Demotivational Poster of the Day

Demotivational Poster of the Day

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Arrested Re-Development?

Cross, Arnett finally funny again. Hopefully it's not a sign of the apocalypse

Let’s not beat around the bush: The British think we’re stupid. Maybe it’s because our accents don’t sound as smart as theirs. Maybe it’s because MTV UK has begun airing repeats of Jersey Shore. Maybe it’s because of that time we accidentally dropped a bunch of their tea in Boston Harbor.

Whatever the reason, David Cross has done his absolute best to further the stereotypes by gifting the UK with his new comedy The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret.

Originally filmed for British television but finally brought stateside by IFC, Todd Margaret stars Cross as an imbecilic American sent across the pond to peddle a repulsive energy drink. The series was co-created by Cross and features drop-ins by his former Arrested Develoment co-star Will Arnett, who plays the brilliantly dickish owner of Thunder Muscle, the aforementioned horrific energy drink.

Comedy nerds have been coveting Todd Margaret ever since clips of Cross and Arnett’s Arrested Development mini-reunion leaked online last winter. Their interaction is funnier than anything that’s yet been on the pair’s stateside Arrested Development reunion, Fox’s Running Wilde. Americans finally get what the Brits already have tomorrow night, when Todd Margaret finally premieres on IFC. For added hilarity, watch the show while chugging an energy drink that could potentially cause heart palpitations.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

TMNT pal vs. Teen Vampire Gal

Elias Koteas trades in his hockey mask for a gun and a solid pension.

In Let Me In, a moody tale about a 12 year-old vampire girl, you’ll see familiar faces. The kiddie-vamp in question? Throw on a purple wig and it’s Hit Girl, Chloe Moretz. Her tormented boy-toy? Kodi Smit-McPhee just got done escaping apocalyptic cannibals – and Robert Duvall’s overacting -- in The Road.

Then there’s Elias Koteas. Though he’s frequently in dark, boundary-pushing movies like Crash (the sex-and-car-crashes one, not the “racism is bad” one) and The Killer Inside Me, you’ll most likely recognize him as Casey Jones, the second-most famous hockey-mask-wearing vigilante in cinema (with deference to Mr. Voorhees), who fought alongside the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Let Me In is based on the Swedish novel and film Let the Right One In. Koteas plays “The Policeman,” and gives a performance with an unlikely inspiration. “Abraham Lincoln, and the fact of malice toward none, and compassion. You can use anything as long as it grounds you.”

Let Me In opens Oct. 1, 2010.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Four Christmases (2008)

Academy Award winner Reese Witherspoon teams up with Vince Vaughn for this romantic comedy that casts them as a dating couple who are forced to spend their first Christmas together visiting each of their four divorced parents -- in a single day. Seth Gordon directs an all-star cast that includes Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Mary Steenburgen, Dwight Yoakam, Carol Kane, Jon Favreau and Tim McGraw.
Very few actors really have their own entertaining swagger, despite what they may think. Vince Vaughn does though, and although he plays the typical Vince Vaughn character in this movie, it is what sells and makes this movie enjoyable. After he was fairly generic in Couples Retreat, he is back to his normal self and his charm is in display for this movie. Actually I dont know the timeline between those two movies or which came first, but if that is correct than that statement is correct IMO. As far as romantic comedies go, there are a lot of painful ones to sit through, Four Christmases along with What Happens In Vegas offer hope that you can sit down and watch a couples movie with your girl and it not be a painful experience.

This movie was above average, but the plot could of been better. Vince was funny as he always is. Reese was cute. Some scenes could of been removed entirely without effecting the story line. It was better than a B movie but not to the standards of an A movie. Some of the acting was not on key. Would I recomend it? Yes, I liked it.

