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Happy Town (2010)
HAPPY TOWN had no small amount of potential. The setting was great, the plot was fairly strong, or at least layered enough to create the solid beginning to a mystery, and there were some interesting, well played characters, specifically Same Neill and M.C. Gainey. Oh, and the guy who played Root Beer. Love him.
That's about it. The dialogue in this show is atrocious. I mean really, really bad. Just about everyone speaks in total clichés. Sometimes, in order to sound "mysterious" and "quirky" the writers will give someone a line so cryptic that it's just silly. Example: "Just call me Gazpacho. 'Cause I like my soup cold." Huh? I know the show was cancelled in midstream, but the ending is terrible. Obviously it would be impossible to wrap up multiple seasons worth of loose ends in a single episode, but there was in ton of extraneous garbage in the last episode that could have been spent on something worthwhile. Instead they chose to blindside the audience with a bizarre, unsatisfying ending.
In the end, HAPPY TOWN desperately tries to be unique and original, something in the vein of the excellent TWIN PEAKS, but succeeds only in being derivative and silly.
Still, I watched every episode and was then motivated enough to write a long winded review. So, if you like dark mystery shows with hints of comedy (even when it doesn't totally work), check it out. You'll be no more disappointed than if you just watched TWO AND A HALF MEN instead.
Oh man, this movie is awesome.
If you're like me then you like busty ladies, wacky rednecks, and crazy voodoo involving male specific anatomy. If you're like me, then you're a PERVERT! And you'll love this movie.
This picture is a brilliant homage to the Russ Meyer nudie-cutie flicks of old. The wonderful thing about this movie is that the filmmakers clearly love the genre that they're pulling from, and the result is not parody but admiration. I'm tempted to even use the word respect, but that seems a little overblown.
I'll sum it up by saying this: If you're the kind of person that has even heard about this movie, much less had it recommended to you by your mom and considered watching it, then you're more than likely the rare breed who will relate to the tragic, titillating, triumphant tale of a healthy young pervert.
Great movie for kids!
I'm in my early twenties, so by all accounts, I am not the target demographic for this movie. But I just watched it with my young cousin. First of all, the little dude loved it, so even if I'd hated it I couldn't give it a bad review. But the thing is, to my surprise I didn't hate it.
There are a few laughs there for older people that will probably fly over kids' heads, and the main character Harry is a former homicide detective from New York or somewhere which was pretty sweet. There are even a few light action scenes with Harry that were cool.
There are interesting actors in there too: Diana Tilden-Davis plays a hot park ranger. I looked her up and she was a beauty queen in Africa. Also, if you're a CARRIE fan, William Katt has a pretty big role as a plane flying priest.
The most important review though, and the reason I'm writing this, is that my little cousin loved the thing, and if you can entertain an eight year old for an hour and a half you're doing all right!
Marie Antoinette (2006)
Sophia Coppola murders cinema.
Watching this, all I could think about was imagining Francis Ford Coppola handing his daughter a credit card and saying "Honey, you can either go to the mall for new shoes, or make a movie. Your pick, sweetheart." Fortunately for the audience, Sophia chose both, as evidenced by the fantastic shoes in this movie. The only thing missing is a plot, character development, decent dialogue, and any sense of pacing.
This film more or less follows the typical structure of every Sophia Coppola movie:
1. Throw away any structure whatsoever. 2. Show a girl sitting and thinking about stuff. 3. Cut to a fast, poppy montage. 4. Show the girl crying. 5. Show the girl giggling like an idiot. 6. Show the girl crying some more. 7. Cut to a slower, more "lyrical" montage. 8. Show the girl looking kind of sad, but not too sad. 9. Cut to black with no resolution at all, which is okay since there's nothing to resolve.
The "stylized" and "edgy" addition of a hip New Wave soundtrack did nothing but make the movie look like a Falco music video with a ridiculously inflated budget. And with a running time clocking in at an excruciating 123 minutes, Coppola manages to tell us nothing about Marie Antoinette. It's impossible to feel anything for anyone, simply because nobody ever does anything.
I could go on for hours, but I'll sum it up as this: It's as if Coppola took the script from "Clueless", took out all the jokes, and then tacked on that little revolution thing at the end so that, you know, a significant event would occur in the film.
If you insist upon putting yourself through this, if even for morbid curiosity, then at least wait until it comes out on video. Or be prepared to tangle with the theater management for your money back.
I hate this movie.
Dog Bites Man (2006)
This show is hilarious. It's quick, funny, and original. It subtly and slyly walks the fine line between totally inappropriate, and completely hilarious. The cast is all great. This show about an incredibly incompetent news crew is a welcome breath of fresh air among all these other faux news/talk shows on Comedy Central. (i.e. "The Daily Show", "The Colbert Report" and that stupid celebrity show that David Spade does.)
