Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

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

Monthly Archives: January 2011

Osmosis Jones (2001)

Now I know what’s going through my body when I’m pinching a load.

40-year-old man (Bill Murray) who’s the host to various organisms, tissues and blood cells all trying to do their assigned tasks. Chris Rock provides the voice for Osmosis Jones, a daffy white blood cell who tries to police Murray’s body.

I remember seeing this film back in the day when I was about in 2nd grade, and I loved it. The poor thing about this movie is that it made about $12 million, and it cost about $75 million to make. So does this still hold up as a good for me? Oh yes indeed.

The best thing about this film really is the animation. I liked how it looked, and overall I liked the story, and the action it provided. Your inside of this guy’s body, and you see how all these little cells act like humans, and do human-like things, except their in a human body, and their just a bunch of cells really. The action is also fast-paced, and you can’t help but be entertained by everything that’s going on in the body, it’s just a shame that when we pan out of the body, that this is where the film is most weak at.

The screenplay is not so good. There are a lot of dumb, stupid, and just plain grotesque toilet humor jokes. There’s non-stop farting, burping, snot, sneezes, and hell even a pimple bursts. That’s where I draw the line, cause that ish isn’t funny, that’s just plain old disgusting. I guess I don’t know what else to expect from gross-out humor kings The Farrelly Brothers, but at least some of the other disgusting stuff is funny, this is just stupid. The human parts are actually very boring compared to the animation, probably cause their both directed by two different people.

Chris Rock does a good voice job with Osmosis Jones, and doesn’t bring too many of his blackness to this in order to bring laughs from the more African-American viewers. David Hyde Pierce was such an odd choice for this, but he really does shine, and bring a lot of comedy with his signature delivery. You also have Laurence Fishburne playing the cool, bad-ass villain Thrax, and he does a very good job too. Bill Murray really isn’t that funny in this movie, probably because he plays such a bum, and does nothing but basically kill himself in this movie, he wasn’t very exciting to watch on screen.

When I was watching this I couldn’t help but remember all the good old times watching this movie with all my buddies, and laughing at the fart jokes in this film. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize, fart jokes, done right are funny. Still, any movie that can bring me to my child-hood is A-ok with me.

Consensus: Osmosis Jones brings me back to the good old days of when I was a kid, with its awesome visuals and action, but doesn’t satisfy when it turns to the human aspect of this film, and it’s non-stop array of terrible potty jokes.



The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (2009)

Makes me think twice of taking subways now.

When a group of hijackers led by criminal mastermind Ryder (John Travolta) take the passengers aboard a New York subway train hostage and demand a king’s ransom, it’s up to subway dispatcher Walter Garber (Denzel Washington) to bring them down.

Having not seen the original Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, I went into this film fairly open-minded. But knowing how director Tony Scott can annoy the hell out of me sometimes with his camera-work, kind of made me scared of this project, but it was not all that bad.

Director Tony Scott does it once again, and makes this film really annoying to watch with his constant frenetic camera-work that never seems to work. He does this in films like Unstoppable, The Last Boy Scout, and others, but for this film it was really unneeded. I think that Scott thinks that he needs to stylize every scene so he can make it all look cool, and keep the film thrilling. Oh, and let’s not forget that there is about 3 unnecessary car crashes involved. Why they were in this? Mainly because Tony Scott just wanted one for shits and gigs.

However, the main reason why I did like this film was because it actually was pretty entertaining. I was on the edge of my seat throughout the course of the film, and I didn’t quite exactly know what was going to happen next which is the least I can say for a lot of thrillers nowadays.

The first hour is very tense, and keeps our minds on the film, but by the end it does get to the very generic ending that we have all come to expect by now. While the first hour of this film is extremely – again – intense, around the last 30-40 minutes, the movie just becomes your typical action, chase film. It’s all kind of shame too, cause I really was having a grand time with this film.

Probably the best thing about this film is the constant inter-play between these two amazing actors. Denzel Washington, who looks like he was eating enough Subways for this role, does a great job of playing that likable, every-day man hero we have all come to love and know him as. John Travolta may look like a Hell’s Angel member, who enjoys porn on the weekends, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t convincing. Travolta was great because I believed he was crazy enough to hi-jack a subway, and wildly enough to pull it off, but also two steps ahead of me, the viewer. What makes this movie work is the interplay between these two main characters. They both speak through a box to one another throughout the course of the film, but not once did I want to get up, and go to the bathroom. Throughout that final act of the movie, I was just thinking “C’mon, go back to the two of them talking!” That’s how good it was watching them talking, and that’s why this film really does work. There is also some good side performances from the likes of James Gandolfini, John Turturro, and Luis Guzman.

Consensus: The direction may be too frenetic for this type of work, but the first hour, and constant interplay between Travolta and Washington make this film an enjoyable, if a bit generic thrill ride.


Trainspotting (1996)

One film that must always be watched with subtitles on.

Danny Boyle’s explosive 1996 film tracks the misadventures of young men (played by a cast that includes Ewan MacGregor, Robert Carlyle and Jon Lee Miller) trying to find their way out of joblessness, aimless relationships and drug addiction. Some are successful, while others are hopelessly not.

When it comes to drugs, you shouldn’t get involved with them at all. Their bad news, they break lives one by one, especially heroin. Heroin is that hardcore drug that all the alternative rockers take such as Lou Reed, David Bowie, and Kurt Cobain, among others. It’s considered one of the heaviest drugs, that will change your life forever, but as this film shows, that it doesn’t always have to be terrible all the time.

The one great thing about Danny Boyle, with this film, is that his direction is just about flawless. Literally from the first shot, keeps this film going at a quick, nasty, and in-your-face pace that doesn’t stop until the last credit is off the screen. He does so well with conveying so many emotions with his setting, of depressed Scotland, and how gritty, and dirty is, almost as dirty as its inhabitants too.

My favorite thing about this movie that basically had me won over was it’s script, that worked on all levels. This film in a way is a dark comedy, with bits of comedy, as dark it may be, but they still do get you laughing. But the drama when it hits, oh lord, does it ever so hit, but it never gets too depressing to the point of where you can’t watch anymore, cause you may kill yourself. These characters are drawn out as unique, and realistic people, that you are basically put with in this film, and you don’t mind, considering that you can probably relate to some of these characters, considering their all heroin addicts. There’s some beautiful insight with this film, and as the film progresses, you start to realize the movie is less about drugs, but more about life, and how you should direct it. But the film also delves deep into the life of a drug addict, and the feelings, and ideas you get while your on it. You want to live this different kind of life, because that’s what drugs offer you, but as you start to see your life crumble, you try to build yourself back up, and start it all over, and be what you never wanted to be in the first place, ordinary. This film captures terrifically the struggles of being a drug addict, and eventually getting away from being an addict.

