Category Archives: Movies

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol

I’m a fan of the Mission Impossible film franchise (have yet to see the old TV show).They’ve always been good action flicks and are usually at least moderately funny. Always been a food enough reason for me to watch a movie.

Like all MI films the plot to Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is kinda, wtf? They never seem to make too much sense and tend to be a bit vague. That’s never been the point fo the films. They aren’t intended to be smart detailed stories with deep twists and turns for us to analyze and follow. They’re action flicks focused at nice visuals and big explosions. That’s my interpretation at least.

Anyways, I didn’t really grasp the story. Now that I think of it though, I didn’t really bother trying to follow what the hell was going on. Eventually you figure out ti has something to do with nuclear missiles and that’s about it. Kind of a rehashing of cold war tension stuff. The thing that was going to bother me however, was Ethan Hunt got married in the last film. Did his wife just up and die randomly or leave him? Is that going to be the excuse so that the can run around and blow shit up and jump out of buildings? Sort of. Initially there isn’t much explanation. There’s supposed to be a lot of “a lot of shit has happened between now and the last movie and no one knows what that was.” Eventually the wife thing gets fully explained and it worked well enough for me. Initially though, it was a bit annoying. So yeah, the story again. Kinda starts out with you wondering what the hell is going on and takes a while for any details to be given.

Who cares though? Good triumphs over evil (sorry if I spoiled that for you) and Ethan Hunt lives to fight back in the next movie, since they do clearly set it up for another to follow, which considering how good this one is doing, will probably happen quite soon.

The visuals are great. Nuff said. MI always has some pretty sweet shots, and this fourth installment is probably the best in that department. Part of that is the locations they chose to use, but still. Some great looking shots throughout the entire movie. Especially when they are in Dubai. I’d actually like to go see this in IMAX because it would no doubt be pretty fucking sweet there, especially since they filmed using those cameras.

The action sequences all worked well. None of the fighting seems to stand out too much in my mind, but again the Dubai stuff is just freaking amazing. The only thing that I’m struggling with a  bit is that a lot of the “action” sequences seemed to be long. I keep remembering all of these long chase scenes and very few smaller ones in between. One scene in particular made me kinda wonder how long they were going to milk it because at that point I was like, “ok this is Mission Impossible, he’s gotten away by now.” So yeah, Dubai shit rocked.

The comedy is still here. Simon Pegg does a lot, but that’s sort of expected. It’s nice he got a beefed up role. Actually this movie seemed to be the funniest out of the franchise. The comedy worked well to. They did a good job of mixing it in with everything. The film had its emotional moments and they weren’t always broken by putting in a laugh. My theater was laughing pretty much constantly through the movie (though some of them were laughing by themselves because they were those kind of people who laugh at every single thing very loudly).

One of my gripes about the franchise is how much it reuses stuff, mostly tech. Some of it’s nice to see reoccurring, but it gets tot he point where it’s just overdone. The masks basically. They’ve become something of a joke because they constantly get used. There’s some slight meta joking about the use of the masks in this film, which I loved. In fact, while the masks are used, they aren’t used that often. Really at all. There are some other gadgets that get recycled, but again they make light of the fact that they’re being reused or tweak it some how. That and there’s plenty of new shit to go around. And as much as the MI franchise is known for it’s Bond-like gadgets, they pretty much all malfunction to some extent in the film. It puts more pressure on the actual skills of the characters, which again was refreshing.

Tom CruiseJeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, and Paula Patton, are you’re spectacular team here and really they’re the only people you see much of. Even the other “players” only appear in small pieces here and here. I thought everyone did a good job, including Mr. Cruise. I stand by him being a good actor still. You can make fun of his real life shenanigans all you want, but he still can act, especially in more comedic roles. Actually one of the things I like about the “team” is how they all have some personal shit to deal with. Not so much with Pegg, but instead of having one character brooding the whole time, they pretty much all have their moments.

I hope Brad Bird comes back to direct the next film. I think he did a great job and I think Cruise, Abrams, and Bird working together seems to be a pretty good fit. The two film before Abrams were different from the two he’s been involved with and while I like all of them, I think what they’ve managed to create in the fourth film will probably help them keep the franchise moving if the so choose. I mean Tom Cruise is almost fifty I think and he doesn’t look it. He can still play Ethan Hunt for a while if he wants.

So yeah, pretty solid film, especially for the franchise. Pretty fast paced with plenty of action and humor. Definitely worth the watching, and more so in theaters. I base part of my decision to see movies on the visual aspect. I want to watch action flicks in theaters because they rely on those big screens. I can watch a comedy at home.

