I think big brother Ben may be a whole lot nicer now.
Sheriff Deputy Lou Ford (Casey Affleck) has a bunch of problems. Woman problems. Law enforcement problems. An ever-growing pile of murder victims in his West Texas jurisdiction. However, he gets so caught-up with one of his victims, that it throws him a curve to the point of where he’s getting closer and closer to being found out. It’s only a matter of time until he loses total control.
Serial killer movies are hard to do. Sometimes, they can be lovable right from the start (American Psycho). While other times, they can totally miss their mark and be something you’d much rather not waste your time in watching (Mr. Brooks). This falls somewhere in between.
This is a film directed by Michael Winterbottom, a guy who seems all over the place when it comes to his films with comedic picks like 24 Hour Party People, to soft-core porno flicks like 9 Songs, and then to dark drama’s like A Might Heart. Basically, this guy has no real genre and that’s pretty neat. He doesn’t have any real sense of distinctive style or look, but he brings a lot of zealous-energy to everything he chooses, it’s almost too hard to talk bad about anything that he does. But that’s also why I liked this movie because he brings something atmospheric and moody to it all. He definitely has the perfect feel for the dark, hot American West because he shows it in such a noir style that really pulls you in from the start. There is a story to be told here, but this is more all about one dark, sinister trip into the mind of a psycho where everything starts off bad, goes to worse, gets better, and then just gets even more worse than before. Great job from Winterbottom, as he definitely makes up for the movie’s big faults.
Those big faults I’m talking about, lie within the story here. The story actually starts off pretty strong because you feel like you know where it’s going to go and build-up from there, but the problem is that the story isn’t as interesting as you may have mapped it out in your head. Some parts are cool and interesting once we see inside the mind of our closet killer, but whenever that doesn’t happen, the film focuses on how Lou tries to hide away from all of the accusations that are being thrown at him and curiosities he can smell off of everybody he’s around. This isn’t nearly as interesting as the stuff that goes on inside of his head and instead of being thrilling and unpredictable, the actual mystery tale is just there to provide a story for our lead.
Now, to my real problem with this film. In case you haven’t already heard about this flick: this flick is really, really fucked up. Without getting into any spoiler area, two disturbing acts of violence happen to two main characters here and the one thing that really got me here was that the camera never once pans away from it. In today’s world of movie violence, most stuff doesn’t phase me or even get to me because 9 times out of 10; it’s usually just shock value, done for the sake of shock value. That’s never worked on me and probably never will but the violence here feels real and needed to enhance the story, as if it almost pertains to the story and the way this guy feels and thinks. However, I think that’s my biggest problem with this flick.
I can’t really say that I hold anything against this film for showing me some violence that was disturbing, but I can say that it definitely made me think differently about it all because those were the only things left in my mind about this film. It’s some hard stuff to swallow, and as good as the rest of the film may be, I couldn’t help but keep on bringing my mind back to those violent scenes. It’s not like it doesn’t fix well with everything else, it just stuck in my mind more than all else happening. Still, have to give Winterbottom the benefit of the doubt for not panning away once during these scenes and making us actually see the brutality of these grim scenes. On the other hand, I think it also got to me after awhile and may have been more memorable than the actual flick itself. Good for some movies; not good for this.
Actually, he second most memorable aspect of this flick would probably have to go to Casey Affleck and his amazing performance as Lou Ford. It’s obvious, right from the start, that Lou has some pretty fucked up ideas in his head but somehow, Affleck is able to make that sexy and interesting through it all. Affleck doesn’t really look like the kind of dude you could put in the role of a closeted maniac, but I think that’s why he works so well here because he’s able to be subtle about his emotions and feelings throughout the movie, but also totally show how vicious he can be when he has to turn on the “crazy meter”. Affleck has never been that actor that people have been feeling the total and complete need to see in movies, but here, he demands your undivided attention and devotion, even when his character is just sitting there, thinking of who to hack-up next. Lou Ford is a great character to watch and makes the film a whole lot better, mainly because of Affleck’s kick-ass performance. He surely has come a long way since being “Big Ben’s little bro”.
Also, I was surprised to see Jessica Alba and Kate Hudson in some pretty down-and-dirty roles that I usually wouldn’t see myself watching them in. But what was even more of a surprise was how good they actually were. They both play Ford’s main ladies and each show a different side to his love, and both work very well. Been awhile since the last time I’ve seen them actually do something worth recommending so I have to give them some love and kudos right here and now. Oh, and there’s a pretty gnarly Bill Pullman cameo here as well. Can’t ever forget about that dude.
Consensus: With a dark and grimly style to make everything moodier and strong performances from the cast, mainly a terrifying Affleck, The Killer Inside Me feels like it has all the right ingredients for a dark and sinister trip in the head of a maniac, but it’s over-shadowed by two appalling scenes of violence and the story doesn’t really grab you, unless its focusing on Affleck’s character.
6.5 / 10 = Rental!!
God, I wish I was as cool as these guys. I seriously do.