****/*****


4/5 Stars

Crazy Heart (2009)

When reporter Jean Craddock (Oscar nominee Maggie Gyllenhaal) interviews Bad Blake (Oscar winner Jeff Bridges) -- an alcoholic, seen-better-days country music legend -- they connect, and the hard-living crooner sees a possible saving grace in a life with Jean and her young son. But can he leave behind an existence playing in the shadow of Tommy (Colin Farrell), the upstart kid he once mentored? Robert Duvall produces and co-stars.
Sure, the story of an aging alcoholic country western star hitting bottom may have been done before, but NOT BETTER. Jeff Bridges has been a favorite of mine for years and this just seems to be HIS YEAR. Bridges plays BAD BLAKE without missing a beat. He is a character many of us who have had alcoholic family members will realize as a genuine and almost flawless performance. As Bad makes his tour of dives in New Mexico he finds a young reporter (Maggie Gyllenhaal) somewhat a breath of fresh air and embarks upon a long distance relationship with her in the midst of many obstacles. This was one of the best performances I have seen from Maggie. Although she and Bad seem like polar opposites they have chemistry. I had no trouble seeing the attraction of a star struck country fan meeting one of her idols and pursuing a relationship. And although this film definitely has dark moments I did not find it a totally depressing movie. The acting of Bridges and Gyllenhaal is worth the admission price but as an extra blessing there is Colin Farrell as the current country star who has not forgotten who taught him the ropes. He and Bridges sing a duet in one scene that was so good it made me want to run out to get the music CD. Robert Duvall also has a small role as Bad's business partner which just helps to add a little polish to an already very well acted film. This film is not for everyone. It is an adult DRAMA with great writing as well as strong character development. The cinematography is very well done. Great scenic shots from New Mexico that will awe you visually. If you enjoy country music and heartfelt stories do not miss this one.

Crazy Heart is one of those rare and needed tales of failure and redemption that is so close to the very real lives of so many of us. Although the story is similar to many other such films, it is so well acted by Jeff Bridges and Colin Ferrel, as well as a very minor but necessary role played by Robert Duval, that the characters quickly become believable. This is, in my opinion, Jeff Bridges' best role--and he has many great roles in his portfolio. The most interesting and impressive aspect of this film is the singing performances by both Jeff and Colin. I would love to have a CD featuring them both, though Jeff's voice is the best suited for Country---AND I ALREADY BOUGHT IT! Although the story may be familiar and easy to predict the character developement and the performances of all involved, including Maggie Gyllenhaal (Jean) and Jack Nation (Buddy), makes it believable and fresh. This is the best film I have seen in years and I watch a lot of films. I highly recommend this A-1 film to any adult with an interest in the "loved and lost" or "failure to success" genre. Great film!


The self-destructive tendencies of the creative genius are explored almost flawlessly. A tortured artist film that is consumable and easy to re-watch, if for the music alone. Ryan Bingham's highlight track, "The Weary Kind" indeed makes the movie as many have said. Top notch cinematography and pacing, a very well directed film. One of the most surprising aspects is that the May/November romance doesn't feel contrived at all. Jean is genuinely in love with Bad and sees the man he's capable of. Fantastic ending that seems all to true to life. Highly recommended.

****/*****


4/5 Stars

As Not Seen on TV

See the controversial Family Guy episode Fox won’t put on television… but doesn’t mind selling to you on DVD!

There are some subjects so serious that you just don’t joke about them: cancer, genocide, the coming robot wars. But not abortion. Nope, abortion can be hilarious!

For proof, pick up tomorrow’s DVD release of an abortion-themed Family Guy episode that was so controversial, Fox refused to air it on television. In the ep titled “Partial Terms of Endearment”—Nothing like mixing your abortion jokes with your Shirley MacLaine references!— Lois agrees to act as a surrogate mother for an infertile couple, only to have the couple die in a car crash, forcing the Griffin clan to ponder whether or not to keep the baby.

Because of the content, Fox decided advertisers were skittish about the episode, so they shoved it in a brown bag and handed it off to their home video department. But while "Partial Terms of Endearment" does have the standard Family Guy absurdities—Lois is impregnated by natives wielding blow dart guns, Peter initially tries to stop the pregnancy with an ACME Miscarriage Kit—it somehow manages to discuss the subject respectfully enough to win positive reviews in the UK, where the Brits were ballsy enough to air the episode in June.

