Tuesday, August 31, 2010


LOS ANGELES (AP)—Hollywood aims to help you escape from all that lousy economic news in the real world this fall, with a lineup heavy on fun and fantasy.

But Oliver Stone and Michael Douglas won’t let audiences completely off the hook.
They’re putting Gordon Gekko, poster boy for greed a generation ago, back into theaters to remind fans about the sharks that got us into this mess.
Stone’s “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” — a followup to the 1987 hit that won Douglas the best-actor Academy Award — picks up with ex-con Gekko broke, barred from the stock market, alienated from his family and trying to find a place for himself in 2008 as the global economy races toward chaos.
“You’re in the joint for eight years, coming back without your fortune and the ability to trade. He’s estranged from his daughter, he’s lost a son while he’s in prison,” Douglas said. “Initially, Gordon’s more vulnerable.”
The key word is initially. Gekko still has plenty of tricks up his sleeve.
The “Wall Street” sequel is among September and October releases arriving as a prelude to the big holiday season, whose heavy-hitters include the latest in the “Harry Potter,” “Chronicles of Narnia” and “Meet the Parents” franchises.
Here’s a look at highlights among films debuting in early fall:

Zack Snyder (“300″) directs the animated adventure “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole,” based on Kathryn Lasky’s children’s books about owls on a mythic quest against evil.
The animated comedy “Alpha and Omega” features the voices of Justin Long and Hayden Panettiere in a tale of two wolves on a journey home after park rangers move them halfway across country.
“Secretariat” gives wholesome treatment to the story of the 1973 Triple Crown winner, with Diane Lane as the housewife who takes over her ailing father’s stables and guides the horse to triumph.
Lane was 8 years old at the time and traveling outside the United States with a theater company, yet she recalls the story of Secretariat gripping people around the world.
“The export of Secretariat to the rest of the world, coming from the American news wire, was really something. It was a great sigh of relief compared to all the other offerings we brought to the global news at that time,” Lane said. “I had such a crush on Secretariat as a little girl. He was like Pegasus to me at the time. I’ve always had a crush on that species. There’s something about horses and girls.”

Kristen Bell, Jamie Lee Curtis and Sigourney Weaver star in “You Again,” a comedy about a woman and her mother coping with their old high school rivals at a family wedding.
Other comic tales include: “It’s Kind of a Funny Story,” about a stressed teen (Keir Gilchrist) who finds a mentor (Zach Galifianakis) at a mental clinic; Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel as a reluctant pair forced to care for their orphaned goddaughter in the romance “Life as We Know It;” “Easy A,” a comic twist on “The Scarlet Letter,” with Emma Stone as a teen turning a rumor about losing her virginity to her own advantage; and Stephen Frears’ “Tamara Drewe,” about a former ugly ducking (Gemma Arterton) who returns to her British hometown a striking beauty.

The sober British drama “Never Let Me Go” reunites Keira Knightley with close pal Carey Mulligan, who got her start with a small part in Knightley’s “Pride & Prejudice.”
“My first job was with Keira when I was 18, and she was the star of the movie. It’s really amazing that I get to play alongside her now in a kind of more level way,” said Mulligan, who also co-stars in the “Wall Street” sequel.
“Never Let Me Go” features Mulligan, Knightley and Andrew Garfield (recently cast in the title role of the next “Spider-Man” movie) as three boarding school friends raised for a stark destiny in an alternate-reality Britain.
Among other dramatic offerings: David Fincher’s “The Social Network,” featuring Jesse Eisenberg and Justin Timberlake in a drama about the founders of Facebook; Hilary Swank in “Conviction,” the story of a woman who embarks on an 18-year crusade to clear her brother (Sam Rockwell) of murder; and Woody Allen’s latest mix of comedy and drama, “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger,” with Naomi Watts, Anthony Hopkins, Gemma Jones, Josh Brolin, Antonio Banderas and Freida Pinto as Londoners struggling with old and new relationships.
Matt Damon and director Clint Eastwood, who collaborated on last year’s “Invictus,” reunite for “Hereafter,” a drama about a Frenchwoman, a British boy and an American man with unusual connections to death whose lives gradually intersect.
Damon said the film seeks answers about the most serious question — is there an afterlife waiting for people when they die?
“I have to believe there is. I guess I choose to believe there is,” Damon said. “If I’m wrong and the light’s just going to go out, then I’ll be none the wiser. But it seems like a pretty cruel twist of fate if it’s this and only this. I like to believe there’s a bigger point.”

Three horror franchises return: “Paranormal Activity 2,” a followup to last year’s supernatural sensation; “Saw 3 D,” with survivors of diabolical killer Jigsaw finding new terror as they seek solace from a self-help guru; and “Resident Evil: Afterlife,” with Milla Jovovich back on the job killing undead zombies.
Hollywood’s love affair with vampires continues with “Let Me In,” adapted from the best-seller “Let the Right One In,” about the friendship between a bullied boy (Kodi Smit-McPhee) and a young bloodsucker (Chloe Moretz).
Other frightening tales include “Buried,” with Ryan Reynolds as an American contract driver in Iraq who wakes up buried alive in a coffin; “My Soul to Take,” Wes Craven’s tale of a serial killer who may have returned from the dead; and “Devil,” about a group of people beset by supernatural terror after they’re trapped in an elevator.

