Thursday, December 29, 2011


If this movie would have been made in the 90's it would have cost $100M just for salary of the main cast. It also would have made a lot more at the box office. The world has kind of pass Roberts and Hanks by at this point. They don't draw the crowds like they once did and they are starting to see the decline of their once fruitful careers. That said, they actually make a pretty fun (yet completely unbelievable) couple on screen.

Plot: Until he was downsized, affable, amiable Larry Crowne (Hanks) was a superstar team leader at the big-box company where he's worked since his time in the Navy. Underwater on his mortgage and unclear on what to do with his suddenly free days, Larry heads to his local college to start over. There he becomes part of a colorful community of outcasts all trying to find a better future for themselves...often moving around town in a herd of scooters. In his public-speaking class, Larry develops an unexpected crush on his teacher Mercedes Tainot (Roberts), who has lost as much passion for teaching as she has for her husband. The simple guy who has every reason to think his life has stalled will come to learn an unexpected lesson: when you think everything worth having has passed you by, you just might discover your reason to live. Written by Universal Pictures

Thoughts? A cute movie. It's a movie about starting over and finding a new path when you are no longer able to continue on the old path. It's about growing as a person. I actually really like movies like that. I didn't care for them to make Roberts a drunk. That didn't add anything to the character, but I liked her in the movie and loved Hanks. He, as a middle aged man, can still pull off those "awe shucks, golly gee" scenes like a champ. Check the movie out!

(Movie Review) The Change Up

Ah. The switch up! It was great when I first saw it in Freaky Friday. Since then it has been an overused and under effective staple in the movie industry. So, as I heard the news that Bateman and Reynolds would be taking on this genre I was very hopeful....but in the end, it was just a slightly funnier cookie-cutter film that tries to stuff a "grass is greener" message into an "R" rated film.

Plot: Dave (Bateman) and Mitch (Reynolds) are lifelong friends. Dave is a married lawyer that seems to have it all together, but at the end of the day he takes all of the wonderful gifts in his life for granted. Mitch is a single slacker that has spent his whole life shrugging off responsibility. He sleeps with numerous random women and loves his uber- bachelor life. After a night of drinking and a pit stop at a fountain, the two wish for each other’s lives and end up getting exactly what they wish for. They must find a way to survive in each other’s bodies until they can correct the problem, and maybe learn to appreciate their own lives in the process.

Thoughts? It's an ok comedy. It's not horrible, but it sure as hell isn’t really setting the world on fire with its take on the body switch comedy. I can name a hand full of movies that do this much better. The one thing that The Change Up has going for it is that it is the first of its kind in the R-rated category. The problem is that it seems like they abuse rating and only use it for cheap laughs. Either way, the movie is just fine for a night in, but not worth putting the effort to track it down. 
FYI: I think that they pull a giant BS move with a very specific scene. Leslie Mann is shown topless in a scene. However, the CGI boobs on to Leslie in Post Production. What kind of movie is so hard up for breasts to be shown that they CGI them on to the cast? Also, what kind of actress takes a part but wont go the extra mile for the role. Not sure why, but when I found out about that it aggravated me.

(MOVIE REVIEW) The Lincoln Lawyer

I make it a point to hate everything that Matthew McConaughey is in. He, since the 90's, has been a stain on the film industry. Sure, he has been in some films that actually make money. That is not in question. The problem is that he is always in these really one dimensional movies and always plays one note characters. I hate that for him because the fact of the matter is that the guy can actually act (in very specific situations). This movie is one of the best that I have seen him in. It's not perfect, but way better than his many past sins.

Plot: A sleazy defense attorney has a crisis of conscience when he represents a wealthy client who has a foolproof plan to beat the system. - from IMDB

Thoughts? This movie is the best that McConaughey has put out since A Time To Kill. He is very relatable as a man with his back against the wall that must get himself out of a sticky situation. He shows that he really does have the chops to play a more serious role if Hollywood would give him more chances to do that. Good movie with a good cast. Watch it.

