Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

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Borat (2006)

I have to take a trip to Kazakhstan at least once in my life.

Borat (Sacha Baron Cohen) travels from his primitive home in Kazakhstan to the USA to make a documentary. On his cross-country road-trip, Borat meets real people in real situations.

I’ll never, ever forget the first time I checked out this flick way back when it first came out and laughed my ass off by almost everything that was going on here. Take it for granted, I saw this when it first came out and I was probably around 12, so of course everything is a lot funnier then, but I checked up on it again to see if I was wrong but what I got was that it only gets funnier, as you get older.

The funniest aspect of this whole flick is that you can’t script stuff like this. Yeah, it’s another mockumentary but it’s all real except for everything Borat is talking about and that actually makes it funnier to see how these people react to this guy. I was really surprised by how producers were able to get all of the people they did for this movie, because some of them look like some real assholes, while others just look like they are terribly uncomfortable being around this dude. Although I think I would be too if I was near a guy that kept trying to kiss me and trying to ask me about my sister, and if she has sex with lots of men or not. May not sound that funny on paper, but when you play it all out to real people, who have no exact idea as to what the hell is really going on, then it’s comedy gold.

However, I don’t think I’ve explained just how funny this damn movie is! Everything here, pretty much from start to finish is absolutely hilarious because it never stops with the uncomfortable situations, the politically incorrect jokes, and the people they actually grab from the streets to do this movie. It’s a very offensive flick, that makes so many harsh jokes towards every type of person from America (Jewish, Pentecostals, African Americans, Gays, Feminists, New Yorkers, Southerners and college students, to name a few) but it never seems like overkill. Instead, it just gets funnier and funnier with each and every situation these guys pull off and just when you think they won’t do it, trust me, they do it alright. If you don’t laugh at this movie, then the joke is on you and you don’t deserve to watch something like this. Me, on the other hand, had to actually hold my side because of how hard I was laughing. This is my 3rd viewing too people!

What’s probably funnier than all of the offensive jokes and uncomfortable situations here, is that all of the actual people they get to interview, tell you something about the America that we live in. America is a place that I’m glad to have been born and raised in, but I can definitely say that there is flaws to the people of our society, which is probably with all other societies in the world as well. We see people that are racists that tell Borat what type of guns are the best to kill Jews with, we see a car dealer tell him what’s the best “pussy magnet”, we see some dude from a rodeo say how Borat should change his look so he doesn’t look like “a Muslim, who would more than likely have a bomb strapped to his chest”, and we see a bunch of college kids say how all women should be slaves and bow down to what they have to say. It’s some real effed up shit we get to hear and see here, but it’s all true and that’s what is probably the most jaw-dropping thing about this flick. Some of this may actually have you think about our society and realize just how dumb we are such as whenever we see two gay guys making out, we frown upon it, but cheer on George Bush and the Army to go off and kill every single person in Iraq. Hey, I’m not saying I’m supporting or going against anything that the U.S. is going for but this film brings up a lot more questions about our society than you would expect from a dude that runs around asking ladies for “sexy time”. Comedy that makes you think, haven’t heard of that in awhile.

My only complaint about this flick is that as hard as I did laugh, after watching this one for a third time, I also didn’t laugh as much upon this viewing as I knew what was coming, and what wasn’t. The whole idea of shock value is to not expect what’s going to come up next, and I did here, but I still laughed a lot so I can’t really fault the film for that at all. Maybe if I was 12 again, I would have given this a 10/10. Maybe, just maybe.

The whole subject about this flick, is that it’s pretty anti-Semantic in how Borat despises Jews and wants to get away from them as fast as he can. However, Sacha Baron Cohen is not a racist at all, in fact, he is actually a practicing Jew. This really surprised me when I first saw it because it made me realize that this guy was in on the joke the whole time and I think because of his involvement, it wasn’t banned in every single area of the world, but also makes this character Borat, one of the funniest and most endearing racists ever caught on film.

