VIDEO: Just Go With It (2011)

Claire: 3.3/5 stars, 7.2/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 7/10.
Native ratings: 3.8/5 stars Netflix, 6.3/10 IMDB.

Claire’s thoughts: It was a pretty funny movie. Nothing super, but high quality for a generic rom-com. Not the peak work of anyone in it, but a good cast nonetheless.  It felt like it was written by NBC sitcom writers, who absolutely loved plots revolving around everyone lying an unrealistic amount. That was points against. But the difference between this and and NBC sitcom is that the joke goes on for about 5.5X as long. Things do start to get predictable and formulaic in act 3 — which is expected in a rom-com — but the movie is almost 2 hours, so the comedy survives as long as a typical comedy movie before it putters out into the inevitable romance-genre ending all rom-coms have.

Carolyn’s thoughts: Entertaining.  Not spectacular.  It was no Click, 50 First Dates, or Wedding Singer, but it was decent.

Directed by Dennis Dugan (You Don’t Mess With The Zohan, Saving Silverman, Big Daddy, Happy Gilmore, also an actor in a shitton of shows & movies).  Written by Allan Loeb (Rock Of Ages) and Timothy Dowling (Role Models, George Lucas In Love).

Starring Adam Sandler as Danny Maccabee, Jennifer Aniston as Katherine Murphy, Nicole Kidman as Devlin Adams, and Kevin Nealon as Adon.
Nick Swardson (Grandma’s Boy, You Don’t Mess With The Zohan, The House Bunny, Blades Of Glory, Click) as Eddie, Danny’s cousin.
Brooklyn Decker as Palmer, the young love interest.
Bailee Madison (1 ep of Holliston) as Maggie / Kiki Dee, Katherine’s daughter.
Griffin Gluck (Sideways, 1 ep of The Office) as Michael / Bart, Katherine’s son.
Dave Matthews (You Don’t Mess With The Zohan) as Ian Maxtone Jones, Devlin’s husband.
Allen Covert (Grandma’s Boy, 50 First Dates, Deuce Bigalow:Male Gigolo, The Wedding Singer, The Waterboy, Airheads) as Soul Patch.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1564367/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Junior (1994)

Claire: 2.8/5 stars, 6/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 6/10.
Native ratings: 3.4/5 stars Netflix, 4.4/10 IMDB.

Skylar from Breaking Bad? Larry from the Newhart Show? Tony Soprano’s sister from The Sopranos? Chris from Oz?

We decided to get this after watching Kindergarten Cop.  This was about on par with Kindergarten Cop, but not quite as good (kids are slightly less annoying than babies & pregnancy).  Lighthearted fun.

Claire: “Wasn’t there a movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito were twins?”  Carolyn: “Yes, it’s called Twins.”

Directed by Ivan Reitman (also directed Ghostbusters 1-2, Kindergarten Cop, My Super Ex-Girlfriend, Stripes)
Written by Kevin Wade (Maid In Manhattan) and Chris Conrad.

Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as Dr. Alex Hesse.
Danny DeVito as Dr. Larry Arbogast.
Emma Thompson (Brave, Sybil Trelawney in the Harry Potter movies, Agent O in Men In Black 3, I Am Legend, Dead Again) as Dr. Diana Reddin.
Frank Langella (Frank in Robot & Frank) as Noah Banes.
Pamela Reed (Kindergarten Cop, 3 eps of The Simpsons) as Angela.
Aida Turturro (Janice Soprano in The Sopranos, 1 ep of Curb Your Enthusiasm) as Louise.
Christopher Meloni (Chris Keller in Oz, Green Lantern in Green Lantern: First Flight, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay, Wet Hot American Summer, Twelve Monkeys, Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, 1 ep of Michael & Michael Have Issues) as Mr. Lanzarotta.
Anna Gunn (Skyler White in Breaking Bad) as Casitas Madres receptionist.
James Eckhouse (The Avengers, 1 ep of Nip/Tuck, 1 ep of Batman Beyond) as Ned Sneller.
Tracey Walter (Erin Brockovich, Man On The Moon, Young Guns 2, 2 eps of Justice League) as Janitor with Information (uncredited). Not Larry from The Newhart Show.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0110216/combined

I'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link]

RATINGS:
Claire: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 7/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 7/10.
The native public rating for this movie is: Netflix: N/A/5 stars, IMDB: 7.5/10.

