Reviewing one movie at a time…

Romance

Trainwreck (2015)

Trailer:  Trainwreck (2015)

Starring:  Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Brie Larson

Directed by:  Judd Apatow

Runtime:  2 hrs & 5 min

Genre(s):  Comedy Romance

Review by: John Dixon

Spoiler Free Review: (read if you have NOT seen this movie)1_natural

Growing up with a father that didn’t believe in monogamy is what sisters Amy & Kim did.  After their mother was out of the picture there was nobody left to raise them but their father.  This spells trouble for Amy (Amy Schumer) when her future shows up right in her face and she doesn’t know how to handle it.  That means she doesn’t date well.  With an all star cast to help out Amy’s first theatrical release written and starring her you will love the relationships, cringe at the self destruction, and then wonder how it all stays together.  If this is considered her freshman effort man, I can’t wait to see what she does next.  Standard practice for Judd Apatow, as his comedies are always good.

 

Spoiler Filled Review: (read only if you HAVE seen it and don’t care about spoilers)

 

I bet you figured that Amy Schumer was funny.  Yeah, you got that from the trailers.  Really, she is a talent.  She is more daring in her comedy than most females and Bill Hader was the perfect combination to make this thing hit.  I’m also glad that Hader finally was substantial this time around.  Most of the time he’s playing a side character that is funny as hell but has no real purpose.  He plays the boyfriend that almost gets away and even though there wasn’t an airport scene with Amy running through it dodging people, bags & babies he played the girl getting on the plane.  …so to speak.  I did enjoy the many appearances from a lot of stars.  Amy really called in the favors for this one.  Check this out:  Colin Quinn, John Cena, Dave Attell, Tilda Swinton, Randall Park, Ezra Miller, Mike Birbiglia, LeBron James, Daniel Radcliffe, Marisa Tomei, Method Man (nice accent), Tim Meadows, Amare Stoudemire, Matthew Broderick, Marv Albert, Chris Evert just to name the ones I recognized.

Which brings me to my next part.  Casting.  Who wasn’t cast in this movie?  I wasn’t.  I thought Colin had a perfect role as well as Amy Schumer & Bill Hader.  Perfect roles.  Mike Birbiglia nailed the “playin it safe” hubby perfectly.  So, I liked the casting a lot.  Brie Larson (sister Kim) could have been played by anyone I feel, but maybe I just missed her “nailed it” part of the movie.  Not only bringing the perfect role selections but acting was on Par for your typical Comedy/Romance film.  Although LeBron is not your typical actor on a scale from Kazamm to He Got Game LeBron scored a slightly better than MJ in Space Jam.  I make it sound like Amy made the movie but I got to give credit to the director Judd Apatow.  With movies like This is 40, Knocked Up, The 40 year-old virgin, this movie falls right in there.

I’m impressed that Amy Schumer wrote and starred in this movie.  But that’s not going to stop me from picking it apart.  My first problem was the non-information about her dad.  If it was briefly mentioned and I didn’t catch it I’m sorry, but I had no idea what was wrong with him.  I wanted to understand why he was the only “Younger” guy in a assisted living facility.  He just didn’t look aged enough to warrant that.  So, my wife had guessed stroke.  Most stroke victims have it affect one side of their body.  He was facially all there.  Expressions all over the place.  So, that wasn’t it.  Then he dies of what?

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alcoholism?  I don’t know, I can’t tell ya.  I wished there was some explanation on that.  I could have felt that loss a bit more if I wasn’t spending that time trying to figure out why he died.  Second problem, LeBron James is besties with a doctor (surgeon)?  I didn’t buy it.  It felt more like a conversation was made “wouldn’t it be cool if you were best friends with King James?  Yeah!  Let’s make THAT happen!  Oh, and Amy next time you write a

movie… give your characters last names.  No biggie just a small thing that makes people human.  Aaron got a last name and the “guest” stars got to keep their names.  My final gripe would be the fact that they were apart for several months before she tried to “win” him back.  I’m sorry but after a girl/guy self destructs a relationship if it isn’t resolved in that week then its over buddy.  Sorry but thats the truth.  The longer you go without that person that bad taste that was left in your mouth grows into a horrible fungus and you learn to not want to be with them.  So, other than that piece being totally fictional once in a lifetime type stuff, I did enjoy how she won him back.  It was very fitting of the character.  The plot was overused and it could have been found in any romantic comedy out there in your local Netflix queue.  That’s why I think everyone did great with a overused plot.  They made it feel new.

It’s not everyday you get a 2 hour comedy.  Most are scheduled for 1 hr and a half.  So, with that being said I didn’t notice the time and they made it as long as it needed to be to tell a great story.  Her destructive bomb towards the end felt forced and annoying because we were all expecting it to happen but the movie recovered fast and kept it going.  The soundtrack was a party soundtrack at times which I enjoyed.  Other than that nothing to write home about.  Actually, it did make me think when is the “y’all ready for this!” anthem at basketball games is going to go away.  Its been around since forever ago and I’m ready to say goodbye.  Anyone else?

Like I said above, it didn’t seem very believable but lets pretend this is a movie and say that this is make believe.  I liked the ending.  Very fitting and well deserved.

4.0

STARS

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Comic Book Connection Tilda Swinton (future role) – Doctor Strange, Ezra Miller (future role) – The Flash, Marisa Tomei (future role) – Untitled Spider-Man (2017)
Nudity Bonus Oh, and all the Man Ass in this movie doesn’t get a Nudity bonus.  Sorry.  Not today!
Favorite Moment Cheerleader Win Back dance with a double flip not-quite-dunk!
Most Hated Moment LeBron James asking Amy what her intentions are.  It was bad yall.
THIS Movie reminded me of THAT Movie Most Rom Coms but with a role reversal.
What did my wife think of this movie? Trainwreck was pretty funny, some of it might have made me a little nostalgic for my younger years.  And no, I will not be more specific on which parts reminded me of my younger self.  Amy Schumer is absolutely hilarious and Bill Hader was amazing as usual.  I am like most other chicks and love the Rom-Coms all day long!  This one was no different, but it was a nice reminder of what would have happened if I hadn’t met my husband at the age of twenty. 🙂
Box Office Budget $35,000,000.00
How much it made Domestically $102,384,000.00
Was it a Box office Success? Or Failure? Success
Did you notice? 1.  Method Man was using an African Accent.  I think it was African?
2.  How much Chris Evert looks like an older Cheri O’Teri.  I was lookin for Will Ferrell to pop out.
3.  Six SNL Alum was in this film:   Bill Hader, Vanessa Bayer, Pete Davidson, Leslie Jones, Tim Meadows and Colin Quinn
Rotten Tomatoes Score
Critics 85%
Audience 75%

 


Crazy, Stupid, Love. (2011)

Trailer: Crazy, Stupid, Love.

Starring: Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, John Carroll Lynch, Marisa Tomei and Kevin Bacon

Directed By:  Glenn Ficarra and John Requa

Running Time:1hr and 58min – Genre: Comedy, Romance, Drama

 

Kimmay! (Host)

Ohhh, how I love Crazy, Stupid, Love. With the all-star cast of Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore and Emma Stone, this movie could hardly go wrong. I thought they all interacted well and played off each other.

The scenes between Emma and Ryan were great. She’s quirky and he was charming. Their banter is fun to listen to and was just fun to watch. Plus, could she be the one to change him from his wicked womanizing ways? That could be drama later in the movie.