Love Actually

So this is a bit of a long post.

I actually enjoy rom-coms. I know I’m forbidden to say that as a man, but I’ve seen a fair number of them. There are those that are crap and those that I genuinely like. Some are just ok. I’m not being dragged to watch all of these movies either. And the excuse that they’re all generic is kinda bull. All genres are “generic.” Kinda why they’re a genre. That’s not the point though. That’s a whole separate post I may get into some day.

So Love Actually, is a Richard Curtis film. The man behind works like Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, Bridget Jones’s Diary and of course the amazing Blackadder. I like all of those (I feel like Blackadder shouldn’t be included though. Too different). They’re rom-coms and they’re good. To me at least. Love Actually is amazingly enough, another one. The title gives it away, and in a sense kind of gives away the whole film.

I both like and dislike Love Actually. It’s complicated. The original cut (one of them at least) was over three hours. The runtime now, is 135 minutes. That’s still a long movie, especially for the genre. Love Actually is one of those movies that involves separate story-lines that all interconnect in the end, though you can see the connections easily enough as the film progresses. The character connections are really anything to worry over. My experience with these kind of films is that they never seem to be that good. To me they always come across as to overly complex for what they are and Love Actually is no exception. It’s long and has a number of pretty complex stories that don’t fully work because they’ve been cut down to fit in the film. They’d work better as a miniseries TV movie where we could see the full stories.

Beyond that though, the movie has another fault with me. It’s kind of… schmaltzy? Some of it just seems horribly gushy to me and cliché. I know that’s excepted from some films in the genre, but it still seems a bit excessive at times. That and I guess I’m expecting more from Curtis. Still, the romance part of the movie still works. That and it is supposed to be somewhat fairy-taleish. Rowan Atkinson’s character was initially/still is supposed to be an angel, but it kinda got cut from explanation.

The comedy aspect is what does it for me. It’s why I enjoy rom-coms because they can amazingly enough be good comedies. That’s where this movie shines because despite how unfunny it can be (moments where it isn’t supposed to be anyways) the movie has some great comedic moments. At least I thought so. It’s not like it’s going to be on anyone’s top comedy lists, but it’s still really good there.

The cast is another one of of those aspects that helps make the film work. Ensemble casts generally seem to be less than what you want, but the ones that work are usually really good. So let’s start with Bill Nighy. He’s a great actor. Love him. Does a great job here. Wish he had more screen time. Shit, they could make a whole movie for his character, which I guess they could do for most of the characters really.

Colin Firth has his own little storyline as well. It’s not really that brilliant. It’s Colin Firth playing the kind of role he’s known for and he does a good job at it. In this case he’s kind of exaggerating it even more.

Liam Neeson and Thomas Brodie-Sangster play stepfather and son. Both are really good. I actually want to go back and see how many scenes have Neeson standing at full height and not bent over. The kid is little to begin with and of course Neeson is huge, so it’s entertaining to watch that interaction just because of that. I also loved how blunt there part was. It was a very open relationship that I’m sure plenty of people would disapprove of (at least in the US), which is kind of bull. Kind of wish some of their deleted scenes stayed in.

Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman play husband and wife. Thompson is great. She actually probably appears the most in the film since she seems to be the one most of the characters all know. Rickman unfortunately get’s les screen time, which is a shame. He’s a great comedic actor. Has the timing down wonderfully. He needs more of those roles. There’s also a deleted scene with Thompson and her son (who never appears really) about writing a school essay about their christmas wish. His is to see everyone’s farts, which would be great. This also leads to cutting out the headmistress’ little story, which was good as well. Anyways, both do a good job, though I feel like their story get’s cut up a bit. Both of their characters have more scenes to work with other characters than their own marriage troubles. Maybe not. Kind of feels like it though.

Now is as good as any to mention Rowan Atkinson I guess. He is supposed to be an angel, though lacking the wings and whatnot. One of the deleted scenes with Emma Thompson and her children actually alludes to this even. The whole thing of his holiness was cut out because it complicated things to much. That makes sense. The movies already to complicated. Still, Atkinson still appears and the best one is with Rickman in a shopping center. It’s a great scene to begin with, but if you go and watch the movie, knowing he’s supposed to be an angel, his appearances make more sense.

Martin Freeman has a nice little bit. Plays a stand in doing nude sex scenes. Nice little bits.