As a bonus feature, The Family Guy: Partial Terms of Endearment DVD also includes The Seth and Alex Almost Live Comedy Show. That was a non-animated special featuring Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane and Lois-voicer Alex Borstein singing and performing comedy bits. Admittedly, that special actually has aired on TV, but—judging by the number of people who actually remember it—it might as well not have.

Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer (2007)

After witnessing his family's violent murder, Jack Brooks (Trevor Matthews) develops an uncontrollable anger problem, but the night classes his girlfriend (Rachel Skarsten) suggests to cure Jack's "issues" end up making them worse when his professor (Robert Englund) undergoes … changes. Suddenly, Jack is the only person on Earth who can bring an unspeakable evil to its knees -- but is he cut out for monster slaying and ready to face his demons?
Pretty painfully bad, although I do admit I couldn't make it all the way through it. Comparisons of this movie to any of the Evil Dead movies are a total joke, it doesn't even come close.

This film is kind of like Indiana Jones meets the Goonies with a good amount of action, campy frights and a largely tongue-and-cheek storyline. It follows the life of this Jack Brooks whose family was devoured by a monster when he was little. He blames himself for not doing anything to prevent that and that blame has caused him anger issues. As luck would have it, a professor at his school (I'm assuming it was college...that was never clear) finds a cursed, black heart that originally belonged to a demon. As you can likely guess, the heart possesses the professor and then all hell breaks loose at the school. Jack turns his anger on the demons and in the process tries to purge himself of guilt over his family by saving the other students. Englund plays the professor and is his usual, entertaining self. The way the movie ends seems to set the stage for a sequel and I can see how this might be a somewhat successful franchise. But since this was made in 2007 and nothing has emerged then maybe this should just be enjoyed as a one off film.


**/*****

2/5 Stars

SuicideGirls: The Italian Villa (2006)

Some of the sexiest SuicideGirls -- made famous on the Web site founded by modern pinup photographer Missy Suicide -- gather at a remote Tuscan villa to reveal more than just a few naughty secrets. Shot both inside and outside the house, which is appropriately painted in girlish pink, this scintillating collection of clips catches the ladies sunbathing, showering and talking candidly about their love of leather, tattoos and body piercings.
This is basically a strange off-shoot of a phenomenon which begun on the internet on the Suicide Girls website. After successfully releasing their first movie and organizing several tours in North America, the girls are seeking to expand their presence in Europe, but if this release is any reflection then it seems their European organization is not yet up to par with the American operations. Generally what is laudable about the Suicide Girls is that the website allows women to take exhibitionism into their own hands and encourages women who like tattoos and piercings to show them off for the pleasure of others. I personally see nothing wrong with this and I think it is a positive new direction for "sexual expression" which is considerably less demeaning and corrupt than mainstream venues for depiction of women in their natural state. The Suicide Girls are making a positive change in the industry by allowing real women to be themselves and be appreciated openly by other real people. In addition, the organization encourages the girls who participate to be involved in profit sharing and all the creative projects they can dream up. This film is the result of that opened opportunity for creative venue offered by the Suicide Girls, but like all free form creativity some is good and some is not so good. This is of the latter variety. While there are a few pretty scenes and attractive girls, there is little substance to the ideas the girls choose to explore in their brief segments and sadly it seems there are precious little original ideas in their pretty heads throughout the majority of the film. This is its primary failing. Secondarily I might add that if you are interested in seeing some really bad music videos, the extras on here provide some rare stellar examples!

Ya gotta love the Suicide Girls, such beauty in imperfection. Here you'll not find manufactured or store bought beauty, these girls are not airbrushed to a soft glowing unreality. Tattooed and pierced, they define eroticism for them selves, and bravo! I did however, think that the "1st Tour" DVD was better, this one is worthy of watching.


****/*****

4/5 Stars (What can I say, I loe the Suicide Girls!)