When a couple that had been married for over 20 years find themselves at a crossroads in their marriage, growth is inevitable. When Cal is found nursing his watered down vodka and cranberry by Jacob, he couldn’t know how his life was going to change. After a few smacks to the face, Cal learned how to dress and how to become a ladies man. I’m not gonna say much more about the plot because I don’t want to ruin it. Though one of my favorite scenes in this whole movie is when all the grown men get into a fight and one of them doesn’t even know why. It was comical and entertaining to watch. The women are just kind of standing there staring at them, “trying” to get them to stop.

Since I always say something about the music in the movies I watch, this one won’t be any different. Just like most other films the music fit. Wasn’t too great but wasn’t awful either.

The script seemed mostly original to me.  Well as original as a transformation story can be but it was never a drag to watch.

But ladies, you will be happy to know you get to see Ryan shirtless a couple times and plus a lil more. 😉

So all in all I give this movie a…

4.0‘s

Ran-Dizzle

What tangled webs we weave…I never would have probably picked this movie up if it wasn’t for Kimmay! picking it. I’ve heard a bunch of things about it, so I was very leery in watching it. But now I was actually kind of blown away, even a little bit of a surprise that caught me off guard (not going to spoil it for you)

So the cast was amazing, but general at the same time for a drama rom/com it felt like they’ve been in these roles before but to me Emma Stone is still beautiful (has a soft spot for that fiery red head) and you know they picked Ryan Gosling because they asked like 90% of women who would be a good attractive star that you would like to see shirtless and they said Channing Tatum, but he can’t act so they got Ryan Gosling #2 pick…(just kidding…or am I ?!?!)  what I loved is how the stories mesh into each other. Each character had an interesting story that kept getting weird to me, but then you get that feeling that you know there is going to be a happy ending…but your not sure…but you have that feeling.

That being said I would think it was difficult to write having so many plot lines, about love as someone who is working on a personal project much similar but not quite I can understand so I give them kudo’s on that. But how it all wrapped up I thought was done rather well even if it wasn’t the perfect ending.

Overall I had my doubts I was going to enjoy this movie, but after seeing it, I actually enjoyed it. But then again I tend to be the Rom/Com- Drama guy. I will say it did have a bit of Wes Anderson feel to the film but maybe that’s me.

Definitely check this out.

 4.0 ‘s

 

Big JD

The Crazy, the Stupid-o and the Lovely is all showcased in this movie of the drama-dy collection.  You can’t ask for more when you have a cast of this stature.  The casting is definitely a strong point of this movie.  Although it is a problem.

The cast is great, I feel that the decisions are pretty much “easy picks”.  Steve Carrell plays a character that isn’t sure of himself and gets “made over” by a more confident person.  Sound familiar?  40 year old virgin?  Julianne Moore plays the wife that struggles with the fact that she doesn’t know if she’s “happy” in that marriage or not.  The same role we’ve seen her in during the last 5-10 years.  Emma Stone confident daughter… most of her movies but Easy A comes to mind.  Ryan Gosling a good looking strong and confident guy that “knows” everything about being cool?  I can’t think of any movies that he’s done this before but it should be a reoccurring role for him.  He did great.  I could go on but the examples really stand on their own.  So, this is really a type cast movie.  No stretching of talents, No concerns, and no real breakthroughs in performance just continual advancements.

I was never bored throughout this movie.  I felt engaged the entire time.  Although, at times it seemed like a real downer at times I was able to get through that and enjoy the movie.  I felt the growth of Steve Carrells character was done well, with the help of Ryan Gosling’s character and Marisa Tomei.  Having the couples come together without the knowledge of each other was a nice touch by the writer.  It was like a nice little bow on the present of family.  The happy happy good good feeling you get when everybody’s together at the end of the movie and everything’s gonna be ok.  Likely to say I enjoyed the ending as well.

The drama-dy genre really bothers me.  I understand to have true drama you must have some comedy to make you feel for the characters to pull you in to make you feel the drama for when it occurs.  Kinda like without good you will never have evil type deal.  BUT, when they go to extremes it feels like the movie doesn’t know which direction to go.  The exteme drama mixed with the extreme comedy doesn’t mix well.  When I say “extreme” comedy I may be stretching it a bit.  But when you are extremely dramatic at one moment any time you try to be slightly funnier thereafter it may seem extreme because it’s the opposite reaction.  When you have the simple plot of this movie doesn’t help you pull off the drama-dy either.  Cool guy gets the uncool guy back to reality all the while he dates his daughter and finds love himself.  Blah blah generic generic.  And as I say that I will say that I blindly liked it.  Without thinking about it I still enjoyed this movie and wouldn’t mind watching it again with my wife…  Not too soon but let’s say in about a month… or two.

3.50‘s


Les Miserables (2012)

Trailer: Les Miserables (2012)

Starring: Hugh Jackman,  Russell CroweAnne Hathaway   – Directed By:  Tom Hooper

Running Time: 2 hr & 38 mins – Genre: Drama, Musical, Romance

 

Kimmay! (Host)

To say that I love musicals is a slight understatement. I can watch them over and over again and then also listen to the soundtracks in my free time. Les Miserables is one of my absolute favorites. In fact a few years ago I made my sister sit in the rain for over two hours just to watch the live show. But enough about that and on to the movie.

I was mightily impressed with the choice of actors in this movie. I will admit that I was a little hesitant of Hugh Jackman and not because of his acting style I just didn’t know he could sing. Russell Crowe was also amazing. He played the part of a super zealous mega cop very well. And Anne Hathaway, all I can say is that I had tears running down my face when she sang “I Dreamed a Dream.” Her portrayal of a woman who had her dreams and hopes dashed away by the one careless act was breath taking.

Now for the music because this is after all a musical with very little dialog added in. I do not think there is a song in this musical that I do not like. From the songs that are supposed to add humor like “Master of the House” to songs of lost love, hope, and faith. It is hard for me to choose a favorite, But right now I think “On my Own” is way up there.

The costumes, make-up and set really impressed. The “Miserables” looked rough with their tattered clothing and sores oozing.Begging for a chance to live another day. Then when the Resistance is about to start the revolt the running through the streets of Paris and making the blockades seemed very realistic. I did some research when the movie first came out and the director complained that it was hard to get the carpenters to build of kilter like it was back in the day to get the real 19th century feel.

So I do recommend this movie or maybe a better way to say it this 2 and half hour song to most anyone. So if you know you can’t handle that amount of singing you might want to pass on this but if the thought doesn’t scare you, enjoy. I have watched this movie over and over again and will watch it probably a hundred more. So i give this film….

5‘s

Ran-Dizzle

So this movie was a Culture shock to me and probably a big clue that I am not going to like “Musicals” I mean I love Grease, and The Classics because they had speaking lines on top of just singing. *Spoiler Alert* If you cannot handle people singing their dialog do not watch this movie.

With that being said several people have impressed me in this movie. First of all I must say the cast was very talented with their singing voice. The most surprising was Sacha Baron Cohen and Helen Bonham Carter they impressed me very much and was a surprise to see them in this movie. The Top billed actors were great. Even Russell Crowe, the Chemistry between Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman was done very well, however you can’t really take them seriously when they are singing at each other.

Anne Hathaway who’s role didn’t play long stuck out the most to me, she played the character very well and was able to pull off the singing dialog very well.  He character who’s role seemed to be a small role to me ended up being a vital role especially with Jean Valjean.

The Cinematics was done well and the sound effects were about normal to me. The Soundtrack (Also the dialog I guess) is good I remember singing some of these songs in Choir in high school. But honestly it was distracting and hard for me to watch due to the constant singing dialog. Especially when there are 3-4 people singing at each other it’s hard for me to keep a grasp on what’s going on.

The Dialog “Lyrics” is fair, the story plays out well especially between Jean Valjean and Javier, the good guy/ bad guy epic story but sung out loud.

