All you need is a little hug and support from daddy, and you won’t start robbing banks.
Handsome Luke (Ryan Gosling) is a stunt motorcyclist at the circus who returns to an upstate town where he meets up with a former fling of his (Eva Mendes), only to find that she has a baby of his. In need to support his child and soon-to-be family, Luke decides to start robbing banks and pulling off heists with a buddy of his (Ben Mendelsohn). After this, we see the cop who runs into a problem with Luke, Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper), and how he deals with the corrupt cops in his jurisdiction, while also keeping his head afloat. And we also see two kids, Jason (Dane DeHaan) and AJ (Emory Cohen), meet up together in high school, develop a friendship, and realize that there may be more between them that they never thought was possible.
Not only is this movie hard to describe with it’s synopsis, but it’s also even harder than hell to review it. Why? Well, it’s one of those flicks that just so happens to be built on the idea of it’s twists, it’s turns, and it’s surprises, which therefore means, any type of spoiling of those said twists, turns, or surprises, would not only be a crime against me as a critic, but a crime against you as readers. Also, it’s pretty damn hard to review, because I still don’t know how or what I still feel about it all.
What made me think this flick was going to be close to the second-coming of Christ, was not just the kick-ass trailer or the wonderful reviews it’s been getting so far, but was because of it’s director: Derek Cianfrance. Many people know the dude from his directorial-debut, the perfect date movie, Blue Valentine, and know that the guy has a knack and flair for telling an effective, compelling story just by using characters, plot, details, and dialogue. That’s it, and it’s nothing more. That’s why when it came to him tackling a flick that was like a mixture of the Godfather and the Town, I had no problem with it all, mainly because the guy seems like he knows what he’s doing and seems like he’d do anything that’s far from being deemed “conventional” or “predictable”. Granted, we’ve only seen him do one movie so far, but if that’s the consensus the guy has to work on: it’s pretty damn solid, I”d have to say so for myself. Sadly, this movie doesn’t come close to hitting his last. Sadly indeed.
But without jumping down it’s neck about the bad, let’s get into the good that will most likely lead into the bad. Rather than jumping back-and-forth from story-to-story without ever making it clear as to what the hell’s going on or how are these peeps’ paths going to cross next, we get three stories, that are told in their own, separate formats, without barely any interruptions at all. The first story is about Luke and how he handles being a daddy, but also a bank robber at the same time. Not only is this the most exciting story out of the three, but it’s also the best. The main reason being because it’s filled with so much energy, entertainment, tension, suspense, and emotional heart, that it gets you ready for what you think you’re about to witness. You automatically think that this whole movie is going to play-out like this first story where we all get all the action and flair, but still some grounded-sense of reality and depth, but that’s not how it all plays out.
Instead of doing the smart thing and keeping up with this sense of intensity, Cianfrance takes the film down a notch and keeps it grounded in the sense that we are watching a movie, and a tad predictable one at that. After we switch gears over to Cross’s story, we start to see the movie delve more into the conventional-side of itself where we see police corruption, people with badges doing mean things, and worst of all, Ray Liotta playing a sincerely, despicable human-being. He’s good at it, but can’t we put Tommy Vercetti up to something else nowadays. How about a role as an inspirational father-figure that does sensible acts for the rest of society? Huh? Not buying it? Oh well, at least I tried.
Anyway, where this flick takes a turn for the worse is not just because it begins to get, dare I say it, generic, but because it seems so obvious. Without telling you exactly what happens or how, there are certain elements of the plot that seem to be so predictable, that it gets to the time of where I could literally pin-point exactly who knew who, how they knew them, and how they were going to tell each other how they knew one another. It got to be a bit of annoyance and seemed more like Cianfrance took the idea of conveniences between two characters, as a way to show us that there’s a twist coming up, or something that we don’t seem to expect, but yet; we do.
That’s not to say that the whole film is like this, because as a matter of fact, most of it is damn good I have to say. There are moments where I was literally on-the-edge-of-my-seat without any other thought or idea that would take me away from this movie, anywhere near my head, and it completely compelled me. And that’s not just the Gosling parts, that’s the whole movie and it surprised me with what Cianfrance was able to bring up next, and how. The guy doesn’t depend on his dialogue here as much as he did with his last flick, but the atmosphere and mood is still there to mess with you and because of that, I have to still give the guy kudos for always allowing us to set our sights on something worth watching here. Can’t say that about many film makers who churn-out a movie a year, but thankfully, I can say it about this dude.
The problem is, after two hours and thirty minutes (yes, that’s how long it is), I was still left with an idea in my head: what the hell was that all about? The ideas and themes of there being issues between a father and a son, how we all look out for one another, and how hard it is to stay true to yourself in a world of evil and hate, are abundantly clear and here, and hit us in the face as much as beers to an alcoholic, but never seem to be worth the wait for. Honestly, when all of these stories do finally get the chance to come together, make some sense, and have us make up our minds on what to think of, it feels like a bit of a waste, mostly because nobody really solves anything. Gosling’s story ends a bit too quickly for us to feel like his life’s problems are solved, Cooper’s goes on and on without any clear happiness in sight, and the final story seems like it was all made for us to see how tension still arises, even as the new generations come alive.
It made no sense to me as to why this flick was named the way it was. The Pines definitely serve some sort of metaphor for each of these characters and the way they go about their business, but it didn’t seem reasonable. Certain things are said, and are left unsaid, but they never felt right. As the film continued to go on and on, these characters begin to pull off acts and stunts that not only seem unreasonable, but almost stupid. I get that people can deal with grief and sadness in all sorts of ways, but there comes a point in this flick where it just doesn’t make sense any more and feels like instead of dealing with real human-beings that have feelings, emotions, and a sense of right and wrong, we are dealing with a bunch of wacked-out peeps that act solely on a gut-feeling of anger and violence, without rhyme or reason. There are people out there who live like this, but in a flick like this, it didn’t seem right and didn’t make sense when you take the whole ending into actual consideration. If none of this makes sense to you now, please, go and see this movie and realize that there is a message to what I’m saying, as confusing and as bum-fucked as I may sound.