CAROLYN’S THOUGHTS: This one seemed lackluster compared to the other two. It doesn’t have the same “oompf” as the previous two movies. Different writer might explain some of it. What happened to Meghan McCarthy?

CLAIRE’S THOUGHTS: What the fuck! That writer ruined it! Even the songs weren’t good – How did the new management make Daniel Ingram stop caring as much? I guess it didn’t help that I was not in good spirits when we watched this. It just seemed like everything was bittersweet. Still good. But noticeably bullshit compared to the previous stuff. Kind of like a great swath of Season 5.

PEOPLE:

Directed by Ishi Rudell & Jayson Thiessen.
Written by Josh Haber (4 eps of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic).

Tara Strong (Bubbles from Powerpuff Girls, Toot & Princess Clara in Drawn Together, Mary Jane Watson in Ultimate Spider-Man, Sym-Bionic Titan, Wolverine And The X-Men, Crash Canyon, Mad, 21 eps of Family Guy, 4 eps of Clerks-TAS, 4 eps of Gravity Falls, 3 eps of Wander Over Yonder, 2 eps of Rick & Morty + many many more) as Twilight Sparkle (aka Sci-Twi).
Ashleigh Ball (Allura in Voltron Force, Iron Man: Armored Adventures) as Applejack / Rainbow Dash.
Andrea Libman (1 ep of X-Men: Evolution, a bunch of My Little Pony and Care-Bear stuff) as Pinkie Pie / Fluttershy.
Tabitha St. Germain (12 eps of Aaagh! It’s the Mr. Hell Show!, Olive Oyl in Popeye‘s Voyage: The Quest For Pappy, 8 eps of Iron Man: Armored Adventures, 5 eps of Voltron Force, 8 eps of DragonBall Z, The Legend of Zelda-TAS, The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, ALF-TAS, 1 ep of X-Men: Evolution, other My Little Pony stuff) as Rarity / Princess Luna / Vice Principal Luna / Cup Cake.
Cathy Weseluck (Thor: Tales of Asgard, 2 eps of X-Men: Evolution, DragonBall Z, 1 ep of Aaagh! It’s the Mr. Hell Show!) as Spike.
Rebecca Shoichet (3 eps of Iron Man: Armored Adventures) as Sunset Shimmer / Twilight Sparkle – singing.
Nicole Oliver (9 eps of X-Men: Evolution, 9 eps of Aaagh! It’s the Mr. Hell Show!, The Vision of Escaflowne) as Princess Celestia / Principal Celestia / Cheerilee.
Vincent Tong (Daniel in Voltron Force, Iron Man: Armored Adventures) as Flash Sentry.
Britt McKillip (other My Little Pony stuff) as Princess Cadance.
Iris Quinn (Slither, The Twilight Saga 3) as Principal Abacus Cinch.
Andrew Francis (Lance in Voltron Force, Ice Man in X-Men: Evolution, Dragonball Z, Final Destination 3, Max Steel, 6 eps of Iron Man: Armored Adventures, 1 ep of Smallville) as Shining Armor. (more…)

I'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link]

RATINGS:
Claire: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 8/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 8/10.
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 7.4/10. Netflix strangely doesn’t have this.

CAROLYN’S THOUGHTS: My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic had a sequel movie for Equestria Girls where Twilight Sparkle becomes a human in a parallel pony world. Battle Of The Bands style! It wasn’t as good as the first one, but it was still pretty good. (Note, Claire rated this one 1 star higher than the first one.)

