Archive for the ‘New Release Review’ Category

Gulliver’s Travels

Posted: May 29, 2011 8:41 am in New Release Review

Gulliver’s Travels

PG – 85 Min – 2010

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Starring Jack Black as Lemuel Gulliver and Jason Segal as Horatio, “Gulliver’s Travels” is about travel writer Lemuel Gulliver as he takes an assignment in Bermuda, but ends up on the island of Liliput where he towers over its tiny citizens.

I have really given Hollywood too much benefit of the doubt lately. For some odd reason I kept the thought of a potential glimmer of hope in the back of my mind in regards to this movie. Being that this story was always one I liked as a child, and I usually get a kick out of Jack Black, what’s to lose right? Well, 85 minutes of my life, that’s the answer.

This film does it best to not stray away from the child movie formula that Hollywood has cooked up. So if you’re looking for something fun and different, you shouldn’t look this direction. The only thing we get is Jack Black doing everything we expect to see him do, only toned down an incredible amount to merit a “PG” rating. And with a supporting cast like there was, you would think that they would be shooting for a “PG-13” rating and maybe aiming the jokes and plot more for adults. Nope. You know, maybe I would have liked it, 11 years ago.

Jack Black is a funny guy. His signature brand of humor has been fine crafted by him through out his career, and now he won’t rarely ever do anything different. He does his obnoxious “Tenacious D” style singing in the movie. He does his crude potty jokes in the movie. He even shows his butt crack (another one of his shticks). But like I said, it’s toned down, a lot. Jason Segal, who I’ve come to expect “R” rated humor from, was the main supporting role. It was good casting, though odd and out of place for a children’s film. Emily Blunt, who’s not even  very attractive, is an annoying actress. She was Gwen Conliffe  in “The Wolfman” (a god awful movie), and I didn’t like her in that. So that’s two for two, one more bad flick and she’s out. Amanda Peet was pretty good in the film, this was like a reunion of sorts between her and Jack (last movie they were in together was “Saving Silverman” back in 2001). T.J. Miller rounded out the odd cast in his small role as Dan. Now I’ve seen it all by him, a more serious role in “Unstoppable“, a goofball in “She’s Out Of My League”, and now in a children’s movie.

The movie did make me crack up, but it just wasn’t original enough. And it’s not even like I have a beef with it due to it being aimed at a younger audience than me, because I love sitting down and watching those kinds of movies. There was potential, they just chose to go the cookie cutter route. Also, what was supposed to be all big scale and epic, just really turned out the opposite. And the ending was atrocious. Jack Black and cast sing “War” by Edwin Starr as a way of mending the rocky relationship between two nations. Wow. Oh and sorry to spoil it (though it was obvious) he gets the girl and the job at the end. Skip it, I know I won’t make the same mistake twice.


No Strings Attached

Posted: May 20, 2011 9:17 am in New Release Review

No Strings Attached

R – 108 Min – 2011

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Starring Ashton Kutcher as Adam and Natalie Portman as Emma, “No Strings Attached” is about a guy and girl who try to keep their relationship strictly physical, but it’s not long before they learn that they want something more.

There seems to be a slew of these types of movies out there (umm “Love and Other Drugs” anyone?) One of which is coming out soon called “Friends With Benefits” and is starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis. I could have easily gotten the two of these mixed up with each other if they came out at the same time, being that it is pretty much the same exact plot. But like I always say, there’s always two movies that come out around the same time that are a lot alike, and so then there’s always the one that comes out on top. I believe with the two filling the main roles in “Friends With Benefits”, that will be very easily done over this one.

The movie starts out showing our two protagonists as adolescents at summer camp, amongst a large number of couples making out. The two are awkwardly sitting next to each other making conversation, followed by a shot down attempt by Adam to make a move. From there it shoots into the future where they have a similar meeting in college. And then into the present where guess what, they have another awkward meeting. The gist of this movie was obvious, even if I went into the movie with no knowledge of the plot. With a few funny scenes sprinkled in among the countless predictable scenes, it really wasn’t enough to make it a stand out film. I mean, everyone knows that they’re going to have sex the entire movie and he’s going to fall in love with her, which will push her away, until she realizes she lost him, so they get back together. C’mon.