Thankfully, the ones that hold this flick together is the more-than-able cast of heavy-hitters that do what they do best: be compelling, no matter who it is that they are playing. The person from this cast that I think of the most when I say that, is without a doubt Ryan Gosling as Handsome Luke. Gosling not only uses that innate-likeability to his favor here, but also shows us that he still has the able chance to still scare the sheets off of us, and never know whether we can root for him, or boo him. Gosling has what it takes to make this character work and makes him the most fascinating out of them all, mostly because he strives to be more than just a convention: he actually has a beating-heart that doesn’t always make the right decision every step of the way, but at least tries to make up for them.
Eva Mendes plays his sugar-bunny that’s good, in probably the most-dramatic and compelling role we have ever seen her play before. Not only does Mendes do a perfect job at being able to not look hot or sexy, as hard as that may be for her, she also never forgets to remind us that this is a troubled and lonely woman, that we never lose sympathy for. Ben Mendelsohn is also a butt-load of fun and joy to watch as his buddy, a former-robber who helps him out nowadays, but don’t be fooled: this guy has a mean-streak to him that shows in a despicable-way.
Bradley Cooper is great as Avery Cross, the cop with a heart. Cooper really does well at being the type of guy we can feel for and trust, even when he doesn’t seem to do the right thing, and makes you understand why the guy has such a hard problem to think for himself, or take matters into his own hands. He gets to be a bit of a self-righteous dick by the end of this thing, but no matter what, he always stayed true to his character, his motivations, and what he strives for in life. Rose Byrne plays his wife, that I wouldn’t say is still in dullsville here, but doesn’t seem to have much to do other be a chick that never stops complaining about how he’s a cop and always has the chance of dying on the job. You did marry him, didn’t you? So why the ‘eff you bitchin’ at him?!? Let a guy do his job and get that money, money!
Lastly, the performances from Dane DeHaan and Emory Cohen as the two kids that meet-up in school, is good in the way that it paints an interesting portrait of what it’s like to meet someone, and not have any idea what to expect from them, but that’s about as much as I can tell you right there. Just know this, DeHaan is great and definitely uses that angst-fueled look to his advantage, and know that Cohen tries to do the same, but his character is too much of a dick for us to really care about him at all. Okay, I think you know enough by now. Time for me to shut up and just go the hell home.
Consensus: With a more-than-reliable cast, suspenseful mood, well-written characters, and interesting plot-changes, The Place Beyond the Pines never loses focus on it’s story or what it’s trying to convey about it’s character, but loses grip with reality and begins to get more and more theatrical and obvious as it goes along. No matter what, you will feel compelled by this, but it starts to shy-away sooner than later.
7.5 / 10 = Rental!!
Man, I’m glad to be from Philadelphia.
Bradley Cooper stars as a sad sack loser named Pat trying to get back on his feet after suffering a mental breakdown. When he meets a mysterious girl named Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) with problems of her own, an unexpected bond begins to form between them.
As many of you out there may know, I’m a proud Philadelphian through and through, and to see and hear about a big-budget, Hollywood rom-com be filmed around my parks was surely something that had me interested. I mean honestly, it’s been awhile since the City of Brotherly Love has had a good movie come from it’s native-land in a long, long time and that’s why I was a bit skeptical of just how well this one would do, despite it’s somewhat generic premise. Then, a miracle started to occur right in front of my eyes, as the reviews started to tricked in and I realized: this movie could be the next Rocky, in terms of representing Philly and making all of those who live there, proud to be apart of a city that deserves all the love and praise (in some ways). Then, lastly, another miracle came my way and made me realize something: I LOVED THIS MOVIE.
Yes, I just used the “L word” and with good reason, because this film is exactly what I wanted in a rom-com/character-drama. Director David O. Russell steps out of the boxing ring, and into the streets of Prospect Park (holla!), which may definitely seem a bit odd at first considering this is a character-drama that focuses on people who have problems and don’t really do much about it except talking, and not just go into the ring and beat the shit out of each other, but in a way, you can almost tell that the guy is as ever comfortable as he has ever been with material like this. See, earlier in the review, I stated that this was a “big-budget, Hollywood rom-com”, but I was wrong. Dead-wrong. Actually, it’s more of a very indie-like, rom-com that down-plays everything that we have come to know and expect from any movie of this unoriginal genre, and thank O. Russell for that because that’s the real charm behind this movie.
Right from the first-shot of this movie, I couldn’t help but be swarmed in by all of the fun, humor, and wittiness of this setting and script and as soon as more and more characters became introduced to the story, I knew that I was only getting started on this wild-ride. Every piece of dialogue between these characters is always fun, always interesting, and always something that feels realistic and believable, especially when you actually consider the characters. The real risk O. Russell takes with this movie and these characters, is that he introduces us to people that aren’t exactly the most likable or lovable people we would want to watch a movie about, let alone spend 2 hours with, but somehow, the script makes you forget all about that and you really see something underneath all of the humor, goofiness, and weirdness of these characters, you actually see a heart to it all.
What I loved so much about this flick is how it takes a look at love, through the eyes of a heart-broken man, that has literally been pistol-whipped by love, and can’t figure out just how to go back to the life he once had and make right with everybody he knew, so instead, he just goes back to his old ways and tries to convince everybody that he is the same dude he was 8 months ago when he was shipped-away to crazy town. However, sooner or later, as predictable as it may sound, this guy eventually has to come to terms with what is true and what is not, and eventually that takes a toll on his life and what he thinks he should do with it. This idea of picking yourself back-up from a broken-heart and broken-life, by doing whatever you can to make yourself better each day-by-day is an idea that really resonated with me, as I can definitely say that there have been many times throughout my life where I’ve realized I can be happy in my life if I just allow myself to be better as each day goes by.
However, as corny and gooey as I may make this sound, this film is definitely not all about that. This love that is eventually carried-out, is not something we are used to seeing in movies and what’s even weirder is what the script brings into the fore-front of this love and what gets in the way of it. To be short, without giving too much away, the film combines crazy people, dancing, and the Philadelphia Eagles all into one movie and shows you that as weird of a combination that may be, you give it some real heart and depth, than anything can freakin’ work. I loved this film for showing me, once again, that making your life better is certainly on you but can also be used by allowing yourself to help others and have others help you. It’s a beautiful message that may seem as conventional as they may come, but this film carries it out in a way that isn’t and makes you re-think about where your life/love-life may be heading, and how you can make everything around you, well, better. I know, I know, I’m corny as can be but seriously, this film will make you feel like there is nothing wrong with you, or the world you surround yourself with.
