One Day Artistic and Depressing

Amidst the blood bath movies of Conan and Fright Night and the children’s film of Spy Kids 4, One Day starring Anne Hathaway released this weekend.  All summer I have seen trailers for this dramatic film and though the premise was interesting, despite it being another chick flick.  I was even surprised to find out that Roger Ebert liked the movie and figured that I was in for a real treat that would make this film stand above the rest of the romance movies I’ve seen this summer.  Was it?  Read on to find out.

The premise for One Day is one cool evening in London graduates Emma (Hathaway) and Dexter (Jim Sturgess) decide to follow in their friends’ footsteps and spend the night with each other.  After an awkward attempt to make love, the two decide to be friends instead.  The movie then tracks their lives over the next twenty three years, as they continue to meet up on the day they first met July 15th, the one day.  See trailer

That’s really all I can say about the plot unless you wanted me to go through the whole movie for you.  Was a plot so small worth the hype?  The answer, at least in my opinion, is no.  At first I was intrigued by the movie as the two essentially talk about their weaknesses and introduce us to their personalities.  The first couple of years really brought the dynamic duo to life and did a nice, concise job of giving us the backstory for this friendship.  However, the movie soon takes a turn down the slow and boring path as we soon get hit over the head with a lot of monotonous details.  On top of the repetitive information, depression also fills this movie as scene by scene, minute by minute, more crap hits the fan, most of which is alcoholism or relationship troubles.  Even at the end of the movie the film seems to drag on, just like in Return of the King, and you wonder what the point of these scenes are when there is a much better stopping point ten minutes early.  However, the twist near the end of the movie was certainly a surprise to me, which I guarantee will shock a majority of the audience.

Now don’t get me wrong I’m perfectly fine with seeing these realistic problems and watching the characters either succeed or fail.  However these trials should either be faced in a shorter amount of time, or at least have some more general comedy to help relieve the sadness.  This movie fails to do both things.  One has to listen carefully to the dialog to find any humor, as there are no silly accidents, vulgar sex jokes, rude gestures, or childish comedy for one to enjoy.   The lack of this comedy and the slow pace resulted in me being very bored with the whole movie, but that’s probably because I’m not mature enough to understand some of the lessons this movie has to offer.  This movie is definitely more focused on the artistic side of cinema than the traditional comedy style. 

This brings me to my next point is that this movie has some great lessons within.  The first lesson is that friendship takes a lot of work to remain close, especially long distance friendships.  The whole movie portrays how Emma and Dex must learn to change themselves to keep their friendship alive.  Dex for instance must learn to overcome his man child stage and alcohol problem to redeem the slum that he falls into.  Emma on the other hand must find confidence in herself, while learning to be less serious and more fun to help get a better grasp of life.  Another lesson is that love isn’t the magical fairy tale that romantic comedies and Disney films make it out to be, and how sometimes the love you seek can come from the least obvious places.   A third lesson that was hit hard in this movie is that alcohol and mindless sex once again are not the solution to getting you out of your problems.

What more is there really to say about this movie?  Overall the romantic dramedy the trailers showed us was really more a long and sarcasm filled soap opera.  Again those looking for comedy, intense romance, and a rich story will be disappointed by this artistic film.  Those looking to watch a fun movie will also want to avoid this movie because of the massive amounts of depression.  The final result for this movie is a 5.5 on my scale and is worth more of a movie rent than a theater trip.

The True Vampire Has Returned, just not all the way!

 

 

 

The latest Hollywood remake has arrived on our doorsteps this weekend in the form of Craig Gillespie’s Fright Night a remake to the 1985 cult film.   Since most of the vampire films these days seem to be either Underworld or Twilight related, I had high hopes that this remake would help bring me back into the world of nocturnal bloodsuckers.  So does this movie satisfy and redeem the vampire genre, or has does the remake fall into the failures that most vampire movies have become?  Read on to find out.

For those who haven’t seen the trailer, here is a quick preview to whet your appetite.  Fright Night is about a lanky teenager named Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) living out in the Vegas desert with his mom (Toni Collette), his incredibly beautiful girlfriend (Imogen Poots), and his best friend Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse).  Although the nervous Charley seems to lead a normal, albeit, boring life, until his new neighbor Jerry (Colin Farrell) moves in.  However, Charley soon learns out that his neighbor is nothing but ordinary and embarks on a mission to discover if Jerry is a vampire.

