one word reviews of Movies and TV

Listen Now!

Friday, August 31, 2012

MONTH IN REVIEW


FAV of the month
The New and Oldie
Expendables 2 / Naked Gun 
Review  /  Review

SoSo of the month
The Bourne Legacy
Review

HATE of the month
Total Recall
Review

TV SHOW of the month
The Wire
Seasons 1-2-3

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Change Up

The Change Up: SUCKS

O my...this film sucks!

It is not a good movie...Nope not even funny bad. Just wow this sucks, this sucks a lot.

Seriously did anyone read the script? It's clearly not funny, so why make it?

This film is nowhere near somewhat funny. The only parts that this film thinks it's funny is that gross stuff. Like kids shitting beyond what would be considered healthy, cuz holy shit take that kid to the hospital clearly that's not healthy.

It angers me that stupid shit like this film gets made and some good scripts don't.

Only reason to watch this would be the beautiful Olivia Wilde...



But I'll just place a photo of her here. That way you don't have to watch it since I just told you she is in it...




Oh good things are better now. So to sum things up, since the whole time I was on my phone googling ways to kill myself when watching this film...It sucks DON'T WATCH...let's move on now, okay...




Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Simplistic TV: The Wire, Season Three

The Wire, Season Three - Stride

*Spoilers Ahead*

 I believe that the third season is very interesting in any television series.  Usually it works this way;  if the first season is exceptional and gains a sizable audience the second will have much loftier expectations.  The second season comes and it can really be a make or break (see "Heroes" for a prime example of how good series' go wrong).  If a series can get past a lackluster second season and moves into the third season, a network usually has faith.  Also, a series can usually hit its stride in season three, and that is exactly where "The Wire" found itself after two seasons in the books (Wow, that has to be a record for using the word "season" in a single paragraph).

I like to call this season of "The Wire" The Comeback.  We move away from the docks of Season Two and re-concentrate back on the East and West Baltimore drug war and the City of Baltimore's "war on drugs".  We meet some new characters including Marlo Stanfield, an up and coming dealer who lives by his own code, and his two lieutenants, Chris and Snoop.  On the "law" side we get better acquainted with "Bunny" Colvin, a police Major on his way to retirement with his own ideas on how to solve West Baltimore's drug problem, and Tommy Carcetti, a councilman with mayoral aspirations.

The first episode really sets the tone for things to come with a very symbolic "downing" of the Franklin Terrace Towers in a scene very reminiscent of the 9/11 tragedy.  However,instead of using Muslim extremists as terrorists, we see the City of Baltimore bringing down the Towers and the dealers looking on, helpless, seeing their way of life, essentially, coming to an end.  After this event, battle lines are drawn all over the city and by the end of this season, several characters meet their "ends."

Overall, if you've stuck with "The Wire" for two seasons, this is a great payoff for your time spent following everyone from Bodie Broadus to Lester Freamon as their characters, and several other main characters, continue to develop.  If by the end of season three you don't think "The Wire" is the best TV drama ever (I won't go best show ever) you should stick to your Kardashians or "Jersey Shore" shit.

Fun Fact:  You might know Tommy Carcetti, or Aidan Gillen, for playing another scumbag; Petyr Baelish, aka, Littlefinger on HBO's "Game of Thrones."


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Take

The Take: Astonishing

Here in America many shows come and go. Out of probably thousands only a few are worth watching. Unlike In the UK, where there seems to be a lot more quality shows over quantity.

The Take well its a ton of goodness.

It's simply one of the best dramas.

The Take is based off of the novel by Martina Cole. It's first episode came on in 2009 on Sky1 in the UK. It's about a gangster named Freddie (played by Tom Hardy) who leaves prison and is hoping to take over the empire of his boss, Ozzy (played by Brian Cox). It takes place in the 80's which is always a great time period. I would love to talk about this show more but I don't want to spoil anything.

So lets talk about this show's stunning-fantastic performances. The standout is Tom Hardy who will blow you away. His acting is beyond top notch, it really is amazing. Just wait to you see his mannerisms!

The others, Shaun Evans, Kierston Wareing, Sara Stewart, Brian Cox and Charlotte Riley complete a perfect cast that you never get to see on TV, including movies. It's really something. Brian Cox like always gives a good performance and always is great to see on film. A big surprise for me would be Charlotte Riley who's strong performance is something to behold (by the way she is Tom's girl in real life, he's damn lucky, she's beautiful and can act, a double threat that I would like to see more of.)

It's supporting cast is outstanding. Freddie is a psychopath, there is killing, blood, a plot that keeps you going and great cinematography. What more could you ask for? This drama is one of the best you will ever see on TV. We need more of these to watch! Especially in the US.

Tagline: He's got family, he's got power, but he's got issues.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Simplistic TV: The Wire, Season Two

The Wire, Season Two - Setup

*Spoilers Ahead*

This is a disclaimer that I should have written in the review of "The Wire," Season One, but I'll write it here to preface my Season Two review.  I did not watch "The Wire" on a season to season basis, essentially because I didn't have HBO at the time and I wasn't about to shell out $60 bucks for each season on DVD, so I waited for the magic that is HBO GO and I got my kicks that way, (you might say to yourself, "Matt, you dummy, why didn't you just torrent it or find a pirate site."  Sorry guys, I actually like paying for my entertainment and have respect for the art so I pay for what I want, HA!).  I digress, this isn't an ethics course, this is "The Wire" Season Two

Every series needs to have a setup season, or a filler season if you will.  Season Two is just that for "The Wire".  The seaport of West Baltimore is the primary setting for this season after we see several members of the Barksdale Crew put behind bars at the end of Season One.  While Avon Barksdale, Stringer Bell, and Omar Little are still major players in the grand scheme of things, they take a backseat of sorts to Frank Sobotka,  a stevedore union president trying to walk the line, and Proposition Joe, an East Baltimore drug kingpin with a connection to the mysterious "Greek" trying to sort out a truce with his West Baltimore rivals.