I also think that most of the feelings I have for this movie mainly come from the “romance” between the two lead characters: Pat and Tiffany. First of all, Pat and Tiffany are not necessarily a romantic-couple, even though they may show signs of it. In their own, strange ways, they are both a bit crazy and off-kilter from the rest of the world, but the feelings they share about the things around them has them connect on a way that makes you believe in them as people that could definitely meet and be friends, but also be together, fall in love, and make themselves, and everyone else around them better as well. The whole movie is pretty strange in the directions it goes towards, and that’s mainly thanks to these two and it’s just great to see a rom-com about a couple that doesn’t necessarily fall in love right on impact, and can’t really show each other the type of love-signs we have come to expect from generic characters in these types of movie. Pat and Tiffany is the perfect, anti-rom-com couple that makes it all the more disappointing that once things do get a bit conventional and soapy by the end, it’s a bit too hard to believe or be satisfied with. However, it’s not to the point of where I felt like the whole movie was ruined for me. Just a tad bit of it was. Just a tad bit, mind you.
Despite that itsy, bitsy, teenie, weenie, little problem, these characters are still great to watch together, especially considering the cast that’s behind them all. Bradley Cooper probably gives his finest performance yet as Pat, by showing that he can let-loose with his manic-energy that definitely shows he still has that pitch-perfect comedic-timing, but also shows a bit of a darker side to him as well. For Cooper, lately, there hasn’t really been a film that’s showed him off a true, dramatic-force to be reckoned with and it’s more that his comedy-skills have been used a hell of a lot better, and showed-off more than I expected. However, his role as Pat allows him to break free from that mold, give us a character that is a bit off his rocker, isn’t always the nice guy when it comes to certain situations and choices that he makes, but also, always allow us to feel some sort of sympathy for the dude as well. Cooper gives off what could possibly be his closest shot to an Oscar nomination this year, and you know what, I think the guy deserves that at least because he nails this role to a “T” here and it’s just great to see him finally break-out and combine what he does best: comedy and drama.
I was a bit skeptical of Jennifer Lawrence as Tiffany, because the character is definitely supposed to be a lot older than Lawrence’s 22-years of age and would seem a bit weird considering that Cooper is 37, but surprise, surprise, Lawrence makes this work like no other. What’s so beautiful about Lawrence here is not only is she able to really have us believe in this gal that could be so weird and cooky, but also have us believe that she is as old and damaged as she is. Tiffany is not the easiest character to really get right from the start as you can tell that she has some problems that may need more fixing than just a simple dance-competition, but Lawrence is so natural with this gal that you can’t help but want to reach your hand out to her, even when Pat doesn’t seem to be. Lawrence is everything you would want her to be in this role and yet, it’s something that we have never seen from her before. She’s vulnerable, but never asking for sympathy; she’s sad, but never mopey; she’s smart, but never condescending; she’s weird, but never to the point of where she’s considered “crazy”; and she’s good-looking, but never to the point of where you wouldn’t believe her is as this older, sadder-woman that comes to terms with the life she lives and where it’s going. Basically, in a nutshell, Lawrence is perfect for this role and if she doesn’t at least get a nomination for her role here, then I’m really going to be ticked off. Seriously, this girl has tons and tons of amount of promise going for her and I’ve already forgotten about House at the End of the Street. Even though, I can’t believe how I remembered that title.
As much as this is Cooper and Lawrence’s show, everybody else on the side still gets their own chances to shine and jeez, am I ever so glad for that, because their just as good too. Thank you so much David O. Russell, for giving us a meaty-role for Robert De Niro that shows us why everybody loved the guy so much in the first-place. De Niro plays Cooper’s OCD-like father that can’t seem to ever miss an Eagles game, and is absolutely terrific in a role that shows how much one man can love a son, but also want the best for him and try to give him advice on how to make his life better. It’s a role that shows De Niro at his finest, that we haven’t seen from him in a long-time and as much as he may down-play it, he still lets loose a bit and still makes us laugh our asses off whenever he does the signature crunched-up face. Man, you gotta love De Niro!
As for his wife, played by Jacki Weaver, she’s great as well and shows us a lighter-side to her acting-skills, by giving her character a delightful smile that only wants what’s right for her boy and her family. Oh, and I forgot to thank David O. Russell for something! Thank you so much for bringing back Chris Tucker to a mainstream movie that isn’t co-starring Jackie Chan and reminding us why the guy is so damn funny in the first-place. Yeah, Tucker may have lost his signature, high-pitch voice that mostly everybody hated (even though I loved) and has definitely packed on a couple of pounds for good measure as well, but still shows us that he has that great comedic-timing that makes me wonder why the hell he isn’t in more stuff. Does his character matter all that much to the plot? Hell no, actually, if you got rid of him, nothing in this movie would ever change one-bit but it’s Chris Tucker, man! The guy’s hilarious and I want to see more of him.
Consensus: With a heart as big as the state of Philadelphia (not terribly big, but still big none the less), a message that hits the heart, characters that interest the hell out of you right from the start, and a script that balances quirky, comedy, drama, and romance altogether, Silver Linings Playbook is exactly the type of feel-good movie you want to see this Winter-break, especially if you have ever longed for someone to tell you that your life is worth it and is something that’s meant to be made better not just by others around you, but yourself, as well. Definitely go out there, and go see it. Especially, if you’re from Philly. Then again, I feel like that’s obvious enough already.
Look at that face! Honestly, would a face like Bradley’s lie to you?
Bradley Cooper stars as Rory Jansen, a struggling writer who happens upon a lost manuscript in a weathered attaché case. After he decides to pass the work as his own, he finally gets the recognition he so craved for but he soon has to face his actions when the original author (Jeremy Irons) comes to him.
After I got the chance to meet the writers/directors of this flick, Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal, I found out that it took them over 12 years to finally get this piece off of the ground. So, think about that: this script has been in writing since 2000 and you would think that with such a long time to be revised, edited, and perfected that we would sort of have a masterpiece on our hands, right? Sad to say this, but I don’t think 12 years were worth waiting to see this story. Great guys, though!
Needless to say, Klugman and Sternthal have definitely made a very ambitious film that people will either hate or love due to the approach. The whole framing device starts off with one older guy, reading a story about this young writer who steals this other piece of work, which in and of itself is a story about a man and the love he found in post-WWII Paris. Judging by what you read there, you could probably say that this flick is either way too pretentious for it’s own good. And I would probably say that you are right but it is very interesting to see where and how these stories come together. The whole idea of whether or not these stories reflect fact or fiction come up plenty of times throughout the whole movie and they offer some pretty interesting questions you may have about this film once it’s all over in it’s brief, 96-minute run-time.