At least that was what it was supposed to be.  It doesn’t take long for this movie to quickly reveal to Ed and Charley that Jerry is in fact a vampire.  Perhaps it was because the trailer already revealed he was a vampire, but the lack of sleuthing was a little disappointing on the character development.  Any background information on the characters is revealed through shallow dialog that’s filled with the F word and some catchy one-liners.  Regardless it doesn’t take long for gore, slash crazy, and scream filled mayhem to arrive on screen, approximately one minute.

Unlike most of the vampires in Twilight and Underworld, Fright Night’s vampire prefers to spend his time tearing out the throats of Vegas locals resorting to any measures to get the job done.  The camera work happily captures all the bloody attacks on screen, which should fill any fan of horror genre with delight.  Gillespie’s crew has decided to trade story and character development for lots of simple killings, occasionally choosing a different fate for a select few.  It isn’t until the last third of the movie that the pace begins to pick up and the characters change their traits.

The first two thirds of the movie were pretty boring for me as the mundane characters kind of just talk with no real point.  A few scenes that were geared toward revealing Jerry as a vampire were well shot, but were pointless since they all pretty much knew he was a vampire from the start.  Obvious camera shots and the predictable story line also eliminated the shock and surprise the movie was supposed to offer, the only thing jeering the audience was the loud noises. Those who jump at everything in a horror movie though will probably look like Mexican jumping beans.  Eventually Charley gets pushed to the limit and the hunt commences.  Here the movie gets exciting, a little unpredictable, and actually the kind of movie we were all hoping to see.  The hunt brings together all those old traditions of killing vampires, and puts them in the hands of some of the most unlikely people you would expect to see in this predicament.  The introduction of Peter Vincent (David Tennant) into the mix adds that Russell Brand style comedy, while also bringing some additional background information that was lacking in the movie.  As a result the dynamic duo scenes are what save this movie from being a big flop as the two bring the action, comedy, and the drama that audiences should love.

Overall Fright Night is probably one of the best vampire movies seen in a long time.  Finally the vampires are back as being sinister, blood thirsty and deceptive threats instead of the glittering, teenage eye candy that we’ve recently seen.  Although it starts out boring and predictable, the ending of the movie is definitely a reason to eventually see this movie.  However this movie is probably not worth seeing in theatres, especially in 3-D, unless you just want surround sound screaming and blood squishing sounds.  Thus I’ll give Fright Night a 6.0-6.5 for some beautiful girls, decent story, and unique vampire hunting.  Tune in next time!

Listen to Sue, Don’t Waste your Money on This Movie

 

 

 

 

Glee the movie has arrived in theaters and has been receiving sensational reviews, some stating it to be one of the best movies of the summer.  Various reviews mentioned brilliant song and dance numbers, fun and witty dialog, and behind the scenes shots showing the cast getting ready for the concert.  I’m here to give my insight on the tale about the 3-D event of the summer centering on the musical T.V. show.

Glee 3-D starts out showing thousands of fans of the popular TV show standing in front of the camera and giving the loser sign the show has made popular.  The audience, unfortunately, is subjected to watching various die hard fanatics in their Glee attire as they tell the audience who their favorite characters are, and in some cases why they are.  Once we get through the sea of Gleeks, we get a backstage look at Rachel Berry, Lea Michele as she shares how she keeps her vocal chords in shape for the show.  A few backstage shots, which are mainly the characters getting their makeup put on and saying a few lines.  After about ten minutes into the movie, the audience gets to hear their first song, which believe it or not is Don’t Stop Believing by Journey, and in a pretty awesome opening we get an intro to cast of characters.

It’s here I’ll say that a majority of the songs in this movie are only excerpts from the live stage show.  Fans looking to hear the complete versions of songs and fantastic dance numbers will be disappointed to hear that most of the songs are only about a minute long.  A few numbers are almost the complete song, but these songs are few and far in between.  Although I’m not a big fan, I have to admit that the songs they picked have a catchy bumpy beat.  A few of the numbers even have a good blend of dancing and special effects, but it is still not enough to call this the best movie of the summer.  I’m also here to tell you that the dance numbers the commercials have shown are constantly interrupted with shots of the Glee fans going insane in their seats as they scream in excitement at seeing the cast on stage.  To tell you the truth, about half the cinematography focuses on the fans, a majority of which are screaming girls.

