Same Guys, Different Crime… Sort Of

Horrible Bosses 2

            You remember a few years ago, when a team of disgruntled employees attempted to live out the ultimate fantasy of killing their jerk bosses? Yeah so do I, and unfortunately the memories of that movie are still burned into my mind. The stupid adventure of Dale, Nick, and Kurt was not one I thoroughly enjoyed, with the over acted slur of sexual rants and F-word filled dialogue. Yet the public seemed to greatly enjoy it and as a result we get the sequel for our holiday weekend. What in the world do you have in store?


Likes: This category is hard for me to fill, because there was unfortunately not a lot in this movie for me. The biggest like for me is Jamie Foxx the mad man of the big screen. Foxx reprieves role of the man with the unfortunate first name, and packs just as much attitude as a rabid dog. Foxx brings a much needed random element to the film with edge, flare, and comedic timing. This time we get a little more insight into his character’s goals, and just how ridiculously shady this character is. Integrated at key moments of the tale, Foxx’s role is brought out to the max and not overdone like half the other things in this movie. Another like is the lovely Jennifer Aniston, who jumps back into the bridled skankiness of Dr. Julia Harris. The aggressively horny doctor comes back hungrier than ever, openly admitted to her sex addiction and manipulating the scene to get what she wants. Aniston’s sass is back with her, bringing back nostalgic memories of Rachel Green with it. Despite her limited involvement in the film, she still gets her money’s worth, and looks good doing her job, enough to bring out some hoots, hollers, and other things from the male audience.

In addition to these two, the story of Horrible Bosses 2 is a decent fit for the comedy keeping the trend and feel of the first film, but still adding a little fresh twist. The plot this time goes from murder to kidnaping, or should I say kidnapping as the trailers have already hit us with. The simple expedition to kidnap the blue eyed wonder Chris Pine quickly transverses into a chaotic adventure, filled with a few predictable twists to make it interesting. You know that the trio are going to screw up, you just don’t know how they will botch up their plan. With two idiots and Jason Bateman leading the plan though, one can be certain that the adventure will be stupid. Outside of that the other thing I like is that the film is less than two hours, scrapping time for catch up and getting straight to the laughs.


Dislikes: The first thing that was not to my liking was how stupid the comedy was. Oh sure, I love a good stupid character now and then, one whose antics are often clumsy and well timed with a corny pun. In this film though, just about everyone is a giant idiot that seems to fit into the general mainstream of Hollywood. Why am I complaining? Simple, because I just spent almost two hours watching not one, but four people act as if their brains were the size of peanuts. Charlie Day in particular was the most idiotic of the bunch, merely a panicking, whining mess who did nothing but scream. It was like watching a Caucasian version of Kevin Hart only without the actual funny lines. Sure Day had some good moments, but they were diluted by the mindless rants of screaming.

Adding more fuel to the redundant fire is Jason Sudeikis who plays the perverted Kurt. Sudelkis seems to have a knack for playing shallow jerks, who half the time is moronic mess. In this film, he is kind of the side kick to Dale’s clumsiness, making just as costly mistakes that are different for me. It’s funny at times, particular when it comes to his big ideas that are “surely going to work”, but of course fail. Yet his character, like everything in this film, is thrown at your face and became boring to me, as well as most of the audience, by the end of the film. It could also be that everyone could have also been tired by the bludgeoning of F-bombs, annoying crazy laughing by Chris Pine, or the countless references to male genitalia as well.


Conclusions: To wrap this up Horrible Bosses 2 is more about quantity than quality when it comes to comedy. Fans of the first movie are going to rejoice in the fact that everything is still the same, in terms of jokes, chemistry, and plot. For this reviewer, I was hoping for a little more dynamic in terms of the comedy, with a little more of the jokes tied to the story instead of the sexual nature. Most R rated movies these days seem to have thrown out storytelling out the window, replacing it with one or two aspects that are only half as good as they could have been. Why the writing has gone out the window for cheap tricks and thrills I don’t know, but Horrible Bosses 2 is another example of this.

