You can only say so much about a sport where the objective is to beat the absolute crap out of the other person.
When respected jujitsu master Mike Terry (Chiwetel Ejiofor) eschews a lucrative prize fighting career in favour of opening a self-defence dojo, it appears that he has chosen a peaceful path in life. The dedicated martial artist’s fate takes an unanticipated turn, however, when he is manipulated into participating in ultimate fighting championships by a group of unscrupulous actors and fight promoters. Mike is way in over his head and tries to find whatever it is that he can do to bring back his old life that he knew and loved before it all went to shite.
It may sound pretty strange, but this martial arts film is written and directed by David Mamet. Yes, Glengarry Glen Ross-David Mamet. It may seem like a weird-fit to try on and get used to, but much to my surprise, as I’m pretty sure everybody else’s as well, but Mamet actually practices jiujitsu in real-life and considers it a nice hobby of his, when he isn’t writing out characters that say “fuck” a lot. But don’t worry, people, this more of a Mamet film than it is a carbon-copy of Never Back Down, but don’t be surprised if you can’t tell a total difference between the two.
Mamet’s dialogue in this flick is, once again, very well-written. This time, instead of being just another pile of snappy one-liners that Mamet just continues to toss at the audience, the dialogue here is more natural than you would expect from this dude and it works in it’s approach to this story. This isn’t your non-stop, kick-ass martial arts movie. Instead, it’s actually more character-based and has a story that may draw you in a lot more than the actual fight sequences themselves. And although that may turn people off expecting a bunch of karate chops and take-downs left and right, for me, I wasn’t bothered at all. In fact, it kept me more involved with what was going on because there should always be more back-story to any extreme sport, especially one like martial arts.
But even when the fight scenes do come onto the screen, they actually work and bring a lot of energy to this film mainly because Mamet is able to get so up-front and personal with each tussle. There’s not many fights (maybe about 3 or 4 in this hour, 34-minute movie) but whenever they came on, I liked it and I think it’s obvious that Mamet just enjoys the art of ultimate fighting. This really isn’t the type of film you just got forced to do and it’s apparent that Mamet wanted to do this film and his curiosity and attention to detail, pays off here. People do say “fuck”, a lot too, but not like you’d expect them to and it’s not all about the cursing that makes this movie work which is what I actually liked for a nice change-of-pace.
However, as good as the script was, I couldn’t help but think he tacked on way too much here with this simple story. The main story itself is pretty much about this guy who can kick anybody’s ass, gets into some major debt, and is trying to find a way out of it the hard way. This in and of itself is a pretty simple story and even though it may not be the most original ever in the whole, widest world, you would think Mamet’s skills as a writer would be definitely more than enough to save it from the same old shit we usually see. But Mamet doesn’t stop there and continues to go on and on and on with this story, almost to the point of where it’s random. He tries a little too hard with such a simple story about the underdog coming out on top, but adding so many characters, so many random twists, and so many consequences that could either happen this way, or not, and show how it effects the rest of the story. Seemed like way, way too much for a story like this and actually lost me a couple of times.
All of this wasn’t as terrible as I thought, until I got to the final act and that’s where I noticed that everything came full-circle for me. In a bad way, of course. The final act comes on pretty strong with the right bit of tension but Mamet pulls the rug from underneath us, gives us something to think about, and adds yet another twist to the already-confusing plot developments. But what I noticed about this ending is that I wasn’t as glued to the screen because Mamet had so much going on, that the central story itself just sort of gets lost in the muddle of it all. Surely, there must have been an easier way to get our main character back in the square-circle, without having to go through all of these life hurdles and surely, there must have been an less predictable and ludicrous ending like the one they have here. It could have just been simple, plaid, and usual, but that’s not how David Mamet rolls and whether or not you like that about this dude, is all up to what you prefer in life.
Mamet’s plot may get lost, but at least his characters stay true and that’s because of the performances from the stars involved. Mike Terry is an awesome role for Chiwetel Ejiofor because the guy, once again, gets to prove that he has what it takes to be a leading man and turn in a convincing performance, no matter what the movie or role may be. Not only can the guy spout-out Mamet-dialogue like it’s his job (technically, it was) but he also shows that he has a lot of great physical skills and it surprised me to hear that this dude didn’t have any previous martial arts training because he looked like a pro at what he was doing. Good thing that Mamet focused the film mostly on him, too.
