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All Hail Tarantino!

alg_inglourious_basterds

I had the pleasure of watching America’s number one movie “Inglourious Basterds” this morning and I was not disappointed. Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, who borrowed the name and skeletal storyline from the 1981 army film starring Fred Williamson,’Inglourious..’ has just saved us from another less than stellar summer movie lineup.

The movie starts in the first year of the German occupation of France, Shosanna Dreyfus (a Jewish refugee played by Melanie Laurent) witnesses the execution of her family at the hand of Nazi Colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz). Shosanna narrowly escapes and flees to Paris where she forges a new identity as the owner and operator of a cinema.

Elsewhere in Europe, Lieutenant Aldo Raine (played by a jestful and very Southern Brad Pitt) organizes a group of Jewish American soldiers to hunt down kill and scalp Nazi soldiers. Later known to their enemy as “the basterds,” Raine’s squad joins German actress and undercover agent Bridget von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger) on a mission to take down the leaders of the Third Reich. Fates converge under a cinema marquis, where Shosanna is poised to carry out a revenge plan of her own

pitt_basterds

I love Tarantino because it seems like he doesn’t give a crap about stomping all over society’s neat little ideas of the way things HAVE to be to make a movie his own way. I loved this movie and not because everybody else does but because of the questions it brings to the forefront.

I was confused and curious about the audience (and my own) reaction to this film. Albeit we are watching the enemy die, the way we’d whoop and cheer as these men (Hitler’s by products) are murdered in the most vicious of ways was questionable. It’s amazing how quickly we play judge and jury so that we can excuse ourselves of sympathy in the right situation.

For example: You may not believe in the death penalty but with if some maniac murders your loved one? You do not condone senseless violence but if it’s that jackass Perez Hilton then he probably deserved it. In the case of this movie the ‘basterds’ are seeking revenge for their people who were brutally murdered by brutally murdering other people. Yet because of circumstance they get our moral seal of approval.

‘Basterds…’ is filled with  cinematic trickery, forcing you out of your neat little life and urging you to relieve yourself of human responsibility. Hitler was evil, there’s no denying that. I’ve seen pictures of those young German soldiers, some barely big enough to handle their guns. The ever present kill or be killed  factor that they  had to deal with would have forced even the best man  to do unthinkable acts. ‘Basterds..’ inadvertently asks you to celebrate the malicious torture deaths of these soldiers while internally excusing yourself of moral responsibility.  In the end 10O% of those guys were evil incarnate and they deserved it, right?  Tarantino has made a movie of transcendence and redemption, where the tables are turned and we become the audience that is willing to cheer for  a bloodbath, the more torturous the better.

As an advocate of hypocrisy I will admit to soft cheering and laughing it up at those soldier’s deathly expense but when it was all said and done, I feel a little internal shame for wishing that the ‘Basterds’ had killed more people. The only conclusion that can be drawn is that I witnessed superior film making and screenwriting today. It takes a unique filmmaker to take one of the most major events in history and turn it on it’s ass. Only a ballsy man with a foot fetish and great taste in music could’ve compiled such an entertaining and thought provoking semi factual fiction war dramedy. Thanks Tarantino for continuously pushing the cinematic envelope.

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Wolverine, your #1 movie, a laugh riot cliche riddled hot mess.

hahahahahahahahaha!!!!

hahahahahahahahaha!!!!

Holy crap, America’s number one movie is the funniest movie of the year. Raawwwwwrrrrr!! Xmen Origins: Wolverine, is the story of James Logan (Wolverine/Hugh Jackman) and Victor Creed (Sabretooth/Liev Schreiber), brothers, who after delivering some accidental patricide run away, grow up and fight in several wars. You see, these brothers are a little different in that they both possess mutant powers and rock hard bodies. They’re brutality catches up with them and they wind up in jail, where they are offered immunity if they agree to join a military task force which, unbeknownst to Logan, has the sole purpose of hunting down other mutants. He wants no part of killing innocent people, so he decides to abandon ship, which pisses off  Sabretooth who decides to go rogue and kill everyone that gets in his way. 6 years and one disturbing murder later, Logan is brought out of retirement, the government injects him with metal which makes him indestructible and he’s ready to take revenge.

