Advertisements

Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

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

Tag Archives: Vince Vaughn

Brawl in Cell Block 99 (2017)

Bald truly is better.

Bradley Thomas (Vince Vaughn), a former boxer, loses his job as an auto mechanic and his marriage, which was already troubled in the first place, is about to expire. But as much as he wants to stay on straight-and-narrow, he can’t help but be drawn back into the life working as a drug courier. While it brings him all sorts of riches and saves his marriage, it also comes about with some great villains who want nothing more than to get a head up on Bradley and his position. One night, a deal goes bad and he soon finds himself in a gunfight between police officers and his own ruthless allies. When everything’s done, he’s arrested, a few officers are shot and killed, and a few of his supposed fellow drug couriers were killed to. But in this case, it was by him. Those guys were very connected and they hear about this, so while Bradley’s locked in the clink, they extract revenge the only way they can: By kidnapping his pregnant wife (Jennifer Carpenter) and forcing him to knock somebody off while in prison. Problem is, Bradley’s got to do a whole lot in order to make sure that happens.

Uh oh. It’s happening, people.

At two-hours-and-15-minutes, Brawl in Cell Block 99 overstays its welcome a teenie, tiny bit. There’s a great hour or so dedicated to just sitting around, watching, and waiting for this Bradley character to eventually break bad and just let it all go. He does, after about an hour or so and while it’s good that we at least got some of that to build character and give us a reason to care, it still feels like maybe, I don’t know, perhaps, we didn’t need that whole chunk of change in the first place. Maybe about 15 or 20 minutes would have been fine, but once again, I don’t know.

Cause in reality, once we do get to jail and see Bradley imprisoned, it’s an entirely different movie. It’s still slow, it’s still melodic, and it’s still very, very quiet, but it’s also a movie with a motive, and a much harsher, meaner, grittier, dirtier, and uglier tone than ever before. And it’s at this point where it becomes clear why we needed that first hour or so: To make us think that we were in safe hands and not going to be rushed somewhere we didn’t want to be.

After all, we’re in the hands of S. Craig Zahler and it becomes very clear that this man is not to be messed with.

Like, at all.

And with Brawl in Cell Block 99, Zahler proves again why he’s a very good director at taking his time and not really rushing into things because, well, when all you really want to do is throw people for a loop and give them absolutely vicious and disgusting pieces of violence, who cares how much time you have to wait for it? Cause even though it’s long and a little meandering, Brawl in Cell Block 99 also features some of the most gruesome and disturbing acts of violence I have seen committed to film in quite some time, and what’s even nuttier about it all is that it happens so quick, so matter-of-factly, and so disjointedly, that it’s almost like it never happens. There’s no stunt-doubles, no fancy editing, and no real special-effects – it’s just limbs being hacked-off, bones being broken, and dudes being killed.

“You think you’re taller than me. Don’t ya?”

Sounds fun, right?

In a way, it sort of is. Zahler isn’t afraid to drag us through this mud of misery, but at the same time, doesn’t hold back on the darker, more sensational thrills that come with pulpy-flicks just like this. Does he have an agenda? Sort of. It’s interesting that the first prison we see here is actually pretty chill, relaxed, and quiet, until we get to another prison and it literally looks an old, medieval castle, where dark underlings lurk in the shadows. Maybe Zahler has a bone to pick with the justice system and all its corrupt features?

Or maybe he’s just not that deep, doesn’t care, and wants to enjoy someone’s head getting stomped in, almost to the point of where his eyeballs pop-out. Cause yeah, that happens. And yes, it is pretty rad, because mostly, it all feels worth it. The slow plodding and pacing of the movie eventually works out in the movie’s favor, because it sets us up for all the blood, gore and violence of the later-half and it proves that Zahler, while very hard to get into immediately, ultimately gives the goods of what you want and expect.

Does that make him a perfect film-maker? Probably not. But it does make him effective and it makes me excited to see what he’s cooking up next.

Same goes for Vince Vaughn who, after a few years of starting and stopping, seems poised for a dramatic comeback that he hasn’t seen since the mid-to-late-90’s. But what’s odd about Vaughn’s role here as Bradley Thomas, is that he’s still a bit of a smart-ass and domineering – it’s just way more different this time around. Rather than always speaking, ranting, raving, and improving until the cows come home, he’s quiet, still, stern, stiff, and always intimidating. Sure, it helps that just in about every fight he gets into, he can kill every person within an inch of their lives, but it also helps that Vaughn himself creates this character that is not to be toyed with and gets a lot of mileage out of just standing there, looking tough, gruff, and all sorts of pissed-off. It has me hoping that there’s a much brighter-future out there for Vaughn’s career, even if the roles he takes are darker and less filled with goofs, gags, and sadly, Owen Wilson.

Wow.

Consensus: Though it could definitely afford to trim a little fat, Brawl in Cell Block 99 is a relentlessly brutal, bleak, and violent piece of pulp, that also serves as a rejuvenation in Vince Vaughn’s career.

8 / 10

Vincey ain’t happy. Or being funny.

Photos Courtesy of: Indiewire

Advertisements

Into the Wild (2007)

Run away. Far, far away. And piss off everyone you ever knew.

After graduating as a top student at Emory, Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch) decides to, essentially, throw any idea of a career away. His very wealthy parents (William Hurt and Marcia Gay Harden) cannot believe this, but they don’t have enough time to digest it all, what with Christopher literally being out on the road the next day, on his way to the Alaskan wilderness. Christopher doesn’t bring much with him, as he leaves mostly everything back in his house, with the exception of money, his backpack, and oh yeah, most importantly, his notebook. While on the road, Chris meets all sorts of wacky and wonderful characters, all of whom make some sort of a difference on Chris’s life, showing that he may truly have something to live for and above all else, may want to get back into society once he has completed his self-fulfilling mission. But, that may not happen for Chris, as he’s already risking life and death in the first place, while everyone back at home clamors wondering just when he’s going to come home, if ever again.

Be one with birds.

Into the Wild is probably the best film Sean Penn has, or ever will, make in his career. It’s the kind of movie that you don’t expect to work, especially not from an actor-turned-writer/director who has something of a shoddy, relatively fine filmography in the first place. There’s a certain bro-y attitude to Penn, the person, that makes him perfect for this material, but also not; to approach McCandless’ the right way, you sort of have to keep an objective view, never letting your own thoughts or opinions, as a storyteller, shine through.

And of course, it helps that the man himself wrote everything down while he was on this never ending trip of his, therefore, it appears as if we are literally watching him go from one adventure, to another. There’s no clear sign that Penn is trying to say how great it is that he got the chance to just let it all go and soak up the scenery, nor is there a clear sign in him saying that it was a terrible decision for the man to make in the first place, for all of those involved who weren’t him; in a way, Penn leaves it all up to us to decide, while he shows us both sides of the argument. Sure, it was great that he got to see the world and really couldn’t have given a crap about material things in life that waited for him back at home, but at the same time, he really did just get up and leave one day, without ever really telling anyone of where he was headed, when he’d be back, or what his reasons were.

In other words, he’s a bit of an a-hole.

But Into the Wild does work because it doesn’t always portray him as such, or if at all, during certain times. Mostly, McCandless remains something of a blank slate that has enough personality to matter to this story, but it’s really all about those that he meets on this wild and crazy adventure, mostly all of whom are exciting and charming to watch, bringing a little something extra to this journey. Vince Vaughn gets a chance to shed some dramatic-muscles as Wayne, a dude who gives Chris a job for a short time and may have something tricky up his sleeve; Catherine Keener is sweet as an older-gal who’s finding it hard to connect with her husband; Marcia Gay Harden and William Hurt, despite playing types, also show some more heart and emotion to said types; Jena Malone plays the sister back at-home who knows and trusts her brother enough to take on this situation with a smile on her face; Kristen Stewart shows up late in the game as a possible love-interest for Chris and shows him that there truly is something beautiful to life; and Hal Hollbrook, in what has to be the most heartbreaking performance I’ve ever seen, plays an older fella who picks up Chris, instantly takes a liking to him, and surprisingly enough, sheds all for him, as well as us. It’s a rich, raw and surprisingly gritty performance from someone who, honestly, we didn’t think needed to prove anything more to us, but here he is, essentially, stealing the show.

Be one with the sky.

Which isn’t to say that all of these people steal the show from Hirsch, either. He’s quite good here, showing that there’s more to this character than just a wannabe-hippy who can’t deal, man. In a way, he’s a lot like most kids who are fresh out of school and desperately need something to do, somewhere to go, and some sort of option/goal in life to have them continue on to live and be happy. Could his decision have gone down better and more thought-out? Sure thing, but it still shows that there’s a reason for what he did, and not just because he wanted to.

Man.

Anyway, Penn deserves the most credit here, taking a very ambitious, long and sprawling tale of one dude discovering himself, as well as the world around him, and never making it seem like it’s wheels are spinning. It’s constantly moving, always touching on interesting characters and points, never harping on any of them too much, and overall, just making us feel closer to this guy and more invested in his journey. We know where he goes, we know how it ends up, and we know how his story ends, but for two-and-a-half hours, Penn allows for us to forget about this all and just revel in the scenery, the people, the vibes, and yeah, of course, the sweet, soulful tunes of Eddie Vedder, in what has to be one of the better soundtracks from a movie in the past decade.

Consensus: While it may not have been easy to take this tale and give it the deserving film treatment, Sean Penn is somehow able to do so with Into the Wild, showing a certain skill for storytelling and character detail that makes this journey all the more compelling and interesting, even if we know just how it all ends up.

9 / 10

And definitely be one with your impeding and foolish death.

Photos Courtesy of: The Mind Reels, Linkedin

Thumbsucker (2005)

Sucking thumbs are bad, but what about binkies?

