that gets to you with its premise, and screenplay, but never takes your eyes off the screen, mainly because of Ryan Reynolds doing his greatest work yet.

9/10=Full Pricee!!!

Whip It (2009)

Roller Derby looks like it frickin’ kills. Especially if your a chick, cause then your nails are always breaking.

Escaping her smothering mother’s (Marcia Gay Harden) beauty pageant plans for her, small-town Texas teen Bliss (Ellen Page) joins an all-girl roller derby team in Austin and begins living a thrilling double life as Babe Ruthless — a life that might catch up with her.

So this is Drew Barrymore‘s directorial debut, and you can tell. The film is much like her, not too creative, but very cute, I could just see her behind the scenes going in her little voice: “Yeah we’re going to skate”. She’s alright with her first film, but she doesn’t know how to set a tone, or pace all that well.

There would be moments in this film, that would move pretty fast, but then it would just get dreadfully slow, and your starting to actually hope they would just go to the roller derby scenes. But the sad thing is, they aren’t even that fun to watch. They are so poorly choreographed, and the camera work is pretty cool, you can’t help but think that you should be feeling so much more excitement when your watching chicks, on skates, beating the hell out of each other.

The screenplay, I thought could have been a little bit better. I will not lie, some parts did have me laugh, but other than that, I found this story nothing new. I’ve seen it all before, and the problem is that the film doesn’t do much else to take my mind away from that. It’s heart is in the right place, and the scenes with Bliss and her mother, work very well, because of how true they are, but it almost seems wasted in a film about chicks on skates.

Ellen Page may get on most people’s nerves, but she’s actually very good in here, and less annoying than you would expect her. Marcia Gay Harden does an even better job playing her mother that just can’t accept her passion, and the scenes these tow have are great together, as noted above. I also liked seeing Daniel Stern, back in action. Juliette Lewis plays that mean, snobby, bitch we all know and love/hate her for, and she doesn’t shy away from that act at all here, and well it’s still good. The guy who plays the coach, Andrew Wilson, just reminded me of bearded Owen Wilson, when in reality, that’s Wilson’s brother. He does a good job here, and I think he should try to pursue more small, comedic roles, but he needs to get a new shtick, so he doesn’t get annoyed about his brother. There are also nice other supporting roles from Eve, Kristen Wiig, Alia Shawkat, and Jimmy Fallon, doing what he does best, acting like a total nut ball.

Consensus: It’s an overly familiar story, that is showered down by a pace, and tone that may annoy some, but it’s heart is in the right place, and the performances bring a lot to the table.

5.5/10=Rental!!

A Few Good Men (1992)

A movie that is always remembered for that one famous line.

When cocky military lawyer Lt. Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise) and his co-counsel, Lt. Cmdr. JoAnne Galloway (Demi Moore), are assigned to a murder case, they uncover a hazing ritual that could implicate high-ranking officials such as shady Col. Nathan Jessep (Jack Nicholson).

When it comes down to it, this a powerhouse of a film. The writing, acting, plot, and directing has got it all, and let’s just say even after 18 years, it stills stands the test of time.

My main love of this movie comes from it’s incredible writing job from the always brilliant, Aaron Sorkin. There is a lot of detail that goes into this story, and not for a second do you get confused by what’s going on, and what is to come. There is plenty of hard talk going throughout this film, and that’s what kept me watching, is how I was just compelled by everything that was said, and happened in this film. The main reason it’s so compelling is because you see just how people act in a certain way, especially when it comes to making decisions that have major consequences.

The problem is that the film is quite a predictable, and run-of-the-mill courtroom drama, with a bit more than others. It plays off as a conventional story, and although it’s interesting, as you keep on watching, you can’t help but think, you have seen this before.

