Monday, December 3, 2012

A Christmas Story 2 (2012)

In 1983, late director Bob Clark (Black Christmas, Porky's) made what some consider the greatest Christmas movie ever made. "A Christmas Story" has gone down in history for that that simple fact; even TBS plays the movie for 24 hours straight on Christmas day. Personally, I feel the film is very overrated, not saying that it's a bad film just overrated. That being said, Warner Brothers in their infinite wisdom decided that what "A Christmas Story" needed was a sequel, almost 30 years later.

Being promoted as "the official sequel to 'A Christmas Story'", Warner Brothers seems to have forgotten that the film already has had TWO sequels before this one: a 1988 TV movie entitled "Ollie Hopnoodle's Haven of Bliss" and the 1994 film "It Runs in the Family" (most commonly known as "My Summer Story"), but since Warner Brothers didn't make those films I guess they felt they didn't count as sequels and they have completely disregarded them.

Now that that's out of the way lets delve into this bear sized shit of a movie. The story is about Ralphie and he's an annoying 15-year old who wants a car. Him and his stupid friends wreck a car at a dealership and the rest of the movie is all about them trying to come up with $85 to fix the car. Daniel Stern (Home Alone) plays the father in this film and he comes off as a very cold hearted cheapskate. At the end of the film he seems to have redeemed himself and proves to be a loving father, but throughout the rest of the film he's just an asshole. 

The film does what I assume they felt were homages to the original film but in reality they were just blatant rip offs. This film rehashes so much from the original film it baffles me why they even bothered making a "sequel" instead of a "remake". They rehash the tongue to the pole in a rather stupid way by having the same character stick his tongue in a vacuum at a department store and then you get to see his face stretch out inside the tube as some goofy way of making this generation of retarded children laugh. Having Ralphie dress up in a stupid animal costume is rehashed having him dress as a reindeer at a department store. Somehow the leg lamp is back at the very end, though the film never really admits who the hell gave it to the father. So much is rehashed from the original film all the way down to Ralphie's brother getting a space ship for Christmas and sitting on the floor making "vroom" sounds with it (in the original film he gets a blimp and does the same thing).

This film fails so horribly it's not even funny. I didn't expect anything at all from this film but I just wanted to give it a shot. Seeing Daniel Stern embarrass himself in this direct-to-video garbage is terrible. The man made some classic comedies in his day and he has been reduced to this trash. That being said, Stern is the ONLY good thing about this film. He does give a stellar performance but his character is so cynical it's hard to even enjoy it. The only thing this film did well (and I'm using that term lightly) is they got an actor (surprisingly the writer) to sound JUST like Jean Shepard narrating. But something that small and pathetic can't save this useless, unneeded and unwanted sequel to a film that is considered a classic. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween (1978)

"It's Halloween, I guess everyone is entitled to one good scare"

The mother of them all! Halloween was made during a time when horror films were few and far between. "Psycho" started the slasher genre in 1960 but the genre laid dormant for almost 2 decades until John Carpenter came along and changed film history forever.

Halloween was released in 1978 and cost a mere $320,000 to make but it earned far more than that, becoming the highest grossing independent film at that time. The film is so simple yet so effective. The film follows Laurie Strode (played by a then unknown Jamie Lee Curtis) and her friends on the night of Halloween as they are stalked and killed by a masked assailant. By today's standards this story has been told a million times over, by in the late 1970s this was something new. Especially the tone that Carpenter brought forth. The film is genuinely scary because of the simpleness to it. Michael Myers is portrayed as a faceless character, and when you do see his face (only twice) he shows no emotion whatsoever. The film begins with a very long POV shot of a young girl being stalked and then murdered, when the scene is over you discover the person whose point of view it came from was a 6-year-old boy. Just the thought of that is enough to chill you to the bone!

This film also really established the horny, drug crazed teenagers that followed oh, so many times in the following decade. This really defined many films since then. And it was even the basis of the 2012 film "The Cabin in the Woods". 

