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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

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

Tag Archives: Noah Lomax

99 Homes (2015)

Don’t ever trust a landlord.

As soon as the crash of 2008 occurred, everyone in the United States was left without a paddle. One such person was Dennis Nash (Andrew Garfield), a single father who, after much fighting and arguing with the court, gets evicted from his Orlando home. Seeing that he has lost his family-home, Nash sets out to do whatever he can to get it back – even if that means having to join up and work for the same man who kicked him out of his house to begin with: real estate broker Rick Carver (Michael Shannon). Carver has certain practices that aren’t what some would call “ethical”, or better yet, “legal”, but the money’s so good that Nash doesn’t care. Eventually though, Nash begins to move up the ladder, which takes him away from working on the homes, and brings him now to actually having to interact with the tenants who are in the actual homes. This mostly involves Nash posting notices on doors, warning tenants of being vacated, and, as time rolls on, even having to kick some tenants on his own. Clearly this is something that Nash doesn’t feel comfortable with, but once again, it’s all about the money and the prospect of getting his family back in order to the way they once were.

Message!

So message-y!

Have you ever been stuck in a lecture at all in your life, whether it be with your parents, a teacher, or one of those Jesus-nuts from off the street, and not want to leave? Instead, you hold on to every single word that they say, even though you know the end-point? You know that they’re not going to start off by stating something like, “Gay marriage is bad”, and then end with, “Well, you know, you can do what you want.” The lecture is, most definitely, going to start with an agenda, continue on with that agenda, and, you guessed it, end with that same agenda. And yet, something about the lecture is just keeping you on your toes and surprisingly interested.

That’s how I felt with 99 Homes – a long lecture about the housing crisis and all the evil-doers behind it, yet, I never wanted to turn away or leave.

Eventually, that time did come around, but that’s not till later, so just wait dammit! Listen to me lecture about stuff now!

For one, Ramin Bahrani seems to know what he’s talking about here. Clearly, he’s put his heart and soul into material that, for a good majority of people out there, will not find an easy way to handle. It will, most likely, hit too close to home, hard, and re-open old wounds that were probably still healing. However, Bahrani seems to be interested in what these wounds still hold. Are they sadness? Are they grief? Or, are they wishes that something better occurred?

Well, 99 Homes is, in a way, that fantasy being played-out. One thing is certain about the movie, and that’s that it’s not totally a drama. I mean, yes, it’s most definitely a drama that’s emotional, sad, and for a good portion, filled with lots of interesting talking-points, but in all honesty, is really a thriller. Once we see Garfield’s Dennis Nash start picking up work as one of Shannon’s Rick Carver’s lackeys, then it’s balls to the walls from there. This Nash fella is taking away pools, air-conditioners and handing out eviction notices to people who have no clue just what the hell kind of storm has hit them dead-on in the face. While, at the same time, he’s making all of this money and seeming to be loving it.

Sure, he’s morally-conflicted by the fact that the person he’s getting rich off of, is the very same person who got him kicked out of his house, but because the money’s continuing to come in and the dreams seem promising, he lets it all slide by. And you know what? It’s hard to watch this and not want him to, either. Dennis Nash, as he’s presented to us, is nothing more than just your average, blue-collar dude who, like many others just like him, was short-shifted when the crash of 2008 came around and had no idea of what to do next with his life, his family, or his career. All he knew was what he was good at and tried to go where the money went.

That’s why, when we see Nash get thrown out of his house, it’s disturbing and visceral. Many people had to go through the same ordeal he’s going through and it was most definitely 100% more tragic to them. And that’s why, when we see that Nash is clearly pleased with himself making all of this cash money, it’s great to see him happy and enjoying himself. After all, he’s just a normal dude who isn’t under normal circumstances, so why continue to act normal? Why not try something new and go with that from there?

"When you said, 'movie with Spider-Man,' I thought you meant Tobey Maguire! Who's this damn kid!"