However, the acting here is just superb, with almost every star, basically having their work cut out for them. Tom Cruise, plays his usual cocky character, but with a lot more of a likability this time, and you don’t hate him as much, you start to cheer him on. Demi Moore, and Kevin Pollak, are both Cruise’s little helpers, and do well, creating tow characters that we enjoy watching especially on the screen with Cruise. Although it may seem more like an extended cameo, Jack Nicholson’s part is honestly one of his most well-acted. He starts off as a total dick, and every time he’s on screen you can just feel the tension, and the anger from this dude, and your just getting chills with every little thing he says. However, by the end, and mainly because of that explosive ending, you realize that there’s so much more to his character, and although you may not agree with his claims,you still understand. Those last 20 minutes between Cruise and Nicholson, are just so perfectly acted, and works so well with this whole movie, and when it’s all over, your just amazed at what you just saw. There are of course other supporting acts that are notable such as Kiefer Sutherland, Kevin Bacon, and the always reliable J.T. Walsh. All of the stars in this movie, each give their 100% efforts, and you can tell, which makes this film even better.

Probably the other great thing about this movie is that it can also be used as a great moral tale, or discussion. The whole movie you think got everything figured out, until those last 20 minutes come up, and you just don’t know what to think about it all. I have seen this about 3 times, and let me just say I still don’t know what was right, and what was wrong, but that’s the best thing about this film.

Consensus: A Few Good Men may be your conventional story, it all gets over-shadowed by it’s great script, powerful acting from the whole cast, and those last 20 minutes that will just take you back so much.

8.5/10=Matinee!!!

Life as a House (2001)

Sappy, but still works.

Faced with a sobering diagnosis of terminal cancer, George (Kevin Kline) decides to construct a beautiful new house on his land overlooking the Pacific Ocean, while at the same time trying to connect with his estranged son (Hayden Christensen).

As soon as I saw the trailer, I was expecting the conventional, predictable, Lifetime movie wanna be, tearjerker. In ways, I got that, but that’s not really a bad thing.

The screenplay is alright, however, I couldn’t help myself but to be annoyed at times. The blending of comedy, and drama, worked a little well, but there would be times when I didn’t know if the movie was trying to be funny, or just being sarcastic in a way. But this film is you obvious tearjerker. It does blatant sad things just to get a rise out of you, which I didn’t like, and thought was actually pretty cheap, considering, I think if they just stuck with their original script, and got rid of all the sappy crap, then this film probably wouldn’t have annoyed me as much.

However, some of the dramatic stuff does work, and you do get connected to the characters. But it’s not because you want to, it’s just because that’s how the film has written them out to be. There are some scenes that dramatically work, and others, that well, don’t necessarily hit the mark.

There was one thing that made me like this movie, more than I expected, and it was the great performances from the cast. Kevin Kline gives a great performance, maybe one of the best of his career, cause he handles this guy, George, with such ease and such grace, that he’s both charming, and serious, which makes him a joy to watch, and likable. Hayden Christensen may get a lot of ish, for not being a very good actor, but in this one, he hits every single note so well. Hayden plays to perfection the disaffected brat desperately seeking attention from parents who are so tied up with appearances that they can’t see the simple cry for love. The scenes between these two, where they are at each others neck’s basically work so well, and are played out in a very detailed way, and don’t seem fake at all. Kristin Scott Thomas, plays Kline’s ex-wife, and she has some very good spots as well. And then you add a horny Jena Malone to the equation, and then you get some funny things happening.

Consensus: Life as a House has some nice touches, that are highlighted by great performances, but feels too conventional, and manipulative, in showing you that you should care for these characters, and be upset by all the little bad things that happen.

5.5/10=Rental!!

Due Date (2010)

These are the last two people I’d ever go on a trip with.

When high-powered Los Angeles business executive Peter Highman (Robert Downey Jr.) gets stuck in Atlanta during a snowstorm that grounds all flights just days before his pregnant wife’s due date, he hitches a ride across the country with slacker Ethan Tremblay (Zach Galifianakis). As Peter desperately tries to get home, he must deal with Ethan’s laid-back attitude, numerous delays and several mishaps in this road trip comedy. Jamie Foxx co-stars.

