Month: May 2013

Movie Trailer – Don Jon

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, Tony Danza

Release: October 18th, 2013

Who doesn’t love JGL?  Although, this isn’t the way we usually see him.  And for that matter, this isn’t the way we usually see Scarlett Johansson either.  But hey, maybe that’s a good thing.  I usually hate her work, but the best thing she ever did was that skit on SNL where she was selling chandeliers; “How ’bout that one?  Or that one?”.  Her character kinda looks like that, so who knows, maybe it works.

Movie Trailer – We’re the Millers

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Starring: Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, Ed Helms
Release: August 9th, 2013

I think this looks pretty much like your standard throw-away comedy.  Jason Sudeikis is funny as Joe Biden, but not as much else.  And I never find drug plots to be much more than dumb.  However, how old is Jennifer Aniston and how does she still look that hot?  Is that reason enough to go see the movie?  Probably not, but maybe reason enough to see the trailer.

Movie Review – Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever

Category : Movie Review

Director: Ti West
Starring: Noah Segan, Giuseppe Andrews, Alexi Wasser
Year: 2009

If you look very closely you can see that the above is a picture of a bus running a man over and that that man has literally exploded.  The man happens to be Rider Strong of Boy Meets World fame.  And perhaps the second project that you might recognize him from is Cabin Fever.  Now, that movie wasn’t exactly great, but it wasn’t necessarily awful either.  It was a somewhat believable horror movie that quickly became more of a commentary on how people react in dog-eat-dog situations.  Like I said, not awful, and it’s worth a watch.  It’s follow-up, however, is not.
In order to “appreciate” Cabin Fever 2 you’ve got to at least have a synopsis of the first movie.  In the original, a group of collegians spend the weekend at a remote cabin; the typical horror set up.  Check out my review of The Cabin in the Woods if you’re interested in an original take on this classic premise.  But anyway, the kids plan on spending the weekend drinking, partying, and having a generally reckless time.  But when a man approaches their camp who appears to be sick, order begins to break down.  As the disease spreads, friends begin to turn on each other, and human morality is up for a bloody test.
Ok, so now you know the back story.  The second movie picks up where the first left off.  The disease is still present and it might be impossible to contain.  With the contagions present in the water supply, anyone and everyone is susceptible to the sickness, and once you’ve got it you’re dead.  At a local high school where preparations for the Senior Prom are under way, the student body becomes contaminated and the horror begins all over again.  Friends John and Alex try their best to survive, while local cop Winston attempts to unravel the mystery, and the deadly virus runs rampant.
If you’re like me and you saw Cabin Fever you might also be tempted to see Cabin Fever 2.  Don’t be.  Save yourself an upset stomach and watch something else.  This movie was a gore-fest and nothing else.  And the sad part is that it’s not even a well-made gore-fest, it’s just cheap blood.  People explode, hands get sawed off, body parts ooze strange fluids, and about a million teenagers vomit in a projectile fashion.  Not an enjoyable way to spend ninety minutes, trust me.  And I’m even partial to horror/slashers/gore, but not like this.  Not when it’s  juvenile, cheap, and lackadaisical.  You gotta put a little effort in somewhere or, guess what, you’re movie will suck.

My rating:

Movie Review – The Hangover Part III

Category : Movie Review

Director: Todd Phillips
Starring: Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, Bradley Cooper, Ken Jeong, John Goodman
Year: 2013

The average user rating of The Hangover on IMDB is 7.8 out of 10, while critics give it a 7.3.  Not bad, and having seen it myself I’d say that’s pretty accurate.  It was cool, hilarious, offensive, and fun to watch.  The characters were original, the cameos were nicely done, and I had a good time.  Then came The Hangover Part II with respective ratings of 6.5 and 4.4.  Ouch.  But again, that’s about right.  It was a complete copy of the first movie, just in a new location.  It was more crude, if possible, and much less funny.  It was a whole lot less interesting, less entertaining, and crappier in general.  So next up was The Hangover Part III, and while I felt that I had to watch it, I wasn’t expecting much.  And good thing too, because its early ratings were 6.3 and 3.0, a pretty bad sign.  But I went to check it out anyway and got to see for myself that it was indeed just as awful as you might imagine it would be.
First, you’ve got to get to know the Wolfpack.  These four friends have been on some wild adventures together: Phil (the cool one), Stu (the uptight dentist), Alan (the weirdo), and Doug (the throw away character).  In the first movie, the group loses Doug after an insane bachelor party.  They’ve got to figure out what happened when they were wasted and find him before his wedding.  In the second, almost the exact same thing happens before Stu’s wedding, this time in Thailand.  And in the third, the gang are on a road trip when Doug is again kidnapped, this time by a thug named Marshall.  Phil, Stu, and Alan must find their old friend Mr. Chow if they ever want to see Doug again.  Apparently Chow is a man on the run, with twisted plans on how he will return to glory.  The Wolfpack are in over their heads, as they must deal with gold bars, Mexican cops, escort services, pawn shops, and ultimately the town that started it all; Vegas.