While I wouldn't call this the strongest season in the series, it's still vital as it sets up several characters for future seasons, and sets the tone for the remainder of the series.  You get a little deeper into the psyche of McNulty and his "thrist" for justice, the paranoia of Avon Barksdale, the aspirations of Stringer Bell, and how the government works in West Baltimore.

What you'll notice in this season, and as the series continues, is the "offing" of several characters out of the blue.  It really becomes apparent that the creators of the show really wanted to show to audience that no one is safe in West Baltimore.  While I really don't appreciate characters that I like coming to grisly ends, the fact that the showrunners have the balls to kill off anyone at any time in a small twisted way, pleases me.

Fun Fact:  After his run as Frank Sobotka, Chris Bauer took a starring role in another HBO show "True Blood" as Detective Andy Bellefleur.

The Bourne Legacy

LACKING
All my cards on the table.  I love the Bourne Trilogy.  I absolutely love it.  It pretty much redefined the spy genre and possibly the action drama genre into what we see now.  Daniel Craig's realistic Bond is a DIRECT RESULT of Jason Bourne.  The popularity of gritty realistic action films and shaky cam action scenes (Some done right.  Most done WRONG) are a DIRECT RESULT of Paul Greengrass's Bourne Supremacy & Ultimatum.  The trilogy starring Matt Damon is in my top three favorite trilogies of ALL TIME.  They are perfect to me.  So much so, I actually didn't want them to make any more.  A rarity for me because I always want more.  But for Bourne, because it was so perfect, I wanted it to end the way it did.  And for a while there, I got my wish.  Greengrass dropped out of a planned fourth film and Damon said he wouldn't make another without Greengrass.  My perfect trilogy was safe.  But then Universal realized that other than that dumb street racing franchise...they had no other cash cow.  Enter The Bourne Legacy.

The Bourne Legacy isn't a sequel.  It is a side story that takes place in the same universe as the Bourne Trilogy.  To the franchise's credit, they never make the following film a stereotypical sequel.  Events in each film jump around through a linear timeline set up by story mastermind Tony Gilroy.  He and most of the original cast are back with some new blood sprinkled in.  I appreciated this as an effort to make Legacy stand out and be different while still using the foundation set by Damon and Greengrass.  However, these things hinder Legacy's success to either the uninitiated or the...how should I put this....simple minded populous who want their films to just have stuff that blow up real good.

Days before I saw Legacy, I still heard people saying that Jeremy Renner was the new Jason Bourne...He's Not.  I still heard people saying this was a reboot of the franchise...It's Not.  I heard people saying Matt Damon would make a cameo...He Doesn't.  This isn't entirely the people's fault.  The way Gilroy sets up the story, the way the film was marketed, the way the title reads all aids in the confusion.  The word Bourne isn't what you should focus on in this film.  The word you should focus on is Legacy.  The film is entirely about how the actions of Jason Bourne and, more importantly, Pam Landy effect certain people in the government.  It is a film about fallout.  And though I understand that The Landy Fallout isn't a particularly catchy title, it would be a more accurate one.

With all that baggage out of the way, how is the film?  Its just fine.  Gilroy, now writing and directing instead of just writing, is a fine replacement for Greengrass.  Jeremy Renner's character Aaron Cross, though a little less likable than Damon's Jason Bourne, is fine as a lead.  The story, though a tad too complex for the uninitiated, is fine.  Ed Norton and Stacy Keach are fine as the baddies.  But what is still LACKING from Bourne Legacy?  I'll give you two guess and the first one doesn't count.

Matt Damon is what makes this franchise go.  He is the heart, the engine, the...fill in a metaphor relating to importance...that drives this universe.  Without him, without Jason Bourne, any installment in this series just feels like a really expensive fan film.  The universe itself isn't strong enough to carry a film without him as it was for, lets say, The Dark Knight Rises.  You need more Jason than they give you, if only to serve as a smoother transition into caring for Aaron Cross.

And on a personal note, replacing composer John Powell with James Newton Howard is a HUGE MISTAKE.  Powell's scores for Identity, Supremacy, and Ultimatum are legendary.  It would be like switching John Williams from Indiana Jones or Danny Elfman from Batman '89.  Howard's score is color by numbers at best.   In a film DEPENDANT on it's audience following the Bourne universe, how do you not use the man that sets that universe's perfect tone?  John Powell is sorely missed.

Rumor has it that a film with Damon and Renner teaming up could come as a result of Legacy's success.  For that reason alone, I support it.  However, I'm a fanboy of the franchise.  I don't expect anyone else to see a possible Bourne/Cross team-up as a good enough reason to watch a film that is fine but is also LACKING.  If you watch it...you'll be hard pressed to tell me I'm wrong.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Simplistic TV: The Wire, Season One



The Wire, Season One - Trendsetting

*Spoilers Ahead*

Back in 2002, HBO was really in a groove.  They had already introduced people to what really goes on in prison (OZ), a funeral home (Six Feet Under) and a New Jersey mob family (The Sopranos).  While this was all well and good, it wasn't until David Simon and Ed Burns (not that Ed Burns) took us to.....West Baltimore? that things really started getting good.  It's hard to believe that the best show ever made that no one watched is ten years old now, and that show is "The Wire."

While I could sum up the entire series in one review, I feel "The Wire" deserves much more respect than that so I will be covering HBO's finest show over the course of six reviews (one for each season, including a wrap-up review where I'll rank each season as well as rank the top ten characters on the show).  With that said, on with the show.