You can guess it’s not worth a trip to the theater, but if you are looking for some mindless theatrics with maximum stupidity, this is the film for you. My suggestion though is to skip this film and go see something else this holiday weekend. Factoring in the theme and general purpose of this movie I give it the following scores:


Comedy: 6.5

Movie Overall: 5.5












Hopefully a set up to the real war, Mockingjay makes a mock of politics

Scarlett chronicles

It’s here, it’s finally here, that’s what I’m sure many people are saying as we get yet another installment in the Hunger Games series. Yes the blockbuster hit this weekend is Mocking Jay Part 1, a movie that is following the trend of dragging a series out for more money. Already grossing $55 million on day 1, Jennifer Lawrence is leading the cast to what is sure to be another top movie of the week. However, Hunger Games predecessors have mixed results in quality, and leaves one to question… Is this movie worth a trip to theater? Well in a new format, let’s dive into my review of Mocking Jay Part 1.


Plot: Continuing from the last film, Katniss has been drafted into the political campaign of the supposedly lost District 13. In an attempt to motivate the people to rebel against the corrupt Capitol, Katniss becomes the symbol of the movement to bring justice. Like always though, the emotional teenager has issues with authority, and quickly becomes annoyed at her new allies. When fellow contestant Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) is found to be alive, all hell breaks loose and a new game starts in the beginning of the final chapter.


Likes: If you’re like me, then you were not the biggest fan of the last book, with the rushed plot line, the behind the scenes of war approach, and the constant complaining of Katniss. Well luckily the relentless complaining is at a minimum in the film. No longer are we forced to relive the memories of her and Peeta, nor get caught in paragraphs of details about choosing between this version of Edward and Jacob. Instead this film brings up those issues, while actually continuing the plot and pushing on with the story. Yes Katniss is still an emotional time bomb who can’t seem to say anything without yelling in defense, but I can live with that. Regardless, the emotional turmoil and hate she feels for… well pretty much everything, is still there but not as exaggerated. In addition, the book gave us pretty much next to nothing on the battles, with the exception of the few scenes Katniss is end. When I was reading the book, all I could say was “What the heck Collins, this book is boring as hell. What are the people doing to the capital in response to all this propaganda? Good news, we get to see it in this film. Albeit not as action packed as previous installments, we finally get to see some of the sabotage and attacks on Snow’s empire. In a rather sullen manner, these short glimpses into the district’s fights are simplistic and over in a matter of minutes. Still a little is better than nothing, and these shots show promise that part 2 will have the much awaited bite.


Other likes include bringing Effie back into the picture, the once clandestine stylist was pretty absent in the novel despite being a rather important piece to Katniss’ team. Not the case in this film, and Elizabeth Banks brings her wonderful talents to the screen as she transitions from fancy, to well dirt poor rags. Julianne Moore as well makes a good Coin, and the directors have managed to trim back the stubborn witch she was in the book. The power struggle is still maintained mind you, but it’s not quite the catfight you remember. As for Lawrence, fans will rejoice as she steps back into the hard-edged, takes no crap, strong woman role that many flock too. Albeit I do laugh at her overly dramatic speeches and rants, but still she is the role model that many make her out to be.


Dislikes: Despite the improvements to the story, Mockingjay Part 1 is still a tale that lacks the drive of the previous films. Most of the scenes are vary laid back, with only tension building when the pathetic Peeta makes an onscreen appearance. This is supposedly a character-building book, but all we get is a heated grudge match between Snow and Katniss that is reminiscent of soap opera squabble. Much like our own government, nothing seems to get done in this movie other than making other people look good and other’s bad. The attempts to alleviate this boredom are only slightly better, the rescue scene in particular dull and stupid. Many are going to say it was all explained in the final moments of the movie. I reply saying, it was a crappy excuse that once again illustrates how unreliable antagonists can be. Apparently the police can easily overtake a district, but their deaf and uncoordinated when it comes to defending valuable assets.

Apparently you can get away with this though by putting in a song by Jennifer Lawrence, which will surely become a top hit on ITunes, and wrap it up in more love story. For me though, this lackluster support didn’t put me on edge like it did others, though I pray this is being used as the set up. Even the love story was a little gipped, as the struggle to choose, was replaced with Katniss dead set on one of them. I am a robot when it comes to love scenes though, but this did not feel like a Hunger Games film to me.