This film is being heavily promoted as the next big from from Todd Phillips, or as you mainstream audiences may know, “the dude who did The Hangover”. However, the problem is that is the only thing going for it.

The problem with this film is that it’s screenplay is terrible. Actually terrible is not right because, occasionally, there are a few funny moments, very few, but they are just watered over, by the sometimes numerous awkward, heavily violent, and lazy jokes that came through with this film. I get the whole concept of these stupid comedies, because in all honesty, I like them, but this film offers nothing really funny, and at times, the comedy just falls short way too many times, and your just stuck wondering, if it was meant to be a joke, or just something you wouldn’t find funny, but because it’s these two, it’s absolutely hilarious. The problem is, I didn’t ponder any of those thoughts at all, this film just wasn’t funny. I almost felt like the creators said: “The Hangover 2 is going to take about 6 months to write, let’s just make a film that will take about 6 minutes to write”.

The places this film takes are incredibly unbelievable. There are moments where these guys almost practically die on the road, because the driver falls asleep, and they do a 360 in the air. I also noticed a lot of comedy directed towards these guys getting there asses kicked, or to them almost dying. There’s nothing funny about near-death experiences people, so stop with the harsh slapstick in comedy.

I was probably more disappointed by the fact that I was expecting so much more from these two. I understand the whole odd-couple mismatch that the film was going for, but in order for that to work, you got to have two actors that can create a good chemistry that will last through out. This doesn’t have that at all. Robert Downey Jr.‘s character disappointed me, because I was expecting him to be a bit more likable, and at least a little funny, unintentionally, but he was just too mean to be likable or funny. I know he was trying to play against type, but for God’s sake man, it’s a comedy, be funny somehow! Zach Galifianakis is funny, but he is just too over-exposed by now, and I really do think he needs to slow down, before he becomes a bore to every film he is in. These two try their hardest to bring laughs, but they just can’t, and I think they would have been able to, with different material. There are also some funny spots from Danny McBride, Jamie Foxx, Juliette Lewis, and RZA. But not enough to make this film better, actually not even the master-bating French bulldog can do that.

Consensus: What should have been hilarious, mostly due to the fact of the talent involved, Due Date turns into a unfunny, lazily written, bore-fest, that tries hard to be funny, and just ends up being a huge failure for all involved. Let’s hope Hangover 2 is better.

2/10=SomeOleBullShitt!!!

Sugar (2009)

Hey if you can’t speak English, it doesn’t matter, just play baseball in the states.

After he catches the eye of a scout while playing in his native Dominican Republic, baseball prospect Miguel “Sugar” Santos (Algenis Perez Soto) is recruited to play in the minor leagues in the Midwest, where he has difficultly adapting both on and off the field.

This film is written & directed by the indie duo, Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, who are most known for making a very good piece, Half Nelson. That one really got to the core of me, this one, kind of id the same thing.

The film starts off as a run-of-the-mill sports drama, where we see how this immigrant, tries to cope with being the big-dog in the Minor Leagues, but then after the first hour, it totally switches gears into a film about this poor guy, who comes to this big place, with no friends, no learning of the English language, and nothing us but a sweet curve to his name. I really did feel bad for this guy, cause everything was going around him, and he has no idea what is, because he doesn’t speak English very well, and when it comes to his dreams, he doesn’t know the difference between fantasy and reality.

This isn’t your ordinary, regular, sports film, where the voice of God is telling this person, to construct a baseball field, it’s more about the struggles that this one poor dude faces, moving into a new country. He’s got plenty of struggles that come through this film, and you feel for him, cause he tries to cope with every problem he has, but nobody is there for him, and it’s just sad to watch, but not sappy sad, good sad. Sorry, I don’t know how to explain. The screenplay isn’t just all dramatic, and sympathetic, there are some literally funny, and genuine, touching moments, that actually put a smile on your face.

