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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

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

Tag Archives: Jack Black

King Kong (2005)

He must protect his house.

Carl Denham (Jack Black) is a filmmaker living in the 1930’s, meaning, he doesn’t have a lot of opportunities. And the ones that he does have, don’t tickle his fancy as much as they used to. That’s why, when he catches wind of a mysterious, huge and odd island out in the middle of nowhere, Denham soon gets the ambition and inspiration all over again. So, he assembles a team full of actors, actresses, crew, and handy-men, who know a thing or two about an adventure and are capable of solving issues, should any of them arise. Aboard the ship is leading-lady Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts), who also is in desperate need of a hit and will do anything for the spotlight, just one more time. Screenwriter Jack Driscoll (Adrien Brody) feels the same way, but also finds himself falling for Ann, leading him to make some pretty rash decisions along this adventure, all leading up to finally meeting, once and for all, King Kong – the giant gorilla who practically watches over Skull Island and kills any sort of threat that may come its way. In this case, it’s these humans and needless to say, not all of them are equipped to take him down.

Why would you want a human, when you could have a Kong?

After winning practically every Oscar that he could for Return of the King, it made sense that he would be allowed to make virtually any movie that he wanted. Cause it’s a known thing in Hollywood: Make a lot of money, win a lot of awards, earn respect, and guess what? You can make your dream projects a reality. And oddly enough, for Jackson, it was remaking the movie he grew up knowing and loving, King Kong. Oh, and by “remaking”, I mean making two hours longer and adding on more CGI, special-effects, and story than you could ever imagine.

But trust me, this isn’t a stab at Jackson.

If anything, King Kong is Jackson getting the opportunity to play in his sandbox, where the world is his oyster, sky is the limit, there are no rules, and even better, everyone’s watching. A lot of people may have complained about the fact that the movie is over three hours long, takes awhile to actually get to Skull Island, and yeah, features one too many monsters and creatures, aside from the titular Kong, but in a way, that sort of makes the movie more epic; it shows us that Jackson isn’t setting out to make a note-for-note remake, but bask in every single bit of this material and be as excessive as humanly possible.

Is it a little draining? Quite possibly, yes, but at the same time, watching Jackson having the time of his life is, in all honesty, a beauty to behold. There aren’t many directors out there in the world with the impressive and ambitious scope like Jackson’s, so when he’s given carte blanche to do all that he wants and not stop, it’s nothing if not entertaining. Also, when was the last time you saw a three-hour movie that goes by in a flash? King Kong should have been a slog, but it’s not and it’s a true testament to Jackson’s prowess that allows for him to make a three-hour movie about little humans and a big gorilla, feel a lot less than that.

Basically, what I’m trying to say is that Jackson directs the hell out of this thing and it makes sense why he wanted to bother with this story in the first place.

And even getting away from the technical side of the movie, and focusing more on the actual things that matter, like story, character development, etc., yeah, it still kind of works. The story isn’t all that different from before, but this time around, Jackson does up the emotion in a way that’s surprising, mostly because while we’re watching Kong up there on the screen, we’re watching something believable and impressively done – almost to the point where instead of being scared by him, we’re actually connected to him. The whole tale about this gorilla falling in love with a short little blonde thing is, of course, silly, but the movie doesn’t forget that sometimes, the seriousness of a tale like this can actually work, so long as you build enough tension and emotion behind it all.

That’s what Jackson does and it helps King Kong move along, even when it gets away from the gorilla beating the hell out of other monsters and dinosaurs. Cause even during those sequences, there’s a fun, crazy and almost hectic energy that’s a lot like the Lord of the Rings movies, but still its own kind of beast. Even when Jackson does dial it down for the characters, the movie’s still at least somewhat interesting, because we’ve spent so much time and energy with them, it’s hard not to understand them, at the very least.

Jack knows what I’m talking about.

Then again, the ensemble involved does help out with that as much as they can.

If there’s one thing that holds King Kong back from being a truly and absolutely great movie that it sometimes comes close to being, it’s that the performances can tend to be a bit bland, which may have more to do with the script and less to do with the actual actors themselves. Like, for instance, Naomi Watts and Adrien Brody are two perfectly good actors who can work well when given the material, but for some reason, they just feel underdeveloped; Watts gets some chances to be bright and shiny, whereas Brody is mostly just serious and not all that right for a movie that’s so concerned with everything else that’s going on around him. Others in the cast fare better, like Kyle Chandler, Jamie Bell, Thomas Kretschmann, and Colin Hanks, mostly because their characters aren’t made out to be the leads and can benefit from some goofiness, but with Watts and Brody, who are supposed to be our emotional anchors throughout this whole thing, it doesn’t fully work.

That said, the movie does benefit from having a very good, very surprising, and very dark performance from Jack Black. Of course, a lot of people will consider Black’s performance to be channeling Orson Welles, but if so, it’s still a good performance, because we see him lay down all of the usual trademarks and conventions that we’re so used to seeing, and hating with the sorts of characters he plays. What we get here, is a person we grow to love to hate and because of Black’s performance gets better, taking on more meaning as the movie develops and we start to see more sides to this twisted, sometimes sad little man.

Which is to say that I’m still waiting for that battle between Black and Kong.

Black Kong. What a name.

Consensus: Ambitious in scope, epic in its look, feel, and overall mood, King Kong is the movie Peter Jackson deserved to make and absolutely revels in the opportunity to do so, for the benefit of us all.

8.5 / 10

See what I mean?

Photos Courtesy of: Fernby Films

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The Cable Guy (1996)

What’s a “Cable Guy”? Better yet, what’s “cable”? Is it like Netflix?

Matthew Broderick plays Steven, a dude who just got out of a relationship and needs someone to fix his cable one day. He calls up the cable guy (Jim Carrey) and he’s a bit weird, but he gets the job done. However, the cable guy wants more than just the job, he wants a buddy and that’s something Steven isn’t quite up for just yet.

The Cable Guy is often forgotten about in today’s world of media, whenever it comes to the conversations of the careers of both Jim Carrey and Ben Stiller. See, while they are both two of the most recognizable names in comedy, at one time, they actually got together and tried to make something that, well, wasn’t quite a comedy. If anything, it’s a lot darker and weirder than anyone had ever expected, which is probably why it’s hardly ever heard from and basically bombed when it was first released.

But did it deserve all that?

It's Jim Carrey being wacky! What could go wrong?!?

It’s Jim Carrey being wacky! What could go wrong?!?

Not really.

 

The Cable Guy is a strange movie, for sure, but definitely more of a comedy, than an actual drama. There’s lots to laugh at, but there’s also plenty more to cringe and be surprised by, too; there’s no real distinction between genres here and Stiller does a solid enough job as writer and director, never letting us in on the lines. We think we know what should be laugh-out-loud hilarious because of other comedies and what they constitute as hilarity, but with the Cable Guy, it’s far different and it’s why the movie, while not always successful, is an interesting watch.

And at the center, yes, it does have a little something to say about the culture of television and how, in ways, it can shelter us off from the rest of the world, and have us feel as if we are in our own, little bubble – the same kind of bubble where you are always loved, accepted and taken in, for who you are, not what you should be. Sure, it’s obvious and been said many times before, but the Cable Guy tells it again, but in a much smarter, heartfelt way, especially with Carrey’s portrayal of the title character who, surprisingly enough, is never given a name.

See! He's not so bad!

See! He’s not so bad!

How fitting.

Which isn’t all to say that the movie’s a down-and-out drama, because it’s actually pretty funny when it wants to be. Of course, though, it brings on problems with tone, where it seems like the movie may have bitten-off more than it can chew and handle all at once, but still, there’s something refreshing about watching a major-studio comedy flick give it the professional try. It may swing and barely hit, but at least it’s trying in the first place, so sometimes, a pat on the fanny is all that matters.

Right? Eh. Whatever.

Anyway, Carrey is the real reason why the movie works as well as it does, because he, like the movie’s tone, constantly has us guessing. We never know what he’s going to say, do, or try next and because of that, we don’t know whether to love, like, or be terrified of him. There’s this slight sense of danger to him, but also a bit of fun, too. Then, there’s also this sad aspect to him that may make you want to give him a hug. It’s a rich character that could have probably done wonders in a far darker, more dramatic movie, but as is, Carrey’s terrific in the role that, unsurprisingly enough, audiences just weren’t ready to accept just yet. It would take some time, obviously, but man, if only they had caught on sooner, rather than later.

On the opposing side of Carrey is Matthew Broderick, who’s fine as the usual straight-man he’s so used to playing by now, but his character has some issues. For one, he’s a bit of an a-hole; he’s constantly a Debbie-downer, never having anything nice or pleasant to say, and yeah, just not bringing much to the movie as a whole. Like I said, Broderick tries, but it seems like the script wasn’t there for him; instead of developing another compelling and well-rounded character, the movie just made him something of a blank slate, with little-to-no personality and allow for the Cable Guy to get all the work. It’s not like it doesn’t work, but hey, it would have definitely helped if we had a little more to work with.

Consensus: It’s obvious what the Cable Guy is trying to say, but it’s less about the message, and more about the funny, sometimes darkly odd premise, bolstered by an unforgettably crazy and all-star performance from Carrey.

8 / 10

Oh, uhm. Ha-ha?

Oh, uhm. Ha-ha?

Photos Courtesy of: Monkeys Fighting Robots

The Big Year (2011)

These people care about these birds a lot; that is, until they find  that white stuff on their cars. You know what I’m talking about.

Three men (Jack Black, Owen Wilson, Steve Martin), each facing their own personal challenges, try to outdo one another in the ultimate bird-watching competition in 1998. However, bird-watching gets in the way of what’s best in their lives and has them rethinking their dedication and craft.

The whole idea and premise behind The Big Year? Well, it’s real. Every single year, a group of avid birdwatchers go around competing against one other to see who can spot the most birds in some set area. Doesn’t sound like the most happening thing to do on the street, but these people could all be doing something a lot worse with their time, right?

Either way, it makes you think: Did we really need a movie about bird-watchers?

Brian?!?

Brian?!?