Ben Affleck performs in a couple of money-related dramas. In “The Company Men,” Affleck stars alongside Tommy Lee Jones, Chris Cooper and Kevin Costner in a story of executives coping with hard times after their downsizing company lets them go.
Affleck directs and stars in “The Town,” playing a bank robber who falls for a branch manager (Rebecca Hall) his gang took hostage on their last job.
“In ‘Company Men,’ we’re going down the economic ladder, and in ‘The Town,’ we’re trying to steal our way up,” Affleck said.
Affleck deliberately chose not to act in his directing debut, “Gone Baby Gone.” With “The Town,” he joked that at least he knew the director and star would not clash.
“There was a lot of harmony between the director and the lead actor on this movie,” Affleck said. “I knew as a director that I would always be on time, I would always be cooperative, and our tastes would always be in sync.”
Affleck pal Damon narrates Charles Ferguson’s documentary “Inside Job,” a sweeping chronicle of the 2008 economic crisis.
Amid that crisis, Stone and Douglas unleash Gekko for their “Wall Street” sequel.
Estranged from his daughter (Mulligan), Gekko ingratiates himself with her fiance (Shia LaBeouf), a young investment whiz who falls under his future father-in-law’s spell.
LaBeouf said today’s climate as depicted in “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” makes 1980 s Gekko-style greed look like child’s play.
“We’re living in the epitome of greed now more so than ever,” LaBeouf said. “Greed where you have people with absolutely no scruples, and you’re dealing with money on a totally different level. … These are hustlers who could sell water to a whale. It’s cutthroat in a different way. It’s a totally different business now.”

Monday, August 23, 2010


Phil and Claire Foster are a couple who have been married for several years. Their days consists of them taking care of their children and going to work and coming home and going to bed. But they find time to have a date night wherein they go out and spend some time together. When another couple they know announce that they’re separating because they’re in a rut, Phil feels that he and Claire could be too. So when date night comes Phil decides to do something different. So they go into the city and try to get into a new popular restaurant. But when it’s full and still wanting to do this, Phil decides to take the reservation of a couple who doesn’t show up. While they’re having dinner two men approach them and instructs them to stand up and go with them. They think the men are with the restaurant and want to talk to them about taking someone else’s reservation. But it appears the couple whose reservation they took crossed someone and the two men work for this person. The men are after something, but whatever it is they don’t have it. 


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Middle Men Review

You can shoot two hours of guns, violence, sex and explosions, but if you don’t have a story to tell you might as well not bother. This stands doubly true for anything labeled “Based On A True Events” – if it’s not an interesting narrative who cares if it really happened. Fortunately, not only does George Gallo’s Middle Men have a true story to tell, but a completely insane one.

Jack Harris (Luke Wilson) is a fixer – he can take any company with issues, teach it how to manage those issues, and walk out the other side back to his lovely wife and family in Texas. Unfortunately for him, he knows a corrupt lawyer named Jerry Hagerty (James Caan) who tells him about this pair of drugged-out losers (Giovanni Ribisi, Gabriel Macht) who have stumbled upon a trillion dollar idea: upload pictures and video of naked women on to the internet and charge men to see it. With Jack’s help, the three of them make more money than they could have ever dreamed of. But with that kind of money problems are never far behind, and when you’re dealing with the porn industry, the Russian mafia, the FBI, and juggling more than a few lies, those problems grow quickly.

Based on the true story of Christopher Mallick, who served as a producer on the film, Middle Men is wickedly fast-paced, almost to a fault. It demands every second of your attention and even the quickest of bathroom breaks could easily leave you lost amidst its 105 minute run time. Multiple plot details arrive in every scene, either by the action or Wilson’s ever present voice-over narration. What makes it work is that the film’s story and characters are engaging enough to make focusing on what’s happening effortless. Detailed though it is, it seems certain that there was even more to Mallick’s story, left out of a script already bordering on being overly-cluttered.

Critical to Middle Men’s success is the performance of Luke Wilson, a talented actor who hasn’t had a role this worthy in far too long. Very much the level-headed balance to the wacked out characters played by Ribisi and Macht, Wilson’s Jack Harris could have easily been played as a stoic by someone with lesser talents, but you’ll feel for him as he finds himself stranded in a world he stumbled into completely by accident. Jack’s is a man who recognizes a great idea when he hears one. By running with that idea, Harris ends up out of his element, dealing with government agents and organized crime syndicates. When he needs to show a backbone he does, and when he needs to be frightened he is.

Good though Wilson is, it’s Ribisi and Macht who steal every scene. One is a former veterinarian who scheduled ill-advised surgeries to score pet pain pills and the other is a disgraced NASA engineer fired for using coke in a wind tunnel after hours. Together they make up a team that, in any other world, would consider getting up off the couch a win. Individually they work well enough, but it’s the pairing of the two that really raises the bar. Though long time friends and roommates, they frequently end up at each others throats, and it’s funny every time. Middle Men is really about Jack Harris, but it’s these two that stoke the narrative’s fire.

The true story of the birth of internet porn is every bit the wild ride you’d expect. Filled to the brim with winning characters and subplots – the biggest problem for Middle Men is that a 105 minutes isn’t really enough to do it all justice. At some point writer/director Gallo and writing partner Andy Weiss must have had a crucial decision to make: cut out something important in favor of a more linear and straight-forward story or do Mallick right by including everything possible at the expense of clarity. It’s a no win situation, but you have to respect them for choosing option B. Middle Men is not a great movie, but it does right by an unbelievable legend.

Middle Men Details

Length: 105 min
Rated: R
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Release Date:  2010-08-06

Starring: Luke Wilson, Giovanni Ribisi, Gabriel Macht, Kevin Pollack, James Caan, Terry Crewes, Rade Serbedzija, Jacinda Barrett, Laura Ramsey

Directed by George Gallo

Produced by Christopher Mallick, William Sherak, Jason Shuman, Michael Weiss, Shaliza Somani, Andy Weiss, Daniel S. Frisch, Nate Blonde

Written by George Gallo, Andy Weiss

Monday, August 16, 2010

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World Reviewed

 Scott Pilgrim vs the World is a disorganized mess. It’s an overly ambitious, poorly thought out, complete and utter failure made by and populated with talented people who should have known better. Watching it, I was struck by how much it reminded me of Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back, except that, as much as Kevin Smith seemed to realize he was poking fun at and laughing with the slacker generation he helped give voice to, Scott Pilgrim Vs The World hasn’t the slightest idea its main character is a pathetic buffoon. I suspect its title hero was conceived as the apex of all things geek protagonist we’ve become strangely fascinated with lately, but really, he’s just an uncreative loser who saunters through life lazily existing. There’s nothing profound or loveable about his awkwardness, he’s simply awkward because he doesn’t have anything to say.

