Sunday, August 28, 2011

One thing about living in Santa Carla I never could stomach....all the damn vampires.

I was born in 1979. That means that the movies of my youth, for the most part, are going to be teeming with synthesizers, head bands and one or both of The Coreys. Like most kids of that era, my favorites range from bona fide classics such as  Gremlins ('84 - my first favorite movie) and The Goonies ('85), down to more niche movies like Rad ('86) and The Monster Squad ('87). One movie that somehow managed to elude me was 1987's vampire-flick, The Lost Boys. How could I have missed this for so long?

Jack Bauer's embarrassing senior portrait.
Frankly, I have never really cared for vampire movies. What's the best one? Interview with the Vampire? Bram Stoker's Dracula? Old school Nosferatu (1922!)? I don't think I have seen any of these in their entirety. My favorite two vampire flicks would probably be Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Kristy Swanson? Yes, please) and Blade (or the sequel). Yeah, I just admitted that.

Despite my bias, I really enjoyed The Lost Boys. I know, who cares almost 25 years later...but that's a testament to the movie's worth. It's still good. Yes, it's low-budge. There are almost no special effects (or on-screen killings!) whatsoever. The dialogue can be cheesy and dated. And, yes, Corey Haim routinely looks like he's wearing my mom's clothes. Oh, the worst offense? They go to this concert early on, and I swear, it's a shirtless, (and amazingly sweaty) Shawn Michaels just destroying a saxophone. Really.

I'm on the fence with the music. The creepy choir-thing was cool, but maybe a bit...overused.

Dorks. They look like a couple of dorks.
All the aforementioned terribleness is offset by a great cast and memorable characters. Kiefer Sutherland is as awesome as his mullet. Jason Patric, who would make a beautiful woman, is solid as the conflicted older brother. Corey Haim finds the right mix of annoying kid and ass-kicking goofball. Bill S. Preston, Esq. even makes an appearance, and that makes every movie better. Let's not forget about the Frog Brothers, either. They pretty much rule with how ridiculously hardcore they are in every frame. And any movie that has a dog basically jumpkick a vampire into a tub of garlic and holy water is okay by me. And everyone, apparently. If you too somehow missed it, check it out. Even if you already have, watch it again. It doesn't um, wait for it...suck. High five on that one! Anyone? No? Screw you guys. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Drew, you had just left the bar when I saw midget princess.

You know how Amazon decides what you like? It uses your search history and suggests things you may want to buy. Right now it always recommends that I buy blu-rays and baby food, but there was a time when it repeatedly suggested I buy the book I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell. While I find Amazon to be extremely persuasive at times, I never bit. I have a thing where I don't read books if there's already a movie. I know the book is always better but I, like you, have only so much time (though this blog may clearly suggest otherwise). Which leads me to...

I hope they serve Dr. Pepper.
...the low-budget 2009 comedy, you guessed it, I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell. It's been years since I've seen a low-budge, independent flick, but sometimes, you gotta change it up.

All the staples are here. Lame alt-rock soundtrack? Check. Acting that can actually hurt your face? Big check. Long-winded speeches that only happen in independent movies? 10-4. But if you can get through all of the above and the first 30 minutes or so, you might like this one. Honestly, the opening scene had me thinking WTF? Then the movie started rolling along and I was left thinking just F.

Somehow though, things started to change. I actually got into it. This is made significantly more challenging because the main character is possibly the biggest prick ever. He's like Christian Bale in American Psycho minus the dog-killing and general awesomeness. You will hate this guy. Factor in that this is based on a true story and you may ask yourself, "Is anybody this big an a-hole?" Or, "How is he not murdered?"

Gray Shirt? Totally from Bring It On. Not that I've seen it six times.
If you can make it to the climax of the film, be warned. It will make you want to throw up in your mouth. Think of the toilet scene in Dumb & Dumber and triple it. Or something. I can't unsee it. It's like the worst toilet in Scotland. What's truly great is it's as funny as it is deserved. And it's played extremely well.

The conclusion is predictable, but ultimately satisfying. I was surprised at how much I was vested in these jag-offs. If you happen to catch this one, and twenty minutes in you smash your fist through the screen and curse my name, that's fair. But if you stick around, you might be surprised. Just sayin'...

