Beat the Heat in Theater

To get out the heat I often like to dive into the theater for a couple of hours.  Ironically though, my next movie to review is titled The Heat.  However, rather than this being a movie about intense weather conditions, or out of control fires, this film takes a comedic approach to the life of federal investigations and police work.  If you’re like me though, the police world isn’t the most interesting subject for a movie so you’re looking for something else to pull you in.  That factor for me was the big time comedy starlet Melissa McCarthy, the woman who keeps people laughing with some of the craziest characters imagined.  After Identity Thief though, I had concerns that this movie might not be as funny as the trailers showed it to be.

Too my relief, and enjoyment, this movie was much better for this reviewer in more than one way.  The Heat’s plot starts out focusing on Sandra Bullock’s character Ashburn, whose arrogant nature got a few chuckles, but nothing too exciting.  It was a fun way to set up the simple plot of the movie, but not what most were looking for.  Within ten minutes though, the comedy kicks in as Mullins (McCarthy) opens up with her ridiculous approach to many simple problems.  Unlike some of her previous roles though, the loose cannon cop part opened up more doorways that she wasn’t hesitant to enter.  What would be something ordinary like a hooker bust becomes an incredibly awkward situation where wives are called, fingers are broken, and obscene gestures and comments are executed.  However, what I really appreciated was that the comedy than transitioned into a hilarious chase scene, where an unlikely drug dealer is relentlessly pursued by the lunatic cop, all the while unleashing more slanders that had me crying. If that sounds up your alley, you’ll be happy to hear it’s only the beginning of the movie.  Once the two actually team up, the laughs just continue to roll in as Bullock’s proper, rule abiding, by the book attitude annoys McCarthy to insult her in many creative ways.  The longer the two spend together, the more they find out about each other and the more opportunities for McCarthy to run her mouth about what she hated with the rules.  Thus, I tip my hat off to the writing of this movie for the countless pokes, prods, and slaps into the world of female police officers.  Unfortunately, a few of the jokes have been ruined by the countless trailers playing on the television, and some are just beaten over the head during times in the movie.  Most of the stale humor comes from the overuse of the F word, in all its forms, and while there are some perfectly timed uses, it gets old when that becomes the center of your dialog.  Maybe I’m being a bit sensitive, but I like my dialog to have a little more wit and diversity behind it.  If you have a high tolerance for overuse of this word, then don’t worry about it, but for those like me, well you’ve been warned.

Of course no movie or dialog can really be amazing without a good cast to execute the planning.  McCarthy stole the show for me in this one, no surprise, as her acting is still well matched with the crazy characters she takes on.  Her high pitched voice is the perfect cap to most of her rants, and she has some type of innate tone to her voice that keeps me laughing.  McCarthy’s reaction to the environment is also very entertaining to me.  Her goofy faces and responses to insults are natural and not very forced; almost as if she is really pissed off at the person she is talking to.  Seeing her small body tackle men twice her height is also rather amusing, though it might also be the ridiculous stunts they have her pull.  As for Bullock, well she too is entertaining, but not as funny as McCarthy for me.  If you love the brunette goddess, who still looks good by the way, then you’ll enjoy her acting again.  She is serious, but has a few quips and shenanigans that got a few laughs out of me.  It seemed though that the director used her character as a driving force for character development, exploring the alterations of morals as the case opened up.  Bullock did a nice job playing the stuck up cop, and did a great job with the emotional work-up of her scenes, but her humor was a little more forced than I would have liked.  The true strength though comes with the combination of these ladies, which was another dream team set up.  Both women seemed to read each other perfectly, and resulted in a bickering sister relationship that always seems to tickle my funny bones.  As for the other cast meme3rs, well there good, but there isn’t much else to brag about in this film, they did an okay job.