Overall it was very difficult to keep my focus due to no dialog just singing at each other, on the flip side of that the acting is done well due to singing at each other, However for me it’s hard to take a story seriously if I am being sang at, I mean think of it like this if your grandma died would you send a singing tell-a-gram to tell your other loved ones? And would they take it seriously?  But then again this is a “MUSICAL” but my defending point it Grease, Wizard of Oz, Music Man, Willy Wonka were all musicals too….

3.5‘s

 

Big JD

Look Down! Look Down!  Keep your attention from the screen!

Look Down! Look Down!  We sing the script in every scene

I have to apologize for the lateness of this week’s post for I am solely responsible.  I just had a really hard time getting through this movie.  After an hour in it just got to be a chore to watch any more.  However I did get through it and now I have a supreme accomplishment under my belt.  Needless to say I didn’t enjoy this movie.  I am quite disappointed that I loathe this movie because there are thousands of people that have enjoyed the play on Broadway for many years.  That makes me feel like I’m not cultured enough.  Am I missing something?  Well, lets get into my feelings more in depth and then you can tell me what I failed to see (hear).  Spoilers ahead.

First I would like to open this box by giving you the positive aspects of “The Miserable”.  I thought the cast was great.  Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Sacha Baron Cohen, and Helena Bonham Carter.  Usually a star studded cast like this will help sway my “like”.  Not today folks.  Out of all of them Sacha was my favorite as he amused me with his money hungry grubby ways.  His song that he sang was probably my favorite of the movie.  Song?  Yes, If you didn’t already know this is a musical and it is all song.  Every single bit of it.  There are a few spoken words but mostly constant singing.  The final thing that I actually thought was well done was the CGI.  It was well placed and well done.  Although I think they hit their budget on the opening scene.  Ha!  No, the lighting and overall tone of the film was good and properly done as you feel like it is the 19th century.

My overall gripe with the movie is that the plot of the entire movie is driven by the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.  The main character (Jean Valjean) played by Jackman does 19 years of “time” for stealing a piece of bread.  After that he is on parole (for life) for stealing this small piece of bread.  He obviously breaks his parole and the entire movie he is chased by a Prefect (Russell Crowe).  The Prefect dedicates his “existence” to bringing him to justice.  Justice!  Seriously!?  Justice.  For stealing a piece of bread.  Ok, I understand that they did some messed up things way back then but c’mon.  Let’s get serious.  This was not motivation enough to drive this individual so crazy that he spends his entire adult life chasing this guy.  See, we all do things based on motivation.  With the proper motivation it would seem plausible.  Let me give you an example.  A young boy at the age of 9 let’s say his name is Javert (psst!  The Prefect dude) and let’s say that he witnesses a criminal break into his house and rape his mother.  Followed by tying Javert to a chair and makes him watch as he stuff’s bread into her mouth.  So much bread that it suffocates her in front of his eyes.  Now THIS is something to drive this person with the proper motivation to bring this so called “criminal” to justice.  But alas we don’t get that.  We are just supposed to go with the flow because this is based on a play that has been in circulation since 1862.  I’m not one to “go with the flow”.  I also can’t understand why Javert killed himself.  I understand he was obsessed and that Jean Valjean had made him question his life for sparing that same life.  So, just move on Man!  C’mon!  Also, why did Fantine & Valjean both die.  Neither was explained but again, here we go.  Let’s go with the flow because it’s an institution.  The revolution played very subtle.  Many deaths yet people still had time to sing till their last breath.  “Hey, I just took a bullet for you.  It hurts.  But I’m still going to sing about lovin’ you”.  Speaking of the girl that dies for the A-hole that could give a shi*.  He tells her that he wished that he could heal her with words of “love”.  Implying that he loves her.  Great, that’s nice lets tell a dying woman some lies before she heads for the great beyond.  Great suitor for Collette.  I mean Cosette.

The music was … music.  There were some catchy songs in there that may have you singing long after you sit through it.  Like, “Look Down”, “Master of the House”, or nope I got nothing.  Much of the music I wanted to fast forward through.  I didn’t.  But still had me waiting for something story related to happen.  Because as they start singing they will just hem-haw back and forth for 3-4 minutes while you bathe in the common sound of their song.  By the way, I disliked Russell Crowe singing very much.  His character just made no sense so, his songs were a waste of time for me.  They all had good singing voices.  Nobody was “bad” or anything.  In fact, I was impressed by how high Amanda Seyfried could get.  It was very reminiscent to like a Snow White or early Disney Princess voice.  Even if you had taken the music out there was still the bad plot devices.  So, “at the end of the day”…

Look Down! Look Down! I just stole a tiny bite of some pie!

Look Down! Look Down! For doing that I just might die!

for “who am I” to keep on writing this…  re——–view!

Comic book Connection:  Hugh Jackman: x-men collection, Wolverine collection – Anne Hathaway: Batman-Dark Knight Rises – Russell Crowe: Man of Steel.

Nudity Bonus:  Cleavage don’t count.

2.0‘s


Coming To America (1988)

Trailer:  Coming To America (1988)

Starring: Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones  – Directed By:  John Landis

Running Time: 1hr & 56 mins – Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance

 

Big JD (Host)

Synopsis:   A young prince from an African country comes to age to find that on this day he meets his arranged wife to be.  He finds this to be something he doesn’t want to except and gets permission to come to America to find his wife.  What better place for a King to find his mate… Queens.

Review:

Eddie Murphy showcases his talent for multiple characters and meaningful stories in this movie.  The only question is; Why did he stop making movies like this?  I guess popularity has a real big impact on what movies get made in this industry.  Not to state the obvious or anything.

I grew up with this movie and that has some reason for my love for it.  But mainly it’s the characters that make this movie.  Arsenio Hall exemplified his relationship to Eddie Murphy through his role of Semi.  Riding on the coattails of the Prince.  Arsenio’s multiple characters failed to compare to that of Mr. Murphy’s.  Although the reverend was pretty good.  I think if I were to rank Eddie’s characters Top 3 it would be 1. Saul, 2. Randy Watson, 3. Clarence and not making the top 3 would be the main character Prince Akeem which was good but kinda boring compared to the others.  I thought having James Earl Jones play the King was magnificent.  As well as the dad from Good Times was also a nice addition.  And the secret addition of Cuba Gooding jr as a haircut customer, and Samuel L. Jackson as a random thug.  (He did a lot of those type of roles back then.)

The score was great and it will have you singing the title song all day.  The wardrobe was good.  I might get flack for this but, with the cheesiness of the pieces it made it unique and I thought that fit Zamunda well.  Gotta love the King’s crown.  It looks like it was made by a toddler.

One flaw that I found with this movie that I’ve always kinda been aware of was the Love Factor.  Not once was a “I love you” mentioned by her and he was just “assuming” this.  Wasn’t that the problem with her last boyfriend?  Would she immediately be ok with him assuming her love?  I also thought that the relationship seemed forced and moved really quick.  It didn’t seem like it would have really happened.  Lets see, She just got out of a relationship, she knows that her sister likes him, and he has the chance of going back home to Zamunda.  All of these are reasons why they shouldn’t have gotten together.  But in fact they did and not much was made of it.  Oh, and they got married before they even had sex?  Hmmmmm that doesn’t seem very plausible at all.

I want to mention the fact that they introduced another movie that had been made 5 years earlier and also directed by John Landis.  Trading Places.  The two old men that Akeem gave the “pocket change” to was from that movie.  In the same universe!  Well before Iron Man in 2008 Coming to America introduced us to this in 1988.  Pioneers.  J

Comic book Connection:  Samuel L. Jackson – the Avengers, Iron Man 2 etc…

Nudity Bonus:  Felicia Taylor/Bather (T-4:54) Victoria Dillard/Bather (A-4:56) Midori/Bather (T-5:08)

 

4.50‘s

Ran-Dizzle-

Coming to America was one of the first Eddie Murphy movies I’ve seen. This was done during the prime of his career and to 

me one of his better movies. The story was interesting a Royal member of Zamunda wanting to make his own decisions and find his own wife.

