Even without guns and cars, I’d still be pretty freakin’ scared to go toe-to-toe with a gangster from the 1800′s. Especially, if they were in-character the whole time.
Taking place in New York City around the 19th Century, the son of a gang leader named Amsterdam Vallon (Leonardo DiCaprio) comes back to his hometown in order to avenge his father’s death. He plans to do this by killing the leader of the Natives, a simple and kind fellow named Bill Cutting (Daniel Day-Lewis). By the way, the “simple and kind” statement, was bullshit. The guys fuckin’ crazy.
Apparently, this was a “dream project” for director Martin Scorsese for about 5 or 6 years that took longer than he expected to actually get made. Like all dream projects we have in our minds, we joggle them around forever, and actually crash-down to reality and realize, “oh shit, this is going to take longer than I ever wanted to”. Yeah, even directors feel that way and yes, even Marty Scorsese apparently too. It was reported to cost over 100 million dollhairs, took months and months to build actual sets of the film, needed to go through tons of editing, and was released in December of 2002, a year later than it originally had planned. Usually when this kind of crap happens, this usually shows trouble with the overall film quality, regardless of who the actual director is. Thankfully, Marty is unlike any other and that’s all that matters.
What I liked most about this flick is how Marty tackles the same exact style of gangsters, crooks, and bastards in the 1880′s, the same way he would with the ones of the 1900′s. There’s a very fast-paced essence and feel to the whole film that keeps you on-edge as to what’s going to happen next, what characters are going to be finito by the end, and when this final-battle between the two opposing sides is actually going to occur. Now, does it look and feel like an actual Scorsese flick? Not really, but that’s what’s so interesting about the guy. He’s able to change-up certain trademarks he has about himself and give a new story, a whole different type of look and feel you wouldn’t quite expect from him. It does get pretty damn violent at times, so there’s the obvious trademark for ya, but regardless of how many trademarks are shown in here, it’s still pretty damn entertaining to watch even if you have seen it over 5 times and can calculate everything now, like yours truly.
However, as many times as I have sat-down and watched this 2-and-a-half-hour-movie and been entertained by it, I still can’t deny that there lies a whole butt-load of problems brewing beneath the surface. First of all, one of the biggest hints that this film was going to have trouble with itself was the fact that it has three writers working on it (Jay Cocks, Steve Zaillian, Kenneth Lonergan). Usually, that spells out trouble and that’s exactly what we get here as this film tackles a bit more than it can get away with. In fact, it actually seems like these writers were all given different subjects to write about, understand, and bring back to Marty so they could make one, big, and long epic about life in NYC in the 1800′s. That idea, in case you were confused by what I was saying, does not work here as it’s too many ideas, with too little of a pay-off.
The whole idea is about gangs that hide out and cause havoc in New York, which makes a compelling and entertaining watch on it’s own, but then, once you add all of those other ingredients in, it get’s a bit over-stuffed to the point of where you have no freakin’ clue what this movie is trying to talk about or even convey. Is is about a young dude getting revenge on the guy who murdered his dad? Yes, well, sort of. Is it about a possible “romance” between this young dude and untrustworthy gal? Yes, well, sort of. Is it about the history of New York in the 1800′s? Yes, well, sort of. Is it about the war and how everybody had to take part in it? Yes, well, sort of. Or, is this flick all about how politics usually came into play with the gangs and how they all acted around one another? Once again, yes, well, sort of. As you can tell, this film touches on too many subjects, adds in too many subplots, and juggles too many ideas, which shouldn’t have been such a huge problem, given the time-limit offered to the script, but somehow it just does not work altogether and seems jumbled around like the best bits of an musician’s career. However, these “best bits”, aren’t really the best. They’re slightly mediocre to say the least.
Probably the most compelling story of all should have been the whole revenge tale with this young dude going after the man that killed his father when he was a child and he vowed at nothing to stop him from succeeding at that. However, that whole story seems a bit half-baked considering we barely get to see the young dude with his father as a kid; barely get to see how all of this has an effect on him as an slightly older dude and constantly being in that man’s presence; and barely get any tension except for the last 20 minutes where everything really comes into play. And heck, even that final stand-off doesn’t really count, for reasons I can’t state.
Speaking of the ending, some people freakin’ despise it and count it as one of the worst of all-time (and once you see it, you’ll know why), but I actually thought it was a pretty clever way to allow it to tie into history and give it more of an importance in terms of how we view New York City now, and how it really was. Yeah, it wasn’t the best way that a genius like Scorsese could come-up with and yeah, it may have dropped the ball on some fun and excitement, but it still was pretty neat to see how everything was going to be tied around in a nice little bow at the end. It comes off as a nice reminder that NYC has history and is a beautiful place to live, which was an idea that some people may have brushed-off to the sides during the lean days of ’02.