(TV REVIEW) Whitney Cummings : Money Shot

Good female comedians are like unicorns. Extremely rare and worth big bucks if you can find one. Suuuure. You can glue a cone to a horse and claim that it is a unicorn, but that is really just forcing something to be something that it isn't. There are a lot of female comedians that fit that analogy, Cho, Barr and even Sarah Silverman (who I once thought was the funniest person alive). Silverman suffers from a serious problem that makes her popular but only to certain people. She does waaaaaaay too much "gross comedy". This makes her popular with teen males, but once they get older theyrealize that she is just a grown woman (I think in her 40's) making fart noises on stage and describing what diarrhea is.

Cummings is a little different. I absolutely believe that she only got a break because she was funny and much more attractive than a lot of female comedians, but over the years she has grown into a pretty solid comedian. While she will get into the "gross comedy" area from time to time, most of her comedy in this special is "gender comedy". She has one REALLY annoying problem with starting off each sentence at a higher level than the rest of the joke. I realize that this is nitpicking, but watch this special and tell me that I am wrong. Other than that, I think that you should check this one out on Netflix.

(TV REVIEW) Russell Brand in New York City

I love some good stand up. I watch it on Comedy Central and online a good bit and I love the courage that it takes to get up on stage and just let it rip. It takes a very special and specific attitude to do what stand up comics do. So I will judge ole Russell on a curve for this.

Brand is a funny guy. No doubt. His comedic performances in movies are always spot on. You cant ACT funny. You are either born with that quality or you aren't. So, for him to do funny movies proves to me that he is a funny person. That being said, stand up exposes every weakness you have as a comedian. Brand has a lot of them. He relies too much on his English-ness (is that a word) to make the joke work. Also, he over uses his one trick shot...androgyny. He plays the "is he isn't he" role a little too much and it gets old after a while.

Overall, the stand up was ok. Check it out on Netflix of Comedy Central. But I wouldn't break my neck looking for it, as it lacks in a lot of departments.

(Movie Review) Harry and the Hendersons

It's funny to see a movie at two very different parts in your life. Once as a child and once as an adult. The things you take away from it are so much more lighthearted as a child, but there is usually some very meaty drama or emotion that you don't pick up on at a young age. Having not seen this movie for almost 20 years I was surprised by how many times I found myself teary eyed when I watched it last week. It is amazing what perspective does to a person.

Plot: Returning from a hunting trip in the forest, the Henderson family's car hits an animal in the road. At first they fear it was a man, but when they examine the "body" they find it's a "bigfoot". They think it's dead so they decide to take it home (there could be some money in this..). As you guessed, "it" isn't dead. Far from being the ferocious monster they fear "Harry" to be, he's a friendly giant. In their attempts to keep Harry a secret, the Henderson's have to hide him from the authorities and a man, who has made it his goal in life, to catch a "bigfoot". -from IMDB

Thoughts? An absolutely wonderful film. The movie has plenty of heart and brains. A story about how sometimes man is the most animalistic creature that we will ever come into contact with and how sometimes we are reminded of that by unusual circumstances. The actors are all perfect in their rolls and the overall message is a great one to live by. Check it out (again)!

(Movie Review) The Greatest Movie Ever Sold

Morgan Spurlock. The name alone sends chills up the backs of many companies. Why? Because Spurlock busted open a giant can of worms when he helped show the underbelly (and the stretch marks on that belly) of the food industry. So, as you can imagine, Spurlock and Corporate Sponsored goes together like a diabetic and candy taste tester. None the less, Spurlock wanted to reach out to the corporate world and pitch the idea of a movie about corporate sponsorships that is paid for by corporate sponsorships. An AWESOME idea.

Plot: A documentary about branding, advertising and product placement that is financed and made possible by brands, advertising and product placement. Spurlock gives you a glimpse inside the world of Corporate Product Placement in everyday life.