Final thoughts: The long awaited continuation of the saga is unfortunately not what I had hoped it would be. Sure they managed to deviate from the poorer aspects of the third book, but there is still enough of the boring framework in there to dilute the excitement. Lawrence and the crew do their best, but they aren’t enough for me to praise this film.   There are plenty of theater worthy aspects to bring you into the mix, all in surround sound, HD goodness. This movie is going to be a big success regardless, but it doesn’t live up to the hype for me.


My scores for this film are:


Adventure/Sci-Fi: 7.0

Movie Overall: 7.0

Amusing, Inappropriate, and Nostalgic: Dumbness at it’s finest

dumb and dumber 2

            Dumb and Dumber, a comedy that many years ago had families laughing their heads off. With its incredibly stupid antics, simplistic one-liners, and pushing the borderlines in appropriate films. I personally didn’t enjoy it as much as others, and regretted seeing the prequel Dumb and Dumberer even more. So you can probably guess I wasn’t too thrilled to see another attempt at continuing the simplistic story. Yet I go back in once again to give you my thoughts on the latest in comedy movie installment. So let’s get started.


When you come out of an 11-year gap, it can be rather tricky to reintroduce a series whose last good movie was two decades ago.. To my pleasant surprise, this sequel managed to recapture the spirit of the old movie, bringing back many enjoyable elements. Dumber and Dumber To returns to the comedy that made it famous in all the glorious forms you remember. Starting right from the get go, Lloyd and Harry share in idiotic banter as they find humor in the most inappropriate situations. As seen in the trailers, the story takes place 20 years from the first one, and Lloyd has played a practical joke in the form of playing a vegetable. This is only the start to the nearly two hours of insults, inappropriate fantasies about sex, and death defying slapstick humor that is to come. The diversity in comedy keeps things fun, as fans get to go back to the nostalgic 90’s comedy that entertained us so long ago. I myself laughed the most at the simplistic, childish humors of crashing into things and making bad puns. Others found the duo’s audacious actions towards women the highlight of the comedy buffet. Nevertheless be sure that there are plenty of funny moments to behold in this movie, so long as you can get through some of the crude moments.


Of course one big factor is how the directors grabbed as many of the old cast as possible. This was a brilliant move, as it brings the authenticity back to the fans and bypasses the awkward transition a new cast might bring. The best move of course was getting to see Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels back for this film. Twenty years has not affected Carrey’s ability to play Lloyd, as he drops right back into the annoyingly loud moron. Carrey is just as nasally as before, and has the act of playing the neurotic nimrod quite well. His facial expressions make you laugh, and his delivery of the inappropriate comments was so well done that it almost seemed like he was insulting the women. Daniels as well brings back the old spark of Harry, whose lisp makes most of his dialogue hilarious. Unlike Carrey, Daniel’s character isn’t quite as in your face, and his reactions to Lloyd’s deranged ideas kept me chuckling the entire time.. I also found his lines to be better written, having a more controlled stupidity that was better timed. Of course, I felt that the both of them would be less funnier had they not been paired for most of the time. The chemistry between these two is what really brings the humor out of this movie, and integrates the new cast quite well. Rob Riggle

played the third wheel again, but did a nice job intertwining his style with the crazy duo. Rachel Melvin on the other hand was designed to be a little too airheaded though. Her looks were the most entertaining of the bunch, but her character’s lack of intelligence got on my nerves. Still she opened up some comedy for Lloyd and Harry.


To sound like a broken record, I think the main thing that I enjoyed was how similar this film was to its predecessor. So many memories came flooding back on this journey, whether through the mention of a character, or a timeless stunt. What impressed me even more is that although they brought many blasts from the pasts, there was still a lot of new things to give this film it’s own spin. The characters have aged twenty years, new roles have been adapted, and new people have come into their world. One can only wonder what will happen to the cast, and how Lloyd and Harry will screw up next in their endeavors. Unfortunately for me, I was able to predict most of the twists and see the jokes coming so it lost a little edge for me. In addition, some of the jokes crossed the line a little too far for me, leaving me more disgusted than entertained.