I suppose the glorification of the awkward kid was inevitable. You can only champion the beautiful and the witty for so long before the other half is bound to get their say, but it’s a little strange and off-putting to be asked to root for a character merely because he’s not charming or beautiful. Scott Pilgrim isn’t even really a very nice guy. He’s just some dude who apparently deserves his own movie and the girl of his choice because there’s always a hot chick at the end of every straight dude fantasy. Why not his too? Why not this particular movie? Not having a job, a future or a general goal in life certainly does give one plenty of time to get up to some shenanigans. Unfortunately, those shenanigans turn out to be so incredibly long-winded and trivial, that Scott’s general unlikeability becomes the least of his film’s problems.

Twenty-two year old Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) is dating a seventeen year old high school student (Ellen Wong) for reasons even he seems unsure of. He plays in a band with a few of his friends, and his days seem to involve lots of what my mother might describe as me-time. After dreaming about a mysterious blue-haired girl (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), he randomly meets her at a party. She falls for him almost immediately, though it’s never clear why, and they begin a clunky romance that mostly involves watching band practices, getting to second-and-a-half base and being teased by Scott’s gay roommate hilariously played by Kieren Culkin. All of this is, maybe not a great movie, but a perfectly serviceable film I would have likely given three stars. But then the blue-haired girl’s evil exes start showing up, and it all goes down pinioned to the plot it forced upon itself.

There’s seven of them, the evil exs, of all races and genders, led by the diabolical Gideon (Jason Schwartzman). They’ve conspired and agreed to fight Scott one-by-one so he can either prove his love or die trying. This is the start of a much worse movie I would unquestionably give one star. It’s not that the premise is done incorrectly; it’s that the premise doesn’t work. By so overtly announcing seven evil exes every few seconds, the film ruins any sense of pace it might have. The viewer is left to annoyingly tabulate how many fights must remain until the big finish and to speculate on whether there will be one or two bland filler scenes before the next random attack.

Scott Pilgrim Vs The World is a disorganized mess. Like many disorganized messes involving talented people, it has its moments of genius. No one, least of all me, will accuse this film of not trying. There are references to countless video games, tv shows and staples of the film genre. Its graphics are intentionally over-the-top, it’s dialogue semi-frequently rife with wonderful word play and goofy, original turns of phrase, which is, I guess, what makes Scott Pilgrim Vs The World so goddamn frustrating. In creating this wildly imaginative, over-the-top ADHD world of villainous former boyfriends and cheeky, ever-present graphics, the film sacrifices any chance it has of ever creating real suspense or emotion. Disposable and whimsical aren’t always bad, but they’re never truly great. These actors, this talented filmmaker, know this. They know lasting movies need depth, need character development, need heart, so they shoehorn it in like thousands of that-third-act-suddenly-got-serious comedies. The results are irritating at best.

Black Flag lead singer and amateur philosopher Henry Rollins once mused on the inevitable death of punk rock. He joked, with more than a hint of honesty, that any legitimately good punk rock artist would eventually find a new genre once he developed as a musician enough to realize there was more to music than three chords. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World once again finds Michael Cera playing three chords. I’m left to wonder whether he’s grown as keenly aware and disenchanted of his own station as Rollins. What once was original, even refreshing, has now become boring and tiresome. All of the offbeat charm, the subtle nuances that made Michael Cera characters more loveable than their suave, muscular counterparts are all but gone in his portrayal of Scott Pilgrim. The humanity has been replaced with a caricature awkwardly miming that same bizarre timing.

Scott Pilgrim Vs The World is terrible. I can’t recommend it, even to the small niche genre it’s catered to because as I just pointed out, it’s terrible. There’s an above-average film in here somewhere, one that’s chock-full of witty asides and a subplot involving Kieren Culkin stealing Anna Kendrick’s boyfriends, but all that’s overwhelmed amidst the absolute debacle hybrid that is Edgar Wright’s grandiose, heavy-handed direction, Michael Cera’s back-on-the-horse-for-no-reason-in-particular schtick and that awful plot. Scott Pilgrim Vs The World should have been the film which ultimately defined geek chic, instead it will go down as the moment most of us said I wonder what the popular kids are up to.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World Details

Length: 112 min
Rated: PG-13
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Release Date:  2010-08-13

Starring: Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kieran Culkin, Chris Evans, Anna Kendrick, Alison Pill, Brandon Routh, Jason Schwartzman

Directed by Edgar Wright

Produced by Marc Platt, Eric Gitter, Edgar Wright, Nira Park

Written by Michael Bacall and Edgar Wright

Visit the movie's Official Site!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Racing Dreams - Review

Who knew there was more to NASCAR than a bunch of cars driving in circles? Okay, considering it’s one of the most-watched sports in the country, a lot of people, but for those with no interest it’s often difficult to understand an avid fan’s passion. Whether you're a NASCAR enthusiast or not, the documentary Racing Dreams is a universally touching and charming film with the power to capture the heart of any viewer.

Racing Dreams introduces us to three very different kids -- 11-year-old Annabeth Barnes, 13-year-old Brandon Warren and 12-year-old Josh Hobson -- who all share the dream of becoming NASCAR drivers. Before they can get behind the wheel of a stock car, they’ve got to make names for themselves in the karting world. Karting is often seen as a junior NASCAR, a sport through which young drivers can prepare for the big league. Professional drivers like Tony Stewart, Danica Patrick and more all got their start behind the wheel of these small-scale racecars. Director Marshall Curry follows the trio as they compete for the title in the World Karting Association’s National Series, a five-race series that can make or break their futures.