In between the shots of screaming fans and show excerpts, the audience is subjected to one of two different scenarios.  One scenario is the backstage preparation you were promised.  The backstage is really nothing more than one or two members of the cast, acting as their characters in the show, making a couple of quick remarks to the camera, which are weak attempts to get a laugh out of the audience.  There is no backstage rehearsals, no warming up dialog, and no good luck rituals, so if you’re expecting to see this you’ll be disappointed.  The other scenario the audience is subjected to is getting an insight into three real life stories about die hard Glee fans who state Glee has changed their lives.  Throughout the movie the audience gets to hear about how hard these three kids’ lives were and how they were considered freaks/losers.  However a shining ray of hope, Glee in this case, came to their rescue and now they are better people because of it.  Although it is meant to be emotionally stimulating and inspiring, most of the editing, accompanying music and what the kids say is more eye rolling than anything else.  I’m glad the kids’ found happiness and acceptance by friends, but the fact their stories were in a movie about the concert made me feel that these stories were used to pump up the already over inflated egos of the Glee cast.  These stories really just didn’t seem appropriate to be in a concert movie and instead should be in a documentary or a news clip on T.V.

Perhaps the biggest thing that made me mad about this movie was the fact that it was only shot in 3-D.  The whole time I watched the film, I found the 3-D pointless as it provided no special benefits to the movie, i.e. better depth in shading or things flying out of the screen.  In fact, I found the 3-D more distracting than anything else as I saw the constant shadows of the screaming audience move across the screen taking my eyes away from the film.  Thus the only reason I could think of shooting this film in 3-D is that they wanted to make more money at the boxy office.

To finish up this review, Glee 3-D seems to be more of a fan glorification movie than an actual concert movie.   Although the songs are sung in the fashion that fans like, and some of the dance work is still as vibrant as ever, the screaming fans, and small song excerpts were really not that impressive.  Tie in the fact that the back stage shots are weak and the fan stories that take up the rest of the time feel overacted and you have the mediocre film that is Glee 3-D.  The Robbie score for this movie is somewhere between a 4.5-5.0, and I suggest going to see the live show the editors of the movie threw together to make this movie, it’s probably a better use of your money.  Until next time my friends this is Robbie K signing off.

30 Minutes or Less just doesn’t deliver

As most of you know, 30 Minutes or Less released this weekend to join the countless number of comedies we’ve seen this summer.  My initial expectations for this movie were somewhat high as I thought we would be seeing a clever comedy about a pizza delivery boy having to go through a series of hilarious trials in order to get a bomb off his chest.  Instead what I got was a simple, sexual joke infused, and foul-mouthed comedy that was not as funny as I had hoped.

To give you a refresher on the plot, 30 Minutes or Less is about a lazy, careless pizza delivery boy named Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) who really has no interest in his responsibilities.  The arrogant jerk, which Eisenberg seems to be a master at playing, has no real friends with the exception of his loyal Indian pal Chet (Aziz Ansari), a hard-working, rule abiding teacher who just want to be successful.  Their simplistic life of playing video games and drinking beer is soon interrupted, when an irresponsible, vulgar, and idiotic man-child named Dwayne (Danny McBride) and his naïve, clueless, innocent sidekick Travis (Nick Swardson) kidnap Nick and strap a bomb to his chest.  The price for Nick’s freedom, $100,000 for funding Dwayne’s personal plans and Nick must deliver in 10 hours or less.

Again I thought this movie was going to be a funny sequence of events with clever, well-timed dialog, a bunch of situational comedic stunts, and some occasional one liners that would be humorous.  Unfortunately it seems that wish was too much for the movie’s production team.  The movie is essentially nothing more than Eisenberg complaining, in his monotone voice, about his life, while telling everyone off with swear filled, stupid insults.  When Eisenberg isn’t complaining, McBride fills our ears with his own set of complaints, mainly directed at his father, as almost every other world is a swear or joke about having sex or polishing his scepter.  I’ll admit a few of these lines were well –timed and funny enough to make me laugh, but most of the dialog became annoying and boring over the course of the film.

The only thing that saved me from falling asleep in this movie was Ansari’s character Chet.  Like Dwayne in Horrible Bosses, Ansari’s energetic, nervous, and outspoken actions are hilarious as he unwillingly gets dragged into the mess Nick has made.  The writers made Chet’s dialog diverse allowing a wide range of the audience to enjoy his ridiculous catchphrases and one liners.  I think the dialog itself would not have been nearly as funny, if Ansari had not delivered the lines in his spastic, geeky way.