Ewan McGregor got his break with this film as Rent, and let’s just say he deserved it, and if anybody’s trashing on Ewan now, saying he’s a crumby actor, they can just look back at this film, and see he always has been great, just give him the right material. Rent is your ordinary, average drug addict, with plenty of ambitions, which makes him a great person for the film to revolve around. He’s very ordinary, and also interesting. Robert Carlyle as Franco, is simply hilarious, because he’s this tough-as-nails guy that will kick your ass in a second if you mess with him, and watching him stirring up trouble all the time, is so funny and enjoyable. Ewen Bremner as Spud, does a good job, playing a funny character, that we sympathize with early in the film. Johnny Lee Miller as Sick Boy, is kind of a dick, but that’s good, cause we’re interested when watching his character. Also, need I not forget to mention Kelly Macdonald as Diane, who isn’t in a whole bunch of scenes, but is still fun to watch, every time she is in them.

The only setback from this film is the Scottish accents are deep, and if you like to read sub-titles through your movie a lot, then this is certainly the movie to use it for. But even this is very, very, minor.

Consensus: Gritty, darkly humorous, painful, and altogether realistic true story of what drugs will do to you, that supports witha  great script, and direction, that is even better with the performances.

9.5/10=Full Pricee!!

Tango & Cash (1989)

If these two were actual cops in real life, the world would be a safer place.

When Ray Tango (Sylvester Stallone) and Gabe Cash (Kurt Russell) are framed and wind up in prison, they’re tortured by the thugs of the drug lord who put them there. But watch out — the partners are sure to escape and exact revenge.

The 80’s was a special time for big-budget, action comedies like this. And for two stars of this genre to be in one movie, is a dream come true for any huge fan of this genre.

For me, I’m not a huge lover on this genre, but I will watch some movies that are like that, just for a good time and to enjoy myself. This film has a lot of that fun to enjoy yourself. The action is comes at you right away, and doesn’t really stop coming. There are loud explosions, guns blasting, people dying, punches, kicks, and this all equals up to you having fun.

However, this script is sosososo dumb. It tries way too hard to be cool, hip, and funny so they just keep on bringing cheesy one-liners to this film. Some one-liners work, others don’t but the fact of the matter is, is that they use too many for the sake of being funny, and by doing that, just make it annoying and less funny.

I did like seeing Stallone and Russell paired together as the opposites-attract, buddy pair. They both play well off each other, and actually make a lot of the bad lines, better cause of their machoness, as well as their comedic timing. They also both play riffs on characters they have played in the past, and that actually works cause who doesn’t like seeing some major film figures make fun of themselves? Exactly. Also, who doesn’t want to watch Jack Palance as the main bad guy, delivering lines so bad, that they would make

Consensus: Tango & Cash tries too hard to be cool, and funny, but fails at doing so, instead is a fun, action comedy, with two of the best action stars playing off each other well. Put this in the “so bad, it’s good” category.


Gran Torino (2008)

Wish I knew old men like Clint Eastwood.

Curmudgeonly Korean War veteran Walt Kowalski (Clint Eastwood, who also directs) must confront his Hmong immigrant neighbors — and his own long-held prejudices — when the family’s teenage son, Thao (Bee Vang), tries to steal Walt’s beloved 1972 Gran Torino. Walt soon assumes the unlikely role of guardian angel to young Thao and his sister Sue (Ahney Her), both of whom are vulnerable to local gang influences.

I have seen this movie so, so many times before, that literally I can say ever single line in this film. But it’s not a bad thing, cause I have always enjoyed this film.

Clint Eastwood as a director, is kind of iffy for me. Sometimes he is truly amazing as a director, and other times he just seems sluggish, and uninspired. This film is in between. Here it all starts off very slow, with little nice spots here and there, but it never fully gets off the ground, and you start to wonder what the hell Eastwood is trying to do here. Then the second half comes in, and that really does kick in.

The screenplay is good here, with a lot of humor, in a type of Archie Bunker way, but it still works cause everyone’s got a little bit of racism within them, and who doesn’t like a good Gook joke here and there? The direction and screenplay mesh well together, and although it isn’t the greatest combination since Peanut Butter & Jelly, they still do jell (pun intended) together well.

But the main reason this film is good, is mainly because of the freakin’ man, Clint Eastwood. This mofo is about 78, but he shows here that age doesn’t matter, cause he could still kick your ass. Almost every scene he is in, is just pure hilarity, or perfection for that matter. He’s an old, cranky, son of a bitch, that doesn’t give a shit what anyone else thinks about him, and won’t back down from telling you that he doesn’t like you, and the reasons why.

The problem with this film is that Clint is probably the only good thing that this film has going for it when it comes to acting. All of the unknown Hmong actors, are all untrained, which shows sadly, and almost every scene they have is just terribly acted, and sometimes unintentionally funny. I guess Clint was trying to go for the realistic feeling and showing real people acting, but sometimes that works, and sometimes it doesn’t. This was the one time it didn’t work, and terribly I might add. Also, what about those freakin’ gang members? They were such a bunch of little girls! In all honesty I could have kicked their asses!

Consensus: This may not be his best work, but Clint Eastwood does a great job on screen, with perfect presence, and a screenplay that shows humor, but also enough heart.


Top 10 of 2010

I’m not going to lie, but 2010 was a pretty good year film wise. Of course it started off pretty weak, got a little bit better in the summa time, and then come the fall to winter season, it was just simply bangin’! I had a great time with watching films this year, and these were probably my 10 favorite, even though I almost enjoy all visits. Don’t forget to click on the titles to get the full reviews.

P.S. Sorry that this is so so so late, I just needed more time to watch the very good movies of the year.


10. Shutter Island

A film everybody disliked because it wasn’t a masterpiece like everybody was expecting from Scorsese. Still very mind-boggling at times, and shows you that Scorsese really can do it all!