The one problem I had with this film, is that it is, very, very slow. It starts off slow, and then it picks up pace, then it gets back to being slow again, and I was just a little annoyed by this, and how I was expecting this film to speed up and give me a fun story, instead it just got bleak, and dull at moments.

Algenis Perez Soto was a great choice for this movie, cause when Boden & Fleck were looking for actors to portray this character, they didn’t want your regular normal actor, they wanted an actual baseball player, which adds a lot to the authenticity of this character. He also seems like a very nice guy, that tries so hard to be the best, but not in a cocky way, so when things go wrong for him, it sucks, and you feel for him.

Consensus: It may get dull at times, but Sugar still prevails in giving us an authentic and touching, if sympathetic story on the world of sports, and not knowing about the big world you live in, where you know nothing.

8/10=Matinee!!!

Up in the Air (2009)

I guess firing people isn’t as easy as it seems.

Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) racks up miles flying around the country firing employees on behalf of companies. But he faces losing the job he savors to recent college grad Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick) — and losing the ability to escape emotional ties to anything. A connection he builds with Alex Goran (Vera Farmiga), however, might change his outlook on the future.

I reviewed this film awhile back, and my whole attention wasn’t on it fully. So I think what I missed out on then, I’ll understand more clearly now, and I’m so glad I made that decision.

The best thing about this film is it’s incredibly honest screenplay. These people in the 21st century, are going through big economic problems, and the situations they talk about in this film, is very, very true. Most of it is very dramatic, and kind of sad, but there is also a great deal of humor within this screenplay that works.

Writer/Director Jason Reitman gives us a perfect glimpse into the country we live in, around the year 2009. People are losing jobs left and right, many are sad, while others, are still trying to find a way to find happiness in this world. It’s a character study, that has a great deal of depth, mainly cause it feels authentic, and when you see those tragic “firing” scenes, you are just taken back by how real they actually are. I wasn’t in tears to be honest, but those scenes, as well as others, to tug on your heart strings for awhile. And I would have never thought that would have happened to me with George Clooney in the lead.

The problem I had with this film was that the execution at the end, was a little too bumpy. I can’t give too much away, but the transformation of our main character at the end, just seems a bit awkward, and not believable, which sucks, because this whole film seemed so real.

The main character, Ryan Bingham, is so very selfish, and cocky, but George Clooney actually plays this character well. He adds a lot of depth, and believability to the character, so that we can actually stand to be on this trip with him. Anna Kendrick plays this stuck-up business girl very well, because we have seen that act done many, many times before, but she makes it less annoying, and more cute to say the least. Vera Farmiga‘s character gave me a great glimpse into her acting skills, because now I know she can pull off roles like this. She is very good at playing this cool chick, that seems so awesome to be around, but yet, there’s just something about her that still makes you question it all. Her and Clooney create a great chemistry together on screen, that makes their more romantic scenes, seem actually believable. Let’s also not forget the short, but good side performances from the likes of J.K. Simmons, Danny McBride, Jason Bateman, Zach Galifianakis, and Amy Morton.

Consensus: Up in the Air may start to slow down by the end, however, is highly entertaining with its great script, with enough funny moments, and dramatic moments, that are provided by incredibly strong performances from the three leads.

9/10=Full Pricee!!!

The Social Network (2010)

I never thought I would actually love a film, that is about Facebook.

David Fincher’s biographical drama chronicles the meteoric rise of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) from Harvard sophomore to Internet superstar, examining his relationships with co-founder Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) and Napster founder Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake).

Way back when, I remember hearing news that crazy, dark director, David Fincher, was making a film on Facebook. So I don’t know how everybody else felt, but I was basically wondering “why the hell are they doing this!??!”. I thought it was a dumb idea, then I saw the trailer, and that’s when my guilt was finally taken away.