CLAIRE’S THOUGHTS: Yes, I liked this one better than the first. The animation was better, the songs were better, the villains were better, and they built upon the first instead of ignoring it. It wasn’t exclusively about friendship, but was also about who was the best musician. They even had a punk rock [ish] song. As far as feature-length musical movies about girls who are really ponies go, this was the best I’ve seen.

It’s still ironic that we have voice actors (humans) playing ponies (My Little Pony) who are playing humans (because they went through a portal to the human world) who themselves dress up as ponies (for their school mascot). So we have humans playing ponies playing humans playing ponies. I don’t think that’s ever happened. Shakespeare would be proud.

PEOPLE:

Directed by Jayson Thiessen & Ishi Rudell.
Written by Meghan McCarthy.

Tara Strong (Bubbles from Powerpuff Girls, Toot in Drawn Together, Mary Jane Watson in Ultimate Spider-Man, Sym-Bionic Titan, Wolverine And The X-Men, 20 eps of Family Guy, 4 eps of Clerks-TAS, 4 eps of Gravity Falls) as Twilight Sparkle.
Ashleigh Ball (Allura in Voltron Force, Iron Man: Armored Adventures) as Applejack / Rainbow Dash.
Andrea Libman (1 ep of X-Men: Evolution, a bunch of My Little Pony and Care-Bear stuff) as Pinkie Pie / Fluttershy.
Tabitha St. Germain (12 eps of Aaagh! It’s the Mr. Hell Show!, Olive Oyl in Popeye‘s Voyage: The Quest For Pappy, 7 eps of Iron Man: Armored Adventures, 5 eps of Voltron Force, 8 eps of DragonBall Z, The Legend of Zelda-TAS, The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, ALF-TAS, 1 ep of X-Men: Evolution, other My Little Pony stuff) as Rarity / Princess Luna / Vice Principal Luna / Cup Cake.
Cathy Weseluck (Thor: Tales of Asgard, 2 eps of X-Men: Evolution, DragonBall Z, 1 ep of Aaagh! It’s the Mr. Hell Show!) as Spike.
Rebecca Shoichet (3 eps of Iron Man: Armored Adventures) as Sunset Shimmer / Twilight Sparkle – singing.
Lee Tockar (3 eps of Iron Man: Armored Adventures, 3 eps of Beast Wars, 2 eps of X-Men: Evolution, 1 ep of Wonder Showzen, 1 ep of 2 Stupid Dogs) as Snips.
Nicole Oliver (9 eps of X-Men: Evolution, 9 eps of Aaagh! It’s The Mr. Hell Show!, The Vision of Escaflowne) as Princess Celestia / Principal Celestia / Cheerilee.
Vincent Tong (Daniel in Voltron Force, Iron Man: Armored Adventures) as Flash Sentry.
Britt McKillip (other My Little Pony stuff) as Princess Cadance.
Kazumi Evans (Wolverine Vs. Sabretooth) as Adagio Dazzle / Octavia Melody / Rarity (singing voice).
Maryke Hendrikse (Bubbles in Demashita! Powerpuff Girls Z, Gilda in 1 ep of MLP:FIM) as Sonata Dusk.
Diana Kaarina as Aria Blaze.
Kathleen Barr (Dot Matrix in Reboot, Wolverine Vs. Sabretooth, Ed Edd ‘N’ Eddy, Spider-Man Unlimited) as Trixie Lulamoon. (more…)

VIDEO: MOVIES: CARTOONS: REVIEW: My Little Pony: Equestria Girls (2013)

Claire: 4/5 stars, 8/10.
Carolyn: 5/5 stars, 8.6/10. “I am a chick and I like cartoons, so I am allowed to love My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.” (Notice how she leaves me in the lurch there?)
Jesse: 3/5 stars, 7/10. “OK, I actually enjoyed that. It was actually constructed in such a way as to be philosophically relevant.”
Native ratings: 4.7/5 stars Netflix, 6.3/10 IMDB.