Unrelated, but amusing. A woman I work with was detailing her pre-marriage dating-life to me and she said, "Yeah, I was like, collecting dicks." That imagery is pure magic.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Suitable for framing.

Double feature! Okay, not really, but last night my wife and I finished two movies off the DVR. Don't scroll down and read about the other one. Seriously, avert your eyes. The second flick, was 2009's A Perfect Getaway. Why bother with this one when we've got True Grit and Black Swan just sitting there in the DVR? Blame my upbringing.

I used to wait tables in Hawai'i. Killing tourists seemed reasonable.
I was raised on the Big Island of Hawai'i. Living there? Never impressed me. In fact, it bored me. I couldn't wait to leave. Now that I've been gone close to a decade, I desperately want to go back. Instead of selling my body to finance trips (might take awhile), I reminisce by catching flicks that take place in the islands. Basically, that means watching a few minutes of 50 First Dates whenever it's on TNT, but whatever - you get me. I had heard some good things when this was released, but my wife was super pregnant at the time. Lame.

That's a young Thor in the middle.
It's been awhile since I have seen a movie where I had to figure out who the killer was. Uh...Scream 4 was probably the last one I can think of (I forget already). Anyway, that's your job here and it's a decent ride, I suppose. The problem is that there are only three possible answers. One seems too obvious from the get go, so it becomes a coin toss. I won't ruin the surprise for you, but I don't think it's a real brain-buster.

In the movie, she's naked. No lie.
That said, this movie may have a little bit of The Sixth Sense going for it. When you get to the end, you might want to immediately watch it over again to see if everything holds up. You also might want to kill yourself from all the eye-rolling you've been doing. I was in the middle. I was curious, but also a bit disappointed (it spirals into madness in the last 15 minutes).

What I wasn't bummed about, was the sweet Cool Hand Luke references. Having just watched that one, I felt pretty cool catching them (probably how smart people feel when they solve a problem). Oddly enough my father-in-law threw out a Luke line at dinner the other night as well. Nuts. I guess it's like I always say: Paul Newman makes everything better. Okay, I've never said that. You got me, okay? Jeez. You're a real jerk.

I can't be in menopause and in coach.

This is what happens when you find a stranger in the Alps!
Two things. No, wait. Four things. One, I've never seen an episode of the show. Never. Two, I genuinely enjoyed the first Sex and the City movie. Three, I'm not gay. Married? Yes. Love dudes? No. Four, I hated this movie. If this movie was walking down the street I would punch it in the face. Twice.

I know I'm not the target demographic. I get it. As I'm typing this I have the screen split. Left side = this review. Right side = Sox vs. Royals (Sox are up 6-1 in the 8th, in case you're wondering). Still, I can handle a good chick flick. Sex and the City 2 is not a good flick, period. The acting can be laughable, the plot absurd, but worst of all is the script. You almost expect each actress to turn to the camera and give a Fonzie-style ayyyyyyyyyyy after delivering one of their countless groan-inducing lines (one of which I've featured in the title...).

Oh and special mention to the ridiculous costumes and dresses our lovely foursome are often clad in. Does high-fashion have to mean that you look like a space-hooker from the 80's? And who the Hell wears a gown in their house? I know that it's part of the charm (I guess) but it made me want to fight them. Especially Cynthia Nixon.

Final Note: The Gods literally did me a solid here. We recorded this one on the DVR during a rainstorm and I guess the signal kept cutting out (oh, DishNetwork sucks hard, by the way). So we'd be watching and it would say PARTIAL SIGNAL LOSS and just skip ahead. Maybe we'd miss 10 seconds, maybe 10 minutes. Who knows/who cares? I'm calling this a victory, though I do fully concede that you shouldn't pass judgement on a movie you haven't seen entirely. Unless it stars Cynthia Nixon.
Final Note #2: My brother once told me about a time he was playing charades with some family friends. He selected Sex and the City as the phrase he needed to act out. He immediately became flustered. Seeing this, they offered up their teenage daughter as assistance. "Use Lindsey! She can help you!" Yeesh.
Extra Credit: For the bathtub scene. Not worth seeing due to, but it might soften the blow if you have to.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tanny Glover.