"The Wire" was conceived after HBO aired "The Corner," a six-part miniseries that chronicled a poverty-stricken family trapped in a drug-addled neighborhood of West Baltimore.  Many actors from "The Corner" also appear in "The Wire"  almost making the former a prequel of sorts to the latter.

Season one introduces us to the Barksdale family, a power drug-dealing crew that pretty much has West Baltimore under their control, and the West Baltimore police, lead by Jimmy McNulty (Dominic West), a renegade cop with a drinking problem.  Most of the series' main characters are introduced in the first season, including favorites Stringer Bell (Idris Elba) and Omar Little (Michael Williams).

Each season focuses on a different aspect of the greater Baltimore area, with season one focusing more on how the Barksdale Crew operates, and the methods the police use to try and curb the drug dealing and murders occurring in West Baltimore.

While I am tempted to give away critical plot twists and character development I will hold off and save all major spoilers for the wrap up review, so hopefully you will have a chance to catch up on what I call a milestone in TV, "The Wire."

 Fun Fact:  Tim van Patten, now of "Game of Thrones" fame, directed the season finale of Season One (Sentencing).




Thursday, August 23, 2012

Expendables 2

NOSTALGIC

You ever found yourself starting a diet but end up cheating a few weeks in by eating a box of chocolate frosted donuts?  That is what watching Expendables 2 is like.  You know they are fattening.  You know they are bad for you.  But for the brief time it takes you to scarf those donuts down, you’re in heaven.

The spectrum of action films usually breaks down like this:  SMART.  SMART FUNFUNDUMB FUN.  OR JUST PLAIN DUMB.  Expendables 2, like it’s predecessor, falls completely under the DUMB FUN category.  It is a half a beat away from being a full on parody.  And that is why you can’t be as mad with Expendables 2 as you can be with this or this

1.  Is the plot nonexistent?  Yes.

2.  Is the acting bad?  Yes.

3.  Is the action unrealistic?  Yes.

4.  Is Father Time catching up to most of the cast?  Yes.

5.  Do I like to list things?  Yes.

Expendables 2, however, relies on it’s NOSTALGIA while giving enough winks at the camera to make sure we remember what it is.  A dumb, yet, fun love letter to 80s guilty pleasure action films.  If you’re under the age of 25, this sort of NOSTALGIA might not hold any relevance.  But if you’re a child of the 80s and remember how awesome First Blood Part 2 was, or how joyfully insane Commando was, or how over the top in a good way Bloodsport was, this is the box of donuts for you.  Go ahead….cheat on your diet a little….then tell me I’m wrong.   

Monday, August 20, 2012

Elephant


Elephant - Earnest

I normally write reviews on this site based on what I like and I normally don't like including any types of politics, social commentary, or the such in my reviews (it's just not my style to push that type of agenda down anyone's throat).  I also realize that this review might be about four weeks overdue, but you know what they say (really, you should know the old saying).

Since the mass shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, CO back in 1999, gun control, along with media and parental responsibility, has always been a hot topic issue, yet little, to nothing, has been done.  I'm in no way against taking away people's guns, or telling the media how to cover sensational stories, or even how parents should take care of their kids. Maybe one day I'll look at it from a different perspective once I'm a parent or, heaven forbid, a victim of a similar tragedy, but in the meantime I will continue to watch violent movies and play violent video games, but I refuse to watch shows like "Keeping Up With the Kardashians"or "Jerseylious"that is just cruel and unusual.

It wasn't until July 20th 2012 that all the talk started again about gun control and media responsibilty with the Aurora, CO tragedy during the midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" where 12 people were killed and numerous others were wounded.  Yes, between Columbine and Aurora there have been other mass shootings (Red Lake, Virginia Tech, Ft. Hood) but to open fire in a crowded theater during a movie that many peoplpe might have been waiting their whole lives to see, it's really hard to comprehend what would drive someone to such an insidious act. What really went on in his mind before, during, and especially after, all the bullets had been fired, and lives destroyed?  What drives us to our actions? What shapes us into the people we become?  How can be avoid these tragedies in the future?  While it might not answer all the questions we have, Gus van Sant's "Elephant"allows us a glimpse into the anatomy of a crime and what we might be missing when it comes to the modern teenager.

Yes, many of you might be saying "Elephant, what a boring piece of crap!" or "Jesus, that movie had nothing to say about anything, it was just a bunch of kids walking around a school."  Yes, I will admit there was a lot of walking, a lot of tracking shots, a lot of high school kids being high school kids, well, that is the point!  If you know anything about "Elephant"you know what happens at some point during the movie, there is a school shooting, reminiscent of the Columbine High shooting.  But its the lead up to the eventual shooting that makes this film all the more complex.

Van Sant does a great job of turning the mundane into something captivating, and there is always a payoff after each vignette involving the student(s), and the earnest way of dealing with the mundane fills you with dread if you know what is eventually going to happen to the students, and the school.  While the film does focus on the shooters, and details their motivations and frustrations, what you see with the non-shooters is almost as horrifying.  From homophobia, bulimia, apathetic teachers, and drunk parents, these are all the "elephants" in the room that no one wants to talk about and could be contributions to student behavior, but apathy breeds apathy until tragedy occurs.

"Elephant," while not the most interesting character study, gives an earnest portrayal of teens in a post-9/11, post Columbine environment, and the scary part is that much hasn't changed.