Overall Dumb and Dumber Too was a much better sequel than I intended it to be. While I think those who liked the first one will get the most enjoyment out of it, newcomers will be able to enjoy this tale as well. Again, this comedy goes back to the art of clever writing and 90’s theatrics, and avoids the humor that relies on a catch phrase to keep you laughing. While there is no theater quality to it, i.e. special effects, or masterpiece story, Dumb and Dumber To may be the last decent comedy of the season. I suggest you give it a try if you are looking for stupid fun, but be cautious about who you take to theater. My scores for this film are:


Comedy: 8.0

Movie Overall: 7.5

Big Hero Sick!!!!! Action, Emotion, and Comedy For All

Big Hero 6

            The beginning of November usually means a few things, the beginning of Christmas season, lots of food, and of course at least one kids animated movie. This weekend opens up the season with another work by Disney Animation Studios, or Pixar’s rival to some. With the gold mine that was their last movie, Frozen, the cavalcade of animators have once again churned out another animated feature that looks to be fun. Yet can it match the success of their last film? As always read on.


The tale of Big Hero 6 is about a boy named Hiro (Ryan Potter), a kid with a knack for robotics. Through the encouragement of his brother, Hiro is inspired to pursue higher education of robotic design and change the modern world. Unfortunately, an accident though, turns Hiro’s world upside down, with only memories and his brother’s creation Bay Max (Scott Adsit) to help him carry on. However, a new threat surrounding one of Hiro’s projects rises from the shadows, and only the dynamic duo can uncover the secrets at hand.


So what did I think of the film? I’ll start by saying this reviewer loved the film more than Frozen. Yes I know I’m probably shouting blasphemy, but let me explain why. It starts with the story. Big Hero 6 has many of the familiar elements that we love in a Disney film. Hiro’s story starts out exciting from the get go, throwing pizazz and excitement into the mix early to grab your attention. But it doesn’t stop there, as this story, like any good story, changes up things when you start getting comfortable. Audiences will get to see Hiro’s world change as one event happens that completely changes the dynamic of the movie, yet keeps things grounded. Mystery, drama, character development, and more are all built into this tale, intricately weaved to help bring the characters to life without going into too much detail. You might be saying Frozen had that too? Yes, but what’s different between these two movies is that Frozen built it’s story around a soundtrack and sped through some valuable qualities. Big Hero 6 doesn’t do this, and focuses more on the story, with the soundtrack supporting the film during its montage moments. What I liked even more is that Big Hero 6 had a great character development as well, which remained throughout the whole movie and wasn’t lost.


Let’s get off the plot though and talk about some other things this movie has to offer. For one thing the film has plenty of excitement. Hiro and the gang get into some thrilling situations that are packed with high adrenaline. Car chases, fights against technological baddies, and infiltration into quarantined zones are just some examples of what you get to see. Now just because there is action doesn’t mean you get ninja warriors beheading their foes, or guns lighting up the city. No, Big Hero 6 has more family friendly action that has some impressive moves that will thrill all ages. What’s even better is the creativity in their technology, cleverly designed to integrate science, fun, and technology into one package. Kids will get a little education, albeit a little stretched,, in science that shows how cool physics and chemistry can be. Geeks like me will appreciate each characters design, and the masses will appreciate the animation this movie has to offer. I just wished these scenes were longer and had a little more diversity to them instead of the repetitive moves.


However, the big thing kids will remember is the comedy of the movie. Big Hero 6 is full of moments that the younger audience members and I found hysterical. Juvenile actions like letting out air, klutzy stumbles into buildings, and well timed screams had me laughing. Of course being Disney, you can expect some clever dialogue and a few antics that will surely be repeated a thousand times by the population. In particular the fist bump joke and low battery comedy were my favorites, the latter being a cute way to integrate some adult drunk humor into the mix with some good voice work to boot. Yes some of the jokes are repetitive and simplistic, but the timing and delivery are well enough that it makes up for the limitations. To tell you the truth, it’s actually the voice work that really makes most of the humor and emotions come to life in this movie.


Okay let’s wrap this up. Big Hero 6 was a great adventure that is entertaining for all ages. The story is balanced, with an ever-changing story, emotional character development, and action to keep things exciting for you. Yes it lacks the original songs that Frozen did, but the story and creativity in this film more than make up for the lack of top of the chart tunes. Is it worth a trip to the theater? You better believe it as this movie has all the bells and whistles for the silver screen, and has a story to support it as well. So if you are looking for a movie that all can enjoy, get on down and catch this treasure before it leaves.