Despite all of this bad talk, I still had a lot more fun with this flick because of the performances from an impressive ensemble that Marty always has a knack for casting well. Leonardo DiCaprio proves he is able to take on a stronger, more dramatic role as a young kid going through a bit of a crisis and makes Amsterdam a believable, and compelling character to watch. It’s also better since the guy is easy to get behind and can practically kick anybody’s ass, but doesn’t get too in-over-his-head like most characters of this same-exact convention usually do. The kid may not always have a huge ounce of charm to his look and personality, but it’s Leo, and the guy is always great to watch on-screen and you can’t help but root for Amsterdam as things start to go from better-to-worse, sooner than later. Then, there’s Cameron Diaz, who I am not a very big fan of but is serviceable in a role that could have easily gone to any other actress and still been as good or entertaining. That’s not really a good thing or bad thing, it’s just that her character doesn’t offer much to really intrigue you and Diaz doesn’t help us with that much, either.
But despite these two, the one who really steals the show is none other than the man, the myth, the effin’ crazy man who stayed in-character the whole time during the making of this flick: Daniel Day-Lewis as Bill Cutting, or as my dad likes him to be referred to as, Bill the Butcher. Cutting is a very fun character to watch and the fact that he’s played by Daniel Day just makes him all the more compelling to keep your eye on as every chance he gets, he proves to you why this guy can never be trusted and why so many damn people in the city fear him for the things he can do. Cutting is a bit caricaturish, but Daniel Day makes sure it doesn’t get too over-the-top and strangely, keeps the guy human and believable in his own, sadistic way. There’s the one memorable scene that really touched me where he’s talking to Amsterdam about the only man that was worth remembering that he killed (Amsterdam’s father) and it gives us a wonderful look-see into a man that does some pretty terrible and evil things, but still feels something for the people he kills, even if they are his biggest enemies. Daniel Day is electrifying in this role and makes it all the more fun to watch, but sadly, he is probably the only interesting character of the bunch, and he’s the freakin’ bad-guy you’re supposed to despise!
Consensus: Gangs of New York struggles with way too many ideas, themes, and a bunch of plot-points that never come fully-realized, but has a very entertaining feel and vibe to it, that places you in this setting of New York City during the 1800′s, and features compelling performances from everybody involved, including the magnetic Daniel Day-Lewis as Bill Cutting/the Butcher.
7 / 10 = Rental!!
Getting knocked up sucks but I guess the sex is fun, right?
This is a look at love through the eyes of five interconnected couples experiencing the thrills and surprises of having a baby, and ultimately coming to understand the universal truth that no matter what you plan for, life doesn’t always deliver what’s expected.
Once again, Hollywood has decided to give us a whole slew of stars and jam them into one rom-com. However, it’s not as bad as New Year’s Eve or Valentine’s Day and Gary Marshall isn’t direction so that’s good, right?
Going into this flick, I wasn’t expecting much (pun), probably because I’m a dude and dudes don’t care about all of that pregnant ish except for if the baby is theirs or not. Hate to say it, but it’s true fellas. But I was pleasantly surprised by this flick and I think a lot of that has to do with director Kirk Jones‘ way of giving every story a purpose of their own. I’m glad that this flick focused more on one certain issue to connect all of these characters with, rather than just one day or some stupid holiday, but I’m also glad that the flick didn’t really fall into the pit-falls of absolute cheese that most of Marshall’s did. Each story has their own bits and pieces of humor, but they also have some heart to it that sometimes feels fake, and other times doesn’t. It’s definitely a mixed bag here but I think I’m just going to go off and talk about each of the stories individually, rather than focusing on all of them at the same time. Let’s see what I can do here.
1) The one story between Anna Kendrick and Chace Crawford, was a story that was interesting at first, then continued to lose more and more steam as it went along. The whole idea of these two having a one-night stand and wondering whether or not they’re a good fit for the other, is a pretty interesting story in and of itself, but whenever the flick focuses on it, it starts to become a major downer and just took my mind off of it more and more. It’s the one story that doesn’t go the obvious route, but that wasn’t really a good thing considering how the film handled it. Crawford doesn’t seem like he’s better than this material, but Kendrick does and that’s what really sucks to see because this damn chick was nominated for an Oscar about 3 years ago! Come on Anna!