Dapper Danny Ocean (George Clooney) is a man of action. Less than 24 hours into his parole from a New Jersey penitentiary, the wry, charismatic thief is already rolling out his next plan. Following three rules – don’t hurt anybody, don’t steal from anyone who doesn’t deserve it and play the game like you’ve got nothing to lose – Danny orchestrates the most sophisticated, elaborate casino heist in history. This is where the fun begins in Ocean’s eyes, and you know what? His eyes do not deceive him a single-bit.
Heist flicks are and have always been a favorite of mine, and to feature a cast with the likes of Clooney, Damon, Cheadle, Pitt, Mac, Reiner, and even Affleck (Casey, that is), you know I was even more excited because it seemed like the perfect-opportunity for a bunch of guys to just pal-around, have a good time, and pull-off some neat-o heists. However, just to make sure that this isn’t one, long bro-sesh from start-to-finish, we got Steven Soderbergh at the helm to keep everything under control and honestly, what better man to do that then the guy who has made one of the greatest heist/crime flicks of all-time, Out of Sight? Well, you could probably argue Tarantino or Scorsese, or plenty of others, but if you were to really get down to the nitty-gritty of it, I think you would be pretty damn fine with having Soderbergh behind it all, because I definitely was.
Having a guy like Steven Soderbergh doing your film means one thing and one thing only: it’s going to have a crap-load of style. And that’s not really a bad thing at all, because with a generic and relatively conventional story like this, you need that to add more pizzazz and spice to the whole-product, even though it’s obviously apparent that’s what Soderbergh is relying on the most. However, it didn’t get in the way of material and you can’t help but just love the fact that Soderbergh gives the flick a more-polished look than you are used to seeing with heists, but also realize that it makes the setting it takes place-in, all the more beautiful and smoother in it’s own, coolio way. Soderbergh is the man of being cool, looking cool, and filming cool, and he was definitely the perfect-choice for material like this.
There’s also a great-deal of fun and entertainment that Soderbergh brings to this flick and it’s not just all about the style, either, it’s more about the actual heist itself, and keeping you constantly wondering, guessing, and figuring-out how it’s all going to play-out in your mind and on-screen. Soderbergh definitely does a little-job of trickery here and there with this heist and the twists and turns it takes, but that just adds more to the overall enjoyment of what we all see and it’s perfect since everything until then, was all just one, big lead-up to what was going to go down. We see bits and pieces of how this heist is going to go down, but not enough, so that when the heist does go through and we see everything that goes-down, we’re not only surprised, but pretty gripped to our seat, as you don’t really know how it’s going to turn-out for this cats in the end. Sooderbergh has as much fun with this as his cast does, but by doing-so, he allows us to just revel in his enjoyment in making the material and it’s no surprise that the guy came-back for 2 more of these flicks. However, more on them later as the reviews keep on coming, so just you wait DTMMR readers/follows out there!
Topping-off this cake of coolness, with a sweet, little cherry on-top is the cast that is filled to the brim with the coolest mofo’s on the planet, and some, you have yet to even know are cool just yet. George Clooney is the brains behind the whole operation as Danny Ocean and is cool, lean, and suave, exactly as we know and love him to be. Clooney sort of takes the background in this flick and allows the rest of his cast to show-off and do their thing, but whenever he gets a chance to show why he’s so cool, he does it with perfection. Damn that George Clooney. Playing the “other” brains behind the operation is Brad Pitt as Rusty Ryan, a dude that knows it all, can walk the walk, and talk the talk. Pitt’s good at playing cool and smart, we all know him for that, and we all love him for that. ‘Nuff said about that. Matt Damon is the new-blood of the gang and does a great-job at playing up that cocky-rookie look to him, while also being able to put-up, when shut-up time is right there, in front of his face. Not the most memorable performance from Damon but the guy sure as hell can act and make any role, seem like the perfect-fit for him.
Playing the opposite-side of these fast-cats is Andy Garcia, aka, the guy who owns the casino that they are robbing, Terry Benedict. Garcia is a tough-guy that you really feel like can’t be out-smarted, no matter who the person/people doing the out-smarting are. Garcia’s got a lot of intimidating-looks in those eyes and you never quite know if he’s going to pull-off the win in the end, or just give it to Ocean’s dudes. Once again, it’s a tense-ride to the finish that you never quite know where it’s going to end-up or how, for that matter. Julia Roberts is fine as Benedict’s gal/Ocean’s ex-gal, but does her usual, “I’m-Julia-Roberts-And-My-Shit-Don’t-Stink” act that some love her for, some hate her for, and some are just tired and bored of her for playing so much. Me, I linger somewhere around the latter and as juicy and spicy as the scenes with Clooney may be, her character is still Julia Roberts, playing Julia Roberts.
Everybody else in this cast is pretty damn fine as you’ll see a crap-load of familiar faces pop-up, do their thing, and be done with it and continue onto the road. Seriously, everybody is good except for Don Cheadle as Basher, who is supposed to be channeling this wry, British-accent that goes in-and-out like a you know what, and is even more distracting to this character, because every time he’s talking, it just sounds like Don Cheadle trying hard to sound British. And yes, Cheadle does have a very distinctive voice that is easy to point-out as to when it’s real, when it’s being fake, and when it’s trying to be British. Oh well, I guess this cat needed to have one bad performance to throw in there for his whole filmography. Bastard.
