Archive for September, 2009

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#18: Last Chance Harvey

September 4, 2009

lastchanceharveyWell, upon returning my previous redbox rentals, I couldn’t in good conscience leave empty handed.  And seeing as how it was a movie that I had never heard of, I decided to give Last Chance Harvey a chance.

So what’s it about?: An American guy whose lost his marriage, on the verge of losing his job, and on the road to losing all ties with his daughter meets a woman on a single day in London.  With the help of a chance encounter, they help each other fix the chaos ensuing in their lives.

The Good: This movie has a lot of heart and is kind of sweet.  It’s a film that thrives on spontaneity, and that at least keeps in interesting.  The score was also quite lovely and at times felt almost like it came straight from a Miyazaki film.  And bonus points for a Final Destination alum, though if said alum had died half way through the film it would have been so much better!

The Bad: The film itself isn’t necessarily bad, but it isn’t really good.  It’s mostly just quite forgettable.  It’s hard to put a finger on why this film isn’t an award-winning film.  Perhaps because the plot seems like a recycled jumble of storylines from other movies.  Perhaps because the entire plot is pretty much in the trailer. Perhaps because, once again, it was horribly predictable. But most likely because sadly it felt as though it were thrown together. It just lacked the stylistic oomph that good films have. Oh well.

The Verdict: Rotten Tomatoes gives this movie a 70%, and frankly, a C equivalent is exactly what it deserves.  Sure, it’s passing, but it’s average and forgettable.  So if you are seeing a select amount of movies a year and not a rediculous number like yours truly, then go out and rent something that you’ll remember the next day.

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#17: Definitely, Maybe

September 4, 2009

definitelymaybeWell, I’m definitely, maybe, addicted to the redbox.  Rentals a block away for only a dollar?  That’s definitely, maybe, the coolest thing ever!  So, after the awesomeness that was I Love You, Man I definitely, maybe, had to keep up the trend of movies with commas in their titles and went with Definitely, Maybe.

So what’s it about?: On the verge of divorce, a father tells his daughter the story of how he met her mother.  Naturally there are three potential candidates, so chaos ensues.

The Good: If there is one good thing about this film, it is the cast.  Ryan Reynolds and Abigail Breslin are perfect, and Isla Fisher, Elizabeth Banks and Rachel Weisz are all great as the potential mothers.  And while the story was predictable, there was still enough suspense that there were actually some moments where I found myself wanting to yell at the screen and go “NO!  NOT HER!”  And I had NO CLUE who the mother was until she was revealed, so bonus points for that.

The Bad: This film is so cheesy at times that I’m pretty sure my cholestoral level just rose a couple points.  Apparently the filmmakers didn’t have the creativity (or the balls) of the filmmakers of (500) Days of Summer to realize you don’t need a predictable, fan-pleasing ending to have a feel good conclusion.  But this is the essential problem with all chick flicks.  Granted, some movies can pull it off (When Harry Met Sally… and even He’s Just Not That Into You) but this ending had the negative effect that it felt stuck on, like the creators sat together and said “Oh, we can’t end the movie like that!  Hand me that can of Easy Cheese so I can spray down this film.”  But the rest of the movie was still cute enough.

The Verdict: So, in short, if How I Met Your Mother grew up to be a full fledged film and had a baby with Serendipity it would be this movie.  It’s your classic chick flick, and it’s not the worst of its kind, so if that’s your thing then it’s definitely, maybe, worth picking up.  And if you found my review to contradict itself at times, then you definitely, maybe (okay, I’ll stop now), need to see it to understand what I’m talking about.

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#16: I Love You, Man

September 3, 2009

iloveyoumanSo, after returning the colossal mess that was Happy-Go-Lucky, I went ahead and rented a comedy that I knew actually had a plot. And I went with I Love You, Man.

So what’s it about?: A real estate agent proposes to his girlfriend only to realize he has no male friends to pick a best man from, so he enters into the world of bromances and man-dates. Chaos ensues.

The Good: This movie is incredibly funny. Like laugh-out-loud funny. And with a gang of lovable characters played an awesome cast all the way from Jason Segel and Paul Rudd as the leads to Jaime Pressly and John Favreau and the incredibly funny group of supporting actors. Not to mention the story was fun and realistic and almost a grown-up, more mature version of Superbad without turning into the craziness (although awesome craziness) that was Pineapple Express. In a year where the Apatow films (Year One and Funny People) fell flat, John Hamburg as well as The Hangover gang have both made very successful attempts to take over the comedy thrown. Can’t wait to see what they come up with next!

The Bad: This Dick Flick almost got a little too Chick Flick at times. The ending was a bit too cutesy and cheesy, but considering Paul Rudd’s Peter was a little cutesy and cheesy I guess it fits. And with the raving in Fanboys as well, I’m getting a little sick of the Rush hype. Okay, they had like one good song, but seriously there are other bands out there!

The Verdict: It’s freakin’ hilarious, so if you want a comedy go grab the DVD! But if you don’t like raunchy language, then go rent something else.