Justin (Lou Taylor Pucci) is going through the usual growing pains that many teens his age have gone through before him and will continue to do so after him. The only small difference is that whereas most teens get by on focusing on themselves and trying harder to get better, Justin does so by sucking his thumb. It’s an odd habit he has, that eventually, his parents get him on some medicine, in hopes that he’ll not just kick the thumb sucking, but also become more focused in school. Thankfully for them, what they wanted does happen; eventually, Justin stops sucking his thumb, starts up a relationship with a girl (Kelli Garner), gets better at school, and starts winning all sorts of championships with his debate team. But eventually, all of the medicine begins to pick-up with Justin and it isn’t before long that he starts to spiral out of control, hurt those that he loves, and realize that he needs to grow up a lot sooner, but on his own and without any medicine to help him out.

Cut it out, baby!

Cut it out, baby!

Does Thumbsucker sound like some sort of metaphor for coming-of-age, growing up and realizing that you’re not a little baby anymore? Pretty much, yeah. Writer/director Mike Mills crafts what is, essentially, the 500th quirky, indie coming-of-age flick from the mid-aughts and while this one’s a little different in terms of its style, unfortunately, the story is pretty much still the same.

But sometimes, some of the same is fine. With Thumbsucker, there’s a feeling of familiarity here, but not just with the material itself – Mills does something neat in that he does paint Justin’s issues with growing up and accepting the world around him, as almost a universal thing that all kids at that age go through. Some can handle it quite well and get by with flying colors, whereas others, like Justin, have a rough time with it, suck their thumbs, and need a daily dose of whatever medicine they’re prescribed to get by and through another day. In a way, I make Thumbsucker sound like a melodramatic piece of Lifetime-trash, but it’s a little smarter than that.

For one, it’s got a neat style, yo.

For any of those who have seen Beginners or the recent 20th Century Women, they’ll know that Mills has a knack for telling a story in his own way, visually. Sometimes, this can get in the way of the material, but here, it does help it out, especially since a lot of what the movie seems to be talking about and covering, is a little dry. It’s a conventional tale that without Mills’ constant bits and pieces of art thrown in there for good measure, would have just been another run-of-the-mill coming-of-ager, but of course, it’s got that going for it.

Where Mills seems to lose himself a tad bit is in the story department, and not really knowing how to compact everything and everyone so perfectly well. For instance, Justin’s story is the clear focal point of the whole movie, but then, Mills also veers his head towards Justin’s parents, played by Tilda Swinton and Vincent D’nofrio, and then to Keanu Reeves’ hippie-dentist character, and eventually a little to Garner’s Rebecca character. Vince Vaughn’s teacher does get a moment here and there, but not his own subplot.

For a movie that barely even hits 90 minutes, it’s surprising how jam-packed this can be with story and that ends up becoming its own worst enemy. While Justin’s story is more than enough to maintain the whole flick, all of these other stories, like with the parents and their battle with aging, fidelity and staying happy, while are admirable, still don’t matter much. It’s as if we got the story of Justin, only to get to the parents themselves, only for the movie to realize that we have to hear about Justin a lot, too. It’s a constant back-and-forth that just didn’t quite work for me and made it seem like Mills himself was figuring out exactly where to go with it all, too.

Pictured: Not True Detective season 2

Pictured: Not True Detective season 2

Then again, the ensemble he’s put together is something else, so that helps, too.

Though we don’t get to see too much of him nowadays, Lou Taylor Pucci was quite the young talent and proves it with Justin. Here, Pucci has to act really angsty and smart, which could have definitely been annoying, but because Pucci plays this Justin character as a bit of a wild and loose cannon, it actually works to his benefit. It’s actually fun to watch him interact with those around him, as opposed to sad or boring. Kelli Garner plays the eventual apple of his eye and they have a nice bit of chemistry together, which would make sense considering they were going out around the same time, too, but that’s neither here nor there.

On the supporting side, Vince Vaughn does a nice job dialing down his persona, yet, still staying funny and heartfelt. If anything, all of Vaughn’s various attempts at playing it straight don’t quite come off as good as it does here and should be the calling-card he uses for future reference. Keanu Reeves, while still totally playing in his element as a bro-ish kind of dude, is fun to watch. And as the parents, D’onofrio and Swinton are good, too, even if their story could have probably had its own movie. Benjamin Bratt is around for a scene or two, makes us laugh and most of all, makes us wish he was around more.

Don’t think I’ve ever said that before, but hey, it’s the truth.

Consensus: While a tad too quirky and overstuffed for its own good, Thumbsucker is still a familiar, but also heartwarming coming-of-ager, assisted by a very good ensemble.

6.5 / 10

Always listen to Keanu when it comes to bro-ing out. Always.

Always listen to Keanu when it comes to bro-ing out. Always.

Photos Courtesy of: Movie Roulette 

Hacksaw Ridge (2016)

Who brings a gun to a fist fight, anyway?

Ever since he was a little boy, Desmond T. Doss (Andrew Garfield) has been around and seen all sorts of violence that it’s made him into a far more civilized, peaceful person as he’s gotten older. However, with WWII on the horizon, Desmond feels the need to serve and protect his country. But, how can one do that if they aren’t willing to pick up a gun and kill the enemy? Well, for Desmond, he decides that his true calling in war is to be a on-the-field medic and care for his fellow soldiers, all without having to lift a finger to kill someone. Obviously, Desmond’s fellow soldiers and comrades don’t take too kindly to Desmond’s “conscientious objector” ways, leading them to not just beat him up, but mock him and try whatever they can to get him kicked out of the Army for good. Through it all though, Desmond remains faithful to his true-self and doesn’t let others get in the way of what he rightfully believes him, even when death is staring him clear in the face.

Float like a butterfly, sting like a pacifist.

Float like a butterfly, sting like a pacifist.

For the first hour or so, Hacksaw Ridge is as playful, as entertaining, and as light as I’ve ever seen a war movie start. Sure, there’s a lot of dark stuff about alcoholism, PTSD, daddy issues, and violence that pops up every so often, but for the most part, Hacksaw Ridge starts out like an old school war flick, that soon turns into the bright-eyed version of Full Metal Jacket. It seems as if we’re going to get something so silly and wacky, that it actually makes you wonder whether Mel Gibson directed it, or he just through his name on there and had someone else do the job for him.

But then, after that first hour and the soldiers hit the battlefield, holy hell, it does a total 180 and all of a sudden, it’s a real war flick.

There’s blood, there’s guts, there’s decapitations, there’s severed-limbs, there’s fire, there’s explosions, there’s wounds, there’s cuts, there’s injuries, there’s cursing, there’s screaming, there’s shouting, there’s grown-men yelling for their mommies, there’s bullets, there’s guns, there’s grenades, and most of all, there’s death. Somehow, through some way, Mel Gibson himself was able to fool us all into thinking that this was going to be none other than an entertaining romp on WWII, only to then, turn the other cheek and absolutely stick our faces in it. If anything, it says more about us, than it does him – how can we expect something so lovely and cheerful to come out of so much pain, agony and death?

Well, Gibson answers that by basically saying, “we don’t.” We don’t, in that we spend roughly an hour or so with these characters, getting to know them, their lives, their hopes, ambitions and dreams, and then, with the drop of a hat, they’re shot dead, point blank in the heads. It’s so shocking, so abrupt, and so disturbing, that honestly, it couldn’t have been done any other way. Some may call it “uneven”, which it may definitely be, but still, Gibson surprises us out of nowhere and it works – it has the rest of the movie play-out in a far more serious, albeit more solemn tone.

Now, that isn’t to say that the movie’s perfect, of course.

As usual, Gibson’s movies, always look, sound and feel great, but when you get down to the bottom of them, are they really about much? Not quite. See, with Hacksaw Ridge, it’s obvious from the very start that it’s about faith, religion, and standing against war, with Garfield’s Desmond clearly angled as the Jesus-figure of the story and it’s so corny, that it actually works, until it gets way too obvious, with Gibson finding whichever possible symbolism that he can find and not stepping away from it one bit.

"Yes, Mr. Garfield. We allow you to stay away from franchise flicks forever!"

“Yes, Mr. Garfield. We allow you to stay away from franchise flicks forever!”

Should I be shocked that it’s coming from the same guy who did Passion of the Christ? Obviously, no, but it does make you wonder just what is this story about? Desmond Doss’ acts of bravery and heroism? Or, Mel Gibson’s constant battle with himself and his religion? Either way, it doesn’t keep Hacksaw Ridge from still being a very good war movie, that has something to say, even if Gibson doesn’t fully know what that is, or how to get it all out.

It also doesn’t keep the cast from giving some solid performances, either.

Andrew Garfield, now that he’s done with Spider-Man, can finally go back to making due on the promise he showed with the Social Network and if last year’s 99 Homes was just a starter, Hacksaw Ridge is his next-at-bat. While it’s definitely a thinner role, Garfield’s great in it, displaying a wild deal of humor, heart and personality, even if he does sometimes come off a tad bit too much like a classier-version of Forrest Gump. That said, Garfield handles everything so well, that he honestly does make it seem like he’s a true saint, even if the movie can’t trust him enough to give that impression in the first place.

Others like Sam Worthington, Luke Bracey, Teresa Palmer, Hugo Weaving, and yes, even Vince Vaughn, all show up and put in some surprisingly solid work. Gibson has always been an actor’s director, showing each and every player off for what they can do best and never losing sight that they add a little more to the story. Because it’s not just about Doss and his heroic acts, as much as it’s about the aspect of war and the toll it can take on the actual humans themselves. The film’s preachy and obvious, but there’s an undercurrent of some real, hard and honest emotions here that work and make you think twice about war itself, and also Gibson.

Maybe that was his plan all along, that bastard.

Consensus: While heavy-handed, Hacksaw Ridge works as a brutal, well-acted and compelling anti-war flick that shows the return of Mel Gibson, the incredibly talented director that we didn’t know we missed so much of.

7.5 / 10

Hold up, everyone. Private Doss has got to think about his life.

Hold up, everyone. Private Doss has got to think about his life.

Photos Courtesy of: Indiewire

Starsky & Hutch (2004)

Probably the tamest movie I’ve ever seen that says “coke” about 15 times. And I’m not referring to the soda, although if it were the late 1800’s, I would be referring to both I guess, right?