Thoughts? Some people are not as in love with the idea of this documentary as I was. I thought that it did a fair job of showing exactly how much we are subjected to the product placements in everyday life. TV is full of it these days. I had to watch a commercial (basically) within the show Bones about their car self parking. So obvious that it yanks you right out of the show. So, for others to see the billions of ways that they are advertised to that are NOT as blatant as the example from Bones was actually really interesting. Check it out.

(Movie Review) How Do You Know

To continue with the love of Rudd, I will post this review of How Do You Know. Even though it has some of my least favorite actors in it. An overrated Nicholson and an always worthless Witherspoon make this movie as likable a Tabasco coated scope during a colonoscopy. To make matters worse, you add in Owen Wilson. How believable can you be, as a comedian, once you publicly fail at suicide. Really? At least Rudd is there. Good ole Rudd.

Plot:  Star softball player, Lisa (Witherspoon), has just been cut from the national team; Scholarly business man, George (Rudd), has just been indicted from his father's company. With everything that they know in their lives taken from them, Lisa and George attempt to find romance. Lisa's potential boyfriend, Matty (Wilson), however, is as clueless and perpetually single as they come, and George's girlfriend just dumped him. A chance hook-up through mutual friends, Lisa and George may be able to form a friendship, or more, that can help them climb out of the piles of lemons that life has handed to them. provided by IMDB.

Thoughts? Ugh. I feel like an old man bitching about his soup being too hot at a restaurant. I don't like to complain, but I'm so good at it that I feel like I have to do it. This movie is POINTLESS. I am no fan of Witherspoon. She has only turned in one solid performance in the past that I LOVED. Other than that, she is as overrated at the come. Between her, Owen Wilson's crooked nose, and Jack Nicholson sucking the life out of this movie, it is hard for me to say much about it that is positive. I will got back to the well and say that Rudd, as always, delivers a very likable character that is easy to relate to and funny. That is as positive as I can be with this review. Don't watch it unless you want to see Wilson fail at acting.

(Movie Review) Legion

Remember a time when Paul Bettany and Dennis Quaid made movies that didn't suck? It really wasn't that long ago. 2001 Bettany turned in a wonderful performance in A Beautiful Mind. Hell, even as Silas in The Da Vinci Code (2006). Quaid is even a more impressive case. Movies like Enemy Mine, Frequency, The Day After Tomorrow and The Rookie are barely scratching the surface of the actors 40 year career. So, why would they both put their names on something as pointless and silly as Legion? My guess is for the same reason Bettany did Priest...the paycheck.

Plot: An out-of-the-way diner becomes the unlikely battleground for the survival of the human race. When God loses faith in humankind, he sends his legion of angels to bring on the Apocalypse. Humanity's only hope lies in a group of strangers trapped in a desert diner with the Archangel Michael (Bettany).

Thoughts? The movie is not the worst thing that either Bettany or Quaid have been in. Priest is way worse than this. It's a silly movie. There is no real heart to it. The angel fights are trash, the special effects are not that special, and the only thing that it somehow does well is makes Bettany a believable bad ass. If you see it on TV one day, maaaaaybe check it out. I wouldn't pay to see it, not even from Red Box.

(MOVIE REVIEW) Our Idiot Brother

Paul Rudd. I could end this review right now and you would leave it with a smile on your face...cause that is how awesome Rudd is. Some people tell me I remind them of Rudd, but I assure them that I am far more awesome. Regardless, you cannot deny that Paul has a quality about him that sneaks up on movie goers. He tends to be in some amazing movies and usually stands out in those movies from the rest of the cast. Our Idiot Brother is no exception to this rule.

Plot: Ned (Rudd) lived a happy life growing organic vegetables on a farm with his hippie girlfriend and his dog named Willie Nelson, but an unadvised incident with marijuana at a farmer's market lands him in jail. When he gets out of jail, he is off to live with his sisters. While Ned is still happy, his sisters are much less so after he manages to screw up one marriage, one job opportunity, one budding relationship and one domestic partnership. He sees those problems as breakdowns in communication, but his sisters see him as an idiot.

