Reviews written by registered user
|25 reviews in total|
I saw Sex Drive at a sneak preview presented by my university. It's a
seemingly typical teen sex comedy in the vein of Superbad meets Road
Trip. Zuckerman plays Ian, a young virgin with no luck with the ladies,
a crush on his childhood friend Felicia (Crew), a jerk of an older
brother (Marsden), and is best friends with an Austin Powers-esquire
Casanova by the name of Lance (Duke). On the internet, he poses as a
football player while courting a mysterious girl online. When the girl
invites him to go "all the way", he steals his brother's GTO and heads
to Knoxville with Felicia and Lance. Ian's character has the usual
nerdy teen virgin-in-a-movie problems: falls for the wrong girls, takes
few risks, gets caught in embarrassing sexual situations. On the road
trip, they run into a series of hilarious, awkward, and weird
situations. And on the way, they discover that sex isn't the most
important thing, and that true love can be found in both odd and
It's not exactly stunningly original, but it's still a hilarious film. The three leads do a pretty good job, Lance being a particularly funny character. Marsden and Green steal the show in all the scenes they're in, and all of the characters in the film are interesting, even if most of them are stock characters. The script is also well-connected, with most of the characters being connected to the larger plot, and combines wit, ribaldry, and straight adult humor well. Every gag sequence gets big laughs, and the comedy never slows down or dies out. The internet cut-aways are especially hilarious supplements.
It's refreshing to see a genuinely adult comedy not coming from the Apatow crew or McKay and Ferrell. Although it lacks star leads and filmmakers and will probably drop under the radar, I definitely recommend Sex Drive to anyone looking for a big laughs.
I begin this review with a question because this movie is an oddity.
I'll get to that in a second. First off, let me say that I have never
seen any of the Japanese versions of the films, so I can't compare them
and I won't try. That leads me to the second point I would like to
make: if you didn't know, this film is actually three separate Japanese
films edited into one American version.
That's what makes this film odd. All the faults lie with the editing, dubbing, scripting... basically all the American added elements (surprise surprise, right?). The animation in the film(s) is great: I'm not sure who did the art direction, but it's drastically different from the series' animation, which I always found stiff and repetitive (which, again, might be the result of American editing). The animation in the movies is smooth, dynamic, stylish, and very action packed. It can be compared to the animation in FLCL or the animation in select episodes of Naruto (such as the showdown between Naruto and Sasuke). Everything sort of flows. The character models are a bit more distorted, and it uses darker/cooler color shadings. The overall effect is very good and entertaining.
Unfortunately, the superb action and animation direction is moot when put beside the HORRIBLE dubbing. Saban, like 4Kids is wont to do, chose to drastically alter the original script and writing. Often, side-comments will be added to the dialog for no real reason except, possibly, to cram more dialog into a scene. The jokes are often flat, and distract from the main plot instead of adding to it. If you want a good example of this, watch any of the One Piece episodes translated by 4Kids (i.e. the ones with the crappy rap song opening). It's awful. Thank God Funimation took that show over, but I digress.
Speaking of plot, it's bad. Let me clarify: the plot for the first two sequences (Greymon vs. Parrotmon and the first digidestined vs. Diaboromon/Infermon) is actually good, mainly because it's simple. As stand alone movies, the plot would be fine. However, when combined together with the third sequence/film (featuring the digidestined from season 2 vs. a new digimon named Endigomon), it's bad. Real bad. The connections between each movie are tenuous at best, and terribly explained.
And don't get me started on the third movie. The third movie, in which everything is "explained" and the plot comes together has been edited to hell. There is no continuity, and everything is pretty nonsensical. If you can get any enjoyment from this segment of the film, congratulations. I was just confused, because the scenes have been chopped up and thrown together again. There is no logical flow of action from scene to scene.
So, if I was to make a one word value assessment of this film, it would be "bad". Not terrible. It has some redeeming qualities. I would say it's better than, say, the Yu-Gi-Oh movie.
It's surprising that a movie with so much comedic talent could make me laugh so little. Or maybe it isn't and I'm overestimating Eddie Murphy. In any case, this movie made me laugh about three times: all of them from Eddie Griffin's and Katt Williams's lines. And this was at the END of the movie during the church scene. It took the entire movie to get to the humor. The rest is just badly constructed plot and fat jokes. But the worst part? Rasputia's catch-phrase. Why would she have a catch-phrase? It's like giving Jar Jar Binks a catchphrase; nobody's gonna quote cinema's greatest reject, and nobody's gonna quote this. Don't waste your time with this mess.
In truth, you should probably see this movie just for the action.