Aside from Ansari, there are a few other aspects in this movie that were entertaining.  Swardson managed to pull a few laughs out of the audience and me.  Like Ansari, Swardson has a way of delivering the dialog in a funny, entertaining way, and somehow always winds up in some of the most unusual, and often ridiculous situations, such as wielding a flame thrower in a junk yard.  His reactions to these situations were hysterical and often funnier than his actual lines.  There were also a few scenes that were loaded with situational/environment comedy that had me laughing a lot.  Unfortunately most of these scenes I realized were in the trailers and the ones that weren’t were only a few minutes short at best.

There really isn’t much more to say about this movie.  The comedy was mediocre at best, but got stale about thirty minutes into the film.  Despite Ansari and Swardson’s talent to make us laugh, they were unable to save this comedy from the lack of diversity it really needed.  Those that enjoyed the comedy found in Your Highness, should enjoy this movie a lot since the styles are very similar, particularly for Danny McBride.  However fans looking for a real comedy would probably benefit more waiting for the film to come out on DVD before catching this flick.  I give 30 Minutes or Less a 5.5 on my scale, but suggest catching some other comedy instead.

When will this series die? Final Destination 5


            

                In 2000, we got our first glimpse at how a prophecy was able to save a handful of people from a giant tragedy, only to have them die by gruesome, albeit cheesy, deaths.   One decade and three sequels later, the world is now being introduced to the fifth installment of the movie series about attempting to cheat death known as Final Destination.  Now I’ll admit the first two Final Destination movies were somewhat intriguing and kept me in suspense with trying to figure out who would survive.   However I feel that the series, much like Saw, has become nothing more than an overdone, overplayed, and incredibly cheesy series that provides nothing more than cheap entertainment.  If you wish to know why keep on reading my review as we take a look Final Destination 5 or FD5.

                In case you haven’t seen the trailer, FD5 starts out with one random man named Sam Lawton (Nicholas D’Agosto) having a vision about a deadly accident that will kill him and his friends, in a very gore filled sequence.  When the vision starts to become true, Sam and the gang escape the disaster and cheat death thinking they are lucky to be alive.  However, Death does not like to be cheated and once again we follow the quest to survive supernatural killing force, but this time in 3-D.

                As we have seen four times in the past, we know that this quest is pretty much futile for most of the cast and FD5 is no different.  The film once again focuses on a bunch of cheesy, underdeveloped, cardboard characters that die in some of the most ridiculous ways yet.  Although the group tried to put a twist on the film, you can kill another person and swap their lives with them, Quale et al. still refuse to deviate from the predictable death formula that is famous in the series and have added more gore to formula.  From the very beginning of the film the gore is intense, the 3-D painting the audiences vision with a disgusting red mess.  As the movie progresses, the deaths get more ridiculous, and the characters get stupider, as one by one they are eliminated, typically with some object flying towards the screen.  Unfortunately the camera work manages to capture all of the gruesome deaths and finds the maximum way to show off the death and destruction.  Accompanying the shots are tons of wet, squishy, and gushing sounds that horror films seem to thrive on, which are often times barely audible over the constant high pitched screaming.

                Despite all the bad things this movie has to offer, there was one thing that impressed me with this film.  Although the majority of the shallow plot is predictable and the twists they tried to throw in were not that surprising, there was one twist in this movie I didn’t see coming.  There were no hints, giveaways, or any obvious clues in the movie to spoil what they had in store for the ending.  When the ending finally arrived, I applauded what they had worked so hard to conceal.  Unfortunately this twist was not enough to justify the hour and half of boring killing that I subjected myself too.

                There is really nothing more I can say about this film so let’s wrap this up.  FD5 is a 3-D watered down version of the previous installments.  Fans of intense gore and senseless killing will be thoroughly entertained throughout the movie and even laugh at the ridiculous antics this film has to offer.  Those looking for surprise, suspense, or an actual plot should definitely avoid this movie.  Overall I’ll give this movie a 4.0, mainly for that twist ending and some cute ladies to crush on.  However, I would recommend everyone save their money and wait for the movie to come out on Red Box or Netflix, you don’t need the surround sound.  So until next time this is Robbie K signing out.