Thoughts? This movie was awesome. You think that it is going to be some lighthearted stoner comedy but this movie has heart. Lots of it. Rudd plays this role perfectly and, in the blink of an eye, shows that his character doesn't let things roll off of his back like he appears to do. Pick this movie up when you have a chance to do so. You will enjoy it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

This week’s review is a RANT about New Year’s Eve. No witty comments, nothing nice, just ripping it to pieces. You have been warned.

One of the best feelings in the world is when you sit down to a movie, enjoy what it offers, and walk away with a great love and respect for the actors in that film. When you curl up in bed with a little smile on your face because something in the movie pops in your head and it made you flash back to a scene that you really liked. That is the best to me. So, in contrast, the worst is when a movie and the actors in it make you experience the exact opposite. Now, take 20+ actors from 20+ movies that fit that description and combine them together. What you end up with is a horrible film that will not only make you regret seeing it in the first place, but also regret that you don’t have the guts to attempt an at home lobotomy to help you forget it all together.
Plot: The lives of several New York couples intersect over the events of New Year’s Eve.
Notice how I did not go into as much of an elaborate story set up as I usually do? Know why? Because there is really no story. At least not a good one. There are about twelve bad stories, but not one good one. That is the main problems with movies like this. You have numerous stories that, if they are told alone, can be told in just a few minutes. So you can’t describe anything about them without giving away the whole story. Not only that, but you can’t tell about the overall film because there is too much going on to keep the review under three pages long.
In the end, this movie is a train wreck. The ideal coupling for a believable love story is Katherine Heigl and Jon Bon Jovi? REALLY!? I could really enjoy that image along with a sardine and banana sandwich while I’m swimming in an electrically heated pair of swimming trunks. See how some things just do not go together?
Worth the admission? NEVER. There is a reason that it is sinking in the box office. Katherine Heigl is not likeable, Aston Kutcher’s attempt at facial hair makes you hate him and feel sorry for him all at the same time, Sarah Jessica Parker has a serious case of “horse face”, and Zac Efron can’t act. Robert De Niro should have his SAG card revoked for showing his face in this waste of time. Lastly, the “stars” of this movie are either “has been” actors or actors that are so irrelevant that they don’t even matter (please see Michele Pheiffer for this example).  At the end of the day, a well fed rabbit can produce droppings that are more entertaining than this movie.
If you feel the need to subject yourself to the punishment of seeing this movie, let me know what you thought.

My Christmas gift to you is to recommend A Claymation Christmas Celebration (1987) for your Holiday viewing pleasure

Little things take us back. That is heightened during the Holiday’s, as we normally have more and more family memories that are built around the many gatherings. One thing that always takes me back to my childhood is an unlikely Christmas icon for me…that, of course, is The California Raisins. Not because they are basically dried up old grapes, and those old dried nasty pieces of fruit remind me of every fruit cake ever made, but because they sang the single greatest rendition of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer that has ever graced this tiny blue spinning marble that we call Earth.
Plot: Rex and Herb, two claymation dinosaurs, take the viewers on a tour of the festive offerings in and around a town during the Christmas Holidays. While playing host to the viewers we are given a look into the worlds of bells that play themselves for audiences, an argument to decide if the correct term is “to go wassailing” or “to go waffling” ,some amazing music and a lot of wholesome family entertainment. This is something that many will remember (once they see it) and that many of us have never been able to forget.
As an homage to many network offerings of parades, Christmas programming and choral offerings, Will Vinton brought to life a fictional town with this claymation (stop motion technology with characters made from clay) film. This is from a time when special effects were hard to come by for network television. If it was done at all, it usually looked so bad that you couldn’t take it seriously. Techniques like claymation were, by some viewers, considered to be part of that “bad” effect period. The truth is, claymation is a painstakingly time consuming art form that takes MUCH longer to produce than traditional special effect. From that standpoint alone I believe that this movie deserves our attention.
On a more personal note, this is the only Holiday movie I really remember from that early time in my childhood. I was 5 years old and I remember sitting in front of the television to watch this program. The California Raisins singing Rudolph is still my favorite rendition of the song ever (even if it wasn’t really magical raisins doing the singing). It also makes me realize that while many movies offer a lot, by way of flash and glitz, this movie as stuck out (in my mind) as one of the more innovative and wholesome Holiday offerings of the past 25 years. You can download it, one part at a time, on youtube. You can also find it online to purchase (although the price is pretty steep). I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, a safe and Happy New Year, and that your Holiday festivities are fun and memorable….like this movie.