But as interesting as this film could be with it’s clever premise and general idea about what’s real and what’s not, the material never fully comes off the page (pun intended). I can definitely see why so many people were ready to buy-out this script around Sundance last year because all of the plot’s happenings and ideas seem a lot more subtle and hidden when you’re reading it. But the problem is, that once you get it on-screen, it comes off as a bit flimsy, especially when you have a bunch of the scenes revolving around a dude just typing away on his type-writer. Trust me, I love writing, I do it almost every day, and I can’t get enough of it, but there is nothing exciting or tense about watching somebody do that. There’s plenty of that here, along with some cringe worthy lines where Bradley professes to himself that he doesn’t really know who he is anymore, and that this whole guilt-trip about him taking over somebody else’s work is getting to him too much. Didn’t see that plot-device coming at all…
Speaking of that, what the hell was even the main message behind this whole movie in the first place? It seemed like Klugman and Sternthal wanted to say how stealing other people’s work is bad and will weigh heavily on your conscience, but do they not realize that this is a known thing ever since the days of 5th grade where kids had to start writing their own papers? It’s fine to talk about something that has already been talked about before but the idea of a guy stealing another person’s work, only to find out that it is terribly wrong, does not do much for me as it may have for Klugman and Sternthal. I wonder how many papers of their’s was sent back with a big “F-” due to stealing other people’s works.
If there is somewhat of a saving grace to this flick, it probably has to be the cast that does everything in their power and will to save this muddled story from going to shit. Bradley Cooper has a very strong presence in the lead here, even if a lot of the stuff he is called to do consists of him staring off into space, looking like he’s just done something completely and terribly wrong. He did, and we get that right from the start but we didn’t need to keep on being reminded every 5 seconds whenever the guy looks sad. Zoe Saldana is fine as his beau, and brings out some great drama in a role that seems so empty and shallow once you think about why she is in the story.
The only real bad acting I could find in this flick was Dennis Quaid’s as Clay Hammond, the old dude who’s reading Bradley’s book in the beginning of the movie. Firstly, the whole story with him and Olivia Wilde comes off as terribly random and stupid and does practically nothing for the movie. Secondly, I don’t know if it’s just the fact that he’s getting older and seems a lot creepier, but the way Quaid phrases a lot his sexy lines to Wilde (who is 30 years younger than him, mind you) makes him seem like he’s doing a very bad impersonation of my dad when he tries to talk to me about girls. If you don’t know my dad, you won’t really get the joke but just think of those awkward dads that always try to talk to you about the ladies, then you’ll get my drift, hopefully.
Once Jeremy Irons comes into this flick, then everything else bad with this movie sort of just disappears because of what this guy can do. Everybody knows that Irons can play a sly mother-humper as if it was nobody else’s business and he does that perfectly here, while also being able to add some true depth and emotion to a character that isn’t the film as long as you’d like to hope. It also probably helps that his whole story about him and his lover in France was perhaps the most emotionally-invested part of the movie I had and reminded me a bit of The Notebook in a way. Not saying that I was insanely giddy by that fact but at least it was something that kept my eyes on-the-screen and not on my cellular device.
Consensus: Even with some smart ideas and good performances from the ensemble, The Words still never seems to come full-circle with it’s story or it’s intentions. Instead, it just features barely little or no thrills, and offers nothing new to what it has to say about the act of plagiarism and the guilt that comes over a person after they commit it. Well, other than it being bad and you shouldn’t do it.
I’d run away from Dax Shepard the first chance I’d get.
Former getaway driver Charlie Bronson (Dax Shepard) jeopardizes his Witness Protection Plan identity in order to help his girlfriend (Kristen Bell) get to Los Angeles. The feds and Charlie’s former gang (led by Bradley Cooper) chase them on the road.
Anytime, within the past month or so that I’ve wanted to watch a video on YouTube, I couldn’t help but just get pissed off by seeing an ad for this movie come out right before it. Worst part was that you couldn’t even click away to skip the ad, you had to watch it, in it’s 15 second entirety, which isn’t a huge problem if it wasn’t the same damn clips.
However, being pissed at this movie going in just wasn’t the right way to feel as I couldn’t help but be surprised in the death days of Summer. That’s right people, August is almost over which means all kids go back to school and nobody goes to the movies anymore because they spent too much on The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises.
Anyway, I’m pretty sure I went into a huge rant that nobody wanted to read so I’m just going to dive into what I really wanted to say. For the first 30 minutes or so, nothing was really catching my eye and getting me involved as much as I would have liked. They start off with an ultra-sappy and contrived emotional scene where Shepard is telling his gal-pal to “close her eyes and think about the moment, nothing else”. Then after that, they suddenly go right into a scene with Tom Arnold chasing after his minivan and blowing holes everywhere, while screaming “fuck” at the top of his lungs. And to top that off, it just wasn’t funny no matter how hard they were trying and trust me, they were trying. It seemed like this was going to be one of those flicks that just wanted to be so wacky and funny, but also have an emotional story in the middle to even it all out but it wasn’t working and really got me worried of what I got myself into. Thankfully, it was only for those 30 minutes where I nearly lost my mind.
After the first 30 minutes or so, the film all of a sudden kicks its story into high gear and becomes a fun ride that delivers on the cool look, the cool thrills, and the funny laughs that sometimes came out of nowhere. It’s obvious that Dax Shepard (who just so happened to also co-write and direct this, and do his own stunts) loved Smokey and the Bandit as a kid growing up, because that’s the same exact kind of style and feel he gives this movie that automatically makes it a wild ride that doesn’t have to try too hard to charm us. So, if there is any credit going to towards this film and making it fun, it’s Shepard who deserves the most because he was able to somehow get this filmed in only 10 weeks, and used a very low-budget that will probably make a lot of the other big-budget action picks a whole lot more jealous by how polished the action scenes look here.
