Thursday, July 28, 2011

(MOVIE REVIEW) Captain America easily red, white and blew Harry Potter out of the #1 spot in its opening weekend

After the horrible movie that I had to sit through last week (see last weeks blog post ) I would have watched just about anything in an attempt to get the rancid taste of lazy “wand battles” out of my mouth. Potter disappointed so badly that I almost couldn’t stand to get my hopes up for the much anticipated Captain America: First Avenger. However, only minutes into Captain America, I had already seen more good footage than the entire time that I sat through the overhyped bloated waste that was Harry Potter. Captain America: The First Avenger proved to be a great origin story for one of my favorite comic book heroes.
When young Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) tries to enlist in the army, he fails….more than five times. He didn’t have what the Army was looking for. They needed a soldier with size, with strength and with speed. But what they overlooked was a soldier with heart. When Steve is selected to be part of the Super Soldier Program he gladly accepts. He walks in to the complex a short weakling, and emerges as the greatest soldier that the US Army has ever seen. After the complex is attacked, Rogers makes it his mission to bring down the Nazi plague that has ended so many lives. With a hand selected team on his side, Rogers decides to take the fight directly to the Nazi Party, and more specifically to The Red Skull (Hugo Weaving).  He may have entered the Army as Steve Rogers, but he leaves it as Captain America.
This movie is not your typical superhero film. It splits its workload between blockbuster superhero film, period film, and action-comedy. The movie works on so many levels. It doesn’t offer the amount of action that Transformers 3 did, but what it does offer is action of a higher quality. They don’t just slip a lot of fighting and explosions in for the sake of doing it. The action is only a necessity, while the heart of the story focuses on the inner strength of a man that only wants to “do his part”.
Worth the admission? Does Captain America Turtle Wax his shield? Not only do I think that this is a great movie, I think that it is the best superhero film of 2011. It refuses to be one dimensional. And with hilariously dry one-liners peppered throughout the film by Tommy Lee Jones, the movie brings in some much needed levity to some otherwise serious subject matter.
Make sure you check out the bonus footage after the credits and let me know what you thought .

Monday, July 18, 2011


Depp can do anything, can't he? He makes any movie likable. Well, any movie other than The Tourist and Public Enemies (which is a massive pile of crap and shot like it was made by a 3rd year film school student). That aside, I knew that he was a great actor but never figured him to be a great voice actor.

In this movie, Rango (Depp) is a chameleon that is dropped out of the back of his human families car (while they are in mid-move) and he finds his way to Dirt (a small town). When Rango begins to embellish on his past accomplishments and claims to be a gunslinger the towns people make him sheriff. At first this new surge of appreciation goes to his head, but he is later charged with trying to find out why the towns water supply has dried up and he finds this to be a true test for his "skills". When Rango begins to dig below the surface and sees that there are some dishonest people involved with the town, he does everything in his power to big the guilty to justice.

This movie was good. It was cute, funny, Depp was great, and the character is animated in a wonderfully realistic way. I would advise you to watch it as soon as possible. I found myself laughing a lot in this movie. You will too!

(DVD REVIEW) Drive Angry

Nic Cage is like a delicate dinner being prepared. You may prepare it 100 times and some times the meal comes out horrible and some times it comes out fantastic. Cage movies are the same way. While some movies may be completely horrible (Ghost Rider, The Wicker Man, and whatever that movie about witches was last year) and sometimes we get a treat (Con Air). This movie comes in to the "good" category. While it is more like a cheesy 80s movie, it has something about it that makes it very likable.

The movie is about Milton (Cage) who is on a mission to save a baby from a cult leader that is going to try to use it to open a gate to hell. This is going to be in an attempt to bring hell on Earth. While Milton is on his mission he comes across Piper (Heard), a street tough girl that can hold her on but is looking for something more out of life. When she agree to give Milton a ride, the chaos begins and they are forced to fight for their lives against crowds of people and even some non-human villains.

The movie reminds me a lot of Evil Dead or Army of Darkness. It has that cheesy, low class, gross out, fun action factor working for it that is a lot of fun. I love that style of "grind house" action/gore...and this plays like a classic. Watch it!

Also, while it may not be available on DVD 3D, I can only imagine that it was great in the theater. Lots of 3D spots used and the movie was shot in 3D (as opposed to a 3D conversion that most movies use).

(MOVIE REVIEW) If there is one thing that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 shows us it’s that zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…sorry, I fell asleep.

