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The Simpsons Movie (2007)
A terrific showcase of America's most valued animated sitcom
The following is a review for the Simpsons Movie. It contains some minor spoilers, mainly in regards to jokes as told from the trailers.
From that true-blue to the tee meaning of a "teaser" trailer from March 31, 2006 with Ice Age: The Meltdown, hearing that the Simpsons Movie was in production was about any fan's wonderful dream. It's what only was thought to be impossible. A feature-length film about the family we all have come to love over the better part of a quarter-decade? Was it for real? Was the rumor that once the movie was announced and eventually released that the show would be cancelled? Hurray, Yes, maybe but not at the moment.
..:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /> In the first big-screen adaptation of "The Simpson's" we find the classic American family of The Simpson's knee deep in a big-scale crisis in a small town in ..:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Springfield. Pollution has become an epidemic in the local lake and Lisa takes initiative
to gain support from the local townspeople to make a change while trying to make a dream come true in having a relationship with fellow supporter and not Bono's kid in Irish kid Colin. But that's not even the worst of the Simpson's problems! The main plot of the story is Homer's inability to realize the before-and-after's of his polluting, his penchant for a pig, and his ever-fading relationship with Bart who wants to have a positive father figure in his life. And that's not to mention that something that Homer did caused a sort of martial law to be taken on Springfield.
When you think of classic television, you think of the Simpson's. It's the kind of show that everyone in the family can find something to appreciate. From little Sally who likes the funny looking characters, to Davey who likes to see Bart get the best of his dad Homer, to Mom and Dad who like to see real-life arguments fought between and quickly resolved between Homer and Marge. Oh, and yours truly who loves the Comic Book Guy and his obsession with comics. There are so many iconic characters on a show that has reached the peak of superstardom. What more can a show do after almost TWENTY seasons to prove that it is just that good? How about making a movie?
Sounds like a good idea. You've got my bucks right there. All I need to hear is that you've got the entire original cast and you're keeping the Simpson's yellow and I'm in like Flynn. We all know that the average 22 24 minute episode of "The Simpson's" has an A and B plot with sometimes a third to add even more to the general story. But can the show keep an audience in a theatre happy for about an hour and half? My personal opinion would be a resounding yes. Maybe it was the whole idea of seeing "my" show on a three story screen, or maybe it was the ingenious humor, the fact that most of the same writers from the show worked on the script for the movie, but doggonit if I did not laugh harder, more often or longer at this movie than nearly any other episode I've seen. Not once did I feel the story lines were drawn out or to far-fetched (HA-HA!)
The only negative would be that it was not long enough and did not feature more characters! (SEQUEL!) In actuality, there are about 95 original characters featured throughout the film, whether we large and integral roles or just background doing something goofy like Ralph picking his nose. Every minute of this film looked beautiful. Since the television series went completely computer animated a few years back, the movie reaps on the benefits. The animators already have a top-notch structure to reach from and it only looks better here in this feature. There are more and more 3-D elements featured and it just looks wonderful.
It is so hard not to just expel one of the millions of jokes and one-liners featured throughout the movie. This is not one of those movies that suffer a case of "everything funny was in the trailer." It's as packed, if not more, than any normal episode of wall-to-wall irreverent humor and "preaching." There are also those subtle jokes like the Moe's being next door to Reverend LoveJoy's Church and them switching places for a moment, or the ticker advertising for a new show in a movie, or heck, even Itchy & Scratchy doing what they do best. (Here's a hint, it's not chasing dust bunnies.) This movie proves that the show is still a viable commodity. Even if the creators decide to bow out gracefully of a primetime slot for a sitcom, a feature length film every few years or so could still work out very well. The film is fast-paced, incredibly funny, looks great and above all else, has that same heart-warming appeal that that makes the show work so well. It's a truly wonderful addition to one of the most extensive, respected and loved collection of comedy in the history of television and film. If you like the show, you'll love the movie. If you love the show, you'll love the movie. Plain and simple.
Hostel: Part II (2007)
A quick paced continuation on a gore fest set in a realistic setting.
Warning: This Review contains some spoilers. I will try and keep them to a minimum, but the majority of the spoilers are at the beginning of the film.
Hostel Part II takes place only moments after the first film - a survivor's life is still at stake even outside of the dilapidated building that was to be his final place of life, and outside of the city of Slovakia, where apparently anything goes.
The feeling that I got from Hostel Part II is that it's not a location in a building that is the bad place; it's the center of a human or several humans, corrupted by money who find people who have a lot of money who are corrupted by hate. This film focus more so on the would-be killers themselves, on their lives, their families, and their golf-swing. They are not all bottom-feeders without passion and a place in society, but upper crest, high-powered lawyers and top positioned businessmen with top-tear roles in society and the top of the line PDAs to boot.
While in the first film we are left to wonder who these people are. Who would do such a thing? Why are they doing it and who organized it?, etc. We are shown almost everything there is to know about the goings-on in this underground business deal. That's precisely what it is a business deal, done in auction form. It's eerily creepy to think it would be so easy to do, as shown in a hilarious montage with the would-be buyers happily and then aggressively plucking away at the keys on their computers, PDAs, cellular phones and laptops, to enter into the bidding war for a human life. The two main successful buyers are Todd played by Richard Burgi, an in-shape, take life by the horns successful business man who treats himself and his shy and passive best friend Stuart, Roger Bart, to the most shocking of a "guys night out." It's implied as if these friends have roved the world in search of the next big thrill and have spoken of each other's desire to kill. It just so happens that one finally took the initiative and did it. While my short description of these two fine young gentlemen may not be all that flattering, I can assure you that they are made likable. Well, as likable as possible.
There are also the would-be victims. Similar to the backpackers we grew to love in the first installment of Hostel, three college age fresh faced Americans are visiting European countries but for a more admirable reason this time, for art! That's about where the complexity and character back-story ends but its okay. We want to get attached to the characters, but not all the much, right? I mean, they are inevitably going to die or at least be mangled. We want to feel compassion for the characters - at first but be able to move on the next scene as well. The three women are all studying abroad for art, Lauren German plays Beth, the starlet of the film she comes from a rich line but does not throw that in anyone's face. There's also the atypical sexified Girls-Gone-Wild based Whitney, played by Bijou Philips and the shy and sweet Lorna a girl who just wants to be loved, played by Heather Matarazzo.
With the persuasion of an art-model in Axelle, Vera Jordnova, who may have a thing for Beth, the girls take a detour from their original trip to you guessed it Slovakia. And then the fun begins.
Is this film a sequel? I'd say no, it's more of further installment in a potentially never-ending series. I enjoyed the film's slick style in its no holds barred violence against anyone, at any age. It's inventive carnage, shown in various previously unimaginable ways. It is literally shocking the ways some of these people are tortured. There are some ways I was just perplexed by. This may sound weird, but there is a sort of art to how Eli Roth stages the grisly deaths in these films, most notably the one in which, over a bathtub, blood is seen dripping and sloshing down onto an eager women's body. It's disturbing and hard to try and get into the person's mindset. While not followed by an immediate death scene, the hot springs scene looks great the smokey water showing the never-ending water. It's really breathtaking.
I enjoyed the film from start to finish. For a horror film, the acting was actually pretty good, the film was shot well, and the scenes were staged as good as you could hope for. If you liked the first movie, I think you would like this one even more, if you couldn't stand the first's gore amount, than this may not be the movie for you.
Bring the kids! "Bubble gum!" 3/4 B I hope you enjoyed my review - I'm open to criticism and love! Ryan Anderson