Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

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Monthly Archives: August 2011

Sunshine (2007)

When Sheryl Crow sang, “I wanna soak up the sun”, these people took that to the heart.

With permanent darkness looming, scientists devise a plan to reignite the sun before the lights go out forever. To do so, a crew of astronauts is sent hurtling through space on an intense mission to determine the fate of the planet.

Director Danny Boyle is a dude that has been doing great things for the past decade. Ever since he flew on the radar with Trainspotting, people have been watching this guy for just what crazy story he’ll bring out next. This is one of them.

Boyle does a great job with this film because he creates this ultra-freaky sense of claustrophobia as the crew members get closer and closer to the sun, and farther and farther away from the actual planet. This is how Boyle creates suspense as he shows more close-up shots, confined structures, and basically telling us what’s going to happen next but still leaving that little thought and idea that something, just something may go wrong.

Another great thing that Boyle does here is show us perfect actually almost seamless dazzling effects that look like an actual spacecraft if it were to travel to the sun. I liked how Boyle used all these different types of vibrant colors to contract the over-bearing darkness in space. The scenes of where we actually see the sun hitting these people’s eyes or just seeing the sun in general are actually very well-detailed and if Boyle did one thing right here, it was to show us just about pitch-perfect visuals that never seemed to disappoint and brought me more and more into this world.

My main problem with this film is that none of this really seems original which is what anyone could see from a mile away. I almost got the sense of claustrophobia that I had with Alien, or the talking space-ship from 2001, or hell even the little plot twists that happen here reminded me so much of Solaris and plenty other sci-fi flicks. This isn’t saying that this one doesn’t stand well on it’s own two feet because it does well, but the constant reminders of countless other sci-fi films started to annoy me.

I like how Boyle chose this international cast and actually all had them live together so he could get this very legit feel between all of the, and to say the least it worked. Cillian Murphy is the real showcase of talent here as Capa; Rose Byrne is gorgeous but also very good as Cassie; Michelle Yeoh creates a very good character which is something I wasn’t expecting as Corazon; and Cliff Curtis does a good job as the reasonable nice guy, Searle.

The best out of the cast though is a guy I actually talked about not too long ago in my Captain America review. Chris Evans is stunning here and attributes to a lot of the scenes he has because he has that legitimate feel to him and it almost seems when everybody’s getting all too freaky and crazy with what’s about to happen. He’s the one who always seems to breath some fresh air of smarts into their sci-fi heads and even though the rest of the cast is good he is still the one that seems to do it for me the most.

My final problem with this film is that the tone starts to switch very dramatically by the last hour. The first hour is this building of suspense, sci-fi, and unknowings, but then the last half comes up and then we get this strange, trapped, almost slasher flick kind of film. This kind of disappointed me because it was never explained why the last half actually happened the way it did and the way everything happens just seems so run-of-the-mill even though I thought the ending had a good touch.

Consensus: This isn’t a totally original film, and the final act may disappoint, but Sunshine benefits from Boyle’s inspired direction that creates suspense, beautiful visual effects, and a cast that actually do well with their roles and seem like actual people rather than just a bunch of action cliches.


Happy Last Day Of Summer of Everyone! It’s been a great one!


Antz (1998)

Now I’m going to leave a lot more crumbs on the ground now.

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Jungle Fever (1991)

At least Spike Lee doesn’t totally hate white people.

Flipper (Wesley Snipes) is a successful, married architect. Angie (Annabella Sciorra) is a temporary office worker. When they meet, it’s Jungle Fever. Also, Flipper’s crack-addicted brother (Samuel L. Jackson) causes many problems as well.

Writer and director Spike Lee is a man who is most known for being very controversial with the things he has to say, and here he really talked about something that was actually kind of taboo way back when.

The one thing that Lee does so well here is create a script that shows two different races view points on the same subject of interracial dating and how everything all these people say only pops up when the actual idea of having this kind of dating is heard of. Lee brings up points that most just use it out of curiosity, and while both races don’t hate one another, blacks and whites still have problems when it comes to sex and how we don’t know how to be sexually intimate with each other.

It’s great to see and hear Lee hit this film with such honesty because we see both sides basically talk and there’s no real right or wrong side here, this is just basically two sides voicing their opinions on what they feel is the truth about interracial dating and the races. Lee is masterful here at bringing up these points as well as never fully telling us what we should and should not know about each race. I guess that’s something we have to do when it comes to being sexually attracted to another race.

Lee has a great script here but his problem’s lie within his direction because even though he shies away from the constant cliche romantic scenes once this couple gets together, Lee shows how both races feel which worked in it’s advantage for the most part. However, the problem is that we never actually see these two together too much and when we do the chemistry is just sort of piss-poor. It would have been a lot better if we saw how two actually felt for each other while all this craziness from everyone around them was going on.

Another problem here is that the film has way too many random sub-plots that by the end of the film kind of give it that cluttered feeling to the point of where the ending is actually a lot weaker than it could have been. The film also goes from character to character with no real idea as to who it wants to focus on the most and rather more about just being able to voice all of these other people’s opinions on the subject of interracial dating which made it seem more about the countless other characters that supported this story, and totally getting rid of the relationship that practically is the reason for this film.

Wesley Snipes is good as Fluffy Purify, but the problem with this character is that he is either incomplete as a character or just a total jerk that deserved all this bad crap to happen to him after this relationship starts. I don’t know what Lee was trying to show here but despite how much Snipes tries, this character just wasn’t that likable and a bit naive actually. Annabella Sciorra is also good as the smart-talking, and charming Angie Tucci who brings a great sense of likability to her character even though she is almost an unknown by the end of the film by how much they barely don’t focus on her. There’s also some very good performances from the likes of Spike Lee himself, Anthony Quinn, John Turturro, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, and Lonette McKee.

However, everybody in this film is actually over-shadowed from the amazing presence of Samuel L. Jackson as Flipper’s crack-addicted brother, Gator. Every time this guy is in the film he just totally lights up the screen (pun intended) and it’s just Jackson’s approach to the role is what makes it incredibly likable, a little funny, and kind of sad by just how messed up this guy really is. If you think about it, there’s actually no real purpose for Gator to be in this film but Jackson makes him incredibly watchable and is just a great performance all-around.

Consensus: Much more could have been focused on the actual couple as opposed to the numerous side characters and subplots the film also showed, but Jungle Fever shows Lee swinging for the fences and giving some frank and brutally honest talk about sex, race, and just how do we separate love and sex. A flawed film but still very well-made.


Hulk (2003)

He’s angry….and boring.

Researcher Dr. Bruce Banner’s (Eric Bana) failed experiments cause him to mutate into a powerful and savage green-skinned hulk when he loses control of his emotions. And the only person who seems to stand by him is his girlfriend, Betty Ross (Jennifer Connelly), proving that love is indeed blind. Nick Nolte co-stars as Banner’s father.