Summer is over. Definitely sucks, but I guess most adults don't have 10 consecutive weeks off every year (to see movies and write a crappy blog, no less) - so, I'm not going to complain too much. With my last bargain Tuesday at the ol' dirt mall, I decided to close the season with the comedy 30 Minutes or Less. And being that I was exhausted from being developed professionally, I decided that a 10:00 pm showing of an 83-minute movie was just about all I could muster...

What are you guys, swapping stories about getting fingered?
Before I begin, let me tell you about where I see most of these movies, a little town called York, Pennsylvania. York is an interesting place, and by interesting I mean terrible. Okay, not really, but it's definitely strange. For instance, last night, there was an old man dressed as young Elvis at the movies. It was a Tuesday evening, it was almost 10 - what could possibly explain this? Nothing. Try it, yourself. Give me one legitimate reason why an 80 year-old man would go to the movies in an Elvis costume. At 10. On Tuesday.

Not enough posters feature blowtorches.
Speaking to the movie (probably should be on that), I'll say that it definitely has some inspired bits. A lot of the dialogue seems improvised, and Aziz Ansari frequently delivers. The premise of two guys being forced to rob a bank puts them in a series of awkward events and allows for some funny exchanges. Danny McBride and Nick Swardson get in some good discussions, but it gets sort of weird by the end. 

Another strong point is the pacing. Subtract the credits and you are looking at a film that is around 75 minutes long. That's nice. One drawback however, the movie is shockingly bland. This one is directed by the man responsible for Zombieland, so you'd think it would be a tad more stylish. Oh well. For $2, I'm good. I'd say it's a decent rental, at best. Unless of course, you love guys humping a 3D Jason Voorhees. Then this is your Gone With the Wind.
I will, enthusiastically, award Bonus points for: 
  • Michael Peña's character, Chango
  • The sister was pretty hot (so was Juicy, I suppose)
  • The innocent victim in the bank (didn't see the second thing coming)
  • Embarrassing middle schoolers. Fantastic.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Get your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape.

Oops. Inadvertent victory today. My wife and I went to the movies for the first time since The King's Speech and things went slightly awry. She informed me on the way in, that that was what we did on Valentine's Day (romantic, huh?). Tonight, we were afforded the opportunity to make another trip to the cinema, and I promised her that she could pick whatever she wanted. She chose The Help. Two tickets, please. What's that? Sold out. Well, is there anything starting soon, obese ticket-lady? Oh. Really.

Tagline, good. Images, ridiculous.
I felt bad. Obviously, Rise of the Planet of the Apes was what I wanted to see. Wifey, not so much. I genuinely offered to call it and go out to eat (where we would be able to eat simultaneously) but she was cool with it. I think seeing apes in the title of the movie is a massive red flag for her - oh, she also thought that this took place in outer space (check the rules in post #2 - space is a dealbreaker) - but I showed her that the buzz was pretty good (IMDB app). She further relaxed when we entered the theater. It was crowded. And, there were other women in the crowd. Big sigh.

Apes on a foggy bridge = disaster for mankind.
Outside of Super 8, this was probably the most fun I had at the movies this summer. I always complain about there not being enough action, but it is completely okay here. The escalation of Caesar's abilities and motivations play out perfectly. You'll be hooked. Though there is only one extended action sequence, it is impossible to be bored. Even if it's telegraphed at times, the tension is gripping. The effects are about 97% jaw-dropping, with just the occasional bout of goofiness. Actually, the only real absurdity comes from the "villains." They are so over-the-top bad, that you might find yourself hoping a few apes screw them in an extremely uncomfortable place (maybe that was just me). Good times!
BEST WORST CHARACTER EVER: Their next door neighbor. Huge doucher.
BOTTOM LINE: If the preview at all interested you, go see it. An ape fights a horse. Read that again. Yeah.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Lionel Ritchie. Works every time.

Welcome back to my children's movie blog! Definitely not my intention, but animated flicks have two things going for them: they keep my son interested (for about 15 minutes, unless it's Despicable Me - that movie absolutely freezes him in place) and they are short. Win-win. This morning we got up extra early (for us, anyway) and began Rio. I thought this one was going to be pretty rough, but I actually,, really liked it. I know. I'm like a giant, eleven year-old girl.

