June 2011

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link]

LIMERICK REVIEW: There once was a serial killer named Mike
who a clerk named Bart was convinced to like.
But his girlfriend became too nosy;
Her outlook was not very rosy.
Digging graves is more work than a 10-mile hike.

HAIKU REVIEW: Serial Killing:
A post-modern career choice
for the greater good.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Deluded serial killer tricks loser into also becoming serial killer, and then kills his girlfriend.

PEOPLE: Written/directed by Luke Ricci. With Dameon Clarke (Mike in A Scanner Darkly, 3 eps of 24, Cell in the English Dragon Ball Z cartoons, other anime voiceover work) as the serial killer. Matthew Gray Gubler (Criminal Minds) as the apprentice serial killer. Laura Regan (Hollow Man 2, Unbreakable, They) as the oblivious girlfriend. George Wyner (Spaceballs, tons of TV series, American Pie 2, The Postman, Not Another Teen Movie, Fletch, The Bad News Bears) as the narrating psychologist.

QUIRKS: Serial killing presented as comedy. Mockumentary-style interviews with characters during the movie — The obliviousness of the characters as they talked to the cameraman reminded me of The Office.

VISUALS: Just about the least gory “killing movie” I’ve ever seen. Hardly any blood at all. Murder scenes tend to last all of 5 seconds. This is more about the interplay of characters, than a visual gore fest.

MORALS: Even serial killers can use morals to justify their actions as being for the greater good, rather than being evil. These guys were seriously deluded.

BAD STUFF: It unfortunately loses it’s black comedy mockumentary feel somewhere past the halfway point, when [highlight for spoilers] Mike’s girlfriend finds out what he does, he has to kill her, and they try [and fail] to hide her body without being seen. After that, it seems to be more of a “normal” movie, which counts against it. It started off very special, but finished off a bit less special than it started.

CONCLUSION: This was a fun movie to check out, but it would have been more fun if the black comedy feel had remained throughout the length of the movie. The first half was 5-star material: Serial-killing-related comedy. But then it got a bit more serious at the end, and there really wasn’t an substantive message to take out of the ending. I think the script did not live up to its full potential.

Clint: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 7/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 8/10.
The native public rating for this movie is Netflix: 2.7/5 stars (2.8/5 stars for people who rate like me), IMDB: 5.5/10.

RECOMMENDATION: The first half is definitely worth seeing if you like black comedy. The second half is more debatable.

  • Once again: Licensure is good. It lets you know your professionals are qualified for the job. It means they have passed certain certifications.

    However, what's better than licensure, or being protected? FREEDOM.

    Including the freedom to use an unlicensed person. If I want a friend to babysit my kid, he shouldn't have to get a license for this to be legal. If I want to pay someone to drive me to the airport, they shouldn't have to become a licensed taxi service. If I want to buy a fucking lemonade from a little girl on a street corner, I should have that freedom.

    Freedom FROM licensure is important too. Freedom FROM regulation. Free (as in anarchy) markets don't work. Over-regulation doesn't work. In short, A LOT OF STUFF SUCKS. Let people decide for themselves.

    Fourth time I've seen this now.

Wow. They played videos and everything. 5 minute videos, even. Videos of rock. Barely any commercials at all. Not like today’s MTV … or MTV2, for that matter. (more…)

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] [Wikipedia link (film)] [Wikipedia link (book)] [Official Site] Hayden Panettiere theme night! We watched this, and then Heroes.

PLOT SUMMARY: Geek valedictorian proclaims love for head cheerleader in graduation speech. Utter chaos and violence ensues. Epic caper.

LIMERICK REVIEW: There once was a geek named Denis,
who was the very opposite of a menace.
He had a crush for 5 yrs;
finally faced his fears;
Ultimately resulting in a kiss.
[Yeah, it’s not an exact rhyme, sorry, don’t feel like spending a lot of time on these. If someone can come up with a better one, they are more than welcome to…]

HAIKU REVIEW: Beth Cooper causes
class valedictorian
to get in trouble.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Jealous cokehead beats the shit out of overly honest geek.

