Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Muppets, or Nostalgia: The New American Enterprise.

The Muppets currently has a 97% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, has been recommended to me by countless friends with varying tastes in cinema, and boasts Jason Segel as lead actor and co-writer.  The signs were good that The Muppets would be a good time.  And I hated it.

Well, hate is a strong word.  There were short bursts of entertainment sandwiched between the spastic narrative and flat jokes, but I can only explain the overwhelming mass approval of The Muppets to myself by assuming that adults have been validating its flaws; either through some sort of Muppet nostalgia, or a forgiveness due to the false assumption that kids movies don't actually have to be good.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Like Crazy: Your Annual Deteriorating Relationship.

Last year, Ryan Gosling demonstrated that love and ukulele skills aren't always enough to sustain a relationship.  In 2009, Colin Firth showed us the absolute heartbreak of losing a lover.  We tend to get about one accurate relationship drama a year, and 2011's offering appears to be Like Crazy.  

Like Crazy's accuracy on the highs and lows of young love, as well as the difficulty of long-distance relationships is hard to deny, and while the film's emotional instances serve up quite a few high points, they tend to get muddled in the simplicity of the film's composition, which serves as a detriment to the overall quality of the film.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Drive: Ryan Gosling's Guide to Being a Man Part 2.

If it isn't already obvious to you that Ryan Gosling/Baby Goose is the greatest living human being, take a moment to observe him in his natural habitat.  He's always willing to break up a street fight, before performing in his band, and he just wants to quit acting to make some babies.  And he'll probably take you to Disneyland first, because Disneyland strengthens fertility.  And if you don't click any of those links, just go watch Blue Valentine and attempt to logically explain what Michelle Williams could possibly dislike about him.

Gosling's most recent works only expand on his likability.  Crazy, Stupid, Love was Gosling's first foray into providing manhood instructions for the masses, and I urge you to interpret Drive as an instructional video on how to take care of your gurrl.  You can steal, shoot, and stomp dudes to death, but you better take care of yo' baby.

I wouldn't blame you for thinking that Drive, particularly due to the presence of Brian Cranston, Ron Perlman, and fast cars, might be a fast-paced action film in the vein of The Transporter or Fast and the Furious.  In fact, if that's exactly what you want, you might not even want to see Drive, but if you can move beyond your muscled, bald man fetish, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Art House Roundup: The UK Invasion and Will Ferrell.

I've been catching up on some harder to find films that came out this year, and if I don't post all of them in one entry, I probably won't post about them at all.  Everything Must Go, Submarine, Attack the Block, and The Trip have all been pretty difficult to see in Michigan, but I'm a magician, so I manage.  Reviews of the previously mentioned follow the break.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Our Idiot Brother, or A Bro and His Dog.

I don't know about you, but when I see that Paul Rudd has a new movie coming out, I immediately make associations to films like 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Role Models, and I Love You, Man.  This certainly isn't a resume to be ashamed of, but these films--some of Rudd's most popular--will incite many viewers to expect Our Idiot Brother to fall into a genre it most certainly does not exist in.  

Our Idiot Brother is not an ad-libbed buddy comedy.  If you're hoping for Seth Rogen to show up and tell Paul Rudd three different reasons why he's gay, you'll be sadly disappointed.  No, what we have here is more of a (500) Days of Summer, or a Little Miss Sunshine.  It's a family-centered (but not family-friendly) comedy attempting to swoon white people who use the term "dramedy."

And it works.  Our Idiot Brother is, by no means, anything special, but amidst a particularly dry summer offering, it dulls the hurt.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Crazy, Stupid, Love: Ryan Gosling's Guide to Being A Man.

Recycling photos may become a habit.
It's better if we all accept right now that Ryan Gosling is the pinnacle of all manhood.  Not douchy manhood, more like that one dude you met once who's ripped but actually cool.  Sure, he was in The Notebook, but also grew a sweet beard and built a house to spite a woman.  He picks solid, often unique roles, is in a pretty decent band, and he performs under the alias "Baby Goose," which is only badass because he's Ryan Gosling.