Director Ang Lee is a very strange director for this type of material. I mean this is the same dude that made Sense & Sensibility, The Ice Storm, and Brokeback Mountain so adding this to his list is strange but also disappointing.

I have to say that that Lee does do something new with the superhero film here and that is bring a lot more emotional depth to a film that would just seem like constant smashing everywhere. The film focuses a lot more on the actual characters, story, and happenings which is something new and actually cool for a superhero film because we never see that really and Lee somehow makes it interesting.

The problem with Lee’s ambition is that at a staggering time-limit of 138 minutes, a lot of this does feel kind of boring. Not much really does happen except for a lot of these people just talking about what’s going on and a little bit about the mysteries of their lives. The action does come every once in a blue moon but not enough for a film that is all about a big green dude who goes around and smashes things.

The script is also kind of lame because instead of actually trying to create any sense of real tension with this story, it just focuses on Banner and his father’s relationship, or how he still can’t remember what happened to his parents when he was young. The humor is gone within the first 10 minutes so therefore were stuck with just a bunch of serious people, doing their very own serious face and overall just being dull.

However, despite the problems with the script and story the constant visual fest of this film is what had me liking it more. Lee makes this film look like a comic book on the screen with the use of light colors, split-screen to portray about 3 different things happening at once, and The Hulk itself. I loved how the green just stood out amongst the area around him and when the action actually does happen it looks really cool and is actually exciting because even though Lee may not be able to keep this film exciting through its over two hour time limit, the action still provides some fun here.

The acting itself was pretty good and brought me into the film more as well. Eric Bana as Bruce Banner is good and plays that torn, all messed up dude that doesn’t know exactly who are where he came from very well even when he starts to get angry. Jennifer Connelly is practically doing the same exact “stand by your crazy scientist lover” performance that she won an Oscar for in A Beautiful Mind but that’s not so bad; Sam Elliot is a total dick with his snarling and teeth grinning performance that looks like he came right out of the comic book itself; Josh Lucas is a dick as well here as Glenn Talbot, but isn’t in this film as much; and Nick Nolte plays Banner’s father, David (Get it, David Banner) and looks like he just came right out of that disastrous mug-shot but is still pretty good with that craziness he always uses so well.

Consensus: Director Ang Lee strives for ambition here with some dramatic depth to the story, good performances from the cast, and a beautiful, comic-book look to the film, but overall there’s too much talking and most of it just feels plain boring with not enough cool action sequences which makes me question how didn’t Lee know why Lee tried to aim for a Greek tragedy?


Miami Vice (2006)

Three words: “Colin Farrell’s Mullet”.

Michael Mann directs this gritty adaptation of the popular 1980s television series of the same name that moves vice squad cops Ricardo Tubbs (Jamie Foxx) and Sonny Crockett (Colin Farrell) out of their pastel duds and into the new millennium. Attempting to identify the group behind a recent string of murders, Tubbs and Crockett work undercover with a South Florida drug dealer. But in the process, the duo risks losing everything.

I was never a huge fan of the TV series because it was basically the 80’s and as we all know, anything from the 80’s is corny. However, I can easily say I had a better time watching that show than this shit.

The good thing about Miami Vice is that it is beautifully shot because Michael Mann always knows how to make some of the dirtiest places, beautiful and seem like Pink Floyd concerts with lights everywhere. Too bad that’s all the good I can really say about this one.

The main problem with this film was that it was just so slow with nothing happening, and a lot of gay montages that just made me want more action. Action that I didn’t really even get until the last 10 minutes, and even then it was totally bogus. The action scene at the end may be kind of cool because Mann always knows how to film an action scene but

There is no real plot here at all which disappointed the hell out of me because I was expecting some crazy twists, turns, guns, drugs, and cheesy music but instead didn’t really get any. These two go undercover and that is basically it. Nothing really will hold you over especially when you listen to this clunky-ass dialogue that didn’t do much for me, other than have me laugh my ass off. I mean how many times can people say things like; “dropping the load”, or “where’s the load at”, until they finally realize that it all just sounds incredibly silly. All I could keep thinking about is why are these dudes looking for a pair of crap at? Maybe I have a mind of a 5-year old but don’t tell me you weren’t thinking it either!

Don’t also have me forget the insanely shitty the “romance” angle here is too. I mean Farrell falls for this chick within about 5 minutes and there’s nothing really amazing about her that has us believe he’s in totally head-over-heals for her and when we do see these two together, it’s like a really cheesy soap opera that just has non-stop passionate making whoopie scenes. I’m telling you, if I saw another pair of people get in the shower, I was going to just go insane.

I thought well since the writing sucks, the plot is even worse, and I don’t really have my interest fully on the film, maybe the actors will keep me glued considering I like them both. This did not happen. Neither Jamie Foxx or Colin Farrell are really doing anything amazing here that makes us think, “Wow these guys are so damn cool”. When I watched these two I didn’t feel any sense of chemistry between them nor did I feel any actual emotions come from their characters anyway. All I really got was a bunch of mumbling and grunts from these two macho dudes. Also, somebody should have gotten Li Gong an English speaking teacher because she had me laughing at so many parts here.

Consensus: Michael Mann makes this film look beautiful, but looks aside, Miami Vice is a boring, badly performed, and poorly-scripted film that doesn’t really do much with it’s plot let alone the two great actors they have in their parts.


Another Year (2010)

Nothing like those kitchen-sink conversations.

Over the course of a tumultuous year, contented medical counselor Gerri (Ruth Sheen) and her geologist husband, Tom (Jim Broadbent), see their friends and relations through a series of happy events and heartbreaks — including a birth and a death.

Writer-director Mike Leigh is known for working with his actors way long before shooting even starts to get that type of realistic feel for his films and to be honest, damn does it work.

The one thing that Leigh does perfectly here is that he makes these conversations feel so real as if we were to just eavesdrop on actual people talking and not just people reading a script. It wasn’t what these people talked about it’s just how they talked and how everything that had to do with the conversation was rapid and constant, kind of like real-life and you almost never get that in any film.

The screenplay also has a lot of warmth with it as you can feel that everyone’s happy to be with one another and all friends but there’s also a deep sense of sadness and misery here too that I think goes unnoticed a lot too.

There are moments here where scenes will become a little awkward but then soon turn into sad as we realize that even though you may be happy, the others around you may not be as jolly as you are at the moment. Actually sometimes, people will go into deeper and deeper states of loneliness just to spite the others around them. For every warm-heartening and funny scenes there is an equally sad and depressing scene that will show great balance this story has.

Although I did have a problem with Leigh’s direction because although I think he handles this script perfectly, there’s no real main focus on this story. I kept wondering the whole time who this story was about because it goes around the family as to who the main point and plot is all about until I found out at the end. I didn’t mind the ending, I actually thought it was very effective, but I didn’t quite know who Leigh was trying to get us to focus on.