PEOPLE: The main stars are Hayden Panettiere (Claire from Heroes) and Paul Rust (Inglourious Bastards, and a writer for 1 episode each of Human Giant and Moral Orel). Co-stars include Jack Carpenter, Lauren London, Lauren Storm (TV actress) as the dumb girl, and Shawn Roberts (Rogue’s boyfriend in X-Men 1) as the douchebag. And a brief (“your nipples are so weird!”) role by Andrea Savage, who was in the funny comedy Step Brothers.

And TV buffs will recognize Cynthia Stevenson as Hope Davidson from the 35-episode NBC sitcom “Hope & Gloria” (1995-1996). She will also be in the upcoming flick Jennifer’s Body, which will feature Magan Fox and Amanda Seyfried in a full-on tongue kiss. But I digress. It was weird seeing Cynthia Stevenson‘s face again after over 10 yrs!

Directed by Chris Columbus (Adventures In Babysitting, Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone/Chamber Of Secrets, Mrs. Doubtfire, Home Alone 2.)

QUIRKS: Based on a novel written by Larry Doyle, one of the writers of The Simpsons (Girly Edition, Treehouse Of Horror 9, Wild Barts Can’t BE Broken, Pygmoelian, Worst Episode Ever, It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Marge), Beavis & Butt-head (Choke, Nosebleed, Bad Dog, Final Judgment Of Beavis, Butt Flambe, Liar! Liar!, Safe Driving), and Daria (Too Cute). Though really, he only made the novel because he couldn’t get it made into a movie first. (Reminds me of how The Fountain was a movie, then a graphic novel, then a movie based on the graphic novel.)

Your standard will-the-geek-get-the-girl high school story, told as a graduation night caper full of “Saturday night adventure” (though it might not have been Saturday in the movie, I think you catch my drift).

You get graduation speeches, unrequited love, bitchy cheerleaders, 18 year old male virgins, graduation parties, cow tipping, coked-up douchebags on roid rage, underage drinking, shitty teenage driving, vehicles smashing through walls, sexuality under question, and social awkwardness. A lot of your standard high school movie tropes.

CLOSURE THAT’S IN THE BOOK AND NOT THE MOVIE: [highlight for spoilers] “In the book, there is a final fight at the cabin with Denis and Kevin. The girls throw stuffed animals at him to distract him enough to think Rich has a shotgun, but then it is revealed that the shotgun is fake. Kevin makes Denis row him out to the lake, to dump him in. He talks about how Beth is a slut. Denis knocks Kevin out with an oar. Kevin falls overboard, so Denis jumps in to save him. He performs CPR. The police come. Kevin wakes up, and attacks Denis again in front of the police. They arrest Kevin and his group. It’s revealed then that Denis is an accomplished swimmer and is in decent good shape for being kind of geeky. He and Beth make out. Then, at the very end, they didn’t see each other for the rest of the summer, but then one day they did, but by then Denis had grown 6 inches and packed on some muscle, and then it ends. Rich also says he didn’t much like being homosexual either, and is waiting for the next thing. Beth and Denis finally see each other a week before he intends to go off for school. Oh, and Beth was going to have sex with him at the cabin before Kevin showed up, but stopped when she found a hole in Denis’s underwear.”

VISUALS: The girls aren’t as hot as the girls in, say, Mean Girls or Jawbreaker. This does not apply to Hayden of course. She is as hot as ever. And has less competition with her hotness than in Heroes (where Kristen Bell and multiple-personality blonde compete with her).

MORALS: 1) Nice guys finish last. 2) Honesty can equal physical danger. 3) Cocaine is a bad drug. 4) Teenagers can’t drive.

BAD STUFF: I guess a lot of people are sick of these kinds of movies — but I never tire of this trash. This got a 13% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 104 reviews. Tons of people have tons of complaints, but I just didn’t agree with them.