"Fun" Fact:  Many of the actors used in the film had their real name used as their character name.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Rescue Dawn...And Inexplicably Behind Enemy Lines

HARROWING
Hey, remember that horrid dreck of a film Behind Enemy Lines starring a more annoying than funny Owen Wilson and a completely phoning it in at this point Gene Hackman?  Yeah?  Well, Rescue Dawn is exactly like that.  Wait….no…no, no, no.  Rescue Dawn is nothing like that.  Rescue Dawn is practically the opposite of that.  Despite both films being about a pilot trying to survive while trapped in enemy territory, Rescue Dawn sets itself apart by being a HARROWING tale of desperation, will, and faith.  While, Behind Enemy Lines simply presents a cheap, clichéd, cash grab that only manages to make me want to gouge out my eyes with a dull spoon and/or puke uncontrollably.   But I’m not here to insult Behind Enemy Lines.  I’m here to talk about Rescue Dawn….and insult Behind Enemy Lines.

Rescue Dawn earns its spot with great survival films like Cast Away, The Road, and my personal favorite The Adventures Of Milo and Otis…uh…I mean The Edge.  Dawn has the advantage over those 4…um…3 by being a true story.  A situation that gains a whole new respect from its viewers by being filmed starkly, without pulling any punches.  Director Werner Herzog, oddly famous for actually eating his own shoe,  greatly delivers on the unflinching realism of being in a P.O.W. camp.  The effects of starvation and malnutrition, the desperation to escape, the fear of capture and the loneliness of isolation.  Its all there in spades. 

Usually, survival films provide great opportunities for some terrific performances.  Rescue Dawn is no different.  Christian Bale is always at his best when he gets to totally go method and manipulate his body, as he does here. (Lost 55 pounds for the role.)  However, Steve Zahn (Lost 40 pounds for the role.) and the vastly underrated Jeremy Davies (Lost 33 pounds for the role.) give him a run for his money.

If you want to see a quality drama with good acting, good direction, and good storytelling, then watch Rescue Dawn.  If you want to see a film that takes a similar situation and reduces it to a mindless, banal, poorly shot action film, then watch the vomit inducing dumpster fire that is Behind Enemy Lines.  Hell, watch them both...then tell me I'm wrong.  Sweet Lord, I hate Behind Enemy Lines.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Freddy Got Fingered


Freddy Got Fingered – Surreal

In the magical land of Canada there is a man who sucks cows' nipples, torments complete strangers, and treats his friends like winners.  That man is Tom Green.  Back in the late 90s, MTV took a liking to this strange young man and gave him his own weekly show and soon enough old Greeny went Hollywood and birthed from his loins came “Freddy Got Fingered.”

A lot has been said about “Fingered” over the years; how awful, vile, deplorable, sick, the accolades can go on and on, but I have to say, without Tom Green and this oft-kilter comedy (I say it’s more performance art then actual comedy) you wouldn’t have your “Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job” or “Workaholics” comedies that really pushes the limits of taste, and what we can take.

Aside from skateboarding and other post-adolescent hijinks, this comic gem includes deer carcass wearing, horse penis wiggling, compound leg fracture licking, a sadomasochist wheelchair bound rocket scientist, and of course my favorite, baby umbilical cord swinging.  If that isn't performance art, I really don't know what you'd call it.

Outside of all the wacky antics, there is one performance that really stands out, and that is Rip Torn's.  With all the fucked up stuff going on in "Fingered" you forget its really the story of a son just trying to gain his father's trust by spraying him with elephant cum.

Heartwarming, and definitely fun for the entire family, "finger" it out and go check out "Freddy Got Fingered" you won't regret what you'll see.

Fun Fact:  The scene where Freddy is watching TV in his house are actual scenes from Tom Green's surgery for Testicular Cancer

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult

Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult: Solid

Is the third and final film in a comedy classic trilogy...


"Well... We shot a lot of people together. It's been great. But today I retire, so if I do any shooting now, it'll have to be within the confines of my own home. Hopefully, an intruder and not an in-law, like at my bachelor party." 
                                
The Last Time we saw Frank Drebin?



After foiling the Evil energy companies plain to use a Dr. Mainheimer decoy and disarming a bomb. Frank got Jane back and decided he will retire from the police force and spend his time with Jane.

"Rocco could tell from my little escapade in the shower that I was well endowed... with courage."
Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult (Trailer)After retiring last time we saw him, Frank comes out of retirement to help Police Squad. This time he goes deep undercover to infiltrate terrorists who plan on using the Academy Awards to detonate a bomb. During this time Frank and Jane try to start a family as well as getting help with some problems this has brought up. Can Frank save the day, as well as produce a child for Jane? Let's watch and find out! 



"Hey! You call this slop? Real slop has got chunks in it! This is more like gruel! And this Château le Blanc '68 is supposed to be served slightly chilled! This is room temperature! What do you think we are, animals?" 

Sure, Naked Gun 33 1/3 is a bit weaker then what we come to aspect from a Naked Gun film, but it's still funny. It seems to be a very underrated film online when people talk about. I feel its better then people give it. It has it's issues and could never really be as good as the first one, that's a given. This film was Directed by Peter Segal and not David Zucker, so we have that going on. But it is still written by David and still has those great lines we all come to love with the Naked Gun trilogy. The issue with this film is the story. The weak "Bad guys" really felt like they just threw something together just so they could get the film made. The strongest part is just like every other time is the performance of Leslie Nielsen. But unlike films of today they did stop making these films and didn't keep trying. They simply stopped rehashing Frank and I give them credit for that. I won't lie, I would of like to seen a fourth one, but do to the passing of the comedy legend Leslie Nielsen I hope they never try to remake or create a sequel to this fantastic Naked Gun trilogy. And if someone tries too, trust me, they will have to go through me first...and the shit will hit the fan!
"They're going to blow that place sky high. It'll be a tragedy. Unless it's during a dance number."
Favorite scene in this film is a classic!
Nurse: "Do you need any help?"
Drebin: "Do you have Spartacus?"

Ladies and Gentlemen I give you...
What's your favorite scene?
"Look, baby. I am what I am, and I do what I do. A few guys make shoelaces, some lay sod, others make a very good living neutering animals. I'm a cop!"