When it comes to directing, deep, strange, and bleak material, David Fincher is the main for that job, and here he shows that he can branch out and take a story like the creation, and overall effect of Facebook. He does it so well, with keeping a fast pace throughout the film, but not forgetting to show us how Facebook came to be, and the people that were “the other creators” of Facebook. The film bounces back in forth between showing the creation, and also the lawsuits that soon followed, and at first, I felt like it was going to be confusing, but I feel like that was the best way for this film to be structured, through flashbacks, and then you see how these people react with each other, before and after the creation of Facebook. It really is something remarkable what Fincher can do with this big-budget, Hollywood story, and still keep his own type of style in it, but attract mainstream audiences.

However, the main reason this film works, is the amazing, and I do repeat, amazing script job done here by Aaron Sorkin. This is what all films should be like, smart, witty, dark, and true to the point. Sorkin blends a great deal of comedy, and drama within this film that keeps it going, as fast as these geeks are talking, and the lines that come out, feel so real, and so genuine, as if your actually hearing somebody talk from the 21st century, just as this was going on. It works as a character study because the script dives into the egos that these people create, as they get bigger, and bigger, but not without showing us how they get the job done. This literally is the perfect script, cause you understand everything that these people are saying, even though they are speaking 50 miles per second. You also don’t really know who to hate, or who to sympathize with. Sorkin doesn’t just show you how much of a dick Zuckerberg is, but it does show the true emotions when a friendship is tested between business’, and who the real, and the fake friends are.

I was so astonished by Jesse Eisenberg in this film, and can easily say he has gotten rid of the awkward nerd title, that has been on his forehead for quite some time now. There are moments in this film, where you can see that Zuckerberg is just ready for something genius, and you can tell through Eisenberg’s purely amazing performance, because he’s got the look of a smart, and witty geek, but when he gets the attitude of a kid that will just rip your ass to shreds, by how much more rich, and famous he is than you, your just amazed by how good Eisenberg really can pull this off. He plays a dick so well, but yet his charm also attracts us to him oddly enough, and he’s likable, and utterly disgusting at the same time. I really do hope he gets nominated this year, and that he doesn’t once shy away from playing even more serious roles, cause he really can do them.

But it’s not just all about Eisenberg, the supporting cast, has also got some very bright spots as well. Andrew Garfield (aka New Spider-Man), is just perfect, and sort of the wild-card here in this film. This film mainly shows Eisenberg as the big see in this film, when Garfield, gives some honestly great showings of emotion within this film. You can feel the anger within this guy, as he sees his best friend, and ultimately whole life, go right down the tubes, and you just watch him every time he’s on screen. Justin Timberlake goes back to the old days of his N’Sync curly locks days, and basically gives a surprisingly very, very good, and energetic performance. This one shows that he is indeed an entertainer, and if his music career starts to slow down, he can just keep on doing acting, he’s obviously good at it. Armie Hammer also plays both of the Winklevoss Twins in this film, and does a great job at showing, two both arrogant, and cocky son of a bitches, that rely on their last name for everything, and he plays both sides very well.

There is also an amazing score job done by the Trent Reznor, which at first struck as me as odd, simply because he’s known for making crazy weird songs like: “Closer“, or “March of the Pigs“, and adding a creepy score to a film about Facebook, doesn’t seem to match very well, but somehow it does, and gels very well with the story, and brings a lot more emotion to the scenes.

The only problem I had with this film that I can think of, was that I do feel some things were made up, just for the fact of dramatic effect. Which in ways is alright, but at the same time, it kind of gets you thinking, why would you dramatize something, if it wasn’t as interesting in the first place? I don’t know, but other than that almost flawless film.

Consensus: When it comes to modern film-making at its finest, The Social Network, is brilliantly directed, written, and acted, but will also be a 21st Century defining film, for the years to come.

9.5/10=Full Pricee!!!

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