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VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Unicorn City (2012)

Clio: 4.4/5 stars, 8/10.
Carolyn: 3.4/5 stars, 7.4/10.
Native ratings: 3.5/5 stars Netflix, 5.5/10 IMDB.

“You are who you pretend to be.”

Sadly, Carolyn didn’t like this one as much as me, despite also being a gamer herself.  This movie certainly doesn’t REQUIRE any knowledge of Dungeons & Dragons, or fantasy roleplaying……… But it helps!

This is basically a comedy movie about a guy with a blank resume who tries to get a job with a gaming company by creating a real-life utopia for gamers in the middle of some woods. He does this because his DungeonMaster is a real dick, and wanted to start his own guild. Take tabletop gamging to the next level – LARP’ing.

Sounds geeky? It is.

Now throw in a romantic subplot – the SUPER-hot Jaclyn Hales is crushing on the main character, and he’s never really looked at her as a real woman before. She is the typical geek-girl role in a movie: A super-hot chick with her hair up and wearing some glasses. As if that’s going to fool us into thinking she’s not hot. I’m sorry, but it’s impossible for this girl to not be hot. Check her out yourself: http://www.imdb.com/media/rm1213771008/nm4076403

This was a fun movie. It has a unique plot, a great deal of comedy, tons of characters (though only 2 are developed past 2 dimensions), enough guy-girl interest to keep the romantically-inclined entertained, and enough wackiness to keep it memorable.

Cast-wise, this movie is mostly full of bit players, but the main bad guy is played by Jon Gries, aka Uncle Rico from the great Napoleon Dynamite movie, and the mediocre Napoleon Dynamite animated series.

Multiple actors from this movie are in some endeavor called Gary The Unicorn. I can’t view this as coincidence.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1734589/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Youth In Revolt (2009)

Clio: 3.4/5 stars, 7.4/10.
Carolyn: 3.4/5 stars, 7.4/10.
Native ratings: 3.3/5 stars Netflix, 6.5/10 IMDB.

This was decent. It was sort of a romance/comedy/drama — a rom-com that is a bit heavier on the romance than on the comedy.

It was still funny a lot of the time, in part because it had this vague Fight Club-ish weirdness to it. Michael Cera developing another personality in order to get with the girl. He needs to be bad to get himself kicked out of his mom’s house to go life with his dad, so he develops a split personality disorder.

There are actually several moments where this movie is basically a disturbing psychological thriller…. But then the comedy or the romance kicks in, so it doesn’t stay disturbing throughout (like, say, Fight Club, or The Number 23).

Definitely an interesting and entertaining romantic comedy — with a side-serving of disturbingness.  And definitely the widest range of acting I’ve ever seen coming from Michael Cera (which isn’t saying much).
Directed by Miguel Arteta (3 eps of Six Feet Under, 1 ep of The Office).
Based on a novel by C.D. Payne, who had a cameo as “neighbor on porch”.

Starring Michael Cera (Superbad, Arrested Development, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, Nick And Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Juno, Childrens Hospital) as Nick Twisp / Francois, and Portia Doubleday (relative beautiful newcomer) as Sheeni Saunders.

M. Emmet Walsh (Big Guy And Rusty The Boy Robot, The Iron Giant, Wild Wild West, Twilight) as her strict religious dad, and Mary Kay Place (Smashed, Being John Malkovich, Pecker, Girl Interrupted, 6 eps of My So-Called Life) as her strict religious mom.

Cera’s family is: Jean Smart (Designing Women, Martha Logan in 24, Pickles Oblong in The Oblongs, I Heart Huckabees) as the mom, and Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover, Between Two Ferns, Visioneers, Tim & Eric, It’s Kind Of A Funny Story, Due Date) as her douchebag boyfriend, and Steve Buscemi as his dad. His mom’s later boyfriend is Ray Liotta (Observe And Report, Date Night, Blow, Hannibal, Field Of Dreams).

Cera’s friends are: Erik Knudsen (Scream 4, Scott Pilgrim, Degrassi:TNG) as his friend Lefty, and Adhir Kalyan (3 eps as Dr. Raj Paresh in Nip/Tuck, Fired Up!) as Vijay Joshi.

Fred Willard has a small part as their neighbor, Mr. Ferguson.

Jonathan B. Wright as the rival boyfriend, Trent. He played a beefy guy in Nick And Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Seems a lot of Nick & Norah people were in this movie, such as:

Ari Graynor (Caroline in Nick And Norah, What’s Your Number?, 4 eps of The Sopranos, Date Night) as Lacey.

Justin Long (Unsupervised, Funny People, Zack And Miri Make A Porno, Dodgeball) as Paul Saunders, the girl’s brother.

Rooney Mara (The Social Network, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo remake, A Nightmare On Elm Street remake) as Taggarty.