Ashton Kutcher hasn’t strayed too far from his break out role of Kelso on “That 70’s Show”. He has gotten more serious though, not as silly like he was when he played Kelso. Honestly, if they had switched the casting, and Ashton were in the up coming “Friends With Benefits”, that would have been a great set up (since Mila and Ashton played love interests in “That 70’s Show”). All in all, I generally enjoy watching Ashton’s films, and he was funny in this one. Natalie Portman really needed this movie in my opinion. After the “Black Swan” fiasco, the public needed to see her as a funny actress. And she is pretty funny in this. One of my favorite scenes involves her bragging about how smart she is, saying “Sometimes my neck hurts cause my brain is so big”.

The supporting actors were pretty much hit or miss. Adam’s two friends, Eli and Wallace, were played by Jake Johnson and Ludacris. Jake is a very funny actor (my favorite scene involves him storming up to Adam’s room while him and Emma are having sex and shouting “I can’t focus on my porn, with all this real sex going on”), however, I’m really interested in why the world thinks that Ludacris is a good actor! I really don’t like his roles in the movies he’s been in, hes just a bad actor. Stick to rapping dude. Kevin Kline played Adam’s dad, and he was a real comedic treat in this film. I haven’t seen much with this guy (last I saw him, he played Dreyfus in the 2006 remake of “The Pink Panther”), but what I have seen he’s so funny. Mindy Kaling played her role exactly like she plays her role in “The Office”, nuff said there. Cary Elwes (who will live in infamy as Westley from “The Princess Bride”) played a doctor, and the whole movie I was fighting with the fact that he looked so familiar but I just couldn’t place it, until I remembered “The Princess Bride”, then laughter ensued. And finally, Lake Bell. I think she is pretty, but I just couldn’t stand her in this movie. It was like nails on a chalkboard. But hey, maybe that’s just me.

Aside from the few and far between funny scenes, the movie was far too predictable and rather annoying for my liking. The movie is a really soft R rating though, which is actually really nice to see that Hollywood can actually make a movie raunchy without excessive “F” words and nudity. I’d just say wait for the next movie following this same story line. It’s bound to be better than this one.

The Green Hornet

Posted: May 13, 2011 11:38 am in New Release Review

The Green Hornet

PG-13 – 119 Min – 2011

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Starring Seth Rogen as Britt Reid and Jay Chou as Kato, “The Green Hornet” is about Britt Reid, heir to his father’s large company, who teams up with his late dad’s assistant Kato to become a masked crime fighting team.

I wanted to see this one in theaters, but every time I would decide to go, something would come up. So anxiously, I awaited its arrival on Bluray, but didn’t know if I should rent it first or just buy it. So, last friday I just bought it hoping that it would be as good as I heard it was. Thank goodness, my money wasn’t wasted. From beginning to end, I loved it. It was put together very well, had a great cast, and just had the guts to be the definition of a block buster.

The plot of this movie was pretty much a perfect plot. I love movies about superheros and crime fighting and such, and also I love comedies. This film excelled on both gears, and kept you completely interested the entire time.  I’m a big fan of Seth Rogen. I have liked him in just about every movie he’s been in, with the exception of the horrible movie “Funny People” (which has a very misleading title, as its a very not funny movie). Even the animated movie he was in, “Monsters Vs. Aliens” was hilarious. In this movie he plays a rich and spoiled kid basically, who decides to be a masked vigilante as something to do. Jay Chou was pretty funny too, though I kept thinking how much funnier John Cho would have been in that role. I was so happy to see one of my favorite actors, and former co star of Seth, James Franco have a role in the film. Also, Cameron Diaz played his Britt’s secretary, Lenore Case. And as a side note, I want to know what happened with her. She used to be not so hot, but recently shes looking smokin’. Just look at the cover of Cosmo. Anyway, I digress.

There are no complaints for me with this one, and also no way that I’m gonna tell any of the plot. There is a scene that will make you want coffee, but you’ll understand that when you see it. So, go watch it. I promise you will enjoy it.

Little Fockers

Posted: May 13, 2011 10:45 am in New Release Review

Little Fockers

PG-13 – 98 Mins – 2010

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Starring Robert De Niro as Jack Byrnes and Ben Stiller as Greg Focker, “Little Fockers” follows the continuing story of the tension and distrust between a man and his father in-law. And now reaching an old age, as the family patriarch, Jack tests Greg to see if he has what it takes to be his successor.