Curry hits every aspect of the racing experience, from the action on the track to downtime shared between the racers. Not into NASCAR? No need to worry because thanks to excellent character development, you’re guaranteed to be anxious as you watch the main players whip around the turns. Animation and coloring techniques go over the racing basics, making it easy to understand the race's rules and follow each kid's vehicle in the pack of karts.

Drivers in the National Series receive a particular amount of points depending on their ranking in each of the five races, and in the end the total determines the champion. Curry makes Racing Dreams endlessly fascinating by going from character development to racing and back again until the end of the event; like a good narrative sports film, the movie is the perfect mixture of the athletes’ journeys within the sport and their personal lives.

When a race ends and the kids go home, the cameras go home with them. Annabeth may be as tough as the boys when karting, but at school she’s just a girl who likes to hang out with her friends and talk about boys. In fact, her budding interest in the opposite sex bleeds into her racing life and she catches the eye of none other than one of our other stars, Brandon. Unlike Annabeth, whose folks are prepared to see this through until she makes it to NASCAR, Brandon's future is less clear. His family is behind him and wants him to win The Series, but with a father who’s been absent most of his life and his family’s financial woes, funding his NASCAR venture is impossible. Budgeting is an issue for Josh as well, but his parents have been planning for the time he graduates from karts to stock cars from day one. Not only has Josh been studying the interview techniques employed by his NASCAR idols, but his parents were well aware that the day would come when they’d have to make sacrifices for Josh’s dream.

Karting information abounds in Racing Dreams, but overall, the piece is a very personal documentary and when it comes to an end, you feel as if you really know these kids, and are as invested in their hopes and dreams as they are. An epilogue in which Curry provides a brief glimpse of where Annabeth, Josh and Brandon ended up after The Series is astoundingly satisfying, but you'll still want more and will likely catch yourself Googling the film’s stars to see how far they’ve come since the 2007 competition. For someone who wouldn’t think twice about changing the channel if a NASCAR event is on, Racing Dreams is tremendously rousing.

The Expendables - Review

Once he'd gathered his impressive cast, Syvester Stallone didn't have to do too much to please the audience that would flock to The Expendables. It was meant to be a B-movie at best, a collection of over-muscled actors and expensive explosions in some cheap and exotic location that, when you squint, could pass for the jungles of Rambo II. But the beauty of good B-movies was always that they were efficient, putting together a tight plot that included as many action scenes as possible and never bothered with actor egos or, well, acting. The Expendables, though, is a bloated mess, a bunch of guys past their prime punching and kicking each other and pretending its for our benefit, when its really just one last self-congratulatory hurrah.

The movie starts exactly as absurdly and violently as you hope, as the mercenary team consisting of Stallone, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Jason Statham and Terry Crews rescue some hostages from Somali pirates and blow up a lot of skulls. But the warning signs are there even then-- we spent forever on the boat before we understand what's going on, and Stallone and Lundgren get into an argument so awkwardly placed that you just know it's there to set up some third-act conflict. Things slow down for a while so the guys can shoot the shit at a bar owned by Mickey Rourke (going by the astonishing character name Tool), while on an unnamed Caribbean island, Eric Roberts is a slimy American convincing a dictator to whore out his people for economic gain. Someone's gotta stop this guy… but who can they call?

It's hilarious when Bruce Willis shows up as the guy to give the assignment, and doubly so when Arnold Schwarzenegger pops by as potential competition who hates Stallone's guts, but from there the self-referential fun largely gives way to the slog of a predictable action movie, full of incoherent action and groaner lines that remind you why the 80s action classics didn't seem as awesome once you passed puberty. Stallone has an eye for spectacle and stages some truly insane set pieces-- a dock explosion and Statham shooting bullets from the top of a seaplane comes about 30 minutes in, and it's fantastic-- but not only does none of it fit into a coherent story, but you've got no reason beyond nostalgia to care about this group of self-satisfied roughnecks and their desire to track down a criminal, even one as sleazy as Eric Roberts (who is probably the film's acting MVP, though that doesn't say much).

The giant list of beefy male names is the major draw of The Expendables, but it's also what kills it. A movie about Stallone and Statham's lead characters kicking ass and taking names in a foreign country might have gone somewhere, but the movie is utterly overstuffed, making room for a Lundgren vs Li fight scene, an entire subplot about Randy Couture's cauliflower ear, and worst of all, a 10-minute Mickey Rourke monologue in which he looks mournfully into a mirror, makes up an absurd story about his heartbreak on a previous mission, and silently cries. All of these will make for hilarious YouTube clips in the coming months, but they're frustrating to watch in context as a movie with actual potential constantly kneecaps itself because the director and the cast had no idea when to give it a rest.

Is The Expendables the manliest movie of the summer? Probably-- it is ridiculously violent, fetishizes male strength without being too homoerotic, and treats women as pure, perfect beings who exist to be rescued. That kind of old-school machismo is missing from most modern action movies, and fans of old-school Stallone and Lundgren and company will likely flock to the Expendables with their bros, ready to watch the blood and guts fly. But if you were old enough to love Rambo III un-ironically the first time around, you're way too old now to be fooled by the dull and desperate Expendables.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Other Guys - Review

The cop comedy took a beating earlier this year when Kevin Smith's Cop Out emerged not just as the most unfunny movie of his career, but also his biggest hit. Adam McKay's The Other Guys isn't quite brilliant enough to make up for it, and doesn't come close to the sublime weirdness of his previous film Step Brothers, but it is a much funnier attempt to inject comedy into the familiar cop procedural, and yet another chance for audiences to stumble in on his long collaboration with Will Ferrell and marvel at what they come up with.