Probably not and judging by all of the trailers/posters/ads, it’s made abundantly clear that everyone behind it were trying their damn near hardest to make sure that absolutely nobody knew this was a bird-watching movie, because really, who would want to go out and see that? Seriously. It doesn’t matter who you have, or how good the movie may be – movies about a group of bird-watchers, just isn’t all that exciting to the general audience. And it actually wouldn’t have been such a problem what the material was about, had the movie itself actually just been good, but that’s the icing on the cake, because it just isn’t.

Director David Frankel is your typical layman’s director who shows up to work and doesn’t do much, which probably made him the perfect candidate for the Big Year, a movie that’s so happy-go-lucky and cheerful, that it’s almost nauseating. Being cheerful isn’t always such a bad thing, though – sometimes, it can work in your movie’s favor – but the Big Year relies so much on its slapstick and humor, that it just doesn’t connect. The moments that the movie wants to be funny, just doesn’t work or even register as, well, “comedy”. It’s a problem that never ceases throughout the whole flick, making it all the more of a chore to sit through.

But trust me, it actually gets kind of worse.

Once Frankel takes this story into straight-on drama mode, things start to get really unbearable as all of these dumb stories converging together. The story behind Wilson’s character is probably the dumbest, because here he is being the #1 birder in the world (which is something he deserves credit for, I guess), and he can’t even choose whether he wants to be with the birds or with his wife. Need I remind you, his wife is played by the ever so gorgeous Rosamund Pike who always seems to always look the same as each and every single year goes by. So right then and there, the film tries to pull you into this story and give itself a dilemma – one that, mind you, would be solved if this dude was actually placed in real life. “Goddess or birds?”, seems to be the main dilemma and well, I think it’s pretty simple to figure that one out.

But it’s not just Wilson’s character who gets this type of treatment, everybody else gets it too and it’s only worse when you have three comedic stars like Steve Martin, Owen Wilson, and Jack Black, basically all kicking themselves in the ass just for anything resembling a laugh. Steve Martin used to be one of the funniest and most daring guys in comedy, but now, he’s stuck doing old-man, grandpa roles where his performances consist of him being ultra-serious, with his once-in-awhile signature dance. That dance is priceless, but when he pulls it out here, it comes out of nowhere and didn’t make me laugh at all.

Tim?!?!

Tim?!?!

Then of course, there’s Jack Black who everybody seems to hate, but I for one, don’t. I’ll give Black some love here and there because the guy can be good when he’s given the material to work with, but is really scraping the bottom of the barrel here. He plays his usual “zany” role where he does all of this wacky stuff, and says weird things and why is that, you ask? Oh, because he’s the 36-year old slacker that doesn’t have anything else better to do with his life or his money, instead of just waste it all on bird-watching. Black is probably the most bearable to watch out of the whole cast, but that is really not saying much.

 

But fine, Wilson, Martin and Black all putting in terrible performances? That’s fine. I can accept that because they’ve given terrible ones before and guess what? They’ll continue to do so. The real stab that hurts harder and harder that I think about it is the fact that there’s so many more people in this cast, like Tim Blake Nelson, like Dianne Wiest, like Brian Dennehy, like John Cleese, like June Squibb, like Anjelica Huston, like Rashida Jones, and like so many others, that honestly, deserve a whole hell of a lot better. Why they’re here, why they’re stuck with this crap material, why they needed the money so bad, well, is honestly a hard question to answer.

All I do know is that it’s over with and they’ve all moved on. For the most part.

Consensus: Unfunny, poorly-written, and a waste of everyone involved, the Big Year deals with an odd premise, takes it way too seriously and never knows just what to do with itself.

2 / 10 

"Nope. Not a good movie in sight, fellas."

“Nope. Not a good movie in sight, fellas.”

Photos Courtesy of: Aceshowbiz

Goosebumps (2015)

Welcome back, nightmares.

Pissed-off about having to move from the big city to a small town in Delaware, teenager Zach Cooper (Dylan Minnette) is already restless. However, when he meets the beautiful girl, Hannah (Odeya Rush), living right next door, he can’t help but fall head-over-heels and get easily distracted. But soon, Zach finds out that Hannah’s father is famous author R. L. Stine (Jack Black), whose best-known work is with the Goosebumps book series. And even though Stine makes it so that Zach doesn’t see his daughter, because these two are teens, they find a way to do so, regardless of what daddy wants the most and unfortunately, it leads to some very tragic circumstances. The main which being that the original copies of Stine’s books open up and release all sorts of evil monsters, goblins, ghouls and dummies get released out into the open, where they begin to wreak havoc on just about every citizen of this small town. Seeing a show they need to fix this bad situation, Zach, Hannah, and R.L. band together to try and stop this predicament from getting even more dangerous than it already is – which will mostly rely on having R.L. create a new book.

There's the Abominable Snowman.

There’s the Abominable Snowman.

If you were a kid growing up in the 90’s, chances are, you read a Goosebumps book. It doesn’t matter which title, or which one (I did prefer the “choose your own destination” ones later on in life when I became older and boring), because you were intrigued by the book-covers, the titles, and most of all, the idea of being apart of the cultural wave that it seemed like all of your fellow friends were abuzz about. And even if you didn’t read a single Goosebumps book, or care to bother to figure out what they’re about, you still got the gist of them all: They’re scary stories, written to have kids scared to go to sleep at night.

Which is why the Goosebumps movie is perfect for any and all audience-members, as it doesn’t matter if you’ve read a single book, or not – either way, you’re going to enjoy the movie.

That Goosebumps isn’t made to just appeal to the dedicated fanboys of the franchise, already puts it in line with some of the better kids movies. Though there’s definitely some scary stuff that may take some kids, as well as parents off-guard, there’s nothing here that’s meant to offend or disrupt anybody’s natural-born home life. If anything, the Goosebumps movie sets out to entertain you, make you feel safe (which is odd considering that it’s supposed to be a “spooky tale”), have you laugh, and, if everything works out perfectly, give some kids newfound interest in the books that haven’t quite picked up steam since the early days of the 21st Century.

So in that general aspect, yeah, Goosebumps is a fine movie. It doesn’t set out to light the world on fire and is, for most of the people who don’t know much about the franchise to begin with, accessible. There’s no real in-jokes or references to the books that will surprise people or have them pointing at the screen in self-adulation, but mostly, just laugh in the way you would with any normal comedy. Except, in this movie’s case, it’s a kids movie and a solid one, at that.

And this is definitely thanks to the fact that Jack Black’s R.L. Stine is actually kind of a dick.

There's, of course, Slappy.

There’s, of course, Slappy.

Even though the movie got the go-ahead from Stine himself, it’s still interesting to see how he’s portrayed as a bit of a pompous a-hole who loves to brag about his books, doesn’t like to be mentioned in the same sentence as “that hack” Stephen King, and likes to explain the difference between hims domestic and worldwide sales. Sure, he’s not a total and complete deuche that you want to punch him in the face, but he’s still one in that entertaining way where you want to hear him talk about himself more and more, just because he’s so ridiculously in-love with himself, that it’s not hard to laugh at it all. Of course, Black is to be credited with this, too, as he doesn’t fully dive into “Jack Black territory” that most of us have come to know, expect and basically hate, and shows that he can a solid screen-presence on the screen, even if he isn’t the star of the show or the one everyone has come to seen.

And heck, after the Brink, I think Jack Black deserves any kind of love he can get.

Aside from Black’s Stine, everybody else does a solid job, too. Though I’ve seen Dylan Minnette play this role before as the self-aware, but everyday teenager, he’s still likable enough to let it work its magic; Odeya Rush is, of course, beautiful, but her character has a bit more personality to her than just that; and Amy Ryan, though may seem oddly-placed here, still works fine as Zach’s mom who occasionally shows up and delights us all.

Then again, when is Amy Ryan not a delight!

Consensus: Like most kids movies, Goosebumps doesn’t try to re-invent any wheel, but instead, entertain the whole family with fun, humor, and a nostalgic adoration for its source material that definitely deserves a new audience.

6 / 10

And, uhm, some hug ant-creature-thing. Yeah, don't know if I read that book.

And, uhm, some hug ant-creature-thing. Yeah, don’t know if I read that book.

Photos Courtesy of: Aceshowbiz

The Holiday (2006)

It’s always those attractive celebrities who need the most love during the holidays.

Iris (Kate Winslet) and Amanda (Cameron Diaz) are both women who seem to be going through the same sorts of problems, even though both live in different countries. The former is from London, and had an affair with a man (Rufus Sewell) who has just recently gotten engaged; whereas the later is L.A.-bound and has a boyfriend (Edward Burns) who cheated on her. They both feel hopeless and upset, and with it being the holidays, they have no clue what to do next with their lives other than sit around, mope, and cry. However, Amanda has an idea that will also affect Iris: She wants to take a trip to London and Iris wants to take a trip to L.A. So the two concoct a plan where they’ll switch residencies for the time being and live in the other’s shoes. This all happens, but what surprises them both is how they end up meeting new people and, believe it or not, start striking up some romances of their own. Iris starts to see a film composer, Miles (Jack Black), whereas Amanda starts to hook-up with Iris’ brother, Graham (Jude Law). Both are happy and enjoying their time together, but the reality is that they’ll eventually have to get back to their real lives, and it’s something that may keep the relationship’s away from being anything more than just “some fun”.

She's attractive.

She’s attractive.

And honestly, that’s all there really is to this movie in terms of complications or tension. There’s no big twist thrown at the end to throw the whole plot and/or its characters into a whirl-wind of chaos, nor is there any sort of hurdle that these characters have to get over in order to make themselves feel fulfilled. It’s honestly just a bunch of hot-looking, attractive people, flirting, dating, smooching, sexxing, and then, oh wait, having to then come to terms with the fact that they’ll be living in separate parts of the world in a few days.

That’s it.

A part of me should be pleased that writer/director Nancy Meyers didn’t try too hard to make this movie anymore complicated than it needed to be. So rarely do we get movies that are literally about, what it’s about, and don’t try to stray too far away from that original-plot. So in that general aspect, Meyers does a fine job of giving the audience, exactly what they’re seeking for.