The Heat is decent summer flick and a good comedy for those who are already fans of the leading ladies.  Story wise it’s okay, linear and fairly predictable with some emotional building and morals baked in.  Humor is the main feature though and if you just want stupid fun and insulting dialog as the meat of your movie choose this film.  Again there are some tired elements of the movie, and the curse laden dialog is a bit overdone for me.  Would I see it in theaters? There is nothing really spectacular to pay a trip to the theater so go with a group or on a date if you’re tired of restaurants and romance.  The Heat isn’t really anything new or fresh, but it’s a path not trudged on as much. My scores for this film are:

Comedy: 7.0

Movie Overall: 6.5

Scaled Down Olympus

             White House Down

 

It seems like only months ago we had a movie where the White House was being taken over by a terrorist group and only one man could stop it.  Oh wait, that was only months ago.  Hi Robbie K is back with the latest action blockbuster to strike theaters, which one again features the federal government’s inability to keep their kingdom secure.  However, rather than seeing former Spartan Gerard Butler hunt down terrorist cell soldiers we instead get the object of women’s affection Channing Tatum as our hero at arms.  Does this movie have what it takes to stand among the stars, or is it a poorly timed follow up that offers nothing more than lady eye candy and some comedic spin?  Read on to find out.

I still haven’t figured out why the White House is the object of Hollywood’s affection, but the royal castle seems to be easier to infiltrate with each film.  Before I get into that though let’s start at the very beginning of Tatum’s character Cale trying to make amends for some of his short sightings as a father by taking his daughter Emily (Joey King) to the president’s home.  After failing an interview led by agent Finnerty (Maggie Gyllenhaal), Cale tries to put aside his failure by going on a tour in hopes of making ground with his daughter.  Cue the terrorists, who walk into supposedly one of the most secure places on Earth without so much as a second glance despite their shady looks.  These crooks open with a bang, literally, and wipe the floor with the trained security, striking with accuracy that most video game players can only dream they had.  Could it be that everyone in the white house is incredibly stupid, or it is just a super fake infiltration that the directors hope will be ignored as long as they get their fill of Channing?  I don’t know, but for this reviewer it’s a rather lame opening.  Despite the incredible skills and incredibly easy infiltration, throw in the pretty face of Tatum and it all goes to hell.  Either the terrorists are blinded by his looks, or Tatum has some type of force field that deflects bullets, but the dancing stripper seems immune to harm for most of the movie.  Despite this unrealistic twist, the action is still fun and exciting to watch as firefights rip up the prestigious walls, with a few “suspenseful” sneak moments to keep things intense.  Throw in a few chase scenes and some big guns and vehicles, and you get the ajority of what this movie has to offer. What might be a positive to some movie goers is that this action flick is less graphic/intense than what we saw in Olympus has fallen a.k.a. less graphic torture and less gore.

Most female audience members didn’t seem to be that into the action though, as they were too busy eyeing up Mr. Channing.  In a noble attempt to be like John McClane from Die Hard, Tatum didn’t do a half bad job playing the serious action role.  No longer throwing out cheesy puns and corny one liners, Tatum had some edge to his character that made him deadly and respectful.  However, he is not a sociopathic lone wolf that most heroes tend to adopt in today’s movies, as his daughter drives a majority of his adrenaline fueled frenzies.  Though the “evolution” of his character shows him forming other bonds that are supposed to keep the story thrilling. One of those just happens to be the saving grace of the movie for me President Sawyer (Jamie Foxx) as the comedic relief.  Within the “suspenseful” action, Foxx keeps to his character as he provides us some information and showing the stress of the presidential job.  Even more inspiring is this strength is not just in front of the camera, or within a safe house, but also in the heat of battle as he covers his rescuer.  As I mentioned though he is funny, delivering normal lines with just the right touch to make me laugh numerous times.  Some of the situational comedy is also fun as well, but most of these instances you’ve seen in the trailers, so there isn’t as much surprise  Regardless, Foxx and Tatum interact well and I could see myself enjoying their work again, though hopefully not a sequel to this film.

Of course it wouldn’t be one of my reviews without a little more info would it?  The story of this movie is very linear with Tatum going to point A, killing a bad guy or two, and then moving on, but there are a few surprises thrown in the mix for the audience.  It’s got some heartwarming moments, and some suspense, but keep your eyes open and your senses about you and you can keep yourself calm through most of the movie.  The camera work is impressive as well, keeping up with all the excitement without making me dizzy in the process.  I also did enjoy the setting and collection of various offices coming together to face the crisis and seeing the emergency process unfold as the mission keeps changing with each passing minute, which kept me involved in the movie.  What takes away from this epic process are two things:  1) Why is every character a hero fights for an idiot?  The hostages in this movie, one in particular has some attitude, heart, and stealth, but that goes to hell about halfway in the movie and transforms into pathetic whining and crying.  That’s just a minor thing though compared to the overdone liberal messaging this movie filled itself with.  Once again Hollywood has somehow attacked other countries, despite our own citizens being the culprits again.  I’ve said it before, but our storyboard staff keeps painting the target bigger and bigger on America.  They filled the movie with lots of dialog that blamed Arabic nations for our problems, and then filled the camera with pride filled shot of the American and presidential flags.  We get your proud, but don’t overdo it guys.