A few bright lights in this film for me were as follows; lots of baby oiled six packed men roaming around shirtless, Ryan Reynolds and his charming quips,and realizing that Hugh Jackman is actually a good actor. Now for the bad stuff. Take every single action movie you’ve ever seen and compile every cliched line ever written, and fuse that into every unnecessary CGI effect ever created, say hello to your #1 movie.I shook with laughter for 80% of this movie because I couldn’t believe the shit that Jackman and Schreiber were forced to say with a straight face. It felt like it was happening on purpose but after awhile you realize that this movie has been re cut 80 times for a reason, they were trying to edit a heart  into it. Half the movie you feel like you’re watching Wolverine the Video Game, and the other half you think you’re watching one of those spoof flicks the Wayans brothers are so fond of making. The score is preposterously unsubtle, Wolverine’s love interest is completely dead behind the eyes rendering their chemistry nonexistent.

Ryan Reynolds is Deadpool

Ryan Reynolds is Deadpool

Sadly the only beacon of heart in the movie  is Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool. They seemed to let him, his body, and comedic timing speak for itself in the 10 minutes he gets onscreen. Perhaps they should think about doing an X-Men Origins for Deadpool after th 2011 Magneto is released. A shining star amongst a movie filled with one dimensional characters, a twisty unsavory plot, a cajun character with a San Diego accent, and Sabretooth, who could’ve doubled as a vampire or sewer rat. I defy you stars.

x_men_origins_wolverine_xlg1

Oh the claws. The bloody awful claws, one would think that in 2009 CGI effects would lend themselves to creating something a little more authentic. The claws were a shade of grey one notch to light and it looked more and more like a scene from the movie, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”. I  know it’s a comic book movie but I sometimes feel like I can never enjoy another comic book movie because of  “Dark Knight”. It raised the bar for both action movies and comic book based movies and until Nolan’s next go at the franchise, I feel sad about watching anything directly correlated wth a graphic novel.

“Wolverine” was a C- level comic book based action movie. It did not deliver.  For a movie that was not trying to break new ground, the screenplay and abuse of score and CGI murdered any of its potential. The actors did what they could and I thank them for that but this was so far from the original 3 X-Men  movies that it got awkward after awhile.

Lastly, I waited until after the credits to see the bonus scene that they cut into the movie, so that people wouldn’t illegally download the movie on the internet. Unfortunately they wound up every theater a different scene. For spoilers sake, I won’t divulge, however from what I’ve read, I got the shitty scene, which was a perfect ending to this movie going travesty. You want a good unintentional laugh and the chance to watch a moving Playgirl spread, then by all means catch this at a Monday matinee. Poop.

1. Wolverine- $87 million

2. Ghosts of Girlfriends Past-$16 million

3.Obsessed- $12 million

4. 17 again- $6.36 million

5. Monsters vs Aliens $5.8 million

Obsessed, gee, thank you Beyonce

I don't like people playing on my phone.

I don't like people playing on my phone.

Sorry for the brief absence kids, but I’m back with a vengeance. I had the opportunity to check out last weekend’s #1 movie, “Obsessed” starring Beyonce, Idris Elba, and Ali Larter. I’ll start by saying that it’s nice to have a movie with minority leads get the top spot at the box office, especially when the movie is not a stereotypical depiction of hood life. However, next time I’d prefer a flick that was 90% more original and did not feature the entire story in the 2 minute trailer.

Idris Elba, enjoying an amazing year of work, plays Beyonce’s super successful, super suave, super naive husband Derek Charles. He is an asset manager, Jerry O’ Connell is his best friend and everything is right with the world. Until Ali Larter’s character, “Lisa”, starts working at his firm as his temp. She is immediately attracted to Derek, and who wouldn’t be, he’s attractive, successful, a loving family man, and just naive enough to not see that Lisa has become, well, obsessed with him. Beyonce plays Sharon, a no nonsense stay at home wife, who used to be Derek’s assistant at the office. Lisa takes sexual matters into her own hands at the company Christmas party by sneaking into the bathroom while Derek is taking a leak and proceeding to seduce him. After this the shit pretty much hits the fan. Lisa begins to stalk him, gets access to his car and hotel room during a business trip, and proceeds to try to make the man her own.