Overall, much can be said about Carpenter and his influence on the horror genre. Halloween was his crowning achievement and sadly he has distanced himself as much as he can from the film. I guess he got tired of being constantly reminded of it, but it's a shame he doesn't like it anymore. It seems over the past few years Carpenter has really distanced himself from all of his films, he almost comes off as if he resents the films. But, he has left us with a great amount of fantastic horror/sci-fi films to choose from. 

Halloween was such a success that a franchise began followed by the 1981 sequel "Halloween II" which was produced and written by John Carpenter and Debra Hill. "Halloween III" which came out the following year was also produced and written by John Carpenter and Debra Hill. The duo left the franchise after that never to be attached to it again. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

A Short Review of "The Body", an episode of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"

I spent my years in college studying television production and writing and received my B.A. in that in 2009. Throughout my years in college I have learned to analyze and love television shows from the stories to the production value and I continue that to this very day. Granted I have not been able to practice my art in many ways since I graduated but I still watch television shows more than anything else, regardless of this blog being specifically for movie reviews.

Today, I have chosen to speak about one of my favorite episodes of any television show out there. This episode spoke to me profoundly for many reasons, but the main reason is because something like this happened to me in my own life. In 2000, my mother suffered a severe stroke and later died in 2006 from complications related to that. It was a very dark time in my life, a time that I would never want to relive. In 2002, I began watching the television series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer". I've a horror fan for many years, and I felt I would enjoy this series. I was right! "Buffy" is such a fun series to watch and re-watch, the writing is brilliant, the acting is brilliant, almost everything about this series is brilliant. In early 2001 an episode aired called "The Body" which dealt with the death of Buffy's mother. I did not see the episode until very late 2003 but when I finally did I realized how important this episode would be to me.

The episode deals with Buffy's mother who had surgery done to remove a tumor from her brain and in the episode she dies from complications due to this. The rest of the episode is basically everyone coping with the loss of her, and just that description sounds pretty boring or could be sappy, but I want to take a look at some of the things that happen in the show.

First off, there is no music. Throughout the entire episode no music is heard at all. I felt this gave off the eeriness of that feeling you get after someone dies. It's hard to explain the feelings you go through after a loved one dies, especially someone so close to you. This episode spoke to me so much because Joss Whedon did such a good job recreating a time in someone's life that is so hard to describe. In the opening Buffy finds her mother dead and tries frantically to call 911 and administer CPR, but to no avail. The paramedics show up and realize she is dead and leave Buffy alone. She then calls Giles, but her phone call is very vague as to what has happened, leading Giles to think that the main villain of that season is at her house. Buffy then wanders through her house aimlessly. The power of this scene speaks volumes, as when something terrible like that happens I think most people do the same thing. You don't know what to do but you know you have to do something. When Giles arrives he tries himself to revive the mother, but Buffy bursts out with the line "We're not supposed to move the body" and she realizes that she just referred to her mother as "the body" and she breaks down. There some sort of denial when someone dies. It's subconscious to a point but it hits you like a truck when you say out loud "she's dead" or you refer to her as "the body" instead of "mom".

One of my favorite scenes in the entire episode is when we find Willow, Xander, Anya and Tara getting ready to go to the hospital to be with Buffy and Anya doesn't understand why someone so close to them has died and why she can't just get up and go on living. The actress, Emma Caulfield, did such an amazing job performing that scene that it always touches my heart. When you're thrown into a situation like this no one really knows why someone has died and why life has to even end. I still ask myself these questions to this very day. And something that is stated during this scene is how the character was drinking something and when they heard the mother died one of the things she thought was that the mother would never drink that drink again. I don't know about other people, but when someone close to me dies I always think about how there are certain things they'll never do again or see items they've left behind and how it might have been when they left it there. When my mother died our house was filled with stuff she had touched just the day before and it broke my heart.

It's the little things that were in the episode that made it very special. I think the episode spoke volumes to me because of my own personal situation, I'm not sure if it spoke to other people like this or not, but it is a very special episode to me and I personally think it's the greatest television episode ever made. Joss Whedon did such a wonderful job perfecting this episode in every way and the actors were so unbelievable at the same time.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Music Man (2003)

"The sadder but wiser girl for me"

Meredith Willson's The Music Man was a Broadway musical that brought down the house. The year was 1959 and only a few years later a big budget Hollywood film version would be done. In 1962, Robert Preston wowed audiences with his portrayal of Harold Hill in this very film. Preston reprised his role from the Tony Award winning performance he gave in the Broadway show. Just over 40 years later Disney decided it was time to remake The Music Man for The Wonderful World of Disney...