Devil (2010)

In this edgy thriller, Det. Bowden (Chris Messina) must not only save five people trapped in an elevator -- a mechanic (Logan Marshall-Green), a young woman (Bojana Novakovic), an old woman (Jenny O'Hara), a guard (Bokeem Woodbine) and a salesman (Geoffrey Arend) -- but he must act fast because the devil is among them. Drew Dowdle and John Erick Dowdle direct M. Night Shyamalan's story, which explores the notion that there are no coincidences.
The movie is exactly what you think it's going to be. There are no surprises, no scares, and the acting is poor. The only thing that keeps you watching is trying to figure out who the "devil" is. Unfortunately, by the end, you don't really care anymore. Keep your expectations low for this movie.

Single location horror movies are hard to pull off, and this one is unfortunately brought down by bad dialogue, a cheesy narrator, uninteresting characters/actors, and a general lack of suspense. I liked some of the ideas here - the fact that it tried to be a morality play, for example - and the technical aspects are top notch (that's what happens when you get a master like Tak Fujimoto to shoot your movie). I know a good movie could've sprung out of this "Twilight Zone" like premise, but this isn't it.


**/*****

2/5 Stars

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Book of the Dead

Read the newest Walking Dead story. Now with a million percent more words!

Reading something other than a comic book is a dubious undertaking. First of all, there are no pictures on the page. Second of all, THERE ARE NO PICTURES ON THE PAGE.

How much work can one man's imagination be expected to do?

Well, it's apparently time to put that question to the test because a new short story collection delivers all the thrills of horror comic books, but none of the helpful thought bubbles. The Living Dead 2 is an anthology featuring 44 tales of the not-quite-dead, including work from such zombie legends as Max Brooks (World War Z, The Zombie Survival Guide) and Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead). Kirkman's contribution is actually the first time he's had a piece of prose published, and Walking Dead fans will be happy to know that this twisted love story takes place in the same world as his comic. Meanwhile, TheLiving Dead 2's other tales include everything from chilling investigations of a world gone undead to more fanciful yarns that mix zombies with pirates and—it was about time—zombies with dinosaurs.

The Living Dead 2 is actually the follow-up to a critically-praised 2008 anthology called—you guessed it—The Living Dead. Collectively the two books have about 1,000 pages filled with words about zombies. All those words should give your brain quite a workout. Which will make the zombies happy.

Well-toned brains taste better.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Unseen Horrors

Blind horror film director doesn't know what his film looks like. Yet.

We are geeks. We are the underdogs, the soldiers of impossible causes. We got a Firefly movie made. How's about throwin' a few dimes this blind guy's way so's he can finish his fright flick?

Comic book writer turned horror auteur Joseph Monks is, in his words "100 percent, lights-out blind blind. And I’ve directed a feature film.” Clash Of The Titans. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. Transformers 2. Frankly, with all the damage done by sighted directors, what can it hurt to give an unsighted one a try?

Monks lost his sight in 2002 to diabetes. Undaunted, he directed every stage of production and shooting by working closely with his cinematographer. Rough cuts of the low-budget film, The Bunker, which is about a runaway kidnapped by your standard sadistic murderer, have screened at film festivals and horror conventions to shockingly positive reviews.


Now Monks has taken to the online fundraising site Kickstarter to raise the $5,000 he needs to finish his project (right now, he's only got a little over a grand in the kitty). The production was hit by two hurricanes and the composer committed suicide mid-score. Considering those obstacles, having a blind director might be the film’s smallest complication. If only they had let him direct Jonah Hex!

Edges of Darkness (2008)