The central problem this time around is that, unlike the happily rambling Anchorman and Step Brothers, The Other Guys relies on plot and a lot of it, getting its cop characters wrapped up in financial scandal and armed robbery and kidnapping that's way too much for McKay and his co-writer Chris Henchy to handle. The best moments, as in all of McKay's movies, are when the myriad bizarre characters have the time to bounce off one another, which luckily happens just enough in The Other Guys to make up for long stretches of dull and derivative plot.

At the center of it all, as always, is Ferrell as Allen, a buttoned-up version of his usual manchlid who was perfectly happy as an accountant for the police force until he was, for some reason, bumped up to detective. He's paired up with disgraced hothead Terry (Mark Wahlberg) who was sentenced to desk duty after accidentally shooting Derek Jeter (appearing as himself in one of the film's many star cameos). Terry is dying to get back out on the streets, especially with rival detective team Fosse (Damon Wayans Jr.) and Martin (Rob Riggle) taunting him constantly, but Allen is too cautious to put himself in danger, and the two exchange insults while the superstar cops of the force (Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson, both hilarious and perfectly cast) dump their paperwork on Terry and Allen's desks.

It wouldn't be much of a movie if Terry and Allen didn't get called into action, but I'll be honest with you-- I can't remember, a day later, the plot machinations that put them in touch with Steve Coogan's slimy investor and his mysterious Australian kidnapper, and no one in the movie seemed to care much about them anyway. The best parts are all about riffs, whether it's Wayans and Riggle puffing up their chests, Michael Keaton's boss character moonlighting at Bed Bath & Beyond and getting his staff pumped up about bathmats, or Ferrell giving an epic monologue about how a pack of tuna would kill and eat a lion. McKay frequently abandons the plot entirely in order to put Terry and Allen in more weird situations, from visiting one of Allen's inexplicably hot exes to a slo-mo montage of a wild night of drinking that takes the plot absolutely nowhere. It's frustrating to realize halfway through that the plot still doesn't make any sense, but when the tangents are this funny, you eventually start looking forward to the next one.

Most of the sprawling cast is very much on board with the weird tone McKay establishes from the beginning, and Eva Mendes is particularly, unexpectedly funny as the wife with looks Allen just can't seem to appreciate (but who Terry can't stop ogling). Oddly Wahlberg is the one who frequently slows down the momentum; so razor-sharp and quick in I Heart Huckabee's and The Departed, his comic timing seems off here, and his repartee with Ferrell frequently amounts to shouting "Shut up!" and pointing a gun. He's game for anything, though, including a dance scene in a crosswalk and some actual action scenes on top of it all. Forgive me if I just would have rather seen Ferrell team up with John C. Reilly again.

Maybe the most fascinating thing about The Other Guys is the closing credits sequence, a sharp and utterly un-ironic takedown of Wall Street and the financial industry told in concise and clever graphics. It's totally out of place given the sloppy silliness that came before it, and emphasizes the Ponzi scheme plot that was largely incoherent in the movie, but the credits may actually be able to work up some populist rage among people who paid to see Mark Wahlberg throw coffee on Will Ferrell. That doesn't quite make up for the movie being too disorganized to achieve its potential, but counts for something

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Job (2010)

Plot: BUBBA BRADY (Patrick Flueger) lives in a dying industrial town where opportunity has dried up like prairie grass. What keeps him afloat is the promise of JOY (Taryn Manning), Bubba’s reason-for-being, a fragile former child actress. Bubba meets JIM (Ron Perlman), a drifter who never stays anywhere longer than 72 hours, and his luck seems to change. In exchange for Bubba’s offer of a parking spot for his jalopy, Jim gives him a lead on local employment office, a tip he got from a guy whose tire he helped fix. There, the agency guy, PERRIMAN (Joey Pantoliano) offers him a job on the spot. But the job is not all that it appears. Though the opportunity is real, Bubba will have to learn if he has the killer instincts to do what it requires. ‘The Job’ is a funny, frightening vision of a world not so far from our own.


Monday, August 9, 2010

Vampires SUCK Movie Review

It would be easy for me to go on a tirade about Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, two guys who have given us heaping piles of cinematic excrement such as Epic Movie, Meet the Spartans and Disaster Movie but why should I? Their painfully unfunny films are notorious. It’s clear that these two individuals have thrown things like dignity, self respect, imagination, creativity and ambition out the window a long time ago.  So picking on them would be like beating on a piñata, while it stupidly stares at you insisting it’s a horse. The time for blaming the creators for these films is gone, now it’s time for something different, now it’s time to blame something else for the success of these horrible movies.

Like an alcoholic hobo festering on the side of the street with a cup for change and a sign that describes his current plight, if you keep giving him money he won’t decide to get up and change his ways. He won’t suddenly decide to take that dollar and invest it in a savings account to eventually get off the streets and stop stinking up the trains where good people ride to work every day. He won’t go to any of the centers that are designed to help homeless people get off the streets and back into a functioning society.

No, if you give a bum money when he asks for it he’ll just keep doing what’s making him money. The real problem are people who keep giving them money. Why should he change when there’s no real motivation for change, his needs are kept for by people who give up their hard earned cash. If this is you then yes the problem here is YOU.  Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer have made a disgusting amount of money from people like you, not the people who actually enjoy these movies but you people who go see these films only to complain about it later, you the people who allow curiosity to dish out the price of admission only to claim you walked out half way into the movie on the internet. YOU are the problem

Your curiosity has consistently funded the next film. Now we get Vampires Suck, a parody that is supposed to be based on today’s popular fascination with Twilight. Does twilight really need another parody? If you’re on the internet there have been dozens of parodies already, many of them actually pretty funny.  Do we need to hear another reference for team Jacob or team Edward for the hundredth time?  Friedberg and Seltzer don’t get that the joke is over, it’s been over for a while, yet here we are with an official movie to Parody what’s already been parodied to death.