Whenever people see Baron Cohen now, people think of him as this goofy, somewhat larger-than-life character who always plays these insane characters and never snaps out of them. The character Borat, wasn’t the first to show this, but it’s one that showed that he is a comedic genius. No matter what Cohen does in this movie, whether it be hanging out with a bunch of black people in the ghetto, taking a shit in front of Trump’s Towers, or even getting drunk with a bunch of college kids, he never drops character and always stays in character. Cohen does so many embarrassing things, most of which, he puts himself in, but the whole time you can’t help but wonder how a guy can go throughout a movie like this, and just keep on making it seem like he is really thinking this. Cohen definitely has a pair of brass balls and I wish that he continued to do more mockumentary stuff like this and Bruno, but I guess fame was too much for him and his characters. Poor guy, at least The Dictator was fine and dandy.

Consensus: Borat is not only a comedy that absolutely delivers the laughs with an offensive/mean streak unlike any other flick I have ever seen, but also shows you a side of America that will sometimes make you gasp by just how shocklingly cruel and small-minded can be and think.  It’s a comedy that makes you think, while still bust your gut. Sounds like a winner to me!

9.5/10=Full Price!!


Taken 2 (2012)

Dude, just stay away from foreign countries.

He came, he saw, he kicked-ass, and took his daughter back (Maggie Grace), and basically lived a life he thought was all fine and dandy, until now. That’s right, this time around, it’s Neeson’s wife (Famke Janssen) who is kidnapped and instead of Paris, it’s going to be Istanbul, and it’s all by the man (Rade Sherbedgia) who wants revenge on Neeson for what he did to his family.

In all honesty, I was very surprised by how much of a success Taken was when it was released way back when in 2009. It did feature a pretty cool trailer, but for what was essentially a pretty lame thriller idea, with a big-name that hasn’t really been big since the first Star Wars prequel, and to top it all off, a film that was released in the dead-heart of January, aka a time nobody goes to see movies cause they’re all pooped-out from seeing the same crap, drunk on egg nog for the past 2 weeks. So, that’s basically why I never understood how the hell it was numero uno at the box-office for about 3 weeks, boosted Qui-Gon Jinn’s career back-up to “action hero” stardom, and made itself destine for a sequel, and possibly more. However, despite all my angry ranting and rambling, I can’t say I hate the idea of a sequel to that film, especially when this is the type of stuff we get.

Even though I wasn’t a huge fan of the original, Taken still had it’s moments of fun that made the final-product all the more enjoyable. The problem I had with that story was how it would always start-and-stop and always kill the momentum it had going for itself, by focusing too much on the whole internal-crisis that was going on with Neeson and the thought of his daughter going out there and bangin’ dudes under the influence of drugs. I’m not saying he’s wrong to be upset about that, but come on man, go out there and start shootin’ some fuckers and get revenge. That’s exactly what this film is from the 25-minute mark to the end of the whole movie. Need I remind you, that the whole movie itself runs a steady and swift 91 minutes, so that’s basically about an hour of pure mayhem, fun, action, and Oskar Schindler looking as bad-ass as he can look.

Director Olivier Megaton obviously knows the type of movie he’s making here, and you know what? He doesn’t care what you think about it or how you want to look at, he’s having fun and that’s all that matters to him, as it should because it had an extremely positive effect on a group of a d-bags like my friend and I who went to go see this. What’s so exciting and fun about this action is that there is never a dull moment in it to where you think, “Oh great, they’re slowing things down to focus on character-development.” Nope, there’s none of that at all here because we already know who these characters are, what purpose they serve to the story, and why they are motivated to save each other’s lives. We don’t need any freakin’ back-story, we need some freakin’ action and that’s exactly what Megaton delivers on.

However, this is obviously the case where you may have to not only leave your brain at the door, but also have it delivered to you when you’re sleeping in the middle of the night so you sure as hell don’t remember half of the crap you see here because the more you think of it, the more you’re going to ask yourself, “What in the fuck did I just watch?”. Seriously, this movie is one of the dumber ones I have seen the whole year so far and in ways, that’s a compliment, and in others, it’s too distracting to even be considered anything. It’s just there and never seems to go away.