CONCLUSION: While generic in premise, I find that I can’t get tired of teen comedies, as comedy is my favorite genre and I feel like there are never enough comedy movies. I laughed out loud and had a great time watching the misadventures of Denis and his quest to get Beth Cooper. It may partially reflect on my mood that night, but I totally loved this, rating it 1 more star and 1 more IMDB point than Carolyn did.

Clint: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 8/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 7/10.
The native public rating for this movie is IMDB: 5.0/10, Netflix: 3.6/5 stars (3.3/5 stars for people who rate like me). Netflix was wrong. I liked this better than average, not less than average!

RECOMMENDATION: A lot of people didn’t like this, for it to get a 5.0/10 on Netflix. If you are “forgiving” with movies, and are someone who likes teen comedies in general, you will probably at least find this passable. You might find it to be great. Or you might hate it. It’s a hard one to predict. If “saturday night adventures” are fun to you, you might like this.

SIMILAR MOVIES: Can’t Hardly Wait. Actually, this is similar to hundreds of movies.

MOVIE QUOTE: Rich Munsch: “You’re not alive unless you’re livin’.”

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] Sold to me by a questionable dvd reseller who labeled this as “Amelie 2″. Yet, this movie came out before Amelie and actually has nothing to do with it. Nice marketing, questionable reseller. You tricked me into watching something I woudn’t have watched! This is NOT Amelie 2! This came out BEFORE Amelie! WTF. Apparently that is the name of the DVD when released in Hong Kong! How lame!

PLOT SUMMARY: A bunch of random crap happens, randomly affecting other crap.

HAIKU REVIEW: Random happenstance
tends to lack a real meaning
that I want in film.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): Interconnection for interconnection’s sake.

PEOPLE: Not even the same director as Amelie. But it has cutey Audrey Tautou in it, and has some similarities to Amelie.

QUIRKS: SO QUIRKY. For quirkiness’s sake. This whole movie is a bunch of quirky characters doing quirky things. With no real point to any of it. One guy is a liar. So what? Who cares? Ugh.

VISUALS: Definitely no Amelie.

MORALS: It’s hard to glean any deep meaning from this utterly random movie.

BAD STUFF: Interconnection for interconnection’s sake.

CONCLUSION: I found it interesting to watch for the first half, but by the time there were 30 minutes left in the movie, I knew my conclusion was going to be: Steaming pile of shit. Carolyn didn’t quite look on it as unfavorably as I did, but… We were tricked into watching this, and it was quite disappointing.

Clint: Netflix: 2/5 stars. IMDB: 5/10. It manages to scrape by with a 5 because individual moments were still interesting.

Carolyn: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 6/10. “I think I like it less now that I slept on it… It was interesting at the time how quirky and interconnected everything seemed, but now it’s like they showed too much detail that didn’t really matter.. like the [highlight for spoilers] grandma dying.. nothing came of that in the end, so….”

The native public rating for this movie is Netflix: 3.4/5 stars, IMDB 6.9/10.
(Compare to Amelie: Netflix native rating was 4.0/5 stars, and IMDB was 8.6/10 – 46th highest rated movie ever.)

RECOMMENDATION: STAY AWAY! Unless you like movies that are quirky for quirkiness’s sake, show a bunch of unrelated characters who never truly interact, and don’t really have a true moral or point other than “we are all connected, yay”. At least movies like 21 Grams or Sex & Lucia ultimately tied everyone together; this movie really doesn’t.

SIMILAR MOVIES: 21 Grams. Sex & Lucia. Any of those horrible “separate stories by characters who barely interact with each other” movies. (Though Sex & Lucia did this best, and is the only one I truly love.)

MOVIE QUOTE: The Destiny Man: You see, every detail, every gesture, as slight as it may be, reveals an infinity of truths and thus has an endless repercussion and grandiose effects. (more…)

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