As fun and exciting as this flick may be, you really do just end the film, happy as a fly, and continue on with your day as if nothing happened. In a way, that’s not such a terrible thing to have in life, considering it’s a happy-thought, but in other ways, it’s a bit of a disappointment considering the cast and crew that was on-display here. Yes, it’s fun, exciting, and entertaining for the 2 hours it’s alive and well on the big-screen, but other than that, you don’t have much else to really hold you over or make you think of anything afterwards either. I don’t know, maybe I was just expecting a bit too much more than I was given, but I definitely feel like there should have been more for me to seize-onto at the end, no matter how conventional or obvious it was trying to be.
Consensus: Ocean’s Eleven is no game-changer in terms of heist movies, but is still entertaining, fun, exciting, well-acted, and just really, really cool, almost to the point of where you feel cool for watching it but you soon realize, that you’re just a poor college student who drives a 2005 Scion, and has about $20 in your wallet as you speak. Yeah, I’m speaking from my point-of-view, but if only I wasn’t. If only dreams really could come true, after all.
If only Clint Eastwood was Jesse James, then I think the story would have been different.
As the charismatic and unpredictable Jesse James (Brad Pitt) plans his next great robbery, he wages war on his enemies, who are trying to collect the reward money – and the glory – riding on his capture. However, his plans are all interrupted once he becomes entangled in a friendship with his admirer Robert Ford (Casey Affleck).
It’s very bold to have the climax of your film in the title, no matter how true it is, but I was still so surprised to see that James does in-fact actually die in the end. Maybe, just maybe I didn’t pay enough attention in history class, but for some reason, I didn’t believe that he was going to get killed at the end. Oh, I guess that was a spoiler.
This was the second flick from Australian filmmaker Andrew Dominik and it’s pretty obvious where he gets his inspiration of movie-making from, and that is Mr. Terrence Malick. Honestly, if I had no idea who the director was before-hand, I would have easily gone with Malick because every single little detail about this film is so perfect and beautiful that you really can’t take your eyes off of it one bit and I know that’s said about a lot of films but that is really meant here. Dominik focuses the camera on these long, sweeping shots of beautiful farmland where it almost feels like you’re there in the 1880′s with Jesse James and Robert Ford. Every shot is handled carefully, with just the right amount light and color added to it, to get you involved with the stark wilderness that these characters surround themselves with. There is just so much to look at here that you almost forget to pay attention to the story that’s at-hand, which is a total bummer, because this story can really grab you if you give it the attention that it deserves.
What I liked about Dominik, was that aside from his beautiful art direction, he was able to make a genuinely tense and unpredictable story out of a fact-based history lesson, and always being able to surprise us. Not everything about this story that Dominik tells us is true and he probably takes some liberties here and there, I definitely know that, but everything before the actual “assassination” itself, kept me on the edge of my seat and I like how Dominik was able to do that with his deliberate slow pacing. Yeah, this film is one hell of a slow-burner for sure, but it works as it develops each and every character in this story more and more, and also keeps you guessing just when the hell Jesse James is going to show-up, or better yet, when the hell he is going to get killed. May sound like a complaint but it’s not, mainly because Dominik is able to take his time with the story.
Anybody expecting a Sergio Leone-type Western, where it’s just constant gun-battles, witty one-lines, and a whole bunch of spaghetti style art thrown at the wall here, are really going to be in for a big surprise with this film, but have no fear, it still does have enough violence to hold anyone over. Actually, whenever the violence did rarely show-up on the screen, it felt deserved and made sense to the story but also felt realistic in a way that these people are actually dying from real-life bullets and whatnot. I don’t want to dive any farther into the violence and murders that go down in this flick, but I just want to say that they feel realistic and are handled well without being over-exploitative of it’s dark, violent side.
If there was a certain aspect to this flick that seemed to have bothered me the most here, was that it was over 2 hours and 40 minutes and it didn’t need to be that way. See, the first and last act are all dedicated to just James and Ford being around one another but in between all of that is a whole bunch of other characters that were apart of James’ gang that don’t really seem all that needed for this story to work, but are left in there just to add some character development. Usually, I would give some points to any director who can do this and do it as well as Dominik is able to do here, but it takes away from the story and really had me annoyed since those scenes with Ford and James can get so damn tense. Most of the characters were interesting enough to hold my interest, but I just sort of wanted to get down to the real business at-hand here.
Brad Pitt as Jesse James is a perfect bit of casting because Pitt is able to play up all of the sides of him that he has as the iconic figure. Every time James shows up in the story, whether or not to start some trouble or “go on a walk”, it’s always tense and unpredictable to the point of where you don’t know what this character is going to do next. From everything I heard and read about, James was one violent son of a bitch and one that couldn’t be contained because of his wits and determination for violence when needed. This is an idea that Pitt plays up perfectly, giving us a very iconic figure to begin with but also show something else that lies deep down inside of him. We get to see a lot of scenes where James lays out all of his emotions and how painful he feels with the life that he’s living and it’s not only an easy way to get us to care about him even though he’s killed over 17 people in his life, but also a great way to show some insight into an iconic figure that so many people feel like they know.