The film is a direct adaptation of the original Broadway play and comparing it to the original plays out very much like the film version. Matthew Broderick plays Professor Harold Hill and his performance is a yawn fest. And in all fairness I did not sit there comparing this film to the original, Broderick cannot play Harold Hill to save his life. He plays the character very much like he's reading off cue cards. If you look at his performance of the songs "Ya Got Trouble" and "76 Trombones" it is very obvious he just doesn't give a shit. That character should be charismatic but he plays it like he forgot to read the script and everyone is just helping him. The songs are incredibly slow because of his cardboard performance.

And Broderick isn't the only offender here either. All of the actors preform as if they are made of cardboard. Even veteran actors like Victor Garber (playing Mayor Shinn) are awful. I'm not sure if the actors were trying to portray the actors from the original film or they really just didn't care, but all the performances in this film are awful.

The casting was poorly done as well. Matthew Broderick was chosen because at the time he was a big star on Broadway with "The Producers" so it was a natural selection to pick him. But, take a look at the film version of "The Producers" and he's just as bad in that film too! Molly Shannon (playing Mrs. Shinn) was probably one of the worst choices they could have made. Shannon overacts in every single thing she is in. A really good example of how bad she is and how bad the producers were on this film is the scene in which the firecracker goes off under her feet. In the original film it goes off, she yells out "I'm shot!" and falls down. A very funny scene and direct to the point. In this film, the firecracker blows her dress up over her head and she falls backward into a curtain pulling it down yelling out "I'm shot! I'm shot! George! George!", seriously over done for no reason, and it takes all the fun out of the little prank.

Victor Garber I thought was a good choice to play Mayor Shinn but as earlier stated his performance is very subpar. He was really great as Oliver Warbucks in Disney's 1999 film "Annie", but sadly he suffers in this role. Kristen Chenoweth as Marion Paroo was poorly cast as well. I've seen Kristen in other roles and she always plays odd characters. The role of Marion Paroo is a very straight forward character that I just can't seen Kristen doing well, and she doesn't. She can sing, there's no doubt about that, but she can't act.

Overall the film is awful, the opening song was so badly done it was ridiculous! The song is supposed to be fast paced, but it's slowed down for whatever reason and it's awful. Also, the fun of the opening scene is that Harold Hill is sitting in the train car the whole time and NO ONE knows about it, especially the audience! Yet in this version the director chooses to do close ups of Broderick over and over again taking the reveal of his character completely away! Also, the reaction of the character when he finds it is Hill is so elementary school stupid. He does a double take then keeps repeating "That's Harold Hill! That's the guy we were just talking about!", as if those guys or even the audience didn't already know that! His name is on the fucking briefcase! I think the director/producers think that America is really that stupid that we couldn't figure stuff like that out.

Anyway, enough of my ranting, if you want to see the film go watch the original 1962 film starring Robert Preston and avoid this one like the plague!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Rock of Ages (2012)

"I love rock n' roll"

I am a big fan of musicals, and I am actually a pretty big fan of the 2007 film "Hairspray", so when I saw a new musical was coming from the director of "Hairspray" I was pretty excited, especially since it was a musical featuring 80s music. A film with an amazing cast and some really good looking things, pretty much fell flat.

The film centers around Sherrie who shows up in Hollywood from Ohio ready to break out on the scene as a singer. She meets Drew who works at the Bourbon Room and he gets her a job. The entire film takes place over the course of a few days and involves the last ever performance of the band Arsenal, featuring lead singer Stacee Jaxx (played by Tom Cruise). The film starts out really great, a great opening musical number performed by a great lineup of performers (including a short verse by Alec Baldwin). The film seems to have quite a bit of plotlines going on. Aside from the band's final performance there's a plotline of Sherrie trying to get Drew to take the stage and perform with his band, The Bourbon Room is bankrupt, Catherine Zeta-Jones plays the wife of the mayor trying to get The Bourbon Room shut down because rock music is satan music, there's a reporter who at first hates Stacee Jaxx then loves him... there's just too much going on in this film.