Another problem that others may have with this film is that nothing really happens here other than just a bunch of conversations which may annoy some people looking for a better use of plot. There’s no direct point of conflict or suspense just a bunch of peeps talking and if you like that, then this a film for you.

The performances here from this cast are great as well. Jim Broadbent is just totally funny and charming, as the cool daddy Tom and Ruth Sheen has a great deal of likability to her character as well as believability as his wife, Gerri. Tom and Gerri (Gettt itttt?) both seem like an awesome couple that has loved each other all throughout these years, and no matter have somehow remained to stay happy as well which seems hard with all these depressing people coming to their house all the time.

But above all there’s Lesley Manville — a Leigh regular — who plays a co-worker of Gerri’s and slowly becomes the heart of the film. She’s a mess, kindly indulged by Gerri and Tom. She’s painfully eager in conversation, awkwardly attracted to their son and just desperate, really. Almost every scene she has, she controls and just by looking at the expressions on her face, you know something is bothering her right from the get-go and even though she may be bringing this on to herself, you still can’t help but feel remotely sad for her.

Consensus: Not much happens here in Another Year, but Leigh’s well-written script makes the whole film seem like real-life actually happening in front of your eyes, and the performances add so much more to these characters and make them more vivid than we could have imagined.


One Day (2011)

Those geeky plain girls may not be as fun in bed, but they sure are the best kind of friends.

After a romantic tryst on college graduation night, Emma and Dexter (Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess) pursue separate dreams. This romantic drama based on a novel of the same name checks in with them each year on the same date, tracking their personal and professional progress.

This was actually one of the first times a poster actually drew me into a film even before I saw anything else for it. Now, I should just stick to the trailers.

Director Lone Scherfig (An Education) sort of steps away from what she did with her last film, and give us this big-Hollywood romantic drama that she doesn’t do so great with, but still not too bad. It was fun to watch how the these two change along with the times, with the funny 90’s fashion, make-up, and the old-seasoned look they get latter on in the film. I thought it looked pretty but looks can only go so far.

The story itself is kind of “gimmicky” in it’s own way but there’s no real insight or anything into relationships or friendship. This is basically the same old type of romantic story we have seen done time and time before, with nothing really new here at all. Also, everything was too coincidental because the little events that impact these two people’s lives, practically happens on the same day every year which seemed a little strange to me. But these characters didn’t really notice anything so neither should have I.

Another big problem with this film is that it’s writing is very stale and lacks any type of real charm or likability to win you over. The way these characters are introduced through these 364-day gaps, is what didn’t really let me care for these characters as well as if they got together or not. As each year goes by, the film wants us to keep on wondering whether these two will actually get together or not, and when they do, it’s unnatural and almost forced in a way.

But the real big, bad, bad problem this film had was that it was way too manipulated in it’s own way. The score is the same beat that’s done slightly different throughout the film and seems like it borrows a lot from other dramas. There are also moments when I felt as if the film was trying to get me to understand more about these characters through their own unmeaningful subplots on the side, which did nothing and didn’t even let me care for them anymore than I already did.

The real benefit to this film is that the cast saves the day on this one which is really, really hard to do. Jim Sturgess plays Dexter and is excellent here because it shows a lot of the range he can go through with a character, no matter how much of an asshole this guy may actually be, because sometimes, I just wanted to punch this guy in the face. Anne Hathaway is good as Emma but nothing special and her character is a bit unlikable as well. Also, Hathaway’s accent sometimes drifts between a Scottish, English, and an American accent as well, and kind of had me disappointed since I know she can do so much better. When these two are together, they are very fun to watch but the performances can only go so far when you have two unlikable characters, that are falling in love and you don’t care about.

The real highlight of this film was not the actual film itself, it was actually what happened where I was at. I was in Delaware watching this film when all of a sudden, my lady friend and I felt ourselves shaking in our seats and having no idea just what the hell was going on. This was until my friend, Dave, texted me telling me there was a 5.8 earthquake in Virginia, and I felt it in Delaware. This to me was the best part of the film because I had no idea what was going on and when I got out of the theater, I was glad to see that my car didn’t fall between a huge crack in the earth.

Consensus: Hathaway and Sturgess are fun to watch together, as well as the scenery, but One Day doesn’t do anything new with it’s gimmick and provides cheap manipulation tactics, unlikable characters, and some pretty crummy writing that provides barely any new insight, humor, or charm into being in love.


Fright Night (2011)

Thankfully this vampire isn’t named Edward, or Jacob, or any other name that those sparkling vampires have.

This film sees when teen Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) suspects that his new neighbor, the sinister Jerry Dandrige (Colin Farrell), is a vampire, and turns to a self-styled vampire expert, Peter Vincent (David Tennant), for help. Las Vegas magician Vincent proves useless, and it’s up to Charley to save his mom, Jane (Toni Collette), and girlfriend, Amy, from the seductive bloodsucker.

I have to confession to make…I have still not seen the original cult classic that this film is based off of but after seeing this I may just have to give it a shot.

This film focuses a lot on the horror rather than the actual comedy aspect of the film, which in ways they both worked out. The scares were here but were more suspenseful as they were freaky, and humor had me chuckling here and there which isn’t that bad considering the type of horror/comedy films we have come out in today’s day and age.

The problem with this film is that it doesn’t know whether to choose to be a comedy, a horror, or even an action film for that matter, and just instead turns out to be a bit of a mess. I kept wondering what director Craig Gillespie wanted me to laugh at, as well as be scared about because even as tense as this film may be, it’s never really scary unless it’s trying to live up “the scary factor” with a bunch of cheap jump-scares.

Another problem I had with this film was that after I checked out the trailer, I felt like this was going to be sort of making fun of our usual vampire flicks we have in today’s world, but instead ends up being the same old generic piece of junk that nobody really cares about in the end. I mean I liked how they kept up with a lot of the traditional rules a vampire must have, but they never really made that idea click anymore than it really should have. Some of this could have been amazing, but the writing was just sort of lame.

Although the writing may be poor, the action is awesome and is what kept me going for this film the whole time. The film takes awhile to get where it needs to get but when it does get there, the non-stop action kept me excited as well as the constant flying of blood, guts, and gore at the screen. I did not see this one in 3-D but if I did it was probably a total magic show by how beautiful all of these visuals actually looked and added so much more to the action of this film.

Anton Yelchin is pretty good here as Charlie, with his cool kid look and one-step-ahead-of-you approach to everything, Yelchin keeps this character interesting and somebody we want to win in the end; David Tennant is a bit over-the-top as the local illusionist, Peter Vincent, and seems like a role that was made for Russell Brand but Tennant sells some of the funny moments here, even though the dialogue may be a little crappy; and Toni Collette is OK as Charlie’s mom but she isn’t really given much as well. Oh and McLovin‘s here. He’s the man!