The two females in Terry’s life are played by Alice Braga and Emily Mortimer, who are both good but aren’t given much to work with. Braga is Terry’s bitchy, money-hungry wife that would leave him in a heartbeat for some extra moolah, and Mortimer is Terry’s newly-found friend/student that is going through a rough time but her story never fully gets developed enough for us to care about her. Shame too, because both can give off some awesome work when they can. As for everybody else, you have the villains like Joe Mantegna, Ricky Jay, Rodrigo Santoro, and surprisingly, Tim Allen who all turn in some good work as a bunch of shady baddies, but are just all over-the-place that it’s hard to declare which one was the “baddest”. My money is on Buzz Lightyear. That guy seems like a total dick behind closed doors.
Consensus: David Mamet definitely brings a lot of fun to this curious, passion-project of sorts but Redbelt features way too many ideas, twists, and characters going on at the same time, to do nothing else but add confusion and take away from the final-product. It’s not a thrill-ride, but a more-sophisticated look at marital arts, with the occasional beat-down here and there.
6 / 10 = Rental!!
Would have been a lot cooler if they were filming a real-life documentary of Caesar in the wilderness, and I don’t mean Julius.
Little Oscar is a chimpanzee living with a close “family” in the Taï Forest of Africa’s Ivory Coast. He learns how to find food by watching his mother, and frequently hitches a ride on her back. When tragedy strikes and Oscar cannot find his mother, he is rejected by the other chimpanzees with one surprising exception.
It seems like around “Earth Day” (4/20 joke) every year, we get these Disney Nature movies where they show us the beauties of nature and they are basically just one episode of something you would see off of National Geographic, but given an A-list name to narrate it and is on the big screen. This one isn’t as bad as I may make all those others sound anyway.
What I liked about this documentary is that directors Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield weren’t afraid to get up-close and personal here with these chimps, and it does not only this film, but the chimps themselves a lot of justice. We get to see how these chimps use their skills to get food like hitting a nut with a rock, using sticks like straws to gather up ants and termites, and also even killing other monkeys. This was a big shock to me considering I never knew this kind of stuff even happened and the way they show it is a little scary at first. I mean they practically corner this monkey and rip it up to shreds, and even though we don’t get it all in gory detail, we still can make enough pictures in our heads. This showed me that the film wasn’t going to just give us the cute and cuddly side of these chimps, we were going to see the real thing, even if that does mean they can be a bit wild sometimes too.
You also get a real sense that these animals actually have personalities rather than just being little fury things. It’s crazy how so much of this just happened the way these people captured it. All of these chimps act a certain way that makes sense and isn’t too far from how we act so it’s very easy to see how we have evolved from them. These little baby chimps play like normal baby humans would, parents care for their young much like humans do (without all of the picking), and the protective skills against anybody who tries to hurt a loved one is pretty much the same exact thing. It’s crazy to see what we all have in common with them and I’m glad that this flick was able to inform me of that once again.
The problem with this documentary is that I think it’s a little too dark for the the audience that it’s advertised for. The film is rated G but there are a couple of scenes where absolute havoc and dismay happen that actually caught me by surprise by how dark and scary things got for this flick. When Oscar loses his mommy, a little girl in my movie theater was actually crying her ass off the whole time and as annoying as it was for me to just sit there and listen to it, I still couldn’t believe the fact that stuff like this shouldn’t be so dark for little kids. Then again, it’s how nature works so maybe it wouldn’t have been right to cut it out all just because of one little girl. Also, I didn’t pay for this ticket here (shhh…don’t tell AMC) but I did check it out and it’s very short for, almost a little too short for the full price ticked you would have to pay if you wanted to be a nice, common-folk citizen. Not necessarily a complaint, as its more of a warning to people who don’t want to spend too much money on a 1 hour and 18 minute movie about a bunch of chimps running around.
Many people have said that they didn’t really like the narration by Tim Allen here but I have to say that it actually brought a lot of warmth to this story and I think he does a good job with it. Allen isn’t really a guy who would be my first choice to narrate my nature documentary (probably because he hasn’t done anything in the past 10 years worth mentioning that isn’t animated) but I think he brings a funny feel and vibe to it that helps the film out even when it starts to get a tad dark.
Consensus: Chimpanzee may not be the perfect fit for the kids but it’s a very beautiful and surprisingly detailed documentary that takes you into the life of a little chimp named Oscar and all of his furry, little friends.