But at the same time, there still needs to be a bit more of a plot to make up for the fact that this movie is over two-hours long. However, it’s not the kind of two hours that flies on by because of the company the movie keeps; it’s every bit, every hour, every minute, and every second of two hours and 16 minutes, which is to say that it definitely needed to be trimmed-down in certain areas. The main which being the scenes that Iris has with her older neighbor (played by the late, great Eli Wallach). Don’t get me wrong, these scenes are nice, charming, and sweet, but as a whole, they don’t really add much to the final product; we just sort of see that Iris is a kind, loving and caring gal that’s nice to old men.

Once again, that’s it.

The scenes that she has with Jack Black’s Miles, tell more about her, her personality, and the kind of lover she is – the scenes she has with Wallach, thankfully, do not. However, Winslet, as usual, is as lovable as she’s ever been; it certainly helps that Iris is a strong-written character to begin with, but it also has to do a great deal with the fact that Winslet can handle both the comedy, as well as the more dramatic-aspects of the script, whenever she’s called on to do so.

He's attractive.

He’s attractive.

Diaz herself is quite fine as Amanda and also does the same as Winslet does: She balances out both the heavier, as well as the lighter material well enough to where her character stays consistent with the movie’s emotions. It’s not a huge shocker to know that I’m not a big fan of Diaz, but she’s actually quite enjoyable to watch here, because she doesn’t always over-do her act. Her character may be a bit stuck-up, but that’s the point; to see the cracks and light in her personality shine through, makes her all the more likable and sympathetic, regardless of where she comes from.

But this isn’t just a lady’s affair, because the men who do show up, also give their own, little two cents to make the Holiday work a bit more than it should. Black isn’t as grating as he usually is, and Law, the handsome devil that he awfully is, also shows certain layers deep inside of a character that could have probably been as dull as a box of hammers. Thankfully, he isn’t and it helps the relationship that his character and Diaz’s strike-up.

Problem is, though, it’s that run-time.

Also, not to mention that the movie doesn’t really make any reason for its existence. There are a few occasions where it’s funny, but for the most part, it’s just particularly nice. Nice does not mean “funny” – it just means that the movie can be seen by practically all audiences, regardless of age. Nancy Meyers always makes these sorts of movies and while they may not necessarily be lighting the world on fire, they’re just pleasant enough to help any person watching, get by. It doesn’t matter if you’re a man, a woman, a kid, an adult, a senior citizen, gay, straight, bisexual, married, single, widowed, engaged, in a “it’s complicated“, or whatever. All persons from all walks of life can enjoy a Nancy Meyers movie.

That alone does not make them amazing pieces of film – it just makes them accessible.

Consensus: With a likable cast and fluffy-direction from Nancy Meyers, the Holiday is fine to watch and relax to, even despite it being way too long, and feeling as such.

5.5 / 10

Aw, bloody hell! They're all attractive!

Aw, bloody hell! They’re all attractive!

Photos Courtesy of: Movpins

The D Train (2015)

High school reunions are a joke and sometimes, so are the people who you see there.

Self-proclaimed chairman of his high school’s reunion committee, Dan Landsman (Jack Black), wants to be the exact opposite of what he was many years ago in the 9th-12th grade: Cool. He hasn’t ever had that feeling, because after high school ended, he got his pregnant (Kathryn Hahn), took the first job he could find, and basically, never let home in the first place. That’s why when he sees a former classmate of his, Oliver Lawless (James Marsden), in a commercial for Banana Boat sunscreen, Dan gets the brilliant idea: Get Oliver to come to the reunion and have the reunion itself be a fun, memorable time, all due to Dan himself. However, what that takes is a lot of planning and maneuvering around to get Oliver from L.A., all the way back to home; although Dan is totally up for it too, he may have some problems in the way of his boss (Jeffrey Tambor). Not to mention, Oliver himself may not want to even come at all – something that Dan is able to change, but it all comes at a cost.

While this seems like a very sparse premise, the fact is that there’s something that occurs about half-way through the flick that makes up what’s to become the rest of the movie after it. It’s something I can’t discuss as it will simply spoil the rest of the movie, but do know this: What may seem like a small plot-point, something that could definitely be traded-in as a passing-gag, eventually turns the movie into something very serious and dramatic. Almost too much, would one say?

How I spend every reunion I've ever had to attend.

How I spend every reunion I’ve ever had to attend.

I’m not sure, but there’s something about this drastic step that the D Train that makes it smarter than most comedies. But in hindsight, does it work?

Well, not really. The reason being, too, is that it seems like where co-writers and directors Jarrad Paul and Andrew Mogel get mixed up is that they have a neat premise and know what they want to do and say about it, but instead of going anywhere interesting, or better yet, intelligent with it, they just use the most broad example they could find and figure out ways to make the jokes just string off of that. Don’t get me wrong, the jokes that both Paul and Mogel are able to cobble up work and definitely shed some light on the whole bromance subgenre of movies that I’d never see Apatow’s crew bothering to touch.

However, what it ultimately turns out to be is something of a disappoint. See, while Paul and Mogel make it seem like they’re going to discuss the whole idea about growing up, getting out of high school and doing something for yourself, the D Train instead goes somewhere else that feels lazy. It’s as if Paul and Mogel didn’t want to make its audience think too much while laughing, so instead, they just decided the best way to cure all that was to just go for the easiest jokes possible. Once again, the jokes do work and I’d be lying if the movie stopped being serious after this half-way point, but after it all, it made me wonder why there wasn’t more attention given to what seemed like the original intentions Paul and Mogel had.

Though, there is something to be said for a comedy where we get to see plenty of range come from the likes of Jack Black, Kathryn Hahn, Jeffrey Tambor, and most especially, James Marsden, that doesn’t just include them mucking it up. Because, for the most part, everybody here is funny and clearly shows they have a great sense of humor to work well within the confines of this script, but they also dig deep into these characters and make them seem like something more than just caricatures. They’re actual humans, albeit, ones with plenty of problems that they may not be able to ever get past.

Such is especially evident in the case of Black’s Landsman, who not only borders on the verge of being incredibly creepy, but may definitely have some self-esteem issues of his own that may not bode well for the rest of his family. I won’t divulge what it is exactly that I am discussing, but Landsman’s obsessive nature is odd and off-putting at times; however, he never becomes a terribly unsympathetic character. There’s a reason for why he acts so insufferably cruel and manipulating to those around him and it’s what keeps most of the moments where he’s just acting like a dick, therefore digging himself deeper into holes he can’t get out of, not only fun, but interesting in what it does to develop this character.

Same goes for Hahn’s character, Stacey. Not only does she love and support her man until the end of their days, but also realizes what it is about him that she loves so very much, even if he can be a bit of a sad sack. She’s not just there as window-dressing to give Landsman a reason to come back home every so often, but she’s actually a genuinely sweet person. And even though most of the easy, softball jokes constantly rely on Tambor’s boss character being present, you can’t help but enjoy what’s happening to his character, as well as sympathize with the dude.

Trust me, sit closer to the soul patch. It works well.

Trust me, sit closer to the soul patch. It works well.

Then, of course, there’s James Marsden.

I’ll admit it, I’ve never been a huge lover of James Marsden; it’s not because he gets the women that I can only dream of having, it’s not because he’s incredibly handsome as hell, and it’s not because he got to do kissy-face with Famke Janssen back in the day, it’s just that I’ve never been fully impressed with his capabilites as an actor. Sure, the dude’s charming and, more often than not, is able to make me laugh, but I’ve never walked from something he’s been involved with and have gone, “Wow. That James Marsden sure is something.”

That may change now. Not just because Marsden’s hilarious here (which he definitely is), but literally gets to the bottom of the heart and soul of this character, without ever making it seem like he’s trying too hard at all. Oliver Lawless stands in the place of every high school jock who peaked in the 11th grade: Was the life of the party, everybody wanted to be friends with, and had high aspirations for, but when the time came around to actually moving on and doing something with their life, totally fell apart. Marsden’s Lawless may be cool, handsome-as-eff, and suave with the ladies, but is also pretty sad with what he’s become and how he can hardly even get Dermot Mulroney to talk to him. Marsden shows layers to this character that I don’t even know were there to begin with, and because of that, I will forever look forward to seeing what Mr. James Marsden has for me next.

Whether the movie be good, bad, or just, middling. Kind of like this.

Consensus: The D Train flirts with interesting ideas that challenge R-rated comedy standards, but doesn’t do enough justice to them and instead, relies heavily on the charming and likable cast to pick up the pieces.

6.5 / 10

How I imagine everybody feels standing next to James Marsden anywhere.

How I imagine everybody feels standing next to James Marsden anywhere.

Photos Courtesy of: Indiewire

Sex Tape (2014)

Should have learned their lesson from Pamela and Tommy Lee’s horn-honking dong.

Annie (Cameron Diaz) and Jay (Jason Segel) are the type of couple that, at one time early in their relationship, were constantly having sex. And when they weren’t having sex, they were thinking about where and when to have sex next. They just did it because they were young, horny and in love. However, as with most relationships, that all came to an end once Annie became pregnant and the two decided that they wanted to get married, have another kid, get jobs, buy a house, and eventually, turn into the same old and boring couple that they didn’t want to be when they first started out together, but sadly, became exactly like. And to make matters even worse, the two aren’t even having as much sex as they definitely would like to. That’s why Annie and Jay decide to clear out one night together where they’ll have sex and do everything they used to do when they were young – except that it doesn’t happen like that at all. In fact, barely anything happens. So that’s when the two come to the idea that they need to film themselves having sex for one reason or another, which totally works, especially since Jay deletes the video as soon as it’s over.

But does he?

And right from there, you have an-hour-and-a-half adventure movie of sorts in which we have this married-couple running all over everywhere in order to snatch iPads and find any way that’s at all possible in which they can delete this sex tape from all existence. While that should totally sound like buckets of fun, made even better with Segel and Diaz in the lead roles, it doesn’t transpire into much except just a couple of chuckles and plenty of missed opportunities.

Kids? A family? Breakfast and coffee in the morning? Ew! Boring!

Kids? A family? Breakfast and coffee in the morning? Ew! Boring!