Dear God, make me a bird. So I could fly far. Far, far away from here
I didn't see this theatrically, but on Blu-ray, it is visually stunning. That alone, may be worth seeing it. But if beautifully animated cartoon birds don't do it for you, maybe one of these will:

  • The voice cast is stellar. Jesse Eisenberg (who my wife thinks is Michael Cera) does what he does, but the lovely Anne Hathaway really soars (like what I did there?) and Jemaine Clement (please watch Flight of the Conchords) rules.
  • Lionel Ritchie works every time, indeed.
  • Blu's take on samba is spot-on.
  • The singing and dancing is at a minimum. Still pretty annoying. Isn't the best musical number ever from an animated movie "What's This?" from The Nightmare Before Christmas. Yep.
  • Animated Carnival is breathtaking to see. Of course, I'm sure the real one looks okay, too (damn you, Nikos).
  • Anne Hathaway's bird-character, Jewel, is hot. Yeah, I said it. 
That seems like an appropriate place to wrap things up. I'm actually on my way to the movies with my wife. I'm hoping to see Rise of the Planet of the Apes. She wants to see something girly. My next post will announce the winner.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Last night I fake chowed a DJ's mom.

The Farrelly Brothers. In the '90's they were responsible for two legitimate classics, Dumb and Dumber and There's Something About Mary (in between is Kingpin, which I find hilarious). Since then, they have been very hit or miss. Me, Myself & Irene would probably be on the hit side of things (and maybe Shallow Hal?)...while Stuck on You and The Heartbreak Kid end up being straight-up misses. This brings us to their latest comedy, Hall Pass.

If you're cool with Owen Wilson, then you'll be okay with this one. Jason Sudeikis is solid as well, but I liked him a million times more in Horrible Bosses. Regardless, they have a good rapport together. Their wives are played by the lovely duo of Jenna Fischer and Kelly Bundy herself, Christina Applegate. Oh, Fischer? Total victim of the DushFactor here. Some scenes? Fantastic. Others...not so much.

The Farrelly Brothers include some patented bits...namely the incident in the bathroom. Yeesh. Pretty sure all their movies have something rather disgusting happen near the crapper.

That's a lovely accent you have. New Jersey?
Most of their movies have been PG-13 (or at least it seems that way). Not here. One advantage of the R rating is the lovely young woman pictured to the left delivers the goods (for you pervs out there...I looked away out of respect). Unfortunately, male frontal nudity of the Dirk Diggler variety kind of offsets the female glory (it's seared into my retinas...goodness). The ridiculously hot Alyssa Milano shows up for a minute, which is always welcome.

Look, I think this movie is pretty frickin' average, but I watched the whole thing with my wife in one shot. That's like seeing Big Foot riding a unicorn.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

What we've got here is... failure to communicate.

Excellent. Today, I finished the 1967 classic, Cool Hand Luke. I've always thought that Paul Newman was a badass, but I really didn't have any proof that I could call on quickly, other than Slap Shot. Not that his legacy needs my vote, but I'm fully on board now (unlike the Steve McQueen incident).
Sometimes nothin' can be a really cool hand...

I want to point out that as far as prison movies go, The Green Mile is still my all-time favorite. I know most people go with The Shawshank Redemption, but not me. I guess this one is now on the list. It's definitely a different feel here, with the inmates being more old-school. By that, I mean well-mannered and more aw-shucks, boss than most modern-day movie criminals. Honestly, Newman's Luke is locked up for destroying friggin' parking meters. No Cyrus-the-Virus types here.

Some things I learned:
  • George Kennedy! Dude won an Oscar for this. Damn, and I thought being Frank Drebin's partner was his peak performance (shameful on my part)
  • The 50 Egg Challenge. Goodness.
  • Paul Newman singing "Plastic Jesus" is just about the epitome of awesome.
  • I can't recognize a young Dennis Hopper. Damn,
  • Car. Wash. Scene. I can't even describe this. My jaw hit the floor and so did my pants. Okay. One of those didn't happen.

Paul Newman is cool even when getting his ass kicked.