The best out of the whole cast was actually Colin Farrell as Jerry, the next-door neighbor vampire. Farrell absolutely just seems like he’s having a total ball with this role and totally shows the sexual undertones that is within Jerry’s soul when he is sinking his teeth into these people’s necks. Farrell commands almost every scene he’s in and makes you feel uncomfortable and not knowing just what he may do or say next. Great casting job for this part!

Consensus: The action is fun and great to look at, especially in 3-D, and the cast is good but the writing is a little too sloppy because it doesn’t quite know what it wants to be nor does it actually live up to any potential of being a new and cool type of vampire flick that we need to see done well.


Middle Men (2010)

Goodfellas; if instead of mobsters, they had naked chicks.

After spotting a big financial opportunity in the future of Internet pornography, straightlaced entrepreneur Jack Harris (Luke Wilson) enlists his pals Buck (Gabriel Macht) and Wayne (Giovanni Ribisi) to help him develop an online billing company specializing in adult entertainment. But as the firm takes off, Jack finds some unexpected kinks in the business of kink — including mobsters, the FBI, con men and terrorists.

Internet porn is something everybody uses, especially in today’s world but it’s funny to see how when internet came about and everything, that porn wasn’t the first thing on everybody’s mind for it.

The best aspect to Middle Men right away is it’s script which really does work. While the script isn’t as quick-witted as some films about a major technology breakthrough like The Social Network, the film still moves at a good pace with enough clever lines of dialogue following each other well. Also, in a time where so many movies want to be about sex and violence but don’t really have the guts to follow through with it, the writing on Middle Men has an edge that keeps it exciting throughout all the laughs.

The problem with this film that it seems a lot of others had was that you may find it the same exact formula that was used in such films as Boogie Nights and Goodfellas, but for me, the formula worked here. The story moved well and it didn’t really leave out any details about what happened, how it happened, and why it happened. The narration from Wilson may seem a bit annoying at first because it does pop-up about every 30 seconds but I thought actually helped turn the plot and keep the naughty bits of this film going. The soundtrack is also bangin’ because songs that you haven’t heard in awhile come out of nowhere here and bring you back to a time like this film portrays.

My problem with this film that I actually had was that some of it feels a lot duller than other parts of the film and by the end for some reason, it becomes more of a suspense film rather than an actual tale of how internet porn all came to be. I get that this is an actual true story, but for some reason it just played like a bad suspense thriller that I already knew how was going to end so therefore all the mystery was lost.

Another problem with the film is that we see Wilson’s character in the beginning as this wholesome, nice-guy Texas family-man but he soon changes as he gets himself caught up in business with these two morons and for a reason why he changed, was not explained. This character transition of character made his character seemed disjointed and unexplained and what the real problem here is that the film tries to show this character in a slimy light, and positive light. For some reason, either way didn’t really work out.

Luke Wilson is here as Jack Harris, who (finally!) lives up to his potential as a leading man, which we haven’t really seen since Bottle Rocket. He brings humility and likability to a ‘smartest-guy-in-the-room’ character that makes you identify with Jack Harris’ succumbing to the chaos surrounding him and  root for him to get out of it. His character may kind of have problems but Wilson knows how to keep this character likable and actually believable.

Giovanni Ribisi and Gabriel Macht are OK together as the two moron-savant programmers but nothing really special. They actually started to annoy me by the end of the film because their constant rambling and over-acting didn’t seem funny anymore, as much as it was just trying too hard for laughs. James Caan is brilliant with his turn as the shyster Las Vegas lawyer, Jerry Haggerty. The rest of the cast is backed up by good performances and cameos from the likes of Terry Crews, Kevin Pollack, Kelsey Grammar, and Laura Ramsey.

Consensus: Some of it is a bit messy, and a bit disjointed, but Middle Men also features some very good writing that gives us great detail about internet porn, while still providing good performances from the whole cast, especially Luke Wilson who shows that he can handle a film well too.


All the Real Girls (2003)

Little Southern love can be so beautiful sometimes. While, other times it just blows.

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Point Break (1991)

Surfers that rob banks.

To nab the culprits behind a string of bank heists, brash young G-man Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) poses as a wave rider to infiltrate a group of surfers who may have pulled off the robberies in this high-speed cult favorite. But after gaining the trust of the gang’s charismatic leader (Patrick Swayze), Utah gets swept up in their heady lifestyle — and is soon forced to decide where his loyalties lie. Gary Busey plays Utah’s testy partner.

That premise right there makes this film seem like a parody of itself and one that isn’t to be taken too seriously at all. But after two viewings already, this guilty pleasure never stops to entertain.

I might just have to point it out right now because in case you couldn’t tell already but this film is pretty cheesy. The dialogue here is all that macho, hammy bullshit that we hear in plenty of film’s that just drip with cheese and a lot of the time you’ll actually find yourself laughing at parts you really aren’t supposed to.

I mean for a second let’s think about this for a second, there’s this cop named Johnny Utah who basically learns how to surf, within a day. I don’t understand that one and neither do I understand the idea of the masks for the bank robberies considering you probably can’t see too well with them on anyway. I don’t know little stuff like that was pretty dumb but I think after you read the premise you’ll come to expect that already.

However, if you can get past all of that, this is a bangin’ film for many reasons, but the main one being director Kathryn Bigelow, who is yes, a chick. Bigelow knows how to film action the right way because she gives a lot of great scenes that are full of tension, style, and just overall bad-assness. I still don’t know what to call this; either a heist film, action movie, or a thriller, but if you look at it, you can also call it the first “extreme sports” movie that was ever made really.

There’s a couple of cool action sequences such as a chase scene through the under-belly of L.A. which was pretty cool, two awesome skydiving sequences, and a shoot-out scene that really has nothing to do with the plot, but still awesome. The action here is all-over-the-place but at the same time totally awesome because even though the dialogue and script may be terrible, the action will hold you over by how intense and stylish it looks.

Now when it comes to the acting it’s pretty good because the two lead actors they have here are just so cheesy, that it’s actually awesome. Keanu Reeves plays Johnny Utah (seriously?) and does his usual act where he says all of his lines with that “I don’t really know how to read my lines” voice, and that total over-play of some pretty bad jokes. However, I don’t really think Keanu is a bad actor because the one thing I will say about him is that even though he isn’t good by any real means, he still hasn’t gone around saying how good he is, or how he deserves an Oscar so badly. So for the most part, Keanu isn’t that bad here and he’s not really bad overall, just lame.

Patrick Swayze is always amazing in everything he does and he plays the surfer guru named Bodhi. Swayze just dreaps with coolness and honestly it may seem like I’m totally over-exaggerating a role about a surfer dude but Swayze plays him so well and has us love him but at the same time not know if we can actually trust him. As always, Swayze never stops to impress. Let’s also not forget that we have Gary Busey trying to play the steady FBI agent to Reeves’ wild-cat persona. It’s not that believable but Busey just fun to watch here and really made me laugh at times I didn’t expect to.