Because it's really that cool. Every fight scene is as visceral as it
is stylish, even the scenes where he's just smashing thugs. And the one
on one fight scenes (even with the big guys that just threw things and
the lady) are simply awesome. It's hands down some of the best fights
I've seen in a while.
But unfortunately, that's where the movie ends. What little plot it has is pretty much the exposition at the beginning, and after that there is practically no plot development. Stuff happens, Cam fights, goons run back to the Dragon Lady, Cam yells for his elephant (kinda like that episode of the Simpsons where Bart wins an elephant in a radio contest). Hell, they never even fully explain what the Dragon Boss Lady steals the elephant for, only vaguely referring to "the power of the kings" that she wants. The history surrounding the Protector is interesting, but that's sparsely covered. The only real character connection is between Cam and the elephants. The fat buddy cop? I don't even remember his name. He was just there. The girl? Well, other than being a convenient (and hot) plot device, she was just there. And I guess the Dragon Lady was an OK villain, but other than that, the characters had no substance. The only reason you could connect to Cam was because he kicked ass and liked animals.
All in all, look for the great action, try to ignore the flaws and the lax plot and character development.
Is it just me, or do villains pop out everywhere Ben and his family
travel to? Arizona? Lightning aliens! Old folks home? More evil aliens!
New Orleans? Necromancers! Suburbs? Evil geek! Circus? Evil clowns!
Well, clowns are always evil. But in any case, it seems that bad guys
either follow Ben around, or show up conveniently when he shows up. And
most of the time the bad guys aren't in anyway affiliated with the main
alien enemies trying to get the Omnitrix back. It's the same most
episodes. Bad guys with unexplained superpowers show up, Ben fights
them. WITH HIS 10 YEAR OLD COUSIN AND GRANDFATHER. You'd think a person
with 10 varied superpowers could handle this with out putting elderly
and young family members in mortal peril. But I guess not. It's the
villain-of-the-week formula, people. It's unoriginal and (in this case)
jagged in plot structure.
What this show desperately needs is some plot cohesion. The action is pretty good, Ben (as a character) has a lot of potential. The back story involving his grandfather is interesting. The main alien antagonist is a good villain. But all of this is hampered by writing that never stays on one subject. Coming of age story? That could work. Coming of age story one episode... PSYCHO FISHERMEN NEXT EPISODE! Not so much. If this show could give reasons for the various super-powered fiends (and not just HAY LOOK AT DEEZ BAD GUYZ!!!1), then at least I could get into it. But how can you when each episode is completely random and pointless? They've managed to do this with other shows. There's a reason the good guys fight and a reason behind the bad guys. The Teen Titans live in a world of super-powered beings. That's why the bad guys are super-powered. In Ben 10, Ben just seems to go with the flow. Travel on summer vacation? Bad guys on the way? Sure, why not. There's no motivation, no logic, no reason.
This show could be SOO much better if the writers, I don't now, picked up a book? Watched The Godfather? I understand a Saturday morning cartoon can only do so much, but it just seems like the writers are lazy.
I've heard from a lot of people that this show is hilarious. But every time I watch it, it's not funny. Sure, there's some chuckles here and there, but for the most part it's slow, boring, and too weird and silly for my tastes. And I like some crazy stuff (like most of the stuff on Adult Swim), too. So am I missing the point of this show? Is it too high brow for me? Is it too funny to be good? Is it too good to be funny? Is it meant to be weird, but not funny? Is it not meant to be "ha-ha" funny, but satire? I don't know, but I do know that it's not funny when I watch, not funny afterward, and not funny before. So if I'm missing the point of this show, sorry. But it's just not humorous at all. Every time I watch it, I just end up asking myself "What the hell is wrong with this show?"
Let's get things straight people: no one watches Skin-e-max at 1:00 am
for the critically acclaimed movies. Well, maybe they do. But not
Most of the time its for the softcore porn. And why do we watch softcore porn? Because we can't access real porn at the moment. It's a substitute. Therefore, the more explicit the content of one of these late night skin flicks is, the better it is. The closer it gets to hardcore while staying within the censorship laws, the better.
Based on these criterion, "The Exhibitionist Files" is just boring. There's a lot of nekkidness, but not a lot of nookie. And since one does not watch these films for one's intellectual stimulation, this is a bad movie. Skip it. Watch one of those "Bikini" so-and-so films. Those are MUCH more stimulating, heh heh...
So, what can I say about Smallville? Firstly, it's an original premise,
I'll give it that. It is genuinely cool to see how Superman was when he
was a teenage, and for the most part his character development is
rather intriguing. The superpowers and other special effects are well
done most of the time, and the fight scenes are modest (they could be
more involved and lengthy, however). The other characters work as good
foils for Clark, and Lex Luther himself has become a highly complex
character (even if a good deal of it is non-canonical and rather
contradictory). From the get go, Smallville had potential both as an
interesting action/fantasy series and a drama.