Pitt’s great, but Casey Affleck is just about as perfect playing opposite of him, as Robert Ford. Affleck plays the little boy-version of Jesse James, as he is constantly made fun of by his family and treated like he doesn’t know shit about shooting guns and robbing banks/trains. Eventually, this guy starts to show more emotions rather than this very shy and awkward young kid that just wants to be “one of the guys”, and the way Affleck plays it all up works perfectly for this very easy, yet hard to sympathize with character.
You also begin to realize that Ford is a character that seems like he tries so hard to want to be like James, that in the end, even when he has done all of the dirty work he could do to get rid of him, he still can’t reach the type of fame that his predecessor once, and still has. It’s a sad idea that makes you think more about Ford and realize just how strong of an actor Affleck is. This character is complex and Affleck shows that and when it’s just him on-screen, he’s amazing but when it’s just him and James messing around with one another, then it just gets even better. Surprised that this Ford dude didn’t end up killing everybody in sight by how much he got picked on. Poor Affleck. At least you got the Oscar nomination over Pitt. Suck on that Jesse!
As for the rest of the star-studded cast, they’re all pretty good too even though a lot of their roles/characters are featured more than they needed to be. Jeremy Renner is vicious and unforgiving as Wood Hite, the cousin to Jesse James; Paul Schneider is awesome as the womanizing crook that every lady seems to fall for; Sam Rockwell has a lot of fun as Ford’s big bro, Charley, but also shows a dark side to him as well by the end; and Sam Shepard is pretty freakin’ awesome as Frank James, and does an outstanding job with the short amount of time he actually gets on-screen. The ladies in this flick are sort of put on the back-burner but both Mary-Louise Parker and Zooey Deschanel do splendid jobs with their roles, even though I felt like they could have had more input into this story. Then again, I just wanted to see a mono-e-mono battle between Ford and James.
Consensus: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford may run on very, very long but features some of the most beautiful images caught on film with its detailed direction from Andrew Dominik, insightful story about these larger-than-life iconic figures, and a bunch of superb performances from everybody involved, especially Casey Affleck in a way you have never seen him before.
See, those kids who talk to dead people aren’t so weird after all! Haley Joel Osment is jumping in the air somewhere right now.
The small New England town of Blithe Hollow comes under siege by the undead. Only a misunderstood local boy, Norman Babcock (Kodi Smit-McPhee), who has the ability to speak with the dead, is able to prevent the destruction of his town from a centuries-old witch’s curse. He’ll also have to take on ghosts, witches, zombies and worst of all, the moronic grown-ups. But this young ghoul whisperer may find his paranormal activities pushed to their otherworldly limits.
Maybe I was all alone in a boat by myself back in 2009, but I really just did not like Coraline. There was something about it that just didn’t work and I felt it was just too scary and serious to be considered a kids flick. This one follows in the same exact steps as that one except it has the one key ingredient that always makes these films work: the fat kid. More on that later, though. Let’s start with the positive things that came before he arrived.
The animation for this flick, is exactly what you would expect from the animation studio Laika. Even though I may have disliked a lot about Coraline, I still thought that they had plenty of eye-candy to help me get through, and that’s exactly what we have here but probably used a lot better in the terms of 3D. It was a really neat thing to see stop-motion animation done in a 3D way, and it added some real color and zaniness to this final product, as if it was one of the horror films that it was making fun of in the first place. Needless to say, the kids will love how much shit is constantly popping out at them (not literal shit, but you get my drift), but the parents will also be able to appreciate a 3D used right and almost not feel like their over-priced $13 dollar ticket will go to waste. Actually, if you add the kid’s ticket as well it’s going to be a lot more so it’s a good thing that it at least delivers or there’s going to be a loud of pissed-off parents.
Another element of this film that separates itself from Coraline, is that there is loads and loads of amounts of comedy to be had here, which really took me by surprise considering how much I actually laughed. There’s a lot of goofy sight-gags that you have to look closely to see and there’s a lot of jokes that only true horror movie fans will get, but what separates this film from all the other animated films that have come out in the last 2 years or so, is that is able to make almost any movie-goer laugh. Have a couple of kids? They got their fart jokes and slapstick. Got a bunch of grumpy adults? They have their sly humor and wit about a dark situation that somehow makes it lighter. Got a horror movie lover out there? They got the movie references. Have you average, movie-goer that just wants to laugh and have a good time? They got plenty of jokes that will work and make you laugh, as they did onto me. You’ll be surprised by how far this film goes with it’s comedy but it works, and instead of just dropping out pop-culture reference after pop-culture reference like we see in Shrek films, we get the type of comedy where goofy things happen, all for a reason. And that’s funny enough as it is.