For instance, one of the only subplots that make a difference in this “story” is how Neeson’s daughter is finally learning how to drive with a permit. Now, anybody that ever remembers having a permit, sure as hell remembers how hard it was to go 5 mph down a long-road without falling to the side of the road at least once. I sure as hell do, and if that’s not the exact type of example that has happened to you, something along those lines definitely have and it just goes to show you that when you’re driving a car with your permit, shit is pretty stressful. That’s what really took me by surprise here as the daughter not only goes over 80 mph in very tight and narrow side-streets, but does it all without barely hitting anything, and/or crashing it in the first five-seconds of being behind the wheel. Honestly, it wouldn’t have been so bad either, if it hadn’t been going on for 5 minutes where it was just her driving as if she was taking over Ryan Gosling’s job from Drive, when in reality, the girl still doesn’t know how to master the art of parallel parking, if there ever was one (you city people know what I’m talking about). This example is just one of the many, I do repeat, many of times that this movie just comes off as downright stupid and if you don’t like that with you’re action movies, then stay the hell away and go off and wait for The Avengers 2 to come out in 2014, or whenever the hell Joss Whedon has that planned.

Once again, much to my douchy surprise, Liam Neeson is the big-draw with this flick and as so he should be, the guy still has the talent to pull a character like Bryan Mills, off perfectly. Neeson just has this certain amount of likability and warmth to him that makes you sympathize with his over-protective ways and also make you believe that he’s got everything under-control, when half of the time he’s got a gun pointing straight at his dome. But Neeson is also able to totally switch that off in a heartbeat and make him, your worst nightmare by pulling out all of the stops to succeed in the end and do everything in his power, to kick the ever-loving shit out of you. Neeson does that so well here, but I think it’s his time to eventually hang-it up after this, at least with action anyway. It’s not that Neeson isn’t good nor believable with these roles, because he surprisingly is, it’s just that he seems to old (60) for a role that has the guy moving around, shooting guns, beating the tar out of dudes half his age, and still not be able to break a bone of get a hernia. I love you and all, Liam, but maybe it’s time to go back to drama and see if you got one, last Oscar-push left in ya. That’s all I’m saying, though.

Maggie Grace, despite her out-of-nowhere expertise of driving, does a nice job as the sweet but determined daughter of Bryan, but also seems a bit hard to believe as a girl that is still 17 and going for her learner’s permit. It also surprised me that the first-shot of her that we get is her getting groped by her boy-toy, when in reality, I would think that someone who just got drugged-up and raped by a bunch of Russian mobsters, would still feel a little dramatized and not allow anyone to touch her in that way and to just take it slow. Basically, any girl that’s like that with me would be tossed-out as quick as 1-week old pie, but since it’s Maggie Grace, ehh, I think can withstand the wait. Rade Sherbedgia is here in his 100,000th anniversary appearance as playing the stereotypical, Russian villain that never seems to do a nice thing throughout the whole movie, and is still pretty good at it, even if his character does seem a bit overly-dicky with what he’s doing. I mean honestly, if this guy was a real Russian mobster, wouldn’t he at least understand that family-values are family-values and shouldn’t really blame Bryan for going out there and killing his son, considering his son attacked, drugged-up, and captured Bryan’s daughter? I don’t know, maybe I’m thinking about it too much but doesn’t sound like a real mobster to me. Where’s Don Corleone when you need him?

Consensus: Taken 2 is your typical unneeded, stupid, and unintentionally sequel that seems to get pushed-out every couple of times a year, but for this time, it’s actually fun and keeps your eyes moving along with the quick-fire pace at 91 minutes of pure adrenaline fun, and Liam Neeson bad-assery.


Hotel Transylvania (2012)

Bela Lugosi is somewhere spinning in his grave right now.

Count Dracula (voiced by Sandler) runs a swanky private hotel for monsters who wish to get away from the world and just “rest in peace.” A wrench is thrown into the works when a young boy (voiced by Andy Samberg) discovers the hotel and falls for Drac’s daughter (voiced by Selena Gomez).