Crazy, Stupid, Love. could have gone in a lot of directions.  The trailer was cut quite well (although this could be attributed to the fact that Muse makes every movie seem enticing), surely appealing to those looking for Hitch 2, all the while hinting at something a bit more dramatic.  The result is something in the middle.  While Crazy, Stupid, Love. avoids a descent into the third act triteness of romantic comedies like Friends With Benefits (which was often hilarious but eventually lame), it hardly achieves dramatic relevance.  However, the result is a satisfying, funny comedy similar in feel to something like The Kids Are Alright.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Captain America and the Never Ending Montage.

Captain America's breast milk is a rare and delicious commodity.

I cannot believe how awful Captain America is.  Normally, I say a bunch of hateful things about a film and then nonchalantly mention that it was decent.  Let me be clear: Captain America is awful.  I would use all caps to emphasize this, but I'm classy, dogg.

That's not to say it isn't watchable.  The first act is pretty solid, and while the rest of the film isn't horrible, it's so bland and lazy that it makes me want to watch Batman and Robin; which was a truly terrible film, but at least you didn't know exactly what horrible thing was going to happen next.  The truth is, after our asthmatic, anorexic underdog becomes Captain America, the film descends into montage after montage, some of which is actual montage, the rest of which is just bland action and meaningless dialogue that blurs together due to lazy writing and poor pacing.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Harry Potter and the Death of Your Childhood.

A review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is hardly necessary at this point.  If you've seen the other films in the franchise it is doubtful that you'd miss the conclusion, and it would be wholly idiotic to see the thing without first having made it through most of the others.  Although, if you were considering it, you should know that (thankfully) the filmmakers made no attempt to appeal to any newcomers.  Deathly Hallows: Part 2 picks up moments after part one left off, and has little time to spare for any off hand reminders of what has gone on before.

Whether or not this final installment is effective is debatable.  Its first act, in which Harry, Ron and Hermione invade the vaults of Gringott's, is by far the strongest; continuing the steady buildup of events--executed so well in Deathly Hallows: Part 1--necessary before facing the evil Voldemort.  But upon their return to Hogwarts, the film starts to feel like the earlier chapters:  too much plot crammed into too little time.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Jennifer Aniston is a Whorable Boss.

This image is likely all that anyone will remember of Horrible Bosses, regardless of whether they decided they liked the film or not.  Now I'm sure if you've seen it, you're all like, "Whoa, bro!  There was some funny stuff in that movie, dogg!"  But given a few years, this thesis will likely prove to be true.  Comedy doesn't seem to have any staying power these days, and as I rack my brain for memorable Hollywood moments in the past few years, I seem to be coming up short.  I had to have seen some comedies, right?

This is not to say that Horrible Bosses is bad, it's simply forgettable, which in my mind translates to "not very good," but I'm sure not everyone agrees with me.  If you're looking for a few decent laughs, go see Horrible Bosses.  If the post-Hangover Hollywood comedy is any indication, it's an acceptable offering to those with nothing better to do.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Midnight In Paris, or a Rhinoceros.

Let it be known that I just wrote for an hour and subsequently deleted all of it.  Prefacing a review with ten paragraphs of commentary on the criticism of Woody Allen just didn't seem appropriate.  But, if anything, it illustrates my appreciation of the man.  He has no rival.

But no one wants to hear about my crush on Woody Allen.  Actually, I'm sure a lot of you do (pervs).  But you should also know that my love for Midnight in Paris does not stem from unconditional affection for the man.  You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger was quite dreadful.  Midnight in Paris is just a wonderful, light-hearted comedy.

Owen Wilson's nose is as obnoxiously bent as ever, but he's perfect as what has come to be known as Woody's 'avatar.'  He delivers Woody's dialogue well--though perhaps not as well as Will Ferrell did--for one of today's best known actors, and never nears obnoxiousness as Jason Biggs and Kenneth Branagh did.  Although, in their defense, they did play more neurotic roles (in Anything Else and Celebrity, respectively).  There's no neurosis here, just nostalgia.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Super 8, or Transformers 3: Dark Side of the Childhood.

Dear M. Night Shyamalan,

Dear J.J. Abrams,

We get it.  You like Spielberg.  So do we.  Everyone does.  The only reason Osama Bin Laden was caught was that, in his haste to order the Jurassic Park Blu-ray, he forgot to change the name on his Amazon account.  Everyone. Likes. Spielberg.