In my opinion White House Down was just poorly timed in its release when a better and more intense version came out only months ago.  It’s not as hard hitting action, it’s too much a copy of Die Hard, and while balanced just lacks a lot of essential plots to state this movie worthy of a theater visit.  However if you have an obsession with Channing Tatum or Jamie Foxx, or just need some “patriotic” fun to stir the citizen inside you, you’ll enjoy this film more than I did.  My score for this film is

Action/Drama/Thriller:  7.0

Movie Overall:  6.5

Zombie Chase, Zombie Kill, Zombie Killed

World-War-Z-Poster

  Hello once again my friends, and welcome to another entry into the Robbie K review library.  Today we tackle the latest Brad Pitt movie World War Z, an action movie that seemed to hold promise for some scares and good fun for the summer.  Yet, as we all know, the trailers can sometimes promise too much and leave many disappointed and often wanting more.  So is World War Z the action packed, zombie slaying adventure it promised, or is it just another film to show off Pitt’s good looks to the crowd.  Read on to find out.

As promised in the trailer, World War Z stats the zombie onslaught rather quickly.  A chase scene occurs within minutes, and begins to bring most audience members to the edge of their seats, as they watch Pitt and family maneuver their way through a chaotic Pennsylvania street.  Amid the chaotic camera work and computer generated victims, is a rather loud, scream filled, sequence that has been done time and time again.  Sound action packed?  Well my friends Pitt gets his exercise in this movie, as the stud most women want spends a large chunk of the movie fleeing from the heavily made up/computer monsters that plague the world.  Whether it is the streets of an American city, or down the alleyways of the holiest place on earth, the screen shows various shots of the running of the zombies with some glimpses of people dying as well.  To our luck though, there do happen to be some more intense show downs that pit man’s semi-automatic arsenal against the super speed of the undead monsters that seems to be the trend these days.  The action fan in me was pleased when gunplay was introduced into the mix, which not only served as a break from the mundane chases, but was well integrated into the scenes as well.  Instead of seeing the guns spit out an endless assault of bullet, the team showed the limitations of guns in the situations, where accuracy, not brute force counted.  Thus, the audience gets more of the survival suspense that made horror movies in the past.  Speaking of suspense, Marc Forster and his crew made another smart move to keep the audience on the edge of their seats.  Parts of the movie broke away from the high intense action and mixed in some slow pace, stealth driven, attempts to avoid the creatures.  Although you know what is coming, I’ll admit there were parts that had me a little on edge as I wondered the fate of the supporting characters.

Speaking of character, WWZ really doesn’t have that much of a cast to root for in the movie.  Unlike the SyFy channel films, this movie doesn’t involve a group of 8 or 9 obvious victims and throw them into the setting to be chowed down.  Instead the movie focuses on Brad Pitt as Gerry Lane, giving most of the dialog, brains, and surprisingly skills to an investigative reporter.  You heard me right a reporter.  While I enjoy a break from the heroic one-two man armies, I was expecting the main character to have a little more background than revealing scandals of organizations and countries.  Despite that though, Gerry was a realistic character who wasn’t some super genius/ elite warrior that had some ridiculous weakness or lame motive.  He was a man who cared about his family, and used his field experience and information to stay ahead of the game.  Regardless of the character, I was still hoping that others had some more screen time/ interaction with the movie.  Most of the supporting cast is just that supporting, providing a few clues or sage advice to help clear the fog of the enigma of whatever is causing the zombification process.   Eventually he gets an ally named Segen (Daniella Kertesz) who manages to survive past the five minute mark to bring some brawn to the film, but even she doesn’t say much.  Luckily, words weren’t really needed for her part, or most of the parts for that matter, to support Brad’s one man act, and still deliver some well-timed punches.