9. 127 Hours

One of the more entertaining films of the year, about a guy in a stuck between a rock. Never though Danny Boyle could have pulled it off, but he does, and with Franco there, it’s even better.

8. Buried

Much like 127 Hours, very entertaining even though it takes in one place. Kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time, and proves that Reynolds could also be a force to reckoned with when it comes to dramatic acting.

7. The Town

Shows that Ben Affleck is not just a flash in the pan when it comes to directing. When it comes to the well-picked ensemble, and awesome heist scenes, this film is a reminder why “cat-and-mouse game” films are so fun to watch.

natalie6. Black Swan

Completely messes with your mind, mainly because of the tense direction from Darren Aronofsky. Also, Natalie Portman plus Mila Kunis lesbian action! What’s there not to enjoy.

5. Blue Valentine

Basically the total downer of the year, but Williams and Gosling make it worth your while. Definitely not the perfect date movie however.

4. The Fighter

One of the more entertaining times I had at the movies this year, mainly because this was my Christmas treat this year. But it’s the ensemble that shines, and Bale will hopefully finally get that Oscar he has deserved for a long time.

3. The Social Network

I know everybody will be shocked to see this isn’t my favorite of the year, but it still is an amazing film. Perfectly acted, directed, and written, and made me feel pretty guilty about using a site that has become second-nature to me.

2. Inception

One of the more original and thrilling films of the year, and proves that Christopher Nolan is one of the perfect minds in film right now. Also, one of my favorite posts of the year, as it was my most read, and I also had a great time writing it.

1. Toy Story 3

The only 10/10 this year, and down right deserves it too. It brought me back to the good old days of watching the first two, as well as playing with my toys, and those last 10 minutes had me crying like the big baby that I’am. Loved it so much, and will always keep a special place in my heart.

Other Films To Mention

Leaves of Grass

A film that not many liked, but I took it as what it was, and was totally surprised with everything I got. Deserves everybody’s attention, and has a hilarious double performance from Norton.

I Love You Phillip Morris

Should have been released like 5 years ago, but it came out this year, and was I ever so glad. Jim Carrey gives one of his best performances of his brilliant career.

Date Night
One of the bigger surprises of the year, and although not many others enjoyed it as much as I did, this still provided plenty of laughs I needed so early in a year like this.

Well everybody, that was my top 10 in the year of 2010. Some may hate me, some may love me after they read this list, but either way doesn’t matter to me because I still had a great time. I want to say thank you to all of you out there, who have always taken time out of your day to either comment or read my reviews. I know my writing may not be the best, and I know that I’m not the most coherent reader of all-time, I just enjoy writing, and watching. Thank you all for this year, and here’s hoping that 2011 is even better!

So long every0ne, and remember, always read and comment! Thank you!

Dan O.

The Way Back (2011)

First film I review from the year 2011, and it’s starting off pretty nice.

After narrowly escaping from a wretched World War II Siberian labor camp, a small band of multinational soldiers desperately undertakes a harrowing journey to traverse Siberia, the Gobi Desert and the Himalayas on foot.

It’s been awhile since Peter Weir has directed a film. Probably about 7 years since Master and Commander came out, but he brings back his dominance with this good trip.

The best thing about this film is its amazing cinematography. The story itself takes us through the forests, blizzards, desserts, mountains, hills, cliffs, and everything else just looks so beautiful. You can’t help but get lost in some of the sights that this film has cause you can feel the loneliness sometimes that is within these guys, mainly because of the terrain their moving around.

However, my main problem with the film is that it’s story seems like it would keep you involved the whole time throughout, when in reality, your just sort of watching these people move from one environment to another. You never really feel connected to these characters, and although you may root for them a bit you never find yourself going: “OMG I hope they survive, they are so awesome”. Now take it for granted that was really gay what I just said there, but the fact is that you won’t be cheering these guys on with all your heart and soul, because the film doesn’t really give them to you. The script was OK to say the least, with some good humor here and there, and enough dramatic points as well, the only problem is that it could have been better, and I was a little bit bummed that I didn’t get more of dialogue that caught me dramatically.

I think the one thing you’ll like about this film the most is that it’s actually kind of fun. Your watching these guys go from Point A, to Point B, with all of this beautiful terrain, and you can’t help but enjoy yourself. Weir gives it that old-school feeling of an adventure film that were made from about 40 or 50 years ago, and there’s no problem with that because he keeps it at least interesting.

The performances in this film are pretty good, but nothing really special. Jim Sturgess gets a starring role here, and for the most part does a fine job with it, giving his character the bravery we all want. Colin Farrell is pretty good in this bringing a lot of comedy to his role, but it’s not one of his more memorable roles, so it’s kind of a whatever role. Ed Harris does the best job here as Mr. Smith, the bitter, untrusting loner with many secrets. He does the bust job, losing so much weight for this role, and bringing a lot of heart to his character. Saoirse Ronan is also good here, and the scenes with her and Harris are where the heart of this film lies.

Consensus: It’s not as emotionally engaging as you would expect, but The Way Back features some beautiful sights to see, and a good story to back up an entertaining movie.


Blue Valentine (2010)

Love is sometimes a beautiful thing.

Once crazy about each other, Cindy (Michelle Williams) and Dean (Ryan Gosling) have now grown apart. Cindy is bored and disenchanted with her life while Dean languishes in the emotional emptyness of their sexless, routine life in rural Pennsylvania. As they muddle through their marriage, they hearken back to the golden days when life was filled with possibility and romance.

I have been practically on this film’s ass ever since I first heard mouth of it last year. Now that’s it out & about, but even barely out, I drove about 30 miles to actually see this, since it was the only place that was showing it in my area. Needless to say, it was worth the mileage.

Writer/Director Derek Cianfrance really does know what love is like when it’s beautiful, and he also knows when its horrible. This film shows the brutally honest side of love, to where at first, it starts off all perfect with the love at first sight, and all the other cheesy rom-com cliches. But then, it starts to turn into something old, something annoying, and nothing changes at all. Instead it almost gets worse, and the person you once loved, you see your having a battle with everyday, over probably nothing half of the time. Cianfrance captures the happy side of love perfectly, but when it comes to showing the true, raw emotions that come out of it when it’s ugly, are also perfect. These are human emotions displayed at its finest, and not all of this film is basically a downer, there are some light moments that get you cheery, but those are then taken away by the unpleasant scenes that take over.