If you do find a copy, let me know what you think of it.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Remember that magical time when you were in grade school? That time in your life when your biggest problem was if you got a pimple before picture day or, for guys, got the occasional inconvenient erection in class? Those were the BIG problems! The one thing that I was never blessed with, while in grade school, was an insanely HOT teacher (well, actually I had one in Rosedale Kindergarten, but I will not name names). So, while this movie may not represent exactly what most of us experienced as does represent the type of woman most of the boys dreamed would teach them social studies.

Plot: Elizabeth (Diaz) is at her last day of teaching. She is off to live the dream of every gold digger and marry an extremely wealthy man. The only problem is that the last day of school, right after she quits, her fiances mother drops the bomb that she is not "fit" to marry her son and that the wedding is off....and Elizabeth is cut off. Fast forward to the next school year and Elizabeth is back in class. But when a new wealthy teacher enters the scene (Timberlake) she must battle rival teacher, Amy (Punch), for his affection. All the while, Elizabeth strikes up a great friendship with the gym teacher (Segel). Will she find true love with the rich young teacher or with the working stiff gym teacher?

Thoughts? This movie didn't set the world on fire. Justin Timberlake is funny in it, Segel kills as always, and Diaz was somewhat likable and attractive (in a dirty disgusting sort of way). The jokes land but a lot of it was just giggles, no big laughs. I say check it out if you can download it. Maybe if redbox or Blockbuster Express is low on other movies. Other than that, wait for it to hit TV.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

HUGO shows us that great effects, loveable characters and great acting CAN coexist in the same film

I’m not a slow witted man. Really. I’m much brighter than I appear to be. I usually pick out a good movie from previews alone. It’s almost always in the subtext of a preview. The parts that are not being said/ shown. If you can find that, you can usually piece together a movie’s overall plot before the first film cell ever passes in front of the projector light. So, when I saw a preview for HUGO I figured that it would be a great kid’s movie that the film company wanted to release the same weekend as Twilight to pick up the younger audiences. My  wife, being the wise soul that she is, said “HUGO looks good. We should check it out”.  I’m glad she did, because this movie has so much more to offer than just a “kid’s film”. Maybe I am slow witted.
Plot: Hugo (Butterfield) is a boy that lives in a hapless world. He lives along in a train station and his job is to keep the clocks running. Well, actually it is his uncle’s job, but he has not seen his uncle in weeks. Poor and hungry, Hugo steals most of the things that he needs from the shops located at the train station. One day, while trying to steal a toy windup mouse, he is caught by the shop keeper (Kingsley). It is revealed that he was only looking for spare parts to finish an automaton that was left to him by his father. Clues begin to show that a there is a connection between the Hugo, the automaton and the shopkeeper. The story that connects those clues is a tale of magic, love and enchantment.
Sometimes a movie gets lost in its need to prove how deep it is. The refreshing thing about this movie is that it is simple and deep all at the same time. There is some wonderful acting in this film. Ben Kingsley is amazing, as always, and shows why he is one of the more respected actors in the industry today.
Worth the admission? Absolutely! Hugo is exactly what I needed to see this week. The effects are amazing, the acting is top notch, and Martin Scorsese, a man known more for producing/directing dramas, really adds some emotion to the scenes with the way he shoots the film. Overall, I can’t think of a better movie to watch going into Holiday/Christmas Season. Except for Elf……and maybe Christmas Vacation.

What Christmas films are a staple in your yearly viewings?