Unfortunately "Dog Bites Man" seems to be taking a lot of heat. Don't listen to those who don't get it. Hopefully this one will be around for a while, but watch this before Comedy Central realizes they have something good and cancels it.
And for Matt Walsh fans, this blows Upright Citizen's Brigade out of the water.
Stealing Harvard (2002)
Good for Tom Green Fans, not much else.
First off, this movie SHOULD have been great. Bruce McCulloch directing? Yeah! And the cast is comedy gold: Jason Lee, Tom Green, Leslie Mann, Dennis Farina, John C. McGinley, Megan Mullally... I mean, even the women are funny! The only thing that's really lacking is, sadly, the script.
Everyone is funny, they just don't have enough to work with. The characters are 2D, the plot paper thin, and everything is just too convenient. Now I didn't expect anything weighty or life changing. Just something worth caring about.
Don't get me wrong, the movie IS funny. Tom Green is great, providing some hilarious moments (Drinking milk and then suddenly pouring lemon juice in his mouth, for instance.) For the most part though, the humor relies entirely on his performance, not the strength of the writing. Also, Jason Lee is cast here as the Straight, the regular guy just trying to get his life in order. Personally, I much prefer him as the goofy sidekick type (i.e. Tom Green).
All in all, this makes for a palatable little episodic comedy. But there's not enough to sink your teeth into. You can't get involved enough to really let go and laugh.
The New World (2005)
Typical Academy Tripe
I give this a four because it was pretty to look at. Other than that, it was complete garbage. I almost hate to say that as I enjoyed the acting, the pacing, and the photography. In fact, I was really looking forward to this film.
Upon watching it (the day it came out in theaters), I found it to be completely historically inaccurate. As a descendant of John Rolfe and Pocahontas, I have always hated the romance myth concerning John Smith. This simply never happened. In reality she was only about 11.
The worst is that there is a truly beautiful love story between Rolfe and Pocahontas that was never really explored. I counted on Malick to have enough respect for his subject(s) to portray it truthfully, instead of making a hackneyed attempt at rewriting history. He let me down. If a filmmaker can't respect his subject, then I can't respect his work. I will never watch this film again.
If you want the truth, read a book. Try starting with "Love and Hate in Jamestown" by David A. Price, or "The Jamestown Adventure: Accounts of the Virginia Colony, 1605-1614 (Real Voices, Real History)" by Ed Southern. Avoid this dreck like an Indian raid. Or a worthless hack.
"Waterworld" rules. Seriously.
"Waterworld" has everything you need to be a great action epic:
1. A huge budget. 2. A slightly disgruntled outsider of a protagonist. Beneath his rough exterior there's a heart of gold that loves kids. 3. A hot lady who sheds her clothes. (Partially.) 4. A cute kid who holds both the key to the conflict, and the audience's hearts. 5. A ridiculously over the top, heinously evil villain. Preferably played by Dennis Hopper. 6. An amazing, outlandish, deadly setting. (Especially here.)
Kevin Costner is great in this, as is Kevin Reynold's directing. This is an amazing popcorn movie, definitely on par with, (if not surpassing)"Con-Air". By the way, if you liked this, check out "Con-Air" and vice-versa. Also try Reynold's other flicks, and some Ridley Scott.
Little Terrorist (2004)
Why the low rating?
This film, unfortunately, has the lowest IMDb rating of all the 2005 nominated live action shorts. "Little Terrorist" was infinitely better than the winner, "Wasp", and falls second only to "7:35 in the Morning" for a well paced plot, interesting and engaging characters, and a great final message. Having lived in Pakistan before and having stood on the Kashmir border, I was tremendously impressed with the realistic portrayal of the area. Watching this film made me feel as if I was back there again (as the film is shot entirely on location) and, this time, involved in a very real, very exciting day in the life of a young boy. This film is wonderfully atmospheric and moving. A great watch!
Dear Frankie (2004)
A Great Surprise
When I first sat down to watch this, I was looking forward to another heart warming tale of familial love, with lots of laughs, tears, and hand in hand skips down the shore. In other words, total crap. To my very pleasant surprise I found a story that was subtle, sincere, and yes, heart warming. In spite of the dashes down the beach. The characters, which I expected to be wooden cut outs, plastered with a Hollywoodesque grin, were subtle and real. The best part of all was the ending. There was no cop out, no sugar coated easy escape. It was great. However, I'll stop before giving too much away. This film was fun, truthful, and entertaining. It lacked the sappiness and cheap shots that I expected and left me thoroughly impressed.