Problem with a lot of this comedy is that it comes in a little too much. I get that the film wanted to always keep things light and humorous, even when it get dark and scary as hell, but they could have at least slowed down a bit and let some scenes just play out in a very serious matter. Sounds pretty strange that I would actually want a funny film to stop it’s humor for a bit and just be serious with us, but it gets to the point of where you can’t pay attention to what’s going on with this story and what’s on-screen because you’re constantly just waiting for another funny quip to come right through. Strange complaint, I know.
Another complaint about this film I had was that it take a bit too long to get where it exactly needed to go. With these films, you know exactly what’s going to happen from start to finish, which means that it better hurry it’s ass up by keeping us entertained. This film definitely keeps us entertained for the most part, but doesn’t really hurry it’s ass up either. The film just sort of just takes it’s time with it’s awfully predictable story, which doesn’t really work when you have something as conventional as this. Two very weird complaints, I know, but this is not necessarily the most normal film out there either and I think that’s all because of Norman himself.
Kodi Smit-McPhee seems like a great choice as Norman because the kid has always been type-cast as these weirdo-types and gives Norman a whole lot of boyish sympathy, that’s easy to fall for and stand behind; Anna Kendrick voices his older sister who is always bitching and trying to impress a hot dude around her; that hot dude I’m talking about is Casey Affleck as an older brother of somebody and shows he’s got great comedic timing with a weird, scratchy voice like his; and Christopher Mintz-Plasse proves he can be funny, but not as a nerd as the school bully here. Everybody else from this talented ensemble is fine, but when it comes right down to it, nobody stands in the way of the fat one.
I don’t know who this kid is and I don’t know if I have ever seen him ever before, but Tucker Albrizzi absolutely nails every line he has the token fat sidekick, Neil. Neil is such a great character right from the start because he’s fat, a nerd, and doesn’t get along with most kids, but still has a big heart and you can feel that from Albrizzi’s voice and just how they make this character look. Honestly, you cannot say that the picture of Neil in this movie just doesn’t want to make you pinch his cheeks or feed him some Cinna Buns. Every time this kid just about opens his mouth, it’s a piece of comedy that works and thank the lord for Albrizzi, because he makes everybody in this flick seem like a bunch of rookies, even though he’s only 13 years old. Kids got a bright future and I hope he keeps it going. Then again, I have never seen him before or if he can act well, but I know the kid’s got a great voice for animated characters that’s for damn sure.
Consensus: ParaNorman may not be the best animated flick all year, but is still a hell of a lot better than Coraline, the film that came before it with a playful sense of humor that can have anybody who sees this laugh, and a talented voice cast that milks all of the lines for all that they got.
Bigger and badder, but surprisingly no pastries were harmed.
After a year apart – attending different schools, meeting different people – the guys rent a beach house and vow to make this the best summer ever. As it turns out, whether that will happen or not has a lot to do with the girls.
The original is by far a classic by all means and a favorite of mine so when I was going to see this one again, I was expecting something all the same but still enjoyable enough to not hate. Thankfully, I didn’t hate it this time around but damn is it like all other sequels.
The one element about sequels is that they always do everything that they did with the original, but instead do more of that because the more the merrier, right? Well, in some cases it works here but other times, I think they really dragged on with this flick and it’s jokes. The first one was crude, but at least the crudeness came in and did its thing and made me laugh. Here, they came in, lingered around for awhile and waited till the joke was practically dead in the water and then they just gave up and went onto another scene. I can’t be too surprised considering most Hollywood sequels do this but still, it’s something that’s noticeable right away.
I’ll also point out that everything else from the characters, to the plots, to the relationships, all seemed a bit under-developed with the exception of the main relationship between Jim and Michelle. I already knew all of these characters for what all that they are and were from the first flick, so I didn’t need that much character development but there was barely any of that and instead of actually focusing on these characters, the film felt it was more important to just focus on the gross-out gags that go on way too long sometimes. And I don’t know if it was me, but did anybody else feel like all of this partying could have been much more exciting than it actually was? Then again, it’s just a thought so don’t mind me.
However, as much ish as I may be talking here I still had an enjoyable with this flick mainly because the parts that did work, really worked. There are a couple of gross-out gags that really made me laugh and there are plenty of other moments full of comedy that made me laugh just because it’s a bunch of young dudes partying, drinking, and trying to pick up girls. It’s all in good fun and there’s a couple of moments that are very memorable such as when Jim gets glue and lube mixed up, and another time where Stifler and Jim have to do a little version of “shadow” between a couple of “lesbians”. It’s all funny, trust me, even if it does seem a bit too much like a Farrelly Brothers comedy.
I also liked the focus on Jim and Michelle’s relationship that I thought made the film so much better every time they were on-screen together and I was glad that they actually did decide to go down this road. It’s such a sweet, little romance that works because they are both geeks and it’s just great to see two geeks in love even if the one is a total freak in bed and the other is just a dude who can’t seem to do anything right when it comes to getting it on. But it’s not all about the sex, it’s all about the love between two people that matters and you could feel it with this flick and it sure is believable.