And that's it! Every Naked Gun film, Do you agree they are all good, thou get weaker with each one?

Do you have a favorite?

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear


The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear: Hilarious

Is the second film in a comedy classic trilogy...

"Well, send him plane fare and a new pair of pants." 
The Last Time we saw Frank Drebin?
his best friend and partner, played by O.J. Simpson was in a coma after being shot 6 times. As he was investigate the shooting he stumbled onto a plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth II by Vincent Ludwig, played by Ricardo Montalban. 
"Thank you. But, in all honesty, the last three I backed over with my car. Luckily, they turned out to be drug-dealers."
The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear (Trailer)
Lt. Frank Drebbin is back! A new evil has popped up and its up to Frank to save the day! Both Frank and Jane are no longer together and a Scientist named Dr. Mainheimer is publishing a report on the future of energy. Evil energy companies like nuclear and oil decided to save their industries by replacing Dr. Mainheimer with a decoy who has his own report that will keep nuclear and oil at the front of the future of energy. 
"There, there. You had no way of knowing the man you were dating was a vicious, murdering sociopath."
The smell of fear is a very good sequel to really a perfect comedy. It's tough to make another film when the first is a comedy masterpiece. But all said and done 2 1/2 is a funny film. It's a solid sequel that has great quotes, more O.J. and more action. I highly enjoy this film and highly suggests you watch this film especially if you haven't before it's that good. And let's hope you seen the first one since it's such a perfect film.

They really don't make funny films like this anymore!
"I'm single! I love being single! I haven't had this much sex since I was a boy scout leader!" 
My favorite scene from The Final Insult is the Lion scene. I remember seeing this for the first time and when the lion comes out of nowhere and attacks, I fell to the ground out of my chair. The link of when Frank letting loose of all the animals at the zoo to the attack was so perfect it made me cry with laughter. Like the pee scene from the first film, this scene gets me every damn time!
"Oh, that would be me. I've been swimming in raw sewage. I love it!"

Stay tuned for tomorrow as we look at
Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!

Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!: Hysterical

Is the first film in a comedy classic trilogy...

Like The Godfather Trilogy, Back to the Future and The Man with No Name Trilogy, The Naked Gun Trilogy
stands with that group as one of the greatest trilogies of all-time!
"It's fourth and fifteen and you're looking at a full-court press" In 1982 the television comedy series, Police Squad! premiered. It was the beginning of one of the greatest comedy franchises ever created. Sadly it only lasted six episodes, but it spawned the great Naked Gun trilogy.
"I've finally found someone I can love - a good, clean love... without utensils." 
Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (Trailer)
is about a cop named Frank Drebin who comes back after his best friend and partner, played by O.J. Simpson is shot 6 times (missing ever vital organ) is now in a coma. Once he begins to investigate the shooting he stumbles on a plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth II by Vincent Ludwig, played by Ricardo Motalban. This film is one of the GREATEST COMEDIES of all time! Airplane is up on the list as well but like Airplane, Leslie Nielsen is the highlight of the film and in Naked Gun we get more of that. Leslie Nielsen is a comedy Legend and Naked Gun is the film that did it for me. Never has a film come as close.
"Yes. Well, when I see 5 weirdos dressed in togas stabbing a guy in the middle of the park in full view of 100 people, I shoot the bastards. That's *my* policy." When you watch this film you will laugh and laugh! The whole time you watch this film you will have a smile on your face. It's that good! In fact this form of comedy has been copied so many times I.E. the stupid Meet the Spartans, Epic Movie and Disaster Movie (can't believe I had to write those titles on this site, but I'm making a point) and they all failed at it. This franchise is one of a kind and yet it stands up today! It's still one of the best comedies of all time!
"Yes, he's in the intensive care ward at Our Lady of the Worthless Miracle."

I have so many favorite scenes in this film, but if I had to pick just one (which is tough)...

I'd pick the Press Conference Scene it gets me everytime!

What's your favorite scene in the Naked Gun?



Stay tuned for tomorrow as we look at
The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Simplistic TV: White Collar

CUTE
In 2002, Steven Spielberg directed the film Catch Me If You Can starring Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio.  It centered around the true story of a brilliant con artist gallivanting around the country and the relentless FBI agent tasked with capturing him.  It is one of Spielberg's better, yet, forgotten films.  Hanks is great, Leo is great, and Christopher Walken steals every scene he's in.  The film itself ends...(SPOILER ALERT) with Leo, the criminal, beginning to help Hanks, the FBI agent, solve some of the white collar crimes in order to commute his sentence.  This is where the USA Network show White Collar picks up.

White Collar is a procedural dramedy...or...comedrama...wait...that sounds stupid...lets stick with dramedy....about a master thief/con artist helping the FBI capture criminals while trying to stay on the straight and narrow himself.  A concept that serves as a great foundation and a smart jump off for some very original ideas rarely seen on a typical procedural cop show.  As with most USA Network shows, White Collar doesn't shine when it sticks to the monster of the week procedural formula.  It shines when they focus on their character's chemistry and ONE all encompassing story arc.  If there is one thing you can say about USA, most of their shows have casts and characters WITH CHEMISTRY.  Whether that be Jeffrey Donovan, Gabrielle Anwar, and the LEGENDARY Bruce Campbell on Burn Notice....Gabrielle Macht and Patrick J. Adams on Suits...or here with Tim DeKay, Matt Bomer and Willie Garson on White Collar.  You like these characters and you like to see them have conversations with each other, no matter what they're talking about.  This serves White Collar very well.