“When you said, ‘movie with Spider-Man,’ I thought you meant Tobey Maguire! Who’s this damn kid!”

Clearly, Rahmin Bahrani thinks this is a bad idea. However, his movie proves otherwise.

Bahrani has crafted a nice little thriller that takes you through everything one may need to know about the housing-crash, how it was operated, who was responsible, and those who were affected the most. But at the center of it all, is probably the most realistic character of the bunch, who also seems to be the most sinister: Michael Shannon’s Rick Carver. There’s no denying the fact that Michael Shannon’s a good actor, but here, as Rick Carver, he gets to stretch his wings a whole lot more and show, that even despite his character being a pretty despicable human specimen, there’s still something we want to watch and see more of him.

We know that he’s a baddie, but we also know that he, like many others, are just trying to get by with what he knows and what he’s best at. But what’s best about Carver is that he doesn’t try to make any excuses or apologies for the way he is – he just is. For instance, there’s a scene in the middle of the film where Carver laces into this tirade about how, “America was built on winners. Not losers.” It’s not just hard to take your eyes off of him because it’s literally just a single-shot, zooming in on his face, but also, because some of what Shannon is spouting on about is true. You may not want to believe it as being such, but it is and it makes this movie feel like a smart bit of preaching, rather than just preaching for the sake of it.

And don’t let me forget Andrew Garfield, because the man is great here! What with him being forced to play Peter Parker, it’s hard to remember that, at one time, Garfield was a very promising, young, and talented actor that seemed primed and ready for some very interesting material to come his way. Now with Spidey out of his way, Garfield seems like he’s enjoying some time being able to dig deep into characters that aren’t the kind you’d expect someone of his good-looks to play; you know, such as a middle-aged, middle-class single-father.

However, as good as Garfield may be, his character sadly falls prey to an ending that, honestly, came close to ruining the movie for me.

I won’t spoil much, other than to say that it felt like Bahrani, throughout a good majority of 99 Homes, was making a movie that wasn’t going to play it nice, sweet and kind, and instead, go for the gritty-realism that’s expected of source material such as this. However, he does the bait-and-switch and decides that maybe he wants some melodrama, messages, and red herrings thrown into the mix. I’ve already said too much, but just know, when the ending comes around, it may disappoint you more than please.

That may just be me, though.

Consensus: 99 Homes is a timely-thriller that gets by on the excellent performances, however, is a bit short-shifted by a weak ending that keeps it away from being a whole lot better.

8 / 10

Big houses. Big cars. Big women. The life of a real estate agent, yo.

Big houses. Big cars. Big women. The life of a real estate agent, yo.

Photos Courtesy of: Indiewire

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The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (2015)

I’m still a kid and I don’t care who knows it!

After the Krabby Patty mysteriously loses the famous recipe to one of its most prized possessions, all hell breaks loose in the Bikini Bottom. Civilization breaks down, friends become enemies, and basically, it’s everything for themselves. However, Spongebob loves his little pineapple under the sea, as well as everybody around it so much, that he’s willing to go to the ends of the sea to find out what happened to the recipe, who has it, and exactly how he can get it back. But to do this, he may have to enlist the help of a known rival of his, Plankton – someone who has been clamoring for the Krabby Patty recipe for many, many decades, all due to a long rivalry with the owner, Mr. Crabs. All personal problems between the two aside, they’ll both have to look far and wide no matter where they go, even if they don’t know that it happens to be none other than Burger-Beard the Pirate (Antonio Banderas) himself, who is using the recipe to his own gain on dry land. Which, in case you haven’t been able to tell just yet, isn’t ideal for these sea creatures.

Having grown up in the late-90’s/early-aughts, many hours of mine were spent in front of television sets watching Spongebob Squarepants. I was there when the first episode aired on Nickelodeon (after the Kids Choice Awards, I think), and I stayed with it for quite some time, even as I started to grow older and my humor matured a bit (although, don’t get me wrong, I still appreciate a nice fart joke here and there). However, that was the beauty of Spongebob: I may have been young and laughed myself silly, eventually, I got older and realized that there will still plenty of jokes for me, the older version of myself, to chuckle at. Though it’s recently been watered-down by an over-reliance on kids humor, Spongebob will forever have a special place in my heart and will be the one animated show that I, one day, will hopefully get the chance to pass down to my offspring.