Kris Marshall has a couple of nice lines as well and I do like the portrayal of Wisconsin.

Laura Linney has a bit part. I didn’t care for it, mostly because it felt so stripped down.

Keira Knightly and Chiwetel Ejiofor are newlyweds. We get to see their wedding. Andrew Lincoln (Walking Dead) is Ejiofor’s best friend. I think they probably have the least funny story. I really can’t think of much with their plot that was funny. Probably the one I liked least.

And finally (I think) is Hugh Grant and Martine McCutcheon. Grant is Grant. He does his normal thing. He also has a number of great lines in addition to his nice little dance (which was to short) and his speech about the “special relationship” between Britain and the US.

I’m tired and need to stop. Basically the movie has plenty of problems, mostly because it tries to accomplish way to much. Still, it has some great bits. It’s a good comedy at least.

Die Hard

Well this isn’t really a christmas tradition. I’d like it to be, but it still sort of is. Every year around christmas time I usually end up watching Die Hard again. Not every year and usually not on christmas eve like this year, but generally Die Hard gets a re-watch around the holiday. Personally, I’d like to make it more of a tradition.

Anyways as odd a choice as Die Hard maybe be to watch on Christmas Eve, it is set on that day. It technically takes place during the holiday. It’s sort of hard to tell. McClane’s wife is at a Christmas party in Nakatomi tower and they do allude to it a couple of times.

Anyways Die Hard is a bout this cop from New York who comes out to visit his wife in LA (she also has their two children). He stops by the christmas party and shit hits the fan shortly after. Some Germans led by Hans Gruber hijack the party and get up to some nonsense. McClane hides and basically fuck shit up. Eventually the police get involved and things get worse. In the end good triumphs, but that’s hardly a surprise. Really describing the plot to Die Hard seems kind of pointless. In my mind it’s a well known movie, but there are plenty of people unaware of it.

Anyway, I’ve always liked Die Hard. It’s a nice shoot ’em up, blow shit sky-high extravaganza. That and the movie has some pretty sweet lines and is actually funny. It’s a great action movie or comedy by itself for the most part and the two elements combined really work.

The actors though are the reason why. I like Bruce Willis. He’s great as John McClane. I’m assuming it’s his most notable role. I also recall reading somewhere that like 90 percent of his dialogue was improvised, so if that’s true, even more kudos for the man, because he has some great lines. Yippee ki-yay, motherfucker. Alan Rickman is also great as Hans (I love that Jeremy Irons plays his brother in the third film). He’s a great actor and does a great job at villains (though he he has amazing comedic timing). The supporting cast is great to. Reginald VelJohnson (Family Matters is probably why you recognize him), does a great job as does Paul Gleason. They both kind of play character types they are well known for and they do such a good job at it. The terrorists are all pretty good small roles as well. Same for some of the office workers or police/FBI. Not big roles, but they do a good job for the jokes they’re put in there for.

I feel like I should say more, but I can’t think of a lot to add. The dated references are great, especially if you catch them. I wonder how many people know who Roy Rogers or Arafat are. The edited version for cable is interesting to watch, because the film has a fair amount of explicative so editing them for cable is fun to listen to. Especially Willis’s catchphrase.

So yeah. I love Die Hard. Great action-comedy. If you haven’t seen it you should and hell, maybe you’ll make it a holiday tradition as well. It’s a good enough movie for it and even if you ignore the holiday bit, it’s a great movie.

Now that I’ve watched the first one, I’ll probably be watching and reviewing the others soon.

Hook

 

Well I think this is the last of the Peter Pan stuff. That and I feel it’s fitting to end with Hook.

So I always feel obligated to preface posts with these kind of warnings. Hook is a movie from my childhood. I loved it and still do. Part of that is because it is a good movie and part of it is because Robin Williams is in it, and I love him. He’s the comic that got me into comedy, because he was in these kinds of movies. That and I have a wonderful dad who introduced me to stand-up. I also have a soft spot for this film because it was directed by Spielberg, who I’ve professed my undying love for many a time. So, you’ve been forewarned about how this review is most likely going to go. Also know that in the there are sort of spoilers below. Some people get really up tight about what you reveal. Personally it’s not like I’m telling you Dumbledore dies (sorry for anyone who isn’t aware of that.)