The undead roam Earth after a global apocalypse in this collection of three films, each following survivors' tales as they battle flesh-eating zombies, vicious vampires and crazed holy men bent on finishing God's judgment. While a girl captured by vampires discovers her own way to fight back, a lonely writer uses a macabre energy source to power his computer, and a survivalist protects a boy who manifests a whole new kind of evil.
Just three little sentences to sum up this film. 1) Terrible acting. 2) Bad scriptwriting. 3) Horrid camera work and even worse editing. With that being said, Edges of Darkness can best be described as if a high schooler with zero talent came across a video camera filmed a bunch of random acts of gory violence & crappy "acting". This film if you can call it that is beyond terrible even for a sub par zombie flick and I've seen some bad ones, but whether bad (this one) or good (Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland or any Romero one) I'll watch it and add it to my collection. The only good thing I can say about this piece of trash is that the special effects weren't half bad for low (and I mean, really LOW) budget. Although, having a plot as deep as the shallow end of a kiddie pool and the worse acting I've ever seen in my life, the premise could have worked. I liked the idea of a zombie apocalypse told through the eyes of survivors from different walks of life. A guy attached to his computer paying no attention to his lady, a vampire couple trying to find a "clean meal" in a world of infected and a tough as nails, bad ass chick fending off the undead in hopes of saving a boy who may not be what he seems. Interesting, yes. Crappy, unfortunately.

Every now & then, you can come across an indie "B" or a "B-" movie and it turns out to be a gem. This ain't it. The concept is cool: the end of the world, with three tales intertwined. The whole story is complete with zombies (good creature make-up), vicious vampires (who's story doesn't make a lot of sense), and a female warrior saving Marcus, a young boy who is the anti-Christ who's sole mission is to save the corrupt world from the wrath of the Lord. Actress Annemarie Pazmino is really the only one who can act. You are not sure if she is a good guy or bad guy, but she has an appeal. The young boy who plays Marcus is not a bad actor, either. The rest of the cast should find new careers. They couldn't act their way out of a paper bag. The story was not woven together or explained all that well, and the writing and directing was choppy. There was no backdrop to the plot. This falls directly on the directors, Blaine Cade and Jason Horton, both of whom wear multiple hats. The camera work was amateurish at best, and more holes in the story line than Swiss Cheese. There is a computer creature that just appears in the mail for one guy, and it just exists within the plot without any explanation. If there was better acting, camera work and better writing, I would have given it 3 stars. I gave it two stars for the creature make-up and for Pazmino. All in all, skip this flick, and watch C-span or the paint dry.


**/*****

2/5 Stars

The Crazies(Code Name: Trixie) (1973)

When a government plane laden with biological weapons crashes in a small Pennsylvania town in this George Romero film, its deadly cargo seeps into the water supply -- and anyone who drinks the water becomes stark, raving mad. David (Will McMillan), a firefighter, and his wife, Judy (Lane Carroll), are two of a very few left unscathed. To save themselves, they and a few others attempt to escape … but for some of them, it may be too late.
I'm really starting to wonder if Romero might be one of the most over-rated horror directors out there. Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead were masterpieces. But I'm also starting to believe it may be a case of lightning striking twice in the same place. I'm not saying this was a bad movie, but it certainly wasn't a classic as is claimed by many. It's above average B horror. The scenes in the detention centers where all the crazies were housed, were just plain silly. Seems like the poison turned everyone into spaced out flower children. There wasnt anything violent or dangerous about them. The acting and dialogue were mediocre at best. Some of the characters were total contradictions of themselves. Behaving one way at first and then behaving in a totally differant way then next, and not because they were infected. Way to uneven and inconstant to be enjoyable. Enjoyed the remake much more.

I am usually not in favor of remakes but it seems to have improved this movie. I may be jaded as I did see the remake first. The story just seems to flow better in the remake. The editing in this one is rough at times.The acting is awful in this but I am sure it is also due to budget as the remake got a larger one as well. Still you have to give credit where credit is due and Romero is the originator.

**/*****

2/5 Stars

Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever (2009)

It's back: The flesh-eating virus that decimated a cabin full of coeds is on the loose again. This time around, a high school prom is ground zero for the epidemic in this horror sequel directed by Ti West. Thanks to a local stream being contaminated during the first outbreak, the bottled water being distributed at the high school dance is causing the unwitting students to break out in ghastly blisters and sores.
The first Cabin Fever was actually really good. But this was just outright awful. It seemed like a Carrie with a disease thrown in the mix. The gore and gross out was forced and laughable. I am a lover of horror and gore but this looked like something a kid would do for a school project. Dont even waste your time with this!