Eddie Murphy and Arsenio’s acting was done well especially with having portrayed multiple characters. The whole cast did well it was interesting to see some small roles to very popular actors like the kid in the barber chair was Cuba Gooding Jr. and The Robber at McDowell’s was Samuel L. Jackson.

Soundtrack was interesting it fit well, even when Eddie Murphy and Sexual Chocolate are singing, or Paul Bates singing as Vanessa Bell walks down the aisle brings out some comedy on its own.

Overall this is one of the better movies for me I think my favorite scene is Eddie Murphy playing the Old Jewish guy at the end telling the joke.


5.0‘s

Kimmay!

So to all who know me, there are lots of movies that I have should have watched at least once in my life that I have never seen. Surprisingly this is one of them.

Prince Akeem is a young royal prince who wants to take control of his own life and destiny. I probably would too if I couldn’t even brush my own teeth. So Akeem with his faithful if slightly whinny friend, Semmi,  travel to Queens, New York to find Akeem’s future bride. The duo take a job at fast food joint so Akeem can get closer to who he hopes is the girl of his dreams. Like always pretending to be someone you’re not comes back and bites him in the butt, yet like all rom-coms it works out in the end.

The movie was comical and had many enjoyable parts but I think my favorite are the scence that involve the three barbers and the old Jewish guy. The bickers they have back and forth are humorous and kind of what I expect what one would find in a long standing barbershop.

The music was kinda cheesy but what can one really expect from a comedy made in the 80’s.

It was an enjoyable movie but I think because I didn’t catch it in its prime I don’t like it as much as others. I would watch this movie again but probably only if someone else picked it out.

 3.0‘s

 


The Host (2013)

Trailer: The Host Trailer

Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Diane Kruger, Max Irons  – Directed By:  Andrew Niccol

Running Time: 2hrs & 5 mins – Genre: Action, Adventure, Romance (& Sci-Fi too)

 

Big JD (Host)

Synopsis:

In the future we are invaded by aliens that inhabit our body and run our world in the quest for a peaceful planet.  We as humans are hosts to our alien invaders.  There are few humans that have been able to escape and are constantly on the run.  Melanie is one of those humans until she is captured and implanted with “The Wanderer”.  Melanie still being alive inside fights the being and the 2 struggle to work together to change their world.

Review:

From the writer of the Twilight series Stephenie Meyer’s novel is adapted into a surprisingly good movie.  I say that I’m surprised for 2 reasons.  1.  I’m not a fan of the Twilight series 2.  The movie domestically grossed 26 million at the box office.  So, it tanked in the theatres.  But, I kept an open mind from start to finish and this movie surprised me.  Like I said.

The story is basically taking the “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” theme and expanded upon it.  It takes an in depth look at the struggle of 2 minds in one body.  Also, the epic scale of a silent alien invasion that has taken most of the planet.  Saoirse Ronan plays the main character Melanie and she proved to be an excellent unknown (to me) actress.  Maybe it’s the eyes but she did very well playing two different personalities.  Diane Kruger plays the “seeker” that is after Melanie.  Although she plays a very good villain I thought she could have been pushed to do a little more to go over the top.  William Hurt plays an old man that is uncle to Melanie.  Hurt can do no wrong in this role.  It’s perfect for a seasoned vet.  Not too long but just enough of a role for you to like his character.  One line that I did not care for actually came from Uncle Jeb (Hurt).  When he asks Wanderer to call her by a shortened name and then names her Wanda..  Like the “errrrr” sound was too difficult to say?  Your already saying a 2 syllabel name “Wan-Da” might as well say “errrr” or at least give me another excuse.  Here I got one.  “Hey Wanderer, I find it difficult calling you by this name.  May I call you Wanda?  It makes you seem more human”.

The side characters were all basic needs.  Meaning that they were there and none of them really stood out.  Nobody did a bad job but nobody else stood out.  There were opportunities to have some bad acting moments but they were avoided and for that I give credit to Director Andrew Niccol for a superb editing job.

The writing, Directing, Special effects were all good.  Even the soundtrack was decent and no not because of the Imagine Dragons song at the ending credits.  The score kept the calmness and Sci-Fi feel of the movie.  I had no problems.  Wait, yes I did.  It was the ending.  The ending felt “tacked on”.  It could have ended prior to the original ending but the ending they showed just had to set up another movie.  If we were going by domestic box office numbers then it will not have a sequel.  The studio wouldn’t risk it.  But, there is something to take note of when you look at Worldwide numbers.  Domestic & Foreign totals to be 48 million dollars and with a 40 million dollar budget it made like 8 million and that’s not counting DVD sales.  So, I think it may be possible to get a sequel out of this.  And although IMDB does not list this as a Sci-Fi genre movie it is ALL Sci-Fi baby!  Somebody at IMDB needs to watch this again.  Very little Romance aspects although they really marketed it as such.

Comic book Connection:  William Hurt – The Incredible Hulk

Nudity Bonus:  Nopers…

 

4.50‘s

Ran-Dizzle

 What would you do if you woke up and had 2 voices in your head? and unable to control your own body? It was an interesting story of Sparkling  Blue Parasites that control your bod,. But when you get a strong willed host that fights you too keep their loved one alive, after an invasion and you start to see their point of existence and that they are not as harmful as you are lead to believe. The story line was for the most part pretty original, it made me think in like a love story mixed with invasion of the body snatchers but for the most part pretty interesting lots of morals to it as well.

Acting was done fairly well, No one really stood out which can be good or bad in this case it was good. Diane Kruger did a good job but for me she didn’t seem very villainous to me but still did well being the seeker with a one track mind of world domination, one mustache twirl away from pure evil….just kidding.  Diane Kruger and William Hurt were probably the 2 biggest stars I saw in the casting, so it really impressed me when this group of “unknowns” were able to keep my attention and act very well. I guess that’s why I prefer actors that are no names because they have a lot more to lose then ones who’ve been in several movies.

Special Effects were done pretty well, I was amazed by the healing spray stuff.  I think the one that got me the most was the huge picture of “The Store” that just said STORE on the front of it, keeping it really simple. Also having the cars the seekers and people had…how can they afford all of this…oh wait if you go to the store and don’t pay, then do you go to the car lot and just drive off the lot with a car? I want to visit the Lamborghini store then 😀

Overall this movie wasn’t horrible, actually sadly it kept my attention. Although I know JD picked it just to hear the Radioactive song from Imagine Dragons.  (Not really….or Did he?) I would say this is a must rent, some people might not like the fact that it was from the Author of “The Twilight Saga” to be honest I told JD if there were Sparkly Aliens making love to humans I was going to hurt him for making me watch it…but it didn’t happen. So that might turn people away, but for you Stephanie Meyer Fans Kudos because this is probably I think way better then Twilight (though haven’t seen it and unless JD has a death wish hopefully never will)


4.0‘s

 


Love Actually (2003)

love-actually-hugh-grant-dvd-cover-art

Running Time:2hrs 15 min

Directed by: Richard Curtis

Written by Richard Curtis

Love Actually Official Trailer

Ran-Dizzle (Host)

All I want for Christmas is Will to enjoy a movie that doesn’t involve the $5.00 bin at Wal-mart or Youtube.