My scores are:


Animation/Action/Comedy: 9-9.5

Movie Overall: 8.5-9.0

Interstellar Graphics, and A Complex Adventure


            When you think of Christopher Nolan, you probably think of the Dark Knight trilogy that ended a few years ago. However you may recall a little number called Inception that had a little less caped crusader, and a little more mind twisting. That movie had people asking what the heck they just watched, and whetehr it was real or all a dream. Now that the dark knight has hung up his cape, Nolan and his brother may have produced another epic tale in the form of a space adventure called Interstellar. This genre has been absent in the movies lately, so I was excited to see what the director had in store. Was it good or did it flop? As always I’m happy to share my opinions.


Interstellar’s story is like most space exploration tales. The earth is dying and the future of humans is once again at stake. Pilot Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) who is a farmer/engineer is drafted into the rocket program to find other worlds to start colonizing on. Of course this involves leaving his two kids behind, possibly never seeing them again. And just like most space stories, things start to go wrong. Interstellar’s plot follows the formula of other space dramas in which things go well at first, but then quickly take a turn for the worse. Yes, like Apollo 13 and other space classics, the crew of this movie faces their fair number of challenges in the unknown. Fans will find themselves gripping the seats, or holding their breath as the drama unfolds, each scene filled with the spectacular orchestra work of Hans Zimmer. Most of the incidents you can see coming, but I’ll admit there were a few twists thrown in that surprised even me.


Interspersed with the action of the movie, is an intense dialogue that holds a lot in its well-written words. First off is character development, the backstories gradually being revealed as the group progressed on their journey. While some of the traumatic past seemed to be swept under the rug, fans will get plenty of material to help get attached to the characters. For this reviewer, I found that each of the characters got a fair amount of involvement in the movie, and the stories meshed well together to bring a good dynamic amidst the group. However, this reviewer also got a little annoyed about the constant complaining about saving the ones they loved versus completing the mission. WE knew the issues at hand, but Nolan’s writing wanted to make sure that we knew how hard it was. This did allow for some good moral testing in the dialog, seeing how far Cooper and the gang would go before diverging from their goals. In addition to these qualities, the writing is also filled with a plethora of scientific jargon that will have the audience either impressed, laughing, or completely stumped. Theoretical physics and quantum mechanics are the backbone of the journey, explaining the principles to how this journey works and why it is such a challenge. I was able to follow most of the dialogue, but determining how accurate and realistic it is, lie beyond my skills. Also there were some well time comedy moments as well, in particular from the robots, that were clever and witty.


However, the biggest strength of this movie is the phenomenal effects it has to offer. Interstellar is beautifully crafted to bring the exploration into the unknown to life, with high definition graphics and amazing sound. Planet surfaces are incredibly detailed, from the shimmer of light off the water, to the jagged crags of the icy wasteland.  The spaceships themselves have a fair amount of realism to it, though at times things are a bit to blocky or bright to maintain the realism. Even the journey through the wormhole will impress fans as the dazzling lights and whooshing sounds put you right into the fray. Regardless of what part of the movie, rests assure that the visuals are impressive and a big part of what brings the excitement to the movie.


Yet for all the good this movie has, including the fantastic acting, Interstellar did have a few weaknesses for me. For one it was a very morbid movie, with so much focus on the negative. This movie has you questioning a lot about the limited time span called life, and may be a bit too depressing for some people. A second weakness was some of the overstretching they did in this movie. I get that the genre is called science fiction, but some of the things they did in this movie were a bit too out there for me. Specific examples can’t be shared, but you’ll get what I mean when you get further into the movie. If it was meant to be ridiculous, I could accept it, but for the serious tone in this movie, it didn’t fit well with me. I’m sure you can guess my next weakness is time length of the movie. Well three hours is a bit much for me these days, and with a slow beginning to set the situation up, it can really drag. However, most of the movie is very interesting and the situations are set up to an extent that most of the movie passes by quickly, though there are still some slow parts. There are a few other things to mention, but let’s wrap this up.


Interstellar is an awesome movie on so many levels. Yes many will see many similarities to the movie contact, and it does lack some originality. However, this movie is a welcome treat that stands out from the monotonous mess movies have become. I have no doubt this movie will be up for some Oscar awards, especially with the editing involved. This reviewer strongly recommends catching this movie in theaters, though be warned of the length when planning your day.