I knew going in that I wasn’t seeing a fine piece of film.  I expected it to be bad, but I also expected to laugh.  And I did, about two or three times.  It just wasn’t funny.  There weren’t enough “oh shit!” moments, enough vulgarity, or enough wit.  Falling flat may be an understatement; falling dead may be more like it.  I wanted the plot to be similar to the first two; a hangover, confusion, hilarity, penis jokes, generally foolery.  But instead it was almost an homage to the other two.  Umm, this isn’t the last episode of Cheers, you can’t just bring back all the old characters, reference the past, and expect us all to cry while saying farewell.  It’s a dumb comedy series that was mediocre at best; two funny films does not a dynasty make.  So I was left wanting much more; basically the first film over again, or at least a movie that stuck to a format that was proven to work.
There were some high points.  Zack Galifianakis was featured much more, which I liked, and Bradley Cooper was featured much less, which I also liked.  However, Ken Jeong was the central point of the plot, and I really don’t think he’s that funny.  So maybe that was the problem; the humor was centered around a character and an actor that I don’t find very humorous.  John Goodman was unnecessary, Heather Graham was as untalented as ever, and even Melissa McCarthy made an appearance, which was actually kinda good.  All in all, I wanted the bachelor party madness that I had once enjoyed.  What I got instead was a reunion show of an average franchise.  And what’s even more sad is that at the end of the film, during the credits, there was a patented Hangover scene that made me laugh more than the whole movie combined.  Probably shouldn’t have saved that until the end, boys; you already lost me.

My rating: ✰ ✰

Movie Trailer – Inside Llewyn Davis

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Starring: Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman
Release: December 6th, 2013

The Coen Brothers are a fine, fine team of filmmakers.  I know their movies aren’t for everyone, but they are for me.  Fargo, The Big Lebowski, and O Brother are right up there at the top of my all-time list.  Should be a great movie to see in the theatre on a cold winter day.

Movie Trailer – Last Vegas

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Jon Turteltaub
Starring: Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, Robert De Niro, Kevin Kline
Release: November 1st, 2013

What is this, the old guys’ Hangover?  I enjoyed that movie for what it was and I had a good time watching it.  But I’m not sure I wanna see it this way, I think it would just end up making me feel depressed.

Thought – Memorial Day

Category : Thought

I think people might be a little bit confused.  About half of the people who have made some sort of Memorial Day post, tweet, or comment seem to think that we’re celebrating veterans.  No, that would be Veteran’s Day.  This is Memorial Day, a day that apparently 50% of the people in my fake Internet life don’t know anything about.  I’m not claiming to be a historian, but all it takes is a little Wikipedia search to find out what the meaning of the holiday is.  And for those who don’t think that Wikipedia is a credible source, you can look the same facts up somewhere else that’s more scholarly.
Memorial Day is a day to remember all those who died while a part of the United States Armed Forces.  It started after the Civil War and was first called Decoration Day.  Sounds nice, and honestly I don’t have a cynical anger toward this particular holiday.  I wouldn’t want to be in the military.  I’d be afraid that I would die, and I don’t care about enough people to make that sacrifice.  It amazes me that some people actually want to serve their country more than they want to stay home.  And I respect those people for doing what I don’t want to.  It makes it that much more tragic when they die, because they were being fairly selfless.  So, thanks to those who have died to protect the interests of the country that I was lucky enough to be born in, even though you’re dead and can’t read this.
However (and you knew this was coming), let’s not get ahead of ourselves and imagine that the American military is a troupe of do-gooders running around the world holding back the tides of tyranny.  Our armies support our positions, our allies, keep our money safe, and fight off threats to our oil.  We can and should be thankful for that, because we enjoy living in a rich and powerful country, but we can’t forget that a life is a life, and that our soldiers kill as well as die.  They made a sacrifice for us, but often than sacrifice came at a cost to someone else as well.  So let’s try to remember that while we remember out fallen countrymen.