Oh and fans who want more death should stay and watch the end credits for a nostalgic visit to the past. 

Help yourself to this movie. -The Help

 

 

 

 

 

 

Movies based on books seem to be one of the current popular trends for movies these days.  This past Wednesday, The Help released in theatres and quickly has been making headlines left and right as one of the best movies of the summer.  My movie posse and I just saw the movie last night and I’m here to give you some info about this good movie.

For those who have not read the book or seen the trailer, The Help centers on the lives of black maids working for the elitist class in Jackson, Mississippi.  One maid, Aibeleen (Viola Davis), tells her perspective of the life maids’ live and their feelings on the jobs they do every day for their employers.  However things soon begin to change when aspiring journalist Skeeter (Emma Stone) returns from college and decides to stir up a little trouble for her “friends” while attempting to stand up for the maids by creating a collection of stories from the servants.  Once the book is suggested to Aibeleen, the movie portrays the development of the book and the lives and motivational forces that drive the others to participate in the project.

So is this movie worth the hype that it has been receiving?  In my opinion, yes I think it is worth the hype, but probably not worth a perfect score that some critics have been suggesting.  To start off, this movie is an accurate portrayal of life in history that’s not too overacted, or loaded with cheesy dialog.  Instead the story is brought to life by a great cast of actresses whose characters add their own flavor to the plot of this movie.  Emma Stone surprised me with the role she played in this movie, playing the serious, dedicated, and loyal writer instead of some wacky, one liner spewing, teenage airhead role she is famous for.  Viola Davis seems a natural as Aibeleen, delivering her dialog with emotional drive without crossing the overacting line too often.  Octavia Spencer, who plays Minny, helps bring some sassy, take no crap, humor that had most of the audience, including me, cracking up.  Bryce Howard, no longer playing Victoria, plays an evil, arrogant southern witch, who had me seething during the movie as she drove the plot of the movie.  Jessica Chastain however, was the southern belle on the opposite spectrum, who was kind and genuinely good as she attempted to do things for herself and those that she loved.  The rest of the cast was great as well, but these five really made the movie come to life for me and kept me in to the movie.

The acting was not the only thing that kept my interest in this movie though.  For one thing the director of this movie found a way to take multiple stories and intertwine them with the main story to provide multiple tales to follow.  Throughout these stories the dialog was fantastically written to fit with the scene, often injected with some humor to break the emotional tension building up.  Minny’s participation in the various tales probably entertained me the most as one instant she was the wisecracking maid and the next at mercy of some other character, a good representation of the two sides to the maid back then.  Also laced throughout the movie is background on the main characters, which is slowly revealed over the course of the film instead of all at once.  The gradual revelation baits one’s attention and keeps you roped into the movie to find out more.

Perhaps the biggest strength of this movie though is how everything flows together to capture and bring the emotions of the characters to life.  The camera work is beautifully shot from a variety of angles that best capture actions and expressions of the characters.  The soundtrack as well was properly selected in this movie, each score/track helping bring the audience into the mood of the scene.  Both of these factors, combined with the brilliant acting mentioned early, sends one on an emotional roller coaster ride that may cause one to tear up, as it did to three of my friends.  And although I didn’t tear up, Taylor and his team managed to really drive the morals and lessons of this story right in my heart, which made me feel good by the end of the tale.

There are also some bad aspects to the movie, the biggest for me being the a few dragging parts throughout the movie.  Another aspect that is hard for me to enjoy is some of the cruel things that one sees in the film.  Yes, I know these scenes are supposed to make you hate, or pity the characters, but too many of these scenes gets me hot under the collar and makes me enjoy the movie less.  The ending as well may have been a little bland for me as well and kind of left me hanging and wanting more of a conclusion, despite the strongly delivered monologue.

If you get one thing from this review tonight it should be that The Help is one of those movies worth seeing in the movies, particularly with a group.  Those looking for great acting will be pleased with the cast and characters of the film. Fans looking for an emotional story and rich character development are also in for a treat with this film.  After analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of the film, I give this movie a 9.0.  However as a final warning, people who tend to cry should bring a box of tissues.  Until next time folks!