Right here is some pretty dark stuff too. The supposed “sex scenes” that this film got an NC-17 for back in October, really are nothing graphic. I can see why the MPAA would get all hyped up about certain sex scenes here, but in all honesty, it’s nothing different or shocking really. Just a little bit more graphic than what the usual, mainstream audience is used to seeing. I also liked how the film goes back and forth through their relationship, rather than just showing us the beginning through the end. It kind of gives us a feeling like what was once, all awesome beautiful, has turned into something boring, and ugly. I guess that’s just how love is really, and probably one of my biggest fears of all, getting so bored with a person to the point of where you have lost all love for them. I don’t know if it will ever happen to me, but if so, I guess that’s just how life is, no matter how sad it is. This film isn’t the feel-good film of the year, so be warned everybody.

My only complaint with this film has to be the aging mistake I think this film was going for. From what it looked like, these two were about 40, or older, when they show them “settled in”. But the problem is, that the kid they have is about 6 years old or younger, which is odd because why would these people look so old, when it’s only been like 10 years or so. I don’t know that was just me, and although not everybody will have an exact idea of what I’m saying, it still kind of bugged me.

The real showcase for this film is the talent that is shown by that beautiful couple up top. Ryan Gosling really is one of the biggest, brightest stars of today, that is showing just how great he really is. He is perfect in this role as Dean, who is so charming and likable, that every scene he is on he commands your attention, and you can’t help but give it to him. But it’s when that charm is turned off that really hits you, and you see a broken down, sad, sad man. Gosling delivers on the painful emotions you feel when love is going sour, and he does a perfect job with every scene he is in. I still don’t know if it’s better than his Half Nelson performance, but still, he is becoming one of my favorite actors of all-time, and I really do mean that. Michelle Williams is also not a force to be reckoned with, as she is also perfect here as Cindy, the nice, little, sweetheart that becomes the apple of Dean’s eye. The performance she gives off is a more quiet one than Gosling, which works very well, cause without even saying anything half of the time, you can feel the pain within her character, and when she snaps, she doesn’t let you forget about it.

Cianfrance best idea for this whole film really is just to let the actors tell the story, and that is probably my favorite part of this film, cause everything feels so real. You follow these two as if it is almost a documentary-like feel, and you can’t take your eyes off the screen at all, cause everything just feels so legit, no matter how disturbing, or distraught it may be. There’s no second-meanings to everything that goes on, or symbolism, it’s basically what you see is what you get. These two do feel like a real couple. Whether they fight, flirt, bone, sing, dance, or just sit there in silence it doesn’t matter cause it all feels real, especially with these two stars acting. Their chemistry is perfect, and you feel like when they are angry at each other, they really are, but when they love each other, they really do. Right here, you have a lot of improv but they do so well, creating so many powerful, and sometimes even suspenseful scenes.

Consensus: As emotionally raw as you can get, Blue Valentine portrays the dark side of love, with an impressive direction from Cianfrance, and heart-wrenching performances from Gosling, and Williams.

9/10=Full Pricee!!

The King’s Speech (2010)

Hugh Grant really is going to kill someone!

Britain’s King George VI (Colin Firth) struggles with an embarrassing stutter for years until he seeks help from unorthodox Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) in this biographical drama. Logue’s pioneering treatment and unlikely friendship give the royal leader a sense of confidence that serves him and his country well during the dark days of World War II.

Period Pieces really haven’t been as great as they used to be. And after this one, it looks like they may be right back on track.

You really do feel like you are in 1920’s-1930’s Britain with this movie. The set pieces look so realistic, as if they were almost all taken out of a old photograph, and the costumes all feel ripe and in style just like the time. For anybody that likes to look at old outfits from the 20’s, and feel like their there, this is surely the film.

The dialogue is also very good presenting a lot of the problem’s that people face with a stuttering problem, as well as kingship, and the honor as well as pressure it holds. The only problem I had with this movie, is that it really is nothing different. It is your typical, inspirational story, that takes the route your expecting it to right from the beginning. In all honesty, it’s not a good thing, but yet at the same time, it’s not a bad thing either. The film is pleasing because it keeps you entertained even though you know where this film is going, and it really is a film that the whole family can watch and learn something from it. Hell, my grand mom saw this before me, that just shows you the films appeal. At times it does get too sweet for my taste, and in the middle there is a bit of a drag within this film, and it doesn’t quite know how to get itself out of it.

It really is a film that since I’ve watched it already, I can say that I have watched it and be done with it. I’ll watch it maybe in the next year or two with my pop-pop, and I’ll like it, but it won’t be something that I’ll watch again, and again.

Colin Firth who has been in all those British romantic comedies, and every weird girls English sexual fantasy, does a very good job here of playing King George VI. He’s faced with the challenge of a stutter which from an actor’s perspective, is hard to pull off but he really does well here. He may not be the heart-throb in this that many expect from him, but he has that signature likability, almost that palpable general goodness about him that wins you over right away. I also liked seeing Helena Bonham Carter actually in a normal persons role, rather than the crazy, weird-looking Tim Burton/Harry Potter films. When she was starting out she was in a lot of period pieces, and it was nice to see her return to form once again. The best performance out of this cast is Geoffrey Rush, who I have never seen half-ass a role in his career. He’s frank, funny, and likable and brings so much to the screen every time he’s on, cause you can tell he really is having a great time with this material, and that didn’t bother me one bit. The times he and Firth are on screen together, feel genuine and really do bring out a lot of emotion within this film that I was not expecting. Also, many other familiar faces show up such as Guy Pearce, Derek Jacobi, Michael Gambon, and Timothy Spall.

Consensus: Though you know the direction of where it’s headed, and it’s not something different, but with its great performances, and realistic feel and look of the 20’s, you still can’t help but fall for the goodness that is The King’s Speech.


I Love You, Man (2009)

I’m still contemplating who’s going to be my best man.

In this bromance, the cinematic equivalent of a rom-com buddy flick, Paul Rudd plays a recently engaged guy who’s got the bride-to-be of his dreams but lacks an all-important significant other when it comes to their pending nuptials: a best man. On a determined hunt for a stranger who will stand up for him, he eventually meets a candidate (Jason Segel) with wedding-party potential. Jaime Pressly, Rashida Jones and Jon Favreau co-star.

So this is probably one of the most simple, and easy to follow premises of all-time. Basically go into this expecting to laugh, and you will.