                                                 It's funny because he's a Werewolf

This time around Friedberg and Seltzer have toned down the amount of random pop culture references that filled their previous films. Vampires Suck is a shot for shot parody that follows the two twilight films. So instead of getting bombarded with pop culture reference after pop culture reference we get about fifteen jokes about teen angst and fifteen more about how ridiculous those pasty vampires look when they shine in the light.  This makes the movie actually pretty boring; it’s like hearing the same joke told a different way by five different people. 

The lineup features the usual ex Mad TV comedians who are surprisingly underutilized in this film.  Those guys have proven there’s no limit to how ridiculous they’ll look for a film but in Vampires Suck there’s nobody impersonating a pop star or a cartoon character or whatever the hell else , only characters in the Twilight film. What I do find hilarious is how some of these characters don’t even have names. Deemed unnecessary, they simple appear and spit out random stupidity then off they go wishing their agent has a nice spot in hell for booking them into this hot mess. Anneliese Van der Pol is the ONLY talented figure amongst the bunch who appears to be making the best out of a bad situation; you might recognize her from That’s So Raven. A stunning talent destined for bigger and better things, let’s hope she gets back on track because even in a movie like this, she shows she is way better than those surrounding her.

                                It's funny because he's putting hot sauce on her before he eats her

I have stated before that you guys deserve better. This style of comedy is lazy and uninspired. There is no thought put behind these random acts of idiocy. They make retarded movies and I mean that in the purest sense of the word for their style of comedy shows a lack of developmental for the audience. For those who pay for this, you join the short bus, you also hold back progress. When guys like this consistently make the worst rated films and keep finding ways to make more of the same type of movies then something is very, very wrong.

I don’t want to hear excuses. I don’t want to hear, “it’s just a stupid comedy meant for you to laugh” or “critics take movies too seriously”. The general idea behind those comments is if people enjoyed it then so what. So, this statement applies to basically anything in life right? If you like having unprotected sex with animals because you like their furry asses then who is to tell you its wrong? If you like to slap jelly on your ass and run around a field while singing Dixie Chicks songs then who am I to tell you that is wrong? But if you sit down, if you really analyze the situation here, you are the joke. Friedberg and Seltzer have built their success around you while giving you their absolute worst.  This isn’t a call to arms, this isn’t me asking you to ban the movie, this is me saying, enough is enough already.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (2010)

Balthazar Blake (Nicolas Cage) is a master sorcerer in modern-day Manhattan trying to defend the city from his arch-nemesis, Maxim Horvath (Alfred Molina). Balthazar can't do it alone, so he recruits Dave Stutler (Jay Baruchel), a seemingly average guy who demonstrates hidden potential, as his reluctant protégé. The sorcerer gives his unwilling accomplice a crash course in the art and science of magic, and together, these unlikely partners work to stop the forces of darkness. It'll take all the courage Dave can muster to survive his training, save the city and get the girl as he becomes The Sorcerer's Apprentice.



Saturday, August 7, 2010

Jonah Hex (2010)

The fact that we have a Jonah Hex film proves that DC wasn’t just talking out its ass when they said that they were focused on bringing some of its lesser known comic franchises to the big screen, although after one Superman film and two Batman flicks, the other in-production releases Aquaman and The Green Arrow are M.I.A. I figure that, aside from the comic’s cult audiences, most filmgoers will be like me; familiar with the character of Jonah Hex only through the plethora of knockoffs and parodies that came through popular culture during the 90’s. There’s something timeless about a cowboy with only half of his face on a quest for revenge, and I guess others were quick to jump on that idea.

The film takes place in the last few days of or immediately following the Civil War. After fighting in the war itself for an indeterminate amount of time, the man we come to know as Jonah Hex (Josh Brolin) deserts to settle down with an Indian woman he fell in love with. Together with their young son, they live in a quiet cabin in the wilderness for many years, though in the end it was not meant to be. The Hex homestead is attacked one night by a brigand of Confederate war criminals, and burned to the ground with Jonah’s wife and child trapped inside. After undergoing torture at the hands of the ruthless war criminals that leaves him permanently scarred, he is left for dead, only to be found by a party of Indians who were drawn by the blaze.magic to heal him and power his thirst for vengeance. Recharged, he returns with a mean streak a mile wide and the ability to talk to the dead. He enjoys some success as a bounty hunter before the government finally catches up to him and makes him an offer he can’t refuse: It seems the very same war criminals that destroyed his family have their sights set on a superweapon, and it’s up to Jonah to prevent them from using it to tear the fragile Union apart again.

While in production, the film billed itself as a supernatural romp. The bad guy (John Malkovich) was supposed to be some sort of big bad voodoo daddy who wanted to raise an army of the dead to bolster confederate forces. As you can see, the story in the final product is totally different, which probably explains the 11th hour re-shootings the filmmaker demanded before giving any copies to the theaters. Personally, I feel the original tale would have been better suited to a character like Jonah Hex, because the rest of this movie feels pretty forced. He’s a clever gunslinger and a skilled fighter, but the film hardly gives him a chance to explore his supernatural abilities, which he seems to use only to gain information from the dead.  Other scenes in the film feature unexplained elements, such as the monster fight in the circus. You want to know more about what those creatures are doing there, but Jonah himself seems to tell you that the director says there’s not enough time; he doesn’t even fight them.

The overall pacing of the film is horrible. It starts off well, but after the rousing introductory montage and the movie’s first real gun battle, the film seems to ramble, not quite knowing what to do with itself.  I’m still not sure where Jonah’s prostitute friend (Megan Fox) comes in at. I think she’s some kind of informant. The director shot two different versions of the fight between Jonah and the big bad, and for some reason, seemed dead set on using them both, playing a simultaneous “dream sequence” fight along with the “real” one on board the superweapon, for reasons unexplained. You begin to see why reshooting a film at the last minute is not a good idea.