Consensus: The script is pretty horrendous and has it’s fair share of cheap, dumb lines, but the action is awesome, the story gets more fresh as it goes along, and the acting is actually pretty good for what it’s worth eventually adding up to a great guy’s movie directed by a woman.


Species (1995)

Sexy Alien: two words that don’t seem like they would go together well until now.

When government scientists (led by Ben Kingsley) receive a transmission from space containing alien DNA, they create the ultimate femme fatale: a hybrid woman named Sil (Natasha Henstridge) with supermodel looks, deadly shape-shifting abilities … and raging hormones. When Sil escapes, a team of specialists scrambles to find her before she can reproduce.

If you have ever seen the sight of an alien, they are always known to be ugly, hideous, and just downright nasty. Finally, somebody came up with the idea of actually having a sexy female alien but it’s just a shame that the idea wasn’t cool enough really.

To be honest this is actually a clever premise that is a creature feature, horror film, and altogether a total B-flick that does well with what it has. You have some good cheap thrills that come when you expect them but still effective, and the idea of having this sexy female alien looking for her next prey and the people she encounters along the way actually kept me glued.

If you are also looking for some nice gore, action, and explosions to be popping up out of nowhere than look no further than this film because half of the demographic actually looking at this film, will expect that and actually get it.

However, despite the actual good action and premise, there’s not much else here other than some pretty lame dialogue with an even more disappointing screenplay. I thought it was pretty funny how they made this film with a super-sexy and horny alien who just basically wants to get it on, but when she doesn’t get it, she get’ pissed and kills people. This was a pretty funny idea considering the film actually has us taking it seriously and trying to get scared by this idea, even though it had me doing just about neither.

There are also many lines of total cheesiness and just bad wording overall that will make you cringe even worse. There’s this one incident where the whole team stumbles upon one of Sil’s murders and a member of the crew says, “Something bad happened here”. Wow, no shit Sherlock. And just about every other scene where these people are talking just reminded me how cheesy it was and took from other sci-fi films as well.

The cast here is actually impressive with a lot of good names that I didn’t expect to actually take material like this. I have no idea why Ben Kingsley was even in this and he’s pretty cheesy as Xavier Fitch; Michael Madsen is his usual bad-ass type as Lennox; Forest Whitaker is sweet and confused as Dan Smithson (although other times people call him Darren); Alfred Molina is just here as Dr. Arden; and Marg Helgenberger is just there to keep this team of scientists from just being a total sausage fest. Nobody here is that good really but they at least try, but to almost no effect thanks to the script.

The best performance of the whole cast here is actually Natasha Henstridge as Sil who is very sexy but also scary as well and with a “character” like this, that really means a lot. It’s a shame that she showed so much promise with this performance, and nothing really happened with it other than The Whole Nine Yards and that unspeakable sequel. Also, be on the lookout for a short little kiddy performance from Michelle Williams, which makes me see why she was picked for Dawson’s Creek a couple of years later.

Consensus: There’s enough gore, action, sexy scenes, and some good shock moments to keep you watching, but the script’s problems with believable dialogue and even worse plot holes, just make this another cheesy sci-fi B-flick.


American Psycho (2000)

The 80s… those were the days. Plastic pop, designer drugs, pretension, fake wealth, bad hair. What a decade.

With a chiseled chin and an iron physique, Patrick Bateman’s looks make him the ideal yuppie — and the ideal serial killer. That’s the joke behind American Psycho, which follows a killer at large during the 1980s junk-bond boom. Bateman (Christian Bale) takes pathological pride in everything from his business card to his Huey Lewis CD collection, all the while plotting his next victim’s vivisection.

Taking a first glance at this film, you would think that it’s a horror film. However, it’s more of satire about all things that weren’t ever cool in the 80’s.

I have not read the book that this film is based off of and to say the least, I really do wish I did, even though this provides a lot of depth for a story and detail for a story about a yuppie who just goes around killing people. But I may have to tell you that it’s more about just the killings, it’s about the person behind the killings.

Director and co-writer Mary Harron puts a new spin on the horror genre and brings a lot of satire here that actually had me laughing. You see all these Wall Street dudes who are so full of themselves, and have so much greed that you just think these are the sickest and most cliche bastards ever, but that’s the whole joke. As Bateman continues with killing these people left-and-right, you may actually find yourself laughing because of the way all of these killings are portrayed, but then you soon realize, he’s laughing with you too.

The film also brings out a lot of great questions about what’s more violent; the fantasies we have in our head about certain amounts of violence, or the actual violence we see in day-to-day life. Bateman has no real reason or inspiration for these killings, and this whole film is not the portrait of an actual serial-killer.

This is more the portrait of a personality and that there are many people out there like this over-achiever, narcissistic, egotistical, and self-centered Patrick Bateman guy here who do whatever they can to satisfy their own needs, and forget everyone else’s. I also liked the fact that you never rarely see any of the killings except for some, and it’s all left to your imagination really and aside all of the chainsaw’s and axes that there’s more of an edge and smarter side to all of these killings because they all have reason.

My problem that I had with this film was actually this random sequence that went on for about 10 minutes and to me just felt totally bogus and not like the whole film at all. There’s a lot of action that goes down, and without giving too much away, just feels like a total fantasy in the end and made no real sense as to why it had to be involved.

Another problem I had which kind of had me confused, was how all of the female characters in this film are practically almost half-human and fall for any type of dumb gag, and it’s funny because you would think that with a film directed and written by a lady, there would be so much more to these lady characters. But for some reason they just seemed stale and very dumb.

Christian Bale really has made himself a house-hold name in Hollywood today, but people almost forget that his role as Patrick Bateman is the real reason. This character is the biggest douche-bag in the whole entire world and walks around like he’s hot shit just hoping that others notice how much his amazing suit cost, and how he just got in so much shape. Bale plays all of this narcissistic act very well in a compelling performance that had me loving this charming, and almost every-day serial killer. Bale really has made a name for himself in today’s world of Hollywood, but if you ask me, this is where people really started to notice.

The rest of the cast is alright even though they don’t really do much compared to Bale. Names such as Jared Leto, Willem Dafoe, Reese Witherspoon, Josh Lucas, Justin Theroux, and a sweet little performance from Chloe Sevigny. A good cast, but then again, they aren’t really given anything good in the first place.

Consensus: Though parts of it may not work as well as others, American Psycho is a great blend of horror and comedy, that makes the scares into satire, and features an amazing, star-making performance from Christian Bale.


North Country (2005)

Why does all-of-a-sudden every dude just get horny when they automatically see a chick here?