They Rise with Predictable Style and Unexpected Emotions

 

 

 

It’s hard to believe that it has been forty three years since the first Planet of the Apes movie came out and we had our first look at Earth when controlled by the simians.  Although an attempt to revive the series was made ten years ago, the Planet of the Apes series seemed dead to a lot of my friends and me.  However, this weekend the latest Planet of the Apes installment, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, has debuted.  The question you may be asking now is, “Robbie is this movie worth seeing, or just another sad attempt to revive this series?”  In my opinion, I believe this movie is worth seeing, but overall it’s your call.  So sit back and relax as we take a look at this movie.

The premise to this movie can be deduced from the title alone as we see the origins to how the apes became the dominant life form of the planet.  A journey to cure Alzheimer’s disease is the spark to the war between ma n and ape as Will Rodman (James Franco) attempts to synthesize a drug to eliminate the disease that plagues his father (James Lithgow).  After some chaotic and wild intro scenes, Franco ends up with Caesar (Andy Serkis) a baby chimp that has inherited the cure from his mother.  With the positive results Caesar is showing, Will gives the compound to his father and brings him back from the brink of losing his mind.  Eventually we see Caesar growing up and becoming even more intelligence as he begins questioning his role in Will and Caroline’s (Frieda Pinto) life which soon leads down a path that we all see coming. See trailer here

This prequel to the series was surprisingly done well and was much better than I had originally anticipated it to be.  Franco for the most part shows off his talent as he captures the brilliant and motivated scientist determined to better the world.  In a manner similar to his character in Spiderman, Franco is not an emotionless shell, but actually has a heart of gold that drives his actions and character.  However, Franco as well as the rest of the supporting human cast all pale in comparison to the character development of Caesar, the main ape of the movie.  In a series of stunning camera work, CGI animation, and wonderful writing we see the evolution of Caesar from lab experiment to leader.  It’s quite scary how Wyatt and company were able to put such human emotion into a digital chimpanzee, which brought the audience and me, further into the movie.  I was able to relate to Caesar on a number of levels from protecting family and friend to the question and searching one’s purpose in life.  There were plenty of moments in this movie that pulled the strings of my heart and other times that left me satisfied at the actions that had just taken place.

Again I will state that the CGI was excellent and perhaps was the best used medium for this movie, instead of the makeup we’ve seen in the past.  Unlike other CGI movie we’ve seen this summer, i.e. Transformers 3, Green Lantern, Captain America, and more) the CGI was not overshadowed by things like action, overdramatic live action, or slapstick comedy.  Instead it was used to tell a science fiction story that felt real, relatable, and representative of a chimp in a foreign world.  Serkis being the master of motion capture technology, has once again simulated creature movements to perfection.  Although Caesar has so much human character to him, the movie still does a good job at showing that he is still has ape origins as he continues to run, communicate, and even play in ape like mannerisms.  The combination of both ape and human qualities gives Caesar a quality unlike any well trained or animatronic animal I’ve seen in the past.

Despite how strong the CGI tells the story, it still doesn’t help with how predictable the story is.  Throughout most of the movie, I was able to predict where the tale was going.  Whether it involved Caesar’s next actions, who was going to be attacked next, to what problems were going to occur, all of the actions were easily determined.  An exception would be an unexpected killer of the human race, which I do not want to reveal.  Perhaps another problem some may not enjoy is that once again humanity is the enemy and the source of all evil.  Countless acts of greed, jealousy, fear, and various other attributes force the humans to make irrational decisions that are driven by emotions.  While it does help drive the story, it did cause me to roll my eyes a few times.  Yet a third weakness in this movie could be the lack of action that the trailers painted for us these past few months.  Although it did not bother me, fans who are looking intense ape action will be strongly disappointed, as only the last twenty minutes or so has actual fighting.  The story and character development were perhaps stronger due to the slower pace, but the action at the end is a good release of the suspense that builds up throughout most of the movie.

Overall I applaud Rise of the Planet of the Apes and believe this to be a movie worthy of your time in the theatres.  These days it is rare for a sci-fi flick to have such character development, emotion, and story as most are now mainly drowned out by explosions and flashy action scenes.  However the superb acting, decent pace, and phenomenal combination of CGI and camera work really give the movie character and emotional drive.  I’ll give this movie an 8.0 for surprising me and am looking forward to seeing what’s in store for the series next.  Check in next time my friends for movie reviews on today’s modern releases and soon classic movies.  Take care!

Comedy or Light Porno? You decide!