Where White Collar draws some critique is in its occasional tone shifts.  Where Catch Me If You Can is more drama than comedy, White Collar is more of the latter.  It feels more at home in the CUTE, light-hearted format.  For example, the tone of film The Sting, is where White Collar might want to stay.  However, there are instances where the show tries to get serious and dark.  However, it doesn't ring very believable because its such a departure from the tone it has originally set.  Burn Notice is a show that can be fun then turn dark and it works because of the nature of the hero. (A Burned Spy)  A white collar criminal or con artist isn't usually confrontational.  Danny Ocean isn't ever going to beat the sh*t out of someone or kill anyone.  Neither should Neal Caffrey.

Now, I can't blame the show runner Jeff Eastin too much for something that happens occasionally.  I'm willing to bet they've been knudged into shifting tone by USA during finales or sweeps.   Mainly because there is nothing that television networks love more than running an ad with somber music and a gravely voiced narrator whispering "On A Special Episode Of....Fill In The Blank" with text flashing across the screen that reads "ALL...BETS...ARE...OFF!"  And for the most part, Eastin's show stays true to it's better nature.

White Collar benefits from its concept, its cast, (Which includes KELLY F*#KING KAPOWSKI) and its cleverness.  Its good fun when it remembers it is supposed to be fun.  Watch it...then tell me I'm wrong.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Source Code

EXISTENTIAL
Director Duncan Jones(Son Of David Bowie By The Way...Yes That David Bowie) originally impressed me with his 2009 film Moon starring Sam Rockwell.  On the surface Moon looked like a typical indie sci-fi picture.  However, Moon, to me, was actually about knowing yourself and the questions of what makes us who we are.  A movie that appears to be one thing but turns out to really be about something else entirely.  Two years later, Jones directed a film that fell again under the design of an EXISTENTIAL question hidden behind a sci-fi genre.  That film was Source Code.

Source Code was promoted as another "unique" a sci-fi concept thriller.  Its probably why it took me so long to see it.  But as you watch it, you start to realize that its not the stated terrorist plot that is important to this story at all.  Its not even the, not so well hidden, twist (Which I won't spoil) that reveals itself 45 minutes in.  Its the questions of fate and destiny and whether its worth it to even fight to change something that is inevitable and ultimately irrelevant.

Concepts like these by themselves could make for an interesting film...but not in this day and age.  Hollywood is under the belief that these questions as the subject of a film are not good for business. They think it is too much work to market EXISTENTIALISM to the mass populous.  So filmmakers try and hide their EXISTENTIAL films inside films that Hollywood knows how to promote.  Most times they're done poorly.  Sometimes they're done well.  Sometimes they're done so well, that they entertain the intellectual and...um...how do I put this....the people who like stuff that blow up real good.  Source Code is one of the films that has done it well.

No, it is not a flawless film.  Its overly sentimental at times and the final scene ends rather abruptly.  However, Source Code is still a solid film with solid performances from Jake Gyllenhaal, Vera Farmiga, and Jeffrey Wright.  For those of you over 29 that remember a little TV Show called Quantum Leap, there is a very cool nod to the similarities between it and Source Code.  There will be no doubt in your mind that it entertained you after you've seen it.  Don't believe me?  Charge the drivers....go back 8 minutes....think about it...then tell me I'm wrong. (That joke will makes sense after viewing...but probably still won't be funny.)

Terms of Endearment

Terms of Endearment: Classic

I enjoy this film a lot. One reasons is they don't make these kind of films anymore. So it's a rare gem. Acting is top notch, Jack Nicholson is great and the directing of James L. Brooks works fantastic.

A great film for a movie lover, Mother and Daughter or a fan of comedy in general.

About
Aurora and Emma are mother and daughter who march to different drummers. Beginning with Emma's marriage, Aurora shows how difficult and loving she can be. The movie covers several years of their lives as each finds different reasons to go on living and find joy. Aurora's interludes with Garrett Breedlove, retired astronaut and next door neighbor are quite striking. In the end, different people show their love in very different ways. (from IMDB)


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Killer Klowns From Outer Space


 Killer Klowns From Outer Space - Memories


I remember as a kid waking up early one morning before anyone in the house and taking advantage of the one TV that we had with HBO.  I turn the TV and one movie was just ending and the credits were just closing out.  I decided to wait and see what was coming up next and the next thing I hear is some faint circus music with what it seemed people laughing.  Next thing I know the credits flash on the screen, the guitars kick in and I see 'Killer Klowns From Outer Space."  With that, what I thought of b-movies would never be the same.

Most people have fears of clowns, personally I don't get it, but yes, its real.  In "Killer Klowns" the plot is simple, and creepily effective.  A group of jolly klowns have come from some undisclosed planet to bring the citizens of Crescent Cove the chuckles, and promptly kill them in some quite humorous ways, ranging from killer popcorn to corrosive pies.

A lot of b-movies hold special places in my heart from "The Toxic Avenger" (which I will cover in another review) to "Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-o-Rama" (which I will cover in yet another review down the road).  I remember watching many of these fine films on either "Monstervision" with Joe Bob Briggs, "USA's 'Up All Night'" with either Gilbert Gottfried or Rhonda Shear, and to a lesser degree, "Night Flight."  Whenever I think about "Klowns" it takes me back to a simpler time when I wasn't so worried about what I might be getting out of a movie, and instead just enjoying myself.

Fun Fact:  Coulrophobia is the fear of clowns with the prefix, -coulro, meaning "stilt walker" derived from Ancient Greek.

Switch

Switch: Fine

Listen Switch isn't a bad film...It's just a "fine" one.

Straight from IMDB the film is about A sexist, chauvinist pig gets his just desserts when his angry ex-girlfriends murder him and he is reincarnated as a woman.

It's a Blake Edwards film so it's got some funny scenes, but it's no Skin Deep.