Detective David Starsky (Ben Stiller) is all about following the rules, getting the job, and having the law come out on-top, at any means necessary; Detective Ken “Hutch” Hutchinson (Owen Wilson) is far different in the way that he’s so cool, calm, relaxed, and mellowed-out, that he doesn’t really care if he gets the job done or not, he just wants to look cool and smokin’. They’re polar-opposites, but they get strung together somehow and have to solve a drug-ring of coke on the streets, lead by millionaire Reese Feldman (Vince Vaughn). Together, they have their fair-share of problems, but together, through the insistence on getting along and the help of their ears and eyes of the street, Huggy Bear (Snoop Dogg), they finally realize that the law always prevails. Or something of that nature.

It’s strange to think that a man who has been known for his fair share of R-rated, raunch-fests, Todd Phillips, would ever stoop so low as to go for a PG-13. But somehow, with this, he did and his struggle with actually trying to keep to that rating without over-stepping it at all. As I said up-top, there’s plenty uses of the word “coke” and nothing but; girls make-out with other girls; the F-bomb is dropped once (and randomly); partial-nudity is seen (sort of); and the word “shit” gets dropped about 5 or 6 times. It’s just strange because we know that when Phillips turns on the dirty-jets, he has a fun time and lets loose like no other, but what we mostly know is that when he does get down and dirty: he’s a lot funnier as well.

Whatta fun time!

Whatta fun time!

And trust me, it’s not that this flick isn’t funny, because it sure as hell does have it’s moments of comedic-inspiration that are more than likely going to win you over; it’s just that the tone itself is a bit uneven. What I mean by that is that the flick tries to go for a satire of an episode of the original Starsky & Hutch, and at other times, seems like it’s trying to be a straight-forward comedy that makes up it’s own jokes, is in it’s own little universe, and doesn’t even know about the other show. Hell, it even plays out like a failed-pilot of the original, except with more knowing-humor and a switch-up of the lead characters.

Since the movie never seems like it knows what it wants to be, or how for that matter, some comedy hits and some of it misses. More of it hits than actually misses, but knowing what Stiller, Wilson, Vaughn, Ferrell, and even Phillips are capable of, it comes as a bit of a disappointment. The jokes they use get a bit stale after awhile, especially the part where Starsky is high on cocaine and gets into a dance-battle, even though he doesn’t know he’s high, and become the same old, “70’s-fashion-was-so-corny”-type of humor. Nothing as witty or as smart as Zoolander or even Old School here, just a bunch of repetitive jokes made towards the decade it’s apparently supposed to take place in, even if it feels like we’re just watching a bunch of current-Hollywood stars play dress-up and act like their in the 70’s. I don’t know if being a tad bit anachronistic was the movie’s point or not, but if it was; it probably would have been a lot smarter and funnier in that case.

But in all honesty, I can’t discredit this movie too much cause the cast seems to be having fun and is mostly the reasons why we find ourselves laughing at times, despite it seeming a bit desperate at times. Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson are seemingly playing Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson. They both seem to be enjoying themselves, not having to stretch their acting-muscles all that much, and getting a chance to dress in some fine, sexy 70’s digs. Together, they’re a bunch of fun and keep this movie cracking, but after awhile, you start to think how much of this movie was made because they really wanted to make a Starsky & Hutch movie, or how much of it was made as an excuse for the two to pal-around with one another? One has to wonder, and sometimes, it feels like the latter-aspect. It’s fun to watch them, but it feels like their having a bit more fun than we are and that poses a problem, especially when they’re trying to steal the laughs out of you.

Come on! Gimme more!

Come on! Gimme more!

On paper, having Vince Vaughn do his spastic, fast-speech act and Jason Bateman do his dead-pan act, team together, and play the smart, but slightly off-kilter baddies in a movie would seem like comedic-brilliance, but it never musters up any of the courage to really keep them funny or relevant all that much. Vaughn seems like he’s bored being serious and conning, whereas Bateman actually seems like he’s bored, and isn’t just using that to his and his character’s advantage. He actually seems like he’s bored and wants to get his check, so he could get the hell home and get ready to film another season of Arrested Development. Also, any movie that has thew chance to showcase Juliette Lewis and her comedic-talents as the dumb, trashy-chick in the movie, but squander that potential, has seemingly all but lost points from yours truly. The girl is not only a foxy mama, but she’s pretty damn funny, especially when she’s given the chance to be.

Others in this cast that show up do what they can like Snoop Dogg, who actually has some of the funnier-moments in the whole flick of funny people; Carmen Electra and Amy Smart show up to only make-out and provide some sex-appeal for a movie that didn’t need any, and when it finally got it’s chance to showcase it, made it seem more misogynistic than titillating; and actual cameos from the original guys, David Soul and Paul Michael Glaser, who made it funny just being there, but once I got to thinking about it, made it almost seem like the film was making fun of them and how hell-bent-out-of-shape they seem to have gotten. Poor guys. Oh well, they probably got a nice, healthy paycheck from this. Just like Bateman. Although, needless to say, he probably made that paycheck last.

Consensus: Bits and pieces of Starsky & Hutch seem inspired enough to transpire plenty of inspired moments of comedy, but not too many as the flick struggles to make up it’s mind of what type of comedy it wants to be, or even make us laugh at all.

6 / 10

"1, 2, 3 and to tha 4, Huggy Bear is at tha doe."

“One, two, three and to tha foe, Huggy Bear is at tha doe.”

Photo’s Credit to: Thecia.Com.Au

Unfinished Business (2015)

Poverty sucks, but hey, at least you’ve got plenty of weed.

After refusing to take a pay-cut from his boss (Sienna Miller), salesman Dan Trunkman (Vince Vaughn) decides that it’s his time to finally cut himself loose and break off on his own. Problem is, Dan doesn’t have much of a team. Though he gets two misfits in the form of the aging, semi-retired Tim (Tom Wilkinson) and the silly, but very naive Mike Pancake (Dave Franco), Dan still can’t seem to catch much of a break. Not to mention, there’s a lot of problems going on at home where his kids are the subject of bullying and, in a way to avoid any further mishaps, Dan’s trying to save up more and more money so that he can send his kids away to a nice, safe and bully-free private school. Once again, though, it’s all a matter of money with Dan, so that’s why when he and his gang get a chance to fly out to Berlin to possibly sell their product, swarf, to the highest bidder, he takes it. He’s not sure if it’s all going to work out, but what he does know is that he is not going to back down from any obstacle thrown in his way – even if Berlin offers up more of them than he ever expected.

In a little less than a week, season two of True Detective will set upon us and while many are looking forward to seeing the new sets of characters, story-lines, and setting, the one element I am mostly anticipating is seeing what Vince Vaughn can do in one of the lead roles. Because, see, even though some may not know this, Vaughn actually got his start in dramatic flicks, where he played some very serious and odd individuals, rather than just being the swift, quick-talking, smart-ass that every R-rated mainstream comedy seems to cast for the hopes of any possible laughter whatsoever.

What.....

What…..

He was Norman Bates for gosh sakes!

But even though I have yet to see a single lick of True Detective, something makes me feel as if Vaughn will blow us away. In nearly a decade since Into the Wild, we’ll see Vince Vaughn challenge himself and go deeper and darker with a role that he was once able to pull off; sure, the movies that he was participating in may not have been stellar, but there’s no denying that Vaughn came ready to play, ready to challenge himself, and ready to see if he could make movies better. You could make the argument that Vaughn’s been doing that for the past couple of years, but if you look at the movies he’s been doing it, it becomes clear that they’re way too often reliant on him, that if you were to eliminate him from the respective movie altogether, they would be absolute piles of dog excrement. They would be unfunny, stupid and lacking any sort of energy.

Sort of like what Unfinished Business is with Vaughn in it.

The main problem with this flick here is that it feels so generic and conventional, that eventually, once we get to any parts of it that may be at least somewhat riveting or fun to watch, it feels even worse. It’s one thing to have a movie that’s so utterly and completely crappy, that nothing in it could be looked at as mildly interesting, at best; then again, it’s a whole other thing completely when you have a movie that’s garbage, but still seems to hold some promise deep down from within. Because the promise is wasted on something that’s junk, it makes it seem like a waste, as if any other movie could have swooped-in, taken the idea and ran wild with it.

Problem is, Unfinished Business has so very few of these moments. There’s plenty of scenes that take place in German gay club that all prominently feature male genitalia in all of their bulgiest form, and there’s a hotel room that soon turns into a hotel expo idea that’s pretty nifty and entertaining to watch, even if it is the only thing in the whole movie. Other than these two elements, everything else about this movie feels like a bore. Most jokes miss completely, whereas others plop right down on the ground, moving around frantically for any sort of air, and then die right in front of your own ears and eyes before you could even recognize that a joke was even made.

....is up.....

….is up…..

See, Unfinished Business is the type of comedy that’s not at all funny, but the same time, still tries to be more than what it is. There are many, and I do repeat, many, scenes dedicated to Vaughn skyping with his wife and kids, discussing all sorts of melodramatic family stuff that would probably be suited best in an after-school special that’s about bullying and acceptance. However, here it all feels so oddly-placed that it seems like an after thought altogether; while director Ken Scott may have wanted there to be more heart and humanity added to the proceedings as a way to balance out all of the dicks and balls, it just feels messy and uneven.

And this isn’t to say that the cast should be held fully accountable for this, because most of them do seem to be trying. It made me very upset to see such a talented and lovely actor like Tom Wilkinson take this paycheck gig and just run through the motions as the “aging horn-dog” of the group, but eventually, I realized that he’s got plenty more movies coming up to where I need not worry about all of that. Then, there’s Dave Franco as Mike Pancake (yup, his actual name), a character who seems to be bordering on the line of “mentally challenged”, but the movie never makes its mind up as to what he actually is, nor does it know whether it wants to laugh with him, or at him. Either way, it’s incredibly uncomfortable to sit and listen to, and while I credit Dave Franco for at least trying to stand out a bit and take on something new, it still doesn’t go anywhere.

And then, there’s Vince Vaughn.