My Little Pony:Friendship Is Magic decided to make a movie about Twilight Sparkle becoming human in a parallel pony world. This actually happened specifically because of bronies, yet they were the ones who backlashed the hardest. Bronies be like, “WTF is this shit!?”, and other bronies be like, “Calm down, maybe it won’t be that bad….” and “Trust the writers…” We were somewhat skeptical ourselves.

Then it comes out, and brace yourself…memes are coming! So many unending memes. We finally got to see it, so now the madness will make sense again. Plus we wanted to be caught up on everything prior to attending Bronycon 2013 (with 8407 other bronies).

Anyway, it was pretty entertaining. I didn’t like how the fighting scenes basically had no fighting in them, relying on deus ex machina tropes to resolve things. I didn’t like how super-convenient the plot was with these kinds of things. But I also accept that this was supposed to be a warm piece about friendship and magic, and that if I’d wanted long and gratuitous fight scenes, I should be watching one of the many animated superhero cartoons I regularly watch. It was a neat exploration of “what if non-human characters became human”, a trope that every non-human animated series should explore for at least one episode. Only this time, we got a whole movie out of it.

Carolyn: It turned out that it wasn’t so bad. It was actually pretty fun. I really enjoyed it.

Directed by Jayson Thiessen.

With the standard My Little Pony crew:

Written by Meghan McCarthy.
Starring Tara Strong (Bubbles from Powerpuff Girls, Toot in Drawn Together, Mary Jane Watson in Ultimate Spider-Man, Sym-Bionic Titan, Wolverine And The X-Men, 20 eps of Family Guy, 4 eps of Clerks-TAS, 4 eps of Gravity Falls) as Twilight Sparkle.
Ashleigh Ball (Allura in Voltron Force, Iron Man: Armored Adventures) as Applejack / Rainbow Dash.
Andrea Libman (1 ep of X-Men: Evolution, a bunch of My Little Pony and Care-Bear stuff) as Pinkie Pie / Fluttershy.
Tabitha St. Germain (12 eps of Aaagh! It’s the Mr. Hell Show!, Olive Oyl in Popeye‘s Voyage: The Quest For Pappy, 7 eps of Iron Man: Armored Adventures, 5 eps of Voltron Force, 8 eps of DragonBall Z, The Legend of Zelda-TAS, The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, ALF-TAS, 1 ep of X-Men: Evolution, other My Little Pony stuff) as Rarity / Princess Luna / Vice Principal Luna / Cup Cake.
Cathy Weseluck (Thor: Tales of Asgard, 2 eps of X-Men: Evolution, DragonBall Z, 1 ep of Aaagh! It’s the Mr. Hell Show!) as Spike.
Rebecca Shoichet (3 eps of Iron Man: Armored Adventures) as Sunset Shimmer / Twilight Sparkle – singing.
Lee Tockar (3 eps of Iron Man: Armored Adventures, 3 eps of Beast Wars, 2 eps of X-Men: Evolution, 1 ep of Wonder Showzen, 1 ep of 2 Stupid Dogs) as Snips.
Nicole Oliver (9 eps of X-Men: Evolution, 9 eps of Aaagh! It’s the Mr. Hell Show!, The Vision of Escaflowne) as Princess Celestia / Principal Celestia / Cheerilee.
Vincent Tong (Daniel in Voltron Force, Iron Man: Armored Adventures) as Flash Sentry.
Britt McKillip (other My Little Pony stuff) as Princess Cadance.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2908228/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Funeral Kings (2012)

Claire: 3.8/5 stars, 8/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 6.6/10.
Jesse: 3.4/5 stars, 7/10 (I think).
Native ratings: 4.1/5 stars Netflix, 6.1/10 IMDB.

SLEEPER ALERT: This movie isn’t well-known at all, so I’d like to point out this might be the only time you see it mentioned.

“Two altar boys decide to play hooky.”

At first that tagline didn’t grab me, but then I had to consider: This is actually a comedy, and not a rom-com. I better watch it, because there aren’t enough good comedies.