As you could probably tell by now, this film was pretty exciting when the action scenes came up and even if there is only about 3 in whole movie, you still get a great feel of energy and adrenaline every time they pop-up. But what really works with this film is that it hits its funny-marks very consistently in the last hour, which surprised me because they seem to be going all-over-the-place with its comedy. Sometimes it was trying to go for the wacky, rom-com aspect, others it was going for edgy and raunchy (that one scene with the naked old people will really shock some people), and other times it was your typical, conversational humor that can either make, or break a film depending on how well they use that aspect of comedy. Well, to say the least, the film’s comedy works and you’ll find a couple of gags that continue to show up every now and then that really catch you by surprise.
What really makes this film work out in the end is the cast that Shepard was able to assemble, obviously by just calling up a couple of pals for a little favor, which all work to his advantage. As for Sheperd in the lead role, he’s actually very charming and has the everyday likability to him that makes us forget about any dumb-ass role he has chosen in the past decade or so. The guy has a great comedic timing and can be sweet and enduring when he wants to be. If this guy can get his ass in the right rom-com and role, he may be destined for leading man material, which he sort of is here, but I mean on his own when he isn’t the co-writer/director. Tom Arnold plays his federal marshal buddy that just never seems to be able to do anything, without effin’ it up one way or another and the scenes where it’s just him being a goof-ball, sometimes left me in stitches. It’s been awhile since I last saw Tom Arnold in a big-budget, Hollywood movie like this (if you want to call it that) and it’s great to see that he can still deliver on being wacky and funny.
Perhaps the easiest favor that Shepard had to call up from anyone in this entire cast was in fact, his girlfriend in this movie and in real-life, Kristen Bell. I bet you are all pretty surprised to see that this gorgeous woman has been going out with this weirdo for the past 5 years, and you honestly have to be thinking to yourself, “Why?”. Well, after seeing this movie I have to say, “Ohhh, now I see why!”. It’s pretty obvious that these two have a genuine chemistry and love in real-life, because it spills out so well in this film whenever they are together just being themselves, or discussing what it takes to be in a relationship with another person which may seem really strange since it’s in a movie like this, but still works because these two have an emotional honesty between that feels real, as if you’re almost watching a real-life couple right in front of your eyes. In a way, you are, but this film offers them a lot more challenges in their respective acting departments that anybody has ever seen from either of them. As for Bell herself, she’s lovely as usual and it makes it better that she seems to be having a whole lot of fun playing chase with her boyfriend and pals.
The one that really steals the show in this whole cast is probably Bradley Cooper who seems to really lovin’ life playing an against-type role as the murderous thug, with really bad dreadlocks that makes him look more like the wrestler Raven from his WWF days, than actually intimidating. We’ve all seen Cooper do the villainous act before, but never quite like this to where the guy seems to really be having a ball just being mean, brutal, and a little weird as well. Cooper always has some great comedic timing with everything he does but I think his best showing of that is his one scene where he admits to why he’s come after Shepard after all of this time. To top it all off, he’s a fellow Philadelphian and that makes me feel a whole lot prouder to show him my love and support. Go Bradley!
Consensus: Definitely does not start off on the right foot and can be a bit uneven throughout, but when Hit & Run does gets itself moving, it’s a wild, cool, funny, and entertaining ride that seems like everybody had a ball making regardless of how much money they spent, and/or thought that they were going to make back. They’re simply making movies, to make movies. What’s so wrong with that?!?
Why can’t these guys do more comedies like this?
John (Owen Wilson) and his buddy Jeremy (Vince Vaughn) are emotional criminals who know how to use a woman’s hopes and dreams for their own carnal gain. And their modus operandi? Crashing weddings. Normally, they meet guests who want to toast the romantic day with a random hook-up. But when John meets Claire (Rachel McAdams), he discovers what true love — and heartache — feels like.
Here’s a film that has been in my mind ever since it first came out. I remember when I was in fifth grade and I always used to watch this with my buddies, and we would laugh our asses off like a bunch of hyenas, even though half of the shit these people said in this film, were stuff we had no idea about. The only thing that mattered is that it was dirty stuff and that was cool.
What works with Wedding Crashers is just how damn funny it is. The humor here is raunchy but the whole time it had me laughing my ass off by just how witty these one-liners were. When I was watching the film, I couldn’t help but quote lines like “Baba ganoush!”, or “lock it up!”, and even the “people helping people” speech that we get. I love when I can quote films and still laugh at the quotes even though I have seen this film about 15 times. Yes, I have been counting.
The film is essentially broken up into three parts – the hour where we are at the Summer House and the two half-hours where we are not. Everything in this one hour at the Summer House works incredibly well and had me laughing non-stop because that feeling of just being around this one family, where everyone’s a little kooky in their own way and nothing seems to be going right for one person, but does for the other, is always funny in my book.
The only problem with this film is that by the last act, the film starts to get terribly and I do repeat terribly over-dramatic. Throughout the film, there were these little montages of Wilson and McAdams falling in loooooove, which I thought was incredibly stupid and annoying but when the last act showed up and then you have the dumb-ass speech where you’re all lovey-dovey and saying sorry all-over-the-place, that’s where this film lost me and had me totally annoyed. I usually hate it when films do this and this was even worse considering how funny that one hour was, and everything else is basically chuckle-worthy.
I have to say though that the real show to watch in this film is definitely Vince Vaughn as Jeremy. I wouldn’t say that this is on par with his debut in Swingers but I will say that his performance here is just hilarious because he does that “speak 100 miles a minute” thing that he’s so good at and probably has some of the most funny if not memorable scenes of the whole film. The film would have still been pretty funny without him, but having Vince there just makes everything so much better and funnier.
Owen Wilson is pretty good too as John, but then again he’s just playing Owen Wilson so there’s no real stretch there for him, acting wise; Bradley Cooper is totally dickish as Sack, a name that just screams dick head; Isla Fisher is insane but hilarious as Gloria; Rachel McAdams is sort of in a whole entirely different film as Claire; and Jane Seymour is a hot and sexy mama as Kathleen, Claire and Gloria’s cougar mommy. I don’t really have much to say about her performance other than the fact that she is just hot!
Oh, and Christoper Walken is here too as the daddy. However, I don’t need to mention how awesome he is.
Consensus: With some very funny moments, tip-top comedic performances from the cast, and a big list of quotable lines, Wedding Crashers is a sure comedy classic but with the last half-hour, when things start to get a little too over-long and serious, that’s when my happiness started to run away.
They effed up again, but really bad this time. Bad bad.