Obviously I’ve talked about him enough times here to where it’s become fully clear that I have it out for this dude, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I like Vince Vaughn; normally, he’s funny in everything he shows up in. The movies themselves could be nearly unwatchable, except for the moments that he showed up and did “his thing”. That I have no problem with, except for the fact that it’s a role that seems to be so overdone now, it’s stale; no longer does anybody want to watch as a Vince Vaughn character faces off against all sorts of adversity standing in his way, only to then have him make some smart-ass remarks about a fellow person, love and care for his family, and all of a sudden, have everything turn out alright for him. By now, it’s like the guy’s gotten so comfortable, that he’s become dull – a term that I never thought I’d use in the same sentence when speaking of Vaughn.

But hey, at least True Detective is coming soon. Be prepared, people.

Consensus: An uneven mess, Unfinished Business has no clue what it wants to be, what it’s about, who it’s for, and especially, how it’s trying to be funny, chalking this up to being another formulaic vehicle for Vince Vaughn.

2 / 10

...with these pictures?!?

…with these pictures?!?

Photo’s Credit to: IMDB, AceShowbiz

Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005)

Sorry, Jen. But together, these two are really hot.

After having a chance meeting in a foreign country some odd years ago (five or six, neither ever knows), John (Brad Pitt) and Jane (Angelina Jolie) Smith live a comfortable life where either one talks to one another, yet, still live under the same roof and go to couples-counseling in hopes that things will get better between them two. However, when both find out that they are not only living separate, secret lives as super-duper spies, but that they are also part of feuding spy-agencies, then things got a whole lot more tense between the two; not to mention deadly. Oddly enough though, this newfound information ignites a spark between them both and for the first time in a long time, John and Jane both find themselves happily in love with one another, banging and eating all over the floor. Problem is, it may just be too late as the spy-agencies soon find out that these two are actually married in real-life and decide that it’s best to take them both out because it’s, “bad for business”. Whatever that means, right?

Herein lies the film that started it all; the famous, highly-attractive Hollywood couple that will be synonymous with Generation-Y’ers till the end of time; and definitely the duo that J-Aniston still wants to get back at all of these years later. Ladies and gentleman, here is the beginning of what we know to be known as Brangelina. Heck, it’s even got its own WikiPedia page! If that doesn’t just scream “culturally significant”, I can’t tell you what will!

Oh stop!

Oh stop!

With most movies that have more talk about what’s going on behind the scenes usually means that the final-product itself isn’t anything worth chatting about it either. It just serves as a platform for a conversation to get started on about; although today, one could just mention either Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie respectively and end up finding themselves still talking about their togetherness, and less about the actual movie that brought them all together.

And as you can tell, I’m doing the same exact thing I’m going on about, because it’s sort of the truth: The movie that brought these two superstars together, really isn’t all that memorable.

“But surely something must have been well-done enough to where it would actually attract such picky A-listers as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Dan? So what is the problem?”, you might respond with, and honestly, my answer might be a general, “I don’t know”. Maybe these two were attracted to the idea of starring in a movie together, or better yet, maybe they just saw plenty of big bucks in the idea as is. It doesn’t really matter because either way, the movie is still very “meh”.

Most of that has to do with the premise itself which, on paper, seems very promising, fun and witty, and for the most part, is. However, the movie knows this a little too much and can’t help but remind us each and every chance it gets that, “Our premise is so goofy and our co-stars are so in love with one another, that we can’t help but be pleased!” These are the types of movies that linger on being “smug”, and there are more than a few occasions in which Mr. and Mrs. Smith finds itself creeping over to that side.

What keeps it away from doing so on most occasions? Well, it’s the main selling-point this movie had to roll with in the first place: It’s lovely co-stars.

And yes, it’s also said that usually actors who hook-up in real life, have terrible chemistry in the movies they’re starring in together, but here, with Jolie and Pitt, that isn’t necessarily the case. They’re good together and you can really tell that the two have a little twinkle in there eye whenever the other is in the same scene with them, however, they don’t get to show it off too many times. Because the premise is sort of a joke in and of itself about this married-couple hiding their real selves from the other and not really doing much of anything together as a unit, Pitt and Jolie aren’t really given too many opportunities to do a whole lot of on-screen flirting. More or less, they’re spending scenes together in awkward silence, which yes, is the point, but after awhile, does seem like a waste of some incredibly talented-individuals, who just so also happened to be shaken’ the high hoots behind closed doors at the time.

Yet, the moment in which these two come alive, is when they both find out that their secret spies, which yes again, is the point; they’re bored with their simple, carefree home lives and just want to live a little. In a way, Pitt and Jolie, at the time of filming this movie, were probably the same kind of people – Pitt wanted an escape from his faltering-marriage with America’s Sweetheart, whereas Jolie herself was looking to settle-down a bit and get serious with somebody who didn’t wear her blood across their neck, and/or wasn’t her brother. Maybe I’m looking way too deep into this than I should (actually no, I totally am), however, I can’t help myself. Not just because I’m obsessed with these two and their career’s in general, but because there’s not much else to talk about with this movie.

No, seriously! Cut it out!

No, seriously! Cut it out!

Personally, they’re the only reason to see this. Any reason why you’d laugh during this would be because both Pitt and Jolie are charming enough to make even the dumbest line/moment work. Everything else is sort of a mess. Like, for instance, the whole action-sequences themselves aren’t filmed right; Doug Liman is a fine director that clearly knew what he was doing with the Bourne Identity, but doesn’t seem to realize that action scenes work best when we care about everything that’s going on and is at least given to us in a fun, exciting way. Here, bullets fly; grenades explode; punches are thrown; and upper-class, suburban homes burst into flames. And yet, I didn’t give a single hoot about any of it.

Except for Jolie and Pitt themselves, who are clearly doing fine without hearing anything I have to say.

Love ya Brangie. Sort of made that up, sort of didn’t. Whatever.

Consensus: Most of the talk surrounding Mr. & Mrs. Smith has to do with what happened in real life between Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, and basically, are the only real reason this movie deserves to be seen – a time-capsule for what everybody was talking about in the mid-21st Century.

5 / 10 = Rental!!

No! Damn you adorable freaks!

No! Damn you adorable freaks!

Photo’s Credit to: IMDBCollider

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013)

Waiting nine years for a sequel to Anchorman?!?! Kind of a big deal!!

After he and his fellow wife/news anchor Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) run into a rough patch that causes a separation between the two, Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) is left with nothing to gain, nor anything to lose. He’s practically hanging himself, just as an ambitious businessman (Dylan Baker) comes to him with a proposal: Get the old gang back together, and help him start up a 24/7 news-station. At first, the idea seems quite preposterous, but seeing as how Ron is out of a job and needs to gain some confidence back into his ego and his wonderful ‘stache, he decides to get out there, and ramble up Champ (David Koechner), Brian (Paul Rudd) and of course, sweet Brick (Steve Carell). Together, the four decide that they’re going to take the news world by storm, however, they have just one, big problemo: They’re on at 2-5 a.m. Yeah, not exactly the ideal position for these seasoned-pros, but they get on with it and realize that telling the news is exactly what they loved doing in the first place, even if not everything they discuss is in fact “news”.

As you all most likely saw and scratched your heads about, I did and still do to this day, love the hell out of Anchorman. It’s dumb, random, nonsensical and completely, utterly idiotic in terms of where it goes, why and how its plot is structured. However, that’s why I love it and laugh my ass off at it each and every time I catch it. Doesn’t matter where or when, all that matters is that when I see it, I laugh my heinie off and have as great of a time during that moment, then I did when I first witnessed it all of those years ago.

Yerp, it's the 80's alright.

Yerp, it’s the 80’s alright.

However though, as much as I looked forward to the idea of a sequel to my beloved comedy-classic, something didn’t sit too well with me after all of this time. First of all, it’s literally been nine years since the first flick came out, which means that this is a sequel happening nine years later. I’m sure that the original will stand the test of time and the memory of it will continue to transcend from decade-to-decade (I sound crazy, I know), but that just feels odd that it would take THAT long for a big-budget, mainstream sequel to come out, especially since everybody involved with the first movie, are even bigger stars than they were before (with the exception of Koechner, sorry Champ). So why the long wait, guys? Better yet, was it even worth it?

The answer to that last question is sort of, and the answer to the first is “I don’t know”. Why? Because I’m not in the business of Hollywood so I don’t know why it took so long to get this sequel off the grounds, but that’s another discussion for another day, another topic and quite frankly, a whole ‘nother blog out there.

Like I was saying though, most sequels to successful comedies fail at many things, the main one being that it tries to do exactly what the first one did, with all the same jokes, gags and insider pieces of info that got the fans so on-board in the first place, but that’s surprisingly not what happens here. Yeah, there are a couple of times when Ron utters his famous line “stay classy”, or familiar faces from the first one show up to let us know that they’re still getting a pay-cut from all this, but it’s never like “Hey, Whore Island? Ammiright!?!?” Instead, the whole movie just focuses on letting these guy do what they did best in the first movie, as well as subsequent offerings they’ve completed since then: Just be funny, have a ball and give us something to laugh at.

In that case, the movie’s pretty damn funny. Random stuff happens, is said and even alluded to, and you don’t know why it’s happening or where it even came from, but you expected that already, so you learn to just roll with the punches and see what else these guys can bring out of their funny-repertoire. Not all the punches hit the funny-bone as well as they did in the first, and there definitely are more than a few ad-libbed parts that don’t really go anywhere and felt like they could have been cut and thrown right into the blooper reel section of the DVD release, but taken on as a whole, it was a funny comedy that made me laugh.

Then again though, I’m running into constant problems with this because the first movie is my baby and, as much as it pains me to say, this movie just doesn’t meet those qualities. More than a couple of times, I found myself holding my gut as I was yucking it up, but never to the point of the first movie, nor did it feel like anything that happened here was ever going to be as quotable as, I don’t know, say “I’m in a glass case of emotions”, or even, “Cannonball!”. Nope, instead we get a bunch of ramblings that lead on to some pretty funny, wacky and wild stuff that we expect from everybody involved, yet, never feels like it’s hitting that sheer level of “odd-genius” that the first movie hit. Maybe I’m being unreasonable and maybe I’m being a bit harsh on this movie, but the first one will always have a close place to my heart and if something is going to connect itself to that story, and try and reinvigorate the same magic as that charmer did, then I’m going to be looking a bit harder and closer than ever before. Doesn’t mean I didn’t like the flick, it just doesn’t hold up to the standards of the first one.