So This is a movie of about several different ways love invades us all, even around holidays such as Christmas. Most of these stories that John has mentioned below will have a common ground with most of us. But what I loved about these different love stories is how one can connect to the characters, to me that means it’s well written.

I think the worst part about this film is the horrible music “Love is all around us” Bill Nighy Cannot sing at all….Sorry if you read this Bill (But I doubt you will)  But the All you need is love during the wedding ceremony was pretty awesome.

Casting was phenomenal and couldn’t imagine a better cast. Although some parts were a little bit over done….like the diving in for the screen play, learning the drums so fast and then playing awesomely for the show…..little cheesy but liked it.KN

Overall pretty decent chick-flick holiday movie that doesn’t involve  traditional holiday shenanigans.

4‘s

Big JD

“Love Actually…  is all around”

A series of Love stories strategically placed into one movie.  On top of that it turns out to be a Christmas movie.  How bout that.  A hopeless romantic’s dream movie that can be watched year after year with the excuse that its “tradition”.

This is a look at the many forms of Love that we all encounter in our lives.  I feel that this movie really did well at touching upon all forms.  Break out your Love Dictionary’s were going on a trip.  1) The” Lost Love”.  2) The “step-parent Love”. 3) The “Puppy Love”.  4) The “We’re Just Married” Love.  5) The “My best friend just married the girl I’m in love with I better keep my mouth shut” love.  6) The “I thought I was in love until she cheated on me” love. 7) The “I’m looking for love but I’m mistaking that for lust” love. 8) The “foreigner’s are always more attractive” love 9) The “we work in a sexual environment but still found each other’s hearts” love 10) The “lust that causes men to cheat” love. 11) The “I think I want to do my boss” love.  12) The “I know you cheated on me to some degree but I’m willing to forgive you for the kids” love.  13) The “secret love”. 14) “The obligated family member love” 15) The “platonic love that one feels for a really good friend” Love. 16) “I love my profession” love.  17) The “I just fell in love with someone I work with” love.  And probably the best one in the entire movie.  18) The “I have no idea what you are saying and neither do you but somehow we still fell in love” love.  So, with all of those messages of love wrapped into 2 hours and 15 minutes do you feel overwhelmed?  No, not actually.  I can’t go through all of the story lines, nor can I mention ALL of the actors, but I will talk briefly about what was lacking.  Was there anything lacking?

HG + MM

The cast was fantastic.  It is really fun watching a movie with so many stars involved.  With so many recognized actors it almost made up for the fact that everyone was British (exception of a few) and that’s fine and everything but I have a small pet peeve annoyance for the British accent.  I’m sorry, it’s like nails on a chalk board to me.  But if that’s the worst I can come up with then this movie will not disappoint you.  I will say it’s one of those movie for men that they really don’t want to watch until they’ve watched it and then they say “that wasn’t that bad… it was actually pretty good.”  Well, ok let me just say Denise Richards was totally out of place and I could have done without seeing her show up.

Little fact after the movie was over I had realized that the actor that played the friend that was in love with Kiera Knightley’s character is no other than “Rick” from “The Walking Dead”.  I was amazed really.  Also, saw “January Jones” from “Mad Men & X-Men: First Class” in there.  Can you find her?

Comic Book Movie Bonus:  Liam Neeson – The Dark Knight Trilogy, Emma Thompson – Men In Black 3, Andrew Lincoln – The Walking Dead …ok it’s TV but I had to mention it, January Jones – X-Men: First Class

Nudity Bonus: Laura Linney – Sarah (1:11:04)(T), Joanna Page – Just Judy (14:32/24:12)(T,A)

4‘s

Willie Good-Cook

-Randizzle pick a good movie for once…actually.-

Take my two least favorite things and put them in one movie and you get this “wonderful” movie. From the opening scenes I knew this movie was not for me. British romance comedy with more characters and stories to tell than a Tolkien novel. This movie has Hugh Grant in it which I guess you could say was their star power…though not in my book (or Liam Nieson…but again…yah.) This movie kind of bothered me honestly. This is a great example of a good idea which was take too far. Lets have 10 couples and tell their whole story and put it all in one movie. or you could cut it down to 2-3 couples and have 2 -3 movies. But no! this director says. Who would want that?

I am not even going to try to sum up the story for you (good luck Ranny,) but I will say most of these stories don’t seem to be rooted in reality. It’s like they tried to fit the plot from every other sappy Romance movie or book and crammed it into one movie. I thought my head would explode by the end of this movie. (but it’s ok, my movie pick next week will promise to bring them both to their knees. MWHAHAHAHAH!) If I were to describe this movie in one word it would have to be: WHY?!

I mostly blame the writers for this movie. The casting was ok…not great. The actors delivered decent performance…but still. You can only fit so much into one movie. You can’t have a person show character development in a 15-20 minute segment. It was like watch a soap opera. Hell, I would have rather watched the soap. At least it isn’t over 2 hours of bad writing. And the way they tie this all together? Lets just do a short montage at the end to show how all the characters have grown and changed because of these experiences….HOW F’N LAZY CAN ONE MOVIE BE!!

If you ask me, there is a reason this movie isn’t award winning, emmy nominated, or anything at all really. The only thing this film deserved was a razzle for having a huge ensemble cast but not being able to make a good movie with it. All this movie was missing was a cameo from Elton John…oh wait. They threw that in too.

-Suggestion- If you dangle between the legs don’t ever…EVER!!!….EVER!!! watch this horrid movie. But if you are a girl…I guess you might like it…a really girly girl….like the Notebook on steroids girly.

0‘ s (Nope, I didn’t forget the rating.)


Four Christmases (2008)

Four Christmases (2008)

Running Time: 1 hrs 28 mins – Comedy, Drama, Romance

Starring:  Reese Witherspoon, Vince Vaughn, Mary Steenburgen  – Directed by Seth Gordon

Synopsis:  A new age couple think that they have life & relationships all figured out.  Going home for christmas for them was more of a chore than a joy but this christmas their plans didn’t quite work out as planned.  Visiting each of their divorced parents in one day would be quite the task for anyone and it proves to be family that pulls them through.  “you can’t spell families without Lies.  Am I right?”

Big JD (host)

This movie is one of those untraditional Christmas comedies.  Albeit the idea of this movie is very original and mostly typical of how today’s society is with Christmas.  So, what makes a  Four Christmases Christmas movie and does this pass?  Well, it has to take place during Christmas.  Check.  Does it have lots of Christmas music?  Check.  Does it have anything about the “Meaning of Christmas”?  Check… kinda.  It’s more of how the Meaning of Christmas can bring families together and even though some of our families are dysfunctional we are there because we love them.  When you have a large cast as this it’s hard not to like these families.

Vince Vaughn’s acting is nothing you haven’t seen before.  His role in this movie is exactly the same as any other comedy role I’ve seen him in.  Nothing surprising actually.  I was kinda expecting that anyway.  Reese did decent with her part.  I thought the acting/writing of the “brother’s” were a bit cliché.  I was kinda hoping for some resolution with that but none was given.  Actually, I was hoping for some resolution between Orlando and his father as well.  Come to find out they kept him an awful prick.  Not to be petty and speak ill of someone on Christmas or anything.  Maybe the overacting on most of the casts part was intentional and maybe it was done so that you understood the vast differences each family had.    That could be a mix of Acting/Writing.  One final thing about the writing.  The “get her back” speech at the end was probably the worst I’ve ever heard in a Romantic Comedy.  It was very weak, and I wouldn’t have taken him back with it.  Actually, I thought she was overreacting in the first place so, yeah I guess it evens out.