The wrap up my ranting, let’s talk about a few other aspects of world war z.  For horror fans who don’t like much of plot and only go for the fun of getting scared out of your mind, well you might like this movie just as much.  Although there is a little more story telling involved, WWZ doesn’t pursue some of the plot elements that it first pursues.  The sudden drop of the primary goal was a little shocking, and left me wondering what the point of the mission was.  What the goal became was like putting duct tape on the problem, which may be addressed in a sequel if the movie does well enough.  A second thing is how did the zombies get so smart?  At times in the movie, the deranged bodies manage to coordinate attacks, sense impending danger, and surprisingly react to sounds that bring them out of their mindless moaning and teeth clicking.  Yes it added more deadliness to the creatures, but again pursue the matter, explain what allowed them to be like this.  As for scariness, a few jump scenes might get some people, but the combination of camera work, action integration, and humorous moaning/teeth clicking takes away from the scariness of the zombies.  While it might not scare the wits out of adult audience members, younger generations might get some nightmares from this movie, so exercise caution before you go out for a family movie night.  Finally for those looking for clever dialog, don’t get your hopes up as military jargon, medical terms, and a few noble rants are all this movie has to offer.

World War Z is a nice blend of action and horror, but it still lacks some punch and finish that could have made it great.  Brad Pitt fans will get their fill of the female eye candy, but those looking for more character interaction and depth should skip this film.  Those looking for some high intensity scaring, replay a classic horror film.  Want a good zombie outbreak plot?  This film has about half of it, but I think the book will give you a little more completeness to satisfy your needs.  Finally, those going for a lot of action will again need to pick a new film, because although well done and fitting the survival horror genre, it still lacks a lot of excitement.  My suggestion is to wait for this movie on Netflix, and pick another movie to see in theaters.  My scores for this film are:

Action/Drama/Horror:  7.5

Movie Overall:  6.5

 

PARTY AT MONSTERS UNIVERSITY!

Monsters University

 

Hello all and welcome to another review by Robbie K.  This weekend we start our reviews off with the latest creation from Pixar animation studios, a company that has made many adventures for both young and old to enjoy.  Like most animation studios, Pixar has had its ups and downs, but one thing that continues to shine through is the incredible animation their team puts together.  Yet lately it seems that the design team has been running out of options, resulting in sequels, spin offs, or as we are seeing this weekend…prequels.  So gear up and grab something to drink as I share my thoughts on Monsters University.

Many fell in love with the colorful universe that is Monster’s Inc. and many more fell in love with the big fluff ball Sully and his loveable little human pet Boo.  Yet from many of my friends and some reviewers, there was doubt that this movie would fail, since it’s the dynamic duo of scaring, only this time going to school.  So what did this reviewer think of the movie?  I had fun watching this movie and had quite a few laughs with all the comedic punches it threw.  For one thing the college world created by Pixar was very fun, colorful, and for me quite relevant that added that emotional link that can make or break a movie.  The designers took great care in designing the various buildings, quads, and other campus qualities that decorate the numerous brochures and commercials.  Yet the more impressive thing to this reviewer is the student lifestyle captured within the hallowed halls of MU.  Hopeful geeks who want to be cool, jocks and frat bros who are stereotypical jerks, and those overzealous studiers who spend every waking moment learning the information provided in books.  The personalities were not the only thing that was entertaining about this film though.  The characters also had a plethora of qualities that made the cast fun.  Characters like Squishy were adorably cute, clumsy, and had ridiculous faces, phrases, and crying that was fun to watch.  The character Don also had a funny voice, and probably had some of the funnier/awkward moments that made me think of my organic professor’s jokes and personality.    To sum it up, the characters are fun.

Now if you think this is just going to be a cute movie that only kids will laugh at, then you’ve got some surprises in store.  MU is filled with those stereotypical college situations that will have many laughing their heads off at the ridiculousness that arises.  Don’t flip out, this doesn’t mean, for once, experimenting with drugs, getting liquored up, or going all the way with a female monster, this is after all a G movie.  Instead Monster’s University focuses on a Revenge of the Nerd motive, taking oddballs who work hard, or naturally gifted, and placing them in a world that ostracizes them for not fitting the scary cloth.  Mike (Billy Crystal) and Sully’s (John Goodman) group are kid friendly version of the 80’s group, having very unique personalities and talents that make you pity, love, and laugh at them all at the same time.  Older generations will enjoy the jabs at the culture they may have experienced, while kids of all ages, and kids at heart, will giggle and scream in laughter at the embarrassing and ridiculous accidents that happen to them.  When the scare games begin, the laughs get better as the montage training, accident prone competitions, and geek vs. jock rumbles begin.  Perhaps the funniest factor for me though, had to be how I matched up the characters to my friends and their mannerisms.  With this connection in made the movie even better for this reviewer.