But, once again, let’s not split hairs here, people: If you want a good time at the movies, to bust-out laughing and be surprised along the way, then see this flick. It’s nothing special like the first movie but for what it’s worth, it’s a fun time at the movies, guaranteed by yours truly.

And thanks to the returning-cast, the movie’s funnier and more entertaining than ever. Chalk most of that up to, as I stated in my review for the first one, to none other than Mr. Ron Burgundy himself, Will Ferrell. We all know that Will Ferrell is hilarious and will practically throw himself out there on a silver-platter if that means getting at least something of a chuckle, but man, he goes for it here and it pays off big time. There’s one scene that’s been spoiled in the trailers, but is actually quite hilarious when you see it all play out and it’s when he’s at the dinner-table of his “black” girlfriend’s family home. It’s racist for sure, but it will certainly get a hell of a lot of laughs, especially since Ferrell just goes for it and never looks back. He’s the type of comedic-actor all aspiring entertainers should want to be, and he proves that to us time, and time again.

Okay, okay! The only reason I'm giving up his is because it literally occurs in the first two minutes. I kid you not! Check me out on that!

Okay, okay! The only reason I’m giving up his is because it literally occurs in the first two minutes. Just be happy I didn’t include another famous, more talented black rapper who shows up in this movie…..

But when I start talking about the rest of the newsteam, I start to get a little upset. The reason being that although Steve Carell, Paul Rudd and even David Koechner all get their moments to shine and bathe in the spot-light of fun and happiness, some actually feel misused. Koechner’s there, is funny and does his thing, so I hate to say that he doesn’t count, but he truly doesn’t. The two who I’m really talking about here are Carell and Rudd; with the former getting a hell of a lot more attention than he did in the first movie, and especially a lot more over the latter, which is strange considering that they both seem pretty worthy of more than enough screen-time, but nope, apparently Adam McKay saw differently. The thing with more of this focus on Brick, and his love-angle he has with Kristen Wiig’s character, is that the novelty of him saying really ridiculous and out-of-left-field things is lost. Much more now, we just hear him say, or do something completely and utterly crazy, just because it was such a winner in the first movie, so why not up the ante a bit, eh? It didn’t feel right to me and it was an easier pill to swallow because Carell, like Ferrell, goes for the whole slice with this, but it gets over-played at times and seems like the only card the movie can handle.

Also, I feel like I’m of the opinion that any time away from Brian Fantana, is time wasted. Am I right, people? Come on!

And while I’m sure all of you probably no who shows up here, to say the least, each and every familiar face that you see in this movie, is a face worth noting. Can’t get into specifics one bit, but they’re all fun, all exciting to see and a bit shocking, considering there are some pretty serious faces that, oddly enough, actually agreed to show up in the sequel to Anchorman. Maybe it’s cult following isn’t just a bunch of single and lonely dudes? Maybe others out there have noticed the charm of Ron Burgundy and the rest of the news-team and decided they wanted a piece of the pie, too? Or maybe, just maybe, they’re doing Will Ferrell and co. a favor. Yeah, you know what? I think that’s it. Oh well.

Consensus: May not fully bring back the strange, idiotic charm of the first movie, but Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is still a laugh-out-loud comedy from a bunch of people who clearly know what they are doing here, and don’t shy away from breaking their backs for a laugh or two. It just seems desperate after awhile, that’s all.

8 / 10 = Matinee!!

Still jumping. But this time, pulled-out backs are huge consequences.

Still jumping. But this time, pulled-out backs are huge consequences.

Photo’s Credit to: IMDBColliderJobloComingSoon.net

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

Delivery Man (2013)

You can almost never trust sperm to impregnate somebody when you want it too.

David Wozniak (Vince Vaughn) is a 40-something-year-old slacker that doesn’t have much ambition in his life. That would be fine and all if there weren’t others tied into his life, but sadly for those poor folks, that isn’t the case. He works at a family-owned meat market that he takes too long to do; owes over $80,000 to the mob; has a girlfriend (Cobie Smulders) that he isn’t settling down with yet, despite her constant-nagging; and worst of all, he has his own kid on the way. But once everything in his life seems to be crumbling down, he gets some crazy news that some-odd years ago, when he donated sperm, he birthed 600 children, and out of those 600, 100 want to know who he is. There’s all sorts of laws granting anonymity that have been broken here, hence why Wozniak enlists his buddy/lawyer Brett (Chris Pratt) to handle the case, which he is more than willing to do, only on one condition though: That David not see, meet, or share any sort of connection with these 100 or so kids. Sound easy enough, that is all until David starts actually tracking these kids down, and getting closer to them more than they, especially him, ever expected to.

I’ve never seen the original movie that this is a remake of (Starbuck), however, from what I hear, it’s a pretty good movie. Sounds like something I’ll definitely have to check out in the near-future, but as for right now, I guess this’ll do. And that is not a nice sentiment whatsoever.

The thought of Andy Dwyer being a father, scares me half-to-death.

The thought of Andy Dwyer being a father, scares me half-to-death.

Like most U.S.-made remakes of foreign flicks, the plots sound interesting and very promising, but for the American mainstream-audience, that doesn’t matter. Just as long as they get plenty of goofy moments where people hurt themselves, say something stupid and/or show that they have a heart, then all is well and fine with the world. However, we need substance to a tale like this, which it does not in fact have, despite trying so damn hard to throw the idea at us that it does. The constant shoving in our faces of how much of a heart it has, eventually, began to get tiring and repetitive, as if the movie knew that it wanted to be more than just your average, Vince Vaughn-comedy, but instead, have more to say about growing up, accepting life, falling in love and reconnecting with long, lost family members.

Yawn.

Don’t get me wrong, many movies out there have done exactly what this flick is trying to do, it’s just that they’ve done so a lot more efficiently and a lot less obvious. For instance, there’s a switch about somewhere half-way through where instead of being a broad-comedy about a guy accepting the fact that he has over 600 kids due to his sperm being passed around more than a whore in a brothel, we get an emotional movie that tries to be compelling by taking an “owning-money-to-mob” subplot, mixing it in with the whole “courtcase” fiasco, and also using the kids as a crutch to fall back on and pay attention to once things get a little crazy. It doesn’t work and while it does seem a bit mixed-up in what it wants to do, it’s pretty clear what it’s trying to say: Life is beautiful.

Yay. Actually, I meant to say “yawn” again. My bad.

And that’s pretty much all there is to this flick, in a nutshell. While there were bits that had me chuckling here and there, most of the comedy seems stale and uninspired, as if the creators knew they had a neat idea on their hands here, but decided to just roll with that, rather than adding some really nifty, witty pieces of material. Rather instead, the movie relies on the talent to let these comedic-moments hit us where it hurts, but they just can’t help but fall victim to what seems like another lame script, used to manipulate families into seeing around the Holiday season. Damn, Hollywood and their smart-ass, money-making ways and ideas.

I’ve said it before in my Internship review, and I’ll sure as hell say it again: Vince Vaughn needs to grow-up and begin to act his age. I get that this is probably something he doesn’t want to hear from anyone (let alone some random, two-bit blogger), and won’t bother Hollywood since they continue to cast him in these “relatively-young, free-wheeling dude” roles, but it’s starting to get tiresome to see him play the same roles, almost to no avail whatsoever, and actually worrisome, especially considering that this is about strike four in-a-row for this guy when it comes to starring in these vehicles, and not being able to do much with ’em. Sure, he’s pleasant and talented enough to make these movies charming in the slightest bit, but you have to begin to wonder just when he’s finally going to wake up, start smoking some of that experimental-stuff and realize that he needs a career-change by picking better, more daring-roles that not only show how much of a talent he is to behold, but that he is over-40, and he is embracing it.

He can't settle down with THAT?!?!? He's not just a dummy, but he's entirely unsympathetic.

He can’t settle down with THAT?!?!? He’s not just a dummy, but he’s entirely unsympathetic.

Here though, as David Wozniak, some will probably be confused by how “un-Vaughn” here he is, which is both a sin and a blessing. Reason why it’s a blessing is because he’s at least finally doing something where he isn’t constantly ranting at a-mile-a-second; but a sin, because he’s just bland, bland, bland. Wozniak seems like a likable-enough dude to care enough for in this movie to be get behind, but after awhile, it just seems like the guy really is a loser, and probably should only say “hi” to these kids and walk away. I don’t mean that to be or sound mean, but the guy just doesn’t really seem like he has much going on for him other than the fact that he’s played by a phoning-it-in Vince Vaughn, and that’s that.

Even Cobie Smulders tries her damn-near hardest, but even she can’t seem to get past the fact that the script just wants her to be hot, pregnant and always bitching at David for something new, each and every day. Sort of like all women, right men? The only one who really gets by with this script and his character is Chris Pratt as Brett, Wozniak’s buddy/lawyer, who is amusing in his depressed-outlook on life, which is charming enough to get by because of Pratt’s charm, but eventually seems played-out. That is, until a strange turn-of-events occur and we get a movie that focuses more on his story, and less of Wozniak’s, in which Pratt takes center-stage, show that he can be hilarious without being over-the-top dumb and goofy and also give us a look at what we can come to expect this summer with him in Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s coming up soon, people! So be ready! Has nothing to do with this movie, but hey, that’s all I got, folks.

Consensus: An interesting premise for sure, but still mawkish, manipulative and uninvolving in the way it continues to hammer away at the fact that yes, Delivery Man is a movie about growing up and other important themes of life that we must accept and live with, but yet, doesn’t show them in a different, effective way. Instead, it just tells us and ends up doing nothing.

3 / 10 = Crapola!!

"HeywhatsupguysmynamesVinceVaughnandIliketotalkreallyfast."

“HeywhatsupguysmynamesVinceVaughnandIliketotalkreallyfast.”