Idris Elba, Beyonce, Ali Larter

Idris Elba, Beyonce, Ali Larter

The movie is being tauted as Jungle Fever meets Fatal Attraction . I beg to differ, for if this movie was even 50% as good as either of those films then it would have been memorable at best. A generic screenplay fostered a promising cast that had nothing to work with. The audience’s  laughter and comments during the screening made the movie more interesting. For other movies this would have spelled the kiss of death, but in this case public opinion was very welcomed. It’s nice to see a diverse cast but it’s even nicer when you don’t feel like your demographic is being mocked. Screw the Madea effect, where the studios now believe that black people will watch anything starring black people. That’s another hopeless insult to a race of people who have been insulted far too often in Hollywood. If those studio heads really believe this effect is true, then why aim so low? Why not attempt to make a well rounded movie?  I hope the next time a disposable interracial suspense thriller is greenlit, the studios remember that it’s not just casting that’s important, a decent script is a necessary requirement as well.

Observe and Report Premiere, disbelief ensues.

Observe and Report in theatres April 10th

Observe and Report in theatres April 10th

How the hell did I get so lucky? My second premiere in a month’s time and this one would be an affair to remember. I headed off to Hollywood today to get in the smelliest line of all time so that I could attend a screening of “Observe and Report starring my hero Seth Rogen. The premiere took place at the Grauman theater, a touristy place, filled with superheroes, well a man in a baggy Spiderman suit, and super villains, an authentic looking Heath Ledger Joker. Oh and 15 million hobos, a rather colorful transient bunch actually.

After an hour of standing in the relentless sun, we arrive at the front of the line, only to see Mr. Seth Rogen arriving from his limo, and I was but a mere 50-60 feet away. I practically shat myself with enthusiasm. We were then led inside the gigantic theater where we collected our free sodapop and popcorn then proceeded to make our way to our seats, which were 2 rows away from the humongazoid screen. After I apologized to my neck for the torturous craning that was about to occur, I turned around to see Mr. Rogen, who was seated only 15 rows behind me. I was getting closer.

The movie begins. The murmurs and rumors of this flick being a big change in direction for Rogen are extremely true. The part of Ronnie the tragic mall security guard with an impossible delusion and a sad outlook was far better suited for the hugely talented but much lesser known Danny McBride. The movie directed and written by Jody Hill, one third of the team who brought you “Eastbound and Down” and “Footfist Way” will not go over well with Rogen’s built in audience. Stand out performances from Michael Pena as Ronnie’s partner in crime, providing some comic relief in the first half of the flick, while Anna Faris does a great job as Ronnie’s object of desire. Ray Liotta the king of cop films does his best to keep up with Rogen’s violent superego but to no avail. Darkness, lots of darkness, but if you liked the “Footfist Way” consider this movie it’s brother film but darker. Loads of drug use, violence, blood, parental abnormalities, couple that with some vomit, sexual depravity and if your interests are still piqued, you should definitely check this out.  You’ll love it or hate it, there won’t be a happy middle. I’m apart of Team Morose because I really enjoyed this despite all naysayers. This is absolutely nothing like “Paul Blart”.

"Ronnie's got a gun"

"Ronnie's got a gun"

Alas this lovely comedic macabre piece comes to a close and we make our way towards the door, beginning to pass Seth Rogen who is hob knobbing with his peeps. I continue to move per the ushers orders but my friend pulls us back to try and get a better glimpse of Mr. Rogen. That’s when Danny McBride fell into my line of vision and my insides freaked the fuck out. I love Rogen but McBride has continuously won my heart from his portrayal of “Red” in Pineapple Express”, to “Footfist Way”, right on down to his “Kenny Powers” in “Eastbound and Down”.  Stupid fucking ushers  arrive ever so timely and we were pushed to the lobby.

Kenny "Fucking" Powers

Kenny "Fucking" Powers

We watched as Aziz Ansari, a bit player in the film, who stole a few scenes, passed us by with another dude from the “Human Giant”.  Seth with his girlfriend in tow, breezed right through the crowd and walked right in front of me. I froze. Rock solid. It was sad. They were in their limo by the time I regained consciousness. Heading toward the door my friend alerted me that Mr. McBride was heading out the door behind us. Like any good semi stalker, I held back and followed him. I whispered his name in hopes of getting his attention. Well actually I called his name and ran in the opposite direction because I’m chickenshit. My friend urged me to come back as Mr. McBride  had stopped to take pics and sign autographs with the fans. I patiently awaited my moment and as he walked away, slowly approaching him, I ask for a picture. I told him sweet nothings as we posed (on the reg), he shook my hand and laughed with me, I thanked him and he fell in with his group of peeps and vanished. I was left in a state of complete shock. Seems to be the theme of my evening.  McBride has stolen the reigns from Rogen, McBride is my new hero.