2) The other story about Cameron Diaz hooking up with her reality show dance partner, played by Matthew Morrison, is not necessarily a downer as it’s more just bland and uninteresting every time it’s up on-screen. Diaz is a reliable actress when it comes to comedy, but Morrison seems so damn stiff with her on-screen that he makes it seem like he’s scared to be around her. Then again, I would be too, considering all they do throughout this flick is bicker and fight about stupid shit. Maybe this is how real-life couples act whenever one in the relationship is pregnant, but here, they almost never seem stop and it’s a real wonder as to how the hell these two will do when they have to worry and care about another life. Glad they weren’t my parents and it would suck even more considering I still have a chance with Diaz. I know it. She knows it. We all know it. The chick just has to come to her senses, that’s all.
3) Another story that was pretty lame was between Jennifer Lopez and Rodrigo Santoro, who both play a couple that can’t have a baby, so they decide to adopt one from Ethiopia. Lopez is good, but seems like she was trying too hard to gain some laughs and Santoro also seemed very stiff every time he was around. Actually, I think the problem with his performance is that I couldn’t really understand him all that much with his Spanish accent that makes him sound like he is just learning English. Then again, maybe he is and maybe I’m just a dick. This story is also a downer and one I didn’t really care about but got so much better whenever they focused on Santoro hanging out with the “Dudes Group” with Rob Huebel, Thomas Lennon, Amir Talai, and Chris Rock as the leader of the park. Every time these guys were on-screen, I always laughed and that’s mainly because of Chris Rock. This guy always, no matter what flick he’s in, shows that he can get at least one laugh out of the crowd before the camera goes black (another pun intended), and even though he’s confined in PG-13 territory here, he still delivers on all of the laughs. Funny stuff with these guys but I just wish they did more of that and eliminated the whole J-Lo story altogether.
4) Probably my favorite story out of the whole flick, and maybe even the one that’s worth the price of admission alone, was the one with Elizabeth Banks and Ben Falcone, who play a couple that seems to be really struggling with pregnancy because of Banks’ hormones going up-and-down all of the damn time. Both of these stars are hilarious throughout this whole flick and made me laugh with everything they did, whereas about 5 other stars from this cast probably would have made me jump off of a bridge by how hard they tried. Banks is always reliable when it comes to comedy, but it’s Falcone who really surprised me as he showed he had great comedic timing (something else that I saw from him in Bridesmaids) and could make you care for his character just by being the sweet guy. These two have great chemistry together and easily won my heart over. Whenever they introduced the story-line between Falcone’s dad, played by Dennis Quaid, and his much-younger wife (Brooklyn Decker), I also laughed even though I think they forced the whole “dad and son are constantly in competition” thing a little too much but it still worked because Quaid and Decker both have fine comedic timing. This story was the best and even when it gets into dramatic territory by the end, it surprisingly worked which was something I wasn’t expecting from a movie like this at all.
Consensus: What to Expect When You’re Expecting is a very passable flick with some moments of genuine comedy and heart, but also isn’t very original in the way it offers a look at pregnancy and all of the problems that come along with it. My idea: get rid of every story, except for Banks and Falcone’s story, combine that with the “Dudes Group”, and keep the father angle with Quaid and Decker, and you got comedy gold. Or at least something that’s ten times better than those Gary Marshall flicks.
It seems like Todd Phillips must really like some Hunter S. Thompson himself.
Raoul Duke (Johnny Depp) and his Samoan lawyer, Dr. Gonzo (Benicio Del Toro), go on a three-day romp from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. Motoring across the Mojave Desert on the way to Sin City, Duke and his purple haze passenger ingest a cornucopia of drugs ranging from acid to ether.
After seeing ‘The Rum Diary‘ for the bore that it was, I realized that I needed to see the one and only Depp and Thompson connection that everybody’s been talking about for so long. Thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed.
I haven’t really been all that familiar with a lot of Hunter S. Thompson‘s stuff but I can say that from what I know and hear, his shit is really crazy and out-of-this-world. This film is really freakin’ weird and it’s all about the insanely-real, and drug-influenced nightmares that go through this guy’s head when he’s taking LSD, coke, and some other crazy stuff that I didn’t even know existed. The whole film feels like a pretty long acid trip, which is much thanks to director Terry Gilliam.