 

 

          

The Change Up, yet another movie about two close people making a wish simultaneously and getting their minds switched.  How many of these movies must we be exposed to before directors realize that the original Freaky Friday covers this plot to the best extent?  Regardless of how tired this plot has become, audience members will certainly flock in to see Ryan Reynolds and Jason Batemen present David Dobkin’s approach to the live switching genre.

As you may have seen from the overplayed trailer, The Change Up kicks things off with a graphic start as Dave (Bateman) wakes up to change his twins’ diapers only to get a stream of poop in his face.  Despite the gross setback, Dave manages to get to work and the audience gets a nice shot to how monotonous his life is, more towards working than having fun.  Flip the switch now and enter Mitch (Reynolds), the carefree, irresponsible, lazy, drug and alcohol addicted bachelor who likes to keep company with a number of nice ladies.  Somehow these two been best friend since third grade, despite their polar differences in character, I guess that is what makes comedy these days.

Anyway after a night on the town, a cascade of sware filled dialog, and a well-timed pee break in a freaky looking fountain, the two switch lives and the predictable comedy ensues.  Despite the predictability of the comedy, what made the comedy funny for me was how naturally funny the actors were in the movie.  As we have seen in countless movies past, Bateman can play that serious, awkward, comedic role that has well timed dialog to add spice to the role.  Reynolds on the other hand can still play that idiotic, over bearing, loud mouth role he made famous in Two Guys and a Girl.  Both actors provide cheap laughs and a couple of the supporting cast characters, mainly Dave’s wife (Leslie Mann) and Dave’s gorgeous assistant (Olivia Wilde), provide some comedic support to the movie as well.

It’s here I’ll say that the humor is incredibly more vulgar and raunchy than I had originally expected from the trailer.  Unlike other R rated comedies I have seen this summer, The Change Up spared no expenses to make the shots and dialog as raunchy as possible.  Constant breast shots, sexual scenarios, masturbation, and other steamy shots are captured in lots of detail and what isn’t visibly shown on the screen is painted for us via disgusting sounds and suggestive active.  There is also some very mean, hurtful, and racist comedy in this film as well, which I found more insulting than funny.  All of these comedic situations were also engorged with the words F and S that got annoying with each iteration, which again has me say that the F word does not equal great comedy.  I must admit however that the writers for this movie did throw in a few curveballs that I was not expecting in the comedy.   Some of the scenes I mentioned up above were these surprising moments and while I didn’t enjoy it, other people found it hysterical.  There were other moments that surprised me as well, but I won’t ruin anything for you in case you still want to see it after reading this review.

Buried underneath all the vulgarity and raunchiness is a serious, albeit dramatized, version about taking life for granted.  Perhaps an even bigger surprise to the movie was how dramatic a change the characters experienced throughout the course of the movie.  The first half an hour of the movie had me thinking that it was going to be a mindless, sexual humor centered, and predictable comedy movie.  However as the movie continued, there was actually some character development that I wasn’t expecting.  The biggest surprise on character development was Mann’s role, as she moved past her typical whiny, complaining, filthy mouthed, and careless mom we’ve seen her play and instead played a mom who actually cared about her life.  It was very enjoyable.  Unfortunately this character development you see coming from a mile away and so you pretty much know what is going to happen a by about thirty minutes into the movie.

Overall the Change Up is the typical hit you over the head slapstick comedy that a lot of comedy fans like to see.  Unfortunately the adult humor of this movie, the very racist comments, the overuse of swearing, and the lornographic body shots really take away from the humor.  I again have to say that the surprise and twists the movie has will keep you interested and wondering what the next twist they have is.  Overall I’ll give this movie a 7.0 for the surprise and zest it had, but I would strongly recommend waiting to see this movie on Netflix to save you some money.

It’s Smurfibly Cute and Fun Film

 

 

 

 

Today’s review centers on those lovable, enchanted, and blue small people known as the Smurfs.  As some of you may know, Sony Pictures decided to do a remake of the classic cartoon and decided to also release it in 3-d like every other kids movie.  Now some critics have not enjoyed the movie at all, tearing up every aspect of the film to its very foundation leaving only scraps of goodness behind.  Despite what most critics are saying, I’m here to tell you that The Smurfs is a fun, family/kids film that had me laughing throughout the movie.  So what say we get started?