Save for one sequence in which we get to spend a lovely 20 minutes with Rob Lowe’s wild and crazy corporate exec character that seems like he’s going to be a total square from the beginning, and then turns into a total loose cannon once the Scotch has been poured, the Slayer is turned on and the lines have been snorted. This whole sequence is easily the best, most hilarious part of the whole movie; not because Lowe is so damn funny (which he is), but because this movie actually seems like it wants to surprise us with showing this rather nerdy, all business-like guy, and have him totally be somebody else that’s not only crazy, but fun to watch be crazy.

That Rob Lowe, man. He truly is something else.

That being said, the rest of the movie is kind of a blur in my mind, only because it never seemed to surprise me with the things in which it was doing, or in how it wanted to make me laugh and why. I guess when you’re talking about a comedy, those two elements sort of go hand-in-hand, but for Sex Tape, they’re sort of different. See, we know we’re supposed to be laughing at this situation and how screwed-over this married-couple truly is, but there’s really no point in caring, so watching them think they are one step closer to solving their problem, only to have it then slam back in their face, was actually where most of the laughs came from. Not because they’re terrible people in any way, but because the movie itself never seems to know what to do with either of them, except have them run around, yell and talk about how angry they are with one another, as well as the situation they’re in.

And if that sounds like the quintessential piece to creating near-perfect character-development, then you and Jake Kasdan may have a lot in common, because that’s all he seems to think is needed here for Annie and Jay, our married-couple-in-peril for the next hour-and-a-half. Though a part of me wants to give these two characters a slide because Diaz and Segel are so believable in their chemistry together, another part of me wishes that there was more to these characters than just that they’re angry and desperate-as-hell. That’s all we really get to know about them and personally, it wasn’t enough to really care.

"Four-some anyone?"

“Four-some anyone?”

In fact, a more interesting movie could be made out of this in which the Sex Tape actually goes viral to the whole public, and the bond between the two is eventually tested. Would Annie and Jay be absolutely ashamed of having others see them butt-naked and boning? Or, would they just let it all slide off their backs as if nothing ever happened and just move on with their lives? Sure, placing these questions in would mean a darker, more dramatic movie, but I feel like it would have placed itself to being a rare comedy that not only makes people laugh, but has a lot to say as well.

Would it work? Who knows. But what I do know is that there was a huge element to this movie missing and that was its laughs. There needed to be more and most of all, there needed to be more coming from our leads. I mean sure, when you have a supporting cast featuring the likable-talents of Rob Corddry, Nat Faxon, Ellie Kemper, Nancy Lenehan, and a surprise appearance from somebody I swear to myself I wouldn’t spoil, it’s hard to complain, but when they over-shadow who are supposed to be your main focus-points throughout the whole presentation, it’s a bit of a problem. But what makes it an even bigger problem is that you have two likable peeps such as Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel in these roles, where they aren’t given much to do at all, except, like I said before, just run around, yell and talk about how angry they are with one another. Sure, they do an awful lot of banging as well, but honestly, who cares about that in a R-rated studio-comedy? I know there are some pervs out there who totally disagree with me, but trust me, you’d have a much better time just watching some of the most famous sex tapes made just to get what all of the hype is about.

Or just straight-up porn. Your choice, my friend.

Consensus: Most of the laughs in Sex Tape come from the supporting players, rather than Diaz or Segel themselves, although it’s clear that they are trying their hardest and just coming up empty on a route, relatively unfunny script.

4 / 10 = Crapola!!

I'm usually the one with the roller-blades on. I'm freaky like that.

I’m usually the one with the roller-blades on. I’m freaky like that.

Photo’s Credit to: IMDBAceShowbiz

Be Kind Rewind (2008)

What’s a VHS?

In a downbeat area of New Jersey, there lies what seems to be one of the last ever mom-and-pop-run video-shops that actually still sells VHS tapes. The place is called “Be Kind Rewind” and it’s run by the old and a bit out-of-touch Mr. Fletcher (Danny Glover). However, in order to see what’s wrong with his video-store and how he can fix all of its problems, he decides to take a bit of a vay-cay and do some thinking on his own. This leaves his most trusted, dedicated employee, Mike (Mos Def), the responsibility of watching over the whole shop and making sure nothing bad at all happens. Somehow though, it totally does, because once the buffoon of the neighborhood, Jerry (Jack Black), gets electrocuted and comes into the shop, he wipes all of the tapes clean with nothing but static on them. Scared to have his boss find this out and be ultimately disappointed in him, Mike decides to pick up a camera, get Jerry and start filming their own versions of these movies. It’s called “Sweded”, and somehow, the town catches on and, in a way, like these versions a lot more than the actual movies themselves. This gets the store all sorts of attention – both wanted and unwanted.

So yeah, while that premise may sound strange and all, just let me tell you that this is a film written and directed by Michel Gondry; somebody who is definitely one for not always being the most “normal” film-maker out there. However, that’s the reason why this movie actually works – Gondry has a vision that may alienate some, but to others, there’s a certain joy in seeing what he sees through those artistic eyes of his. And while I couldn’t necessarily call something like this “artistic”, there’s still something joyous about it that makes it all worth watching.

"So you want me to get rid of all the Woody Allen pictures?"

“So you want me to get rid of all the Woody Allen pictures we have in store?”

Gondry’s weird-isms aside and all.

Although, I do have to say that for the first half-hour of this movie, nothing seemed to be happening at all. I get that there was supposed to be some sort of reason behind why these tapes were all erased and therefore, drive these guys to actually have to make these Swedes, but it seemed way too slow and messy. Almost as if Gondry himself was searching everywhere he could for anything that resembled a plot and didn’t know where to start, or end; he was just searching and searching, while annoying us at the same time.

But eventually, once the plot gets going and the Swede-ing starts happening, then the movie gets to be a bunch of fun. Which is mostly due to the fact that I think Gondry shows exactly what it’s like to have the creative adrenaline run through your body; the same kind of adrenaline that makes you want to get up from what you are doing and just have the world see what it is that you see, or are able to create. A part of me likes to think that Gondry uses this angle, only to express his own knack for creating low-budget remakes of popular films, but another part of me likes to think that whatever the case may be, it doesn’t matter. He’s clearly happy making these small, really cheesy remakes, and as a result, I was too.

And basically, that’s the whole gist of this movie. For a good portion of it, at least, the movie is all about what it’s like to have the need to make a movie right from where you are, with whatever you’ve got. It doesn’t matter if you have a budget, a whole lot of talent, or even all of the right equipment to get going from the ground-up. All you need is some inspiration and that drive to make you keep on shooting whatever it is that you want to shoot. If it’s a video of you just ranting about whatever it is that’s on your mind in that point in time – then go for it! If it’s a video of some Charlie kid biting somebody – then sure, totally go for it!

Whatever the idea in your head may be, it doesn’t matter. All that does matter is that you’re able to get up off your rump and film something! That’s what movies are all about in the first place, and while this movie may not be the most perfect piece of cinema to exemplify that fact, it’s still a noble effort from someone who clearly knows a thing or two about what it is that he’s talking about/filming.

How I imagine he acts every time he steps out of the shower.

How I imagine he looks every time he steps out of the shower.

As for the rest of the movie, it’s all pretty fine, especially in the casting-department. Though Jack Black’s shtick is the same here, as it’s been in, I don’t know, say, every single one of his damn movies, it’s still pretty entertaining and makes sense once this Jerry character gets a little bit too big for his britches and acts like he’s some big-time star of some sort. Sure, he has plenty of haters, but Black’s shtick, when used well, is entertaining and fun to watch. Same goes for Mos Def who, despite being on a short list of rappers-turned-actors, is one of the better ones because he’s able to go from role-to-role, without ever seeming like he’s trying too hard for one thing or another. He’s just being an actor, although there still has yet to be that one role that distinguishes him from the rest of the group.

Still though, I hold out hope. Not just for Def, but for the future of movies as a whole. Because even though certain people don’t believe the movie-business will be the same twenty-thirty years from now, there’s still hope out there that people will feel the need to want to express themselves in a fun, creative manner. Especially with a camera in their hand; something in front of them; and a chock full of ideas inside their noggins.

I still hold out hope, people. And you should too.

Consensus: While inherently messy, Be Kind Rewind still gets itself together in time for it to be a fun, creative, and rather passionate-look at what it takes for a person to create something, whether it be a film, a book, a song, or any piece of work that expresses themselves for being who they are.

7.5 / 10 = Rental!!

Now they're all working at FYE. Damn, DVD's.

Now they’re all working at FYE. Damn, DVD’s.

Photo’s Credit to: Thecia.Com.Au

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)

If only the world of journalism was this cut-throat, or entertaining to be around.

Everybody, meet San Diego’s top news anchor Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) and come and see how good he looks. Yeah, Ron’s a bit of a fool of himself and definitely thinks he’s the greatest thing to come around since sliced bread, however, he isn’t alone. He has a fellow band of trusted and worthy reporters that hang around him and give him a lending hand whenever he needs it. Together, they work as a team and together, they’ve been practically #1 in the ratings, week-after-week. And everything seems to be going all fine and dandy, up until an inspired and determined female reporter, Veronice Corningstone (Christina Applegate), shows up and decides that it’s her turn to shine and become the first ever female newscaster. Mostly everybody scoffs at this idea, but once she proves them wrong and that she’s more than capable of telling the news and still having rather large, exquisite breasts, then the newscast team evolves and work with what they have, which also means that Ron’s out of a job. And to make matters even worse, Ron’s all alone and without his biggest and best buddy, BAXTER!!

Basically, plot does not matter at all with this movie. It’s only purpose is to actually move it from one outrageous, over-the-top joke to the next and while that would usually seek, kill and destroy any comedy out there, it does not do that to this one. Sole reason? It’s a dumb movie that knows it’s dumb and makes no apologies for it whatsoever. You sort of have to expect that going in, and if you don’t, then I don’t know what to say, you might be screwed over. Although, even to this day, it’s still hard to find somebody that doesn’t at least “like” this movie, let alone adore the hell out of it.

How every blog expresses their sense of everlasting joy after receiving some life-changing news.