The comedy is what makes this film very enjoyable. There’s a lot of good jokes here, even some one-liners that you will be quoting with your buddies for a pretty long time after your done watching this. I probably smiled, and or chuckled more, than I actually laughed, but there are a couple of belly-laughs here, you just got to wait awhile for them to come.

For me the dramatic aspect of this film didn’t really work, but I mean it does touch on some good aspects of friendship, but it doesn’t fit so well with the comedy. I also wished there was more insight onto these characters and how their feelings about everything, but I guess I’m just expecting too much in that case.

Most of the laughs come from these two hilarious performances from these amazing comedians. Paul Rudd is terrific as the nerdy, awkward dude, that says certain stuff, and has no idea why he did or said that certain thing. It’s funny to see Rudd play this character and do it so well, cause we’re used to seeing him do this cool, funny, and charming dude, but here he’s basically playing a geek, but still stays charming. Jason Segel is perfect as the off-beat slacker, Sydney Fife, and he just is a perfect match cause he matches the dude-like qualities of Sydney, and still keeps it all charming. Their chemistry does feel genuine, and carries a lot of the scenes that could have came out as pretty dull. Their perfect comedic timing together, and how they just play off each other works, and really does feel like an actual friendship. The supporting cast is also good with plenty of big names like Rashida Jones, Jaime Pressly, Jon Faverau, J.K. Simmons, Andy Samberg, and of course everybody’s favorite Hulk, Lou Ferrigno.

Consensus: With a simple premise, the cast uplifts this film with its perfect comedic performances, and the fact that it’s just a great time to watch and have fun.


Toy Story 3 (2010)

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.

10/10=Full Pricee!!!

How To Train Your Dragon (2010)

Now instead of a dog and a cat that I have, I want a dragon.

As the son of a Viking leader on the cusp of manhood, shy Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III faces a rite of passage: He must kill a dragon to prove his warrior mettle. But after downing a feared dragon, he realizes that he no longer wants to destroy it. So, he befriends the beast — which he names Toothless much to the chagrin of his warrior father.

This film was probably one of the biggest surprises of last year. Jeez, now I can say last year, whenever I talk about 2010. Anywho, this film grossed about half a billion dollars at the box office, and was one of the best-reviewed films of the year. Never would have I expected that from an animated film starring Gerard Butler, and Jay Baruchel.

The screenplay is what took me by surprise with this film as it has a decent amount of good comedy, but the dramatic depth is what really takes you over. There is a montage in this film that is used with no dialogue, and it really does tug at your heart. Showing you that sometimes no words spoken at all, can sometimes be the most effective. The film has a message about being pro-animal and how we should treat all species with respect, but they don’t hammer us with that message, and it feels fresh.

However, it’s the visuals that take over this film. There are plenty of flying scenes that will strike you in awe, as you are taken on this beautiful, fun ride, and the visuals are just breath-taking. It looks pretty, but it also has the action to back it up, and keep you watching, and sit in amazement.

The only problem I had with this film was that it just wasn’t as memorable as I was expecting it to be. Yeah it’s got a good story, and awesome visuals, but will I be buying this for my kids 20 years from now, telling them about my experience with this movie as a kid? No, and it is very good, just compared to other DreamWorks animation films it’s not as good.

Jay Baruchel‘s nerdy, awkward-voiced way of delivery actually is works here, and his character is a your typical softy, but a lot of the timing from his delivery, brings out a likability within his character. Gerard Butler is actually in a film that doesn’t blow! He plays the viking father, with his native Scottish accent, and does a good job for once. Wish I got to see more of this, but something tells me I shouldn’t get my hopes up. America Ferrera doesn’t really have that many lines in this film, but her character is strong, and we think shes actually pretty cool. Others in this film are Craig Ferguson, Jonah Hill, Kristin Wiig, and McLovin.

Consensus: Although not as memorable as other animated films that have came out in the past couple of years, How To Train Your Dragon still impresses with its great story, that has effective emotional depth, and enchanting visuals, that keep you watching.


Psycho (1998)

Reason why classics, should just be kept as that.

This remake of the 1960 shocker stars Anne Heche as Marion Crane, who makes a fateful stop at the Bates Motel — run by mama’s boy Norman Bates (Vince Vaughn) — after embezzling $400,000. When Marion fails to show up for work, her disappearance triggers an investigation by her lover (Viggo Mortensen), her sister (Julianne Moore) and a private eye (William H. Macy) … who discover that Norman has a morbid secret.

Everybody knows Alfred Hitchcock’s original 1960 classic. They all know the shower scene, the twist ending, and most of all, Norman Bates. So you think it would take a mad man to try and do something with that, and remake it. Well Gus Van Sant just is that mad man.

Director Gus Van Sant I think is trying to experiment here, and see what it is he can actually do with a remake like this. But the problem is, there’s nothing much he can do. This is a shot-for-shot remake, with a couple of changes here and there, and it’s filmed in color. The colors I liked, but the problem is that he doesn’t do much different here, than what was already done in the original. The score is practically the same, as well as the script, so what the hell is the point of this remake?

I think the answer to that was an experiment. Van Sant wants to see if you can actually remake a classic, and put it in the modern world, but still keep it the same, and it having the same effect. I’ll give Van Sant points for at least grabbing his balls, going out there, and messing with a classic like he did. However, the problem is that this just isn’t anything new. It’s the same film, same twists, same dialogue, basically same everything. And I wish I could say it was enjoyable, but it really wasn’t cause I could easily just pop in the original, and have a better time. Why? Cause it’s the original, and nothing beats that. Sorry Gus.

The acting is alright to say the least. Anne Heche is OK in this film, but doesn’t do much to her character, that hasn’t been done before. Viggo Mortensen is actually a lot more creepier than I expected, so although he tried, I couldn’t really take him as this regular, ordinary dude. Julianne Moore is very good in a couple of scenes that she has, as well as William H. Macy, who demands the screen every time he is on. Vince Vaughn is actually surprisingly good here as Norman Bates, the only problem is that he is playing Norman Bates. I think that the only reason he doesn’t do as great as he could have was because Anthony Perkins perfected it so well. In another film, Vaughn could easily pull this role off, but the problem is that he’s trying to do the same thing that Perkins did, and he gets a bad rep. But Vince is equally as creepy, and does the best job out of the whole cast.