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Summer 2009 Wrap-Up

September 3, 2009

Well, it’s been a good season.  And while technically summer doesn’t end until September 21st, in the wonderful world of Cinema, September 1st marks the end Blockbuster Summer season and the beginning of the We’re-Not-Good-Enough-to-Get-a-Best-Picture-Nod-By-All-Means-We’re-Gonna-Look-Like-We’re-Trying Fall drought.  So here is a list of the top 10 and the bottom five of a very exciting summer season:

The Good:
10. Public Enemies
9.  The Final Destination
8. Every Little Step
7. District 9
6. The Hangover
5. Up
4. (500) Days of Summer
3. Paperheart
2. Star Trek
1. Inglourious Basterds

The Bad:
5. Taking Woodstock
4. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
3. The Ugly Truth
2. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
1. Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs

The One That Got Away: Hurt Locker

Well, can’t wait to see what the fall brings!  With such releases as Where the Wild Things Are and Jennifer’s Body the next couple months should be a nice entertaining ride on the way to AWARD SEASON!  HOORAY!  But in the meantime, I leave with this summer gem:

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#15: Happy-Go-Lucky

September 3, 2009

happy_go_luckyI rented Happy-Go-Lucky a couple days ago from a redbox because, well, I’d heard great things and it sounded cute.  Well, I told you to expect a litmus test for my soul in the near future and the verdict is: I know longer have one.

So what’s it about?: Nothing really.  A few months in the life of a “happy-go-lucky” chick.  Who manages to allow no chaos to ensue whatsoever.

The Good: Sally Hawkins does a really good job at becoming a character that you can totally picture actually being out there in the world.  In fact, the entire cast does a great job, and the characters are very realistic.  As well as the story.  I could totally imagine this being based off of a memoir or something (but it isn’t)

The Bad: Of course it isn’t based off of a memoir though, because a memoir this boring would never be published.  And while this film is touted as being about an optimist, apparently optimists are annoying, in-your-face, and have no sense of fashion whatsoever.  Okay, we get it, she’s quirky, but seriously, can she wear something that doesn’t look like it was a curtain at some point.  This isn’t Sound of Music.  But even if she had been the most interesting, loveable character that reviews somehow saw when they viewed this film, the movie is still about NOTHING.  And, yes, I like some movies that are just about peoples lives (see Sunshine Cleaning) but they at least have cohesion and even the smallest semblence of a point.  This had random scenes hashed together that were apparently supposed to make the viewer feel optimistic and happy.  But no, it just made me feel like if that was optimism, then by all means give me pessimism.  Because the alternative is just annoying.

The Verdict: Unless you want to spend 2 hours watching what is essentially the movie equivalent of an annoying person’s diary, skip this film.

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#14: THE Final Destination

September 2, 2009

thefinaldestinationOr Final Destination: Death Trip… or whatever it’s being called now.  Whatever, I’ll just stick to Final Destination 4, because, let’s face it, if they didn’t have to worry about the whole Final Destination 4 3-D problem, that’s what it would have been called.

So what’s it about?: A normal guy (who thankfully is not trying to pass as a high schooler) sees a huge accident before it happens and manages to save a small group of people from the destruction. However, Death doesn’t like it when people stand him up and thus ensues chaos amongst the survivors… in 3-D!

The Good: Well, this franchise was meant to be seen in 3-D.  Because it is AWESOME.  Like, at one point, I actually flinched in my seat from the affect, it is that cool.  And the deaths, while mostly recycled, are pretty cool.  And, while they aren’t the greatest actors in the world, this is definitely the best looking cast so far, and frankly, who cares about the acting when you know they’re going to die anyway!  Also, best use of opening/closing credits ever.  And as an added bonus, the new amped up orchestration of the theme is really cool.

The Bad: Hands down the most laughable script not only in the franchise, but possibly of all time.  I kid you not, the script contained lines as stupid and useless as “Oh look, here comes Nick with our stuff” in case you couldn’t figure that out from him coming into the shot… with the stuff.  It got to the point where I didn’t know who to blame: the writers or the actors.  But, hey, it doesn’t really matter and they all realize that, and luckily it never got to the point where they seemed like they really didn’t want to be there, which kept it entertaining and light-hearted, which is perfect for the FD series.

The Verdict: If you’re a fan of the Final Destination series, and more specifically a fan of the more comedic side of the franchise, then def go see it in theatres, because you HAVE to see it in 3-D.  And here’s hoping for a fifth one!

Also, in a new record for, well, my entire life, I managed to see Inglourious Basterds again today (and, yes, it is still amazing the second go round), making a day full of 5 movies!  Albeit, very bloody, violent, gruesome movies that all manage to make a sport out of watching people die horribly.  I see sappy, feel-good chick flicks in my future to test if I still have a soul.

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#11-13: Final Destination 1-3

September 2, 2009

final_destinationSO!  In an awesome attempt to cheat Death, I decided to watch all 4 Final Destinations in a row… but since I’ve already seen the first three, I mixed it up and watched them backwards.  And since they are basically the same movie (no really, they are) I figured they should all get one post.

So what are they about?: Main character (a high schooler played by someone closer to 30 than 18) sees a huge accident before it happens and manages to save a small group of people from the destruction.  However, Death doesn’t like it when people stand him up and thus ensues chaos amongst the survivors.

The Good: The deaths.  Forget about the story, the deaths are the only reason to see these films.  Especially the long drawn out ones where you have no clue what’s gonna happen.  And now I sound really sadistic… awesome.  But another reason why I like this horror franchise more than any other is because dying in a “freak” accident is a lot scarier than being killed by a serial killer.  So take that Michael Myers.  But, really, even with the cheesiest dialogue and acting in a film ever, you will still leave a viewing and find yourself discovering “signs”.

The Bad: Well, the acting, the writing, the storyline, pretty much anything that makes a good film good is, well, lacking in these films.

The Verdict: Sure, they’re kind of lacking, but man are they entertaining.  And when you’re walking down the street and you hear the light rail voice over go “This is the final destination” you will definitely freeze in your tracks (no joke, this happened to me today, right after number 4).  And after much thought and deliberation, I’m gonna have to go with the original as my fav, though number 3 takes a close second.