What a dumb pile of shit. Seriously... It starts off alright... the first half hour or so isn't too bad. After awhile the shock factor starts getting way over the top... I thought there was far too much blood and bodily fluid and this is coming from someone who thinks House Of 1000 Corpses is a masterpiece. There was no point to any of this crap. It took a decent idea and stomped/spit on it. It definitely didn't help that the last 10 minutes or so of the movie is animated... seemed like toward the end they realized the movie was a pile and decided to just make a weak cartoon. If you liked the first one do yourself a favor and watch it again instead of watching this. It's not worth it.


**/*****

2/5 Stars

Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D (2010)

In a world ravaged by a virus infection, turning its victims into the Undead, Alice (Jovovich), continues on her journey to find survivors and lead them to safety. Her deadly battle with the Umbrella Corporation reaches new heights, but Alice gets some unexpected help from an old friend. A new lead that promises a safe haven from the Undead takes them to Los Angeles, but when they arrive the city is overrun by thousands of Undead - and Alice and her comrades are about to step into a deadly trap.
This movie was good for the most part. It wasn't as action-packed as I imagined it would, and the 3D was a little unecessary. It shared some elements from RE5 (the video game). But other than that, it's quite worth it overall.

I liked it. I enjoyed the previous RE movies (not including the Degeneration cartoon), and I liked Afterlife even more than I liked Extinction. I don't mind that Afterlife "borrowed" from other movies like the Matrix, and as long as the action is good; I dig it. there were a few mistakes in the effects here and there, but overall it did not take away from my enjoyment of the movie. The 3D was not bad, but I would've like Afterlife with or without the 3D. Some scenes had 3D mistakes in it similar to Clash of the Titans, in that things were moving so fast in spots that it was hard to make it out. I'm referring to explosions, shrapnel, and things like that, so I already knew what was happening anyways. The only thing I can really say negative about it, and only slightly, is that for a RE movie it could've used more zombie scenes. I would recommend it to people who have enjoyed the previous RE films. If a person didn't like the previous ones, then they shouldn't see Afterlife. I enjoyed it, and really liked some of the newer zombies that did show up(kind of reminded me of the Reapers or whatever from Blade 2), the Executioner, and especially the "digger" zombies. for hardcore fans, make sure you stay about 20-30 seconds after the credits role to see another quick scene. I'm not really familiar w/ every character, so I'm not sure what that scene was really about(or who it was).

***/*****

3/5 Stars

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Date Night (2010)

Who knew simple dinner reservations under a different name could turn one New Jersey couple's date night so terribly upside-down? Claire (Tina Fey) and Phil (Steve Carell) Foster leave their kids with the sitter (Leighton Meester) and head out for a night on the town -- as the Tripplehorns. Shawn Levy (Just Married, Night at the Museum) directs this action-comedy; Mark Wahlberg and James Franco co-star.
The presence of Steve Carrell, Tina Fey and a talented supporting cast allows Date Night to rise from a state of of mediocrity to become a good film in its own right. Carrell and Fey are in top form as married couple Phil and Claire Foster, and their misadventures in the big city thanks to a case of mistaken identity puts them on screen with a variety of good actors giving solid performances. Mark Wahlberg, James Franco, Mila Kunis, Taraji P. Henson, Common and Jimmi Simpson all provide exactly what is needed of them to make the movie funny. The script follows a fairly formulaic path but director Shawn Levy knows for the most part how to keep out of the way of actors and let their comedic performances shine through. The mix of action and comedy is done fairly well and there are more than enough laughs to carry us through the lower-quality portions that dont quite seem to fit. There are better romantic comedies out there but in terms of slapstick-style screwball affairs, Date Night scores as a funny and enjoyable night out at the movies.

