Monthly Archives: November 2011
I had low expectations for this film. It didn’t look exactly great from the trailers (though those things can be misleading). That and I’ve never been much of a fan of Cameron Diaz and I’m still not sold on Timberlake as an actor. Some friends saw it in theaters over the summer and liked it (though these Wednesday movie nights consisted of them drinking before and during the movie while smuggling in meals like full rotessiorre chickens).
Bad Teacher is pretty self explanatory. You have Cameron Diaz playing apparently an English teacher (took a while to guess that) who is teaching because it’s easy to just sit back and slide through the process. She also just has no ambitions other than to marry some rich guy who will take care of her. A sort of major character plot point for her is getting enough money to get a boob job. Other things happen, but really that’s all you need to know. By the end of the movie her character doesn’t really develop that much, if at all. The relationship part is obvious from the get go and nothing else changes much.
Again not a fan of Cameron Diaz or Justin Timberlake most of the time and neither really changed my opinion of them in this movie. I’ve liked Lucy Punch in the few things I’ve seen here in and I thought she was really good here. I also thought John Michael Higgins did a good job as the Principal. Kaitlyn Dever (Justified, Last Man Standing) plays the teacher’s pet kinda role. Not here best work, but it shows how diversified her talent is. She’s a really great young actress and it’s kind of bizarre looking at the different roles she’s played. Tom (Thomas) Lennon does a good job in the small role he has. Again, another one of those really good character actors. And of course Jason Segel who does a good job as well. Really The supporting cast is pretty good and has a lot of familiar faces for fans of some comedies out recently. Still, the movie is hardly anyone’s best performance, though I don’t know if it’s anyones worse.
The movie is funny. At times. It’s not one of those movies where you laugh nonstop, but there are some really good moments and probably more really bad ones. There are times I looked at the joke they were trying and was wondering why they bothered, but that’s comedy. It’s hard to judge some comedies since there exist those movies for people that you just laugh nonstop. It’s hard to go and watch a comedy that doesn’t do that and not treat it negatively.
As someone who is an education student and about to do their student teaching my thoughts on the depiction of the teachers was kind of wobbly. On one hand I wasn’t to fond overall (though yes I understand it’s a comedy), but teachers get enough crap that making movies that reinforce that doesn’t help. On the other hand, and maybe I’m entirely wrong on this, I thought the movie did a good job at showing how fucked up our school system is (which it is). None of the teachers in this movie are good teachers. The title really refers to all of the teachers in the film. It shows how easy it is for bad teachers to just skate through the system and sort of hits on the horrors of standardized testing. That’s not the point of the movie really however so it isn’t highlighted much and it probably just inspires people to bitch about teachers more if at all.
Still, the movie wasn’t great. Watching it like my friends did over the summer probably wasn’t a bad way to see the movie, though waiting for it on Netflix or something might be better. It’s a good movie to watch late at night or if you’re multi tasking.
I want to see this four more times, but I may not be able to make it. I’m defiantly going to buy it as soon as I am able.
I said that a couple of months ago in my review of Super 8 after I saw it in theaters. I bought it the day it came out (mostly because of a lovely coupon). I already watched the movie again and then I went on to watch the special features that my DVD came with. The Dream Behind Super 8 was good as was The Visitor Lives. Both were only about 15 minutes long. I also watched the movie again with commentary from J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk, and Larry Fong (it was a couple of hours later after watching it without the commentary).
I’ve listened to the Star Trek commentary with J.J. Abrams and friends and I enjoyed that one as well as the Super 8 commentary. I don’t always listen to DVD commentaries. I only do it if a.) I like the movie, b.) the commentators are a director I like, and/or c.) the movie’s a comedy and a number of funny people are doing the commentary. Abrams has proved to be interesting to listen to during commentaries.
One of the reason I enjoy Abrams on the commentaries is that he actually talks about the film. He explains what’s going on as far as the behind the scens production. In Super 8 (and even Star Trek) it’s wonderful listening to him talk about the film because he is as amazed at the product as I am. He’s genuinely excited about making a film. A number of times he discusses how amazed he is at the editing process as far as filming one scene in two or three different places. He also at times puts in explanations as to choices to the film or anecdotes about the film or even growing up during this time period as this is a very personal film for him. I also enjoyed listening to him talk about Spielberg on occasion.