Meh.

Meh.

This movie may not be the one I rush my kids to see first, but I’ll still bring it up to them to remind them that hey, it’s out there and hey, it’s actually alright.

What worked so well about the series, and what those behind the movie didn’t forget about, was how the humor could be so strange and bizarre, but at the same token, still work. The reason for that was because the people who created Spongebob made it into this insane world where practically anything could happen, whenever it saw fit. Sometimes it would come out of left field, sometimes it would be expected, but most of all, it was usually funny. Here, with the movie, the same happens where we’ll get certain scenes that seem to have been made from the slight influence of some sort of hallucinogenic, and then, moments later, get a silly pun that practically everyone can take notice of.

And with that said, just like the show, the movie gets down the right amount of jokes made strictly for kids, as well as those for adults. However, they don’t necessarily overlap. Whereas kids will laugh at a character falling down, getting hurt, or ripping their pants, the parents will probably laugh at a joke aimed more towards them that actually deconstruct the Bikini Bottom a bit. But nonetheless, the jokes aimed towards the parents never get “too mature” to where they could be deemed “inappropriate”; they tread that fine line between and it helps to create a cohesive sense of humor, even while the plot progresses.

Now, with the plot taken into consideration, there is something to be said for a movie that probably didn’t need to go into live-action territory like it does so here. However, what’s so interesting about all of the advertising for this movie, is that it clearly pushes the angle down everybody’s throats that Spongebob and everybody else turn into real-life, 3D figures in a real, live-action environment – even if, you know, that doesn’t happen until the final-act. For the most part, a good portion of this movie stays in regular, 2D animation, as if it were just another episode and it works. It goes to show you that you don’t need all of the gimmicky, pyrotechnics to get the audience involved, or, at the least, intrigued in your product; all you need, sometimes, is a good story, with an even better sense of humor.

Once again, meh.

Once again, meh.

That’s why, when we’re all of a sudden placed into a live-action environment, the movie gets a bit iffy. The jokes still hit and the movie doesn’t lose its self-deprecating sense of humor neither, but it just feels unnecessary, especially considering the fact that the first two-halves of the movie worked so well, and it didn’t even seem like they were trying. Of course, the live-action elements benefit from the fact that Antonio Banderas is having a blast playing up his machismo as Burger-Beard the Pirate, but even then, his act gets a little old as we realize that he’s just there to service the plot and keep things moving forward.

Which calls into question: Do you really need much of a driving plot to keep Spongebob enjoyable?

No, not really, but whatever. Maybe I’m just looking a bit too deep into this thing. Because even while the creators make the smart move of not crapping on a part of my beloved childhood, I still am finding something to bitch and moan about no matter what. Which is to say, don’t listen to me and just enjoy Spongebob for what it is. I did so and I have been doing for the past 16 or so years.

God, man. I sure as hell am getting old.

Consensus: Without sacrificing its trademark wild sense of humor, Spongebob: Sponge Out of Water works as an extended episode that delivers fun for the whole family, as it’s been doing on television for the past decade or so.

7 / 10

Okay, that's more like it.

Okay, that’s more like it.

Photo’s Credit to: IMDB, AceShowbiz

Safe Haven (2013)

Seriously, somebody send the zombie apocalypse to Nicholas Sparks house.

Julianne Hough stars as a reclusive young woman who arrives in a small North Carolina community. She has a secret kept inside of her but soon, she gains the courage to start a relationship with Alex (Josh Duhamel), a widowed store owner with two young children. However, that secret of her’s comes back to cause some real, real trouble. Oh dear, I just hope they end-up together at the end! I sincerely do!