It wouldn’t be a Disney movie though without those moments that make your heart melt, women say ooooooh, or somehow inspire you to do great things.  Monsters University is filled to the brim with these moments, and like the comedy there is some relevance to the lessons they try to teach.  While some may be cheesy, Pixar and Disney did a nice job building these moments into the movie to help add the dramatic effect in the silly universe.  While the younger audience members will not get as much out of this, older ones will find the problems the protagonists experience, dare I say it relevant, that helps add more emotion to the film that doesn’t involve a goofy face.  Regardless the other reason for these moments is probably to help develop these characters further; helping to show how our loveable pals grew into the personalities we saw years earlier.  As for fans of the series who have watched Monster’s Inc. multiple times, you get to see some nice tie ins and references to the first movie that will make many scream with excitement.

Of course there are some weaknesses in this movie that take away from the movie for me.  One is, this movie is very predictable, most likely because we have already seen the fate of our heroes. Oh sure there were a few twists, or unexpected moments that made it through the cuts, but were they that surprising, not really.  Two, there are some very kiddy moments that, I know are meant to entertain the kids, but get a little overdone after the fifth time we have seen them. Three, some of the other monsters we liked in the original movie get a little short sighted in this movie, including the antagonists.  I mean how Randall became a jerk was a decent tie in, but I was expecting more to seeing is downfall. As for the antagonists, well they are funny and have the look, but the studio didn’t focus too much on them to make me feel they were really a threat.  Finally, I was hoping to see a few other college aspects that I have experienced, though I guess we have movies like Pitch Perfect and Old School to cover those bases.  With the exception of the predictability though, these weaknesses didn’t hurt my score for this movie… too much.

Monster’s University is a very fun prequel, and will be a definite for those with young family members or friends.  Don’t think though that this movie isn’t for adults as well, because there is enough fun adventure that entertained most of the older audience members in my showing.  With fun characters, stupid comedic antics, and some decent character development, I call this another victory for Pixar.  My final word of advice, is there is something at the end of the credits for those who wait.  My scores for this movie are:

Animation/Comedy:  9.0

Movie Overall:  8.5

 

 

The Origins are Elaborated In This Action Flick

Man of steel 2

 

It’s a bird, It’s a plane, no it’s another movie review from yours truly.  As you can tell from the opening, my review is on the latest Superman movie, a project many of my friends have waited for since it’s trailer debuted about a year ago.  Now if you are like me, you have grown up with various media of the caped hero from the comic books and cartoon series to the real life films and Smallville.  With such a broad range of media though, one may wonder just how they can make another new story, especially when the last movie failed to meet many expectations.  I’m Robbie K and I’m here to give you the scoop on the latest hero movie.

Man of Steel (MOS) starts off exactly as a Superman beginning should with a shot of Krypton that last more than five seconds.  From the get go the beautiful computer graphic imaging has designed an exciting opening that not only introduces Kal-El (Henry Cavill), but gives us a glimpse of the world he was forced to leave.  The opening left me feeling confident in the coming action, and set up the bad guy and story in an exciting manner that had me hooked.  Now you might be thinking, the momentum from strong openings is often lost within seconds of a movie, and I would agree with that statement.  MOS however, doesn’t, or at least minimizes the loss, by balancing Kal’s, now Clark’s, past with the present day.  Instead of getting a 30-60 minute montage of him growing up, Zack Snyder and Christopher Nolan chose to use flashbacks of his childhood, often integrating them at parts that either answered Lois Lane’s (Amy Adams) questions, or served as a portrayal of the struggle Clark had to face.  I liked this approach, as it allowed for us to see Clark grow up without getting a slow extra hour added to an already 2 hour film.  This approach also worked on another level by keeping Lois involved in the story.  Let’s face it in most of the movies, TV shows, and comics she primarily is a damsel in distress who only serves to drive Superman’s emotions and be leverage as a hostage.  In this movie, Lois’ reporting skills help chip away at the suppressed emotions/and story of the man of steel. After getting past the formalities she actually does other things that make her a much stronger character than in the past, which is always a plus for me. The rest of the story is then well driven, showing the evolution of a reluctant man changing into the icon of hope for Metropolis.

