Wednesday, July 27, 2011

We are going to win this war because we have the best men. And they, personally, will escort Adolf Hitler to the gates of Hell.

Tuesday night is 'Bargain Night' at the crappy theater near my house, meaning tickets are only $5. At that price, I will literally see anything. If you're actually reading these reviews and you notice that I went on a Tuesday, please forgive me if I simply love whatever it was that night. I'm actually using coupons to bring that number down to a whopping $2. Is it possible to hate something that cost only two bucks? Yes. Yes it is.
But, that is certainly not the case tonight. Nope. Captain America is yet another decent offering from Marvel. It's late (as usual), so let's get right to it.

Monday, July 25, 2011

I don't remember the emperor crapping his robe and screaming "time-out."

"I can hear his beard."
In honor of a summer littered with fanboy cinema (almost all of which I have seen, mind you), I decided to tackle the DVR pileup and watch 2008's Fanboys. This one tells the tale of four friends taking a rode trip to Skywalker Ranch so that one may see a rough cut of the soon-to-be-released Episode 1 before he succumbs to cancer. Equal parts road comedy and love letter to all things Star Wars, Fanboys is amusing enough, though not an outright classic.

One thing that surprised me were the number of cameos in the movie. There are a couple of Star Wars people that show up (I think I counted three), Captain Kirk, Machete, Jay and Silent Bob, Kenny Powers and a horribly nerdy Seth Rogen. I'm leaving out a few, but you get the point. Better yet though, is the main cast. I will forever love Sam Huntington for his role as Jam in Detroit Rock City (utterly hilarious). Kristen Bell does the hot/cool girl thing - cliché as it may be. Jay Baruchel is the character he is in everything, but I enjoy it - so no harm there.

Overall, I'd say there are worse ways to spend 90 minutes. If you have zero interest in Star Wars or sci-fi you probably should keep it moving. Otherwise, pop this one in and think back to where you were May 19, 1999. I was at a 10am showing (oh, it was the first showing). Ah, to be a giant, young nerd again...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I would create a fake family for that.

I dare you to touch her boobs. 
Adam Sandler can never, ever undo the greatness he thrust upon me in my developmental years. Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore are responisble for at least 35% of all the words that come out of my mouth. And I'm an adult. Really. That said, I can't seem to jump on board and flat-out hate the movies he has turned out lately (though I really, really didn't like Click).Yes, they always have this weird family first message. Sure, they are about as predictable as an episode of Inspector Gadget. And of course, Sandler will play some goofball who's really, really rich. Oh, and his wife will be crazy-hot.

We just made a couple million. Cheers.
Which leads us to Just Go With It. A movie from earlier this year about a guy pretending he is/was married to get the luscious lady pictured above. All the aforementioned rules are firmly in place, and despite that, I enjoyed this one. Granted, it didn't cost me anything - and, and! - my wife stayed awake for the entire flick. Talk about win-win.

However you feel about these movies, you will have to admit - they look like they're having fun. I think the actors and crew get together and party for a couple of months and don't entirely freak out if critics bash the Hell out of the final result. I see where the hate comes from, I get it. But if you just relax and take it as the gigantic piece of fluff that it is, you'll probably enjoy it. At the very least, everyone can marvel over Jennifer Aniston's body. My dear Lord.
Oh yeah, I almost cried during the sheep scene (he feeds it?).

Friday, July 22, 2011


The streak is over. I decided to end the run of family movies and watch something with a decidedly darker tone. The reviews I read prior were all favorable, but there was one thing that made me have to watch this. The promise of the longest fight-scene ever. Here's my two-cents on Takashi Miike's samurai epic, 13 Assassins.

Killing fifty dudes by strategically placing dozens of samurai swords everywhere? Fantastic.
This is going in the classroom.
I will admit to being slightly confused at times (some of these guys look/sound very similar), but overall this one is pretty straightforward. You have a villain so incredibly evil, you quickly begin to long for his comeuppance. Each scene of his atrocities is upped by another (the naked lady, anyone? Yeeesh) and it gets to the point where he has zero humanity left. He needs to die. The more gruesome, the better.

So, a squad is assembled. Methodically. Once we hit the magic number of 13, it's on. Our samurai quickly fortify a village and set the stage for the epic finale.

