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|31 reviews in total|
"A Million Ways to Die in the West" is Seth MacFarlane's second venture
onto the silver screen. After the monumental, half-a-billion dollar
success that was "Ted", audiences and critics were convinced that Seth
was made for the movies, and in some ways, that is true. The
misconception would be that he is capable of doing no wrong, because
folks, I believe we've encountered his first major stinker. "A Million
Ways" is an ambitious, beautiful looking movie, but it lacks very much
in laughs. This is a big problem. "Ted" was constantly funny, even in
times when the jokes landed flat. "A Million Ways" alters between broad
comedy, drama and romance. It's inconsistent. The conclusion that I am
resorting with is that Seth wanted to make a loving homage to Sergio
Leone, Buch Cassidy, Mel Brooks and Woody Allen all in one goofy
package. But that would mean that he is taking the material way too
. and that shows dramatically throughout the majority of this
film. "Blazing Saddles", for example, was a broad comedy through and
through, never taking a break in order to create a true western
picture. Seth MacFarlane probably wants you to think that he is a Mel
Brooks in the making, and that this movie is a 21st century answer to
"Blazing Saddles". If he really wanted to pull that off, he should have
never backed away from making an entirely broad comedy. Granted, if he
did, I would have accused him of making a rip-off of "Blazing Saddles",
but that is neither here no there.
As far as other positives are concerned, the cast is terrific. Everyone here gives it there all and provide terrific comedic timing. I also enjoyed the surprise cameos (which I won't give away here). I guess the positives outweigh the negatives somehow. But it works vice versa. I guess you can say this is a flawed movie. A good movie is buried underneath all the junk, I know there is. Perhaps a healthy edit should have been made to the movie? I'm not entirely sure.
I guess Seth MacFarlane is better suited for modern day satire. Which in that case, I guess we'll all have to wait for Ted 2.
Neighbors is officially the first (and possibly the only) big comedy hit of the summer. Grossing record breaking numbers and granting stellar reviews from critics. Is it all worth the hype? Mostly yes. Neighbors is thoroughly enjoyable, and stickily sweet in nature. When it wants to make you laugh, you laugh hard. Really hard. Seth Rogen comedies tend to do that very often. However, unlike last summer's "This is the End", the laughs are inconsistent. Big laughs are few and far between chuckles, or even laugh free zones. Is it wrong to have expected better? Especially since Rogen is enjoying his successful creative streak with his new production company, Point Grey. Nonetheless, this shouldn't be a deterrent from seeing the film. It has enough charm, flair, and off-the-wall humor to win anyone over. Seth Rogen once again gives a strong performance, and Zac Efron almost amazes with his quality of acting here. "Neighbors" is as fun as a frat party, you'll feel unclean after partaking in it, but it was so worth it in the end.
What could have been an enthralling biopic of the rough career and personal life of troubled porn star turned woman's activist Linda "Lovelace" Boreman, is instead a disappointing melodramatic mess. I could just take the easiest criticism and say that P.T. Anderson's "Boogie Nights" told this story the best and sets the bar for any other variation of it after it, but the story of Linda Lovelace is much more complex and tragic than that of John Holmes. She came from mutilation, embarrassment and abuse. Lovelace never intended on getting into a career of selling skin, and this film, to a certain degree, shows her innocence. But when it comes to documenting the toll that "Deep Throat" took on her life, the movie simply cops out. Amanda Seyfried is a lovely woman and a very talented actress, and I think she gave her best effort in playing Lovelace. Its everything else that doesn't work. Peter Sarsgaard's performance of Chuck Traynor is extremely weak. In real life, Chuck was man described as a monster who would constantly threaten Linda's life if she refused his orders. You would think that in order to match the reality, you would hire an actor that can capture rage in order to make the audience detest or fear him (ex, Leonardo DiCaprio). Such is not the case here. Chuck is portrayed as a soft-spoken dummy, conveying absolutely no genuine emotion in any of his actions. Considering Chuck played a huge part in the film's narrative, that really hurts the picture. The turbulent making of "Deep Throat" and its phenomenal success is also widely ignored and weakly executed. It feels like the film was simply rushed in and out of production and just slapped together for the final product. Nothing really feels genuine in any section of the film whatsoever. Bottom line, I have to unfortunately tell you to skip this film.