I think this movie has some similarities in feel to Stand By Me, but with tons more profanity. Tons more. A lot of profanity. A lot of fucking profanity. These kids curse more than the fucking Sopranos.

…And that’s part of the charm. It’s so authentic that it almost feels unrealistic… But then I remember just how foul-mouthed some kids were when I was in school. It may actually be a bit over-the-top, but it works. You make the movie about those kids that are over-the-top. A movie about normal kids doing normal things would not be entertaining; it would be a documentary.

Anyway… This was good. Things did not go where I expect. The end hit me a bit abruptly, and it helped to have Carolyn the Movie Whisperer explain it to me a bit.

Speaking of Carolyn, her thoughts:

“This was OK. We expected more of a comedy, but we should have remembered that a review on IMDB compared it to Stand By Me. That is a good comparison. Kids being kids and learning how to grow into themselves. How to cope with other kids’ perceptions of you. How kids who are trying to be “cool” may find themselves in bad situations and over their head.”

Here’s a good review: http://www.larry411.com/post/review_pictures_red_carpet_funeral_kings_world_premiere_sxsw_film_festival

Written & directed by Kevin McManus & Matthew McManus.

Starring Dylan Hartigan (The Stepford Wives) as Andy Gilmour.
Alex Maizus as Charlie Waters.
Jordan Puzzo (uncredited in What’s Your Number?) as David Mason.
Kevin Corrigan (Seven Psychopaths, Pineapple Express, Superbad, The Dictator, Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie, Detroit Rock City) as Iggy Vannucci.
Michael Delaney (The Dictator, The Onion Movie, 1 ep of Human Giant, 1 ep of Curb Your Enthusiasm, 7 eps of Upright Citizan’s Brigade) as Brendan Hamilton.
Sarah Baldwin (1 ep of The Office) as Amanda Prescott.

Ian B’s review can be found here.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1951133/combined

P.S. HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Trance (2013/I)

Claire: 4.4/5 stars, 8.4/10.
Carolyn: 4.4/5 stars, 8.4/10.
Jesse: Seemed to really like it.
Native ratings: 3.3/5 stars Netflix, 7.0/10 IMDB.

I wasn’t sure about this movie — stealing art? Hypnosis? Not my thing. But then it was pointed out to me by Jesse that this was a Danny Boyle movie. Trainspotting, 127 Hours, Sunshine, 28 Days Later, Slumdog Millionaire…. Completely different movies, and all done very very well (though I didn’t see Slumdog).  I should be watching other Danny Boyle movies! What is Alien Love Triangle? That sounds interesting…

Anyway, this was a good movie.  It kept you on your toes.   I really liked it… I can’t say I loved it, but that’s more because it wasn’t quite my type of movie than because of the movie itself.  But this was a good drama/mystery movie that, when watching, was really hard to guess what was going to happen next.

The hynopsis stuff got somewhat confusing, but that also kept it interesting…  Spoiler talk: Carolyn still doesn’t understand if Franck was hypnotized also…. When the burning car got pushed into the water, why did it flash to Franck waking up in his pool?  She didn’t understand if that was explained ever….  (I never even got to the point of asking that question, oops.)

Regardless… Lots of thrills and twists. Well done, writers.
Also, for the record… Rosario Dawson, full frontal nudity. Even before the full frontal nudity, I was thinking — she’s getting better and better looking as she ages. She is especially hot in this movie.

Starring James McAvoy (Charles Xavier in X-Men: First Class, Mr. Tumnus in The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, 1 ep of Band Of Brothers) as Simon, the protaganist.
Vincent Cassel (Black Swan, Oceans 12 & 13, Renegade aka Blueberry, Monsieur Hood in Shrek 1) as Franck, the antaganist.
Rosario Dawson (Sin City, Clerks 2, Kids, Men In Black 2, Death Proof, Grindhouse, Persephone in Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief, The Haunted World Of El Superbeasto) as Elizabeth, the hypnotist.
Wahab Sheikh (Red 2) as Riz.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1924429/combined