One last thing. The quote up top (and on the poster) was voted 11th Best Quote by the AFI. Okay. But, I knew it best as the opening to the epic GNR track, "Civil War." I only realized this connection when I saw that AFI special. This is the second time my ass has been rocked by a movie/song connection. Nearly 10 years after Warren G's "Regulate" came out, I happened to watch Young Guns. I almost shit when I put two and two together. I told my cousin Tony about this, to which he replied, "No shit. You didn't know that?" Obviously not, asshole.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

So, I thought a trip to Arby's might give me some courage, dice.

I like Will Ferrell. I know that his schtick is kind of one-note, but it doesn't make it any less amusing. Over the course of the last two days, I decided to hit up the DVR and get into what is considered his worst movie ever. Yes, I'm talking about 2009's Land of the Lost. This one reportedly cost $100 million to make, and didn't recover half of that. Is it really that bad? Well, that depends. Do you know who Jackie Moon is?

She's a sleestak. Oh oh oh, ohhhh, oh oh.
First, I don't give a damn about the original TV show, Land of the Lost. I remember it looking terrible and being unforgivably boring. So, the nostalgia factor (or whatever it's called when Hollywood rapes and destroys your childhood memories) is out. I don't care. Yes, I have been prone to lamenting the barrage of remakes, too. But if the original sucks, who cares if they try again? I'm just not sure what will need to be re-imagined or rebooted that will send me over the edge. I guess if they messed with my childhood favorites like The Goonies, Back to the Future or Ferris Bueller's Day OffAt the end of the day, honestly, I don't give a shit either way. Try it. See what happens. The one I saw when I was kid will always be better.

All that said, your feelings about this movie will really depend on two things. One, the Will Ferrell factor. Again, if you like what he does, you're going to survive this. Two, your expectations. Land of the Lost came out two years ago and by this point, the world has labeled it as a major suckfest. Knowing that, I thought it was amusing enough. It doesn't hurt that Danny McBride is in it doing his thing. Also, the girl is pretty hot as well. She has this whole Tomb Raider outfit going on and it's exquisite. Though the actress, Anna Friel, does suffer from the DushFactor* The DushFactor is a phenomenon where a given actress can go from a 9 to a 4 depending on the role (and sometimes even the scene). Maybe, I was out of my mind, but watch for it. It was intriguing.

I will mention the mosquito scene. I did almost tear up during that one. Oh, and this probably would have been a decent family-oriented movie (minus the naughty bits) or if they had just gone R and let Ferrell (and McBride) work crazy blue, like in Semi-Pro. This one can't decide.
*named for the esteemed Eliza Dushku

Friday, August 5, 2011

Are you telling me I drove all this way and no one wants to get pissed on?

Summer is winding down, but I did manage one last weeknight flick, the fairly awesome Horrible Bosses.

Before I begin, can I ask what the Hell is wrong with moviegoers? First, read this story. Seriously? Anyway, my crowd tonight was interesting. First to show up, young couple.They totally know the rules. Eat your popcorn. Laugh along. Fantastic. Second up? Me. Yes, solo weird guy. But, I sit far enough away from the couple so as not to be too close, but not all the way in corner as to be extra pervy. Third, and most awful, two middle-aged women. These two would not shut the Hell up during the previews. Not at all. You know when you hope that they get it out of their system by the time the movie begins? Not these two ignorant sluts. They made horrible comments throughout. C'mon. You're old. Shut up. Dear Lord, no one wants to hear you ever. One actually said, "He's going to put it on his penis." Penis. Goodness.
Lastly, was a very old man. He looked like he should be on a dock somewhere. Maybe fashioning something out of wood. He did yell, (yes, yell) "KILL HER!" Indeed, Old Man, indeed.

Despite a decent portion of the crowd being being suspect, I had a good time with this flick. I think having a job means that you can relate to these guys somewhat, because most bosses, even if just a little, are horrible by nature. I think it's in the job description. That said, looking at these posters, you can tell that one guy really doesn't have it too bad. Yes, it would probably not be too cool if your boss was always sexually harassing you, but if it was Jennifer Aniston (dressed as a dentist, no less)? I could manage. Safe bet.