But we didn't need you to make a Spielberg drinking game.  If I did a shot every time there was a lens flare or a child staring wondrously into space throughout Super 8, I would have died of alcohol poisoning halfway through.  Combine that with every other Spielberg homage, and this drinking game's inevitable popularity, you very well may wipe out the entire college population.  You cannot build a work of art on shout outs.  Unless you're a rapper.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Hesher, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Walk with Grandma.

Hesher is a film that does not require me to write a letter.  If anything, I should be sending director Spencer Susser a thank you note.  Luckily, I don't live with my mother anymore so I don't have to send anyone a thank you note ever again.  Not everyone will love Hesher, and if you check out Rotten Tomatoes you'll find that some people even hated it, but that's okay.  We'll set their cars on fire later.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Your Highness, or The Longest Dick Joke Ever.

We all knew Your Highness was going to be bad, but the world runs on hope (and possibly James Franco), so I disregarded almost every review of the film in my quest for shameful giggles.  I got a few, but not nearly enough.  After the reasonably well-written first act, Your Highness descends into little more than dick jokes and action sequences; neither of which were very funny.

Moon 2: Source Code

I'm not really sure what's so funny in the picture above, but I can only assume a sandwich is involved.
I have finally emerged from my Netflix coma (however briefly) to rediscover this moving picture nonsense.  I decided to check out Source Code because Hanna wasn't out yet and--let's face it--everything else probably sucks.  Director Duncan Jones' last film, Moon, was solid and Source Code honors its predecessor with its quality and its plot.

This whole article is a spoiler of both films, but as we all know, spoilers don't usually matter. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Dry Months.

Just so we're all aware, I haven't given up on this blog like I have in months past.  I simply haven't seen one film in theaters since The King's Speech.  After all, winter is depressing; and there is no need to leave my house just to see Red Riding Hood or Battle: Los Angeles.  Don't worry though, kids.  When I do leave my apartment and venture to the cinema, you will be the first to know.  Although, even when something does strike my fancy, I'll probably just stay home and watch Rebecca Black videos.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Green Hornet, or Asians Are Cooler Than You.

This film is fictional; as documented by this photo, in which
Seth Rogen is faster than an Asian.

Dear Michel Gondry,

    Thank you for not writing The Green Hornet, because even though the script isn't very good, you most likely would have found a way to make it worse.  That's right, I saw Be Kind Rewind, and I am going to hold it against you forever.

There are still some problems with The Green Hornet, but I had low expectations anyway so they weren't deal-breakers.  It is important to note that the film's entertainment value comes almost entirely from Jay Chou and Christoph Waltz, so those who don't find Engrish funny aren't going to enjoy this film at all.

Who am I kidding; everyone loves Engrish.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Company Men, or Ben Affleck Can't Afford His Porsche.

It's a tough life when you don't make 160,000 a year anymore.

I expected fairly little out of The Company Men, as the trailer seemed to highlight Ben Affleck screaming, "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and for God's sake, people like me."  No one wants to see that.  But I did anyway and was pleasantly surprised.  I'm not saying that The Company Men was that great, but it is incredibly relevant, quite accurate, and one of the few films that has touched on the recent economic climate.

The Company Men stars Ben Affleck, so naturally everyone is from Boston.  His company has just cut three thousand jobs, and his position is no exception.  Naturally, he gets pissed off and decides to get a new job, because he's Ben Affleck and everyone should be begging to employ him.  Turns out, no one cares.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

This Year Sucked. Here's My Top 10.

Sorry, kids! I had a PS3 relapse and stopped visiting the internet. Fortunately, I started playing catch up and had enough time to watch pretty much every live action 2010 film I could get my hands on. Wait, did I say fortunately?
Let's face it: 2010 was awful. Even a large portion of the films that were supposed to be mildly entertaining escapism didn't really do the trick. Personally, I think this may be the worst year in cinema's history. I have yet to prove myself wrong on this point, and I welcome all of you to present a year to add to the debate.
There were, of course, still a lot good films this year, and despite the misleading opening statements, it will be the positive I will be discussing in this entry. We'll discuss the piss poor at a later date.

If you think I missed a film, you should be able to find it at the end of this entry, where I intend to list everything I saw or still intend to see. The execution of this plan, however, hinges entirely on my ability to finish this article before I run out of cigarettes.

Also, I did not see any animated films. Whatevs, dogg.