Are they ever going to stop? After “Meet the Parents”, I thought they were kinda pushing it with “Meet the Fockers”. But now they made another entry more focused on the fact that now there are Focker offspring. The jokes are the same, the story line feels the same, and the final result is not that thrilling of a movie. However, the kids really make the movie a whole lot funnier than it would have been if it were just another movie like the other ones.

This film is pretty much your average reunion type film. Every character makes an appearance, and the jokes between characters stays completely the same. Robert De Niro plays Jack, the ever so cautious former CIA operative who has a love hate relationship with Greg. Greg is played by Ben Stiller (he’s looking old these days with the silver hair coming in), who constantly has his last name, Focker, as the butt of numerous jokes. The worst of which is featured in this movie a dozen times, the God Focker. The other parents, the Fockers, are played by Barbra Streisand and Dustin Hoffman. I love these two in those roles. Owen Wilson plays his increasingly annoying character, Kevin Rawley, again. The hijinks caused by Kevin are very old by now and seem awkward in the present storyline. Now for the new characters. Jessica Alba plays a very obnoxious role who’s very reason for being in the film was for a very predictable predicament. And then Kevin Hart, one of my favorite stand up comedians, had a small role. Two more good actors had small roles, Laura Dern (Dr. Ellie Sattler from “Jurassic Park”) and a newer favorite of mine, Harvey Keitel (who I started liking recently due to the “Life on Mars” television series).

I wasn’t very happy with this installment. Yes I chuckled a few times, but the jokes were far too predictable. They were either tired and worn out versions of the jokes that made “Meet the Parents” funny (the “I’m watching you” joke is a great example), or they were the “I saw that coming a mile away” jokes. The Focker jokes are the worst. We get it, his last name sounds like a cuss word. But, aside from that negativity, I did like it. It had it’s moments (mind you, only moments). So I can’t rag on it too much. The scene with the finger and the blood was oddly excessive, and I couldn’t tell if they were going for that to be a comedic thing or not. The sad part is, they couldn’t just let this one be it. The ending is a set up for another one. Maybe with some fresh jokes the next one could breath new life into the franchise.

I guess over all, it’s a fun flick to watch once, especially if you are a fan of the previous films. I definitely wouldn’t watch it more than that, but I liked it for what it was worth. I’ll be surprised if they don’t name the next one “Mother Fockers”.

Black Swan

Posted: April 29, 2011 9:54 am in New Release Review

Black Swan

R – 108 Min – 2010

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Starring Natalie Portman as Nina Sayers and Mila Kunis as Lily, “Black Swan” is about a ballet dancer who lands the lead in “Swan Lake”, but soon thinks her dreams of stardom are threatened by a rival ballerina. As opening night nears and the pressure to be perfect builds, Nina’s obsession descends into paranoia and delusion.

When I first saw the trailer for this, I thought it looked dumb. I had no intention of seeing it. Then, a few people I know started telling me how weird the movie was, as turning out, it was a psychological thriller. Well anything that is a psychological thriller I’ll be a little interested in. But this one still has me baffled.

I honestly don’t know what was happening in this movie. It started off slow, and right off the bat we see how much of a raving lunatic her mother is. She was a psycho! Man, I was frustrated with that woman. Natalie Portman does a great job playing her role. The role of a girl who’s mother basically hates the fact she had to give up her life to raise her daughter, and has pushed her throughout her life to be star. She’s a very broken down and shattered person. Mila Kunis (um, hottie much?), did a good job of being Lily, a haunting and pretty much alter ego of Nina. There’s a pretty explicit sex scene between Natalie and Mila, just thought I’d throw that out there.

But that’s where I get confused in this movie. From the very beginning, Nina starts seeing her face on Lily’s body, who coincidentally wears black the entire film, versus Nina who wears white. Almost as if, Lily is a figment of her imagination. But she interacts with other characters so she can’t be merely imagination. Nina was obviously suffering from a psychotic break from reality. She imagined herself literally transforming into a black swan, and saw a former ballerina (played by the great Winona Ryder) stabbing herself repeatedly in the face, even saw drawings on the wall screaming at her. Also, she “murders” Lily, only to find out later that she really stabbed herself. So here’s my final thought on what was going on. The stress of her mother and wanting to be perfect caused her to start having paranoid delusions that the prettiest girl there was after her role. And pretty much the whole movie with Lily, wasn’ t the real Lily, but her imagination. The only time we saw the real Lily was at the end when she came in to congratulate Nina. I hope I didn’t lose anyone.