Not done yet. I walked away hyperventilating toward the elevator where our car was stored only to be met inside by Rogen’s parents and family. I only knew their identities because they were on the Jimmy Fallon show a few nights ago. Apologies for watching Fallon and for being a creep. We then chit chatted with his family about the parking situation, and had a good laugh with his dad. There were no words for my disbelief. We exited the elevator and got into our car resuming our normal lives for now. Thanks to my friend and neighbor for pushing me to greatness but mostly big thanks  Mr. McBride for making my year so far.

Fast and the Furious 4 brings in $72.5 million. Did we see the same movie?

Fast and the Furious 9

Fast and the Furious 9

I saw this movie on Friday afternoon at a half filled AMC theatre near the beach. I decided to have a family night at the movies featuring my mom, who’s a sucker for the action genre of cinema. Fast forward to the middle of the movie and my mom had fell fast asleep. That should offer you some insight into how “awesome” this movie is going to be.

I know, I know, I complain yet I’m a small part of why this movie holds the biggest opening of 2009. Well, fuck I review the movies in hopes that you’ll read the reviews and avoid wasting your hard earned bucks. My sacrifice to my 2 loyal readers.

The movie opens with a hijacking scene, that is pretty much wholly featured in the trailer. We are reintroduced to 2001’s hottest stars, Vin “One Note” Diesel, who does his best buff guy, scruffy voice as “Dominic” the misunderstood buff good hearted rebel. He lacks the timeliness and appeal of Dwayne Johnson and yet he has redeemed himself with this huge box office, I am chagrined. The movie is a story of revenge and reunions.

*SEMI SPOILER ALERT*

The untimely death of Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) forces Dominic to infiltrate the organization of reknowned drug runner Campos (John Ortiz). Now Dominic is still on the FBI most wanted list, so this means F.B.I. agent Brian O’Connor(Paul “Poor Man’s Keanu Reeves” Walker) has to infiltrate the organization to catch Dominic, who he let escape 2 movies ago. Don’t forget Mia (Jordana Brewster), Dominic’s perpetually tanned, hair banged sister, who had a lusty fling with O’Connor. Now you have the perfect recipe for a kick ass sequel right? No, actually you’re horribly wrong and so was this 90 minute movie that felt as long as Pirates of the Caribbean:At World’s End.

This movie will make a better video game or P. Diddy music video than live action feature. With a maximum of 4 chase scenes, 2 of which were riveting, there was far too much screen time for the main characters to fill with their bad acting from their soft generic scripts. Lots of homo eroticism, loads of references to nitrous, and plenty of throwback references to 2001’s “Fast and the Furious” which I only remember well enough to say that it was the best in the series. That’s kinda liked preferring to drown over being burned to death. Harsh decisions. The special effects were good but belonged in “Twisted Metal” as opposed to a blockbuster movie.

I resigned that I am not within this movie’s demographic.I will say that the ten minutes of trailers before the movie, including “Transformers”, “Land of the Lost”, and “Star Trek” were the best part of this theater experience. At least it gave me something to look forward to besides the ending of this movie which is sure to spawn a 5th installment. Thanks mom.

KNOWING is #1. I’m so sorry. I think.

Knowing

Knowing

Knowing took the top position at the box office this weekend making $24.8 million this weekend. I went to see this movie on Saturday afternoon in a theater that was only half occupied. I did some meditations during the previews to give me strength to not be biased toward this movie because of Nicolas Cage’s acting disability. His joie de Keanu if you will.

Anyhoo, if you dismiss the overacting by Cage in pivotal scenes and the good acting from Rose Byrnes then remember to pick your jaw off the ground as you watch the ending, you might find that this movie was either 80% fantastic or 100% rubbish.

Nic Cage is a science professor/widower who has a cute and overly smart son. One day during a time capsule ceremony, each kid in class receives a sealed envelope from the capsule written by a student 50 years ago. Cage’s kid gets a paper filled with numbers that all correlate to 50 years of huge disasters and their coordinates for those of us who doubt it. Cage is trying to cope with his wife’s death by over parenting his son and drinking copious amounts of booze. He has a caring sister he likes to denounce and super religious parents, whom he no longer contacts. When the paper’s prophecies start ringing true, Cage loses his shit and then the movie starts getting a little weird.

I refuse to spoil this because I want people to watch it and help me process how to feel about this movie. It should be applauded for amazing special effects  and an ending that you would NEVER see coming at all. So I’ll say it deserves the number spot even though “I Love You Man” was my favorite to win. Then again Cage deserves this one, I think. No, yeah let the man and his hair have their day.