Gilliam is great at these very eccentric and trippy set pieces that really get inside of your head and wonder just if what you are looking at is real, or all just a dream/imagination. Gilliam makes from what I hear pretty unfilmable stuff, and makes it damn realistic but not without making a lot of these drug-induced nightmares very funny and just very crazy to watch. Gilliam was the perfect choice for this type of film and even though this definitely isn’t the type of film that will make you wanna do some drugs, there is still a lot here that shows what it’s like to be on drugs and just how effed up your perception of reality can actually be.
The problem I think this film has is that a lot of the tone feels a bit uneven. Everything starts off all hilarious and very funny, without any type of real judgment on these dudes and all of the shameful things they do when they are completely drugged up, but that all starts to go away by the end of the film and that’s when it gets pretty dark. It blends right into this depressing kind of a film that doesn’t try to throw any messages about how “drugs are bad” at you, but to me, this still seemed a bit weird considering I spent the whole time just practically laughing at all these dudes.
I also feel like the film is a little too long and some scenes could have definitely been cut out, even though it seems like they were just going along with the material. The whole angle with the little, church girl seemed random and unneeded, and the diner scene where Gonzo totally gets big and nasty seemed very out-of-place for a film like this. It was a little too serious, a little too dark, and a little too sad to be placed in a movie where two guys are just tripped out the whole entire time.
Despite those little problems though, I still had a blast with this film, mainly because of the cast. Johnny Depp is the freakin’ man and totally crazy as Raoul Duke. Depp, as we all know, is perfect at playing these eccentric and cartoonish characters, and what he does here not only made me laugh but just watch his whole performance with happiness knowing just how great he really is with these sort of characters. Benicio del Toro is also totally convincing and crazy too as Dr. Gonzo. They are both great together and it’s funny how two completely different actors with two different styles, can come together on a film and just make everything seem like their having a great time with their roles.
Let me also not forget to mention that there are also tons and tons of cameos from a bunch of A-listers and random celebrities such as Ellen Barkin, Tobey Maguire, Christina Ricci, Flea, Lyle Lovett, Cameron Diaz, and even the man himself, Hunter S. Thompson. Oh and then there’s also Garey Busey, but he’s barely ever hard to miss in any film.
Consensus: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas has its fair share of being too long and too uneven, but at other times, still has a direction from Gilliam that is beautifully trippy and inspired, and the cast just makes this whole bizarr-o film seem real without getting too serious.
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Too many reminders of Vanilla Sky.
Perpetually unlucky in love, June (Cameron Diaz) becomes intrigued by a mysterious man (Tom Cruise), who unexpectedly drags her into a whirlwind adventure involving devious enemies, life-threatening confrontations and a major discovery that may alter the future of humankind.
Already by seeing this plot, you know just exactly how it’s going to begin, continue, and then finally end. But usually, it doesn’t matter if it’s formula. It’s all about the ride itself.
Director James Mangold knows what he’s doing when it comes to creating some fun action. Mangold keeps the pace moving at a breezy movement with just enough hits of whimsy and action to keep anybody satisfied. The action sequences may go on too long, however, I still liked a lot of them and they actually made up for a lot of the weak parts of the story.
There are also some beautiful exotic locations here that Mangold takes us to such as Spain, Germany, and Austria. The story may go all-over-the-place but with a lot of these great spots that the film goes towards, you really can’t help yourself but gaze at the beautiful scenery itself.
For me, I didn’t think this film was really that funny and that it tried way too hard to get laughs out of the person watching. The film tries to be goofy and a romp on all those old spy-flick thrillers, but none of it really works since it just seems like they will take 5 minutes to actually get a joke out. Maybe I chuckled once or twice, but other than that, I was just annoyed by how annoying this film could be with it’s comedy, or lack thereof.
Although the action was good, I couldn’t help but be terribly annoyed by the fact that the CGI here was pretty blatant. I wish that a lot more of the action was just actual stunts and if they were going to use actual special effects, that they would look a lot better rather than just a bunch of crappy effects they used off of a DELL computer. You’ll be able to tell the special effects from the actual action happening here, but it’s a lot more of an annoyance than you would expect.
Tom Cruise is an actor that seems like at the beginning of every film he does, I’m going to be terribly annoyed by his character and I almost never am. His performance here as Roy Miller is pretty fun to watch because he’s got that cool charm, that mannish look, and that mysterious thing about him that just has you wondering what he’s going to do next. Cameron Diaz does that smile and laugh gig that she’s been doing forever, but it’s not so bad here and she’s pretty charming as well as June Havens. Their chemistry works as I would come to expect from these two pros and may actually get the film through some of it’s more rocky parts. The rest of the cast is good too such as Viola Davis, Peter Sarsgaard, the sexy Maggie Grace, and the always dorky Paul Dano.