Punch-Drunk Love is an effectively emotional film that brings an urgency to the meaning of romance in our lives. This is not your typical Adam Sandler movie. Oh no, this is a masterpiece. Here, he abandons his grating buffoon charade that bludgeons his career and instead plays a profound and tortured man who suffers all the hallmarks of Aspergers. He spends his days hiding from the world in a lonely garage, and dealing with the constant bullying of his psychotic sisters. When one of them hooks him up with a shy British woman, he falls madly in love, but only after he convinces her just how much of a beautiful man he really is. This story is so touching, it brings a tear to my eye. Theirs is a love so unique, so taboo, so justifiably beautiful. P.T. Anderson really pins down controversial subjects, but even a narrative as simple as a love story can he really bring his all to. It's a truly magnificent picture.
Make no mistake about it, this is NOT your typical AIDS movie. Those of you who are all caught up with that hype should just stop reading and go somewhere else. Dallas Buyers Club is a deeply upsetting but masterfully crafted piece of genius filmmaking. I have never felt so sorry for any movie character quite like Ron Woodroof. He's a flawed cowboy who's made a few too many mistakes that ends up putting his health in fatal jeopardy. The odds are not in his favor, but he has time to kill, and he makes up for it by selling an illegal drug that prolongs the lifespan of the average AIDS patient. Enter, the Dallas Buyers Club. His partner is crime is a transsexual named Rayon played by Jared Leto, who flirts his life away, but all in hopes of becoming a beautiful woman. The fact is, McConaughey and Leto give the performances of their lifetime. While I don't think this was the movie that deserved their Oscar, I can proudly say that it is the best performances they've done to date and that is deserving enough of the award. The story is also very engaging, fueled with Jean-Marc Valee's unprecedented direction. He's practically the next Darren Aronofsky. This is an urgent, meaningful movie and It deserves your time in watching it.
There is probably no other movie you could find that better captures
decadence in the world of the extremely wealthy quite like "The Wolf of
Wall Street". A film that might not stand among the ranks of
"Goodfellas", "Taxi Driver", "The Departed" or even "Gangs of New York"
as one of Martin Scorsese's best films, but stands among the very best
of 2013. Its a mess, but what an exhilarating mess it is.
A 3-hour epic of gluttonous drug-use and explicit sex as documented by a truly repulsive human being. The fact is, this is how the workplace functioned back in the early 90's. The fact is, Jordan Belfort consumed more Quaaludes to make Hunter S. Thompson blush and engaged in enough ravenous sexual escapades to make Caligula faint. It seems almost unbelievable to assume that these events actually occurred, but to some degree, they did. If that is the case, then Scorsese truly crafted a masterful biopic.
DiCaprio embodies Jordan Belfort perfectly. He soars far beyond any performance in film this year. Jonah Hill is also mesmerizing as Jordan's partner in crime, Donnie Azoff, who is a certified pig. Matthew McConaughey especially steals the show as Mark Hanna, a meticulous master of the stocks, with a strange habit of beating his chest to something similar to an Indian tribal chant. The female love interest Naomi, played by Margot Robbie, plays it sexy and cunning as a really charming tramp who mothers Belfort's child.
The rest plays out as you would expect. Its a long, dizzying journey of T and A with copious amounts of cocaine sprinkled on top. But its a journey that is worth taking. Bravo to Scorsese, DiCaprio and everyone involved in the creation of this masterpiece.
I will be fair and say that Casa de mi Padre was an inspired idea. Will Ferrel truly took on a daring responsibility to widely release a Spanish speaking movie under his company banner as well as speaking Spanish throughout the film. The result is a mixed bag. I really admired its homage of the Sergio Leone spaghetti western meets Telenovela meets Grindhouse flick. It took advantage of this by using some really clever sight gags. Some of the action scenes were pretty kick-ass. Also, since this is a Spanish speaking movie, the subtitles leave room for some hilarious reading! But the film's efforts can at times feel tiresome. The first half of the movie is almost joke less. Almost as if the film was trying to rely on the fact that Will Ferrel speaking Spanish will be funny enough to carry a movie. Which it doesn't. The scenes without jokes fall totally flat and provides nothing to the audiences interest. To this effect, I turned off the movie half way through watching it the first time, convinced that I had watched a truly awful comedy. But I gave it a second chance, and to my surprise, I liked it. But lets face the facts, this is a forgettable Will Ferrel flick that will go among the ranks of "Semi-Pro" and "Kicking and Screaming" as one of his worst films. Rent it if you want to.