I already recommend watching Super 8, but if you’re a fan of the movie I’d defiantly advise getting a hold of the DVD and checking out the special features. In the commentary Abrams mentions some special features not present in the DVD. I’m assuming at this point they are only available in the Blu-Ray, so if you have a Blu-Ray you may enjoy the extras even more.
Well I’m fresh out of viewing The Muppets so this is going to be a glowing review. I haven’t had to much time to try and say anything negative, though I don’t think I need to.
The Muppets is about how the Muppets have been forgotten. That over the years their popularity has decreased and that times have changed. That we wouldn’t appreciate them now even if they did put on a performance.
The movie is a love song to the Muppets. There’s a lot of blowing smoke up their own buts it you want to twist things to a negative view. The fact is that the Muppets were a huge phenomenon and while younger generations may not be familiar with them, there are still young people and older audiences that love them.
In a way the new movie is similar to the orignal Muppet Movie, but not really. Out of all of the films, that’s the best comparison. In fact they reference the orignal film frequently to compare themselves to it. The orignal movie was sort of about the Muppets meting for the first time and the new movie is the Muppets meeting each other for the first time in years. It really is a sequel of sorts to the orignal film.
The original Muppet Movie however was very much a road movie and was very lighthearted. This film is actually quite different when you look at it. There’s a lot more exploration of the characters, or at least some of the main ones. The movie explores their dynamic and to an extent looks at why the Muppets were so great. There are a number of moments that are just horribly unfunny, because they’re sad. They are very good emotionally charged scenes.
The music of course was really good. They don’t hold up to the orignal songs, but I think that has more to do with time. “Life is a Happy Song” is actually really good and catchy. I think the movie needs more than one viewing for them to become as memorable as some of the older ones, but they are still pretty solid. Actually Chris Cooper does a pretty good rap at one point. The only two full old songs to make appearances are the Muppet Show theme and of course Rainbow Connection. There are some references and extracted lyrics from older songs, but they aren’t performed. There’s also a great cover of Nirvana.
The Muppets were all great. You have different puppeteers now that some of the originals have died or moved on, but honestly I thought they did a great job. The only issue I had was with the guy who does Staldorf’s (I think) voice. The voices for that duo were very iconic for me and the new voice just doesn’t match the original. As far as the new Muppet Walter goes, I thought he was ok. Nothing spectacular, but good for the movie. He actually isn’t really the main character. He’s more of a catalyst to get the movie going, which was nice.
Jason Segel, who incidentally is the reason this movie exists, did a good job as Walter’s brother. Amy Adams was really good as well. For the roles they were cast in they were pretty damned good. As was Rashida Jones as the TV exec. OF course the movie has to have a human villain which is where Chris Cooper comes in and he was great. Again he does a neat little rap at one point. Really the human cast was great.
The cameos. The Muppets are famous for their cameos. I’m almost disappointed in the cameos in this movie, but maybe that has something to do with my fondness for the cameos in the other films. At this point these may be spoilers for you. I’m going to list some of the cameos, mainly the ones I enjoyed, so you’ve been warned. Alan Arkin, Jack Black, Bill Cobbs, Zach Galifianakis, Donald Glover, Whoopi Goldberg, Selena Gomez, Neil Patrick Harris, John Krasinski, Jim Parsons, Rico Rodriguez, Mickey Rooney, Sarah Silverman, Ken Jeong, Kristen Schaal, and Emily Blunt. There are more, but those are the ones that I remember and stood out to me.
My biggest disappointment was the lack of Steve Martin. For some reason I just thought he’d make an appearance. He’s worked with the Muppets a number of times and I always loved his appearances. They did at least reference him a number of times by name or via a picture of him. I’m also glad that they paid tribute to Jim Henson frequently. His name is branded various places as is his picture. It was nice that they did that.
The Muppets is different. The tone has changed. Yes the movie is wacky, but they scaled it down in my opinion. Again it’s a love song to the Muppets. The scenario in the film is a plea for the Muppets to reunite and get attention again and really that’s what the movie itself is. It’s about putting the Muppets together again and trying to get an audience and hopefully inspire certain folks at Disney to make another Muppet and I can only dream of them doing the Muppet Show again.