Consensus: The comedy doesn’t work as well as the CGI, but the chemistry between Cruise and Diaz, the beautiful locations that are shown, and the fun action action make this an OK, action date movie.
Wish more of my teachers were and looked like this.
Cameron Diaz stars as Elizabeth Halsey, a scheming and coarse-tongued middle school teacher who gets dumped by her wealthy boyfriend and rebounds by sinking her claws into a handsome substitute teacher (Justin Timberlake). There’s just one problem, though: He’s already dating Amy Squirrel (Lucy Punch), the most revered teacher on campus. And Ms. Squirrel is not at all eager to hand over her beau, who is slated to inherit his family’s fortune.
Once everybody heard the title and saw the trailer for this, they automatically thought of “Bad Santa”, and how hilarious this one was going to be compared to that one. No comparison.
Considering how much promise this film held due to its premise and cast involved, nothing here really had me laughing as much as I expected it too. This is basically a one-joke movie, but there are different variations of that joke being told, but it just didn’t work here as it has with other films.
I found myself chuckling a little bit at this material but here it was just too predictable at times for me. I knew where this film was going to go right from looking at the trailer, but I still got barely any surprises here, as far as comedy goes. With so many R-rated comedies gunning for that raunchy and just plain nasty kind of humor, this film doesn’t really seem to push the envelope at all and way more outrageous than what it really was in the end.
However, I have to give the film some love in the end because when it seems like it’s going to turn all around and get incredibly sympathetic, it stays mean and nasty surprisingly. I liked this because with so many comedies, the sympathy usually works and sometimes it doesn’t. If they got sympathetic with the material here it would have felt strange and forced but surprisingly they kept staying mean and although the laughs weren’t coming like I expected them to, I appreciate at how dark a film can stay.
Cameron Diaz has never been the funniest thing in Hollywood, and here with this role she had so much promise of being the comedic force that so many people have wanted for years. Sadly, she isn’t anything special. She gets into the role very well as Ms. Halsey, and it isn’t that she’s mis-cast, it’s just that none of the real comedy comes from her character and I don’t know who’s fault that it, but it could have been done so much better really.
However, the rest of the cast is awesome. Justin Timberlake is good as the very preppy Mr. Delacorte; Lucy Punch is very strange but funny as the competitive teacher; Phyllis Smith is good as another teacher; and John Michael Higgins has his very funny moments as the school principal.
The best in the cast for this whole film is a guy who is barely even in it, but when he is just had me laughing my ass off. Jason Segel is basically the voice of reason as the school’s gym teacher, and almost every time feels like he’s part of a different movie. All this crazy and insane shit is happening all around with this story, and this guy is just hanging around, wise-cracking up a storm, and delivers his line like a champ while it seems everyone else is trying so hard around him.
Consensus: Here and there, Bad Teacher had me laughing, but not as much as I thought it would have because it goes into predictable, if not cheesy territories, and just doesn’t really push the envelope when it comes to it’s comedy. Still, the cast makes this a somewhat enjoyable dark comedy.
I thought Tom Cruise was confused in Eyes Wide Shut, but damn was I wrong!
David Aames (Tom Cruise) has it all: wealth, good looks and a gorgeous woman (Cameron Diaz) on his arm. But just when he’s found true love with warmhearted Sofia (Penélope Cruz), his face is horribly disfigured in a car accident, and he loses everything … or does he?
Vanilla Sky is directed by Cameron Crowe, and this is a remake of a Spanish film called Open Your Eyes. Once again, an American director is remaking a foreign classic, however, this is not so bad compared to others of that demographic.
I think my favorite element of this film is Crowe’s direction. It seemed kind of odd having his guy direct this type of material, but he has a bigger budget this time, and he spends it all so dearly. The film starts off all normal, with a sensational shot of a deserted Times Square, but then the car accident happens, and that’s when shit gets out of whack. However, it’s also so well done.
The film gets a lot of ish talked on it because it doesn’t make all that much sense the first time around, but that’s because you won’t be able to get it really the first time around. It’s one of those films that right from the beginning you have to pay close attention to every little detail, because they eventually will come back up later in the film. I also found myself finding a lot of beauty within this film, and some shots are just so perfect the way they look, and gets you this idea that you are in dream-like state of some sort. There are little clues to the real idea behind this whole story that you kind of have to look at, and at first you’ll be totally confused but if you can look past all the confusion and look at the clues underneath it all, you’ll find a real, brilliant message from the story.