But what afflicts Smallville is what afflicts most shows of this type: haphazard, episodic writing. In it's good moments, Smallville can pull off some good story arcs and plot lines that evolve the characters so that they become beings that you can actually relate to and feel for and create plot twists and turns that keep the viewer interested. However, when it's bad, it simply puts all the strides the series made into shadow. The show is now in its fifth season, and now the character developments and plot directions made in previous seasons have been seriously damaged and all but erased. For example, Lionel Luther (Lex's father and a newly created character) served as the chief villain for seasons one through three- when they didn't resort to the "villain of the week" formula (which got old, FAST). In the fourth season, Luther was in the process of changing his ways, trying to stop his son from taking the same path as he (which, of course, will fail). However, in the fifth, he reverts back into one of the main antagonists. Huh? Did I miss something? Smallville is constantly plagued with writing that either goes nowhere, doesn't know where it's going, or exploit some fad (one episode is created around Lana Lang kissing another girl with absolutely no other noteworthy plot subjects and another is used to sap popularity from Chinese wuxia films). The series builds story arcs up only to knock them down with some half-assed plot device (such as "make Clark evil" or "Put Lana in mortal danger"). While attempts to create mystery and suspense are present, they rarely succeed.
Most of the story lines make vague allusions to the comics, but most are non-canonical. While this is excusable in a television show such as this, sometimes the writers take too many liberties with canon.
In general, Smallville has a lot of potential, and sometimes it meets this potential. But the capricious and wandering writing really hurts it.
While Lord of War isn't the perfect movie, it's still gets it's
powerful political message across. Lord of War is the story of Yuri
Orlov, a Ukrainian immigrant from Brooklyn who works in his family's
failing restaurant. Unsatisfied with his slot it life (which he
describes no better than Soviet-controlled Ukraine), Yuri witnesses an
attempted assassination on a Russian mafia boss and changes his
profession to arms-dealer, first starting locally then widening to
every war zone on the planet between the mid 80s and 2000- during which
he spirals into a haze of lies, drugs, pain, and guilt. While I didn't
find Cage's performance particularly spectacular, it was enough to
bring such a well written character to life. The other characters,
while not especially developed, act as good foils to Orlov. I
especially like Andre Baptiste, dictator of Liberia based on real-life
Liberian dictator Charles Taylor.
Simply put, Lord of War has a clear message that it pushes at nearly every point in the movie when it's not developing the tragedy of Cage's character. If you dislike movies that harp on a single point on multiple levels, then this isn't for you. More so, if you don't agree with the point (which many won't, since it implicates the United States and several other superpowers in Yuri's wrongdoings), you won't like this movie. However, most students of history and politics will appreciate how the movie connects the last days of the Soviet Union and the continuing conflicts in parts of Africa with it's tirade against arms-dealing ( most of which is true, especially in Africa) even if they disagree with the moral. It's as much as an objective analysis as it is a cautionary tale.
The cinematography and direction is stylish and flashy, and can be compared with Michael Bay in someways. For some it might be a turn-off, but I say if you can do something outlandish with a camera and still have a good movie, do it. It never hurts to have a bit of flash, especially in a movie which has the potential to be quite visually dull.
The only negative criticisms I can find with the film are that, in some parts, a bit of plot development is needed, and that it has a tendency to generalize the issue of Africa. Sure, the continent has had it's share of corruption and violence, but not every coup or revolution in Africa has been bloody and not every government is corrupt. The movie redeems itself by making Yuri the true villain and by making a division between good, evil, and desperation in West Africa.
All in all, a powerful, highly enjoyable movie.
Young or old, if you enjoy cartoons and animation, then you'll enjoy
Kids Next Door. The show's concept is relatively simple: a secret
agency composed of ten year-olds fights evil adults; the result is a
imaginative world that is both inspired by several genres and movies
and creates a distinct universe. The comedy is wide-ranging in the ages
it appeals to, the action is entertaining despite the show not being
the pinnacle of animation, and the plots are original while paying
homage to it's sources: many of the episodes are homages with a KND
spin that works extremely well. The characters that make up this rich
universes might seem like stereotypes at first, but they grow into
completely three-dimensional beings that can be both fun and poignant.
Hands down, KND is one of the best original shows on Cartoon Network, keeping with the explosion of comic creativity in the channel that is leagues ahead of most other kid-oriented channels (Nick and Disney come to mind).
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