Dark Shadows tries with all its might to be as quirky, spooky and ironic as possible. But I couldn't agree more with what most of the critics have said, and I quote, "All dressed up, and nowhere to go". To be honest, I thought that this was going to be one of Burton's most original outings since the mid-nineties. I was looking forward to the juxtaposition of groovy nostalgia and Universal classic horror movie monsters that this film promised. But once I pressed play, those hopes were quickly dashed. Its another pretentious Burton schlock-fest with over the top weirdness, over bearing set pieces, uninteresting dialog and of course, Johnny Depp stinking up the joint. I should have known that Dark Shadows was such an appealing franchise for Burton to get his greasy hands on. Nothing in this film is genuinely compelling or funny. However, the homages to the 70's (as little in quantity as they were), were at least semi- amusing. Tim needs to learn at some point or another that his 20 year Depp collabo is wearing extremely thin. Perhaps the film's box-office returns gave some sort of a clue.
Identity Thief plays like a low rent version of Due Date, with such devastating little effort in the laugh department. How did this movie go so wrong? Jason Bateman's stick-in-the-mud charm can make just about any movie good, even the badly scripted ones. Here, he just comes across as a schmuck, and not a likable one either. With a character that gets his identity stolen, you would think that we would feel more empathy towards him getting it back, but me and the rest of the audience could agree to care less. Melissa McCarthy also manages to phone-in her performance. Who was once the rapid fire ad-lib queen of comedy, Melissa is seen here shackled to this lazy script and is reduced to pratfalls and white trash yammering. Then all of a sudden, after the film convinces to us that she is a conniving, Jar-Jar aping pain in Bateman's side, we are supposed to care about her. Melissa's character (also named Sandy) begins to reflect on her broken childhood, which includes missing an identity of her own. Then, the movie gets sentimental, and I mean REALLY REALLY sentimental. As if this hackneyed script was turned over to an ABC Family writer and just decided to change the pace all together. Alright, I'm being too harsh. Some of the movie's sweet side, while pungent, works in Melissa's advantage because we are rewarded with a softer, friendlier performance from her that was actually quite moving. But it just doesn't work, not in this movie, not in any R-Rated comedy for that matter. Also, the subplot featuring the criminals and the psychotic bounty hunter did nothing for the narrative, and I wasn't laughing either. What saves this movie from being a complete disaster is a few jokes I genuinely laughed at. Sometimes, the movie showed us a glimmer of Melissa's genius hilarity and Bateman's deadpan charm. But it wasn't long until banality sunk back in. Whose to blame? I would say the screenwriter, Craig Mazin. The guy who brought us such classics as The Hangover Part II. Seriously Craig, just stick to working with David Zucker. To be honest, I didn't even think I was getting myself into something that good in the first place. I remember cringing the first time I caught the trailer to this, But I hoped in vein that it would be better than advertising suggested. But no, it was just as I suspected. In short, this film was a major letdown.
While shopping at my local Best Buy, I saw a copy of Hit and Run
sitting on the shelf and I just decided to give it a try. I had nothing
to lose and nothing to really fear. I figured it would be a light
comedy with a lot of action to hold my attention for a good 90 minutes.
I came home, pressed play, and watched it.
I don't really know how I feel about it.
Its not a bad movie, per se. I certainly didn't have a bad time. I was just puzzled at what I had just watched. Its a gooey rom-com with a few intense car chase sequences, peppered with raunchy dialog. Just... so weird! I'll give credit to Dax Shepard for making a totally original slant on an otherwise overdone plot line.
But then, once you get past the plot, it gets weirder. The acting, for the most part, is decent. But sometimes, it gets downright terrible. Take for instance, Tom Arnold. He literally shouts his entire dialog and spends most of the movie running wildly around screen with a gun in his hand. Why? I have no idea. Were they going for absurdist humor with that character? or was Tom Arnold just coked up? Whatever the reason, I grew to hate his character... a lot.
Then, literally, for no reason whatsoever, we get two scenes involving the main characters stumbling into an elderly orgy. What on god's green earth was that all about? Its as if the movie was spliced together with outtakes from a Sacha Baron Cohen movie, and they figured it would be so shocking, that it just had to be in the movie for a good laugh. It just sat there, dead on screen, in its wrinkly birthday suit. I didn't laugh.
Alright, enough with the questions. Lets get down to business. I thought the movie potentially worked and I did laugh more times than I ever thought I would. There is some really funny stuff in here, and its worth checking out to catch them all. I liked Dax Shepard, considering that he was channeling an Owen Wilson type performance. Kristen Bell is always a pleasure to watch watch on screen. We also get a delightfully bizarre performance from Bradley Cooper that entertained me a whole lot. Especially the scene at the supermarket... what an absolutely fantastic scene that was.
All in all, Hit and Run is hit and miss, and definitely surreal at times. But not a bad outing at the movies.
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