Consensus: Van Sant tries to remake this 1960 classic, but fails, because nothing is new here, it’s all the same with a few changes, so it all just seems pointless. Further proof as to why certain people should leave classics, be classics.


The Kids Are All Right (2010)

One of those cases where I expected way too much in the first place.

Joni (Mia Wasikowska) and Laser (Josh Hutcherson), the children of same-sex parents Nic (Annette Bening) and Jules (Julianne Moore), become curious about the identity of their sperm-donor dad (Mark Ruffalo) and set out to make him part of their family unit, often with hilarious results. But his arrival complicates the household dynamics, and nobody is sure where or how he fits in.

This is a pretty much the same premise you can get with any other family dramedy anywhere else, the only exception is that it’s got a spin……there’s two mommies. As the world is changing, so are movies, get used to it.

Writer/Director Lisa Cholodenko does a pretty good job here of making all these characters feel legit. The film itself focuses on the all 5 members of this “family” and each and every one of them are unique in their own special way. They could have all easily been used as just plain and simple plot devices to get the story moving on, but instead they all feel real, and it’s actually really cool to see how every character’s opinion is different from the other, and how each reaction is different from the other.

The problem with me was the script. Don’t get me wrong I did like how they actually touched on a lot of subjects such as marriage, love, and family, but it all didn’t hit me like I wanted it to. On a comedy level, it’s pretty funny, in a more awkward way which really surprised me. There were times that I was actually cringing in my seat, by how painfully awkward this really was. If that’s how real life is though, then damn, I may just have to go Trojan on that one. However, the drama wasn’t having me totally affected like I was expecting. There were many emotional scenes, but the problem was that they didn’t go the extra mile to touch on its dramatic subjects. There is one element in this film that seemed like it could have been really, really dramatically played out, but instead they just chill and handle it silently. In all honesty, that certain situation would have been handled with fireworks all over the place, not just silent. I don’t know that’s how I see it, but besides that I didn’t get emotionally attached like I was expecting.

I have to say that this cast is what makes this film. Playing a bitchy, over-controlling, and strict momma is never easy to make likable, but somehow, Annette Bening makes that happen. She is perfect as Nic, with her Ellen DeGeneres look, and she has a lot of emotional scenes and it all feels true to the point. You can feel her anger, and you can see why she is, the way she is, but she doesn’t have us hate her. Which is hard to say about a lot what other actresses could have done to this character. Julianne Moore is very good as this hippy-like Jules. She does really well with this character making her seem less stupid, and more confused with what she wants, and it really plays well. Mark Ruffalo is what shines here. His character, Paul, is so cool, and laid back, that really cannot wait to see him every time he’s on screen. In a way, he’s used as a plot device, but Ruffalo makes it more than just that, and has us love his screen presence, even when he’s just standing there, and doing his cool guy smirk. Hopefully an Oscar nomination will come for all three of these peeps. Mia Wasikowska and Josh Hutcherson play the two kids, Laser and Joni (chill names for kids), and they play their characters well, but they spend too much time moping around. I wish they had more effective scenes, showing their insight on a lot more that was going on, but with what was given to them I didn’t mind that much.

Overall, I think I was just expecting more as a whole from this film. Back when I first saw the trailer, I was freakin’ out over it, and wanted to see it so bad, and the reviews poured in, and it just seemed like the greatest thing ever. However, I guess with what I got, I was just bummed out about. I thought this was going to be different from your every average family dramedy, but instead it just ended up being basically the same, and a lot of the ways certain scenes ended, I wish they ended differently. But hey, in the end, I guess it was an “all right” experience. I’m catchy as anything.

Consensus: The story isn’t as effective as I was expecting, and the plot feels a little all too familiar, but the characters are rich, and the performances keep this film running, even though you want more.


I Love You Phillip Morris (2010)

Never would I have thought that I’d see the day when I saw Obi-Wan and Ace Ventura smooching on the screen.

When upstanding Texas cop Steven Russell (Jim Carrey) realizes he’s gay, he changes his entire life and pulls a series of bold con jobs that lands him jail — where he meets his one true love, cellmate Phillip Morris (Ewan McGregor). When Morris is transferred to another prison, lovesick Russell mounts a series of jailbreaks just to be with his beloved soul mate.

This film has been all over the place for the past couple of years. It’s been getting edited, finding American distributors, and also trying to actually find a release. And although nobody will probably see this movie, you should really get out and try to.

The fact that this film couldn’t find an American distributor because it had “a lot of gay sexual sequences” is totally beyond me. Yeah, there is gay sexual happenings in this movie, but its not to the point of where your basically disgusted at everything that’s going on. In the first part of the film I was a little annoyed by how the gay stereotypes were all over the place, but they soon started to dumb down, and that’s what I liked the most.

This film is not flaming with gay material, it’s more about the sweet love story. This film had me laughing at a lot of parts, and really worked when it came to comedy all over the board, and not just gay sex jokes. Its sweet tone also is kept throughout the whole film, and you can actually feel an emotional connection to all of these characters, even though they may be a little messed up. The pace throughout is generally well-done, without moving too fast, or too slow.

But I honestly liked how the whole story was all true, and the con-man events that happen are even funnier. I think Steven Russell is just such a smart guy, that it was really interesting to see how his story played out into this film. He did many, many crazy things that I would have never have thought about, just to be with his boo, which was funny, and also sweet at the same time. Never have I watched a film and thought that I can do whatever want to do, and be who I want to be, I just got to be good at making stories up, and act really well.

The problem with this film is that the comedy and drama doesn’t quite balance out as well as I would have liked it to. By the end of the film you can kind of see that the film is relying too hard on the drama aspect, which kind of seemed strange, since this whole film itself was kind of goofy. But in the end, I guess it all worked out.

The best thing that this film has going for itself, is the fact that Jim Carrey is on fire (or flaming for that matter)! He is perfect as Steven Russell, and you can really see he is having fun actually playing a “character”. Everybody is so used to seeing Jim Carrey playing the usual Stanley Ipkiss, or Ace Ventura, that it really is a surprise when he can be an actual real-life person. I thought he was doomed, but he came back and showed me after all, why we all love him. It’s not the bravest performance ever, but he does a perfect job at mixing both his dramatic, and comedic aspect of his acting skills. Ewan McGregor is fine as Phillip Morris, as he plays this really gentle, sweet guy that just wants love. It’s great to see these two together on screen, cause they really do make it all work, and their chemistry is actually very solid, as strange as it may seem.