On the bright side, the players themselves all look pretty good.

Jonah looks great, though they could’ve made him uglier. Nice period style clothes and makeup. The acting really shines from some people (Michael Fassbender), though others are a bit lackluster, but still believable in their characters. And was it just me, or did the film credits say the music was provided by Mastodon? Those guys are a heavy-approaching-death metal melodic outfit, and I heard nothing like that throughout the course of the film.

In conclusion, this film had some good ideas. But absolutely fantastic ideas aren’t going to save your skin if you suffer from poor execution, which is exactly what happened to this film. Ultimately, Jonah Hex will go on the shelf somewhere in between “Hellboy” and “Dragonball: Evolution”, which is a shame given the effort that was put into this film.



Thursday, August 5, 2010

Preacher's Kid (2010)

Preacher's Kid (2010)

Directed By: Stan Foster
Starring: Letoya Luckett, Tammy Townsend, Carlos Davis

Tired of being a Preacher fs daughter and longing to experience more of life, 20-something ANGIE KING strikes out on her own for the very first time and joins a traveling gospel show. In this modern-day rendition of the fable of The Prodigal Son, she soon discovers life on the road is tough but fears going home with nothing to show for herself, or worse, to a father who no longer loves her.



Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Enthiran Movie Preview

So all eyes and are waiting for ‘Enthiran’ the movie and the ears have already got its fodder in the ‘Enthiran’ music that was released on July 31. This Shankar’s futuristic film ‘Enthiran: The Robot’ will be a real science-fiction in Tamil after many decades. It is also going to be the biggest Tamil film ever made not just in terms of the money spent on production but also on the line up cast and crew assembled for the film. It stars Rajinikanth and Aishwarya Rai in the lead roles. Other major stars in the film include Danny Denzongpa, Santhanam and Kalabavan Mani. The film is a trilingual having Tamil, Telugu and Hindi versions.

Enthiran Movie Preview
Enthiran Movie Preview

Rajini plays dual roles in ‘Enthiran’. One is a scientist Vaseegaran and the other is a Robot called Chitti. The scientist Rajini creates an android man with artificial intelligence – like that of sixth sense in humans – which looks exactly like him and behaves too like a human to help mankind. But the robot later acquires more human characters. He through technical upgrades and becomes almost human. It falls in love with Aishwarya Rai and writes romantic poems besides doing many other things. Knowing about the extra ordinary intelligence of the Robot the villains lead by Danny Denzongpa try to get control of the Robot. Scientist Rajini then fights to save the Robot falling into the hands of the enemies and destroys the evil forces using the Robot itself.

‘Enthiran’ was a dream of director Shankar. After the stupendous success of ‘Sivaji’ in 2007, Shankar decided to go ahead with the project. The story was developed by Sujatha. He was the one who wrote the finest sci-fi novel ‘En Iniya Iyanthira’. He must have been inspired a lot by the Issac Asimov’s robot story ‘Bicentennial Man’ published in 1975.

If the Tamil film is going to be the biggest ever film who else but the Super Star fit to head the film? The Super Star was signed. For the heroine Aishwarya Rai, Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone were considered and Ash was finalized. For the main villain Telugu star Chakravarthi was first considered and later the Bollywood legend Danny Denzongpa was signed. All most all the biggest names in Indian cinema were tossed up to do at least a character.

In January 2008 ‘Enthiran’ was announced to be produced by Ayngaran International along with Eros Labs. The film was growing and the budget was escalating. At one point the international production companies wanted to leave the project and Sun Pictures came to the rescue. In 2009 ‘Enthiran’ was officially taken over by Sun Pictures.

Enthiran Movie Preview
Enthiran Movie Preview

After Sun Pictures took over, the 200-crore film progressed fast and got completed in July 2010. The first schedule of ‘Enthiran’ commenced with the filming of “Kilimanajro” song featuring Rajinikanth and Aishwarya Rai at the historic location of the Machu Picchu in Peru. The final schedule was fittingly wrapped up at the Sun Studios in Chennai.

The script is by late Sujatha, Shankar and Balakumaran. Yuen Woo Ping who designed action scenes for films like The Matrix, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and The Forbidden Kingdom is the stunt co-co-ordinator for ‘Enthiran’. Also our own Peter Hein has done a great job.

Stan Winston Studios which handled visual effects for iconic films like Aliens, Terminator 2 and Jurassic Park took care of the animatronics in the film. Shankar has used animatronics technology, seen in Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park trilogy for ‘Enthiran’.

The spectacular effects are made real by the superior combination lighting cinematography of Rathnavelu. Editing is by Anthony and the dance choreography for ‘Enthiran’ is by Raju Sundaram and Claudia Bruckmann.

Industrial Light & Magic that handled the special effects for films like Avatar, Star Wars, and Titanic worked on visual and special effects. Buzz says about 40 per cent of the budget was spent on the special effects.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Shrooms Movie Review

‘Shrooms’ is one of the strangest horror movies I’ve seen, one of the oddest movies I’ve seen ever, in fact. It basically tries to cross the line between reality and a fictional story that is told around the camp-fire, after a group of American students have decided to take some magic mushrooms, in the middle of nowhere, in a forest, in Ireland. Why? Well they don’t seem to have a real reason for that. To these students, it seems they can only find ‘Shrooms,’ as they refer to them, in Ireland, so they travel all the way there from you the U.S.A, to trip out. Go figure!

The concept isn’t that bad; are we really witnessing the characters being killed? Or are they, or is one of them, simply having a bad trip, and imagining the whole thing that we are seeing? It gets complicated, when you realize you don’t care. The director, Paddy Breathnach, doesn’t seem able to pace the film very well, so most of the time it just comes across as uninteresting. Another problem, is the characters, although not the usual – jock, cheerleader, etc; we are met with a bunch of kids the audience can’t really identify with, unless you’re into going into the Irish woodlands and taking magic mushrooms (which I might add is very dangerous for all you kids). Even if you are, the movie fails to keep interest.