How every blog expresses their sense of everlasting joy after receiving some life-changing news.

It’s going to be hard to write an honest-to-God, non-rambling-mess-of-a-review on this so if I do run into a couple of tangents along the way before reaching my usual “Consensus” part of the review, I do apologize.

Anyway, with this movie, you have to know what to expect, solely on knowing Will Ferrell’s brand of comedy. It’s going to be loud, crude, rude, stupid and fun for everybody involved, which also means you yourself, the viewer. That’s why it doesn’t matter how many times you see this movie, whether you stumble upon it on television or decide to give it a re-watch to hype up the second movie (now who would want to do that?), it’s always a rip-roaring, gut-busting and funny-as-eff watch. Sometimes, you may even have to watch it alone, mainly because you’ll be heckling so loud, you don’t want to disrupt all of the others around you and whatever uneventful they may be doing that doesn’t concern watching Anchorman (we also call them “losers”). That’s what I did, and I still had a ball.

However, I could go on and on about how funny this movie is, but to really pin-point down exactly what it is that I feel is so funny, I just have to get on about it with the cast because, if you think about it, they’re really the ones holding this fort down. Sure, I bet some of the lines of dialogue were scripted, but only the parts that mattered in order to move the story along from one scene to the next. Instead, half of this dialogue feels, and probably was, more ad-libbed than anything else. With movies where half of their dialogue comes from somebody’s improv, it usually can, once again, seek, kill and destroy any comedy, but, once again, not this one. And certainly not with this cast of funny and deranged comedic-geniuses.

Will Ferrell was the one who got this whole gang/movie together and it makes sense why: He’s easily the best part of it all, which is not an easy thing to just state. The reason why Ferrell works so well as he does as Ron Burgundy is because he knows exactly what it is that he’s trying to do, every step of the way. He sees the comedic-potential in him speaking to a dog, as if the two actually understand each other, and he just goes for the gull with it. Same could be said for his “Yazz flute” scene; could have easily been a one-note joke stretched way beyond its means, but Ferrell takes it to places that go higher, stranger and way better than one could ever imagine. Also, in the brief moments that this flick does tend to show some depth, you do realize that there’s maybe more to Ron than just a macho ‘stache and an expert-way at getting the ladies; maybe he’s getting sick of it? Ferrell shows that there’s more humanity and heart to this guy that feels like he actually longs for some sort of emotional-connection in his life, that doesn’t just consist of constant partying, boozing and whoring around (on Whore Island, of course); he actually may want to settle down, get hitched up, have some kids and live a very happy, luxurious life. It may be that I’m looking way too far into this, and chances are, I definitely am, but Ferrell is the one who anchors this movie, gets it to where it needs to go and practically made me laugh the hardest.

Which, once again, is not an easy thing for me to state considering the rest of the ensemble is equally as hilarious and scene-stealing as he is.

Paul Rudd, as usual, made me laugh just by how goofy he was here, playing the charismatic ladies man, Brian Fantana. If you give Rudd the spotlight and give him time to do his thing, he’ll make you laugh. You know this, I know this, he knows it, hell, we all know it! That’s why it’s no surprise in my mind to see how funny he is here, especially when he’s plugging something as outrageous as “Sex Panther”; which, in case you were wondering, is in fact real, and costs an awful lot of “keesh”. Bam! Two Paul Rudd movie moment-references in one sentence! And though he’s definitely not as much of a household name as the peeps surrounding him may be, David Koechner is still a laugh-out-loud riot as the hee-hawing sports man of the news team, Champ, and gave the idea of wanting a man to get an apartment with you, an even more homoerotic-feeling than it ever had before. He may be the weakest-link of the main-squad, but that’s less of a take-away than it sounds since he’s still damn hilarious.

And Brick. Oh, dear ol’ Brick. He loves his lamps, he pulls out random hand-grenades, he wants people to come to his pants party and best of all, he killed a guy with a trident. I think the less said about him, the best. Cause, in case you couldn’t tell, he’s awesome. Thank you, Steve Carell. You too, are quite awesome.

Oh, the days for when Steve Carell was only known as "that guy from the Colbert Report and Bruce Almighty".

Oh, the days for when Steve Carell was only known as “that guy from the Daily Show and Bruce Almighty“.

But you know what’s really surprising about this movie, besides it still being equally as hilarious this time around, as then the first time I saw it all those years ago, is that it’s a dude comedy that still has a pretty kick-ass female character in the vein of Veronica Corningstone, played to perfection by Christina Applegate. And you know, I have to give a lot of credit to Applegate for at least taking a lot of shots that she does here in this movie because while there are many jokes aimed towards her heine, her breasts and her lack of a penis, she goes along with them, takes them with her, and even dishes some out on her own, showing the boys that she can hang. She may not be as hilarious as the guys, considering her character is definitely more serious than anybody else in the bunch, but she still gets away with a couple of laughs and seems a lot tougher than any of the guys that surround her, which is saying A LOT for a comedy of this nature.

Trust me though, the cast does not end there, nor do the laughs. With this supporting cast, you get to see so many faces, some surprising than others, that you actually wonder if they’re actually there to be funny, or just show their faces and be ironic. The answer is both, but it’s perfect because they all get a chance to shine a bring a lil’ something to the table. For instance, the whole “Newsteam fight” is chock-full of cameos and surprises that I won’t dare to spoil for those who have yet to see this flick, but does more than just present us with a familiar-face and say, “Hey, look who it is! Isn’t that so crazy that he/she showed up to partake in this Will Ferrell-comedy?” Nope, instead, the whole movie keeps on giving us more and more of these faces to make us laugh, to make us love them more and also, have a great time. Which, at the end of the day, is what comedies are supposed to do in the first place. Sure, they can be thought-provoking comedies that have you toy around with the ideas of existentialism in your head, but that’s not how Will Ferrell and co. roll, so therefore, neither should you!

Consensus: Anything you’d ever expect from a Will Ferrell comedy, you get with Anchorman, and then some more randomness. So either take it, or leave it. Can’t go any deeper than that because the movie doesn’t want you to, and that was fine with me. Watch this, have a laugh or two, and stay classy. Or, if you stand on the other side of the spectrum, thanks for stopping by. But most importantly, stay classy.

9.5 / 10 = Full Price!!

If more newscasters looked like this in the 21st Century, I think online journalism would be ruined forever. Which means me!!!

If more newscasters looked like this in the 21st Century, then I think online journalism would be ruined forever. Which means me!!!

Photo’s Credit to: IMDBColliderJobloComingSoon.net

Demolition Man (1993)

In the future, essentially, we’re all going to be a bunch of rich hippies. Tell me something I don’t already know!

It is the year 1996, John Spartan (Sylvester Stallone) is the LAPD sergeant that always gets the job done and solves crime because he has a pride for it. However, the only obstacle crime he can’t solve are the ones committed by known criminal Simon Phoenix (Wesley Snipes). However, on one fateful night, Spartan gets Phoenix cornered and ready for jail, until Spartan realizes that he accidentally just killed innocent hostages by doing so in the process. Though Phoenix is jailed for all of the bad things he’s done, Spartan is somehow thrown in the slammer with him, but since this is supposed to be “the future”, a simple “doing time” wouldn’t sit well with the powers that be. Nope, instead, both men are cryogenically frozen until their parole date comes up. When it finally does, some 30 years later, the men awaken to a world that’s full of sweet, sensitive people that don’t believe in the act of violence, cursing or wiping their rumps with actual paper. This is, essentially, the perfect world for Phoenix to raise all sorts of hell in, whereas for Spartan, he has a bit of trouble getting use to the calm way of handling things, even when it comes down to getting his man: PHOENIX!!

With mostly all of Sly Stallone’s flicks, you expect sure stupidity, but you also expect there to be a lot of fun thrown into the equation. Because surely, you can’t just have a movie that’s plain, old stupid, without it at least being a little fun as well, can you? I don’t think so, but that’s just me. Anyway, what I think what separates this flick from the many other, Sly-vehicles, is that there’s something “more enjoyable” to this material that makes it worth the while, even if you aren’t getting non-stop thrills and action.

"I'm yo cracka's nightmare!"

“I’m yo cracka’s nightmare!”

See, what works so well with this movie is that despite it being totally advertised as, and starting off as a full-on rated-R, action-thriller, the movie’s more of a satirical comedy on what our future would look like, had society had enough of all the nonsensical violence and inappropriateness that plagued our culture right around the early-to-mid 90’s. Can’t say that it’s really halted either, but that’s another discussion for another site. This is all about movies and reviews after all, so let’s get on with it!

Even though I was quick enough to actually call this a “satirical comedy” that doesn’t mean it’s smart in any way either. It’s a dumb movie, but has a bit more of an edge to it that has it be more than just a time-killer at the movies. It features funny moments in which the writers actually thought of something clever to use or say, in order to get a rise out of the audience, and it allows us to play around in our heads, whether or not a future like this would ever happen in a world/society such as ours? It’s strange to think that these are the types of ideas you could have rambling around in your mind during a Sly Stallone flick, but that’s what happens when you put more effort into your work, rather than just making it another “pay-day” job, done for the sake that you have cover for your hot-tub.

That said, don’t get me wrong, this movie is as silly as you can get with a Sly movie, and features all of the same type of action we know, and for some, love to see come from one of this guys’ movies. It’s over-the-top, campy, unbelievable, and breaks more laws of physics than it should, but that’s the point of this movie, even when the action’s not on the screen. Even then, the movie still seems to place its motives in the act of entertaining us, have us laugh and make us feel like we’re watching a movie that’s worth the trip, no matter how long or excessive it may seem. Which yes, it is excessive and rather long for its type, but it still worked well enough in holding my interest the way an action-flick of its very nature should.

But like I’ve been alluding to many, many times in this review: This is a Sly Stallone movie, and should not be taken seriously at all, and that’s mainly because he’s such a goof-ball to begin with. Sly’s skills as an actor may not be all that equipped with handling comedy well, but he’s able to poke some jokes at his own image, while also throwing some other, iconic action-stars under the bus as well. That “Schwarzenegger as president” joke? Pure hilarity, but only because of what we know as human-beings in the year 2013. 10 years ago, they probably weren’t laughing because it was almost too stupid, but nowadays, it was pretty damn close to happening. Whoever thought that Demolition Man would come close to predicting something in the future as ridiculous as the Terminator stepping into political office? Not me, that’s for sure.