As for the cast, everybody here has returned and all do great jobs with their own, respective roles. Seann William Scott gets a lot more screen-time here as Stifler and made me laugh just about every time and is definitely that one kid you would invite down to the shore with you because he has all of the moolah in the world. However, it’s great to see everybody all be friendly with each other once again and it totally serves up the whole point about this film about how we all change but we should all stick together and keep in touch. Maybe there was no point to this flick after all, but it’s always good to look in a lot more than you would expect.
Consensus: American Pie 2 features an over-abundance of what the first one did and starts to drag a lot, but the moments that worked, really made me laugh, and it was just also great to see the cast all back together doing what they do best with these likable characters.
Main reasons as to why I’m letting my senior year go out with a bang!
A group of four horny high school buddies decide to make a pact in which they all plan to lose their virginities before the high school prom. In their valiant quest for getting their collective rocks off, the boys get into all kinds of trouble and wildly unpredictable hilarity ensues.
Since the reunion of this famous high school film series is coming up some time soon, I thought what better way to take a trip down memory lane and make me realize how much I’m going to miss my days as a high schooler.
One of the main reasons why ‘American Pie’ is considered the classic that it is today is because it’s a teen sex comedy flick that doesn’t have us forget that and makes no apologies for it either. I mean this is one of those high school comedies where there is just so much raunch, gross-out visual gags, and obvious sex jokes that for the biggest stickler to dirty stuff will probably piss away this flick, but for the horned-up, sex-crazed teenager like myself and plenty of other ones out there too, I loved it. The jokes are dirty, yes, but they are also hilarious and with every situation that seemed to get even funnier and grosser just as the film went on where it felt like these guys could pull anything out of their ass, and they probably would too. It’s definitely one of those raunchy comedies that are for a certain audience, but if you are that audience, you will have an absolute ball. Hell, try to guess what the title is actually about! I can tell you it’s not named after that Don McLean song.
Probably what’s so much better about this flick apart from it’s gross-out comedy stuff is the fact that it does a pretty realistic job at capturing just what it’s like to be in high school. The essence is here in every scene such as when you feel peer-pressured into doing such things as sex with a major babe or taking a couple of brewskies, and even those moments with the other high school classmate that are just awkward beyond belief but at the time you’re not really thinking and you don’t care either way. Being in high school myself right now (as you could have probably already assumed), this one hit close to home with me because I could identify with everything that these characters were going through and it just felt honest, real, but also totally hilarious in just how everything played out and the film never loses that funny edge to it.
But you don’t even need to be in high school at the present time to fully enjoy it, all you have to do is remember all of the people that made up your best (and sometimes worst) moments of high school and also the other little people in between like the skanks, or the jocks, or the weirdos, or even the parents that always seem to be up your ass trying to pep you up about sex and tell you what’s right and what isn’t. It’s all so true and the way that first-time director Paul Weitz was able to show this makes it even better considering it brought back the high school teen sex comedy back from the grave that it was in for so damn long.
Another great aspect of this film is that its characters aren’t terribly unlikable pieces of shit that you wouldn’t want to even sit next to in class, let alone spend a whole hour and 36 minutes with, they are actually sweet characters that you care for and want to be around more and more. Jason Biggs is perhaps the most impressive here as Jim because he totally just lets himself loose, degrading himself on countless occasions just to do anything for a quick laugh and it always had me laughing my ass off. He’s also incredibly nerdy which gave me that type of idea that he’s like what Woody Allen would be like in a comedy like ‘Porky’s‘. His dad, played by the always funny Eugene Levy, is also hilarious and the father-son duo they got going on here works because it feels so real in a very funny way.
Everybody else in the cast is great too and every character is just worth mentioning because they all add something to the film that makes it what it is known as today. Chris Klein is perfect as the sensitive jock, Oz; Eddie Kaye Thomas is funny as the sophiscated and high-standard type known as Finch; Thomas Ian Nicholas is good as the inspired virgin, Kevin; Alyson Hannigan is so damn cute and charming as the band weenie, Michelle, and easily brings out the best moments in the flick; Natasha Lyonne is hip and cool as the chick who knows everything about anything, Jessica; Mena Survari is nice as the sweet choir singer, Heather; and Tara Reid is just fine as Vicky. Oh yeah let’s not forget to mention that the biggest high light of this flick is probably every time Seann William Scott shows up as Steve Stifler, but you know what? There’s nothing else that needs to be said about just how amazing of a character this dude is and how great Scott is at playing him considering he plays the same character just about in every movie now.
Also, can’t forget to mention Shannon Elizabeth either but I think we all know why I can’t forget. Rawrrrrr!
Consensus: American Pie may not be for the more older/sophisticated types but who it is for, works in every single way from it’s acting, to its gross-out gags, humor, atmosphere, embarrassing reality of what it’s like to be in high school, and also will probably bring you back to thinking about the days of you and your pals in the day and all of the people who made it what it was.
Cheating, breaking up, making up: that’s the way love is sometimes. Or at least when you’re going through a mid-life crisis that is.