Problem I have with this film is well the date rape scene. So the guy dies and comes back as a girl. He tells his best friend played by Jimmy Smits, who says he believes him/her but still wants to have sex with him/her. Later on in the film they drink and drink and they go back to the he/her's place where apparently Jimmy Smits has sex with him/her without him/her knowing and (Spoiler Alert)... impregnates her...WTF Jimmy Smits? The whole thing is odd and weird for this film. Nothing upsets me, trust me I've seen some F'd up films and I don't care, but for this film it's just out of place.

It's a bit odd, but if a girl ever says they're a friend of mine who just came back from the dead I will most likely skip the I wanna have sex with you part.

The film really is a Girly film, so if that's your thing or what look out!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

They Live

They Live: Brilliant

There will and always be a personal favorite list that any movie viewer has. A list that if you ever crashed landed on a desert island, which films who you like to have?

Today I share one of mine, They Live.

They Live is a fav of mine that always gets played over and over. I found this film years ago on TV one night. Back when VHS recorders where the shit. The station played a trailer for the film before they played it and it caught my eye. I jumped over to the remote and pressed record! I still own that copy, even though it is worn out it still gives it a special feeling effect DVD's and Blu-rays can't give you.

This film might not be a classic to everyone. It really only appels to a small group of people, in fact I find it hard to find people I know that have seen it. But to me this film is a classic. It gives you 93 minutes of pure joy.

I love this film! I even drove down just to see Roddy Piper when a Horror convention came to town. It was him at a desk next to Robert Englund and a few others. No one was at Piper's desk, so I went up to him. Now I've met a few high profile people in my time but Roddy Piper was the best! Nicest guy I ever met (well expect for this guy). He was so happy, we talked and talked. He gave me a  autograph, They Live sunglasses with a piece of gum (if you watch this film you will know why) and asked me,  thats right ASKED ME to take a photo with him! One of the best moments of my life, thank you Roddy for that and the film. I just hope I get to met him again, possibly get to work with him on a film?...man that would be awesome!

I adore this film. Even more then the first time I saw it. When I first saw it the next day I called all my friends up to come over and watch it. It's fun, different, a ton of action, thought provoking and entertaining. I recently watched a new high def transfer (which looks amazing and comes out this November on bluray). When I watched it the other day, I found it to touch on the world we now live in. It's odd how close we are to this film now, with the whole obey thing. Sure it's a bit goofy but a cult classic like this still lives up better then films of today.

Whats the film about?
They Live is about a drifter who discovers a pair of sunglasses the allow him to see that there are aliens living in our world. In fact they have taken over the Earth. They run our lives with TV and Billboards everyday. The film stars Roddy Piper, Keith David and Meg Foster. It's directed by John Carpenter based on the short story Eight O'clock in the Morning by Ray Nelson.

Quick notes: Two actors from Back to the Future are in this film.
Longest fight scene...O and...
I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass... and I'm all out of bubblegum.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Brave

UNWORTHY
Now, Pixar has never made a bad movie. (Ahem.)  Like I said, Pixar has rarely made a bad movie. (AHEM!)  Damn you written inner monologue!  Fine!  Pixar more times than not makes good movies.  Monster's Inc, A Bugs Life, Finding Nemo, Toy Story Trilogy, Up, Wall-E and my personal favorite The Incredibles.  They are animated films that bring something for the kids aching to see them and also the parents forced to bring them.  They're smart.  They're funny.  They're poignant.  They're worthy entertainment.  The lastest Pixar film Brave, however, falls short of this.

Brave got a lot of attention as being the first Pixar film with a strong female lead.  This got my attention even though I didn't see the big deal.  It isn't like females in previous Pixar films were worthless background noise.  ElastiGirl from The Incredibles might be one of the strongest animated female characters in film history.  After seeing Brave, a very misleading title by the way, I would not place Princess Merida anywhere in Helen Parr's league.

What if I told you a tomboyish princess, who trained to be an archer/warrior her entire life, was opposed to her prissy mother's demands to marry her off to the suitors of rival kingdoms?  Still with me right?  Now, what if I told you her refusal to marry plunged her kingdom into war?  Awesome!   Then what if the princess and her mother are sent away by the king for their own safety?  Uh oh!  Then what if they were ambushed and attacked by men from a rival kingdom?  Oh Sh*t!  But what if the princess, escapes with her mother?  Wow!  What if the princess used every bit of the skills she'd learned from her warrior father to travel across the dangerous countryside back home?  Nice!  What if, while avoiding capture and surviving the elements, the princess proves to her mother that there are things a woman can aspire to be other than a stuffy aristocrat.  A woman can actually aspire to be "Brave".  You'd want to see that right?  So would I.  Too bad that isn't what this film is about.

Sure Princess Merida is being forced into marriage.  But instead of the story going the way you want it to, it changes into a silly body transformation comedy no better than that Tim Allen Shaggy Dog remake.  Don't look forward to seeing Princess Merida using that bow in the above picture in any meaningful way.  It doesn't make a bit of difference in this film's story.  She could have been awesome with a boomerang or slingshot and it would not make a bit of difference in this film.  Merida is also NOT A STRONG FEMALE CHARACTER.  She is a whiny, petulant, prideful child that makes a decision that could only be described as DUMB.  At no point did I see her as brave.  The brave thing to do would be to confront the issues she had with her mother head on.  Instead, she avoids doing the brave thing pretty much for this entire movie.

Think my version of what I hoped Brave to be is too adult?  Then let me remind you that the beginning of Up centers around infertility and a subsequent psychological breakdown.  The Incredibles deals with the issues of a midlife crisis, infidelity and McCarthyism.  A Bug's Life is literally a remake of the Magnificent Seven/Seven Samurai.  Wall-E is set during a post apocalyptic future.  And Toy Story 3....oh boy...Toy Story 3 was a few frames away from being the ballsiest allegory for mortality ever.  A Scottish female version of Rescue Dawn is not too much to ask for.