"I am da law. Oh, different movie? Whatever, same premise."

“I am da law. Oh, different movie? Whatever, same premise.”

Sly’s good at pulling off this kind of material, and so is Wesley Snipes who is so over-the-top, that you have to begin to question just what the hell were in his Wheat Thins that he had before shooting? Seriously, the dude is total and complete bonkers, but rightfully so. The whole movie centers around him scaring the hell out of a every simple piece of white folk that he runs into, which is what Snipes does so perfectly and with so much energy and excitement that you just have to give him some credit, even though if he acted this way in another movie, it would be absolute torture to witness.

Same goes for Benjamin Bratt and Sandra Bullock who usually get on people’s nerves whenever they are seen in something nowadays, but were just getting their careers off the ground at, and around this time, making it a nice slice of history to see, or at least say you’ve seen. Bullock is as fun and vivacious as ever, and proves to be willing enough to play around with Sly and in ways, even bring out the best in his acting. Must have been a very rough challenge for an up-and-coming actress to attack, but it’s a challenge that she was up to, and not much has changed in the past 20 years or so. Good for her, probably not as good for Bratt, but hey, at least they both got the chance to bang one another for awhile thanks to this. And that has to account for something, right?

Consensus: While many will automatically see Demolition Man as another dumb action flick, it’s surprisingly more of a comedy, with a bit of a satirical edge that makes it more than just stupid fun, although I wouldn’t argue against those many who call it “dumb”, because it totally is, but there’s fun to be had in its dumbness.

7.5 / 10 = Rental!!

A series of bad career choices just await.

A series of bad career choices just await.

Photo’s Credit to: IMDBColliderJobloComingSoon.net

Margot at the Wedding (2007)

Don’t ever invite the one person that may stop the marriage, to your actual wedding.

A mother named Margot (Nicole Kidman) and her son named Claude (Zane Pais) live together and are constantly angry at the things around them. They go to visit a relative (Jennifer Jason Leigh) over the weekend, for that person’s wedding but the problem is that the soon-to-be husband (Jack Black) of that husband, isn’t exactly Mr. Charming. But in Margot’s eyes: almost no one is.

Writer/director Noah Baumbach doesn’t seem like the right kind of guy for me. His films are filled with characters that are so damn unlikable, that you would much rather shoot them than be in the same family as them, and the dialogue has that natural feel to it, but also gets very weird and quirky for no reason at all. He always seems to base his movies in reality, but a type of reality that is pessimistic, miserable, and downright uneven. Maybe that’s how life is, but for me; it doesn’t seem so. That’s why Baumbach never seems to deliver the goods and this flick is no different.

The biggest problem I hit with this flick was that barely anybody here drew me in, nor did they even have me compelled by what they were going to do next with their lives. Quite frankly, I couldn’t give a shit about them. Sounds harsh but the film is just dedicated to each one of these characters either constantly fighting with one another, acting strange just for the sake of it, saying how they really feel at random and sometimes, unnecessary moments, and getting into arguments where it gets so heated, they’re about to kill each other the next second. I mean I know family can be a bitch at times, but never as bad as they are displayed here. Almost every single scene that goes by, nobody ever seems to enjoy each other’s company and it never changes. Whether or not Baumbach meant for us to share the same misery these characters were feeling, is totally beyond me.

Only sign of happiness throughout this whole hour and a half.

Only sign of happiness throughout this whole hour and a half.

I mean, I get it. Not everybody in the world we live in is going to be as sweet as pumpkin pie but this film takes that a little too far to where it’s just an annoyance. Watching people practically beat the ever, loving shit out of the other in a verbal, and sometimes physical war. What makes it even worse is that this film is one hell of a sloppy piece-of-work because Baumbach never seems to be able to make a cohesive story here, and resorts to just snipping together random, short shots of these characters either reacting with each other, or just standing there looking mad/angry/sad. It’s cool what Baumbach can handle his characters without ever having any real plot to work with, but he doesn’t succeed at that here and I think it’s mainly because he trusted too much in his writing to win everybody over. Qurkiness can only go so far, and it went a bit far for our man, Noah, here.

This was even more of a shame to see in this flick is because of the movie that came before this, The Squid and the Whale. It’s probably my favorite Baumbach flick and shows that the guy can handle quirkiness, but also throw in some real, honest emotions to-spare where we feel for the characters involved, no matter how self-centered or despicable they may be. It seems as if Baumbach tried to do some of that here, but it doesn’t have as much steam as that indie-gem had. The characters from that movie were pretty damn unlikeable, but at least they had some sort of sympathetic side to them, deep-down inside. You had to look far for it, but when you found it all out, it worked wonders for the flick and it seemed like Baumbach tried to do the same thing here, just without any likeable-traits whatsoever. I can’t lie, there were some parts of this film that had me interested and made me laugh, but they were also very few and far my dear. Very few and far.

Yeah, not buying it.

Yeah, not buying it.

Even though the characters and story-line sort of blow, the cast still owns and show exactly why they deserve roles like these, no matter how detestable they can be. Nicole Kidman is great as the confused, bitchy, and often terrible mother that can’t seem to get her head around whatever it is that she wants in life. Kidman has always been a powerhouse in every performance she’s given, but she’s allowed to play a more mean character than we usually see from her and I think she handles it well. Since every scene consists of her bitching everybody-out that’s around her at that time, it’s not very hard to see exactly why a gal like this would own at playing such a evil mother. Yes, she even bitches out her own son. Damn woman!

Jennifer Jason Leigh always has had a knack for coming off as very sunny, bright-eyed, and likable and her role as Pauline really worked for her in that aspect. The fact that she’s so happy with life and her sister is such a huge bitch, really seemed strange to me, but then again, I guess that’s what happens in life. Life can take you down different paths of life, and I guess that’s what this flick was trying to show us with these two sissies that just so happen to be blood-related, but yet have completely, different out-looks on life. Still don’t know how a hot momma like Leigh ended-up with Jack Black, but hey, that’s what movies are made for, right? Speaking of the one and the only, Jack Black, he’s actually very good as Malcolm, Pauline’s soon-to-be-husband and brings a lot of that comedic-timing to this movie (that is so rightfully needed) and also has some nice dramatic touches as well. Malcolm is probably the most realistic and chill character of the whole film, and it’s never fully explained why the hell Margot hated him so much to begin with. He was the only guy in this film that made me want to continue watching and actually give it more of a shot than it deserved. Never thought I’d say this about any movie, but Jack Black was the best part of it. God, now that I think about it: this movie really must have sucked.

Consensus: Noah Baumbach at least deserves some sort of credit for making a story for Margot at the Wedding, solely out of random snippets of character emotions and happenings, but that’s not much when you consider how loathsome and mean these characters can be, without any sense of love or kindness in their hearts.

3 / 10 = Indie Crapola!!

Staring into space, and judging the atmosphere. What a bitch.

Staring into space, and judging the atmosphere. What a bitch.

Bernie (2012)

https://i2.wp.com/2.bp.blogspot.com/-r_vwbnik3aU/T8UeJ1eyuDI/AAAAAAAADIU/H7rdcUfxfiQ/s1600/bernie-poster-500x740.jpgGod loves everyone. Even murderers of 81-year-old grannies. Yes, even them.

Bernie Tiede (Jack Black) is a well-liked, somewhat effeminate, small town assistant-funeral director from rural eastern Texas who first befriended and some years later murder a wealthy but highly-disliked widow named Marjorie Nugent (Shirley MacClaine). It sound simple and understandable, however, Bernie is probably the most loved man in town and some people find it really all that hard that he killed a woman in such cold blood. This is where Texas State’s Attorney Danny Buck (Michael McConaughey) comes in to set the record straight, once and for all.

That synopsis sounds like a pretty straight-forward, understandable thriller, but what makes it so different from others is the fact that it is all real, all took place, and pretty much, all features the real-life people involved. I mean with a compelling story like this, you could have easily wrote it down as a documentary, or television special that features candid interviews with people who knew the subjects, people who are interested by what’s happening, and the actual subjects, themselves. It would have been a pretty interesting documentary that I probably would have checked-out some time down the road, but writer/director Richard Linklater takes it one-step further by not only going along with the whole documentary look-and-feel, but also making it a very, glitzy dramatization of it as well, offering us both sides of the coin and to see what may, or may not have actually happened.

Being that this is half-documentary, half-dramatizations, there’s a lot more to interest the hell out of you and make you feel as if everything you are seeing, is in-fact, exactly how it went done. The reason for that being, is the fact that Linklater offers a whole bunch of candid interviews with these townspeople who either heard of the subjects, met them once in life, had them over for Thanksgiving dinner, played ball with them, had their funeral-service by them, or just plain and simply knew them for all that they were. This aspect of the movie is so cool to see since every person they get to actually talk in this movie, are pretty funny to listen to and use colloquialisms as if Linklater was standing there with a $5 bill, holding it in-front of their noses, waiting till they use some witty-line in order to gain the moolah. They’re all very funny, very entertaining to watch, but most of all, very insightful as you feel like you’re getting the real story from real people that know what type of shit they’re talking about.

However, the other aspect of this movie, the dramatizations, aren’t that shabby either as they are just as interesting as the actual-interviews themselves. Without these dramatizations, the movie would have been pretty damn depressing if you ask me, but they keep the story going to where you understand the characters, understand the setting, and understand exactly what we’re getting ourselves into with the situation and it actually offers up some funky ideas about life, being human, and the way the people work, that I really wasn’t expecting for it to hit.