Photo’s Credit to: IMDBColliderJobloComingSoon.net

The Internship (2013)

Somehow, dudes that are getting paid millions and millions of dollars to play people that are working and not getting paid feels a bit disingenuous to me.

Best friends and co-workers, Billy and Nick (Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson) find themselves stuck in a rut. On a business trip, they find out that not only has the company they’ve been working for all this time, not only folded, but is not referring them anywhere else to work. Without any real direction of where to go next, they both decide to take one step in the right direction where most people in this world seem to be going and that’s to Google itself. Well, not exactly. You see, these guys aren’t getting jobs there just yet, and instead, have to go through a summer-long, non-paid internship where they will see what to do and how to do it, in order to make the big bucks in the 21st Century. Problem is, Billy and Nick don’t really know what the hell they are supposed to do with half of this shite, let alone work a computer.

Back in the day, around let’s say 2005, Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson we’re the biggest names in comedy, minus a few others. Wedding Crashers was a hit and continues to have people laugh their asses off even until this day. The problem was, that was 2005 and the chance to act all wild, slightly-young, crazy, wacky, and manic, was all accepted because this is who they were and they were just soaking up the sun, telling everyone, and living life to it’s fullest. However, 8 years later, the act is sort of stale and feels like it’s two dudes that have yet come to the realization that not only are their bodies getting flabbier and their hair is getting a bit gray, but they also can’t continue to act like their young, wild, and nutty anymore. They have to actually be and act like considerable “adults”, and it’s not an act that they can hold for very long.

I get it, they're using a vid-chat, but they don't know how to because their old!!

I get it, they’re trying to use vid-chat, but they don’t know how to because their old.

And that’s the whole joke behind this movie: the fact that these guys are old, still trying to be hip and cool, but just don’t “get it”, in the sense that everything that was awesome and rad back in the 80’s and 90’s, is soooooooo lame. It’s a joke that works well for about the first 5 minutes, and then these guys get to the actual Google headquarters where not only is every kid there absolute dicks to them, but unrightfully so too. Because these guys are old, are practically taking this internship on a whim, and don’t really know all of the insanely-nerdy computer lingo like each and every one of them do, that means you have to complete assholes to them? I mean are they nice guys? Or do they walk around, spit on people’s faces, kick them in the ass, liter, not recycle, commit havoc, and forget to flush? Well, nope to that as well.

Basically, these guys aren’t mean in spirit or nature at all. They are corny and trying a bit too hard to be cool again, I’ll give them that, but they aren’t bad dudes, so when every kid that they met at this internship practically threw their fists and saliva in their general direction, I thought it was a little strange considering where this movie goes with it’s message and what it’s exactly trying to say about the generation we live in. You know, the one generation where everybody sees how trashed you got at that concert through the pictures on Instagram and/or Facebook, what political affiliation you consider yourself apart of because of the tweets you make, and where it takes a total of 2.4 seconds to find who was the 23rd President of the United States just by a little bit of typing in that search box.

By the way, the answer was Benjamin Harris. Didn’t take me long to find it either.

But that’s the type of movie we’re dealing with here: it wants to teach us about the old ways of living your life without being run by technology or any stupid, new-age crap like that, and just living, man. And that whole idea the movie continues to spout-out at us wouldn’t have been so bad if it was a comedy that was actually funny in the least bit. However, it’s not and instead takes the same joke that these guys are old, out-of-touch, and a bunch of lamers that somehow refuse to get with the times, and tells it time and time again. Oh, but also not forgetting to remind us that this movie is taking place on the actual Google headquarters, where apparently everything that’s right, beautiful, and fine with the world, occurs there and nowhere else.

Which means, yes, as you probably suspected; this movie is nothing more than a shameless recruiting video for Google, how their internship-process works, and how you too, if you have enough ambition, perseverance, and belief in yourself, can get a job there and start joining in on all of the peacefulness and fun. And hell, if I was to base this movie on that regard, then I’d say the movie did it’s job, and did it quite well mind you. It gets us to feel like Google is the place to work and even if you don’t know what the hell “Ctt” means, you can still continue to learn more and more about it, and eventually get the job, the money, and the happiness that you oh so desire in life. However, this is not a recruiting video for possible interns, but is actually a full-length, feature film that’s supposed to make you laugh, make you happy, make you think, and make you go about your day in a positive, meaningful way.

Well, then in that regard: the movie fails. I can’t say it fails miserably, but it’s noticeable right away that this movie just does not have the juice to keep it going for 2 whole hours, and is going to try it’s hardest to rest it’s shoulders on the talents of Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn, but here’s the problem: they’ve lost their touch too. I’ve always liked to consider myself a real fan of these two guys, even in their darkest days, but I honestly cannot remember the last time these two really blew me away in something that they were together in, or, were separate and trying to be funny in. Of course, they both had their battles with dramatic roles that have been more successful than one might have suspected (Wilson with Midnight in Paris; Vaughn with Into the Wild), but last time I checked; I can’t remember either one of them really having me holding my gut, except for those eight years ago that we all know about.

I'd party with Vince and Owen any day of the week, I'd just tell them not to argue how the original Footloose is better than the remake.

I’d party with Vince and Owen any day of the week, I’d just tell them not to argue how the original Footloose is better than the remake.

That said, they both try their nearest and dearest to make the slightest ounce of this material work, but all of the wit, all of the charm, and all of the humor that was once placed in their souls and never seemed to stop working; has all of a sudden broken down and been ran-out. And this time, I think it’s for good. It’s sad to think about considering these guys were once on top of the highest mountain when it came to comedy, but now that they’re older and supposed to be more wiser, smarter, and knowledgeable about where their lives have gone, you expect more. You expect these guys not to try and phone it in; you expect them to at least give it their all and make something seem funny; and best of all, you expect them to understand what is funny and what isn’t. But neither of them do, which makes it harder and harder to watch, as if they were two jocks that got back together to chat it up and hang out after all of these years, and still act as if they were as cool and sexy as they once were. They aren’t, and it’s sad to see.

Don’t be fooled though, because these two aren’t the only ones that aren’t funny: barely anybody else here is worth mentioning either. Will Ferrell shows up for all of 5 minutes, gets a chuckle or two, but really seems to be over-doing his d-headed act; Rose Byrne’s a bore as the apple of Wilson’s character’s eye, and it gets painfully obvious between the two; Max Minghella has some sort of British accent that’s supposed to make him seem more like a smart snob, but just has him come off as a dick that nobody, absolutely anybody would want to be around, let alone work with; John Goodman has about a scene or two and is just chewing-up the scenery with his beard and all; and the kids who played the fellow interns that Billy and Nick work with each have their fair share of good moments, and bad ones too, but it’s more of the latter since the material isn’t funny, and none of them really seem to get off the right foot from the beginning, and get back on the good one. They are just young, trying to get a job, and just as inspired as Billy and Nick, they just don’t go shouting out about it from the roof-tops. They just tweet, make a status about it, or text their friend who replies, “LOL lyke awkward.”

Consensus: The Internship‘s problem isn’t just that it isn’t funny, but never knows it isn’t so instead of actually trying to go somewhere else with it’s story, it continues to hammer in the fact that Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn, at one time, were hilarious dudes that you just had to see no matter what film they were in. Problem is, times have changed and so has the laughs.

3 / 10 = Crapola!!

Pictured: heaven

Pictured: heaven

Made (2001)

Being a player: money! Being a mobster: not so money.

Bobby (Jon Favreau) is an aspiring boxer who refuses to abandon his dreams, despite the urgings of his friend Ricky (Vince Vaughn) to pursue a higher position in the organisation of old-time mob boss Max (Peter Falk), who offer both of them a job.

OK, so who doesn’t love Swingers? I think it’s pretty safe to say that everybody does but I think that people loved it so much that maybe they weren’t able to even give this film a shot. Maybe they shouldn’t have gotten rid of Doug Liman in the first place, huh?

With Jon Favreau taking over writing and directing duties, the film gets a very personal feel from him as he keeps the story moving as well as the hand-held camera style that almost makes it seem like we’re watching a documentary in a way. What I can say about this flick that Favreau does do well with its story is that he keeps it somewhat character-based, where we see a lot of interaction between his character and Ricky, whether they’re fighting, arguing, or showing that they have each other’s back, you can tell that these guys have been life-long friends ever since they were little tikes. Also, when you do practically have the main two guys from Swingers, you have to expect a nice amount of laughs and even though they definitely aren’t as rapid as I would have expected, I still had some nice laughs and chuckles here and there that held me over for the rest of the flick. That Dustin Diamond cameo was probably my favorite part of this flick now that I think about it, but also very random.

Where I think Favreau messed up with this film was not giving us much to care about, let alone, anything cool with the plot to see. Granted, Swingers didn’t really have much a plot other than just a bunch of guys hitting on chicks and trying to get laid, but at least that film had a whole bunch of buddy-buddy energy that kept it going, this plot sort of just meanders on and on. Actually, some of it I thought would have done better as a drama because you have all of these problems with these characters and even at times, they are scared to death that they may get “whacked” but the film treats it as a joke, but an unfunny joke at that. And I also guess that the joke of this movie was that they just wanted to go from scene to scene to scene of showing Vaughn ramble on like an ass and have Favreau play off him as the long suffering friend that can’t seem to escape his childhood buddy. Lame, lame, lame!

However, even when the film does try its hardest to go into drama, it comes off pretty corny. The “relationship” that the film tries to force down our throat between Favreau and Famke Janssen was totally unbelievable and very predictable as to how it was all going to end, and even as cute as the kid was, the film uses her more as a reason why Favreau has something to live for. Hey, I don’t mind when a film tries to give us reasons to care for a character, but when the reasons are as contrived and obvious as this, then don’t expect me to even care. Also, what the hell is this dude doing with a chick that basically rides on dude’s erections for a living? Come on Jonnny!