In this sequel to The Hangover, the buddies from the earlier film’s bachelor party reunite for a wedding trip to Thailand where one of them, Stu Price (Ed Helms), is planning to tie the knot. Stu is determined that his own pre-wedding party should be a restrained and dignified affair, but between the habits of his friends and the multiple distractions of Bangkok, fate has other plans in store for him.
Look at that premise, and tell me if there is anything different there from the first one. Take a second….one more…OK. Nothing has changed at all for that premise other than the fact that they are not in Las Vegas, they are all randomly in Bangkok, which is not even a fun place to be it seems.
Before I start, I just want to say that I did find myself chuckling at moments. I laughed at the little gags in between breaks, and the beginning actually had me laughing many times throughout, but then the film really started to drag.
The writing here is terribly lazy and doesn’t add much of the joy or creativity that was within the first. Director and co-writer Todd Phillips doesn’t do much different here other then practically remake the first one which I can’t really blame him for trying to capitalize on that success, but at the same time, at least give me something remotely funny. There’s too many times where this film just goes “Oh my gosh! Remember this happened in the first!?! Let’s do it again, but this time have the characters say: “I can’t believe this is happening again”!”.
Added to this film is a more grittier and darker tone which I was not expecting, and didn’t really do much for this film. The film tries to create more and more crazier situations as it goes along which the first film did, but there’s no real fun while they get from one place to another. I guess I just wasn’t surprised when all these major plot points popped up because everything is terribly predictable, but there are long stretches of little or no comedy here, and it really was annoying because I remember that I was already pissing my pants within the first 10 minutes of the first one.
The Wolf Pack here though is the real treat to watch and actually save this film from eternal damnation. Bradley Cooper is always good as the kind of slimy, but always cool Phil. Ed Helms is an absolute riot here as Stu once again, and does almost everything in his will to keep the laughs coming. Zach Galifianakis is very very strange this time around as Alan and without him, the laughs really don’t start coming until he’s up on-screen. The guys still play off of each other so well, and even when the script is lacking in actual “fun”, these guys do all they can to bring more of it to their scenes together. Ken Jeong as Chow is in it more and kind of gets over-done big-time. Paul Giamatti is randomly here as well, and does nothing remotely funny in a role that could have been used by a C-list actor and it wouldn’t have made that much of a difference. I wish they put more of Justin Bartha in here though and actually let him be involved with The Wolf Pack because he’s as funny as any of these guys, and also Mason Lee is just terribly forgettable as the future brother-in-law. Still wish Mel Gibson and Liam Neeson got those cameos!
Consensus: There is a more darker, meaner, and grittier tone than the first, but there are still not as many surprises nor as many of actual humor here at all. The Hangover: Part II is just a remake of the first with a few chuckles, but nothing else really new to bring to the table.
The film that almost every teenager in high school quotes.
When three friends (Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis and Bradley Cooper) finally come to after a raucous night of bachelor-party revelry, they find a baby in the closet and a tiger in the bathroom. But they can’t seem to locate their best friend, Doug (Justin Bartha) — who’s supposed to be tying the knot. Launching a frantic search for Doug, the trio perseveres through a nasty hangover to try to make it to the church on time.
This is a film I have seen numerous times, and each time I have always laughed more and more than the other, but never have I actually had the time to write down a review for this. Finally, I got it all down on paper, or computer.
The film is directed by Todd Phillips, of Old School fame, and I must say he hasn’t lost that comedic touch but here he put’s a spin on premise that has been time and time before, and make it something hilarious but also interesting. This has a sort of Reservoir Dogs feel to it, where you don’t actually see the event that the whole film centers on, until later on, but that makes you apart of actually piecing together what happened, which is really a lot of the fun.
Though, it’s not all about the plot really, it’s more about all the non-stop jokes that go on throughout this whole film, that has had people quoting it for the past 2 years now, and when that will ever stop is something I don’t have the answer to. The best thing about this screenplay is that it knows what it is, it’s not trying to do anything different, or smart, it’s just raunchy, gross-out, and sometimes smart dude humor that always works. Almost every single line here is instantly quotable, and will have you laughing about it for days.
My only complain for this film is that the whole resolution to this film seemed a little dumb. When the ending happens, this whole sweet little message comes into place, and I didn’t buy it one bit. Maybe it’s just me who actually cared about this, but I don’t know this part just seemed a little forced for me.
The whole cast here is what made this adventure through Vegas the laugh-out-loud riot that it is. This is one of the first films that put Bradley Cooper on the map, and with great reason because he’s awesome here as the slime-ball, sexy man Phil. I like how the film relies on Cooper for his good looks, but he still has that charm that makes his lines so much funnier than they may seem. Ed Helms basically plays the same dude he plays on The Office, but I must say it doesn’t fail here one bit as Stu. He starts off as this totally whipped, nerdy moodle (check it out on Urban Dictionary), but then after the party something changes within him and he’s almost like a bomb for the whole rest of the film. He’s just tick, tick, ticking away until he finally breaks loose and breaks out some of the funniest lines within the whole film. The real showcase in this film is Zach Galifianakis as the strange, and possibly-brain-damaged, Alan. I love all of Galifianakis’ stand-up, and his stuff on Funny Or Die, and watching him here bring out some of the most insane, and possibly funniest lines of the whole movie had me finally understand why he is in almost everything now. I just hope he goes back into that little cage, and stop being so over-exposed appearing in crap all over the place, especially ones like Due Date. I still want my money back by the way Zach! All three of these guys play off each-other so well, and create a realistic bro-mance that actually seems like three opposite individuals like these could actually come together on a crazy trip like this.
There is also a whole bunch of funny side acts/cameos here that will have you laughing even more once you see them. Heather Graham is just so stunning in almost everything she does, and she is very funny here. I also still do not know how she still looks like Rollergirl from Boogie Nights. And that was about 13 years ago people! I was disappointed Justin Bartha didn’t get more screen-time, because he’s always hilarious in everything he does. I laughed my ass off at every time Ken Jeong was on the screen, and is by far the best Asian gangster in film history. Also, who can forget Mike Tyson drumming out to Phil Collins? There are also some nice cameos from the likes of Mike Epps, Jeffrey Tambor, and The Dan Band.
Consensus: The Hangover is exactly what everybody says it is, a laugh-out-loud riot, with instant quotable lines, and crazy situations that will have you laughing for days on end. The perfect guy’s film with an amazing cast, that will keep your interest the whole adventure. Let’s just hope this second one, doesn’t blow as much as I think it will.