Hook is not really an adaptation of the Peter Pan stories. It’s basically a “what happens of the stories?” The movie starts out by introducing a grown up Peter Pan, now Peter Banning. He’s married to Moira whose the granddaughter of some chick named Wendy Darling. The coincidence’s to the J.M. Barrie story are noted and addressed by the characters. They joke that Granny Wendy is the real Wendy. The “truth” however is that Mr. Barrie knew the Darling children and simply recorded their wonderful tales. We learn that Peter is suffering through the harsh realities of growing up and having a family. He’s actually a lot like Mr. Darling in my mind. Anyways his two children (yes he has children) are kidnapped by Hook (or his cronies – this is never really explained). A note is left telling Peter to return to get his children. the catch is that Peter has no recollection of anything before he was 12, which means Neverland is just a story to him. For whatever reason though Wendy can still remember it all as does Tootles (one of the Lost Boys now old and in England). Anyways Tinkerbell (or Stinkerbell as I prefer) appears and helps Pan to Neverland. Stuff ensues as Peter has to learn to become the boy wonder he used to be to save his children from Hook. A happy ending of course.

Again, my knowledge of Peter Pan is a bit iffy. Haven’t read it in a while, but I’m fairly certain a  lot of liberties were taken with what they do bring up in here. I’m fine with that. I learned to not get my panties in a bunch over the translation from book to film. The Bourne series taught me that. What they did works to me.

I guess the casting needs addressed since it is quite an impressive cast. Dustin Hoffman plays Hook. If I had never seen this movie till now I would’ve wondered why Dustin Hoffman would be cast as Hook. I just don’t see it and even having seen the film multiple times, I still don’t see it. It just doesn’t seem like him, yet he does a brilliant job. It’s actually really hard for me to even think of Hook as Hoffman when watching it. Robin Williams plays Peter Pan (the adult version). I’m sort of torn on this. I love Robin. I think he’s a great actor and I think he did a good job in the movie. I can even see why he was cast. Robin Williams defiantly has that sort of man-child vibe to an extent (minus the excess body hair). Unfortunately I think Spielberg kept him on to tight of a leash. Part of what makes Williams great is his ability to just go out and do some insane shit and I feel like you don’t see that here and that really hurts the role. That and he does look a bit odd in tights. Julia Roberts is another one who seems to get some flack for her portrayal of Tinkerbell. I’ve never been able to see that. I have to admit, I had a crush on Roberts since at some point I saw this at that lovely age when hormones begin a brewing. That, unneeded fact aside, she was still good. Sure, she might not have been great, but considering what the role was I didn’t think it was bad. I mean, most of the time she would have been in a studio alone. When she “grows up/gets big” she does a great job.

You also have Bob Hoskins appear as an amazing Smee and I thought he was great. I still say “what about Smee!” sometimes. Maggie Smith is naturally great. Great lady who is always amazing and she does a nice job as Wendy. It would’ve been cool if she had more screen time. Charlie Korsmo plays Jack, one of Peter’s children and I thought he was good. His onscreen sister, Maggie, played by Amber Scott, was better. That may be partially because she was pretty darn cute. Unfortunately she is no longer acting (at least according to IMDB). Rufio, Rufio, Rufio! Everyone remembers Rufio. I think it’s the hair. Dante Basco will forever be remember as that kid. His acting wasn’t bad, but he was fortunate to have a character that for whatever reason just stood out and was fascinating. I would’ve liked to have seen a movie about Rufio and the Lost Boys. It can still happen since Basco looks pretty young and still plays teens sometimes.

So, what’s left? Visuals? Amazing. I mean it is Spielberg. I think he did a fantastic job with his version of Neverland.

The music though. Oh, I how I love the music. I’m listening to it right now and probably will keep listening to it for a while. Why is it amazing? Guess why? Who loves working with Spielberg? That’s right John Williams. If there’s a film composer people know it’s probably him, partly because of is work with Speilberg. He composes some great pieces, but I think his forte is creating themes. He does a fantastic job of finding the sound that fits the movie and sticks with you. A theme that you can listen to over and over and just the music brings the images from the film to mind.

The movie has flaws. It’s not perfect, but I chose to stay blissfully unaware of them. Nostalgia is allowing me to treasure this movie and I’m fine with it. That and even if I try to analyze it, I still don’t think it’s a crap film. Not Spielberg best, bust hey, even when the man isn’t scoring a huge hit it’s still better than a lot fo movies.

I’m resisting the urge to watch this movie again right now, but I advise anyone who hasn’t seen it to check it out. If you have and hated it, trying giving it another shot. Open your mind up a bit and try to enjoy it.