I did enjoy the differences between the families and as they visited each family they changed as a couple one family at a time.  Which makes sense.  You really can’t grow as a couple until you meet each others family.  You have to understand where your spouse came from to help understand who they are.  Kristin Chenowith‘s Cleavage was actually so distracting I really don’t know what else was going on in the film with every scene she was in.  I’m ok with that.  Really.  The funny parts were written to be funny.  They were, it felt forced at times but I laughed a few times.  It felt more like “Meet The Parents” / “Anything Can Go Wrong” type of funny but it worked.

One thing that I have to warn parents about.  Very Important.  If your child still believes in Santa Claus DO NOT LET THEM WATCH THIS MOVIE.  There is  a scene in it that I’m glad my kids did not see.  We got lucky.  Basically it’s Vince Vaughn telling a kid that Santa doesn’t exist and you might be able to explain it away to your kids but it’s not good.

On the whole it was a decent Christmas movie watch but not a stellar effort.  I wouldn’t even say that this would be in our Christmas movie rotation.  Easily forgettable.  The ending leaves you like… ok?  “So, it’s all good?  Ok.  Decent movie.”

3.5‘s

Willie Good-Cook

-Cootie Kate FTW!-

Ok, so this movie reminded me a lot of meet the parents x4 with a little Christmas sprinkled in. There was a very large ensemble cast which consisted mostly of B movie actors, tv actors, and actors with their career in decline. It’s like the casting director took the best of what was left and threw them all into this movie. Though the cast was sub par, along with the plot, the movie itself was fairly entertaining. There were some very funny moments.

Reese Witherspoon and babies just don’t mix. Vince Vaughn has one or two characters he can play…that is it. (Which is still one more character than Seth Rogan.) Another problem with this movie as how they introduce more of the cast, have them around for ten to twenty minutes, then they are done for the movie. It felt like the movie jumped around a lot and inhibited the character development. Mostly it was just about how embarrassing their own families were and how quickly they could get the protagonists to say “Mistletoe”.

My favorite scene had to be the intro scene. At first i thought that was how they had met, but later it is made clear that they are doing a little role playing. After that, it was mostly just painful to watch (Like meet the parents.) I think all of us can relate to not wanting to go to their own family get-togethers. We all have at least one family member we are embarrassed to introduce new people too. (Sorry uncle Fred.) This movie hammers that point home.

The ending also had me laughing. I would totally sue that camera crew. Never once did they sign a waiver or anything saying it was ok to record them. Seemed a little far fetched, but it worked in the movie. I also didn’t feel Vince and Reese were a good couple. He is way to much of a d bag and she is way to sweet to stand for his BS for very long.

-Suggestion-

A decent movie. Not the most original, but still ok. Red box it, don’t buy it.

2.5‘s

Ran-Dizzle

Where to start… So basically imagine you don’t want to visit your family for the holidays…I can relate to that, But then not only are you trying to get away from not 2 sets….but 4, dear god I feel their pain. This movie does seem to standardize modern everyday holidays not just Christmas… I know growing up it was a fight to spend the holidays at home, not going to this grandparents house, or the other ones as well.

The Acting in this movie was decent. Vince Vaughn plays his normal self, “Greasy” Reese Witherspoon “Cootie Kate” which makes it all the better did pretty ok job. Was very shocked at Robert Duvall’s Character and for about 80% of the movie I thought…That’s it…that’s all he’s got, Jon Favreau did ok, Was shocked when I saw Tim McGraw’s Character didn’t even recognize him. (Yes I knew he’s been in acting, but just couldn’t figure out who he was until the credits.)

Something I think that kind of bothered me a little about the story lines, were yes there are 4 Christmases…however they only did 20 min segments worth at each house, plus the drama towards the end. I felt like the stories at the houses were never really explained just this is what happened and now we are in the now…not the then situations. Like with the Best Friend of Orlando and that whole how did this come to be..

Other then few little flaws in the storylines like mentioned above..and the fact the news crews didn’t follow protocol (But it’s Hollywood.) It was a pretty good Christmas Movie… Would not watch it with kids because of the SPOILER ALERT in the movie.

3.5‘s


Interview With The Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994)

Interview with a Vampire: Vampire Chronicles

Running Time: 2 hours and 5 Min

Starring- Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise   – Directed by Neil Jordan

Synopsis:

A young writer interviews a man who claims to be a 200 year old vampire. Louis (vampire) tells his story of how he came to be a vampire how Lestat brought him to immortality, learning to deal with his love for life and refusal of killing another human finds Claudia who’s mother died and then she becomes a vampire as well, eventually they get away from Lestat and then  search for how it all came to be.

Ran-Dizzle (Host)

Vampires that don’t Sparkle and yet are not the monster’s that we’ve made them to be, To me this is about the equivalent of vampires that meet Queer eye for the straight guy without glitter, or Blood sucking models. Honestly to me the story is well written, I have yet to read the books I hear they are quiet well written also. Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise and Christian Slater how could this be a bad movie, it even had Antonio Banderas the cast was good and well done, Kirsten Dunst played her role very well and impressed me for a child her age (at the time) to play a vampire that seemed like a woman in her 30’s. I think if it were I would have put Benecio Del Toro as Armand vs. Antonio Banderas but he did well.

To me I think that the story was good, and I feel that there should have been a sequel, I’d love to know what happens later now that Lestat is back does he go after Louis? Also what was the back story to Armand? And whom is the creator of them all? Questions I feel never will be answered.
I still think that this is FAR better then Twilight Saga and always will. I think this movie overall was done well and is a classic that everyone should atleast watch once.

4.5‘s

Big JD

Pitt, Cruise, & Banderas oh my!  I’ve seen this movie many times but first in a way where every second was scrutinized by my critical eye.  I can’t compare this to the book by Anne Rice of which I’ve never read.  I can only give you my opinion of a movie.  A movie of Blood… ha ha ha ha ha… oh.  Eh uhm.  Let’s get on with it.

Interview with a Vampire is a fantastic look at one Vampire’s travel from birth to the current day about what one goes through as a blood sucker.  The others that he’s met and the others that he’s snacked upon.  Overall, it’s the relationship between two Vampires that have lived through the centuries together putting up with each others crap.  If you could live forever you would need a friend to spend it with.  Why not Brad Pitt?  Armand felt the same way.  You’ll see.

Vampire Lestat (Cruise) has gone centuries and runs across Louis (Pitt) and becomes his maker.  He needed a partner.  Was he slightly homosexual or just Victorian.  Maybe he just needed somebody to argue with.  When things went bad in their relationship he did like any pressured spouse would do.  Bring a child into the mix to keep the man around.  Enter Claudia (Dunst) the vicious killer that treats dead women like china dolls.  The whole story is tragic and makes you feel for the “Vampire”.  First time for that I guess.  But, being stuck on this planet as a child is/would be a nightmare.  Overall the script, screenplay, writing in general was awesome.  The costume/wardrobe was top notch.  There wasn’t much wrong with this movie, that I could find anyway.  I felt like this could have been two movies.  This movie was way too long and with it being 2 movies I’m sure more elements of the book could have been included.  Just guessing.

By the second half of the movie we get introduced to “more of their kind”.  Armand (Banderas) brings that global feel that is needed to make you feel that this Vampire thing happens everywhere.  Nowhere is safe.  “Vampires pretending to be humans pretending to be vampires”, “How Avant gard”.  The soundtrack fit the movie in every scene.  It wasn’t spectacular but fit subtlely.  As with all drama’s though there comes the saddest moment.  I think that has to be the death of Claudia.  She died how she was found.  Clutching her mother figure.  Which makes you think, if Louis hates himself and what he does so much then why doesn’t he just watch a sunrise and get it over with.  No, he has to perform an interview in the 90’s.  I’d wait too.