Thirtysomething couple Michael (Zach Braff) and Jenna (Jacinda Barrett) grapple with parenthood and other life-changing events. Instead of pushing him toward the altar, Jenna’s impending pregnancy has only made Michael feel more trapped. So when he meets flirtatious college student Kim (Rachel Bilson), he’s tempted to stray.
After the total success of the great film, ‘Garden State’, many people were trying to use Zach Braff in any way they could because thirty-somethings from all-over-the-world were in love with him. It’s not a real shame that this is what they ended up with, but they could have gotten something better.
The script written by Paul Haggis (‘Crash’) creates an honest look at modern relationships with all of the fun, love, and even heart-break that can sometimes occur during a relationship. I felt like a lot of what they were talking about here and how everything played out seemed very honest and realistic. Most of this is coming from a guy’s perspective as well but I still had to say that whenever a script comes around, that shows the way love really is, how it feels, and what it should be like, then it’s enough for me to appreciate it. This is why it’s such a real disappointment when things start to get a little hoaky by the end.
I can’t give too much away but somebody utters the words, “never give up” to Michael and this guy literally takes that piece of advice and uses it, which to some may seem sweet and totally romantic but to others like me (basically heartless assholes), this may seem a little cheesy and sort of against the whole film and what it was trying to at least go for. The ending is also stretched longer than it should have been and instead it took forever to get to the last shot, and even that was a disappointment by how it just ends. But then again, I don’t want to say what happened.
The film does have this very fun approach at the beginning, with all of these different characters doing their own thang, having fun, making jokes, and making sexy-time as well. This was good but it soon then begins to narrow down slowly but surely to just being about Michael and his little dilemma that he pops up into, while the other ones just totally disappear and have no real end, they are just gone from the picture completely. This was a bummer because there were plenty of other stories that had promise and they could have tried using to wrap-up real nicely at the end of the film but I never understood why they didn’t do that, instead of just ending with one story basically.
A lot of it seemed trimmed down to where director Tony Goldwyn can’t really do much other than just throw in a real cheesy montage and end the film, rather than actually have it actually impact anybody who’s watching. Although there are parts that certainly stand-out more than others, I was kind of bummed to see such a real talented and great cast sort of go to waste with a story-line that seems to bring the film down a bit by the end.
As messy as this film may sound, or at least how I make it sound, the cast is what really keeps this film moving and getting better and better by the second. Zach Braff uses his usual lazy charm that always seems to get a win for anybody who’s watching, even though he’s essentially playing the same dude in every film. Jacinda Barrett gets a real good role as his pregnant girly-friend, Jenna, and shows exactly why she is so amazing to have as someone who loves you and why Michael is such a dick for questioning in the first place. Rachel Bilson plays Kim, and I think the film was trying to make her the same kind of quirky character Natalie Portman was in ‘Garden State‘, which isn’t a bad thing because her performance is good but I could see where they were going with this character. Surprised that she can actually act though.
The ones here that I actually thought held their own the most was Blythe Danner and Tom Wilkinson as Jenna’s parents because their whole little love-life starts to fall-apart too, and this is what brings out the most in them. Danner is great as this very messed-up and very sad lady, who just can’t seem to get over the fact that she doesn’t get any lovings from her hubby. Tom Wilkinson is amazing with every scene he gets especially in the end, where he impacts not only the characters in the film but also the whole story as well.
Consensus: The Last Kiss has some great touches of honesty about love, life, and hitting a time in your life where you just don’t know what you want, but that all soon starts to fall down as the film gets a little hokey by the end and loses sight of all of its characters and rather just focuses on one.
Donald Trump better watch his men extra close now.
When a group of workers at a ritzy Manhattan condo realize their boss has swindled them out of their pensions, they vow to reap their own justice. With the cooperation of the building manager, the group devises an ingenious plot to recover the funds.
When I first heard of this film and saw the trailer, I thought it was going to be good because it had the return of Brett Ratner and Eddie Murphy. But then I thought about it, and I realized it was the return to form of Brett Ratner and Eddie Murphy I was talking about but this is certainly nothing like the pieces of shit they have turned out recently.
This is basically the concept of the “Ocean’s” films but with a sloppier cast of characters and a high-rise building in Manhattan but it’s not all that much different. The film is very funny and had me laughing a lot but there are also other times when the film gets a little bit serious about getting back at the ones who have made your lives miserable. In some sense the film feels a bit uneven because of this but regardless I still had a fun time laughing my ass off as what all these characters were saying.
The film doesn’t seem like it would be original or new in any kind of way, but it actually is a bit original which provided a lot of enjoyment for me. I love heists, and I love comedies when they are done right so when they put these two together for this film, everything just felt right. I liked how they had all of these buffoons who had no idea really how to rob or steal anything, so basically the whole film just shows you exactly how real people would act if they were put into these types of situations that go from bad to worse to sometimes perfectly executed. It’s a whole lot of fun to see this and it was definitely more original than another “heist/plan gone wrong” film ‘Horrible Bosses‘.