Peter Pan (2003)

I know another Peter Pan related post. I don’t intend on watching every film version (though I may, doubt it though.) Actually I’m about to watch Hook again. I’ve been trying to resist the urge, but can’t. Screw finals.

I’m a fan of Peter Pan. It’s always interested me. It has, however, been some time since I’ve seen any film/tele version. It’s also been a while since I’ve read Peter and Wendy (the only one I’ve read).

Peter Pan to me was a good adaptation. As far as I remember the overall gist of the story, this movie seemed to get the highlights that stick in my mind. It may be the best adaptation as far as the story goes or it may not. For me, it was good. It didn’t seem to bizarre in its interpretation and seemed to at least try to stay faithful to the source material.

This version of Peter Pan is interesting. For all intents and purposes it is very much a family/children’s film. It is however a slightly dark portrayal though and I don’t just mean visually. Things are quite intense at some points and I liked it. In fact I’d actually like to see a sort of gritty Peter Pan (Neverland I suppose attempted to take a step in that direction). The problem for me at least was the sort of, for lack of a better word, “wacky” slapstick humor that was thrown in here and there. At times it was pretty mild, other times not so much. For kids it was probably great. To me, it jut threw off the darker mood they were setting up. This was supposed to be a family film though, so I understand the humor being put. And it’s not that it was bad, it just didn’t mesh to me.

I have to say the visuals were one of my favorite aspects of the film and I can’t quite find the words to describe it. It sort of mixes an attempt at realism and fantasy. It’s kind of weird, but more cool than weird. I liked it a lot, especially since there was a really good balance. The whole space trip to Neverland however was a bit out off place to me, but that’s the only thing I can think of.

Jason Issacs doubles as Mr. Darling and Hook and does a great job at both. I really like Issas and he does a great job here as usually, especially at Hook. He does villains well. Lynn Redgrave and Olivia Williams both have nice parts and do well and I liked the dog. Jeremy Sumpter plays Peter and I really liked him. He has a sort of odd charm and was really good at being the little boy running around, while still being able to pull off the more serious emotional bits. Rachel Hurd-Wood was also really good as Wendy.

It’s really a great adaptation that I’m guessing most people will like if their fans of Pan. Even if you’re not, it’s still a good fantasy family film.

PS: At this point Hook is replacing BF3 in my 360 so I’ll probably have a post for it later.

Conan the Barbarian (1982)

So I was in the mood for some hack and slash, sword and sorcery kinda movie. Particularly, one I haven’t seen yet. A recent discussion of Dungeons and Dragons got me in the mood (I don’t know anyone anymore who plays D&D – at least no one who’ll admit it unfortunately). In the end I decided to watch Conan the Barbarian, which I’ve never seen.

The movie draws from other sources, none of which I’m familiar with. The story is basically about how Conan comes from nothing to someday be king (though we don’t see that here). As a child his parents are killed, he grows up in some tough shit, becomes a gladiator, latter is set free and becomes a sort of thief. In the end he manages to start a quest to get revenge on the weird and honestly, quite lame, sorcerer that killed his parents. The story line wasn’t exactly riveting to me, but at the time I guess it might have seemed better, mostly because we’ve had a chance to reuse this kind of thing more now.

Let me just jump to one of the things I really did not like about the movie. The pacing. The movie is two hours and it felt longer. Why? Because they structure the film like it was an epic along the lines of Ben-Hur or Lawrence of Arabia. It isn’t. Movies like that can get away with the long montages of nothingness, because in-between shit happens. Not only that but it’s good shit. Conan however uses a number of those long montage type sequences and there is little filler in between, especially for the first half of the movie. It’s just a lot of build up to finally get to the part where Conan is going to hunt down Doom.

I don’t know what to think of the acting either. Arnold Schwarzenegger is okay I guess. He at least looks great in the role. I liked watching him stand and fiddle with his sword, which really should have been bigger. James Earl Jones surprised me. I was unaware that he was in the movie and I’m kind of surprised. I don’t want to say he’s bad because it’s James Earl Jones. The role is what I’m choosing to blame. That and the make up. They gave him some weird looking long hair. The rest of the cast is all ok for the movie. I’m not dying to find out who anyone is because they blew me away, but it’s hardly the worst I’ve seen, especially from similar types of films.

The special effects were actually pretty good, more so probably because of the time and the action sequences were good, if again slow. The narration bothered me though. It wasn’t consistent enough for one and it just didn’t fit. Another one of those weird things that irked me.