Even though this looks like your typical piece of kiddie-flare that kids will be beating their parents over the head for weeks to go out and see (which it is), it still surprised me to know that the guy behind all of this is Genndy Tartakovsky. Hmm, Genndy Tartakovsky? Name ring a bell? Okay, well, does the name Samurai Jack sound familiar to you? That’s right, Adam Sandler’s next vehicle is directed by the same dude who had a show on Cartoon Network where it focused on one dude, going around the world, and silently chopping monsters and creatures up. It’s a weird change of pace for Tartakovsky considering how original and different that show was, and how unoriginal and bland this kiddie-movie is. Money makes people do the darnedest things.

Obviously I am not the target-audience for a movie like this, but they could have at least tried a little harder to garner my attention, rather than just constantly throwing out lame fart gags, one-after-another. Since this is a Sandler-vehicle, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised to see all of the lowbrow humor come into play but I expected there to be a bit more jokes that make fun of the way monsters are viewed at as in the 21st century. Some of that idea is actually here, but it’s never played-up for any smart laughs, but instead, all come off as cheap and the usual stuff that gets kids howling at the top of their lungs.

And hey, I don’t want to sound like a big old piece of shit or anything, because I didn’t hate this movie and I don’t hate fun and laughter, I just don’t like it when movies don’t take advantage of a fun premise because they feel the need to be stupid for little kiddies. Kids, if you give them the right material, will laugh at almost anything but it’s the parents and how much they laugh at the material, is what really matters and there is a big difference for this movie in matters of kids laughter vs. parents laughter. For instance, the movie theater I was at to see this movie had a bunch of kids, accompanied by adults and the kids, did most of the laughing considering it was a whole bunch of silly gags that would just randomly show-up. However, when the film decided to be clever and actually witty with itself, the parents were the only ones who actually laughed, and in a way, I guess I put myself in that category as well considering I had a good chuckle or two at the more-wittier jokes. Not to say that my comedy-ideas are all about being witty and above everybody else’s standards, but there just seemed to be more kids laughing at dumb stuff, than any other adult in the theater with me.

However, that’s not to say that the film isn’t entertaining to watch because it sure as hell is. Tartakovsky obviously knows what does and what doesn’t work when it comes to animation, and here, he shows off that he does know what works considering there is so much color and flair to every shot in the flick. Hell, some scenes were filled with so much going-on that it almost seemed a bit distracting, but it’s always great to see a bunch of beautiful and vibrant colors get thrown at us, especially by a guy who knows how to use this animation to his advantage. Even though I did not see this in 3D, I still know that it would be a sight to see regardless and is maybe worth the extra money you’ll be paying with if you bring a kiddie. But if you go by yourself, you won’t have to worry, although it is pretty weird that you’re going to see this movie all-alone.

The other reason why this film is entertaining is because of the whole cast involved. Recently, Adam Sandler really seems to have lost his comedic and funny-touch when it comes to comedies, but the guy seems like he’s having a lot of fun here camping it up as Count Dracula. Obviously, people will know it’s Sandler right from the start because of his voice, but it’s still nice to see and the Count actually makes a pretty fun and interesting character to watch, despite him being as every bit as the conventional and predictable, over-protective daddy as you would expect.

Then, there’s the rest of Sandler’s crew that shows up and they all do fine jobs on their own. Andy Samberg was fun and wacky as the human that shows up and is probably Samberg’s first time actually being able to let-loose in a comedy, after his SNL split. His little romance with Selena Gomez is good because they are both likable and feel very realistic, and also because Gomez’s voice is just enchanting and in a way, dare I say it, sexy. I know I may have just lost some fans due to that comment but hey, it’s what I thought about when I was watching this PG-rated movie. There’s a slew of other characters in this film like Frankenstein (voiced by Kevin James), The Mummy (voiced by Cee-Lo Green), The Werewolf (voiced by Steve Buscemi), and the Invisible Man (voiced by David Spade), and they’re all good but also make it seem like another Hollywood production that was made with the intention of having Sandler and all of his buddies hangout while we watch it. It’s not so terrible this time around but it does come off as a bit selfish if you think about.