I'm not going to say that it's disappointing - it's not. It's just that with the director's reputation, I thought it was going to turn into something unheard of. Heads and limbs flying everywhere, maybe a face ripped off and punted into a spike. But no, it's all pretty legitimate. Lots of guys getting slashed and falling down in heaps. There are some highlights (the cattle? really?), but nothing that will stay with you forever like the curb stomp in American History X. I think he went for sheer volume instead of particularly horrid deaths. That said, it's so incredibly well-staged and executed that you have to respect and admire it. So many movies are either in too close to see what's happening or just cutaway a bajillion times. Not here. An insane finale that will captivate and impress. Extra love to the last member of the team, the Bandit. That guy was a bad customer.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Consider yourself pounced!

Not the target demographic, I'm sure.
When you have a small child, people will often engage them with a polite, "Hello!" My son is almost two now and when strangers speak to him, little do they know what they are getting into. This is a true account of Matty meeting a lifeguard at our hotel swimming pool before the Red Sox game.

Lifeguard: (waving) Helloooo.
Matty: Movies.
Lifeguard (unsure):  Oh. Yes. Okay.
Matty: I watch them.
Lifeguard: Oh.
(he starts listing all of them and I shuffle him away)

This is the same scene wherever we go. Why mention any of this? Well, this weird fascination with movies (he says blu-ray, when mentioning colors) is pretty much a direct result of my own affinity. 

Anywho, all this brings me to a "movie" I saw in the theaters last Sunday, Winnie the Pooh. What a strange little thing we have here. The film itself is right around an hour long (there is a short about the Loch Ness beforehand - we missed it) and is very, very simple. Not much happens, really. Pooh and everybody laze around. Big misunderstanding. Nervous overreactions. Realization of misunderstanding. Credits. I guess it's charming enough. I actually laughed at some of the goofy dialogue (the knot/not section near the end was very clever). It's all very unassuming. I'm just baffled as to why this was released theatrically. It's essentially a two-part television episode (albeit with very nice animation). There is no reason to see this, but if you have the chance, it's an hour. One. That's madness.

By the way, don't think I haven't noticed that Tangled and Pooh were the last two flicks I've seen. Oh, it's noted. And it's about to be destroyed.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Whoaaaa! Somebody get me a glass! 'Cuz I just found me a tall drink of water.

Okay, it's Monday morning (after 1) and I'm trying to finish watching the Red Sox game against the Rays. It's the bottom of the 14th and the score is 0-0. Sox have blown a bunch of chances and I'm hoping that my inattentiveness somehow results in a breakthrough run for my beloved baseball team. Why mention this on my movie blog? Well, I might be looking for some man-points, after yesterday's flick. Um, last year's ultra-girly (though ultra-good) Tangled.

Voiced by the (sometimes) super-hot Mandy Moore.
I don't think I need to tell you the premise, but I will tell you that it's executed very well. The story is sweet, funny and breezes by quickly. My wife and sister loved this one. For me, not quite, but it was enjoyable. I was happy for them because it seems that many animated movies are geared toward young boys. I doubt my son will request this one a billion times (Cars and Shrek currently vie for that title), but he does enjoy the Cars 2 trailer immensely. Anyway, if there's a lady in your life, young or old, she'll probably eat this one up.
These two are pretty much the best thing ever.
Guys, boys, whatever, don't feel too bad though, because there are two characters in this movie that will soften the blow left by the magical/sparkly hair of Rapunzel. Yes, Finn and Maximus the Horse are routinely awesome. Almost everything Finn says is hysterical and the horse is funny every second he is on screen. I haven't laughed as much at a Disney (non-Pixar) character since Rafiki kicked all kinds of hyena-ass damned near twenty-years ago.

Well, we're entering the 16th inning and I am the only Sox fan in the world blogging about Tangled. Hopefully. Wait till my next entry...oh my.

Friday, July 15, 2011

She's got lots of them, but only one Harry.