Despite the developed and driving story I’m sure there is something else people want to know about, the action.  Well with the last Superman movie relying on stereotypical flying, holding up crashing buildings, and stationary combat it was hard to get excited about this film.  This movie has revamped the fighting to finally push out of the slow 90’s style and gives it a modern style that I welcomed with open arms.  Both hero and bad guy go toe to toe using their superb strength to deck it out in fast action that is surprisingly caught well on camera.  Another positive factor to throw at you is that the contest isn’t an isolated event like some movies seem to abuse.  Instead the battle has both parties interacting with the environment, using both living and non-living obstacles to force the combatants to adapt to the situation and use the situations to their advantage. Throw that in with the heroic music and sound effects and you get a number of sequences that get the blood pumping and the crowd cheering.

Perhaps the last topic I have room/time to mention are the characters of this film.  As mentioned earlier Lois has a much deeper role in this movie other than a damsel in distress.  This might be due to Amy Adams strong personality, but I liked the involvement she had, though maybe not the accustomed look.  The approach they took with Clark in this movie was also a welcomed change for me, because he actually had qualities that made him a more believable character than another hero knock off.  This realism made the character more relevant and made the situations more dire because he wasn’t a perfect being who severed all human emotions and attachments.  Plus, it was nice to see the morally perfect, holier than that attitude dropped which although admirable has been overdone.  Superman’s father Jor-El (Russell Crowe) was also a fun character to watch due to the balanced nature they took with him.  At the beginning he seems a bit of a stiff who can kick butt in the pursuit of his noble goals.  However, as the movie continues we get to see that attitude applied in other ways, from teaching lessons and showing love, to subtle comedy in the delivery of lines that breaks up some of the tension.  The villains are not bad either, there moves are certainly impressive, but General Zod (Michael Shannon) was not as balanced as I would have liked to see.  More so an egotistical general who screamed more than led, Zod was at least combat ready for this film and not a pansy as some other villains have proven to be.  As for the other characters they are good, but I have to wrap things up.

Man of Steel was a large improvement over the other superhero movie I saw this summer.  Action, excitement, relevant characters, and so much more was wrapped into a movie that was entertaining and fun to watch.  Yes, there is a bit of a drag at parts, and some of the issues he deals with take a little bit longer than I care to see, but these are minor changes.  So I say this in caps, SEE THIS MOVIE IN THEATERS.

My scores are:

Action/Adventure/Fantasy:  8.5

Movie Overall: 8.0

A Cavalcade of Comedy and Comedy Stars

This is the End

                What would happen if six stars of stoner comedy films came together and were forced to face the end of the world?  I didn’t know either until I saw This is the End (TITE), a film written by one of these stars Seth Rogen, uniting his buddies from his various films to make what can only be an interesting adventure.  Well interesting is exactly what you get with this tale and I’m here to shed some light on the latest comedy to grace the screen.

When I saw the poser and trailers for this movie there were two ways I could see this movie going:  funny and full of insane, and wacky adventure, or another drug filled comedy where all they do is go from point A to point B and get stoned/drunk upon their arrival.  TITE however, decided to mash these two path together to make a hybrid that surprisingly entertained me, though that didn’t seem the case at first.  Stoner comedy fans will rejoice at the beginning, watching Seth and Jay Baruchel getting hopped up on so much weed you’ll wonder how their brains take it.  Then head into the party scene where not only do we get to see the cavalcade come together, but other stars make a cameo to show off what may be a reflection of their lives off camera.  It’s crude, it’s cursing filled, and has so many awkward/inappropriate/over the top lines that will have the audience either cringing or laughing their heads off, the former option more for me.  Once the cataclysm event occurs, as seen mostly in the trailer, the drugs and booze or shifted down a notch and a new “balance” is reached that started to put this movie in better graces with me.  So what did I like and dislike then.