Movie Review – Surf Nazis Must Die

Category : Movie Review

Director: Peter George
Starring: Barry Brenner, Gail Neely, Tom Shell
Year: 1987

I enjoy cult classics.  I like b-movies.  And I’ve seen my fair share of awful films that have a certain something that makes them enjoyable.  Sometimes it’s that they’re so bad they’re hilarious.  Or sometimes it’s that you can’t imagine where someone got such a wacky idea.  But a good b-movie or cult classic has to have an x-factor that rises it above the normal crap and makes it indescribably cool.  I was hoping that would be the case with Surf Nazis Must Die.  I thought it would be comically poor.  But no, it wasn’t.  It wasn’t witty, original, or fun in any way at all.  The only thing it was was bad, and not awesomely so.
So here’s the plot; California has been rocked my a massive earthquake.  Order has gone out the window as police can only respond to the most devastating events.  Crime has risen beyond control and the gangs that once only bothered people on the beach are now claiming the coasts as their own, killing, stealing, and doing whatever they please.  The leader of the Surf Nazi gang, Adolf, along with his Hitler Youth, begin a campaign to unite the gangs and take total control of the beach.  But when an innocent man is murdered and his mother finds out, hell is unleashed on the Nazis in the form of an angry black woman with grenades.
It was bad.  OMG bad.  There was nothing funny or interesting about any part of the film.  It wasn’t awesomely bad, it wasn’t comically bad, it was just bad.  I was bored and sorry I was watching it about ten minutes in.  The only redeeming quality was Mama Washington, but you can only watch so much of her running around killing “honkies”.  I’m just not sure why someone took the time and money to make this movie.  Were they bored?  Did they have a lot of surf boards that they wanted to spray paint swastikas on?  Surf Nazis Must Die may be the worst movie I’ve ever seen in my life, and not in a good way.

My rating:

Movie Trailer – Only God Forgives

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas, Vithaya Pansringarm
Release: July 19th, 2013

Refn and Gosling teamed up in Drive, which I didn’t like.  It started out great, but quickly became way too violent.  Not that I mind violence, but the characters and story were thrown away out of hand.  This movie looks like it never had a story, just skipped right to the killing.  And apparently audiences at Cannes are booing and leaving early.  Not a good sign.

Movie Review – Pulp Fiction

Category : Movie Review

Director: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis, Uma Thurman, Tim Roth
Year: 1994

What more can I say about Quentin Tarantino?  Whether you like him or not, you’ve got to admit that he’s an original.  His movies are cool in a way that other directors can only dream about.  Yes, they’re violent and vulgar, but the ideas and the plots and the twists and the characters; you just wonder where inside his brain these ideas came from.  And, of course, some of his films are better than others, but they are all at the very least more interesting than anything else you are going to see on any given day.  Reservoir Dogs, being his first full length film, is unpolished but still excellent.  Jackie Brown is a great combination of Taratino’s talent and Elmore Leonard’s intrigue.  Django Unchained is, for my money, his very best so far.  And Pulp Fiction falls somewhere in the middle of that pack; an excellent film full of new ideas, quotable lines, and enough blood to get you squeamish but keep to watching.
Multiple plots twist around each other in this crazy story and keep you spinning from beginning to end, and the man at the hub is Marsellus Wallace, gangster extraordinaire.  His two lead thugs are Vincent and Jules, friends who discuss the deeper meanings of life while killing lowlifes.  When Marsellus leaves town, he asks Vincent to take his eccentric wife Mia out for a night on the town.  Of course things don’t go as planned, as drugs, sex, and twisting all get in the way.  Meanwhile, boxer Butch and his girlfriend are making a daring attempt to get out of the crime game and away from Marsellus.  This side story revolves around an ancient watch, a pair of bloodthirsty hillbillies, and a chopper.  All these wild plots become connected, out of order, and perversely entertaining as Pulp Fiction draws to a dramatic close.
That was actually more difficult to summarize than I thought it would be.  The way the stories are broken up and rearranged makes it hard to see them straight, but it also makes the movie that much more fun to watch.  And that’s what it’s all about; this film is enjoyable to watch.  It’s also very unique, which is why it’s loved by  audiences and critics alike and is often held as one of the best movies ever.  Now, I wouldn’t go that far.  I liked Django Unchained much more, and I even liked Jackie Brown slightly better.  But Pulp Fiction had its great moments, chiefly the scenes with Travolta and Jackson.  They were excellent and I would say they made the movie.  I didn’t really care for Uma Thurman and her storyline was the only one to really drag, but other than that the story was fast and exciting.  Willis did a great job as well, and so did Roth, Harvey Keitel, and Ving Raymes in smaller roles.  Overall, the movie was great; entertaining, funny, bloody, and a one-of-a-kind piece of work that doesn’t come along nearly often enough.

My rating: ✰ ✰ ✰ ✰