U.S Box Office Top 5

1. “Knowing” $24.8 million

2. “I Love You, Man” $18 million

3.”Duplicity” $14 million

4.”Race to Witch Mountain $13 million

5. “Watchmen” $6.7 million

Miss March: Prepare to lose respect for Danger Bowie

Zach Cregger and Trevor Moore. Image by Frank Masi

Zach Cregger and Trevor Moore. Image by Frank Masi

I am fully aware that I hold an enormous bias for this movie because I adore the comedy troupe the two main stars hail from. I was first introduced to “The Whitest Kids U’ Know” when it debuted on Fuse, an alternative basic cable channel that has since evolved into MTV2. Yuck. For their second season the show moved to the independent movie channel, which sucks for me because you have to pay extra for that channel and I am the working poor, so our relationship had to end. After a year long  break up with Trevor and Zach, much to my delight,  they penned a disgustingly crass, morally repugnant movie featuring Craig Robinson, my absolute favorite, entitled, “Miss March”.

Whitest Kids U' Know

Whitest Kids U' Know

This movie absolutely tanked this weekend and will probably air on Comedy Central by April Fool’s Day. Yet I’d still watch this movie four more times before even considering going in on “Watchmen” again. At least “Miss March” knows it’s a bad movie. Doctor Manhattan..ha.

So the movie’s about a kid who slips into a 4 year coma only to wake up and find out that his virginal high school girlfriend is the Playboy of the month centerfold. He then goes on a cross country trip to the Playboy Mansion with his completely irrational best friend since childhood to reunite with his long lost love.

Now buyer beware, if you want morality, substance, or logic then NEVER watch this movie. If you love dick, fart and sex jokes then this movie was made for you. It is filth that your girlfriend will abhor you for laughing at, an abomination to which  critics pray to their pagan gods so that your eyes may never bare witness, however if you’re having a shitty day at work or you’ve got that weight of the world on your shoulders feeling ,then this is the dipshit comedy wet dream you’ve long awaited.

Block out his ridiculous dialogue and love on the fact that Trevor Moore speaks almost exclusively through unneccessary facial movement and in that way he’s the poor man’s Jim Carrey. I’ll be burned at the stake for that statement, it’s kind of a  longshot comparison but  he’s at least 25% better than Jamie Kennedy on his best day.

Zach Cregger plays the virginal main character “Eugene” and he is fantastic in the role. Playing the straight man in this bizarro universe must have proven difficult especially when going up against Craig Robinson who uproariously plays the hardcore gangsta rapper “Horsedick.Mpeg”. I refuse to spoil even one of the movie’s jokes, just know that the last scene with Horsedick is fucking priceless and worth the cost of admission alone.

In conclusion, feel free to hate on this movie but there’s at least a laugh in it for everyone I know and that’s more than can be said for the last 15 spin offs of National Lampoons …well anything.

“Real Time” is real good

Jay Baruchel and Randy Quaid in "Real Time"

Jay Baruchel and Randy Quaid in "Real Time"

You know kids, it’s plenty easy to get jaded by the thousands of crap movies disguised as indie genius. Sometimes you get lucky and pick a good one on a fluke or sometimes you’re luck is shitty. In the case of “Real Time” written and directed by Randall Cole, starring Jay Baruchel (“Tropic Thunder”) and Randy Quaid (Brokeback Mountain) you get a solid, clean cut, rare indie gem.

Clocking in at about 77 minutes, you get a nice conversational character study with laughs provided by Baruchel and reality checks paid for by Quaid. Baruchel plays “Andy”  a gambling screw up, who owes a lot of money to the wrong people. Quaid plays “Reuben” ,a hit man ,who finds Andy at 1:47pm on a weekday in a shitty part of Canada and let’s him know that unless he pays up his excessive debt he will die by 3:00pm. The movie plays out in real time per the title and what Reuben wants above all else, is for Andy to spend the last hour of his life reflecting and revisiting any worthwhile joys he experienced in this small shit town.

You’ll think you’ve guess the ending in the first 10 minutes but more than likely you’ll be wrong. Take care to enjoy Baruchel’s comedic timing and effective dramatic scenes and then drink up Quaid’s Aussie accent and pseudo James Gandolfini-esque spirit.Don’t rush ahead for the ending and you’ll find that this little film won’t disappoint. Danger approved.