Brave also has an OVERLY PREACHY message about fate that would be lost on a child and insult the intelligence of an adult.   A message narrated to us just so they could tie it back to the, again, misleading title.  The film should be called Pride if anything.  It is the only thing I see at work in the main character.   This could have been a film that might have set an example as to how to make a movie with a strong female lead.  However, it comes across more like a medieval episode of That's So Raven.  (Yes, I've seen it.  Don't judge me.)  A film UNWORTHY to be under the Pixar banner.  I expect this from Disney Studios but not these guys.  Brave it...then tell me I'm wrong.

American Splendor

SPLENDID
Even with the recent commercial successes of this and this, people still look down on comic books, their readers, and especially their movies.   To malign the worth of comic books is extremely short sided.  Comic books are just another medium of entertainment.  No different than a novel, or song, or television show.  There are even certain comic books and comic book creators recognized for their work.  Some that receive awards.   Most look to the works of the strange and grumpy Alan Moore.  But forgotten is the even more strange and grumpier Harvey Pekar. (Pronounced PEE-KAR)  American Splendor circles the life of Harvey, the award winning comic book he made and the life that influenced it.

What makes American Splendor different than other comic books you've probably read or heard of is that its not about a superhero.  Its about a normal guy facing normal problems.  Cancer.  Loneliness.  Love.  Loss.  Mortality.  Stark reality up front in center.  To see these issues addressed through comics separates this film and Harvey Pekar's story from the other cookie cutter movies that do the same.

American Splendor has a format that leads me to believe producers were uncertain as to how they wanted to make the film.  Its a documentary that turns into a movie that turns into a documentary about a movie.  There are times directly after scenes where an actor gets to interview the person they are portraying.  But it works seamlessly and becomes an interesting mechanism in telling the story.  No film I've seen has ever done this.

Though he can be overbearing at times, Paul Giamatti is someone I've always liked as an actor.  He's perfect in this role and, in my opinion, gives his finest performance as Harvey Pekar.  You'll love Hope Davis as very reserved Joyce Brabner.  You'll be mesmerized by the unrecognizable Judah Friedlander as Toby.  However, its the real Harvey that stands out to me in this.  Giamatti handles the thematic aspect of the role but you will be drawn more to the scenes where Harvey talks to him.

American Splendor is a very SPLENDID film about a real person with real problems who managed to use those problems to make an impact on the literary world.  A man that should get a little more attention than he does now.  Watch it....then tell me I'm wrong.


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Fanboys


Fanboys – Unexpected

Let’s face it; the three prequel “Star Wars” movies were disasters.  Films that pandered to 11 and 12 year old kids that lacked heart, and acting for that matter, so it might behoove you to believe that a group of friends would actually go cross-country in order to steal a print of “The Phantom Menace” and risk everything for a friend’s dying wish.  Well, it happened in “Fanboys” and to be honest with you, I enjoyed 
almost every minute of it.

“Fanboys” is one of those interesting movies that was filmed well before it was actually released in theaters (all 12 of them), and featured a lot talent (Seth Rogan, Kristen Bell, Danny McBride) before they really got big.  The film is fluff, but it’s the type of fluff that makes you feel good inside and the characters are fun enough that that you actually enjoy the adventure that they are taking you on.

It’s not a perfect movie, but if you enjoy adolescent hijinks in the vein of “Adventures in Babysitting” or “The Goonies” then “Fanboys” will be right up your geek alley.  Also, if you’d like to keep the good times rolling, check out ‘Ready, Player One” the first novel by “Fanboys” screenwriter, Ernest Cline, it’s one of the best things written in the past five years.

Fun Fact:  Kevin Smith was supposed to cameo as Harry Knowles of “Ain’t It Cool News” but had to bow out at the last minute.

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Watch

The Watch: What?

What the hell? This movie (If I can call it one) goes...NOWHERE.

The Three Stooges made me cut myself 8 times...

The Watch made me jump in front of cars, after I set myself on fire and shot myself 6 times.

This shit makes me sad that movies are now made like this...What? Why? It's all shit anymore...every stupid film that comes out is shit...honestly I think I'm more pissed that good films aren't made anymore. 

This is why people torrent films!... okay?
This is why tickets are 20 bucks to watch!


This is why no one wants to waste money on shit films?
This is why movies lose money!
This is why I don't go to the theater anymore!
This is why!

It's a gamble to go to the theater anymore and I rather go to a casino to lose my money...
  


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Exit Through the Gift Shop



Exit Through the Gift Shop - Balls

I remember as a kid I would always see this tag all around my neighborhood "Kaos."  I never really understood what it meant growing up and I would never know, it was just some graffiti on the wall, literally.  I've never been into the whole "street art" scene, in fact I've never really been into art at all, but when you think about what street artists do to get their point across, it takes a lot of balls to do some of the art you see in "Exit Through the Gift Shop."

The guy with the biggest balls is Banksy, a London street artist who has "tagged" everything from retaining walls in the West Bank to Disneyland.  It's really incredible that this guy isn't locked under the jail, but he keeps calm and carries on.

Speaking of balls, Thierry Guetta, the main documentarian for which the film is based on, shows how art, in any form, is a truly backstabbing business where anything goes and you have to be in the right place at the right time and know how to co-opt a fad.

"Exit" has been accused of being a "fake" documentary, but that only adds to the mysticism of Banksy, Thierry, Shepard Fairey, and other artists shown in the film.

Fun fact:  The most expensive street art ever auctioned was Banksy's "Keep It Spotless" which sold for $1.8M in 2008.

Copyright © Simplistic Reviews