The film never really feels like it has a plot at all. There's just so much going on it felt like the writer just sat down and wrote down ideas and then instead of trying to form them into a story he just threw them all in front of each other. There are a few funny moments, mainly from Russell Brand, but overall the film isn't that great. It drags on a lot, and they have some weird moments. There's a part in the film when Drew plays "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey and claims that he wrote it about Sherrie and himself. This just comes off as odd, why would they have a movie where none of the rock music in the real world exists. It would have been more believable and more acceptable if Drew had been a member of Journey, but he isn't. And in reality the song was written in 1981, the film takes place in 1987, so this makes absolutely no sense!

As for the musical numbers they all seem to be ensemble pieces. And some of them are 2 different songs spliced together. At some points it's good, but mostly it feels awkward and even some times pointless. And unlike the director's previous musical film, this film does not end on a big musical number. It ends with Stacee Jaxx and company performing "Don't Stop Believing", which at this point feels very much like "Glee" as they have made that their anthem. 

Overall the film is okay at best, if you want to see it go see it and judge for yourself. But, I feel the film fell flat and disappointed.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Three Stooges (2012)

"Who's the fancy pants in the top hat and scarf?... That's a snowman"

When I first heard about a film company wanting to make a Three Stooges film, I was very much against it. I mean, these guys actually existed and they were hilarious! You can just pick some random actors and make them look like the guys and think they can be funny. Well, I was wrong. "The Three Stooges" delivers with a boatload of laughs and hilarity.

The film is split into 3 segments (designed to be like 3 Three Stooges shorts put together). The first of the segments is about how the three came to be, being dropped off at an orphanage and growing up there. Here we see the boys as kids for a while and then finally grown up. The stuff with the kids is kind of boring with a few laughs here and there. Amazingly, the filmmakers got a great kid to play Moe. The kid playing Larry is kind of creepy looking that's for sure! Once we meet up with the guys as adults the hilarity begins. 

The film's overall plot involves a rich woman trying to get the guys to kill her husband so she can get his money and run off with his best friend. A pretty standard plot, but the guys give it there all. There are plenty of scenes with physical humor that go on forever and you'll be laughing your ass off the whole time. 

But you can't have great scenes without some scenes that sadly the filmmakers sunk to. There is a scene in a maternity ward where the guys use babies peeing sort of like water guns. A scene that isn't very funny and very juvenile. The Three Stooges were about physical comedy and most of their stuff was "smart" comedy. In other words it was well thought out. This, was not that. Another scene involving a lion chained to a wall and one of the characters taunting it. Nothing wrong with that in and of itself, however, the way the lion gets off the chain is something hits him in a testicles and this gives him power to break the chain. That, was really sinking low. Absolute bathroom humor that just wasn't needed. And finally a fart scene, I'm not going to go into details, but seriously, that's not the kind of humor the Stooges did. 

Overall, the film is greatly done. The actors do a wonderful job, especially the actor playing Moe. Moe was always the main character (so to speak) and it was important that they get someone who can play him correctly. They did a great job. The film is classic slapstick humor and the film was absolutely done greatly. With a few flaws, the film is a home run!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

American Reunion (2012)

"I love the 'Twilight' books, 'New Moon' is my favorite!"

The "American Pie" franchise has surprisingly survived almost 15 years. Whether it's the original sequels with the original cast or those bastardized additions that carry the "American Pie Presents..." title, the series has been fruitful. For many years since "American Wedding" in 2003, everyone has been asking if another sequel was in the works. In 2012 (a full 9 years after "Wedding") the fans got what they were asking for. But was it a good thing or a bad thing?

"American Reunion" centers around the gang's 13th high school reunion (right here I stop and ask 13th??). The group gets back together and they all have their problems: whether it's Jim and Michelle's sex life after baby or Oz's crazy fucked up girlfriend and his yearning for Heather or Stifler trying to hide the fact that his life sucks now. The premise is simple so what's the next step? Add sex jokes and nudie scenes!