It doesn’t top the Muppet Movie, but it’s damned close. Having not seen the other Muppet films recently I’d have to say this one has a good chance at being number two to the original film. And yes it has some flaws, but I’m willing to forgive them because it’s the Muppets. After all this time they made a movie and it was worth that wait. I can only hope that people will actually go see this, especially if you loved the Muppets growing up.
Everyone loves the Muppets right? I mean I remember growing up watching the Muppets and that was from reruns of the Muppet Show or some of the movies that they put out. I’m pretty sure my continuous re-watching of our VHS of The Muppet Movie killed the tape because it no longer works (actually that was a couple of years ago even). As I get older and continue to re-watch the Muppets I grow fonder of them with each viewing. There’s so much that was just over my head and the cameos/appearances that meant nothing to me. So obviously my views on the movie should already be clear and I’m very biased.
The Muppet Movie was released in 1979 and the Muppet Show ran from ’76 – ’81, so by this point the Muppet Show was actually nearing its end. The movie is highly meta and is a viewing of the Muppets on a film that is about how the Muppets less or according to Kermit, “It’s sort of approximately how it happened.” While not every Muppet is included, the big names all appear in the story and those that don’t show up either in the viewing theater or at the end of the “movie” where all of the Muppets sit and sign the end of the “The Magic Store.”
Which brings me to the first reason as to why this movie rocks. The music. “Rainbow Connection” is obviously a kick-ass and moving song. It’s probably one of the most memorable of the Muppet songs and the use of it in the opening of the film is fantastic. It’s beautiful. I’ve also always been a fan of the Electric Mayhem songs. I think Zoot is part of the reason I learned to play the saxophone. “Can You Picture That” and “Movin’ Right Along” are two great songs in here that are faster paced. Again the finale “The Magic Store” is brilliant as well. I actually welled up at the end of the song when the rainbow appears and they all start singing together.
The Muppets themselves are great and I wont even bother trying to critic their performances. I will say how incredible it is as to what Henson and co. did by showing the full body of some of the Muppets. For the opening in the swamp, Jim Henson was underwater performing Kermit and the bicycle scene is another one that’s remarkable to watch, among others.
The cameos/human appearances are for the adults I think. I’ve slowly learned to appreciate them more and more. I think the first person I recognized was Steve Martin. You also have some other greats such as Edgar Bergen, Milton Berle, Mel Brooks, James Coburn, Dom DeLuise, Elliot Gould, Bob Hope (Fucking Bob Hope!), Madeline Kahn, Cloris Leachman, Richard Pryor, and Orson Welles. Charles During and Austin Penleton also play Doc Hopper and Max. That’s some serious star power, especially comedic star power. They are cameos though, but still. Just seeing a bunch of those guys is great.
The humor is great as well. There’s a lot of meta references and breaking the fourth wall. The Muppets in general have a very sort of wacky style of humor and it still holds up. It’s timeless and works across the age ranges.
The other great thing about The Muppet Movie is the diversity in the film. In a way it’s almost a mockumentary, but it is defiantly a comedy. It also consists of pretty much every other film genre out there. Action, Adventure, Romance, Sci-Fi, Fantasy. It crams every little thing in one movie and it works because they don’t linger on anything to long. They knew where to draw the line.
The Muppet Movie still stands as a great film. I can’t imagine that kinds wouldn’t still like it and as someone who wasn’t born till 1990, I loved it as a kid and still love it. It’s simply a great movie.
Ironclad takes place during the end of King John’s reign somewhere around the Baron Wars. The movie makes a big deal about Magna Carta, Templars, and the siege are Rochester. The movie takes more than a few liberties with history I believe.
Still, it’s not supposed to be a historical documentary so who really cares that they fudged details. They got the large scale picture right. Sort of. As far as the film is concerned King John is forced to sign Magna Carta. Some time later he’s pissed off and invites some Danish mercenaries over to help him retake his land and kill all of the Baron’s. Some Baron’s and hired mercenaries disagree, as does a Templar for other reasons. To stop John’s advancement they decide they have to hold Rochester since that is apparently the key to him controlling southern England. That’s the movie. Most of it is is them holed up in that tiny place. I feel like only half an hour was used to set up everything till they got there.