As negative as most of that sounds, it wasn’t bad. I was just kind of hoping for something a bit more gritty and action packed I guess. Maybe I’m just spoiled from some good modern hack and slash sword movies, but Conan’s biggest drawback was just slow everything. Slow moving story, action, and dialogue (thank you Arnold).

I can understand why it’s considered a classic and I’m not set against watching it again. I’d defiantly need to be in the mood for it and at least now I have some idea of what is going to bug me.

Heathers

My advisor told me to watch this at my last meeting, so I did. It’s nice being able to watch movie as research for senior thesis.

Heathers was an interesting movie. On one hand the movie is like a lot of 80s teen comedies. It’s all about the various clicks in high school manly the popular vs unpopular students. Nothing new on that set up. The movie twists that view quite a bit. The students and parents are very much exaggerations of what they are making fun of, but they still manage to keep some realism there. The other twist is that the movie is incredibly dark. The movie is sort of about teen suicide, but more so it’s about acting on those little dark impulses everybody has, but doesn’t want to admit to. I love this idea. I actually wrote a short story about it, though I got odd looks. It’s like admitting to talking to yourself. It’s not something you openly discuss or admit to. Back to the movie though, it looks at those little urges people have when you “wish was dead” or you have the urge to hit someone or act out if they’re frustrating to you, but of course (usually) you don’t act on those impulses.

Anyways, the movie is a dark comedy. I love dark comedies usually. This one, I was not so fond of. It was funny in places, but most of that wasn’t really dark humor. Again, maybe I’m just missing things, but it wasn’t much of a comedy to me. That and it seemed to run a little long by the end. Especially the boiler room stuff.

Christian Slater did a good job. I tend to like him and he pulled his role of well as the creepy guy that you still sort of like. Winona Ryder did a fine job as well.

Regardless of how much you laugh during the movie, it is still a good movie, more so because of the content the film explores. I wouldn’t advise watching this if you wanted to just relax and have some laughs. For me it wasn’t that funny of movie. It was more of a drama with some humor in it. Worth checking out, but really only if your a fan of darker themed movies.

Bedazzled (1967)

Another British film that’s been remade. Alas, I saw the remake of Bedazzled before this original one. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen the full movie though, since I only caught it on cable.

Bedazzled is an interesting movie. Again, if you’ve seen the remake you have at least a board grasp of what goes on in this film, though as far as I can remember they really aren’t alike. Bedazzled is sort of a telling of Faust. Dudley Moore plays a cook who is infatuated with his co-worker. Peter Cook comes along as the Devil, although he goes by George Spiggott. Over the course of the film he gives Dudley Moore wishes essentially for his soul, yadda yadda yadda. Shenanigans ensue.

I hate to say that the film requires intelligence to watch, but it kind of does. The movie is a very sharp satire, one that to me seems like it was very much ahead of its time. The deliveries are very low-key and it’s very much a sort of dry sense of humor. It’s easy to miss a lot of the, for lack of a better word, jokes. Still, the sheer amount of content in the film makes it hard not to laugh every now and then. The movie also incorporates its fair share of physical gags, though again, it’s very understated. I’m a fan of Moore and Cook. I’m actually a dj on my college radio station and I play some of their recordings from Beyond the Fringe, so I guess I’m slightly biased on some of my love for the two men behind the film.

The acting really isn’t great. Dudley Moore and Peter Cook can do better, but it’s not like it’s horrible or it detracts from anything. The film also features Raquel Welch, a name most people my age don’t recognize, however she was an international sex symbol back in her day. She has a small role, but at the time it was understandably a big deal.

Dudley Moore enjoys playing instruments and creating music. In an interview he said that he basically had to decided between music and acting/comedy. In Bedazzled you get a nice glimpse at his musical talents since he wrote the music for the film. Just kind of further goes to show how intelligent and talented these two men are.

The movie did run a bit long for me. There were some bits that ran a bit to long and if you don’t enjoy what they’re doing in the bit, it just makes it that much longer.

Bedazzled wont be for everyone. There are plenty of people who don’t get satire. Clever wordplay is another one that get’s missed by some and when it includes particular references, you do have to be a certain type to get them. The movie does have nuns on trampolines, so that’s something to look forward to.

It’s not great. It has plenty of problems and doesn’t really appeal to a wide audience. Still, for self-professed comedy nerds I think it’s one of those movies you have to give a shot, if for no other reason than because it’s a creation of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore.

Bad Teacher

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.

The Muppets

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 RooneySarah 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.

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