Consensus: Even though it is your typical, kiddie fare with jokes that will have them howling, Hotel Transylvania is still a fun and entertaining flick with a great look of animation, interesting story, and a voice cast that handles all of their material well.


That’s My Boy (2012)

Somehow I wish my dad was like this.

While still in his teens, Donny (Adam Sandler) fathered a son, Todd (Andy Samberg), and raised him as a single parent up until Todd’s 18th birthday. Now, after not seeing each other for years, Todd’s world comes crashing down on the eve of his wedding when an uninvited Donny suddenly shows up.

To be truly honest, I was somewhat looking forward to this flick. Adam Sandler has been in a down-fall as of late, but this one had promise because it was directed by someone new (Sean Anders of Sex Drive), has another big-name that is on the verge of being the new “comedic bad boy” that Sandler once was, and is rated-R. I know I can’t get myself hyped up for something just because it’s rated-R but it’s Sandler we’re talking about here! This guy is freakin’ hilarious when it comes to this stuff, right?

The main problem with this flick is that a lot the comedy is in bad taste. This is something that many comedies can pull off if they can do it in a smart way that can make you laugh, here, it’s done terribly wrong as if the idea of this film was to just horrify the audience. The first 5 minutes of this film is dedicated to a relationship between a twelve-year-old student and his adult teacher, and if that doesn’t get you right away, trust me, there is plenty more to disturb you. For me, I wasn’t all that disturbed by everything here because I feel like anything goes whenever you’re making a comedy but it doesn’t work here since all of the raunchy and vile stuff that the writers were throwing at us, were just for the sake of doing so. It almost felt like it was forcing itself to be raunchy in order to be funny, which bothered me because when you have a guy like Sandler, you shouldn’t have to force any type of comedy regardless of what the film may be.

It’s terribly raunchy and dirty but the film isn’t anything different from what we’ve already seen from any other Sandler comedy. All of the conventions we have come to expect, and probably hate by now, are here and in force the whole way through such as the hair metal music soundtrack, the random D-list celebrities who show up here just to make a quick buck, the women who are all made out to be either bitches, whores, gold-diggers, or just complete psychopaths, gross-out gags, and the annoying schmaltz that creeps up by the end and tells you about how “family is important”, aka the same exact theme behind every single one of Sandler’s productions. Yeah, it’s all pretty obvious and even though it did have me chuckle every once and a blue moon, the film still missed the mark on every other single joke it tried to make.

I guess what really bugged me about this whole film was how unfunny Adam Sandler was here. Sandler plays Donny, a total dirt bag that obviously can’t connect with his son, nor with his son’s richy-rich friends and acquaintances but just wants to have a good time and get some moolah in the meantime. This doesn’t sound so bad for a Sandler character but the problem with Donny is that he’s kind of annoying, and Sandler’s frat-boy antics don’t quite work out as well when you’re pushing 45. The voice Donny has is this Boston-like, high-pitched voice that just got on my nerves right from the start and every joke that he makes is hard to understand due to this. But Sandler may have to stop with these types of roles sooner or later because even though they worked incredibly well back in the 90’s/early 00’s, they are starting to seem too obvious for him now as if he just wants to go back and try to bring back that glory he once had.

I sure as hell hope that Andy Samberg didn’t leave SNL for this shit because this guy really gets screwed over here as Donny’s son, Todd/Han Solo. Samberg is pretty good at playing the straight-man but he’s never fully able to let loose of his crazy-boy antics that he shows off so well in everything else he does, and a lot of that is mostly given to Sandler. But surprisingly, the funniest cast member of this whole film has to be Vanilla Ice playing himself and actually really open to making fun of himself. Ice is probably the funniest/best thing of this whole flick and he doesn’t do much other than just be a total nut case. Also, he allows a couple of “Ice Ice Baby” jokes here and there as well, something I was not expecting from his side one bit.

Consensus: That’s My Boy is a raunchy comedy that’s done in terribly bad taste, but also isn’t very funny, features the usual antics and gags we expect from an Adam Sandler comedy, and squanders the comedic talent that lies within Andy Samberg, only to give it to random d-listers like Vanilla Ice and Todd Bridges.