Makes me wanna go and play with all of my old toys, not like I already still don’t.
In this installment of the Pixar animated franchise, toy cowboy Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks), his astronaut pal, Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), and their friends cope with their owner’s departure for college — and their new home in a day-care center.
I have basically grown up with these films. The Toy Story franchise has always been something so meaningful to me, because it practically sums up my childhood. And to see the franchise, as well as my childhood, come to an end, it really does make it the best farewell.
First off, the film does a great job at doing everything right. The humor is in the right spot, with a lot more jokes hitting more towards the adults than before, and it all still works. There’s a lot of surprisingly gay jokes here, that aren’t as bad as I thought, because it brings more humor with the story. I also found the whole idea that they were practically living in a prison, very, very funny, and it’s always cool to see toys acting like their in real-life situations.
The whole tone of the film is different, in that it’s a lot more darker. These toys aren’t afraid their going to be sold away, their afraid their going to die. It’s kind of crazy thinking since their only toys, but none the less, the tone didn’t bother me as much, since the warm-hearted feel, and jokes kept the smile on my face. Let’s also not forget that there is also plenty of cool and fun action going on in this film, with plenty of cool set pieces that you wouldn’t expect to be really cool, until you see it.
Everybody who was in the first two basically return for this one, with the exception of Jim Varney, who tragically died. RIP Ernest, I’ll never forget your crummby-ass movies. I can’t really point anybody out since everybody does a magnificent job in this, as they did with the first two, so I’m just going to say good job to everyone. However, their are still some new characters. Ned Beatty plays Lots-O’-Huggin’ Bear who reminds me of an old-Western folk, who is all nice and simple. But a lot of the laughs from this movie, came from Michael Keaton, who is playing Ken. There are a lot of jokes to him being “gay”, and the funniest thing is to hear Keaton’s voice basically sell every line he has. I can never get enough of that man, I’m so glad he hasn’t stopped doing anything.
But everybody, let’s face it, this is the last Toy Story, so of course there are going to be some tears, and although I may always try to be the big manly-man, I will not lie. I did cry during this film. The fact is that when Andy first has all these toys in the first one, he was about 5, or six. I was about the same age, so when he was growing up with these guys, so was I. I know it may sound crazy, but these guys were kind of like my toys too, and as always with anything, it’s sad to say good-bye. I was a fool for this movie right from the beginning, and it all started off pretty fine and dandy, but then those last 15 minutes come up, and I was just straight up balling. I mean the emotional core is just set so high, that when those last words from Andy are spoken, you cannot just feel that not only is Andy growing up, you are too. Therefore you are always going to be connected to these little guys, no matter how big, tall, old, or strong you get. Woody, Buzz, Jessie, and the whole rest of the gang will always have a special place in my heart, I’m never going to forget you. Never.
If I spent Christmas with these people, I think I’d go Jewish for the holidays.
A break from the frenetic activity that surrounds Christmas is what Luther and Nora Krank (Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis) have in mind when they decide that, for once, they’ll skip the holiday. They’ll nix the tree, all the ornaments and their rooftop Frosty, and forgo the chore of hosting their annual Christmas Eve bash. That’s the plan, anyway. Question is, can they deal with the fallout from crestfallen neighbors and even their own family?
Now, for this Holiday season I have been reviewing some movies that have to do with well, Christmas. And after watching this and How The Grinch Stole Christmas, I think it’s time to stop soon.
Now the one thing that struck me as totally over the top, was that the whole neighborhood of this Chicago suburb celebrated Christmas in such a big way, and when The Kranks tell everyone that their not celebrating Christmas, literally everyone acts like they have just committed a child-kidnapping. They all acted as if they were Nazis, who say u must have Christmas or you can no longer live in the neighborhood any longer.
The jokes are just so terrible in this film. I mean honestly the slapstick just got way too forced by the middle of this film. Almost everything that The Kranks did had to end up in something bad happening to them or something around them. The screenplay was so dumb and stupid, that i actually wondered who the hell wrote this piece of crap!?!??! Honestly, you can’t have a Christmas film without even making one reference about Jesus or religion. I mean last time I checked its his birthday so why not even make a mention of it.
The one thing I will say about this film is that Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis do try hard with this crappy script. Nothing just came out as funny during this whole movie, no matter how much the whole cast tried.
Consensus: Christmas With The Kranks is not funny, terribly written, and should not ever be watched for the Christmas Holdiay.