I love to cook gumbo. It’s something that takes a while to do. Most of the time the stock simmers over the period of a full day and the roux can be a little tricky. Once, after all the time had been put into the preparation of the meal I finally got to taste it and it was horrible (as I had burned the roux). Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 is the EXACT same. I invested ten years into the horrible franchise, because my wife makes me watch them, and the payoff was way worse than burnt roux.
If you have been following the franchise you know where we are in the story. We are nearing the end of the story and Lord Voldemort (Fiennes) is in search of Potter (Radcliffe) and company. Snape (Rickman) is acting headmaster of Hogwarts and has locked the facility down. It is not until Potter returns that he and his friends decide to use Hogwarts as the location for their final stand against Voldemort. After a full scale attack is launched on the school, Harry must risk everything to save the place and people that he loves. Many lives are lost in the final battles between good and evil. Who will remain standing in the end?
If you have ten years to prepare for something you would think that you would turn out a fantastic end product, right? Not in the case here. This movie was boring. The wand battles were lazy. There was nothing redeeming about the action (or the lack of action) in this movie. I can tolerate when a franchise has one bad movie in the bunch, but this franchise has been sinking fast for the last four movies. I’m sure that 3D would have helped with the experience, but this film comes across as lazy and underwhelming.
Worth the admission? Not at all. Maybe if you are a fan of the series you will enjoy it, but most that went with me did not like it. The standard answer was “it was ok, but not great”. I would say rent it, and only if you have to see it at all.
Alan Rickman, as professor Snape, was the ONLY thing that I liked about this movie (and most of the others). He has such a presence on the screen and really stands proud of all other actors in this movie. Let me know if you agree or if you have a different favorite character/actor

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

(MOVIE REVIEW) Charlie Day proves that he is the most underrated comedic actor in Hollywood in the insanely funny Horrible Bosses

When I was a teenager I got a nicely wrapped gift from my dad for Christmas. I opened it and found this great leather bound box for my nightstand that I thought would be a very useful item. After he urged me to open the box I found some much appreciated money inside, which was basically the “real gift” (even though I still have the box on my night stand 13 years later but the money is long long gone). What a great feeling. To get something that is already a great premise but then, as if given a second gift, to see that it is filled with something that is actually BETTER than the package originally hinted at. This is exactly what you get with this film. A funny and amusing premise that is only the container for some amazingly talented comedic actors.

As the title and the previews easily give away, the movie is about three friends who hate their bosses.  Nick Hendricks (Bateman) is up for a promotion at work when his boss, Dave Harken (Spacey), completely crushes his dreams. Kurt Buckman (Sudeikis) runs into a “brickwall” at work when his father-figure of a boss dies unexpectedly and the deceased’s screw-up son, Bobby Pellitt (Farrell), proves to be a drug addicted ticking time bomb that threatens to siphon the money from the company and leave it destitute. Finally we come to Dale Arbus (Day), who is a dental assistant that is consistently being sexually harassed by his boss, Dr. Julie Harris (Anniston). One night the three friends decide that they would like to have their problems “removed” by a professional. When they meet a gentleman in a bar named (I will shorten it for obvious reasons) M.F. Jones, played by Jamie Foxx, they are sent on their paths to take care of their problems. When this blows up, and two of the bosses cross paths accidently, the three friends must find a way to wash their hands of the whole deal and clear their names. 

Worth the admission? 100% YES! One of the funniest comedies that I have seen in a long time. Easily rivals, and in my opinion beats, Bridesmaids for funniest movie of the year (so far). Charlie Day, of Always Sunny in Philadelphia fame, is insanely funny in this movie. This will finally open acting doors for him that should have been opened years ago. While Bateman is just “ok” (as he is basically his same character from Arrested Development/Extract/Couples Retreat/Juno/Et.) Anniston is fantastic. The shock of her transformation from America’s Sweetheart to a sex crazed dentist makes her that much funnier. I can’t stress this enough, everyone turns in great performances! 

Note: In most comedy movies they show almost all of the big laugh moments in the trailer, so you are left feeling like you already know the punch line when the joke comes. This movie saved the best stuff for the film and put the “throw away” jokes in the trailer. That should tell you how funny it is. 

Let me know if you shared my laughs with this week’s movie 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

(DVD REVIEW) The Dilemma

Well. Kevin James, who I loved in King of Queens, sucked in this movie. To be honest, everyone and everything sucked in this movie. It was a pile of crap. The story, the acting, the comedy, everything....sucked.