Based on an inspiring real-life event that took place in the 1970s, North Country stars Charlize Theron in another low-glamour but high-impact role as Josey Aimes, one of only a handful of women working in the Minnesota iron mines. Forced to labor under sexist conditions, she and her female colleagues decide to stand up against the unrelenting harassment from their male counterparts.

You’re probably sitting there now, wondering to yourself after you just read the premise and thought, “Haven’t I seen this before?’. And the truth is yes have, almost every two hours on Lifetime channel.

The film actually does have some moments where it was actually a bit up-lifting, which is probably because the way they depict the way these chicks are treated, was just absolutely terrible and I really wouldn’t wish it on anyone else at all. It’s also kind of sad that these events are actually true and it kind of makes me ashamed of the ways dude treat their women. But other than that, that’s all I felt from this film.

The main problem with this film is that director Niki Caro lets all of this just seem totally over-dramatized and so unbearably obvious that it makes the film almost seem like a really crappy soap-opera rather than an actual inspiration tale that changed the way women work with men forever. I didn’t really get a reason as to why these dudes acted like complete and such little boys with these girls, and the reason we’re actually given, is totally unbelievable and just forced.

I also never understood why any of these guys actually stood up for these chicks, instead of just sitting back and letting it happen. I mean, can every single guy in Minnesota not think for themselves and actually stand up for other human-beings when their being treated like pieces of shit? It’s also kind of weird in a film that basically preaches respecting humanity, it sure does have a lot of pain inflicted on its characters.

Charlize Theron is good as Josey Aimes and shows how her bitterness increases into something that makes her stronger as a woman, and gives her the power to fight back against these d-bags. The only thing is that we don’t see any other side of Josey other than this, and even though Theron plays her very well it’s kind of a disappointment to see what could have been a really complex and great lead, sort of one-note.

Frances McDormand is fine as Glory in her little feisty role that always works so well for her but isn’t in the film as much really; Sean Bean and Woody Harrelson are good as the only two men in all of Minnesota that seem like they actually have a soul; and Richard Jenkins and Sissy Spacek are both good as Theron’s parents. However, the best performance out of the whole cast is Jeremy Renner as this uber d-bag named Bobby Sharp, who Theron’s character went out with when she was younger and almost every scene he had, sort of started to give me the chills. Renner scores emotional depth in a character that would just seem like a total cliche and when the film was over, I remembered his character more than Theron’s actually.

Consensus: What could have been up-lifting and inspirational, gets totally bogged down by hokey, predictable, and sappy cliches that takes a lot away from what’s being talked about in North Country, which could actually seem very important had it been given better direction.


The Crying Game (1992)

The twist heard all over the world. And then was kind of forgotten about.

To free their jailed comrade, Irish Republican Army terrorists Fergus (Stephen Rea) and Jude (Miranda Richardson) abduct British soldier Jody (Forest Whitaker), hoping to make a swap. Fergus and Jody bond, and, sensing death in the offing, the prisoner asks his captor to look up Dil (Jaye Davidson), Jody’s London paramour. When the IRA’s plan backfires, Fergus takes flight, locates Dil, falls into a romance and … gets the shock of his life.

Back in 1992, this film was making head-lines for a certain twist that had people all over the world going bonkers. No, I will not tell you the twist but if you know it already going in like I did, you will still like this film.

Writer and director Neil Jordan does a great job with the film here because it starts off very bleak with a kidnapping and being all confined to this green-house, but then we are taken to the streets of London and everything changes, but yet there is still that bleakness in the air. A lot of this film is focused on the story and characters being developed while not forgetting to actually keep a certain sense of suspense here and there.

Another thing about Jordan and what he does here, is that he actually combines all of these different types of genres, with some twists and turns while still staying on track and giving us some much-needed themes and messages about sex, gender, and race. There is a lot of dark things here but Jordan somehow just knows the right way to keep this material compassionate for the characters that inhabit this story, and how each and everyone of us have a mask, and when we take it off, the real person comes out. Whether that person being nice or bad, it’s what we are as humans.

The problem with this film as it goes along, I felt myself sort of falling more and more out of the story because what started off really engaging, turns into something interesting, then just turns into a predictable and cliche-ridden thriller that comes out every Friday at the movies. It sort of disappointed me because I was really starting to get involved with this story but then I guess I just saw where it was all going, and then my interest was sort of lost, even if it was sort of still there.

Stephen Rea is very good as Fergus, a guy who I did not imagine being as compassionate and easy to like as I imagined, but somehow Rea plays almost every emotion Fergus has, to his core. Rea practically plays the same guy he plays in every film now, but that’s not really a bad thing since he is so good at doing it. Jaye Davidson is very good as Dil, and without giving too much away, plays this character that we don’t want to believe, but just somehow really stand behind and enjoy every time she’s on screen. It’s a shame that this person doesn’t do much anymore, because this performance shows a really bright career. Forest Whitaker may be considered one of the leads in this film even though he’s not in it for too long, but every scene he has is so perfect and just made me realize that he had Oscar written all over him back in 1992.

As for our little twist, it’s pretty shocking, but that’s if you don’t know what’s going to happen. I knew it from the beginning because everybody told me, but to be brutally honest, if I didn’t know already, I would have been able to tell right away. It’s pretty obvious but back in a time where this twist was completley daring, I could see why so many people would freak over it. If you know it don’t tell your friends, but just be expecting a shocker….kind of.

Consensus: What starts really strong, soon turns into pretty predictable and cheesy, but with a dark direction, great writing, and a pair of powerful performances, The Crying Game works about 1 hour and 25 minutes in, but then just falls. Also, be ready for a shocker, even though many of you actually reading this already probably know what it is.


Final Destination 5 (2011)

Death can really be an asshole sometimes.

Death still isn’t satisfied in the fifth installment of this cult horror franchise, setting out to claim the lives of shaken co-workers who cheated him when they heeded a colleague’s premonition about an unstable suspension bridge.

The Final Destination franchise has always been a favorite of mine but The Final Destination that came out in 2009 was just plain terrible and really disappointed me but this one is a happy welcome back.

You know what’s going to happen, when it’s going to happen, and why it’s going to happen but how everything happens here is where the real fun lies and to be honest, there is a lot of fun to be had here. I didn’t see this in 3-D, but I could only imagine just how great it must have looked with all these crazy kills happening all the time.

I mean you got heads flying, heads exploding, cars blowing up, arteries being slashed, and much much more, and there all coming at you in 3-D which makes it so much cooler but just watching it in the regular 2-D version was still cool since all the death sequences were just flat out awesome, and almost everyone was better than the last.

However, the problem with all of these films is that each and every script is just terrible. This one here is pretty laughable at points because when the deaths aren’t happening, you get these long and tedious scenes where people  are trying to over-come their fears of this lingering sense of death, while two fall in love, and others just don’t give a shit and play off some terrible comedy. All of these films have this, with the last one before this being the worst, but it’s just something we’ve seen before in almost every one and it’s to a certain point where everything just becomes mechanical.