Needless to say, there are some really funny scenes in this one (nothing I'd spoil). Jaime Foxx's character may have the best name in recent movie history (and everyone always says his name). Colin Farrell, probably only showed up for a day, but has some pretty classic lines (demanding to "fire Professor Xavier"). And nunchuks.

Overall: Go! I think there's definitely enough here to be worth it. And honestly, it's hard to judge how funny something is seeing it alone. Just don't take your middle-aged female friend. Please.
Potential Best Line? "I'd like to bend her over a barrel and show her the 50 states." (outtakes version)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

All I have are the choices I make, and I choose her, come what may.

Well, alright. It's just past one in the morning and thanks to an earlier text message from Redbox, I just finished watching The Adjustment Bureau. I honestly feel that I have never seen another movie that was quite like this. And in a good way, not the Jonah Hexy-way...
You know what the best part of my day is? For about ten seconds, when I pull up to the curb and when I get to your door...
By law, you must obey Terence Stamp.
So, this is a thriller. Maybe, even a borderline action movie. But what it is more than anything, is a love story. I mean, action movies always have some sort of relationship in them, but this one actually counts. It's not that eye-rolling kind where the hero stops in the middle of the most urgent situation ever and kisses his girl in slow-motion. The relationship between the two characters is the action, is the ticking clock behind everything. I may be overselling it (probably), but I felt it was pretty unique. And extremely entertaining.

I don't want to really get into the story, but the religious implications are very interesting and would probably make for some decent post-movie conversation (naturally, I watched this alone in my kitchen while my wife was asleep on the couch). Even if that angle doesn't grab you, I think there's enough action (and a fairly hot Emily Blunt) to keep you interested. True, nothing blows up, but there's quite a few foot races, if that's your thing. And it is, right? Of course it is.

I think the ending may have been a bit abrupt, however. Luckily, the scene in the hospital may set the cinematic record for "most awkward punch to the face." And surely that scene will trump any problems you'll have with the film.
By the way, Matt Damon punches a couple guys and pretty much kills them. It's great.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Consider it avoided.

Though it took me a couple of days to finish it (lots of baseball in between), I just conquered last year's debacle, Jonah Hex.

Two things. One, I am not purposely trying to have a blog where I watch a) comic-based and/or b) rather shitty movies. It's just sort of turned out that way so far. And two, I know that the world thinks this movie sucks hard (I almost never go into a movie blind). But one of my hang-ups is I always like to see for myself. People love the Transformers movies and let's be honest. Each one has been a steaming turd. Sometimes, "everyone" turns out to be a gigantic, stupid bastard who has no clue what a good movie is.

Not this time, however. They're right. This one sucks. Horribly. Not even the kind of horrible that is charming in some weird way. This is the kind of horrible when you just have to look at the person next to you and plead. Why? Why did someone make this? Why did that happen? Let's never watch another movie. Ever.

Sometimes. Just sometimes, she looks a, mannish.
Okay, it's not without a few redeeming qualities.
  • I did like the beginning. It gave me hope.
  • John Malkovich is in this. The way he speaks is always amusing. 
  • There is a train explosion that is pretty ridiculous.
  • He punches a man's head into ash. That's cool.
  • Seriously, I don't even find her that hot, but Ms. Fox is in this one. And she plays a whore. So there's that. But really, even if she makes your pants uncomfortable, I still don't think it works here. Go rent Jennifer's Body.
But the bad stuff, is crazy bad. The effects can be laughable (cannonball things?). There is this Native-American resurrection scene that ends with a crow crawling out of Hex's mouth that may need to be seen to be believed. That, or it should never be seen by anyone (one of those - you pick). Oh, and there are a couple of scenes where you basically CAN'T SEE. Yes. It's so dark you simply have no idea what the Hell is happening (but you're okay with it). Oh, and the finale? Unbelievable. It's like someone took a dump in your eyes. From the editing, to the staging, to the score - the end is awful.

NOTE: You know, I've never made a film. I know this. I hate to read nonsense that some people put online trashing everything, like they are true intellectuals and have all the answers (though probably living at home and hanging out at Gamestop). I rant and hate because I feel that people making and starring in these garbage movies are wasting their time and talent (and millions of dollars) on crap, when they know what a good movie is. They can do better and they don't. That's where I call bullshit.