The movie isn’t the most violent out there. There are far worse, but there still is a fair share of blood and hacking of limbs. Actually, there are other things that disturbed me more such as punishing someone by cutting out their tongue and chopping off hands and feet. There’s also a bit towards the end where a bunch of pigs are burned alive, for a reason. Those were probably worse than the general fight scenes and that was more of a mental thing.
The action is handled pretty well. The fight scenes are pretty good for the type of film it is. I still have a hard time believing anyone can run around with a broadsword that is nearly as tall as them and use it with one hand. Still as good as the action is it really isn’t that much and it isn’t new. I tend to enjoy these kind of films and to be honest it was all something I’d seen before and I feel like the film makers were very aware of that.
The pacing didn’t help either. They get to Rochester early on and you have no change of scenery really for the rest of the movie and there isn’t much action. I think they show two or three assaults and that’s it. A lot of the movie focuses on the characters and I guess they tried to develop them, but I didn’t really see that.
The cast was good, or at least as good as they were allowed to be. James Purefoy isn’t exactly riveting and Derek Jacobi is horribly under used. That man has amazing talent that is just wasted here (though he is still great). Brian Cox is like he is in most movies and does a good job, though again not used enough. Jason Flemyng and Mackenzie Crook are also nice, but their characters are basically just there to hack and slash. Flemyng gets a bit more attention. Kate Mara is good, but I felt like she didn’t really fit in, though that was more of a character thing. Tiberius is played by Vladimir Kulich and I kept hoping he’d get a nice speech somewhere. For basically just standing around, he caught my attention. Paul Giamatti of course plays King John. He does a really good job as far as I’m concerned. It was hard to take him seriously a few times simply because it was him, particularly during one of his infamous angry speeches. It just seemed very reminiscent of the ones he’s done before and it kind of ruined the moment. He did a hell of a job though and I’m glad the accent was just ignored.
I still really liked the movie, but there are defiantly better versions of the same thing. The director needed to either choose between making it an action, hack and slash movie or a drama, because in my mind he failed to balance the two, which I think was the intention.
Gamer is a movie that is actually really interesting. A lot fo what it touches on has the potential to make a great movie if it were written well. Essentially the movie takes place in a world were essentially The Sims and an FPS (first person shooter) are now real virtual games. The catch being that the “character” you play is real human being.
There’s more to it than that, but it’s unimportant. The movie fails to actually explore a potential goldmine for a premise. Instead we just get basically nothing in depth. It’s just an action flick.
The Slayer sections I suppose are shot ok. It does look like it could be Call of Duty or some similar FPS. There was a lot of quick cutting here though which made it hard to watch. I understand why it was done, but it didn’t really work. That and none of those sequences are really that interesting or special. The Society sequences are just disturbing. Again, the directors/writers could have done a lot with just this, but they don’t really. The way Society is presented is that it’s home to a bunch of perverts and they go out of their way to pretty much portray any sexual fetish they can find. Again I can see the reasoning for it, but since they didn’t develop it, it just felt like it was done in bad taste.
The cast has potential, but just falls flat. Gerard Butler doesn’t really do anything but run around and look tough. Same with Terry Crews, who I feel is underestimated and poorly placed in action movies. He’s a really funny guy. Kyra Sedgwick is wasted and doesn’t do a good job. Really the only performance that was good was from Michael C. Hall and really it wasn’t that great, especially knowing how good he is.
The music choices were good though. The technology presented is also interesting as well, especially Castle’s house/fortress.
In the end the movie just misses completely. An interesting idea problem drew the names it did as well as the audiences, but the final result from the movie just doesn’t work well.
Let me say that I’m a huge fan of Jonathan Winters. I have my dad to thank for that. Part of it is because he would mention Winter’s frequently. Part of it had to do with my early love with Robin Williams, who as far as I can recall, is the first comic I fell in love with. My dad over the years slowly explained certain things to me about Williams and Winters and as I got older I grew to actually love both men, especially Winters.
I was giddy when I saw Certifiably Jonathan on Netflix. I was dying to watch him in something other than old YouTube videos and It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World.
Certifiably Jonathan is kind of a mockumentary. It follows Winter’s as he attempts to get his paintings into the Museum of Modern Art as well as trying to find his humor once he looses it.