The message is that the world we live in, is it just a dream, and if so how far do our dreams go, until they become nightmares. David Aames is a douche who thinks he’s got it all, but then in a quick second he loses it all, and creates this world of fiction where everything is perfect, and means something. What does reality consist of? This film searches for those answers and although they may not be telling you them right in the open to your face, it’s the idea of looking at everything and thinking is where the real beauty of this film lies.
My only gripe with this film is that I do feel like their are times where the film loses itself. Especially the ending since it kind of gives everything in a way that we aren’t really expecting. I feel like Crowe gives too much of a conclusion to this story and the reason as to what is happening, but somehow you can’t be too sure really. This is a minor complaint, because even though I feel like I have the whole story already thought out, I can’t be too sure honestly.
Tom Cruise does a lot with David Aames here, and it’s not easy stuff to do in the first place. Cruise has to play this narcissistic asshole, that goes through a whole bunch of transformations as he starts to have no idea just exactly what the hell is going on. His character gains a lot of depth, and many of the more emotionally intriguing scenes are from Cruise, and his crazy, balls-to-the-walls performance. Penelope Cruz is very likable here as Sofia, and you can see why Cruise’s character fell in love with her after all. Cameron Diaz is sickly sexual as Julianna, and brings out the films best performance because her character is so disturbing, and crazy that you almost feel like she is a big nightmare. There’s also some nice little side performances from the likes of Jason Lee, Kurt Russell, Timothy Spall, and the always creepy in any film Tilda Swinton.
Consensus: It may be too ambitious at points, but Cameron Crowe’s fearless direction brings out intelligent points about dreams, the life we live, among others, and the performance add more dimensions to this film than you expect.
Football is a lot more messed up than I thought.
Master director Oliver Stone crafted this look at the gritty world of professional football, capturing the trials and tribulations of the fictional Miami Sharks, a team beset by unnecessary roughness on and off the field. Stone’s brilliant ensemble cast includes Al Pacino, Jamie Foxx, Cameron Diaz and Dennis Quaid in a full-blown assault on the senses, portraying every tackle, pass — and torn ligament — in vivid detail.
I like, and I play football. I think it’s tough, fun, and overall vicious sport that if your good at, well then be ready for the big bucks. However, sports in today’s world isn’t always the happiest place to be. Oliver Stone knows what I’m talking about.
As usual with an Oliver Stone film, this is packed and packed with a lot of information, and stories that all seem to occupy the 2 hour and 43 minute time limit. This film is very long, and I must say that if you do not want to sit by a movie for a very long time, where you may not like many of the characters, you may not want to check this film out.
There are a lot of interesting parts every once and awhile, and Stone does a great job of filming it all. The football scenes are perfect by the way they portray every hit, every cheer, every sack, and every single little piece of pain that is involved within a game of football. He also uses his crazy camera-work, that moves from story to story, and the use of loud, percussive music and rap feel like life itself and it keeps us involved with this film as well as the big game itself.
I just wish that there were more parts to this film that seemed like they were needed. I feel like Stone was putting some of these random parts in to create more compelling stories that would have us attached to all of these characters, and it just kind of got tire-some. There seemed to be more random parts then there were actually parts that were needed in this film, but I will give Stone credit for at least adding all these other elements to this film to get the full spectrum, and at least make it something easy to follow. The script isn’t so bad either, it’s just all over the place, but it is entertaining cause it shows the world we live in where the game has changed from being prideful to more commercial.
Al Pacino is perfect and exactly what his character requires: a hard-arsed, old school coach with more honor than commercial savvy. He loves the game he discovered 30 years ago and cannot face the prostitute that it has become. Dennis Quaid is great as the faded glory of the old game: tattered, bruised, bleeding and down but not quite out. Together they quantify everything that is good about sport. Cameron Diaz is surprisingly good as Al’s polar opposite: young, fiscal and dynamic. She has inherited a job she doesn’t want but cannot quit. She sees football as a game of commerce, not endeavor. She is supported by an amazing Jamie Foxx, the tough, brash youngster given a shot at the top position and grabbing it for all he’s worth. Together they quantify everything that is real about sport in the USA. I liked how the film showed how these two opposing sides faced off against each other, even though their all on the same side. It’s old school vs. new school, and you get to decide who wins in the end. There are others in this huge ensemble cast that are worth noting such as LL Cool J, James Woods, Matthew Modine, John C. McGinley, Aaron Eckhart, Lawrence Taylor, and the man himself, Jim Brown.