The end leaves you wanting more, but its sad to say that Queen of the Damned doesn’t give you what you are looking for in terms of a satisfying sequel.  Lestat’s there but way different.  And no Cruise so there ya go.  If you need more Lestat and Louis then you should probably read the book.  Sounds like a great idea actually.

Comic Book Movie Plus:  Kirsten Dunst – Sam Raimi Spider-Man Trilogy

Nudity Bonus:  Laure Marsac – Mortal Woman on Stage (1:16:00)(Full), Missy Yager – Creole Woman (50:00)(T)

4.5 ‘s

Willie Good-Cook

-The Big Suprise-

Well for one…I figured Randizzle would pick something like this. For the record, I do not like Anne Rice. Her erotic writing style is very over the top and I was not a fan. This movie carries with it a lot of her style. (Obviously, it is based on her best selling book.) The movie did have a decent cast which worked fairly well together. Though the underlying romance between Lestat and Louis was a little unnerving.  I thought the movie and plot were fairly well done. The sound track was good as well.

My only problem with this movie is that I am not a fan of Anne Rice. Her style of vampires are not shimmering and glistening, but they lack the mystic of Bram Stokers creations. And the wig they have Tom Cruise wear still makes me laugh to this day. He did ok with this part, but I feel that Stuart Townsend(Lestat in Queen of the damned) played it better. Brad Pitt was almost as good in this as he was in Fight club….almost. And the little girl vampire was a nice idea, though again it was a bit disturbing.

I did enjoy the ending. It kind of made the whole thing come together full circle.

– Suggestion-

I am sure you girlfriend, wife, or daughter will love this movie.

 4‘s


10 Items or Less (2006)

10 Items or Less (2006)10 Items or Less (2006)

Running Time:  1 hr 22 min – Comedy, Drama, Romance

Starring Morgan Freeman & Paz Vega – Directed by Brad Silberling

An Actor researching a role of a Store Manager meets and befriends a worker in the store, He can’t find away to get home. The girl at the store offers him a ride, during the chain of events they end up getting her to an interview with the help of the actor, and then she takes him home.

Ran-Dizzle(Host)

“That’s not me” “Modest Mother F@#*er”

In this movie you get a feel for what it’s like to be an actor researching a role, all the flaws you notice, everything about everyone and its surroundings even cheesy little mexican style grocery store. This movie I wasn’t quite sure how to take it at first it was kind of out there in indie-land, however I think it was ok. To me this movie was odd, that ‘s the only way I can really express it, I mean an actor follows people around researching for a role, ok I get that. But everything that happens afterwards…no actor would do, and WHO forgets their phone number or doesn’t have away of contacting someone if they are lost? I don’t buy that at all.

There was some funny parts to this movie, nothing I would say really makes you cry because your laughing so hard, unless your high, then you might get a little more of the humor, very dry indie style comedy. I think my favorite scene in the whole movie is between Morgan Freeman and Jim Parsons, and how Jim explains to Morgan that “You made me feel like a woman.”

For writing in this movie, I think that dialog inter-action with the actors was good, not best but decent. I felt the movie was rushed in production, I say this because how it’s filmed, and what happens at the end, no cliff hanger, no finding out what happens later just that’s it…Thanks for paying $9.00 in the theater to see this movie but we aren’t really going to give you an ending enjoy!.

Casting, I think they did a good job, but then again, anyone can be anyone’s spot in this movie it’s just a tag-along be a movie star researching a role for a day movie.

Overall, it was ok, I wouldn’t buy it, but it was ok, and it was nice to see Jim Parson’s in a film versus TV.

2 ‘s

Big JD

“This is Amazing!…” “It’s Target”…

I’ve often wondered what an actor does as he is researching for a role.  Now, I have a slight idea.  I found this movie a little tough to review.  One reason being that it really didn’t fall into a true genre.  Comedy?  Not quite.  There were funny parts but it wasn’t a comedy.  Romance?  Between who?  Morgan Freeman and Paz Vega?  I hope not, he’s like her father’s age.  Plus, he had said that he was grateful for his wife.  What about Drama then?  Yeah, maybe but there wasn’t much drama except for the scene where she goes home to get her keys.  Although this movie is supposedly taking you in a day in the life of an actor that has been out of the game for a while, I doubt very much that any actor would have done the things Morgan Freeman’s character did.  Let alone eat fast food.  Ha!

With that being said, Morgan Freeman has proven to me again that he is one of my favorite actors.  Playing an actor probably wasn’t that hard for him to do obviously but the way he did it was hard not to like.  Although I really didn’t feel like I believed that he just wanted to hang around and help this woman in her life struggles.  He showed me a different character than I’ve never seem from him.  Very reminiscent to his Nurse Betty character but with more talking.  Way more talking.

Paz Vega was excellent.  She really didn’t feel like “babysitting” for the rest of her life.  I couldn’t blame her.  She needed to leave her current life situation and “him” (as listed in the credits) just gave her the push she needed to hopefully get things turned around.

The movie was written well in terms of dialogue and interaction.  But unfortunately that is all the movie showed me.  Just real life.  There wasn’t much of a plot.  There wasn’t much of a story.  I can sum the movie up in two sentences.  Out of work actor travels to the other side of town to do some role research and meets Scarlet, a grocery store cashier that has too much ambition to be there.  She allows him to shadow herself as well as Lee and he follows her around in her life until she can give him a ride home.  Basically that is it.  I thought the Jonah Hill scene in the beginning was an awesome beginning.  Again, good interaction and dialogue.  Also the scenes were long.  Which means that there weren’t to many “cuts!”.  You get some good actors/actresses in a room and you’ll have a movie filmed in 2 days.  The long scenes may make others uncomfortable.  Me, I liked it.

The things I weren’t able to handle was short but important.  I understood that the Mariachi music played a role to identify where the grocery store was but it seemed very constant there for a while.  I couldn’t stand it.  It was so overpowering Cypress Hill and Paul Simon couldn’t rescue it.  Although the Car drying scene with Morgan Freeman dancing around the cars was pretty cool.

There were other scenes that stood out like the shadowing of “Lee” and conversation with Scarlet from the point of view from the back seat but it was really too short for me.  Just when I was really getting into the movie the director cut to a Driving Home Montage escorted by Paul Simon.  At that point I started to trail off and then suddenly It was over.  Some may find the ending to be OK, but when I use my gut for most of these things I usually don’t allow it to not be heard.  And although my gut says it was a shell of a movie.  I will agree and say “yes, it was” but the movie overall entertained me and I liked it.

Comic Book Movie Bonus:  Morgan Freeman: Dark Knight Trilogy, Wanted – Paz Vega: The Spirit – Danny Devito: Batman Returns

3.5‘s

Willie Good-Cook

-Why the *#$% is this a movie?-

This movie felt like the writers/director/producers were all like, “Hey, lets follow Morgan Freeman while he follows people around.” “Genius!” It really felt like I spent 45 minutes watching him watch people. I didn’t really feel like I was having a cinematic experience. It felt more like I was…watching Morgan Freeman watch people. I know I usually hate voice over but it wasn’t that this time. It was the amount of montages in this film with cheesy music over them. Hey let’s have the leading actress do her makeup for five minutes while we periodically cut back to Morgan Freeman following people around for another five minutes because we can’t actually write a good movie. Hell, even with them stretching every scene they could this movie still was only an hour and a half. (At least 40 minutes of filler in this movie.)

There were some very funny moments. The best part of the whole movie happens within the first 5 minutes. The rest was all down hill from there. The premise is pretty weak in my opinion.  I seriously doubt an actor would stalk people they don’t know like this. Or wouldn’t have a cell phone. Or a Chauffeur waiting outside with their limo. Or would continue to stalk this poor woman.