Nick Brennan (James) is married to Geneva (Winona Rider), his best friend is Ronny Valentine (Vince Vaughn) who is dating Beth (Jennifer Connelly). When things are starting to get serious between Ronny and Beth, Ronny finally decides to ask her to marry him. While he is trying to find the perfect location for the proposal, he visits the botanical gardens and sees Geneva making out with a guy. When it becomes clear that this is an ongoing affair and needs to be stopped, Ronny must decide if he should tell his best friend, ruining his partnership with his best friend, or allow this to continue to spare his feelings.

This movie cant figure out what it wants to be. Comedy? Drama? A judgemental finger waving in the face of the viewers? It's not funny. Please don't waste your money on it.


Also got to see this one this past week. While I am not a huge fan of Ed Helms, I am a SUPER HUGE fan of John C. Reilly, so I gave it a go. This movie is a slow boil comedy. While there are comedic aspects in the first 1/3 of the movie, it doesn't really hit its stride until the 2/3 through.

The movie is about happy-go-lucky Tim Lippe (Helms). He is in a relationship with an older woman that was once his teacher. When tragedy strikes the insurance office Tim works at, he is made the new presenter at their annual insurance conference. Once he makes it to Cedar Rapids he is quickly introduced to a group of people that his boss has warned him to stay away from, one of which is Dean Ziegler (Reilly). When Lippe begins to open his eyes to the people that he has always trusted, opens his mind to new experiences, and opens his heart to his new friends he finds that he has a lot to learn about the real world.

This movie was funny. I liked it more than my wife did but I think that it is because I understand his world a little better. It was a fun fun movie. Reilly was great. Helms was fun. Anne Heche, who plays a flirty woman looking for a little something special from Helms. It is worth a rent.

(DVD REVIEW) The Mechanic

Got a chance to watch The Mechanic this week. As you know, Jason Statham is in the I don't REALLY think that I have to go over the story, just let you know how many people he kills and how many times he punches someone in the face. Buuuuut, I might as well go over the whole thing.

A "mechanic" what is commonly refereed to by most folks as a "hitman". Arthur Bishop (Statham) has been in the business for a long time. When a job is presented to him to take out his mentor Bishop reluctantly takes the job. When Steve McKenna, son of Arthur's mentor Harry, comes to the funeral and asks Arthur to train him, Arthur decides to teach the kid the trade. But when facts begin to come to light, and you see that not everyone can be trusted, you have to decide between doing what is right or doing what will save your life....sometimes they turn out to be the same.

This movie is a remake of a Charles Bronson film from the 70's, so that should tell you most of what you need to know. While this movie is somewhat of a muscle head movie, it is still pretty enjoyable. Don't worry that the story is a liiiiiitle "one note", it still turns out to be worth a rent (at last from Redbox at $1).

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

(MOVIE REVIEW) Bumblebee helps Transform the box office into an Independence Day Weekend record with Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Michael Bay. You can call him a lot of things. Petty? Sure. His conflict with Megan Fox has been very public and he has slung mud with the best of them. Hacky? Absolutely. With presumably one trick up his sleeve, the trick to blow up anything and everything in sight, he is without a doubt one of the most limited director/executive producers in the world (slightly behind producer Jerry “I look like an old man version of Seth Green”  Bruckheimer). A sure bet? All day long. Love him or hate him, Michael Benjamin Bay has produced some of the highest grossing, awe inspiring, visually demanding and record shattering films in the past two decades. With his name attached to titles like Armageddon, Pearl Harbor, The Rock, the Bad Boys franchise and the Transformers franchise, Bay is a force in the entertainment industry.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon starts with a bit of a history lesson. We were in a space race with the rest of the world because it became known to the world leaders that alien spaceships had crash landed on the moon and every nation wanted to be the first to claim the wreckage. When the USA does exactly that, they began to take parts and pieces from the moon to study here on Earth. However, a tremendous discovery lay sleeping just below the fallen ships surface. Sentinel Prime, the once great leader of the Autobots.
When Decepticons begin to reemerge on Earth, and the Autobots come to the aid of the humans, the missing Sentinel Prime is found and reintegrated into the Autobots team. Their jubilation is short lived when it is found out that the Decepticons are working with a small group of powerful humans to evict the Autobots from Earth and to bring Cybertron (home of the Transformers) into Earth’s atmosphere and enslave the humans to help rebuild it. When worlds collide and the lines between good and evil are drawn, who will emerge victorious?
Worth the admission? YES! It was such a fun movie. A little long, but very fun. While the humans are not really needed, and it pains me to say that, the robots are clearly the stars of this movie (and rightfully so!). Do not hesitate, go see this movie this weekend! And, as always, bumblebee emerges are the most likely bot in the movie. Be prepared for some of the most amazing visual effects to ever grace a theater screen.
Let me know what you thought of the Megan Fox replacement