With ‘Swingers’, it’s pretty much the same thing where you have Vince Vaughn playing Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau playing Jon Favreau, which isn’t so bad really. Vaughn is a wild-fire pretty much throughout this whole flick and just doesn’t let loose of his energy one bit. He’s funny, quick, and a character that makes you feel so damn uncomfortable because of some of the shit he says with the people he’s around. Favreau is also pretty good as Bobby, and gives another one of his silent, but lovable guy performances that we see from him so very often. But hey, that’s not a complaint. Also be on the look-out for two little performances given here by Peter Falk as the menacing gangster, Max, and a menacing “gangsta” named Ruiz, played by none other than Sean “Puffy” Combs. Yes people, before Get Him to the Greek, Puffy played another bad-ass mofo.

Consensus: Made is basically living off the legend of Swingers but still has enough laughs and good performances to hold you over, even if the contrived emotions of the so-so plot are too obvious to ignore the whole time.

5.5/10=Rental!!

The Watch (2012)

These aliens probably came right down to Earth looking for Judd Apatow, and found these guys. I actually feel bad for the aliens on this situation.

The film revolves around four everyday suburban friends (Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill and Richard Ayoade) who team up to form a neighborhood watch group so they can escape their dull family lives one night a week. But when they accidentally discover that their town has become overrun with aliens posing as ordinary suburbanites, they have no choice but to save their neighborhood — and the world — from total extermination.

The alien-invasion premise isn’t anything new or original by any means, but when you have a cast like this and a bunch of writers that know they can knock it out of the park when it comes to comedy, you should be expecting something a whole lot better than your ordinary, average fare. Sadly, it’s the exact opposite.

I have no clue who this cat Akiva Schaffer is but what I can tell, just by watching this flick is that it seems like he was really depending on the efforts of Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, and Jared Stern’s script to make this flick work more than it should have, which in a way, it kind of does. This is, once again, your piece of R-rated comedy that has a lot of cussing, a lot of dirty stuff being thrown around, and just a whole bunch of moments that can be considered “raunchy”, even though the film never fully explores that territory. For the most part, this film can be pretty funny and you can that there is a lot of Judd Apatow-influences going on here with the whole “conversational humor” aspect of this flick, but the problem is that it doesn’t really work all that well, except with some exceptions.

The one comedy, that is sort of like this one, that I remember seeing was Horrible Bosses, which was a very funny movie but also tried a bit too hard to fall-back on that whole “conversational humor” aspect, that Apatow has pretty much nailed now. It didn’t really work there because it tried too hard to make that there only source of comedy, but here, that seems like that’s all they can do with a couple of extra dick and sex jokes added to the mix as well. The film tries so hard to be funny by having these guys say ridiculous and vulgar things, but the problem is, that they just aren’t as funny as you feel like they could be if they were in a different movie and maybe had different people delivering the lines. A couple of times I did catch myself laughing, and laughing pretty loud I may add, but this material never seemed to go anywhere beyond that. This is also one of those disappointing cases where the funniest lines are in either the trailers or TV spots, that we’ve all seen about 10,000 times.

Another aspect of this film that I noticed was how it seemed like it could have had a lot more fun with its premise than it really had. There were a couple of times where the film seemed like it was going to go down that road of pure insanity, which would have easily bumped this up a hell of a lot more, but instead, it just sort of lulled its way onto the next scene without anything really exciting going on. The one character in this flick, played by Vaughn, just wants to hang out with the guys, shoot the shit, talk about girls, get shit-faced, and have a good time. If the film honestly followed that character’s intentions, it would have been so much more entertaining and funny. However, it just stayed somewhat boring and it only got worse once that lame-o third-act came around.

If there is anything that really saves this film from being total crapola, it’s the impressive cast here that seems to make everything they say funny, except I still feel like they should have been a lot funnier. Ben Stiller is, once again, playing up that nervous, jittery shtick that seems to work in some spots but in others, just seems annoying and unneeded when you have a plot that could just get really freakin’ crazy at any second. Vince Vaughn is around here playing up his fast-talking, crazy shtick that always seems to work but it also feels like it was forced in a way and was used in a lot better in flicks when he was trying to pick up gals or be the coolest mothertrucker at the party. Maybe, dare I say it, he’s getting too old for it now! Nooooo!

Jonah Hill, God bless him, is probably the saving grace to this cast and to the whole movie as he shows that he still has the near-perfect comedic timing that can work with any character he plays, no matter how bizarre or weird they may be. It’s crazy to say this, but I think Hill may be the next best thing when it comes to comedy, because not only can he show how hilarious he can get no matter who he works with, but he also shows a lot of versatility when he has to approach these dramatic, softer roles as well. Guy keeps getting better and better, and it only seems to go up-Hill for him in the future. See what I did there? Seeing Richard Ayoade being on the top-billing for the promotion, I was expecting him to possibly steal the show and give a little taste of his weird, British sense of comedy. It works here, but only when the film allows him to and it’s a real shame because I actually did think that this was going to be the break-through performance this guy needed to fully break into the Hollywood mainstream like he deserves to. Oh well, maybe next year.

Consensus: Even though there are some bright and funny moments here and there in The Watch, they are also very few and far between one another and for some reason, don’t really work because the script feels like they need to be funny with unoriginal dick, sex, and fart jokes that are as old as Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn are getting. Trust me, that’s old, too.

4/10=Crapola!!

The Cell (2000)

‘Inception‘, if only Christopher Nolan was inspired by Bollywood films.

When a serial killer (Vincent D’Onorfio) falls into a coma before his victim can be found, a child therapist (Jennifer Lopez) must use an experimental treatment to enter his mind and learn more about his secrets before it is too late. Now an FBI agent (Vince Vaughn) must rescue her from the killer’s nightmare mind before he too is lost to the twisted world forever

After checking out Tarsem Singh‘s other flick last year, ‘Immortals’, I had a feeling that this was a director that knew how to make anything stylized. That idea I was not wrong to think, but I was wrong to think that this would be any better.

The one great element to this film right away would have to be Singh’s visual direction that shows some pretty disturbing things but also catches your eye right away. Every time that we take a dive into these dreams/nightmares, the lavish and lush images that we get take our breath right away with everything. You feel like you are in a dream-like state with these characters and it is so well done that I think for Singh to actually get so many of these perfect images, was to actually give himself nightmares when he went to sleep. After seeing his latest though, I was not surprised that it looked beautiful and I still can’t decide which one looks better considering they are almost the same-looking film, except one has JLO running around and the other has the soon-to-be Superman doing the same. Hmmmmm…

However, when it comes to the actual plot and characters, there is nothing new here one bit. The plot is the same old mystery-thriller story we have seen done time and time again except this time being with elaborate and crazy dreams to show off. There was some moments of suspense here and there but in the end, I knew what was going to happen which just shows you how lazy Singh was when it came to making this flick, considering he didn’t try to go for anything different or new with his story, he just wanted to focus on being beautiful. I mean focus on the film being beautiful, not him.

Another problem I had with this film is that it also brought up a very good point about how serial killers end up being the way they are through a bad child-hood and by the ways they were raised. The film makes this point but also makes a very good point against it saying that it doesn’t matter if you were sexually assaulted, or had a bad up-bringing, human beings should know what’s right and whats wrong just by living and understanding how the world works. This was a great point that I thought the film brought up perfectly because it’s something we don’t usually get to see in flicks of this nature.

The problem with that is though is that the film screws it all up by just totally contradicting the point it brought up by the end, and made the serial killer out to be the good guy considering he does all of this evil shit. Listen, if the serial killer says that he knows what he did was wrong and he’s sorry, then I will truly forgive him and say that he is a changed person but don’t give me this shit about how he’s not to be blamed because of a bad child-hood. I could have had a bad child-hood but still know not to go off and hack every person I see. It’s all common-sense people and to be honest, I think that this point is one that should be made more in films that concern serial killers.

When it came to the acting, everybody here was pretty good. Jennifer Lopez is pretty good as Catherine Deane who makes you feel safe with her, and I can say that if she was in my head when I was sleeping, it definitely would not be a nightmare. Vince Vaughn is also good in this very straight-guy role that he got in his early days before people know what to do with him, and he actually seems like the voice of reason here as well. Vincent D’Onofrio isn’t on-screen all that much and tends to wander like as if he were a stunt double, but he’s still good with being creepy, something that seems like a perfect recipe that he uses quite frequently. The characters are OK but we aren’t really given anything much to care about them so it just feels like a bunch of one-dimensional people working against the clock, and I really didn’t care for any of them except for maybe the chick in the tank.

Consensus: When it comes to beautiful visuals, The Cell has plenty of them, but when it comes to an original story with characters we care about, it brings nothing new to the table other than the same old generic mystery thriller that is fun and pretty look at but nothing else aside from that.

5/10=Rental!!

Wedding Crashers (2005)

Why can’t these guys do more comedies like this?

John (Owen Wilson) and his buddy Jeremy (Vince Vaughn) are emotional criminals who know how to use a woman’s hopes and dreams for their own carnal gain. And their modus operandi? Crashing weddings. Normally, they meet guests who want to toast the romantic day with a random hook-up. But when John meets Claire (Rachel McAdams), he discovers what true love — and heartache — feels like.

Here’s a film that has been in my mind ever since it first came out. I remember when I was in fifth grade and I always used to watch this with my buddies, and we would laugh our asses off like a bunch of hyenas, even though half of the shit these people said in this film, were stuff we had no idea about. The only thing that mattered is that it was dirty stuff and that was cool.

What works with Wedding Crashers is just how damn funny it is. The humor here is raunchy but the whole time it had me laughing my ass off by just how witty these one-liners were. When I was watching the film, I couldn’t help but quote lines like “Baba ganoush!”, or “lock it up!”, and even the “people helping people” speech that we get. I love when I can quote films and still laugh at the quotes even though I have seen this film about 15 times. Yes, I have been counting.

The film is essentially broken up into three parts – the hour where we are at the Summer House and the two half-hours where we are not. Everything in this one hour at the Summer House works incredibly well and had me laughing non-stop because that feeling of just being around this one family, where everyone’s a little kooky in their own way and nothing seems to be going right for one person, but does for the other, is always funny in my book.