The modern bits with Winters are pretty good all around. Some aren’t that great, but for the most part he is really good. What’s better though are his old bits that they occasionally show. You see old footage of Winter’s on TV in his heyday and those are gold.
The film is riddled with cameos of some sort. Some of them are legitimate cameos where celebrities such as Jeffery Tambour playing a fictional version of himself (like we see in Entourage) being a bit of a dick and kicking an elderly Winter’s out of his house. Sarah Silverman, Nora Dunn, and Howie Mandel, among others, all make small appearances trying to help Winter’s find his humor. In some instances the cameos aren’t really cameos, rather the actors are playing a legitimate character. That is something that needs cleared up actually. The art people you see are characters. Those aren’t real people and if you aren’t familiar with some of those actors it could cause some confusion. Robin Williams though is the big cameo. He gets the most screen time fo the celebrities, though it isn’t a lot. Still, Winters frequently mentions Winter’s when he isn’t there. It actually goes to show how close the two of those men are, which I just eat up.
So yes most of this is a fraud, but not entirely. Winter’s did have some problems and the movie does actually get to that in it’s own way.
The movie isn’t for everyone. Actually I wouldn’t recommended it to anyone who isn’t a fan of Jonathan Winter’s and even then people may be disappointed. It’s not a great movie and as short as it is, it dragged. The reason to watch it though is to see those little bits spread out through the 73 min film that are just lovely comedic blurbs from a genius.
I have to say, for better or worse I’ve always enjoyed the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Each one has their flaws and I enjoy some more than others, but overall I still like the series. I can’t say that any of them are crap.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is the fourth installment in the series. Now that they’ve finished the trilogy, which really was about Will (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth (Keira Knightly), they went on with Capt. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), who is the character that pretty much has stolen every movie. It’s who people are going to see anyways. On Stranger Tides picks up sort of where they left off as Jack goes searching for the Fountain of Youth. Really it’s not that different from the other films. The same outline is kind of there, but again I still stand by the fact that it works. I wouldn’t expect them to change things up too much at this point.
I liked the movie. It moved along better than the second film, though I feel that this movie lacked depth. There didn’t seem to be much heart in it. It was all about just reusing old stuff and sort of developing Barbosa and Jack a little more, though not enough and not well. For being the movie where Jack is legitimately the main character, they dropped the ball.
The acting was still solid. Johnny Depp still does a good job with the character as does Geoffrey Rush with Barbosa. Ian McShane does a good Blackbeard, though he could’ve been a bit more frightening and Penelope Cruz did a good job. Look for a brief scene with Dame Judy Dench early on.
This movie is aimed more towards a more mature audience in my mind. Things are a bit darker, more violent and gruesome. A bit more risqué in some areas as well. None of the films are really meant for young children, but this one seems to reinforce that. Again it’s the visual content, not any covert meanings. It’s not overdone though.
Still, the action sequences are still good as are the elaborate escape plans that Jack goes through. Similar humor, though not as solid as the first film. As mediocre as it was at times, it was a good movie. I mean I enjoyed myself and I’ll gladly watch it again. Really not much to say. I think most people are aware of what they’re getting into ahead of time.
If only I could somehow organize everything in my head and focus. In a sense that’s what Limitless starts out as. A struggling writer ends up taking a pill that gives him a burst of nonstop adrenaline in addition to organizing whats in his head and allowing him to learn faster. Essentially his brain becomes a supped up computer.
Limitless is riddled with plot holes. I don’t know how you could expect it not to be. The film is outrageous and that’s kind of a good thing. It isn’t supposed to be realistic. You know the first clue to that? They don’t ever attempt to explain the drug. The movie takes a nifty idea and just tries to have some fun with it. I liked that. Still, there are some holes that are frustrating and the movie isn’t quite even. The tone tends to fluctuate and at times the story was a bit wandering. The ending was really good. It’s actually a bit of twist maybe. On one hand I expected it. It made sense, but in the back of my mind I kept going, nope won’t end that way. The movie is about drugs really, so the studio wouldn’t let it go that way. I’m kind of glad they did.
The visuals were pretty damned good though. I really liked the cinematography here and the style worked. The music was also great as well. It did a great job of matching up with the film. That and the Black Keys “Howlin’ For You” was a great choice, but I love that song anyways.