The climax here is also pretty dumb and feels forced because it wants to somehow connect to almost every single film of the franchise but seems stupid and the last half is probably where this film had me laughing the most of all. The kill-or-be-killed concept could have been used to a lot more of an interesting effect, but it leads to an underwhelming climax that goes against the total spirit of the series. Final Destination is all about these people dying in freak accidents, not having these people kill each other like every other horror movie!

I think the whole casting idea for The Final Destination films is to find all of the most attractive looking waiters and waitresses in LA and put in this film, without any real acting experience at all because they really picked themselves some beauties here. Nicholas D’Agosto, who some people may remember from Fired Up! is here as Sam and is OK; Emma Bell who’s been in almost shitty CW drama is pretty cheesy as Molly; and Miles Fisher is a guy who basically looks exactly like Tom Cruise, and actually played a Tom Cruise impersonator in Superhero Movie, but he’s OK too. The only real amazing one here is the guy who’s been in all of them, Tony Todd, who does that same snarly-voice act he’s been doing ever since the days of The Candyman. He’s the man.

Consensus: Though the writing is pretty cheesy, and the last act is just plain horrible, Final Destination 5 has some crazy gore, awesome things just flying at your face constantly, and even better deaths than before. Well, at least they were better than that crappy last one.


The Help (2011)

This is why we should should program robots to help us instead.

In 1960s Jackson, Miss., aspiring writer Eugenia Phelan (Emma Stone) crosses taboo racial lines by conversing with Aibileen Clark (Viola Davis) about her life as a housekeeper, and their ensuing friendship upsets the fragile dynamic between the haves and the have-nots. When other long-silent black servants begin opening up to Eugenia, the disapproving conservative Southern town soon gets swept up in the turbulence of changing times.

To be honest, I wasn’t too stoked about this when I first saw the trailer and poster for this, but after awhile it was a chick-flick that started to interest me more and more. Thankfully, it did because this a film that the guys don’t wanna miss.

I haven’t read the book that this film is adapted from, and it seems like I don’t really need to since there is a whole lot here that is brought up, shown, and never lost throughout the whole film. This is a lot of thanks to writer and director Tate Taylor who does a great job of fleshing out all of these characters wonderfully and giving us that little emotional roller coaster that most of us were already expecting after seeing the trailer.

Race relations is always a bit of a touchy subject, no matter what the time is, and here they don’t try to sugarcoat anything really. They just tell the story for what it is and bring out some beautiful moments as to why we can all get along with one another. There’s an old-school feel to this film but it still works because I was very touched by what these black maids did and how far they got just by telling the truth. It may sound a bit gay from my description right there, but it’s not all that bad, trust me.

However, the biggest problems with this film lie within it’s direction. Tate Taylor is good when it comes to the writing but there are long periods of time where we don’t see certain characters for almost 10 to 20 minutes at a time as the film is constantly jumping around to each story left-and-right. This became an annoyance after awhile because I felt like they could have cut out more scenes where it was just all these characters together, or just one central character for about 5 minutes, not a scene that lasted for about 15.

I also had a problem with the time-limit as well. I didn’t keep on checking my watch because I was bored and wanted to get out of there, I kept on checking it because I realized that this damn film was going on for about two-and-a-half hours. I was getting so annoyed by just how long every scene was and by the time the film was over I felt like I was in there watching that for about three hours. This may sound a bit like me bitching, but honestly, it was long.

The cast is amazing here and got me through a lot of the rough patches in this film, especially Viola Davis who needs that Oscar. Davis plays Aibileen Clark and turns in a raw performance that just shows how well she can carry a film, and make almost rather predictable story-telling seem totally moving no matter what you’re about to expect. Another show-stealing performance here is from Bryce Dallas Howard as the complete racist, Hilly Holbrook. Her evilness may be as subtle as Cruella De Vil but the way Howard completely lets us believe that a woman could be this evil and mean towards other humans, totally had me wanting her character told to go and shove it. Which, when you’re playing a villain/bad guy, is a good thing.

Emma Stone is good as Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan, even though she kind of is forgotten about when you think about the rest of the cast; Octavia Spencer is perfect as the wise-ass but vulnerable, Minny Jackson; Jessica Chastain was a total delight as Minny’s silly employer, Celia Foote, and every scene these two have together just made me like the film more and more by how perfectly acted they both were; and Allison Janney is also very good as Skeeter’s mom. Sissy Spacek also shows up in this film as Hilly’s mother and is by far the most memorable out of the whole cast, and had me happy knowing that legends like her can still do great roles like this.

Consensus: The Help goes on way too long and seems a little choppy from an editing stand-point but the cast makes up for all the flaws, and the story itself keeps you glued and ends with a fairly predictable but pleasing send-off.


Miracle at St. Anna (2008)

The only other “black” war film I can think of is probably Menace II Society. But I don’t think many Nazis are in that one.

During World War II, four black American soldiers (Derek Luke, Michael Ealy, Laz Alonso and Omar Benson Miller) find themselves trapped in a Tuscan village behind enemy lines. As they attempt to evade German forces and reunite with their comrades, the four experience firsthand the tragedy and triumph of war.

Way before this film came out, director Spike Lee was fighting Clint Eastwood about how Clint never puts any black people in any of his war films. Once again, it’s just another case of Lee running hos mouth and kind of proving a point. Hence the words, kind of.

The good side to Lee’s direction here is that he knows how to film anything, and make it beautiful and interesting even though it doesn’t all jell together well in the end. Lee has a lot of great moments as a director where he shows some beautiful set pieces, and then bloody it up with some great war action sequences. To be truly honest, there’s not that much action here, but somehow Lee, kept them beautiful when they did show up.

The problem with this film is that it is almost over 2 hours and 40 minutes which means we have a lot of time for a lot of ranting from Mr. Lee, and he does not let us forget about it. I always like what Spike has to say in any film, and he makes some good points about how extremely different people can find themselves pulled closer together through war, but it all gets bogged down by his way of trying to do too much.

The film starts off as a murder mystery, then turns into a combat film, then history lesson about blacks involvement with the war, then a Holocaust tale, then a sentimental unspoken love between two different people, and then a character study. All of this seems like too much, which it is and probably because there’s a lot of scenes that didn’t feel needed at all. I mean there was a couple of scenes where they were just moving the story along, but there could have been more character development to actually have us care more for these characters, rather than just get rid of them and add more sub-plots to the story.

The editing with this film was also a huge problem as well because too many scenes that didn’t even need to be needed, were there and the pace is sort of all-over-the-place. It builds up more and more as the film goes on, which isn’t such a bad thing really, but the problem with that here is it feels episodic like were just randomly going from one random bit of characters to another, and nothing really feels like it even needed to be there because if the crowd was as smart as Lee should have thought they were, we wouldn’t need so much goshdarn explanations about everything happening.