The premise for this movie begins with the Smurfs living their lives carelessly in their enchanted forest and providing that class, bubbly comedy they made famous so many years ago.  After Clumsy Smurf accidently leads the evil wizard Gargamel and his cat sidekick to the village, six of the Smurfs find themselves in modern day New York, via a magic portal.  Not long after arriving in New York, the Smurfs wind up in the apartment of Patrick and Grace Winslow, a couple expecting their first child.  The movie then focuses on three small, no pun intended, stories: Patrick trying to impress his boss while overcoming his fears, The Smurfs trying to find a way home, and Gargamel trying to capture the essence of our little blue friends.  See trailer here.

I know the plot seems pretty simple and predictable, but to tell you the truth the plot in most kids’ movies is predictable to a fault.  Despite this predictability though, Smurfs has a few things going for it that make this movie fun and entertaining.  One thing is the acting/voice work of the film, which perhaps gave the movie a lot of character.  Neil Patrick Harris who played Patrick Winslow showed off his ability to play the role of a casual business man who is stressed and nervous.  However instead of him being that clever and funny jerk that he can play, Harris specializes in situational comedy and timed dialog.  It was a different role than what I have seen him in, but I though he played the part well and provided a lot of ground for character relationship development.  Fans of Ms. Pillsbury from Glee will be happy to see the same character in this movie, as Jayma Mays plays her typical cute role that we’ve seen in the past.  However the main actor to talk about is Hank Azaria who plays Gargamel.  If you are a fan of Azaria’s comedy then you want be disappointed in this movie.  Azaria plays that naïve, loud, and incredibly silly comedy that will have you laughing out loud.  Combined with his cat’s reactions to his failed attempts at capturing the Smurfs, a lot of the Gargamel scenes were perhaps the most enjoyable part of the movie.  The voice cast for the film was also well done for this movie, each character being matched with a voice that represented the trait of the Smurf.  The sage and wise Poppa Smurf had the calm, wisdom filled, and mentor like voice of Jonathan Winters.  The irritated and often annoyed Grouchy Smurf had the rough and scratchy voice of George Lopez, whose complaining comedy really added zest to the character.  And the bubbly and sometimes airheaded Smurfette had the high pitched and carefree tone of Katy Perry who surprised me with her voice acting.  The other voice work is matched just as well to the other Smurfs, but I felt these three would be the ones most people wanted to hear about.

Aside from the voice acting another positive quality is the pace of the movie which is fast, fun, and has no slow points what so ever.  As expected of a kid’s movie, the Smurfs is filled with a lot of silly humor, chase scenes, and clever use of the environment to keep the movie exciting and fun.  Although the situations do seem repetitive and some of the humor gets a little stale, the movie keeps integrating new ideas and situations into the movie to keep it feeling fresh, a positive quality in my opinion.  The catchy music, great orchestral work, and the well done cinematography were also combined to make all of the scenes more exciting and fun, and again keep the attention of the audience.  The amount of connections between the characters was also surprisingly done well in this movie.  I was surprised by how well the movie developed the characters and connected everyone together.  Whether it was Grace encouraging Clumsy, Papa giving advice to Patrick, or Clumsy trying to prove himself to the others, all of the surrounding dialog, camera work, and music help paint that emotion that really hits close to home.  Now fans who don’t like feel good movies or cheesy overdramatic scenes will want to either turn an eye from the screen or not see the movie, but for those who like those heartfelt moments you’ll eat up these scenes in the movie.

As for the negatives of this film, they mainly come for older audience members.  As I mentioned this movie is very silly and totally geared to older audience members.  If you don’t like Alvin and the Chipmunks, the Muppets, or Veggie Tales humor then don’t see this movie because the comedy style are similar.  The story again is incredibly predictable and really has no twists in it, so if you’re looking for one in this movie you’ll be disappointed.  Although I found the humor clever and funny, fans who like mature comedy embedded in a kid’s film will want to skip out on this movie.

The Smurfs is a blast from the past packed with action, laughs, and heartwarming moments.  People looking for a film to take their family too will not be sorry for spending their time in the theatre.  Although I saw the movie in 3-D, the movie is easily as enjoyable in 2-D.  The combination of a great voice cast, the fast pace, and diverse characters should be able to entertain a wide variety of audience members of all ages.  Overall I give this movie an 8.5 for being a fun kid’s film.  Until next time my friends enjoy the movies.