Consensus: Oliver Stone’s “football movie” is a bit messy and some parts don’t seem like they belong at all, but Stone’s direction that captures the perfect feel of the game, and the perfect performances of the cast make this a film that any football fan can and probably will enjoy. It will just take about 2½ hours out of your day to watch it.
Wished it just kicked more ass.
Seth Rogen plays Britt Reid, the son of the owner of one of LAs major newspapers The Daily Sentinel. After his father’s death he inherits his newspaper and meets his mechanic Kato (Jay Chou) , who is not only his mechanic but also developed weapons for Reid Sr. They then decide to take on LA’s criminal underworld by posing as bad guys while Britt using the moniker The Green Hornet. But the city’s biggest and only crime boss Chudnovski (Christoph Waltz) doesn’t like people assaulting his criminal dominance.
The Green Hornet is a film that has been moved around many times, and even though that would be a bad sign right away for some projects, this one was different. Although, not all that different really.
The film is directed by Michel Gondry who is most known for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Be Kind Rewind, and many crazy-cool music videos. This seemed like an odd film for him since it’s kind of different from what he’s used to, and to be honest I don’t think he really does much here although he tries too. I must say that he does a good job here of showing off some really cool action sequences that actually add a lot to the film. Gondry makes the scenes look cool, even though they seem rather pointless, but that distinctive flair he has it what makes it a tad better than other action sequences. I didn’t see this in 3D but I can see why they chose Gondry, cause it looked really cool in 2D, I can only image how cooler it would have looked if it went that one dimension.
However, the script is where the problem lies here. The comedy wasn’t as funny as I was expecting, because it is very inconsistent. Sometimes I found a joke that I chuckled at, other times I found myself feeling very awkward because a joke or one-liner just wouldn’t stick well, and all I could do was sit there and squirm at it. I rarely ever found myself bursting out in laughter, and that’s what disappointed me cause this film looked like it had plenty potential to be hilarious. It also had plenty times to be something new and inventive, instead it just went for the regular super-hero film route, that we have all seen time and time again. By that last act, you almost feel as if there’s too many things going on, and it just gets so wrapped up in itself.
I usually can stand Seth Rogen‘s bumbling, nerd shtick, but here he was just way too unlikable. Britt Reid is this spoiled brat, who doesn’t get all the attention that he wants, so he does mean things, and although Rogen has this signature likability to him that usually works with any character, here he just was such a dick that I couldn’t stand him after awhile. Jay Chou does a pretty good job here although he has that problem that Ken Watanabe had in Inception, and that’s we can’t quite understand what he is saying. He’s adorable (no homo), and looks like he’s got the stunt skills to actually pull all of these moves off, but it’s hard to fall in love with this character when you don’t know what is comedy, and what is not, because he isn’t all that understandable. Christoph Waltz was perfect in Inglorious Basterds playing a villain, and here he’s not so bad playing a less-than noticeable role as a villain. I liked how Waltz played Chudnovski, this hot-tempered yet insecure kingpin and gives him this goofiness that has us not take him as seriously, and I think that works because the film doesn’t really take him seriously also. Cameron Diaz’s character, Lenore, was a character that I think they could have left out, but with her scenes, you can tell she’s trying her hardest and does alright. And who cannot forget cameos from James Franco and Edward Furlong, who plays a meth addict, and actually looks like he’s been trying some as well.
Consensus: The Green Hornet has moments of fun, with good comedy and stylish action, but the script lets down this cast, and promised us a new take on the superhero genre, even though it turns out to be the same as they all are, and you can’t help thinking this could have been so much better given the talent involved.
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.
Damn I cannot wait till I get married, I can only hope it’s to Cameron Diaz too.
Food writer Julianne Potter (Julia Roberts) panics when she receives word that her longtime platonic pal, Michael (Dermot Mulroney), is finally getting hitched, to a debutante named Kimberly (Cameron Diaz). Realizing her true feelings for Michael, Julianne enlists assistance from her gay companion (Rupert Everett) and sets out to sabotage the wedding, making a last-minute play for her man.
This film totally took me by surprise. Here I was expecting, a really cheesy, dumb, and unfunny romantic comedy chick-flick. But as gay as I may sound I actually liked this film.
Alright folks, before you all start calling me gay, because I liked a romantic comedy starring Rupert Everett, and Julia Roberts, go over to my main boys at TalkingFilms. So go on over and check them out, and get the skinny.
What is so great about Mary!??!? Oh, it’s Cameron Diaz, nevermind.