Typically, in a normal-year where everything goes smoothly (except for 2012 when we all died, right?) we usually get the privilege of taking whatever loved-one’s we have with us at the time out to either a dinner, a movie, or a combination of the both. And then, for the lucky ones especially, you go home, and you get it on with that loved-one, all to the sweet and glorious tune of Marvin Gaye. Oh, by the way, this the special day we all call “Valentine’s Day” and like this (*cough* Hallmark *cough*) holiday that only comes once a year, we also get treated to a new Nicholas Sparks adaptation that just makes the girls swoon, the men dream of what could possibly happen when they go home tonight, and the critics just want to pluck their eye-balls out with forks. Oh, what a special day for all of us indeed.

When you see a movie like this, you know what you have to be getting yourself into. A bunch of romantic fantasies posing as characters, somehow meet, fall in-love, but find the hard consequences that usually come-along with finding that special someone in your life. That’s pretty much the same-shit here, except this time, Nicholas Sparks is really stepping out of his comfort-zone. Do you know why? Because now, instead of having a sappy romance blossom, there’s actually a mystery behind one of these characters and the suspense just gets to you as you have no clue what’s going to happen next. Are they going to fall in love? Will that one person get caught? Are they going to survive? Does anybody have a life-threatening disease? Fuck, does anybody care?!?!?

Put a shirt on, Josh! Don't you have some chick named Fergie to go back to?

Put a shirt on, Josh! Don’t you have some chick named Fergie to go back to?

I get that this movie is calling-out my name and begging me to come and see it because let’s be honest: I’m 19-years-old, I’m a dude, I’m single (ladies?), I’m a movie-critic, and I hate sap. So, basically, this movie is not meant for me. However, for the crowd that it is for, I know are going to eat this shit up because it has everything they might possibly want with material like this, except even more than they can chew. Does that make it any good? Hell no! But that’s just me talking. The crowd that will probably venture-out to see it and the boyfriends that get forced by their lady-friends, will enjoy it and have no problems. But I’m not them, and that’s where this movie lost me.

Every time I see these types of movies, I always try to go into them with a bit of skepticism, but I also try to expect just a bit more and hope that it could quite possibly be the sleeper I’ve been looking for all of my life. About 20-minutes in, I knew that this movie was not one of those sleepers I have been waiting for, but at least it’s pretty. Even though director Lasse Hallstrom really seems to be on auto-pilot here and not doing anything to improve this story in the least-bit, at least he still shows that he has a flair for beautiful-scenery that fades-in the background nicely with all of the crap going on with the script and acting. Yeah, it’s a pretty gorgeous-looking movie, but you can only stare at the background so much. Eventually you got to pay attention to the story and see what the filmmaker has to offer to ya, and that’s the real pain this movie inflicts on you.

Almost anything and everything you expect to happen in one of these movies: happens. But what makes this movie worse than all of the others, is that it tries so hard to be suspenseful and tense with it’s cop-mystery subplot, but just ends up being terribly over-the-top, and outrageous. I’m glad that Sparks at least tried his darn-near hardest to give me something more to chew-on than just watching a bunch of a really good-looking people fall-in love and play with my hand-cream, but this is terrible. It’s so stupid and unintentionally hilarious, that even the people I was with started laughing at. And they were all 18/19-year-old girls, aka, the demographic for this shit. Something tells me this movie won’t be able to slide-by like all of the other failures to cinema in the past have, but I haven’t even touched base just yet. Oh no, no, no. It gets worse, my friends and family.

The movie tries so damn hard to have us tense, to have on-the-edge-of-our-seat, and to have us so surprised by what we are about to see, that it doesn’t have just one plot-twist by the end, but two. Even though I’m tempted to, I have morals and I won’t spoil the twists for you people out-there who are just quivering with excitement for thing, but let me just tell you that the first one is absurd and could almost be taken as a joke. Then again, that twist doesn’t mean jack-shit compared to the second, and final twist that this flick decides to long-dart at us with full-force. Seriously, I want to give it all away and just save you from the pain and agony of seeing this shit, but it’s bad. It’s so stupid, so insane, and so nonsensical, that I left the theater with a huge smile on my face, yucking all-over-the-place. Hey, the whole movie may have been shit, but at least I left with a wider-smile than half of the other people I saw this with. So, in the end, I guess I do win, after all.