Where to begin? It's three in the morning, and I just got back from some theater in Hanover (PA) where my sister and I saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 . After realizing that the six screens at the dirtmall and the four at Frank's were all sold out, my wife came up with this random theater that claimed "we can't be sold out." Yep. Can't. I guess I'm a little slow sometimes, but I eventually worked out the wonders of a digital presentation of a film. We got there at 11:55 and I really think that at least 14 of the 16 screens were showing HP. To me, that's just absurd. What was nice, however, was the fact that our theater wasn't overly crowded. Unfortunately, the douche to non-douche ratio was exceedingly high. Anyway...on to the movie.
Maybe I was simply exhausted/annoyed, but I didn't love this movie. I didn't hate it, either. It simply seemed like something was missing. The emotional impact I expected just wasn't there. I knew that some important characters were going to meet their demise and I thought the way it was handled wasn't very resonant. Granted one woman (and yes, I'm going woman and not girl) sobbed funeral-style on more than one occasion, but I felt indifferent. But my main complaint...
I was going to go with Neville...but...

...was the battle scene! I remember it being completely out-of-control in the book! Pure chaos.
In the flick, the pre-battle is very, very cool. Professors and students getting ready to defend Hogwarts. Voldemort and his crew are marching on the school and all sorts of unsavory characters are swarming from all sides. The tension mounts and....

...we cut away. We follow the action inside (rightfully so) and never really revisit it (wrongfully so - if that's something people say). Yes, eventually the Big 3 head out (and it's pretty badass when they do) to join in the fracas. But it's all over way too fast. This is Warner's flagship franchise. I wanted to see 100 million dollars worth of wizards kicking ass.


Replace wizards with lame-ass robots and that's essentially Transformers 3. Fine, maybe not an hour of straight action, but more would have been better. 
The only time I really, really wanted less was in the Epilogue. Hands down my least favorite part of the book, and sadly, it's laughable on the big screen. In movies, aging 19 years means you get a bad haircut and gain 5 pounds. Poor, poor Ginny. *shudder*

Whatever. No opinions matter when you are talking about the 8th (and final) movie in a series. You either HAVE TO see this to complete your life, or you lost interest 6 movies ago. Regardless, this is a franchise that should be commended. I will literally/magically punch someone in the face/crotch if they ever, ever remake/reboot this.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

This is where I was born. I'm not returning as someone else.

So, the final Harry Potter comes out tomorrow (well, in less than two hours).  To avoid being totally lost, I purchased Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 yesterday and finished watching it today. I was very happy with the movie and am certainly looking forward to the completion of not only the film, but the long cinematic journey that we've been on for what is basically a decade! Imagine.Ten solid years of Ron Weasley and his gigantic twin brothers.

Now, I am not a diehard Harry Potter fan. If I remember correctly, I really didn't care for the first two films (especially considering I thought that Lord of the Rings was the end-all fantasy movie and little kids and muggles and such tomfoolery was beneath my superior wits and tastes). In fact, I've never even seen the third and fourth films despite owning each for a few years now. Oh. Well.

Snakes. Why'd it have to be snakes?
Back it up a few years from now and I figured that as an English teacher [middle school], I had to read the books. So, I did. All in a row, basically over a summer. I really enjoyed them ( though Order was kinda lame). That experience essentially made me care about the movies, even if just a little.

All this leads me to some quick words about HP7 pt.1. It is really good. The actors have grown up so much and remain very committed to delivering fantastic performances. The story is a bit heavy, but never drags. I will admit I even crapped a little during the snake scene! Damn jump scares! Also, I have to mention in the most non-creeper way possible that I find Emma Watson incredible as Hermione. Hell, I even really dig Rupert Grint's Ron Weasley, too. The cast is uniformly excellent, but these two have delivered for-what-seems-like-ever. I'll be back in a few hours to tell you how this all wraps up. (fingers crossed). Oh, my sister's dressing up. Yes. For a movie.

Monday, July 11, 2011

It's hard enough to open your heart in this world. Don't make it harder.

How do you feel about that slogan? Clever?
My wife and I just finished last year's The Kids Are All Right. This one was written and directed by Lisa Cholodenko and tells the story of a lesbian couple's relationship taking a beating at the hands of a groovy sperm-donor, whom their kids reach out to one day. Yes, re-read that sentence if you must, but that's the premise (I might've left something out). Why crank this one up of the 400 or so movies (and looking at what we've been watching recently) we own? Well, in our household, sometimes you just have to watch something quiet.

That said, this film is pretty solid. Maybe a tad slow (a little bit). But if you're down for a grown-up movie that is full of excellent performances, this will deliver. It was nominated for Best Picture (even though the damn field went to up to 10) and Best Actress, though I'm not sure about either being fully warranted.