If this pill is actually out there, I need to get better dealers.
With his writing career tanking and his girlfriend (Abbie Cornish) casting him off, ex-druggie Eddie Morra’s (Bradley Cooper) fortunes finally turn around when he’s given a mysterious drug that provides astonishing mental powers — but its deadly side effects threaten his sanity. Adding to Eddie’s misery are shadowy businessman Carl Van Loon (Robert De Niro), who wants to exploit his new genius, and the other users willing to kill for his stash.
What if there really was a drug out there that could make you use all 100% of your brain? Well, I have a feeling that I would use it to more advantage than this guy did.
Director Neil Burger does something here that should actually be rewarded, because he takes this material and brings it to life with his constant flair to the screen. He does a smart, creative job visually portraying the effects of NZT by using angles, lenses, colors, and all sorts of other effects to show how Eddie thinks and sees the world, thus putting us in the mind of him.
The only let-down is that the script doesn’t do anything spectacular and brings this film down a whole bunch of notches. I liked the social commentary here about our desire to take short cuts for self-improvement, and our obsession of instant success. There is also little tidbits here and there of humor that works, but then the film changes about half-way through and starts to become a yawn. The film seems to play a back-and-forth battle between talking about the side-effects of the drugs on Eddie, and who knows about the drugs, and wants them. These two story lines just seem conflicted and take away from the overall effect of the film and actually bring it to more predictable territory which was really a bummer. Also, there were some action scenes here that worked, but they seemed random and just put in there to keep the film entertaining.
Bradley Cooper has been going all around the film industry for awhile now looking for that perfect leading man role, and I think he may just have found it here as Eddie Morra. We never seen Cooper play a slobby loser, but he totally pulls it off making for a great contrast to him on NZT which showcases Cooper’s talents as a smooth-talking and charming handsome devil. By the end of the film, I don’t know what they were trying to do with Eddie here, because it’s like they were wondering if he’s a villain or not, but still Cooper proves that he can be a leading man, possibly a great one. Abbie Cornish has a couple of scenes here and there, and she does a good job, I just wish she was a little more rounded than the screenplay had her out to be. Robert De Niro has done some pretty crap movies lately, but Limitless uses his mobster persona well with him controlling every scene he’s in. It’s not a perfect performance by any means, but it just shows that signature stage presence that De Niro has and uses oh so well.
Consensus: Director Neil Burger uses a lot of different and crazy visuals to effectively create a state of mind when on drugs, and Bradley Cooper is good in this lead role, but the script lets-down Limitless with its many missed opportunities, and confusing outcomes.
I guess good-looking people can find love on Valentine’s Day too.Very surprised.
In this Los Angeles-set comedy from director Garry Marshall (Pretty Woman), the tripwires of modern love are exposed in a carousel involving relationships and the single life on the most romantic day of the year: February 14. Proposals, infidelity, loneliness and more are explored.
Valentine’s Day isn’t an actual holiday, I hate to break it to all of you romantics out there. It is a lame excuse for Hallmark to sell more gift cards, flowers, and of course those dark chocolates that the person doesn’t eat. This movie is kind of like those dark chocolates.
The writers of this film have a lot of stories going on here, and in all honesty I think they only care about probably two or three here, the others are just let’s throw random big celebrities in this film. It was probably about 30 minutes into the story and I noticed that they were still introducing characters here. There is also of problems with script because it does hit almost every single rom-com cliche you can think of, but you can’t really hate on the film for that, cause it’s what you expect.
From the beginning, I knew how this was going to start, fizzle, and end. But it does have its moments of likability, and surprising charm. For this type of film you just have to take it for what it is, and that’s just a film that keeps you mildly entertained even though you know what’s going to happen in the end. Yes, some moments are just cheesy and obvious, but it all ends well in a film where you expected it too. If you also need a perfect date movie for you and your girl, just sit, watch, and laugh at this when she laughs, and you are all hers for the taking.
The cast is humongous to say the very least. There is a lot of good people such as Bradley Cooper, Julia Roberts, Anne Hathaway, Jennifer Garner, Jessica Alba, and Topher Grace among others. Also you have the funny side performers that aren’t really doing anything but just there to make you laugh: George Lopez, Queen Latifah, Hector Elizondo, and Shirley MacLaine. And then there’s the awfully random: Jamie Foxx, Taylor Lautner, and Taylor Swift, who was actually surprisingly funny. All the performance I guess are good, which is what brings out more likability within the film, but some stories aren’t given enough time to develop so their just kind of left out to dry.
Consensus: Basically what you have here is Hollywood trying to make big bucks by having A-list beautiful people, a simple premise, and a lot of rom-com cliches, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a little bit entertaining and harmless.
If only this film actually rocked as hard as it looked.
“The Rocker” is Robert “Fish” Fishman (Rainn Wilson), the drummer for an eighties hair band. He’s living the rock n’ roll dream… until he is kicked out of the group. Twenty years later, the desperate rocker joins his nephew’s band, ADD, finally reclaiming the rock-god throne he’s always thought he deserved – while taking his much younger band-mates along for the ride of their lives.
This little old film came out back by the end of summer 08, and literally went by, and no one caught it. I have always had a soft spot for films that combine humor with rock (School of Rock, This is Spinal Tap), but this film doesn’t seem to deliver on either ends.
The one thing I did enjoy about this film is that it is a good ride. There is a lot of rockin’ music, and some decent funny moments to hold you down, so if you like movies that will at least hold your attention for a bit, this is the film.
However, it still didn’t seem like anything was right with this film. The whole film had you look at it, as if it was a rock fest, but with enough heart and humor for the whole family. Well, the humor, isn’t quite for the whole family. There are many musical references that I got, cause I love music, but others watching this, 9 times out of 10, won’t, and the humor gets a little too raunchy and dirty. I wasn’t expecting a dick joke, and so much alcohol induced in the film. I mean School of Rock wasn’t the sweetest comedy ever, but it still didn’t throw in all this un-needed sex jokes.
Also, since this film was about rockin’, and rockin’ hard, I was expecting lots, and lots of that. Instead, I only got a mediocre amount of it, and they played the same songs about 3 times each. I was looking for a new fresh song from these people, not just the 3 songs that define them. There was not really insight about rock music, as there was with School of Rock. all I got from this film, was have a good time, but nothing that made me come out of this film, saying: “Yeah, I want to start a band”.