All four soldiers here all played well, but they are sort of like types rather than your average full-fleshed out characters you usually root behind. Derek Luke is strong as the leader, Aubrey Stamps; Laz Alonso was probably my favorite as the sympthatic, but street smart, Hector Negron; Michael Ealy is basically that cocky, asshole-like dude every war film needs to create some conflict; and Omar Benson Miller is goofy but also endearing as the big clown, Samuel Train. The rest of the cast is filled with un-knowns or little names, but they all do good with their own respective jobs. It’s just such a shame that the film didn’t really focus on these characters that much as we would have liked to because we cheer for them, but if we got to know more about them probably, more would have probably been liked.

However, with any Lee film you have to start to wonder, does it at least hold your interest? The question is..yes! I can tell that his heart in the right place for this film because he is paying tribute to all of the black soldiers that fought and died for their country just as much as any other white man has, and just how Lee pulls everything together by the last act, proves that he can make any subject an interesting one.

Consensus: This is a messy, overlong, and way too busy film that tries to be so many things at once and has scenes that don’t even seem like they needed to be there in the first place. But just as messy as this one may be, Lee still pulls it off in the end, with keeping our interest the whole film and paying tribute to some forgotten heroes.


30 Minutes or Less (2011)

Hey, I say if a bomb is what gets us to get our pizzas faster, then I’m all for it.

Two small-town criminals (Danny McBride and Nick Swardson) planning a big-time bank heist wind up abducting pizza delivery driver Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) and forcing him to commit the robbery — giving him a strict time limit to boot. To pull off the caper, Nick enlists the aid of a former buddy (Aziz Ansari). With the law, the crooks and the clock all breathing down their necks, the duo also try to patch up their troubled friendship.

After noticing that this was going to be done by the same dude who did Zombieland, and it had one of it’s stars already in the film, I was uber excited. Not too disappointing either.

My problem with this film was that the beginning it really didn’t know what exactly it wanted to be just yet. I mean we have this story that focuses on both guys and just where they come from, what they do, and how their like but you don’t know whether it’s just going to be a dark comedy or just plain and simply jokes filled with cursing.

Though when the film picks up, it really had me going. The premise here is actually pretty cool I must say and the actual comedy that pursues it is also good as well. I laughed a lot here because it’s lowbrow humor, but lowbrow humor done right with still enough funny lines to keep you glued in. Now of course there is the fair share of dirty moments here too but not a lot of the humor was based on that, which is a real surprise since almost any comedy that comes out nowadays seems to be trying to one-up the other in raunch level.

However, though the comedy here did get a little too dark for my taste at points. Some person suffers a gun-shot wound in front of a little girl while she screams in a scary, non-comedic tone in one scene, which wasn’t very funny and more of disturbing. Also, there was a lot of moments where this film just felt crude and offensive just for the sake of shock value. There was a couple of black people jokes here that made me nervously laugh because there was actually a black person right next to me and I just kind of shrugged off the laugh, but this proved that it didn’t really need to be in there in the first place.

I also like how director Ruben Fleischer kept this film going at a brisk pace of just 82 minutes without really ever trying to get any real humanizing themes about its character, or central message across either. It’s just basically a lot of laughs, action, and some sexy women thrown in there but not too much.

The cast here is what really makes this film a total blast. Jesse Eisenberg is playing the same kind of twitchy and kind of geeky but funny character he always plays here as Nick; Aziz Ansari finally got his big role here as Chet and just lets it all out every second he gets fully making me laugh every time he was on screen; Danny McBride does the same character he always plays too but that still works once again as Dwayne; and Nick Swardson is also very funny but sort of sympathetic as Travis. All four play off of each other so well and add so much more hilarity to this film than anyone could expect.

Consensus: Though it’s comedy gets a little lost and the film itself takes a little bit of awhile to get going, 30 Minutes or Less is still very funny with lowbrow humor rather than just raunchy jokes, a talented cast, and a slick time limit that keeps this film moving along as more and more fun ensues.


Also, did anybody else notice the little “The Social Network” joke? Maybe I’m wrong but for some reason, I think that there was one put in here. Let me know if you noticed it too.

Repo Men (2010)

I feel bad for the dude who has to get found out with the organ as his schlong.

In the world set in the not-too-distant future, artificial organs are readily available to anybody with a credit card. But what happens if a buyer falls delinquent on his payments? Jude Law stars as an organ repo man who’s now fleeing his ex-partner after failing to keep up the payments on his own recently installed ticker.

Going into this film, my expectations were totally lowered beyond belief and I was in for some dumb, sci-fi fun, but what I got was better than I actually expected. Love when that happens!

The thing for this film that it has working for itself is the fact that it has a lot of fun elements to it. I have to say that the story will keep you entertained for the most part, there are also some jokes here that will have you laughing, and the action is relatively good which will keep you watching. All of this was going good for quite some time until the middle act comes around, and how bad that really was.

To say the least I didn’t understand just why on Earth I was supposed to care for this “killer”, who all of a sudden gains a conscience and doesn’t feel like killing anymore people. I mean this dude has no problem with killing all of these other people, but when it comes to his own life, aww hell no! I also didn’t really understand why everybody was getting these artificial organs in the first place. I get it that their all easy to find, but why the hell does everyone keep on getting them if they know that they can’t pay and will eventually end up getting killed.

Another problem that this film has is that if you have seen all of the other films that this one has ripped off, it gets really tedious after awhile. The city seems like it’s the same exact one from Blade Runner, and anytime this film over’s up something cool, it’s something we’ve seen before and probably done 10 times better the first time around. The first act also had this really weird vibe going for it, but then by the end, started to get all serious which I couldn’t take into consideration.

However, despite all of these problems with the story, there are some really well-shot action scenes by the end, filled with guns, knives, blood, and gore flying all-over-the-place which made me go “hell yeah” when the scenes were over. The ending will also probably piss some viewers off but I have to say that I liked it, even though it did seem like it was backing out from a sucky story transition.

Jude Law seems like a weird casting for this role as Remy, but somehow he makes it work and for the whole film while were watching him, he actually allows us to sympathize and root on his character. Forest Whitaker is also good as the conflicted thug, Jake, who brings a lot of menace as well as humor to a role that seemed like it was written for cheep jokes. Law and Whitaker have good chemistry and it was pretty much a bummer to see them separated as the film went on. Liev Schreiber, Alice Braga, and RZA are also good in their own little roles, but the script is just pretty lame as a whole.

Consensus: With good performances, fun bloody action, and a surprising twist at the end, Repo Men is what I call a somewhat guilty pleasure that suffers from not-so original writing with plenty of plot holes that seem to over-come this film, and a bad transition into a story that seems lame.