Let’s start with the balance of comedy TITE has.  Rogen and company bring all of their styles to the table on this one, with each one playing the characters you know and love.  The diversity starts with more drug comedy, that makes our “heroes” do some crazy and embarrassing situations that had most of the audience cracking up.  Yet before this can grow stale, the movie transitions into curse filled talks about sex and all of its related bodily functions, sometimes leading to overexggarated arguments of two stars shamefully arguing about where they left their mark.  For me however, the most laughs came from the parodies and quotes of various movies that are cleverly integrated into the dialog and plot to give the movie some pizazz.  Rogen’s pokes, or is it jabs at Hollywood productions also had me in stitches, and combined with some well-timed and clever quips there were plenty of laughs to go around that brought tears to my eyes from laughing so hard.

Of course with a collection of stars this big playing “themselves” you would think there would be some good laughs just from the characters themselves.   Yes there were some characters I enjoyed, but for the most part the characters you see are those you’ve seen over and over again.  Seth Rogen still plays that funny looking, and rather plain role that indulges in just about everything he can.  James Franco, despite his diverse collection of roles, chose to go back to pineapple express mode and play the selfish jerk causing all the trouble, though he is slightly more in his mind.  Jonah Hill plays that very soft toned, strange, and high pitched nerd who trades his attempts to be cool with his attempts to be peaceful, I think.  My favorite of the bunch goes to Craig Robinson whose neutral tone, girlish screams, and well delivered quips had me rooting for the solo black actor.  Of all the actors, his role had the most diversity for me, playing all the fields without going too far into one area, and without overacting.  My least favorite character though had to be Danny McBride though.  I’ve enjoyed some of his movies in the past, but I’m over his filthy dialog, arrogant rants, and perverted mannerisms that make him the wild dude that many like.  His character is definitely the most annoying of the bunch and adds that black sheep/ doesn’t give a damn edge that the movie needed, but could have toned down a little more.  Regardless you like the guys in other movies, you are going to like them in this one.

Despite all of these things though there were still some over the line moments that I didn’t care for in this movie.  Although this is supposed to be a comedic take on the apocalypse, there are some things that didn’t need to be shown. Seeing the guys play soccer with a decapitated head and seeing cannibalism at its “finest” are just two areas I’m not comfortable with watching.  I also don’t enjoy the concept of butt, or for that matter, regular raping as well.  Sure the awkward reactions of the guys is fun to watch, but the concept penetrating someone in that way is not my cup of tea, and I’m glad we didn’t see the actual act like we have in other movies.  Yet the biggest thing at bugged me has to be the visible shots of the devil’s penis.  Just like in the game Dante’s Inferno, the fallen angel of darkness apparently likes to show off his swagger to the public in both erected and non-erected forms.  Sorry I don’t find seeing the male anatomy in all its lava orange/ brimstone gray glory, but that is something I think best left for the adult only films.

Factoring in everything though, TITE isn’t a half bad comedy and was a fun idea to watch on a concept vaguely touched in the comedy world.  I think the actors worked well together, the comedy stays rather fresh and appropriate, and although not the most surprising plot has a few things that may shock and surprise you.  Overall Rogen did a good job making fun of a holy topic in a way that won’t get him smite, but for those who are a bit more sensitive on this topic avoid the film.  Those who also don’t want to see awkward shots of male anatomy, arguing of who gets to get high, or just don’t like Danny McBride are also encouraged to skip this flick.  My scores are:

Comedy: 7.5

Movie Overall:  6.5-7.0

the purge

Ever been so angry you wanted to murder someone?  Apparently director James Demonaco has because today’s review is all about the latest horror/thriller to grace the movie theater entitled The Purge.  The concept of this is intriguing in which every year for twelve hours the government legalizes all crime, including murder.  Such an idea allows for an ultimate game of cat and mouse, which if done right could allow for some scares and spine chills  Of course with the countless horror movies that seem to  pop up every month, it’s hard to find one that is actually worth a trip to the theater.  Has this movie scored a place in the hall of horror fame?  Read on to find out.