Consensus: Despite its flaws, I Love You Phillip Morris is a funny, fact-based, romantic comedy, that doesn’t exploit the homosexual love, and instead keeps it cute, with Carrey and McGregor doing great jobs in the leads.


True Grit (2010)

The Dude playing a sheriff. This is heaven.

Fourteen-year-old Mattie Ross’ (Hailee Steinfeld) father has been shot in cold blood by the coward Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin), and she is determined to bring him to justice. Enlisting the help of a trigger-happy, drunken US Marshal, Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges), she sets out with him – over his objections – to hunt down Chaney. Her father’s blood demands that she pursue the criminal into Indian territory and find him before a Texas Ranger named LeBoeuf (Matt Damon) catches him and brings him back to Texas for the murder of another man.

The western genre has been kind of dead as of lately. I mean there have been your occasional westerns like Appaloosa, or 3:10 To Yuma awhile back for that matter, but never has there been one in the last couple of years that has brought it back to the “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” stages it used to be. But I think it just needed somebody who could handle it right, and those were The Coens.

The Coen Brothers direction is solid here. They use a lot of time to focus on the story, and keep the pace going at a minimal pace. The script that they wrote is also very good for this movie, as it keeps humor, in light of the bad and serious tone this film tries to maintain throughout the whole film. I was glad to see The Coens do something completley different, and once again, keep me watching.

However, my problem with this film is that it just kind of disappointed me. I like how they focuses on the story a lot, but the pace at times, was just way too slow. It would get to a point, and I thought it would go somewhere, and then it just ended up going right back to the dead pace. I will not lie this film is very enjoyable, but the problem was that there are certain times, where the film feels like it doesn’t have much really going on, so they just throw in a little gun-fight. The gun-fights were good in this film, but they didn’t come all the time to keep me entertained, because there still were some dry parts.

Jeff Bridges as usual, is the effin’ man in this film, playing Rooster Cogburn. He’s very good at playing the rough, tough, and stubborn man, who also has a good heart, and you have a feeling that in the end he will do the right thing. Sometimes it was hard for me to understand just what on the earth he was saying, but he is still always a joy to watch. Matt Damon is also very good here playing LaBeouf, giving us that dry, sophisticated timing we haven’t seen from him in so long. It all reminds us as to why he really is one of the best stars out there, and should be given each and every role he is offered. New-comer Hailee Steinfeld is perfect in this role, as Mattie’s Ross, as she is the heart of the movie, and we have to kind of rally around her for this film to work, and we do. She also shows that she can hang with stars such as Bridges, and Damon, and I cannot wait to see what she has planned next. Josh Brolin is also strangely good as Tom Chaney, and Barry Pepper also shows up, doing what he always does best. He gets under-casted, but doesn’t let you forget that he was in this film after all.

The main gripe I had with this film was the fact that I was kind of expecting something new, and improved to the Western genre, since this was done by The Coens and all. But instead, I didn’t get that. It all felt too by-the-book, and certain things happened, that you knew were going to happen, and it’s kind of a disappointment, cause this is The Coens, who are always known for keeping you on the edge of your seat, and surprising the hell out of you. But instead they just keep us entertained, which isn’t so bad, I just was expecting something so much more.

Consensus: True Grit is entertaining, with some good action, and great performances from the cast, but almost a big disappointment as I was expecting something more, and different from The Coens, and instead got your average, generic western, with more wit, and less surprises.


127 Hours (2010)

Well, now I’m never going rock-climbing.

From director Danny Boyle comes this harrowing tale of real-life mountain climber Aron Ralston (James Franco), who literally cuts himself loose from danger — and lives to tell about it when sliding rock pins his forearm under a boulder during a climb in Utah. To stay alive, Ralston resorts to his basest survival instincts.

Back in the day, I remember when this was first getting talked about, and did this ever having me look everywhere I could for this dude they call, Aron Ralston. And from what I read, this guy was basically a bad-ass, that lived by his own ways, and I gotta say, that is pretty cool, but I guess now he kind of regrets that.

The main element of this film is that it literally is about this guy who was stuck in a cave for 5 days, and the film itself is about 94 minutes. Do I hear sleepy time? No, I do not, because Danny Boyle saves this film. He uses his notable trademarks of frenetic camera-work, and beautiful colors, to keep the film going, and I have to say he makes this film very enjoyable. He moves around with that camera all over the place, as many times as he wishes, and keeps us watching. The soundtrack, although it’s much like Slumdog Millionaire’s, still keeps this film moving, especially in a lot of the quicker parts, that really want to keep you excited, and for the most part it works. Basically without him this film, would have practically been a bomb. However, despite this I still felt there were way too many moments where it gets too cinematically contrived. I think Boyle tried to get a little bit too cute and artsy, and try to overcome the real obstacle of this being just a guy in a whole.

The story here is what really keeps this film going. I liked how the story first starts off showing us this daredevil, that lives by his own rules, and practically thinks he is God-like. But gets put into a situation that is either life or death, and tries anyway possible to get out of it, and get back to the ones he loves. In all honesty, I don’t know how I would do in that situation. If it came to practically chopping my own arm off, or dying there, I really don’t know what I would do. Well, first of all, I wouldn’t get in that situation in the first place, and secondly, I probably would just puss out and die. Yes everybody, I may look big and strong, but in reality I’m just a big teddy bear. I hate my life. The story is compelling, and as you watch this guy go through whatever is going through his mind, you start to get a huge glimpse inside the head of what a person would do, and think about, in that situation. I wasn’t crying by the end of this movie by how emotionally attached I was, but I did feel a connection to this character, in the things that were going through his head.

Now, what you have to ask yourself is: are you ready to watch a lot of James Franco’s face. For me, that answer was yes. He is perfectly cast in this role, because he brings a lot of energy to this guy. In the beginning, you kind of see him as this cocky, can-do-no-wrong guy, but by the end you see him as this fun-loving, thoughtful guy that knows what he has done wrong in his life, and it all feels genuine. You really do end up loving this guy by the end of the film, and it’s all thanks to Franco who’s humor keeps us laughing in the rather slow parts, and keeps us emotionally connected, in the more dramatic parts. Oscar Nod? I think so.