The Farrelly brothers nail the laughs in this hugely popular comedy about a hugely popular girl. Mary (Cameron Diaz) is the ideal girlfriend of every guy she meets, especially frustrated high school suitor Ted (Ben Stiller). But he’s got plenty of competition from Matt Dillon and other unexpected rivals.
The film is directed by The Farrelly Brothers, and this is basically the film that got them into mainstream names. For this they combine their signature gross-out humor, as well as a great deal of cute romantic comedy.
The one thing about this film is that it’s comedy pushes the envelope. It doesn’t push the envelope to the point of where your basically leaving in the middle of the movie to throw-up, but it does get very very raunchy and dirty at times, but not without making you laugh. There’s a lot of moments in this film where The Farrelly Brothers go the extra mile, to bring out the excruciating laughs, and well here, they work. Who after watching this can honestly forget about the “Frank and Beans” scene, or the “dog on speed scene”, all of these scenes are so out this world, but hilarious, and done so well.
But it’s not just about the raunchy and disgusting humor, it’s also, the screenplay that’s filled with some good jokes. There are plenty of moments where these guys actually have a lot of funny things to say, and despite all the gross-out stuff, the film still does have a big heart at the core of everything.
I thought that although the comedy had me laughing, I felt like some of it was trying too hard to be so crude, and mean, that it just got on my nerves. There are many, many jokes centered, and made about mentally challenged people, and although I’m not calling myself a saint or anything, I still think some of the jokes were low-blows. I don’t mind being politically incorrect, but when your just being mean to bring out some laughs, you can’t quite laugh.
Ben Stiller plays basically the same straigh-laced geek that he plays in almost every comedy, but hey it works. Cameron Diaz is great here too, and she’s got that fun-loving personality, beautiful looks, and strong sense of control in her life, that makes you fall in love with Mary too. Matt Dillon steals the show here, as liar Patrick Healy. It’s great to see how much he goes through just to get Mary, and the stuff he makes up, and how he puts it, is just hilarious. He may not have been a very funny dude before this movie, but now, he is just hilarious, proving dick-heads can always be funny. The rest of the cast is funny like Chris Elliot (a dude I haven’t seen in years), Lee Evans (some funny stuff when he drops his keys), and my favorite, Keith David (who is just hilarious in that whole “Frank and Beans” scene, and just made me almost cry every time he said something). Also, let’s not forget the perfect cameo from, “Brett”.
Consensus: There’s Something About Mary may be the most politically-correct comedy, but is a great deal of blending cutesy romantic comedy, with raunchy humor, as well as still providing enough other funny moments for the rest of the movie.
Honestly could this title get any more catchier??!!
A disfigured NASA employee named Arlington Steward (Frank Langella) informs Norma (Cameron Diaz) and Arthur (James Mardsen) Lewis that they have 24 hours to decide if they want to push a button inside a box that will give them a cool million — but a complete stranger will die at the same time.
When I first found out that this movie was directed by Richard Kelly, who directed one of my favorites Donnie Darko, I was actually a little excited to see it. Basically Donnie Darko’s whole story is basically making fun of the horror film genre but putting more goofier stuff into it, but making it a better film all together. This film not so much.
To first start off the plot is really simple. You push the button, and someone dies right? Well yes, that happens but then out of nowhere it gets out of control with weird staring people, and secret alien organizations. The film gets a little too out of control, and gets really crazy.
Mostly I just found myself laughing at it sometimes. There are just some scenes that look and sound hilarious. The way events happen in this film are very strange, and will really make you laugh.
Another thing that made Donnie Darko so good that it wasn’t afraid to push a little bit of buttons with it’s fact of being raunchy, and a very controversial script. This film doesn’t do that at all. Yeah there are some scenes that could’ve given it an R-rating but it doesn’t go too far and in the end I feel like it was too afraid to go anywhere. It’s script is also very cliched, with a lot of the same lines already used in a lot of recent horror films, that I could’ve sworn I’ve heard already.
I really liked how the story was actually original and was interesting, but also imaginative, which kept me glued to the seat. Though at some points I was wondering what was going on, I couldn’t help but still watch and find out what happens in the end.
The cast does a pretty good job in this film as well. Mardsen and Diaz are very believable as a couple although they rarely show love, but the one who really stands out is Frank Langella. Langella does a very good job at being an actually creepy villian that isn’t very new, but also one that your terrified at overall.
Consensus: The Box is imaginative and interesting, but becomes too unintentionally funny and gets too out-of-hand with no basic message like Donnie Darko.