After watching the movie, I kinda didn’t really see why I decided to in the first place. Yea it was put together very well, but it was just so confusing. Of course, this comes from the same guy who brought us “Requiem for a Dream“, so that could explain a whole lot of the darkness and weirdness of the film. I think I’m gonna stick to my interpretation though. If you’ve seen it and think I’m wrong, post a comment and tell me what you think was happening in the movie. If you haven’t seen it, you’re not missing anything.

Yogi Bear

Posted: April 29, 2011 8:42 am in New Release Review

Yogi Bear

PG – 80 Min – 2010

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Starring Dan Aykroyd as Yogi and Justin Timberlake as Boo Boo, “Yogi Bear” is about a greedy mayor who decides to close Jellystone Park to cash in by selling the land. Yogi Bear, and his sidekick, must team with their adversary to save their home.

I must say, I was pretty skeptical about this movie. I hadn’t heard to many good things about it, and I’ve been a fan of that bear since I was a kid. But, when I watched it, I found myself pleasantly surprised. It was a clever, fun, and ultimately silly movie. The story starts off silly, and pretty much doesn’t let up. But, like I said, clever silly. Not that ridiculous, off the wall silly. The jokes in the movie were solid enough to make just about anyone with a sense of humor (or a love for that pic-a-nic stealing bear) at least crack a hearty smile.

The casting was pretty great. Honestly, if this movie hadn’t had the people it did, then it would have probably sucked. First and foremost, the voice talents for the bears were spot on. Dan Aykroyd and Justin Timberlake, I couldn’t imagine any one else voicing them. It was the kind of perfection that one can only compare to Bill Murray voicing “Garfield”. Anna Faris is always funny, and this movie was no different. The park rangers were great too. Ranger Smith was played by Tom Cavanagh, whom I only really know as J.D.’s mooch of an older brother from “Scrubs”. Though, my favorite ranger was Jones, played T.J. Miller (I always associate him with “She’s Out Of My League”, when he played Stainer). He played the comedic relief, even though the movie was a comedy, and he had some funny scenes. However, the one guy in the movie who just cracked me up was Mayor Brown (Andrew Daly). His scene with the limosuine window not rolling down was quite funny.

I liked the movie. There were a few scenes were I laughed out loud (especially the “I smell PB&J” scene), but then again there was a lot of the film where I was thinking, “you know, I would probably like this more if I were 10 years younger”. Speaking of movies made for kids, why does every family film have a formula that it follows? Two main characters, one straight and uptight, the other loose and silly. Something bad happens, and one tells the other to scram. Well, 10 minutes later, the uptight one realizes the mistake he/she made, and it’s not till the end when the other comes back to save the day. Tears, apologies, and happy endings follow. I get kinda annoyed at that, but that’s Hollywood for you.

I give it a solid 3 and half monkeys. Worth a watch, but please, go into it knowing its silly. Because if you don’t, you’re bound to hate it. It’s Yogi Bear people! So, go grab a pic-a-nic lunch with the family and watch it.


Posted: April 22, 2011 11:35 am in New Release Review


PG-13 – 94 Mins – 2010

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Starring no one you know, except for Donald Faison (Turk) from “Scrubs” (and maybe if there are any “Trauma” fans out there, Scottie Thompson stars as Elaine), “Skyline” follows a group of friends who awaken to find out that they are some of the few people left on earth. Together they set out to solve the mystery of what happened to the human race.

What. The. Hell. I hated this movie. So much. You know, my PS3 wouldn’t play it at first, so I ejected it, cleaned it off, and put it back in. I know now that that was a sign from God. This movie single handedly made me lose all faith in the alien horde movies from Hollywood.

I just, wow. The visual effects were phenomenal. But that was it. The acting was horrible. The cast was incredibly small time. Though, I have to mention that there was a LOST alum in it. Neil Hopkins, who played Liam Pace (Charlie’s older brother and bandmate). But the ending, that was just retarded. Here’s the ending. The final two people, a couple, get beamed aboard the ship. We see that the aliens are harvesting our bodies for our brains. And they take our brains and put them in the dormant alien bodies. So they take Jarrod in front of Elaine and take his brain. Oh, No! The end right? No. Jarrod’s consciousness has lived on in the alien’s body. So the alien comes running to her rescue and fights off all of the other aliens. Cue credits. Cue my barf bag as well.

I like the tag line on this movie, Don’t Look Up. How bout this one though, Don’t Look This Movie Up.