The only problem with this film is that by the last act, the film starts to get terribly and I do repeat terribly over-dramatic. Throughout the film, there were these little montages of Wilson and McAdams falling in loooooove, which I thought was incredibly stupid and annoying but when the last act showed up and then you have the dumb-ass speech where you’re all lovey-dovey and saying sorry all-over-the-place, that’s where this film lost me and had me totally annoyed. I usually hate it when films do this and this was even worse considering how funny that one hour was, and everything else is basically chuckle-worthy.

I have to say though that the real show to watch in this film is definitely Vince Vaughn as Jeremy. I wouldn’t say that this is on par with his debut in Swingers but I will say that his performance here is just hilarious because he does that “speak 100 miles a minute” thing that he’s so good at and probably has some of the most funny if not memorable scenes of the whole film. The film would have still been pretty funny without him, but having Vince there just makes everything so much better and funnier.

Owen Wilson is pretty good too as John, but then again he’s just playing Owen Wilson so there’s no real stretch there for him, acting wise; Bradley Cooper is totally dickish as Sack, a name that just screams dick head; Isla Fisher is insane but hilarious as Gloria; Rachel McAdams is sort of in a whole entirely different film as Claire; and Jane Seymour is a hot and sexy mama as Kathleen, Claire and Gloria’s cougar mommy. I don’t really have much to say about her performance other than the fact that she is just hot!

Oh, and Christoper Walken is here too as the daddy. However, I don’t need to mention how awesome he is.

Consensus: With some very funny moments, tip-top comedic performances from the cast, and a big list of quotable lines, Wedding Crashers is a sure comedy classic but with the last half-hour, when things start to get a little too over-long and serious, that’s when my happiness started to run away.

8.5/10=Matinee!!!

The Dilemma (2011)

Still don’t know whether this was a c0medy, or a drama.

Ronny (Vince Vaughn) and Nick (Kevin James) are best friends and partners in an auto design firm. They are pursuing a project to make their firm famous. Ronny sees Nick’s wife Geneva (Winona Ryder) kissing another man (Channing Tatum). Ronny seeks out answers and has to figure out how to tell Nick about what he saw while working with him to complete their critical presentation.

The Dilemma gained a lot of controversy back when the first trailers came out, because it said the word “gay” in it. Now, the controversy had people wishing this would be some good stuff, but in all honesty I think it was just controversy for an utterly forgettable film.

The film is directed by of all people, Ron Howard. That’s right, A Beautiful Mind Ron Howard. Howard at least makes this a better comedy than your typical Hollywood fare. There are some good smart jokes here and there, and an interesting premise.

But the problem with this film is what they do with that premise, and then everything starts to get very sloppy. I don’t think that the film had any idea of what it wanted to be. There are moments of comedy that sometimes work, and other times don’t. But then there are times where this just steps into very dark dramatic material, that you aren’t expecting at all. I was actually turned away from the sudden tonal change, because I feel like they could have done a lot with this premise, comedy wise, but they chose to go with drama instead. The drama works, but not enough to get us away from the fact that it is all pretty inconsistent and tries too hard to get laughs from random slapstick, and random in-and-out comedy.

In recent comedies, I’ve seen Vince Vaughn fall back on that “guys-guy” persona, but here he really gives it his all with his physical comedy, expressions, and that comedic timing that always makes him a treat. There’s just a certain depth to his character, that Vaughn gives that I enjoyed, and proved that he can actually act. Kevin James surprisingly gives a lot of depth into his character probably playing the least-happy character I have ever seen him play anywhere. Winona Ryder has also started to make a new career for herself, with Black Swan and now this, she is sort of starting a come-back. She is actually pretty good here, giving a lot of depth into her character, and hitting that devious note she always hits so well. Also, I’m sort of getting tired with guys that look like Paul Blart being able to bag hotties like Winona Ryder. I get it, it’s a movie, but really?!? Jennifer Connelly won an Oscar in her last outing with Ron Howard and here she brings a lot more to the table than I was expecting. She doesn’t show up much which was a bummer, but when she does there’s that heart she brings to every scene she’s in, and it’s just what get’s me through her scenes. Channing Tatum is the real surprise here playing, Zip the guy who Ryder is caught with, and he is hilarious. It’s sad to say that CHANNING TATUM is the funniest thing in a comedy starring VINCE VAUGHN AND KEVIN JAMES, but he makes fun of his tough guy persona here, and I could not stop laughing with every scene he had. I hope he can do more comedy in the future, cause it really does seem to work out for him. Queen Latifah also shows up, and her lines are cheesy and terrible which is a shame because she can be awesome given the right material.

Consensus: The Dilemma is messy with it’s constant tone problems, of knowing whether or not it wants to be a comedy or drama, but its performances are good, and there is a certain depth to the story and characters which makes this a cut above your typical male comedy. It has many flaws, but you can still enjoy yourself.

5/10=Rental!!

Psycho (1998)

Reason why classics, should just be kept as that.

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

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

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

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

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

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

2/10=SomeOleBullShitt!!!

Old School (2003)

College……damn it’s gonna be fun.

Three guys in their early 30s — Mitch (Luke Wilson), Frank (Will Ferrell) and Beanie (Vince Vaughn) — try to relive their glory days by moving into a house near their old college campus. There, they establish a “fraternity” that draws the ire of the dean (Jeremy Piven), who took their abuse as a kid. And while Frank and Beanie just want to party, Mitch concerns himself with impressing single mom Nicole (Ellen Pompeo).

In all honesty, who doesn’t love watching college films? Especially college films with guys that are about 15 years over the age to be hanging around college kids?

The writing for this film is what really gets you laughing. I have seen this about 10 times, and almost every time it gets me laughing. There are constant one-liners all over the place, that will have you and your buddies, repeating for days, trust me, I do it all the time.

The comedy goes right below the belt usually, because it’s an “R” rated comedy for a reason, with lots of swearing, nudity (both genders), and plenty of potty humor, that for some may seem appalling, but if your a dude, or a chick that likes talking about balls, and boobs, your going to laugh no matter how much you try not to.

However, not all the comedy works really. There are jokes that hit, and others, well that don’t, but I mean it is comedy, and it’s not supposed to be laugh-out-loud from beginning to end usually. I also thought that some of the supporting characters, could have been used a lot more just for shits and gigs, but hey that’s just me.

The casting of these three in one movie, is so crazy, but it somehow works perfectly. Luke Wilson is very very good here as Mitch, who firsts starts off, as just your average Joe, who soon starts to become known as “The Godfather”, and thus, the charm that is within Luke, comes out, and it really is a pleasure to watch him on screen. Vince Vaughn is perfect with his fast-talking speech, that always seems to bring out plenty of comedy, no matter what he’s saying. But Will Ferrell steals the show on this one, or should I say, Frank the Tank, steals the show on this one. He’s absouloutly hilarious with everything he does, especially since he has no shame, and will do everything to bring out a laugh, and without this film, I don’t think he would have really gotten his start right away. There’s also nice little side steps from Jeremy Piven (aka Cheese), Andy Dick, Snoop Dogg, Juliette Lewis, and Seann William Scott, among others.

Consensus: Though not consistently funny, Old School still has perfect humor for all the raunch lovers, and also the witty comedy lovers too, that has just enough humor to satisfy all dudes who watch on.

8/10=Matinee!!

Couples Retreat (2009)

All in the title.

Desperate to save their marriage, one couple convinces three other couples to go in on a group rate price for an island retreat designed for troubled unions. But the “mandatory therapy” brews up nothing but trouble for everyone. Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau, Jason Bateman, Kristen Bell, Kristin Davis and Faizon Love star in this comedy penned by Favreau.

The movie tries to work really hard as being a date movie like Forgetting Sarah Marshall or Sleepless in Seattle, but it doesn’t give any answers to how these couples can react to their problems they face as a couple.

The script is written by Swingers stars Faverau and Vaughn, and you can actually see some really good interplay between them two really does shine through on this script. This movie has it’s moments, and some parts that don’t seem funny actually end up being funnier than you expected.

Though the script was good it did feel a little lazy and the jokes really got repetitive and annoying. There were countless amounts of dirty sex jokes that we’re not only meaningless to the plot at hand but overall just not funny and stupid. The jokes also really do start out as really funny, but then they really over due and just have the jokes go on and on, till where it just becomes tiring and you want a new scene. The perverted muscle dude scene got out of hand and although I laughed for awhile I felt like they were just finding any sex position to role play with.

I liked the good cast with some great stars, but most of them didn’t create laughs for me like I thought they would. It was funny seeing Vince Vaughn as being the responsible father figure, but he does actually give some really comedy even though he doesn’t play himself. Along with Faverau who once again is acting like a fool. Though I was confused of why Jason Bateman was used so wrong. He’s one of the more funnier men in Hollywood, but he just doesn’t have any funny material to work with here and comes off as very misused.

Consensus: Though with it’s moments, Couple Retreat seems very lazy, and not very funny nor very providing on relationships and couples.

4/10=SomeOleBullShiittt!!!

Swingers (1996)

I always wondered how Vince Vaughn got all his parts. But then when I saw this I finally found out all the answers.

SWINGERS follows insecure Mike and smooth-talking Trent, two retro-hip showbiz wanna-be’s, as they make the scene at various clubs in Hollywood and Vegas. During their martini-fueled odyssey, the duo and their buddies explore an altogether new vernacular while struggling with images of machismo, self-esteem, relationships, and, of course, sex.

This is one of those movies that only guys will understand and can relate to. Most of the discussions are made just for the guys and most of course will only understand.

This film is a comedy about how some guys use their charms to pick up girls in midnights clubs and bars. But this film does have some heart, in times when you wouldn’t expect it. Mike has just gotten out of a 6 year relationship and it is discussed very well and you see how true love is shown through the eyes of this character.

Jon Faverau and Vince Vaughn do great jobs in this film playing almost 2 completely opposite guys who somehow connect over the discussions of girls. Faverau does great at playing the awkward and still heartbroken Mike but the one who stands out the most is Vaughn’s character Trent. Vaughn creates this cocky but very smooth with women kinda guy who is really likable and you feel as if you can really connect with him.

The film at points is very funny but most of all very true. It is more about the relationships than it is about just picking up women.Not great but a classic to say the least.

This film is a move for the guys by the guys.

8.5/10=Matinee!!