Despite the promises of the trailer, the Purge was not as exciting/interesting as I had hoped it would be.  The explanation for the festival of the beast, is rather lame as it really involves feeding the psychopath’s hunger while also serving as population control and a way to maintain order, Hunger Games anyone? Yet for a horror movie the plot is often not what people go for, it is more so the scare factor.  I’ll give this movie one thing it has diversity in their attempts to terrorize the audience.  For those who like a good jump, this movie has plenty of ear drum shattering sounds to try to make your body jump.  The quiet halls of the house with the steady breathing of the characters sets it up perfectly, and if you don’t see it coming then the sudden discharge or appearance of a hunter might make you squeal.  Those who are immune to this tactic have another challenge to face though in which they are to resist the creepiness of the dark.  Early on in the film the power gets cut, casting a veil of shadows in every room that seems to suck the all light and sound out.  Seeing as the halls are rather spacious, well the simple suburban setting becomes a hunting ground that has you wondering what is behind every corner, until it gets overdone.  Finally the last factor comes in the form of how realistic these killers are, for The Purge has ditched the zombified chainsaw wielders, aliens, and supernatural murderers for average people.  While these killers are indeed overacted, more on that later, there is still something that sends chills down your spine when the killing crew arrives, especially those odd masks.

Although I applaud their diversity though, the movie has a lot of downfalls that counter the angle they tried to take.  For one thing, they overdo a lot of the scare attempts that it becomes rather boring and predictable.  How many times am I supposed to be freaked out by a mask man or woman getting a close up?  As for the darkness of the house, well that gets old too, because the size of the house is ridiculous and they tend to revisit the same rooms numerous times to again get things stale.  Yet the biggest thing that I got tired of was the fact that the same dilemma happened not once, not twice, but at least three times in the movie.  Kids ran off into the dark, the dad and mom got into shouting arguments, and I the constant monitor watching made it feel like I was in Safe house except without as good of acting.

Despite the challenges this movie had though, there were some very symbolic messages in the qualities of movie setting.  Perhaps the biggest message was the animalistic and barbaric nature that can overcome any human. The evolution of the characters into releasing their savage side as the situation gets worse brings up the question of how much does it take to give in.  A battle of morals and ethics is fought at various points, mainly between the youngest member of the family and the adults who are years older than him.  While a bit cheesy, overacted, and sometime pathetic, the points they raise are ones that many of us should continue to examine ourselves.  Unfortunately a piece of you might die with this film as well, especially when the torturing and soulless decisions come on screen that, for this reviewer anyway, made me not only uncomfortable but pitying a lot of characters.  Pushing past the morals and tests of whether or not you have a conscious the ending revs up the excitement to finish the movie fairly strong.  There is some action, a few scenes that make you cheer, and some nice ties to the loose ends that form over the course of the movie, though it is not too hard to guess what is coming. As for those who  have American pride, well this movie is happy to bash this proud country.  Numerous times they emphasize this is America, most likely to bash the country about how our military/political group likes to stick its nose in every situation, thus purging ourselves of pent up aggression.  One thing I applaud is the message that the government officials were exempt from the purge.  Sound like anything familiar?  Yeah it’s a nice reflection of the current government officials today, but I don’t want to go too far off so I’ll stop it there.  I don’t know if James Demonaco has something against the country, but keep your eyes open for more ways he pokes at the U.S.A.

Finally I’d like to make a few comments on the acting of this movie.  In a nutshell most of the characters/ parts are rather shallow and simple involving nothing more than screaming, crying, and occasionally some actual dialog.  Ethan Hawke was one of the better roles, had a combination of elegance and ruggedness needed for his transition.  Max Burkholder was the moral driver of the story, and played the frightened kid who had a strong moral obligation to do the right thing.  Rhys Wakefield had the creepy and psychotic role down pat, and despite how polite his character was, managed to drive some anger towards his character, which was I believe the intended goal.  As for the rest of the cast, some aren’t bad, and many of the killers/hunters are very disappointing, who at first are creepy but quickly devolve into mentally imbalanced teenagers who get rather annoying.

In a nutshell, The Purge isn’t necessarily the scariest thing to grace the screen.  Yeah it has diversity in the scaring, and the moral dilemmas make the movie mean something than just watch out for ghosts or zombies.  However, the execution of the idea needs some heavy tweaking.  While it makes   Those looking for a more realistic thriller will get their fill of chills, kills, and blood spills, but this is no gore fest like Saw or Final Destination.  Yet if you are suffering from horror movie withdrawal and don’t want to rewatch something better give this movie a shot.  My best recommendation is to go see the Internship, have a few good laughs, and wait for Man of Steel next week.  My scores for the film are the  following:

Horror/Thriller/SCi-fi:  5.5

Movie Overall: 4.0