I think the real fault of this film is that it did so well in keeping me laughing as well on the edge of my seat the whole time, that the film sort of starts to fall away from the comedy and be more about the heist itself. It may seem weird that I had a problem with this because I was still enjoying myself, but I still thought that they could have done a little laugh here and there, but instead just totally focused on the action and heist at hand. However, I was very surprised by how well Ratner did with the action and kept the film moving at a fun pace that never really stops to just sit and get emotional.
Eddie Murphy is not the best part of the film as Sly, but he is one of the better parts because he is just so funny here and almost makes you forget about all of the dumb-ass family films he’s done in the past decade. I was glad to see Murphy go back to his old-school roots and finally be that snappy-ass, crazy, and always funny black dude that you don’t wanna mess with because he’s always too smart and too cool. Murphy made me laugh every time he was on screen and I thought this was a perfect choice as Sly and hopefully he continues to do cool stuff like this.
The reason he may not be the best is because I don’t think the film used him as much as I was expecting. In the first act, he shows up only a couple times, then he totally takes over the second act with every line he says, but then by the end of the film, his character’s resolution is just sort of just left there and almost like he was forgotten about, considering he was probably the most memorable out of the whole cast. This was a shame but I still will say that Murphy owns this role and every chance he gets with it.
The rest of the cast is hilarious and all of them do well. Ben Stiller is good as the usual average Joe, named Josh; Michael Peña fills a lot of comedy when Murphy isn’t around, and he does it well like I expected; Matthew Broderick is maybe the 2nd funniest by how random the things that his character says, and how almost everything he says has nothing to do with the heist really; and Casey Affleck is surprisingly very funny as well as Charlie, but I still can’t get over Ben. Alan Alda is the man in this role as Arthur Shaw, and he’s almost too likable to actually hate him. However, Alda is so good at playing villainous roles that he can make the worst son-of-a-bitch seem just a tad bit charming. The girls in this film are also good with Téa Leoni playing the FBI agent, who has a hilarious drunk scene with Stiller; and Gabourey Sidibe is also funny with her Jamaican accent that seems fake, but still had me laughing just because her character is so damn funny.
Consensus: Tower Heist may seem a bit uneven, but it still has a very fun feel to it with goofy comedy, fun performances from the whole entire cast, especially Eddie Murphy, and a story that actually entertains with some very funny moments.
It’s weird when somebody says they have retired from the film industry, so they go out, and star in a film.
In 2008, Oscar nominee Joaquin Phoenix walked away from acting to pursue a rap career, an inexplicably bizarre detour captured in stunning detail in this documentary directed by Phoenix’s brother-in-law, Casey Affleck.
This is a movie I really need to think about. But not in the way that I was expecting. I was one of those people who talked about the Joaquin Phoenix interview on Letterman a year back, wondering if he was for real, or if we were all on a big prank? Well stop reading if you want to remain in mystery.
It’s all a fake everybody.
And the problem I had with this film was that it’s dumb-ass Director, Casey Affleck (no Ben that’s for sure), had to just tell everybody right away as soon as this was supposed to come out that this was all a hoax. I don’t know why, he couldn’t have waited till the DVD release, because when you have a film like this, you want it to be so unique, that everyone will be talking about it whether or not it’s fake, but when you tell people that it’s not real, you take away all the mystery, and isn’t that what going to see a movie is all about. So this ruined my watching experience in a way, because everything I saw, no matter how entertaining, and different, I just never got fully caught up in it, cause I knew it was all just a big joke, that never took me by storm as I wish it had.
However, there are some nice little touches this film did. I liked seeing how Phoenix made a lot of his scenes with other people, very strange, awkward, and just plain old weird, but I was fascinated watching. I also liked how Affleck captured the media storm that was focused on Phoenix the whole time, as he was being this huge nut ball.
For some viewers, heads will be turned away from the screen at time, cause there are countless penis shots, sexual encounters, and out of nowhere, crapping on people’s faces. That’s right I’m talking about a film about Joaquin Phoenix, not a Jackass movie. It also brings up plenty of questions of celebrity, reality TV, and the media, but none of them are ever answered, and it just leaves us unsatisfied.
If you honestly want to see this film, watch it for nothing more, than to see Joaquin Phoenix act his ass off. Watching him on screen, the whole time, seeing him interacting with all these celebrities, and sometimes real people, was so surreal, and being a Phoenix fan myself, it was cool to watch him. You see him as this crazy dude, that acts out in public, but then you see him confessing the way he acts, and why he does the way he does, and it’s all very good, but not too emotional, since I basically knew it was all a hoax. But as a rapper, he’s good at getting high, but when it comes to the actual skill, and flow with rapping, he doesn’t quite have “it”, but he’s not terrible, and at least tries. There’s also some nice little spots by P. Diddy, Antony Langdon of Spacehog fame, Ben Stiller, and a surprisingly touching scene with Edward James Olmos. I miss that dude!
Consensus: It is really a hard piece to watch and enjoy, considering you know it’s a fake going in, but Joaquin Phoenix is good enough here, and it was nice to watch some parts of this film play out the way they did, but it just didn’t answer all the questions I would have hoped it did.