Steve Carrell and Tina Fey did an excellent job in this film. As a married couple, they fit together. Both are witty, smart, have a strong sexual attraction and it is easy to envision them in this role. It is labeled as a romantic comedy. That is true but it is a more creative, more energetic version of films in this genre. The characters in the lead role are trying to do something different and get out of their normal routine after they learn good friends are getting a divorce. The evening on the town ends up much different than anticipated as they end up meeting mobsters, crooked cops, contract spies, hookers and crooked politicians. In the process, they also evaluate their relationship and what they have as a couple. There are funny scenes in the film; it is romantic; and it is a film for adults. It moves quickly and will keep your attention. This is one of the better films in this category. Take your date to see it.



I went to this movie with trepidation, even though it had two major stars, from "30 Rock" and "The Office". Too often, films like this fail to deliver relying on lame plot lines, overblown chaos, shoot outs, etc., etc. Well "Date Night" has all of these pitfalls, but with the prodigious talents of Fey and Carrel driving the comedy, the film delivers laugh out loud moments and good entertainment value. The two stars play a married couple, with two kids, and careers, who decide to break their routine and kick back with a trip to Manhattan for an upscale dining experience. The meal in Manhattan begins the mayhem that develops into mistaken identity for the married two. Carrel and Fey are pursued through Manhattan by thugs, (all perfectly cast and who definitely enhance the plot line). James Franco is especially delightful, bringing a laugh out loud moment with his plaintive, "Like I want to spend the rest of my life selling stolen wheelchairs!!!". William Fichtner, as the D.A. Frank Crenshaw is a comical scene stealer with his farcical facial expressions. In the final analysis it is Fey and Carell who make this film better than it would have been by their obvious chemistry and often what seems like improvisations. Fey's quick wit and Carell's dry wit work magic with the script. This film is a fun ride and I recommend it.


****/*****

4/5 Stars

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Dead Man Running (2009)

Ex-con Nick (Tamer Hassan) has 24 hours to pay ruthless loan shark Thigo (50 Cent) or else he's dead. To get his hands on as much cash as possible, Nick embarks on a wild adventure full of fights, shoot-outs, heists and other extreme ordeals. Alex De Rakoff directs and English footballers Ashley Cole and Rio Ferdinand executive produce this fast-paced action comedy that also stars Brenda Blethyn as Nick's mother.
Dead Man Running is your average run of the mill british gangster flim with the feel of a Guy Ritchie movie but I am glad I gave it a try. Quite enjoyable don't take it too seriously and you should be entertained. It's well paced, funny in some spots, isn't low budget and has an enjoyable soundtrack. Hassan & Dyer give good performances, Curtis (50 Cent) Jackson gives a passable performance at best, very much a miscast in my opinion and Brenda Blethyn's performance was the best, I really enjoyed her character, very funny.

A bit in the Guy Ritchie mode but not as interesting, intense, or violent. Hard times even fall on gangsters as ex-con Hassan has 24hrs. to produce $100K owed to loan shark 50 Cent or risk losing his mom. A bit zanny as he pursues different means to raise the cash. It will hold your attention.


***/*****

3/5 Stars

3:10 to Yuma (2007)

Box office heavyweights Christian Bale and Russell Crowe pool their A-list talents for director James Mangold's suspense-filled Western, a remake of the 1957 classic starring Glenn Ford and Van Heflin. Rancher Dan Evans (Bale) agrees to transport the captured outlaw Ben Wade (Crowe) to the nearest town with a rail station, where they'll catch a ride to court in Yuma. But all the while, Wade's henchmen are plotting their next move.
Even if youre not particularly a fan of Westerns, you might like this one. It stars Russell Crowe as Ben Wade, the leader of a gang who steals from stagecoaches. Wade and his gang cross paths with soldier-turned-farmer Dan Evans (Christian Bale) when he steals Evans horse in order to escape the law. Evans is desperate to save his home but is behind on payments. When he is offered money to help transport Evans to jail, he agrees. Along the way the two banter back and forth and you soon realize that the men are actually quite similar. Despite their divergent lives, the two live by a code of honor. While the set up to the movie is a bit slow, it soon picks up and becomes action packed. Gun fights and chases help liven up the movie and are interspersed with quiet moments between the two main characters. Both men try to outsmart and out think each other, and in another life may have been great friends. Also in this film are Luke Wilson, Ben Foster and Alan Tudyk.