The "American Pie" films have been famous for 2 things: having a nudie scene somewhere around the middle of the film and having something disgusting happen to Stifler. Well, sadly in "American Reunion" neither of these things happen. There is a scene with a naked drunk girl and Jim trying to get her home but that's hardly the lesbian scene in "American Pie 2" or even the bachelor party in "American Wedding" and it doesn't even hold a candle to Shannon Elizabeth's scene in "American Pie". Stifler does do something disgusting but it doesn't happen to him. Do these things ruin the film? No, not at all.

Lets take a look at the characters. All the original cast members return for this outing in the franchise. Whether or not that's a good thing or not is up to the viewer. As much as I personally don't like Chris Klein, it was still nice to see Oz back. My problem with it was the fact that him and Heather were not together and he was with some bimbo in Hollywood. His story line dealt with exactly that, and at the end he and Heather are back together. But the main focus of all the "American Pie" films revolve around Jim and Stifler. Jim's story is he and Michelle haven't had much of a sex life since their son was born. The idea is boring especially with a character like Michelle who in the other films was a sex deviant. Stifler's story is his life sucks, he's stuck at a dead end job of being a gofer, but doesn't want anyone else to know. This is pretty much where a character like Stifler would more than likely end up in real life, so it's believable. As for Michelle, I'd like to ask where the quirky adorable Michelle went? I'm not sure if the producers didn't want to go this route with her or if Alyson Hannigan forgot how to do it, but it's completely gone. Her character isn't the same character from the other 3 films.

Even the minor characters from the past films returned. Jessica has returned to reveal she's a lesbian, Sherman returns and does his "Shermanator" stuff and Nadia returns with a Jim look-a-like. The problem with these cameos is that they are pointless. Jessica comes up to Stifler and literally says "Let me just get this out of the way, I'm a lesbian"... sorry, that's poor writing, just flatly telling the audience what's up with her? You don't just say what the characters are feeling or doing, you show the audience! Sherman's bit was pretty lame, but the worst offender was Nadia's cameo. She shows up see's Jim and Michelle having sex then leaves, I kid you not. Why did Shannon Elizabeth even agree to that? Plus, she sure as hell doesn't remember how to do her accent anymore.

Overall the film is decent, but it was a bit of letdown. The funniest character in the film is Jim's Dad. There's a scene in which he gets drunk and then high and it's fucking hilarious! The film really represents the feeling of kids who were in high school in the late 90s and how we are all adults now and we can't really fit into the high school world anymore. This is a realization that comes to Stifler in the film as well. It's a nice ending to the series and it comes full circle. I don't see them making another film and honestly they don't need to. "American Reunion" is the ending to the franchise in my opinion, the series started out with them as immature high school students and has ended with them realizing they are adults and it's time to act like them. The film was decent and worth a shot if you like the other films.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Little Mermaid (1989)

"Have you lost your senses completely? He's a human, you're a mermaid!"

After the success of "Oliver & Company" the Disney animation world was being reborn. The 80s were a hard time for Disney animation, "The Black Cauldron" was a major disappointment and they needed something to bring them out of it. While developing this film, the producers brought in songwriters Howard Ashman and Alan Menken (famous for the Off Broadway hit "The Little Shop of Horrors", as well as the 1986 film) to write the songs for the film. And magic was born...

"The Little Mermaid" is loosely based on the fairy tale of the same name. The premise was simple, a mermaid wants to be human, simple as that. What, they did is made the story enjoyable by creating loving and unforgettable characters. The voice talents of Jodi Benson and Kenneth Mars as Ariel and her father King Triton were fantastic choices. Benson can sing like no one's business and can bring a tear to your eye singing "Part of Your World". Mars can bring down the house with his powerhouse performance as King Triton. Mars has an incredibly booming voice that you won't forget.

Now, lets not forget the villain here. We have, Ursula the sea witch, not a mermaid by a half human, half octopus who has one of the best songs in the entire film. She is diabolical and she wants to rule the sea. She coaxes Ariel into thinking she is helping her, but in reality has her sign a contract saying if she can't get a human to give her a true love's kiss, she will be able to rule the sea. Pat Carroll voices Ursula (and would go on to voice her sister Morgana in the film's direct to video sequel) and gives it a real go. Her voice, believe me, you won't forget. And her rendition of "Poor Unfortunate Souls" (which is more exposition than song) is powerful.