For instance, most of you probably already know by now that Bernie does in-fact end-up killing this old lady because he’s practically tortured by her and all that she makes him do, without any real kindness involved whatsoever. Even though he does eventually get pinched for it and confesses to the crime, people still feel as if he shouldn’t be put away, despite being a known, cold-blooded killer. Yes, Bernie killed this old lady, Marjorie, but you also can’t seem to blame him all that much either. Yeah, the guy may have want a bit overboard by killing some old lady no matter how mean she was to him and as well all know, killing never solves anything, but he’s not a bad guy, doesn’t seem to have a bad bone in his body, and most importantly, doesn’t even seem like he has any rhyme or reason to ever, ever kill again. He’s a just simple guy that ‘effed-up big-time and for all I’m concerned, I actually feel like the guy deserved a second-chance, even though other cases like these ones I would have probably shooed away instantly. You start to think what’s justifiable and what’s not, and it’s just pretty interesting to see how this film makes you think, a lot more than you expected to and it’s something that Linklater does best whenever he’s telling a story, whether it be real or fictional.

Where I think Linklater runs into a big-problem with this story is, is the fact that we can never really take it too seriously, to the point of where we feel an emotional-connection to the story. The only really serious bone in this movie, comes-out probably twice and both actually concern Bernie himself, coming to terms with the fact that he’s doing something terribly, terribly wrong. Murder is a subject in a movie that has been done to a very dark, comedic-effect before, but it just feels off here and you can never really take anything this movie deals with, as seriously as most of the real-life people in this movie actually do. It’s never funny, but it’s always interesting, and as great as that was to see on-screen, I still wished there was more of an understandable and reasonable approach to a story that could have meant more.

But the person who really makes up for all of those problems in terms of tone and pacing, is the one, the only, everybody’s most-hated actor, Jack Black. Yes, Jack Black does in-fact star in this movie as Bernie Tiede and even though most of you now probably saw the poster, read the synopsis and saw that J.B’s name was attached to it, you most likely already wrote it off as a piece of crap that doesn’t need to be seen, especially since the guy will probably sing and dance like a buffoon. In case you were wondering, yes, Black does sing, he does dance, and he does do everything else that you know and (mostly) hate him for, but it’s a lot different this time around with Bernie. See, since Bernie is such a nice, calm, and peaceful fellow, Black plays-up the whole “wholesome” angle to this guy that made the real-life person so beloved and cared-for in the first place. He acts like the nicest guy in the room, and 9 times out of 10, usually is. You can’t help but fall in love with this Bernie guy, almost as much and almost as quick as the actual townspeople themselves, and most of that is all thanks to Black and how even though he doesn’t change a single-lick about his act, appearance  or demeanor, still is fun to watch and keeps the story moving just when you think it may, just may run out of steam.

Just like Black here, Matthew McConaughey and Shirley MacLaine both play, real-life people and although they don’t steal the show quite like Black, they still do alright jobs with what they’re given. McConaughey is fun to watch as the show-boating, hammy district attorney that just wants more recognition to his name, rather than actual pride and respect; and Shirley MacLaine is alright as the mean, old, and nasty granny that is Marjorie, but isn’t someone we really care about, think about, or remember once she’s all gone from the story. As for the actual-townspeople themselves, most of them play them actual selves in the dramatizations, but also some actors and actresses play in their roles as well and it’s sort of annoying because it makes you question just how much of this is really as legitimate as it may propose. The interviews with the real-life people were good, but once I started to find-out that more and more of these interviews were scripted with actors in the roles, I was a bit skeptical as to what I was just forced-down my throat and whether or not it was the truth, or just plain and simple, liberties that all filmmakers take with any story to spice it up. I’m feeling a bit of the latter part, myself.

Consensus: Being based on an actual, cooky story is what helps Bernie in being a compelling and interesting take on a story none of us had ever, ever heard about before, yet, you still never really know what exactly happened and if it was all for real, or just a bunch of scenes added for dramatic-effect. Hmmm, only few and few people actually know that and I’m mostly looking at you, Linklater.

7.5/10=Rental!!

High Fidelity (2000)

Jams really are the best way to get over a chick.

When record store owner Rob Gordon (John Cusack) gets dumped by his girlfriend, Laura (Iben Hjejle), because he hasn’t changed since they met, he revisits his top five breakups of all time in an attempt to figure out what went wrong. As Rob seeks out his former lovers to find out why they left, he keeps up his efforts to win Laura back.

The film is based on a British novel by Nick Hornby, and it just so happens to be one of my favorite novels of all-time because it made me look differently at a lot of things. This film didn’t do the same, but that’s OK.

The problem with a lot of romantic comedies is that their sappy, predictable, unfunny, and overall not very original on anything they talk about or do. For the most part, High Fidelity doesn’t have these features as much as you would expect. Basically the premise here is “the one that got away” storyline but the script here is what makes this all a little different from other romantic comedies.

The novel is one of my favorites, and mainly because of the witty and smart pop-culture, and music references that it had, references that this movie either keeps or adds. I loved just listening to these dudes talk like real people about their “top 5 lists” and if “I Just Called To Say I Love You” is a good song for your daughter. The script has many witty lines that will either leave you shaking your head as to what these people are talking about, or either laughing your ass off. I was sort of somewhere in the middle.

I liked how this film had that sort of laid-back feel to it, but for me, the novel was so much better and in ways made more sense. There is this running narrative in the novel that the film uses, however it just seems oddly placed here and doesn’t bring much reality to the film. Also, there were many times where I think they could have done so much more insight to this film, like the novel did, but I guess sometimes novels are better than the films after all.

John Cusack is the one actor that is basically the definitive poster-boy for 80’s romantic comedies, so it was cool to see him play the role as Rob Gordon, a guy who needs to get over his ex-girl as quick as possible. He delivers the lines well, and makes you believe that he really does know all of this crazy music information. Jack Black is a guy that nowadays gets a lot of crap, but this is the film that put him on the map and with good reason. Every time the guy is on screen, he is an absolute riot and I can tell why he’s a household name now because of it. Iben Hjejle is alright as Laura, although other times I do feel that she could have been better at playing the bitchier parts of her. Also, gotta give some love to Tim Robbins here as Ian, Laura’s new boyfriend, and he is just the man in this, as Robbins always is in anything he does. There are also some other funny ones here such as Lisa Bonet, Todd Louiso, and the always awesome Joan Cusack.

Let’s also not forget the soundtrack. I loved how the film relied on a lot of actual licensed music for their mood and scenes, because it felt like it was all happening in real life, and each of us have our own soundtrack. When you have artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, The Velvet Underground, and hell even The Roots, you know this is going to be a keeper.

Consensus: With a rockin’ soundtrack and some very good acting, High Fidelity is fun, breezy romantic comedy, but doesn’t do much to liven up the book, and has less of an effect when it comes to actual insight on relationships than the book did.

7/10=Rental!!

Love Happens (2009)

Not as bad as everybody makes it out to be, but not all that good honestly.

When widower and self-help guru Burke Ryan (Aaron Eckhart) unexpectedly falls for Eloise (Jennifer Aniston), his latent grief threatens his chance at romance. Now, the best-selling author and expert on coping with loss must prove he’s his own best teacher or risk losing love again.

What I was expecting from this film was to be totally bored out of mind, and to see nothing new. In a way, I kind of got that, in another way I didn’t.

The plot for this film is probably something that you could have seen if you were skipping school and decided to spend your day watching Lifetime with your mommy, and I think that’s the main problem with this film because it doesn’t do much with its premise rather than just be shallow about the themes within its screenplay.

The film says it’s about a romance between these two leads, but that is barely even there really and it’s more about a self-help guru coming to terms with his grief. This took me by surprise because some parts actually did work, but there was no real insight to this theme that we haven’t already seen before. Moments here were dull and boring, and the cutesie-bootsie montages that they use here become exhausting, and probably become the biggest cliche of the whole film.

If there is anything that this film does a great job with, it’s showing that Aaron Eckhart needs a damn Oscar! He plays this self-help guru with a lot of wit, and actual realistic human feelings that will have you like his character, Burke, a whole lot more than you expected. Jennifer Aniston is here as Eloise playing that quirky rom-com love interest we all know her for, but she doesn’t really show up that much and doesn’t do much for this film. There is also not enough chemistry between these two, mainly because the film doesn’t give them much time to actually develop. Judy Greer as always is awesome, Dan Fogler is OK if you like wannabe Jack Black’s, and Martin Sheen does a good job too. The script just lets this whole cast down, which is a real bummer since they all do try really really hard.

Consensus: Love Happens had some surprisingly nice moments, but the dramatic element nor does the romantic element work, and offers surprises if you haven’t seen a rom-com in the past 15 or 20 years.

4/10=SomeOleBullShitt!!

Shallow Hal (2001)

Big women need love too.

The writing-directing siblings Peter and Bobby Farrelly train their camera on Hal (Jack Black), a terminal bachelor obsessed with scoring a knockout babe. A chance encounter in an elevator with a self-help guru imbues Hal with the (hallucinatory) power to see people’s inner beauty over their outer shell. Soon, he finds true love in Rosie, a 400-lb. social worker who appears to Hal in the lithe form of Gwyneth Paltrow.

The Farrelly Brothers are always known for their gross-out hits like Dumb and Dumber, and There’s Something About Mary. But never are they really known for their more sweeter comedies, like Fever Pitch, and this one.

As usual, this film has a lot of jokes within that work, and others that do not. There are plenty of fat jokes that will make you chuckle, but then you wonder if you were supposed to. At the end, it almost makes you think that making fun of fat people is wrong, which is kind of what this film was doing the whole time, so of course the whole message of this movie was kind of confusing.

But that doesn’t matter because this is a sweet little comedy. The irony is what works the best with this film, and although some jokes are a miss, others will have you laughing, but not as much as you would have expected from these two dudes. The Farrelly Brothers aren’t as immature with this film, and don’t provide a lot of gross-out humor, but it still does have it’s good moments, just not the best compared to other outings by these two. Also, they provide a lot more sweeter moments in this film, that do hit well much to my surprise.

Jack Black in the beginning really got on my nerves in this, but after awhile he started to grow on me. As the story goes on, he gets better and better, playing this funny, sweet guy that I can actually see getting the real Paltrow in real life. Nah, I was kidding, sorry Jack. Gwyneth Paltrow is also good here, playing a likable personality as Rose Mary. Jason Alexander is in this, and provides a lot more of the funnier moments, cause he plays an annoying deuche so well, to the point of where he isn’t annoying. I don’t know, it’s hard to explain, but he’s good in this too.