Somewhat bland, even for a Western. Bale is pretty good, though - nice to see him in a more vulnerable role and play that as well as the invincible. It was all the supporting cast that got me and all of the small "cameos" so to speak.


****/*****

4/5 Stars

Cop Out (2010)

Jimmy Monroe (Bruce Willis) and off-kilter Paul Hodges (Tracy Morgan) are two suspended cops trying to track down a stolen and very valuable 1950s baseball card. Along the way, they encounter a Mexican beauty and countless other characters and get entangled with the mob. Kevin Smith (Clerks) directs this comedic action flick co-starring Adam Brody, Jason Lee, Michelle Trachtenberg, Kevin Pollak and Seann William Scott.
"Cop Out" is an enjoyable, but easily forgetable buddy/cop movie. I liked the chemistry between Willis and Morgan as the detectives. There's a lot of funnny gags and you get the feeling they both really enjoyed making the movie. The down side is that there is no plot (something about a drug ring and a stolen baseball card) and there just seemed to be too many slow spots. Also, I like Kevin Smith movies, but he is just terrible at directing action sequences. This is one of the few movies I've seen recently where I'd actually like to see a sequel and hope they can improve on the original.

It was an okay movie that poked a lot of fun at other cop movies, even Bruce Willis movies. While I wanted to turn it off several times, the plot was just good enough to keep me going. In my opinion, Cop Out sits somewhere between a slap stick Jim Carrey and Die Hard genre. If you're looking for a funny cop movie with a small slice of stupid, over-the-top antics, give this movie a shot.


***/*****

3/5 Stars

Houston, You Have a Problem

Soto Homer Caps Rousing Comeback 5-4 Win

If this season didn't make us so damn sad, we'd be pretty excited about yesterday's come-from-behind win. Rookie Casey Coleman spotted the Astros four runs in the second inning, but then he and the rest of the bullpen shut 'em down for the rest of the game. Meanwhile, Marlon Byrd got things going with a two-run homer in the third, and Jeff Baker tied it with a double in the fifth. Geovany Soto cranked a solo homer in the eighth to put the Cubs ahead, and that was that. Nice.

Machete (2010)

Hired to assassinate a politician, vigilante and ex-Federale Machete (Danny Trejo) nearly dies when a sniper shoots him during the job. Out for revenge, he's joined by a reluctant old buddy (Cheech Marin) who's become a pacifist priest. Written and co-directed by Robert Rodriguez, this homage to exploitation films based on his fake trailer in Grindhouse co-stars Robert De Niro, Michelle Rodriguez, Lindsay Lohan, Jessica Alba and Steven Seagal.
There are a lot of firsts in this movie. It's the first wide-release to dive deep into Mexican border politics. It's the first time a man standing up has been crushed by a car on film. It has a trick suspension that launches the front end high enough to slap a man down. It's the first movie with Lindsy Lohan naked in it. She is naked for practically all her time on screen. She looks good, but well-worn. It's hard to believe that she is five years younger than Alba. Sad to write that Jessica's performance was weak. She has so little gravitas that she isn't at all credible as an ICE agent. It was a lot of fun to see DeNiro using something other than his Goodfellas voice. The story, as convoluted as it was, makes a lot of sense. There is also art imitating life: days ago La Barbie was arrested in Mexico--a US born Mexican drug lord. That is exactly what Segal's part is. As purposefully cheesey as the movie is at times, it ridicules the amazing hypocrasy (of all sides) of the Texas/Mexico border with great effectiveness. The point is that this things succeeds on all levels. You want mindless action? You want sex? You want political relevance? The only thing it doesn't do is take itself too seriously.

This movie is everything that the Grindhouse movies should have been. Funny, violent, bloody, gory, silly at times, never very serious, and very entertaining Danny Trejo plays Machete with a gusto and fervor that many more "serious" actors should take note of-- he was great. Cheech Marin was his usual hilarious self as the priest who takes up arms with Machete. I highly recommend this movie to any fan of exploitation movies!


****/*****

4/5 Stars