The cast is rounded out by the legendary Buddy Hackett. Hackett voices Scuttle, a seagull who is, for lack of a better word, dumb. But, in the end Scuttle helps to save the day. This film, much like "Beauty & the Beast", can really suck you in. There are a few moments that can give you chills (like "Part of Your World") or the ending of the film. Much of this is due to Alan Menken's wonderful score (which he would receive his first of NINE Academy Awards for). The film is very much for anyone (don't let that "mermaid" in the title turn you away, boys), I loved the movie when I was a kid, and I still love the movie to this day. It was the first film in the now called "Disney Renaissance" and it was one of the more powerful entries. With a wonderful cast, great songs and really unforgettable moments, this film goes down in history as one of the best Disney films out there!

Beauty & the Beast (1991)

"It's over, Beast! Belle is mine!"

During the 1980s, Disney animation was on rocky slopes. "The Black Cauldron" in 1985 really hurt the studio with it's dark undertones and scary imagery. The animators were moved off the Disney lot and basically forgotten about. Slowly but surely from 1986 to 1989 the studio moved back into major animation films and in 1989 they produced "The Little Mermaid" completely redeeming themselves and beginning what is now known as the "Disney Renaissance". There is a great documentary film all about this time period entitled "Waking Sleeping Beauty", I suggest you check it out!

So after the success of "The Little Mermaid", Disney continued on with their production of a story that Walt Disney himself tried to animate in the 1940s but failed to come up with a decent story for it, "Beauty & the Beast". The film is a touching love story between the odd ball (yet for beautiful) girl, Belle (voiced by Paige O'Hara) and The Beast (voiced by Robby Benson). After being cursed, The Beast is changed from a Prince to his hideous beast form as well as all his servants. He has a set amount of time to make someone fall in love with him before the curse is permanent. When Belle's father gets lost in the woods he winds up at the house of the Beast. Belle ventures into the woods looking for him only to make a deal with the Beast to let him go and take her instead.

This film is enchanting, absolutely wonderful. Needless to say, this is my personal favorite Disney film. I was 7-years-old when the film came out and remember going to the theater to see it. When the VHS came out I remember watching it over and over and over and over to the point where I could quote the movie verbatim. Everything about this film is wonderful, there really aren't any slow parts. The voice performances are great. There really aren't any really famous voice over actors in this, aside from Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Potts. And I think not having big stars in it really helped the film. You're not distracted by the voice of a big recognizable star in the film. The songs, written by the late Howard Ashman (who died before the film was completed) and Alan Menken are fantastic. The film begins with one of the biggest songs I've ever seen, "Belle". It's a song that begins with one person singing and by the end it has dozens of people singing and has told a complete story as well!

There are many times throughout the film that give me chills or even bring a tear to my eye. You can really get rolled up in the film and forget you're even watching a movie. I think that when a movie can do that then it works. It takes a lot to get someone to fall into a movie like that. This Disney film has tons of songs, I think it might have more songs than most other Disney movies. It's no surprise that Disney chose this to be their first Broadway musical and the musical is just as amazing as the film.

But, that aside, this film has gone down in history as the first animated film to be nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award (losing out to "The Silence of the Lambs"). And, honestly in my opinion it's still the only one to be nominated for that (in 2009, the Disney/Pixar film "Up" was nominated for Best Picture, but I really don't think it would have been nominated if the Academy hadn't extended the number of nominations from 5 to 10 that year, and since). The film won Academy Awards for the music and it won the Best Picture (Comedy or Musical) Golden Globe. It's a film that is timeless and will continue to entertain people for years to come. I'm glad this film was part of my childhood and I still enjoy seeing the film today. I HIGHLY suggest, if you haven't seen this film, to go out now and check it out!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Bridesmaids (2011)

"This is the first time I've seen you ugly. And it makes me happy"

Let me begin by saying I didn't have the highest expectations for this movie going in. I had seen the preview in the beginning of the year and actually thought it looked really funny. I chose to pass on seeing it in the theater and even when it came out on DVD I passed for a while, just recently seeing it this week! The film is very basic, a girl (Maya Rudolph) is getting married and asks her best friend (Kristen Wiig) to be her maid of honor and everything goes wrong and that's where the humor lies. However, there is very little humor in this film. Lets begin...