The scores are:


Adventure/Sci-Fi: 9.0

Movie Overall: 8.0



Things that Crawl In the Night


            When you hear a movie title called Nightcrawler what do you think? The X-men superhero? A vicious, mutant earthworm terrorizing the land? Well in both cases you would be wrong, because this movie is none of those things, which may or may not disappoint you. Instead this movie is about the world of news filming, in particular the cameramen who take the vampire shift to capture the shots the public loves. Sound like a snooze fest to you? Well it did to me, but when a guy like Jake Gyllenhaal is cast for the main role, you never know what is in store. So once again kick back and relax as we take you to back to theater for another review.


Let’s start this review by talking about the movie’s biggest factor: Jake himself. The movie is pretty much about his character named Louis, a scrap thief who is trying to rise from poverty into something more. I know we’ve seen these types of stories, but they are usually about someone noble, hardworking, who paints the picture of justice. Not the case in this movie. Louis is a maniacal manipulator, who seems to be borderline insane in his quest to obtain what he wants. Gyllenhaal once again brings these qualities to an extraordinarily detailed manner that it almost seems natural to him. Like Donnie Darko, Jake brings a darker complexity to what would be a simple role, keeping one on their toes as to what Louis will do next to reach his goals. At times it is almost as if you can read what is going on his mind, getting an internal dialogue in a visual sense that helps explain his actions. Some of the his thought patterns mirrored my own perspective, but other times made me fear the savagery that the human psyche can be. This dual nature in Louis had me torn between applauding his scary intelligence and wanting someone to hit him with a car. Whatever path you choose, note this, Gyllenhaal has once again impressed me with his work.


Past his character though, what else does Nightcrawler have to offer? Well the story for one thing is a good hoo,k as this drama/thriller shies away from love and instead turns to career. Now we’ve seen plenty of movies about careers, and can often predict the path of high success, or bottom out failure. However this film strays from that formula by putting a wild card character into the mix, whose intelligence and strategy are a force on its own. The unpredictability tied in with the gradual obstacles, keeps the film interesting, and somewhat realistic as the tale unfolds. Of course there are still plenty of predictable elements to the story, but overall the drama in this film between Louis and the world is a site to behold. Rivalries trust issues, a little love and obsession, and the stress of the job are all qualities addressed in this movie. Each of these components is a real challenge, and had to be solved in a separate manner, which again keeps my intention going. Thus this movie was a nice balance of the drama and thriller components, and for once didn’t revolve around sex, drugs, or affairs to tell the story. Which for this reviewer gets a big thumbs up.


In addition to the tale though, the crew have also introduced a culture shock in the cold-hearted world that is the news. Now we know that humans are drawn to the images of the horrible incidents that happen in the world. However, there is a certain ethical dilemma that follows with how much you show and how far you go to get the shot. This movie takes all of these qualities, and presents them in a format that makes you contemplate your own motives. Would you go as far as Louis to get a shot that is sure to get the public watching your news reel? Could you take the steps he did to get a leg up in the career path? Those were the thoughts running through my mind, which when blended with the presentation made the movie more relevant and entertaining. This movie does a nice job teaching you lessons without crossing into the preachy moments that have been used in other films.


Despite all the good this movie has though, there are a few things that took away from the movie for me. One is the dialog, as realistic as it may seem, why is everyone obsessed with the F word. It is once again overused for me and could have been tapered down a bit. In addition there are some things that could have been edited out, a few parts being a little too drawn out to drag this movie to almost two hours long. Also, there were a few stretches of the tale at points such as how he got a hot rod car that fast, or how his speeding and reckless driving didn’t get him arrested. The driving in particular was rather tacky, because of the lack of punishment; he’s good people, but not that good. Aside from these few things though, the movie is edited well for maximizing entertainment and emotion.


Overall Nightcrawler is one of the better crime dramas I have seen in a while. It presents a nice balance of story building, character development, and drama to keep the tale interesting, without going overboard in details. While I wish it had ended differently, I feel that fans will be pleased with the finale, especially the excitement and suspense of the final moments. Is it worth a trip to theater? While there are many great things about it, this movie doesn’t have anything that is silver screen necessary (i.e. special effects or sound). However, if you are looking for a good movie overall, by all means check this one out. My scores are:


Crime/Drama/Thriller: 8.0

Movie Overall: 8.0