Tip over! TIP OVER!

Tip over! TIP OVER!

Aw, who the hell am I kidding! I fucking lost, and so did Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel! I have to be honest, Hough was okay as this runaway gal that tries to find herself and find love in a new, but small town. The reason being: she’s pretty, has charm, and looks sexy as hell when she’s in her bikini. For the dudes, it’s a treat on the eyes, but then there’s Josh Duhamel to ruin everything with his non-stop, shirtless body that makes it’s own appearance about every 5-minutes. I’ve never been a fan of Duhamel, as I’ve always felt like he was just trying too hard to be cool, funny, or the guy every dude wants to be, but he just isn’t. Instead, he’s sort of a d-bag that knows he’s hot shit, and more like the type of guy you let sit at the bar, try to hit on bitties, all in hopes to get lucky by the end of the night. The difference between Duhamel and the imaginary-dude I’m talking about, is that Duhamel probably gets the bitties, whereas that dude is just left at the end of the bar, at the end of the night, and staggers home drunk and all alone. And no, I’m not talking about myself. I get all the ladies I want. So fuck you, Josh Duhamel!

Consensus: For the audience that Safe Haven has in mind, this will probably be the next best masterpiece since the days of Hanks-and-Ryan. However, if you aren’t that audience and actually want a meaty-story that you believe in and are entertained by, then just stay home, watch the Notebook, and dream of one day being the man that Ryan Gosling is and always will be. That, or just jerk-off. The choice is up to you.

1 / 10 = Crapola!!

Hmm, where I have seen this before....?

Hmm, where I have seen this before….? Hint: scroll up

Playing for Keeps (2012)

All the single, hot-to-trot mothers can never keep those hormones in-tact whenever that Scottish accent comes through. Oh, roar!

A former professional soccer player (Gerard Butler) with a weak past tries to redeem himself by coaching his son’s soccer team, only to find himself unable to resist when in scoring position with his players’ restless and gorgeous moms.

Alright, before all of you get your torches and brooms and come right to my door-step and try to burn the witch that has apparently taken over my movie-viewing control, let me just tell you that the decision to not only watch, but review this movie, was all mine. Yes, nobody other me, myself, and I chose to watch and review Playing for Keeps and because of that, I have come to terms with myself and just realized one thing: I am a fucking idiot. Yes, I am a lot happier now that I’ve realized that about myself. Thanks Gerard Butler!

"Hahaha but seriously! How many how more of these lame-ass rom-coms do I have to do?"

“Hahaha but seriously! How many how more of these lame-ass rom-coms do I have to do?”

I have no idea where to begin with this piece of shit other than to just focus on the director, Gabriele Muccino, and just what the hell was going-on throughout his mind during filming. This movie tries to be one-step above the rom-com genre by infusing the thrill and fun of the sport of soccer into it, but really, it’s just the same old shite we have all seen before. Dad tries to pick himself back-up from nothing, does a very good job at doing so for quite awhile, finds himself in a dilemma, finds himself back into nothing, and then, low and behold, he’s back on-top and everybody is happy, running around in fields of daisies and rainbows. Okay, maybe I just gave away the whole movie there and maybe, just maybe, that isn’t exactly what happens but seriously, if you get pissed about how the whole movie was just spoiled in one sentence and you had no idea what was going to happen, then you, my friend, should not even read my site anymore, let alone watch movies.