Also, must I not forget the amputation scene. Going in, I thought I could handle it, thinking I’m a pretty macho guy, it won’t bother me. However, I was dead wrong. The scene itself is shot, acted, and done perfectly. It feels, and looks so real, and the whole time I was watching, I couldn’t help but move around in my seat, and hold my hands while this was going on. The film definitely leads up to the this scene and it’s perfectly done. Now whenever I clinch my right arm, I just get goosebumps, all thanks to you Mr. Boyle. First you got me with the zombies, and now you get me with the guy in the cave! Your the best!

Consensus: 127 Hours may not seem compelling at first, but Boyle keeps us watching with his amazing direction, that is anchored by an amazing performance from the always reliant James Franco. Just make sure to bring your own hands, as you will be using them to cover your eyes.

9/10=Full Pricee!!!

Gunnin’ for that #1 Spot……..

Hello everybody, since it is a new year and all, I thought it was quite exceptional, that to start it off so grand I would be nominated for a Best Review Blog at Total Film. So all I’am saying people is pleaseeeeee voteeee forrr meeee. I know I’m not the greatest writer out there ever, but all I want is just some help everybody. I would love to get somewhere close to 20 votes. So please all off my fellow readers, please give me some of the love. If you vote for me, let me know, so when I see you, I can give you a very manly shake, or very womanly hug. Whichever one you prefer, I’m down with. The name is Dan The Mans Movie Reviews, and all you have to do is click that little thingy right next to it, and hit “vote”, and boom goes the dynamite! Thanks everybody I hope you all can vote for yours truly, and remember do what you do best, keep on reading, and watching.

Gentlemen Broncos (2009)

What a weird title, for a weird movie. But not the good kind of weird.

Hoping that his novel brings him fame and fortune, high school loner Benjamin Purvis (Michael Angarano) attends a fantasy writers conference and later discovers that his masterwork has been plagiarized by an iconic author (Jemaine Clement, “Flight of the Conchords”).

For the most part this film starts off very well. The thematic ideas behind the film easily push this film into the realm where it is Jared Hess’ best work to date! The opening act of the film is a really interesting set-up. But although I thought I was ready for some good stuff here, I just got totally robbed.

Jared Hess as you all may know is the director of quirky films such as Nacho Libre, and Napoleon Dynamite, and with this one he tries too hard to be like a combination of both. The script is where it really fails, because the jokes are so stupid and juvenile, that you don’t know whether or not to take this film seriously at all. There is also way too many dumb potty jokes that were maybe funny when I was in 5th grade, now just seem useless and a cheap way to get teenagers to laugh at.

In this film there is also an emotional story that this film was gunning for, but instead it gets watered down by those terrible jokes, and cheesy special effects dream sequences. Now I know that they were doing all the fantasy sequences as a joke, but in all honesty they weren’t that amusing. I felt like the film was just trying to be weird, just for the sake of being weird, and when it comes to this film, that wasn’t helping this film out at all.

Jemaine Clement is very funny here and just about steals every scene he is in, until I soon started to realize that he was just telling a bunch of “anus” jokes. Michael Angarano is strong in this lead performance, and Hess did a good job at making this average, nerdy type of character, and not relying on the constant quirks to win us over. Sam Rockwell is the real treat, even though he is only in the crazy sci-fi fantasy sequences, he brings so much hilarity to these scenes, and is the highlight of this utterly painful to watch movie. Jennifer Coolidge is also good, playing the same exact chick she plays in almost every movie, but that’s not a bad thing, cause she’s always so good at it.

Consensus: With the cast at least bringing out some comedy, Gentlemen Broncos has some laughs, but Jared Hess loses himself in the script and brings out too many quirks, potty humor, and moments of just pure weirdness that makes no sense.


Summer of Sam (1999)

Good thing I was born in 1993, and didn’t live in New York.

During the sweltering summer of 1977, the notorious killer Son of Sam set New York City on fire, and a chance encounter with the homicidal maniac sends the life of a philandering Bronx hairdresser named Vinny (John Leguizamo) spinning out of control. As the authorities hunt the killer, Vinny’s life unravels amid a haze of suspicion, drugs and promiscuity. Mira Sorvino and Adrien Brody also star in this tense crime drama from director Spike Lee.

Spike Lee has always been one of my favorites no matter what he’s directing really. He is very smart, innovative, and thought-provoking, but not without entertaining. Here, he does almost all of that.

There is a lot of stuff going on in this film, and for the most part Lee handles it all pretty well. It’s just that some parts feel like they shouldn’t have even been put in, and you can tell where the film drags. The editing seems like it could have been better, because the tone goes up and down, as well as the story.

However, Lee always steps up to the plate. He perfectly captures the fear and paranoia that was going through the mind of many New Yorkers during the Summer of Sam. He uses a lot of intense visuals, as well as some incredible set pieces, to really show you how everything back in those days, were so tense. The soundtrack also gives us more of a feel that we are in the 70s, and there are a couple of cool little musical montages to 2 songs from The Who, and it really is amazing. It’s always nice to see Lee branch out and do something different, while still making it fresh and enjoyable.

The problem with this film is that it is that for some viewers this may be too much. There is a lot of ugliness within this film that will take some people by surprise, and leave others in total disgust. I didn’t mind it at all really, but the many sex scenes, drugs, and violence will actually be hard for others to watch. For 142 minutes, I think some people will find themselves switching the channels about 30 minutes into it.

The acting is superb, especially from John Leguizamo. His sex-addicted, Catholic-guilt-ridden, married, adulterous, drug-taking, smoking, swearing, messed-up is out of control. Cool. Adrien Brody‘s sexually-confused, swinging, punk, radical, liberated, drug-taking, smoking, swearing, messed-up, Brit wannabe is more subtle, but equally as out of it. They both have great scenes when their together, and you can feel the real chemistry between these two, as we follow their two different lives. Mira Sorvino is beautiful, but also amazing as Leguizamo’s wife, and shows that she doesn’t need to be that goody-goody we all know her for, she can be equally as sexy, and tear down the house. Jennifer Esposito doesn’t do much anymore, and it’s actually a shame because she’s very good here, and it makes me miss her a whole lot more.

Consensus: At times, it’s a muddled mess, at other times brilliantly entertaining. Spike Lee handles this material with plenty of ugliness, but also with great visuals, and amazing performances from the cast.