First off, Kristen Wiig plays one of the most unlikable characters I've ever seen. Her character used to own a bakery called "Cake Baby" and it went under because of the economy. She lives with these very odd British people who literally annoy the living hell out of me. Throughout the entire film all her character does is complain about shitty her life is. She constantly puts herself down and it is very clear she hates herself. Why should I care about this character? Even when she finds a guy she still shuts him down and then expects him to come back to her.

The film is also just one joke the whole time. The film is basically a battle between Annie (Wiig) and Helen (Rose Byrne). Annie has been Lillian's (Rudolph) best friend since childhood, Helen has only known Lillian for 8 months. So the joke is that they are trying to outdo each other, which begins with one of the most painfully slow scenes in the entire movie. The scene is people giving speeches at Lillian's engagement party and as the maid of honor Annie gives her speech then Helen gives a speech trying to outdo Annie and they go back and forth trying to get the last word in. The scene goes on forever and isn't funny at all.

The film also has a pretty damn disgusting and unfunny scene involving food poisoning. Annie takes the girls to some Brazilian restaurant and of course they all get food poisoning while doing dress fittings. This leads to a very stupid scene involving all the girls either throwing up on each other or shitting in a sink or in the street. The scene is trying to be funny but it just fails and comes across as the worst bathroom humor I've ever seen, simply because the writers (Wiig and some other co-writer) don't get what they are doing.

Overall the film tries very hard to be the female "The Hangover" and it fails on every single aspect. There were very few funny scenes in this 2+ hour film. The scene in the jewelry store between Annie and a teenage girl is pretty funny and the scene where Annie and Helen are trying to get the guy Annie shut down to come back to her with their car was pretty funny as well. Overall, the funniest thing in the movie was the character played by Melissa McCarthy, this actress is absolutely hilarious and sadly she is not used enough in the film. Another note I'd like to make is that other than Wiig and Byrne, none of the other characters are utilized much at all. Maya Rudolph is pretty much pushed off to the side and then the other characters have a few lines and that's pretty much it. The film tries too hard to be funny and simply isn't. How this film was nominated for Academy Awards baffles me, especially the nomination for screenplay!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Rocky II (1979)

"Yo, Adrian! I did it!"

Not many sequels can outdo their originals but in my opinion "Rocky II" did just this. Rocky went down in history winning 3 Academy Awards including the Best Picture Oscar for 1976. So, by the time Stallone decided to make a sequel to his blockbuster role, America was very familiar the Italian Stallion.

Rocky II takes place over the following year after the original film. After Rocky heals up from the fight in the first film he quickly spends his money. Unable to do commercials like he thought because he has a hard time reading, Rocky finds himself strapped for cash. His eye injury from the original film also takes it's toll. But when Apollo wants a re-match (feeling that people thought he didn't actually win the fight), Rocky wants to feed his desire to fight.

Rocky II has much more going on than the original one did. The love story between Rocky and Adrian is continued and develops more. The character of Rocky is much more developed in this film showing that Rocky isn't exactly a "smart" guy. He runs out spends all his money on stuff that he doesn't really need. He can't read and ends up getting fired from doing commercials, and he becomes very selfish when Apollo challenges him. He puts his wife and unborn child off to the side just so he can do what he wants and in the end he pays the cost. However, after everything that happens with Adrian I just don't understand how she just changes her mind like that. It was so important to her before he slipped into a coma, but afterward she was just like "Win!".

The movie has a really cool running sequence to "Gonna Fly Now" which encompasses hundreds of kids running with Rocky as he makes his way to the art museum. And the ending of the movie is just as iconic as the ending of the original film. The "Yo, Adrian! I did it!" part is just as amazing as the "Adrian!" ending of the original film. It really shows that to Rocky his wife is the only thing that matters to him.