This movie, is as obvious, predictable, and conventional as they come, but it’s even worse because it’s so damn dull. There’s nothing new here, there’s nothing fun to really watch here, and worst of all, there’s just nothing to stick-around and watch. You watch these characters just do their thang, act like you’d expect them to, and to have absolutely no effect on you, your life, or your thoughts whatsoever. It’s almost like you’ve never seen this movie and coming from a guy who actually did waste his precious time and life seeing it: you’re probably better off that way. In case you couldn’t tell by now, this movie fucking blows and if you want to see more as to why that is, continue to read-on but if you get the point and want to just get on with your life, then leave this site and come back tomorrow when I have another review of another movie coming up. Trust me, I won’t be offended, I’ll actually commend you for doing-so.

Ever since the new millennium hit, they had absolutely nothing to clap about. So, why the hell are they?!?

Ever since the new millennium hit, they had absolutely nothing to clap about. So, why the hell are they?!?

The biggest question-mark going-on in my mind throughout this whole flick was: who’s wife did Gerard Butler fuck? Honestly, Butler must have done something terribly inhumane to some higher-up in Hollywood, because it seems like they just place him in these movies, regardless of what it is, tell him what to do, tell him to use no emotion whatsoever, and just act like you don’t really care if you’re there or not, just accept the check and be done with it. I don’t know if he cut a deal with somebody where he has to do shitty-movie-after-shitty-movie to lose the price on his head, but whatever it may be, the guy’s got it bad and what’s even worse, is that he does nothing to help this movie out in the least bit.

Butler is as dull and boring as they come and the whole time I wondered just what the hell made him so much more different from any other male-lead in these rom-coms that come-out once a week? Is it the facial hair? Is it the sexy build that has somehow decreased year-after-year since 300? Or simply, is it the Scottish accent that seems to get every gal’s panties to fly-off into the mist? I think it’s the latter and that’s a shame too, because after seeing a movie like Coriolanus and realizing that this guy kicks total ass when he gets the chance to do so, just makes this movie, his role, and his performance all the more terrible and disappointing to watch. Come on, Hollywood! Give Gerard Butler another chance! I’m sure the guy is sorry for whatever the hell he did.

What’s even worse about this flick is the rest of the impressive cast that this movie has going for it, and how equally dull they all are. Jessica Biel plays Butler’s ex gal-pal that he has a kiddie with and as hot and sexy as she is here, she is also nothing more than just a piece of cardboard here with some dialogue she has to spring-out of her. Biel, just give up on acting and do porn or something and make yourself useful. Make us all happier and stop trying to take your career seriously because honestly, nobody does. Not even, dare I say it, Justin does.

"Remember me! I was in the Descendants last year! Please hire me again!"

“Remember me! I was in the Descendants last year! Please hire me again!”

As by-the-numbers Biel is, it isn’t much of a surprise since the girl blows in just about everything but actresses like Catherine Zeta-Jones, Judy Greer, and Uma Thurman!!?!?!? Aww, hell no! In the past decade, these girls have all given some of their best performances in their whole-careers and it’s such a damn shame to see them do a pile of shite like this, try their hardest, but in the end, just come-off as a bunch of obvious, walking cliches of a bunch of women that couldn’t keep their clothes on whenever some sexy, built Scottish man came strolling through their neck of the woods. It makes me very, very sad to see them all do this type of crap and what’s even worse, is that Dennis Quaid is here as well, and I don’t think I need to say anything more about that. Okay, I’m going to go and cry now.

Consensus: Playing for Keeps may have one redeeming factor to it: it’s fun to watch and make fun of if you’re reviewer like yours truly. However, if you aren’t, then you’ll probably find yourself cringing, upset, pissed-off, confused, and just plain and simply, bored with everything that occurs on-screen and wonder just when exactly you can begin to move on with your life and act as if you have never, ever seen this piece of shit. I already have, and I’m about to finish my last sentence of this review, right….about…..now! Yes!

1/10=Crapola!!

In case you wanted to actually know, those are their REAL heads, attached to their REAL necks. Convinced yet?

In case you wanted to actually know, those are their REAL heads, attached to their REAL necks. Convinced yet?