Consensus: A lot more sweeter and held back than their other comedies, The Farrelly Brothers make a romantic comedy, that may not be the funniest of theirs, but it still has enough laughs, and charms to satisfy.

5.5/10=Rental!!

Tropic Thunder (2008)

Its funny, even the 4th time around.

This combat film send-up from director-star Ben Stiller tracks a group of actors who are forced to become real-life soldiers when they’re abandoned in the jungles of Southeast Asia. The all-star cast includes Robert Downey Jr. (in an Oscar-nominated role), Jack Black, Matthew McConaughey and Nick Nolte, with an unrecognizable (and Golden Globe–nominated) Tom Cruise playing a crude movie mogul.

For the most part, I have seen this film about 4 times, and almost every time I laugh more. When I first saw this, I didn’t quite get the satire the film was using, however, knowing more and more about the movie biz I understood everything that this movie was saying.

The script I have to say is very well-written with some of the best satire in a long time. The jokes here are centered towards anybody, because the films finds its ways to make fun of anyone and everyone: blacks, whites, homosexuals, mentally-challenged, drug addicts, and of course celebrities. All of these jokes are in bad taste, but almost every single gag works. Some people don’t understand the jokes because its jokes are more Hollywood based, so it will go over some people’s heads, but once you understand the joke, their actually very funny and smart.

However, I will say that some of the jokes were pretty stupid, and it seems like they were trying their hardest to get a lot of really funny jokes out there, and it just looked like they were trying too hard. Don’t get me wrong they were funny, but sometimes, it seemed like it was just itching for the laughs.

The cast is the main reason why this film works. Each star gets credit, cause they take the bait, by letting themselves be made fun of. Ben Stiller is the typical down-grading action star, Jack Black is the drug-addicted, fat comedy man, Brandon T. Jackson is playing the rapper-turned-actor, who can’ stop drinking booty sweat, and Jay Baruchel, is…well….the guy who’s just there. Each character makes fun of someone, and its easy to see who, but others will just go over your head.

The two best worth mentioning are obviously the only two that were nominated for awards. Robert Downey Jr., sometimes didn’t make any sense when he talked, but he is hilarious when I did understand him. He has the greatest lines of the whole movie, and brings nothing other than his A game, and makes everything funny. Tom Cruise, is also funny as hell. He brings a lot of random funny as hell moments, with his random out-bursts, and spoof of real-life agents.

Consensus: Tropic Thunder sometimes tries too hard to bring laughs, with some easily offensive ones, but is other than that, a hilarious spoof, that is boosted even more by the great performances.

8.5/10=Matinee!!!

Saving Silverman (2001)

Say what you will about this film, it is funny.

Trouble and laughs come in spades when clueless losers Wayne (Steve Zahn) and J.D. (Jack Black) conspire to prevent their best buddy, hapless sad-sack Darren (Jason Biggs), from marrying shrewish Judith (Amanda Peet). Wayne and J.D. will stop at nothing to “save” their friend, including setting him up with long-lost love — and soon-to-be nun — Sandy (Amanda Detmer).

Now I have seen this film about 10 times since I was in 5th grade, and I can’t lie this film hasn’t changed as much for me.

Yeah, the film does have its obvious plot holes. Like why after six months are these living with each other?, and why are things happening the way they are? The plot holes are there and I can see they did a lot of this stuff just to move the story on, but its not like I really cared. There are some weak spots where the jokes from when I was 11 got different for me as I got older, but I didn’t care as much since I still laugh.

The jokes in this movie are funny, and also wildly random, but random in a good way. I foudn the jokes added on a lot more comedy in a raunchier way than trying to be smart and going over their heads. And, believe it or not, when these guys talked, I felt like I knew who they were because many of my friends talk exactly like them, even me sometimes.

The cast is very funny and all are up for good sport. Biggs is his usual Woody Allen awkward dude, Zahn is great as usual with his hilarious physical comedy as well as great deliverance with his lines. But the best here is Jack Black who is funny once again as the lovable loser who we all love and know him for. R. Lee Ermy had me laughing almost every time he was on-screen, and Amanda Peet, ehhhh, she’s not that bad. Even when they brought out Neil Diamond I couldn’t stop laughing cause although he can’t act he is still a good sport doing a riff on his own character.

Consensus: Saving Silverman ha sits obvious dry spots and plot holes, but to me its still is funny as it was back in 5th grade, with clever jokes, and good comedic performances. Hey, we all have our own guilty pleasures.

6.5/10=Rental!!!

Enemy of the State (1998)

Would this actually be happening in real life? Just putting it out there.

Hotshot Washington lawyer Robert Dean (Will Smith) becomes a victim of high-tech identity theft when a hacker slips an incriminating video into his pocket. Soon, a rogue National Security agent (Jon Voight) sets out to recover the tape — and destroy Dean.

If you love Tony Scott films that are just break-neck thrillers with no actual story, then this is a keeper. But if your like many others that think their mindless then this is not for you.

The one great thing about this film that actually helps it out is its crazy action. The scenes are filmed in such a rowdy but controlled way that everything that’s going on is fun and hectic but your actually understanding what is happening, which makes it more exciting.

I liked many of the high-tech stuff that was actually involved with its story and how it all seems believable. The atmosphere is created because he can’t escape the government and while watching it, you have a feeling you can’t either. Having a lot of these sateleitte dishes and cameras used made all the action, and the story a lot more interesting in how it all panned out.

The problem with the film is that its script is not very top-notch. There were plenty of times where the film could have really struck a nice cord with its talk, but doesn’t quite hit the mark with its scenes. Also, many of parts in this film were basically lifted scenes from The Conversation, also with Gene Hackman. I have only seen a little bit of that film I could already tell that the film had some big similarities to Enemy of the State.

The one saving grace as you would expect, is Will Smith. At times, he is so funny and cocky that its so easy to root for him, and to hope he comes out on top. The supporters who play the government do real well at what they do mostly comedians like Seth Green, Jack Black, and Jamie Kennedy, who all seem a bit miscast, but actually have some pretty good lines, even though we should hate them.

Consensus: Enemy of the State lacks in originality and a good script, but features a lot fun and exciting action, mostly lead by a charismatic performance from Smith.

7/10=Rental!!!!

Year One (2009)

If Jack Black and Micheal Cera were my ancestors, I would probably be insane.

Banished from their primitive village after the tribe elders deem them too lazy, Zed (Jack Black) and Oh (Michael Cera) leave everything they’ve ever known behind and embark upon an adventure-filled journey through the ancient world.

This is pretty much a remake of History of The World: Part 1, where at least that movie showed it was a bunch of skits, this film tries to weave a story together and ultimately just fails. The story tries to be set around all these biblical figures such as Cain and Abel, or Abraham, and they just come off as dumb and not really making any sense.

Year One is mostly killed from it’s various jokes that seem a little bit too dated. The sex jokes become so obvious and they seem so familiar that I can’t just help to think where have I heard these jokes before. There are parts in this film that just seem destined to be comedic gold for the cast, but then they just end up not turning out the way they could’ve. The film goes from one scene to another acting like the last one didn’t happen, and you just totally forget as well.

The thing that was actually pretty funny about this film was it’s comedy about the Bible, and the Christian faith, that just seemed a little too smart for a PG-13 film. There are many parodies on Biblical history that do sometimes work, but other times seem like it’s just trying too hard to be funny and just ends up being confusing.

Harold Ramis really has got me bummed out here. I really do like a lot of his other films such as Groundhog Day and Caddyshack, but he just doesn’t seem himself at all this movie. His direction is very bad and doesn’t seem inspired at all, and the production values just seem so cheap. I honestly felt like they just filmed this whole movie in the same piece of land throughout the whole filming process.

The one thing about this film that seems to shine is it’s cast. Jack Black and Micheal Cera basically play the same characters they always do in every film and try their hardest with this poor script, but don’t come up very well in the end. The little supporting characters in this film make this good with stars such as Bill Hader, Oliver Platt, and Hank Azaria, they look like their having fun it just doesn’t inspire us to have fun with this movie.

Consensus: Year One has the right factors going for them, but looks cheaply made, is poorly directed, and doesn’t feature many laughs to complete this star-studded cast.

3.5/10=SomeOleBullShittt!!!

Orange County (2002)

Poor guy, all he wants to do is to get into Stanford, what’s so wrong with that.

High schooler Shaun Brumder (Colin Hanks) dreams of getting himself out of the surf and sun of Orange County and knows that his best shot is college. But when a flaky guidance counselor (Lily Tomlin) sends another student’s transcript to Stanford University and Shaun gets rejected, he has 24 hours to convince the dean that he’s not who he seems. Desperate, he enlists the help of his slacker brother Lance (Jack Black).

Orange County is produced by MTV films, and what was expected was a film that heavily lies on very sleazy fart and sex jokes. However, this film is probably one of the smarter MTV films, even if it is just a tiny bit sleazy.

The film’s direction is very fresh and talented. I liked how many of the jokes were actually very good and could be understood by all crowds and would probably be laughed at. Much of the humor derives from quirky and at times highly off-beat, that is sensible and never gets carried away.

I do think a lot of this film was very over-the-top and unrealistic. Many of the situations these characters were put in, though funny but highly unrealistic, and wouldn’t resolve in average ordinary life. Also some of the film can turn out to be very flat and not all that funny as it tries hard to be. This film is also way too short with a run time of only 82 minutes, I still felt that there could’ve been more added to this film to make it memorable.

Most of the laughs come mostly from the performances and characters that lie within. Colin Hanks and Lily Tomlin both have charming performances in this film, but the one who really blows this film out of the water is Jack Black. Jack Black gives an iconic performance as the sort of Gen X stoner brother who is such a loser, but he reminds me a lot like this generation’s Belushi and could easily well be one of the best comedians in the business and he shows it in this film. John Lithgow and Catherine O’Hara though not very believable, were hilarious in this film and made every scene they had count.

Consensus: Though not very memorable, Orange County is genuinely funny in most places and is actually smarter than what you would expect from a typical MTV film.

6/10=Rentall!!!!