Overall, the film plays out much more entertaining than the original film and this is coming from a huge fan of the original. Even the fight at the end film is much more entertaining, it's a thrilling fight, and as most people probably thought, Rocky wins, but honestly when you see the end of the fight, you're seriously on the edge of your seat even though you're pretty sure he's going to win.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Rocky (1976)

"Cut me, Mick"

Before I post my review I want to let everyone out there know that I actually hate sports, a lot! I don't find them entertaining one bit, I am more of an arts person. That being said, Rocky is one of my favorite movies of all time!

Rocky follows the story of Rocky Balboa, a no one boxer who gets a once in a lifetime opportunity to fight the heavyweight champion of the world. Rocky was Sylvester Stallone's big break, after starring in a string of incredibly low budget films (including soft core porn). Stallone really fought for his vision to be seen and he really fought to star in the film and it proved he knew what he was doing. Rocky nabbed 10 Oscar nominations including Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay for Stallone. In the end the film walked away with 3 Oscars including the coveted Best Picture Oscar.

The film is incredibly moving and shows pure dedication. Stallone portrays Rocky as a warm hearted person who does what he has to, to get by in life. Rocky is collector for a loan shark but shows early on in the film that he has a heart when he lets one of the guys go even though he was told to break his thumbs. Rocky lives in a studio apartment and his only friends are 2 turtles and a fish. He spends his days trying to woo the sister of his friend Paulie, Adrian. The interesting thing about Rocky is that it's completely about the character of Rocky and not too much about the boxing event at the end of the film. When Rocky trains for the fight all he wants is to "go the distance" with Apollo Creed, he doesn't care about winning or losing, he simply wants to go the whole fight with him and in the end his efforts are proven when he loses the fight. And the amazing ending that everyone has parodied (Adrian!) is amazing because after all that, he doesn't care about losing or the press, all he wants is Adrian.

Stallone plays the role of Rocky as the most lovable guy in the world. He is very simple minded, but you love him for it. He continues to play the character like this throughout the entire series as well. The film series, and this one especially, are incredibly iconic. People travel to the Philadelphia Art Museum all the time just to run up the stairs (I've done it!) and the Rocky statue (which is presented in Rocky III) still stands at the art museum. The film is a part of American culture and it most definitely deserved to win the Best Picture Oscar!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Jason X (2001)

"It's okay! He just wanted his machete back!"

So, in 1993 New Line Cinema obtained the rights to Jason Voorhees, and they chose to kill the character off once and for all in the film Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday. After that the studio decided to work on getting Freddy vs. Jason done and in theaters. 8 years later they still had nothing, but they were close, so they decided to revisit Jason and bring us a new film.

Jason X finds us met up with Jason Voorhees (played for the fourth and final time by Kane Hodder) once again as he is being readied to be put into cryo freeze because he can't be killed. When this happens, Jason stabs the person in charge of this subsequently freezing her as well. Jump 450 years later and the two are unfrozen and taken aboard the Grendel space ship. Needless to say, unfreezing Jason wasn't such a good idea and good old fashion killings begin.

The film is nothing more than a "popcorn flick", it really shouldn't be taken seriously. It's one of the weaker installments in the series but not at the worst (at least when he went to space he was actually in space most of the time, as opposed to say, Manhattan). The film has really terrible performances from the actors in the movie, and none of them are people you've heard of before or since. This isn't the first film in a horror series to send their killer to space (Leprechaun and Hellraiser anyone?), but it's always a mistake. What's the point of sending Jason to space? There really isn't one, except to try and use CGI as much as possible. That all being said, the film has some nice little nods to the other films, like how he just wants to use his machete as opposed to a new weapon and of course the reenacted Part VII virtual reality scene.

And of course even though the "uber" Jason scenes were really unneeded and only there as a novelty act, it's kind of bad ass to see Jason like that. Also, Kane Hodder IS Jason Voorhees, he's the only person to play the role more than once and he's also the best. He made the character his own and this film is a lasting tribute to the character, mainly because of his unwillingness to die.

Overall the film is incredibly goofy and over the top, but again it's really just there for entertainment purposes. You can take it as a Friday the 13th film or you can just take it as a film to enjoy and laugh at.