The one thing that just almost saves this film is the cast. Rainn Wilson seems like an un-likely choice for this role, but he does a good job with it, bringing a lot more energy than I expected, and providing us with a likable character. Teddy Geiger, Josh Gad, and a young Emma Stone, all are OK as the rest of the band, ADD (really bad name), but nothing spectacular. You will also spot out funny appearances from Jane Lynch, Bradley Cooper, Will Arnett, Jeff Garlin, Aziz Ansari, and an attractive, but goofy performance from Christina Applegate. They all try their hardest, but the script lets them all down.
Consensus: The Rocker may have some fun stuff with it, as well as a good cast, but it never gets off its feat, with enough rock, and humor, to satisfy all, and just becomes a cheap rip-off of School of Rock, sorry to say.
Basically it’s like the show, with steroids.
This updated feature-film take on the hit 1980s television show follows a group of Iraq War veterans on the run from U.S. military forces while they try to clear their names after being framed for a crime they didn’t commit. Along the way, Col. Hannibal Smith, Capt. H.M. “Howling Mad” Murdock , Sgt. Bosco “B.A.” Baracus and Lt. Templeton “Faceman” Peck help out various people they encounter.
I wasn’t a huge fan of the original show, but I have at least seen a couple of episodes to know what I was getting myself into.
The film works best when it’s showing it’s over-the-top action, that will totally have you getting rid of all disbelief, but at the same time will keep your eyes on the screen, cause it is a lot of fun to watch. However, the film is overly edited with CGI, and special effects, that at times did have me question, just what the hell was going on.
There are also some funny moments, however, there’s just not enough. I wish they relied a little bit more on the humor within the film’s screenplay, rather than clunking it with just a bunch of crazy ass violence.
The cast is good here, and what adds a lot more to this film, then I expected. Liam Neeson understands what movie he’s in, and makes no attempt to make his character other than a two-dimensional good guy. Bradley Cooper has the good looks, but also the charm, spot-on timing, and enthusiasm, that makes all his crazy stuff believable. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is playing Mr. T’s role, he never brings the charm of Mr. T to the role, but yet he doesn’t substitute it with anything else, so he was just basically ehh. The most risky move in this film was casting Sharlto Copley, who has only appeared in one other movie, District 9. But I’m glad they took this step, because he’s funny, crazy, and overall the best out of the whole cast. However, I wish there was more moments between these guys, where they got to show their talents off together.
Consensus: Much like tv show, The A-Team is loud, fun, and well-acted by this weird ensemble, but is too packed on with CGI, and not enough scenes of comedy that could have made this film better.
Make note not to watch this when looking for relationship advice, read the book instead.
Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore and Scarlett Johansson lead an all-star ensemble cast of characters dealing with the pitfalls of love and human interaction in this big-screen adaptation of Greg Behrendt’s best-selling book. Set in Baltimore, director Ken Kwapis’s film moves swiftly between a host of storylines brought to life by a stellar lineup of actors that also includes Jennifer Connelly, Ben Affleck, Ginnifer Goodwin and Justin Long.
The film is based off a advice book on relationships, which get this, was written by a dude, Greg Behrendt. I never have read the book, and really have no inspiration to read it anyway, since I’am just so P.I.M.P. But after watching this, never will I read it.
I had a huge problem with this film cause I could just tell by the trailer, that every single romantic dramedy cliche was going to be used. At points, the film did grab me with a couple of good points about relationships, and dating, but they were just all taken down by the obvious, “these two live happily ever after ending.” Even though some, do end up with no one, but i can’t give too much away.
This film just proves that bigger, is not always better (non-sexually). The cast is filled with a lot of great attractive stars, however none of them feel real. Just watching half of these people interact with one another just felt like they were phoning in every second just to get the huge paycheck, that will have an even better payback, cause the box-office would be so high. Only a couple of exceptions of the acting would be Jennifer Aniston who gives one great emotional scene, and Jennifer Connelly, who once again, is breaking mirrors. The best here is Ginnifer Goodwin, who is very funny, and quirky, but not without being very true to the type of character that it looks like the script wants her to be.
There are funny moments too, its just not that their funny enough. There is a really dry spot in the middle, although it does hold your attention for about 1/3 of the movie, even though it drops it later.
Consensus: He’s Just Not That into You, could have been an important film about relationships, instead is dry, cliched beyond belief, and has some charming performances, but most seem wooden.
The greatest night of your lives just happened but you can’t remember a thing. This is how badly that sucks.
The main plot follows four friends who travel to Las Vegas for a bachelor party,only to wake up the next morning not remembering a thing and missing the groom, whose wedding is scheduled to occur the next day. The three friends that are left over try to track down the groom through asking questions and finding more and more clues to hopefully finding the groom in time for the wedding.
The great thing in the movie is we do not see what happens that night we are either told or we just wonder. That is what gives this film the full mystery and kept me guessing throughout. The absurdity of the situation is backed by raunchy behavior that could’ve spiraled out of control, but thankfully doesn’t.
The trailers totally fooled me into thinking that this was another frat boy movie that was made for 17 year old or possibly even younger. For this movie however, that is not the case. The comedy is more sophisticated and more adulta and surprisingly not too sexed up.The screenplay is very clever and hilarious and it has the right actors to deliver the lines.
This movie was directed by Todd Phillips who is also known for Old School and Road Trip, and a lot of the similarity’s are shown. However this films comedy seems more mature than both, and is more likely to be more of a classic because of its ways not too become too raunchy.
The performances from this cast is great as well. The cast may not be so big named but they are very well-picked for each role and all do great. The one I was most surprised by was Ed Helms, of The Office fame, does really step out of his shadow from The Office and really does shine, and proves he can act in a big time movie. The other funny thing about the cast is that the cameos from people such as Heather Graham and Mike Tyson were all shown just to add on to the story and show their charm, and I highly respected that.
Their were however some parts that I had a problem with. I didn’t enjoy how they would just show an ass or a penis shot just for the sake of humor. But more of that nervous humor that doesn’t shock me anymore with just seeing a penis. Yeah its raunchy but not funny nor shocking any longer.
This film is hilarious from start to end. Although there were some forced laughs I thought the performances are great and each star delivers on a great and clever script. It is better and also in a way smarter than Old School.