The film quickly descends into the realms of slasher movie-dom; with the six students being hunted down by someone or something, and being killed in grotesque ways, – or are they? On their way to camp, they have already met some strange inhabitants of the woodlands, who must inhabit every racist joke about the Irish they can. These two ‘Irish men,’ live in the back of beyond, seem retarded, filthy, keep someone locked up in the basement, and can’t talk without dribbling (very inconvincibly – which was all very amusing, although it wasn’t supposed to be.)

Once in the woods, one of the characters decides to tell them all a creepy campfire story. I think he forgot that one should be in a calm mood while taking hallucinogenic drugs, and wants to scare his friends half to death. The usual story about an old mental asylum that used to be in the area is told. Next, strange things happen, friends start disappearing, cows start talking to people (yes, you heard me correctly – this was one of the funnier and more surreal moments of the film.) Creepy, ‘The Grudge’ – ‘The Ring’ stunt people start to appear in the woods, making jarring visual movements, and the creepy story starts to melt into reality. The suggestion of blurring the lines between truth and imagination works quite well in parts, and I was actually finding myself slightly scared in the cinema. The movie uses a lot of special effects to try and put you in the ‘tripped out’ state that the characters are supposed to be in, blurred camera effects, strange angles, and it does succeed in creating a distrust in everything we view, and a paranoia.

Lindsey Haun takes up the lead role, of the ‘good girl’ who doesn’t really want to take the drugs, but ends up taking them anyway; and not with much peer pressure I might add. So if the film was trying to portray her character of Tara as an innocent, yet again, they didn’t succeed. Her acting, as the others is up to standard, but nothing remarkable is seen here.

‘Shrooms’ has some nice cinematography. Contemporary elements, like the neutral colors that are used throughout the film is reminiscent of ‘The Blair Witch Project’. The permanent uncertainty of reality and imagination does grow tiresome though, and without characters to care about, I was just wishing the movie would hurry up and end. When we do finally find out what’s going on, half the audience has probably guessed, and then we are left with a final question to answer for ourselves – which is annoying, after waiting so long for resolution. This movie doesn’t have the originality or scares of ‘The Blair Witch Project,’ and it doesn’t have enough action or interest to inspire the viewer to become engrossed, like movies such as ‘The Evil Dead’.

Another movie which could have done more with a solid idea, but was packed with too much pretentious art-house nonsense mixed with glances of traditional horror stereotypes. Wait to watch it on DVD, and when you do, have a few friends around for a laugh at the talking cow scene.


Monday, August 2, 2010

New Piranha 3D Poster, Photo, and Controversial Comic-Con Footage

Piranha 3-D is looking to kick start the "3-D horror season" when it opens on August 20. Resident Evil: Afterlife will continue the tradition on September 10 and Saw 3D will close the season on October 29. With the opening just a few weeks away, Dimension has released a new UK quad poster, as well as the first official photo of the movie's razor-toothed creature. 

Despite Dimension's interest in the movie, director Alexandre Aja recently told Fangoria that he had to tone down Piranha 3-D, though he promises the movie features "30 unique deaths" and that they "didn’t repeat the same thing twice."
They were scared about too much blood. They were scared about too much boobs. So I had to tone it down. But I still think it will deliver on both levels and people will be surprised, but they will be even more surprised with the director’s cut. Five or six minutes of extreme footage will be put back in. Piranha is a pretty expensive movie, and it’s not only [about] sustaining the genre but the audience, so we had to get rid of some of the violence and other gory stuff, but DVD is more open.
Aja swears that Piranha 3-D is "not a remake" of Joe Dante's 1978 Piranha, despite their similar story lines, but one thing that distances Piranha 3-D from Piranha is, well, its 3-D. The latest photo from the movie depicts one the nasty, bloodthirsty, prehistoric piranha (really, is there any other kind of prehistoric piranha?), which audiences will likely get to see swimming around their faces.

Aja tried to show fans a sneak preview of the movie at this year's Comic-Con, until organizers deemed the 8 minutes of footage "too graphic" for the convention, forcing Aja to show the footage at a nearby movie theater. Moviefone has managed to get a copy of the footage, which depicts a piranha attack on a lake full of Spring break revelers. Check out the footage here (But be forewarned - the clip is extremely graphic - nauseating, in fact.)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Charlie St. Cloud Trailer

A bunch of movies were released on this last weekend of July and movie goers might be pondering which movie they might want to check out as a result. The best way to find out is to check out a preview of the movie and so we’ve made it easy to watch Charlie St. Cloud online trailer here below. You might also want to read preview and thoughts into this new movie.

Zac Efron fans are ecstatic at the prospect at another movie starring the hottest young movie star in the business. Charlie St. Cloud is in cinemas today and there is no doubt that theaters around the country will be packed just to see Hollywood’s wonder kid. For more casual movie fans – you can watch Charlie St. Cloud online trailer and determine for yourself if this is a flick you might want to check out.

Charlie St. Cloud Trailer

The Zac Efron we have come to love has usually been featured in more upbeat movies so it will be interesting to see how the “High School Musical” star will perform in these new more challenging conditions.

The tale of Charlie St. Cloud is not the most common and involves the bond between two brothers (one dead) and a girl who comes into the middle of this relationship, leaving many decisions for our main character played by Zac Efron.

This fantasy/sci-fi/romance/drama flick is certainly intriguing and if anyone can pull it off, we’d put our money on Zac to carry the audience through the 109 minutes of this movie.

Let us know your thoughts after you watch Charlie St. Cloud trailer and whether you’ve planned to see the movie at theater or wait for it on DVD.

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