The acting was ok. There weren’t any glaring performances that blew. Bradley Cooper is hard to take seriously at first. I mean the half-assed attempt to make him look like a bum didn’t really work. I did however, like the effect they used on his eyes. The man has some lovely blue eyes to begin with, but when he’s drugged they make a point of highlighting that. Not sure if contact were used at some point, but I sort of noticed the effect. Anyways, he kind of falters in some of the more dramatic moments, but overall he did a pretty good job. Robert DeNiro was DeNiro. I don’t know how much he was really even acting, but he was still great despite the small screen time. He still kicked Cooper’s ass.
Not an amazing movie, but it had enough working for it to keep it a fun, fast, visually striking flick that keeps your attention for most of the movie. Usually if they start loosing you, they ratchet things up real quick to bring you back in.
I remember the ads for this when it was in theaters. I gave it a pass, but it looked like it could possibly be interesting, mostly due to who was listed as voice actors.
Gnomeo & Juliet is what you’d expect. It’s yet another depiction of the play, but different, but not really. You have Gnomes as the characters and some characters from the play are dropped or changed. There are a number of instances where they spoof the original play or vaguely follow the outline. Possible spoiler alert, but it shouldn’t be: The film has a bubbly happy ending. The movie is set up similarly to Toy Story in that you have red gnomes and blue gnomes, each in a neighboring yard. They have “owners” who you barley see, but when people do arrive they cease to “live” much like they do in Toy Story.
The film was made by Touchstone Pictures, which I believe is still owned by Disney, though the animation was done elsewhere. The animation isn’t bad. I’ve seen worse, or at least scene animation styles that I just didn’t care for. Part of the reason it looks crappy almost, is because they attempted to keep the gnomes some what realistic. They’re dirty and flawed and clearly aren’t meant to have a lot of emotion or animation to them. Unlike Toy Story, these characters are sort of designed to be a bit more wooden (or stone in this instance).
Which brings me to the heart of this movie. The movie is very self-referential and riddled with references to other movies and pretty much anything else. There are a number of references to Shakespeare and his plays. At one point Gnomeo has a chat with a statue of Shakespeare about the plays tragic ending. There are also spoofs of movies or altered quotes ranging from Brokeback Mountain, Rebel Without a Cause, Forrest Gump, Matrix, Saving Private Ryan, Muppets, and god knows what else. I don’t think even the makes of the film have a full list of all the references in the movie. That and there are also nods to some Disney things as well. One of the people has a laptop and instead of an Apple on the back it has a Banana. Basically a wide range of nods to various things. In some respects it may have gone to far since I don’t think there’s a single scene with out some sort of reference. On the other hand, it depends on how nerdy you are as to whether you will get half of them, so in that aspect may it balances out. Personally, I wasn’t annoyed by it. I actually kind of like when these movies do that and make fun of themselves for doing that.
The story isn’t great, but I actually enjoyed it. There were funny bits and it was played out well enough. It also strayed away from being overtly melodramatic like some animated children’s films can be. That and the music was handled well. Not Elton John’s best work, but the songs were at worst, decent and they weren’t over used ad nauseum.
The voice acting was great. For people unaware’s fo some of the Brits in the film it may not be as exciting, but I loved figuring out who played each character. Jame McAvoy and Emily Blunt are ok with the leads, but they are probably the dullest of the voice actors. Ashley Jensen was great as was Matt Lucas and Michael Caine and Maggie Smith were good as the parents, though neither was given much time, which at least Caine should’ve been given more. Jason Statham plays a crazy bad-ass Tybalt and Ozzy Osbourne plays a deer (Fawn). Patrick Stewart is the statue of Shakespeare and he does a great job with it. I also really liked Stephen Merchant’s gnome, Paris. While they did give him glasses tehy didn’t make him tall, which would’ve have been a joke I’d thrown in. Still, for the little time he gets, it’s very much Stephen Merchant, which I wanted more of. Jim Cummings however plays the flamingo and it’s a very odd character. Again it’s an instance where one of the side characters was better and he actually had more backstory than the other characters. The voice was a bit odd, but it was still great.
For watching at home after waking up from a late night, it seemed really good. Maybe under other circumstances I’d be less kind, but I knew what I was getting into. Not the greatest animated film, but there are far worse ones and there are plenty of them as well. Worth checking out though and it’s short.