Regardless, there are numerous moments that are extremely awkward (just about any with the son) and will certainly keep you glued to the unfolding drama. I guess the point is to show that families, no matter how constructed, go through the same shit. My wife and I could relate, despite not being wealthy-awesome-people. Seriously, Mark Ruffalo's character is like The Dude at times. But of course, once you start to envy anything about anybody here, the wheels fall off and you'll realize that even hooking up with hot-ass hostesses for circus-sex isn't where it's at. Yes, it's that type of movie. Even people with everything can still be miserable and do bad things. Love is all you need, folks.
And money. Money's cool.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

You have made a grave mistake...

What's the saying? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me? Well, Michael Bay and his damned Transformers movies have now fooled me three times. I don't know why I keep going when I really, really loathe these flicks. I'm not piling on either, because the general consensus seems to be that Transformers: Dark of the Moon is the perfect blockbuster, at least as far as audiences (and box office records) are concerned.
While looking at this you should probably make explosion sounds. In slow-motion. Oh, and in 3-D. While skydiving.

Shia taking the money and running. Good for him.
Okay, so there's not really much more to say. I saw this Tuesday night with Flem and my sister. Flem hated it. My sister hated it. I don't want to dismiss it as 157 minutes of pure awful, but goodness... You will actually grow tired of the action. It will be too much and you will get bored. I promise. I realize this is a movie based on a cartoon, but does that mean it has to be stupid (it is)? The first time I saw a Transformer wearing a cloak/tattered rag, I wanted to scream and punch all crotches in the theater so that the pain in our souls would be matched by the pain in our junk.
 But, if you do go, here are some things you might want to keep count of:
  • Optimus' Ahnuld-like growling! Gee-yaaaaaaaaa!
  • Poor use of CGI/stand-ins-for /actual American historical figures
  • American flags (America! F--- Yeah!)
  • Girl making pouty face
  • Occurrences of Patrick Dempsey douchiness
  • Republican propaganda!
Hey, when this movie makes a bajillion dollars, remember...we only paid $4 each. We totally showed them.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

You gotta win a title. For you. For me. For Lowell.

Wow. It's almost two in the morning and I just finished the astounding 2010 film, The Fighter. David O. Russell directs Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale in what is one of the best movies I have seen in a very, very long time (right now, it's near the top). Now, I'm a pretty cynical prick, but this one moved me. I was so emotionally vested in these two was incredible and inspiring.
There were dozens of scenes in this one that reminded me of my Charlestown-based family (specifically, my brothers) that made me laugh, smile, cry or a combination of all three. Even if you've never been to Boston, and even if you don't have a brother like Dicky, there is something here for you. I'm usually a person who likes to run off at the mouth about inaccuracies of this type of movie (just being a know-it-all doucher)...but I don't care. I don't want to know. This one is simply too good for any of that.
Oh, if they gave Christian Bale another Oscar next year for Dicky, I wouldn't mind it at all. Amazing.
One more thing...David O. Russell + Mark Wahlberg = Cinematic Excellence (though I missed IHH)

Monday, July 4, 2011

You keep the coffee coming honey, or I'll give you a tip you won't forget!

Well, I don't know where to begin. My sister and I sat down to watch a "scary" movie and I opted for 2009's Drag Me To Hell. This flick had two things going for it: Father Flem's recommendation, and Sam Raimi. Though I respect and admire both of these fine gentlemen, I think I owe each of them a punch to the nuts whenever/if ever I see them again. I've gone from thinking it was okay, to thinking it was really stupid, to finally just kind of hating it. Maybe I need to see it again, but I seriously doubt it finds its way into the PS3 ever again.

Bruce Campbell would have offed this old hag instantly.

The film had its moments, definitely, but it seemed to waver between slapstick horror and like, high school drama class from scene to scene. I really enjoyed the nasty stuff, especially all the mandible-sucking and the Guinness-caliber bloody nose. But sometimes, I swear that Alison Lohman and Justin Long were intentionally trying to deliver their lines as poorly as possible. Very random. All that said, I guess you should check it out for the gooey-violence (which is inspired). In fact, you should probably make this one the capper in a night full of bad decisions. Then, for you, it might be more Army of Darkness than Spider-Man 3.
By the way, the end is very, very kick-ass, despite all the missteps along the way.