Even the strong ending was weak. Hey, lets make a pact…then 10 more minutes of Morgan Freeman following people around to the same damn music!!

-Suggestion- No…just no.

1‘s


Vertigo (1958)

Vertigo (1958)

Running Time 2 hrs 8 min – Mystery, Romance, Thriller

Starring James “Jimmy” Stewart & Kim Novak – Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

Big JD (Host)

(Synopsis)

When retired/emotionally damaged Detective John Ferguson is hired to keep an eye on a man’s supposedly possessed wife he learns that even with his bout of Vertigo he still needs to overcome his fears as well as his love stricken heart.  When true love is found will he do what he has to do or will he let it slip by.

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1958 this movie just became the #1 movie of all time according to BFI (British Film Institute).  Whereas AFI (American Film Institute) has ranked it #9 of all time with a #1 ranking in the “Mystery” genre.  The main reason I selected this movie for this week was because the #1 ranking needs to be justified by normal people.  Seeing how we are not British will we believe that it is the 9th best movie ever made?

***If you have not seen this movie, if you read further you may risk the chance of hitting spoilers.***

(Review)

Let’s talk about why this movie is ranked #1 in Britain and the #1 mystery movie in the US.  No, let’s just talk about the movie because the people that do those ratings are stuck.  It’s like they don’t want to give up that favorite toy they had as a kid because it holds sentimental value.  I’m sure they feel that if they rate the movie (and all movies of this type) lower than usual then they are judging by different standards.  Well, I say that things change.  Movies have changed and these ratings need to change with the times.  Now, Vertigo was a good movie.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’ll talk a bit more about it in a moment but to me it doesn’t deserve the high praise that it has received all these years.  Actors become better in their craft.  Writing is more scrutinized.  The audience isn’t as naive as they used to be.  Things have to change AFI/BFI and it all starts with you changing your ratings systems.

“The snake which cannot cast its skin has to die. As well the minds which are prevented from changing their opinions; they cease to be mind.”
Friedrich Nietzsche

Let’s get this party started shall we.  I went into this movie with my expectations in the basement.  My mind was open and sure enough it caught me being intrigued.  During the movie I had so many inclinations about what was happening and what I thought should happen.  Examples being:  I had thought that it would have been nice to see a real personality change with Madeleine when she was being possessed by the ghost of Carlotta.  You can imagine my change of mind when I find out that there isn’t any science fiction going on here.  So, that went in the toilet.  Another example was when John was “crazy” in mourning.  I felt that he just needed to come to his senses and shack up with Midge and stop following strangers that looked like Madeleine.  Again, I was wrong.  Those weren’t the only times either.  I was wrong about the direction this movie was going most of the time that I was watching it.  Which is nice when it comes to mystery movies.

The acting was typical for any actors/actresses from 1958.  Overacting every scene.  I guess it’s not their fault, that’s the way movies were made back then.  But as I am watching it I can’t help but allow it to bother me.  A few uncomfortable acting scenes were as follows:  1) the dizzy fall that John has when he tries to prove to Midge the stepstool test. 2) In John’s apartment after the rescue he touches Madeline’s hand over a cup of coffee.  3) Finally, the interrogation scene at the tree while visiting Yosemite National Park?  All of which took me straight out of the movie with a “C’mon!  Seriously!”  In their time I’m sure they were respected as excellent but every time Madeleine doesn’t want to answer a question she whips her hair back and forth!

Usually not so stellar acting can be blamed on the script or the direction they were given.  Well, I’m sure Alfred Hitchcock did everything he could with Jimmy.  “Hey Jimmy, you’re going to be climbing these stairs and every time you come to a corner you have to look down for 3 seconds.  OK?  Roll ‘em!”.  No, there were some plot holes believe it or not.  1) How the heck did John Ferguson get down from the building he was hanging onto?  The drain gutter was about to bust and there obviously wasn’t anyone else around to give him a hand.  There wasn’t any foothold’s.  I guess he just mystically floated down to the crowd down below.  HOLE!  2) He’s a detective.  Sorry ex-detective that should be an expert at following individuals yet, he is on her ass every time he is following her.  All she had to do was stop real quick and he would’ve bumped into her!  Or turned her head.  I won’t call that a HOLE but I will call that careless directing.  Ooh yeah, I said it.  3) Midge.  Why is she needed?  She was good for some banter in the beginning but she kept showing up.  If you’re going to keep including her you should make her a part of the story.  Amirite?  I felt that she wanted to be John’s infatuation but didn’t have the nuts to say it.  She could have been a stronger force. I’ll call this one untapped POTENTIAL!  4) Love.  Ok, he follows his friend’s wife and he suddenly falls in love with her after saving her life?  Oh, and seeing her naked?  No, no, no he was just experiencing horniness coupled with the powerful feeling you get after saving someone’s life.  But we are somehow to believe that he is willing to use infidelity a weapon against his friend from college after they touch hands over some coffee.   He seemed pretty straight to me before that.  Big HOLE!  The twists and turns I did however enjoy and felt genuinely surprised when something new came up.  I liked that.

The score really gave a good assist in the movie and I wouldn’t have changed a thing here.  Although the effects were one of a kind back in ’58 I still couldn’t get over the “floating head” scene with the dancing hair.  I honestly laughed out loud when that showed onscreen.  Hilarious.

The movie ends with a tragic love story ending.  Usually I’m not one for tragic endings but during this fit of craziness displayed by “Scottie” I couldn’t see them going back to any kind of normality.  So, I needed some finality in which Hitchcock was obliging enough to give me.  Now tell me how he got down from the damn building!  It’s driving me crazy!

‘s

Ran-Dizzle

…. Wow, Gee-Willikers Big JD, Nice catch from the Past. This movie came out the year my mom was born. Man is that an old movie.

Alfred Hitchcock’s movies always have a way of snagging me into the movie, at first I thought oh this is going to be a long drawn out movie, but it actually kept my attention, the acting was done very well, it had that suspenseful feeling but not over the top. I hate to say it but I thought Jimmy Stewart was a little crazy, not “Crazy Cage” crazy but still a little out there.

The storyline was done very well, I love movies that get me, and this one got me. I never saw the ending coming. One question I had on my mind was, Was the lady in the Hotel paid off? She never saw her go in or leave, yet she wasn’t in the apartment we saw her go in…I think she was paid off.
Anyways back to the review…I would say this movie surprised me, the music score was done rather well, and the casting I think was awesome. I’ve not seen enough Kim Novak movies in my life but from the ones I have seen she was an awesome actress, as well as Jimmy Stewart. I think this one finally got me to give it the best score.

Well done Big JD.

5 ‘s

Willie Good-Cook

-Ok?-

So first off, I don’t get why this movie has so much critical acclaim. Maybe back 60 years ago when this movie came out it was good (though it actually only received mediocre reviews). If it were released now in theaters I believe no one would go see it. It is hard to judge this movie compared to cinema today because things have changed quite a bit.

For instance, there is no voice over in this movie what so ever. All of the other movies we have reviewed use it in some form. There are also long periods with no dialogue. This doesn’t happen as much anymore. They actually let the actors/actresses act. (What a concept!)

That being said, it was an interesting twist on a forbidden love story with a twist…then another twist (Super twisty!!). I thought the movie was pretty good. The story was interesting and the acting seemed ok. I didn’t see what everyone else must be seeing (Randizzle). It seemed like another love story movie with a tragic ending. (A.k.a boring)

P.S. I don’t think this was in the top 20 best movies ever made…unless you are old. Then you are probably stuck playing with your old toys still. (And will probably never read this because computers are a mystery to you.)

….

2.5‘s

For Those that have seen this movie.  What did you think?