And oh, there’s an old man played by Michael Collins. He’s the astronaut who went to the moon with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, and had to stay in the ship and not step foot on the moon. Is his minor role (that nobody noticed) in this movie a symbol of his moon role? Nobody rememebers him. I don’t know his name. Most don’t. And now he’s in a movie where nobody will remember him. That’s too bad. :/

By the way: There was a pilot for a TV series of this made in 1998 for MTV: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0173998/combined

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0403702/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Superbad (2007)

Clio: 4.6/5 stars, 8.6/10.
Carolyn: 4.6/5 stars, 8.6/10.
Native ratings: 3.9/5 stars Netflix, 7.6/10 IMDB.

This didn’t hold up as well to a second viewing.  It was still pretty funny, but it didn’t have the same excitement the second time around.  We also had just rewatched Trojan War recently, which is what we compared this movie to, except replace condoms with alcohol.

It’s a super fun movie. Everyone already saw this and generally knows this. Teen sex comedies are one of our mainstays, and movies that have parties in them are another [this movie has multiple parties in it]. Bromances are funny, and movies with geeky guys trying to get girls are funny. The nostalgia of watching highschoolers on the hunt harkens back to a younger age and reminds us what it’s like to be young. The movie is a conflation of many good things and many ridiculous things. Total win.

Directed by: Greg Mottola (Adventureland, 3 eps of Arrested Development, 6 eps of Undeclared)
Written by: Seth Rogen (writer of The Green Hornet, Pineapple Express, 5 eps of Undeclared) & Evan Goldberg (writer of Goon, The Green Hornet, Pineapple Express, 6 eps of Da Ali G Show)
Producer: Judd Apatow (who seemingly makes every comedy movie that exists nowadays)

Starring Jonah Hill (Allen in Allen Gregory, Get Him To The Greek, How To Train Your Dragon, The Invention Of Lying, Funny People, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Knocked Up, Grandma’s Boy, The 40 Year Old Virgin) as Seth.
Michael Cera (Arrested Development, Childrens Hospital, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, Nick And Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Juno) as Evan.
Christopher Mintz-Plasse (this was his first movie, prior to Kick-Ass, Year One, How To Train Your Dragon) as Fogell/McLovin’.
Bill Hader (Pineapple Express, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, The Brothers Solomon, Knocked Up, The Voice in Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs, Year One, Saturday Night Live, Men In Black 3) as Officer Slater.
Seth Rogen (Kung Fu Panda, The Green Hornet, Funny People, Observe And Report, Fanboys, Zack And Miri Make A Porno, Pineapple Express, Step Brothers, Knocked Up, The 40 Year Old Virgin, Anchorman, 17 eps of Undeclared) as Officer Michaels.
Emma Stone (who Clio says is a perfect 10) as Jules (Zombieland, Gwen Stacy in The Amazing Spider-Man, Crazy Stupid Love, The House Bunny).
Joe Lo Truglio (The State, Stella, Wanderlust, Wreck-It Ralph, 2 eps of Childrens Hospital, I Love You Man, Fanboys, Pineapple Express, Wet Hot American Summer) as Francis the Driver.
Kevin Corrigan (The Dictator, Pineapple Express) as Mark.
Erica Vittina Phillips (The 40 Year Old Virgin, gyno nurse in This Is 40, Darryl’s ex-wife in 2 eps of The Office, Step Brothers) as the Liquor Store Cashier.
Mark Rogen (Seth Rogen’s father) as “Father With Bat”.
Charlie Hartsock (Crazy Stupid Love, 7 eps of Arrested Developement, The 40 Year Old Virgin) as Good Shopper Cashier.
Carla Gallo (Lizzie from Undeclared, Libby from Carnivale, Get Him To The Greek, Funny People, I Love You Man, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, The 40 Year Old Virgin) as Period Blood Girl. It’s sad that after her excellent work in Undeclared, she mostly plays kinky-girl bit-parts in party/roadtrip/caper movies, and never gets to be a leading lady again.
Martin Starr (Sam [the human, not the robot S.A.M.] in NTSF:SD:SUV, Adventureland, Walk Hard, Knocked Up) as James Masselin.
Clark Duke (he ended up playing Clark on the last season of The Office, 5 eps of Robot Chicken, Hot Tub Time Machine, Kick-Ass, Sex Drive) as Random Party Teenager.

I didn’t even notice Danny McBride (Observe And Report, Fanboys, Tropic Thunder, Pineapple Express, The Foot Fist Way, Eastbound & Down, Good Vibes, Despicable Me) as a buddy at the party (uncredited).

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0829482/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIOEW: The Trouble With Bliss (2011) [Michael C. Hall]

Clio: 3/5 stars, 6.4/10.
Carolyn: 3.6/5 stars, 7/10.
Native ratings: 2.4/5 stars Netflix, 5.3/10 IMDB.

“A guy in his mid-thirties watches as his life comically unravels after he enters into a relationship with the daughter of a former high school classmate.”

I got tricked into thinking this is a comedy, because it’s billed “Comedy, Drama”. But nooooo. This is more like a dramedy. Which is really just a drama where some funny stuff happens. Funny stuff happens in normal, dramatic life. Having a dramatic story where some funny things happen doesn’t really make it a comedy. If anything this should be billed “Drama, Comedy” at a minimum. Because I would then know to stay way from it.

Still, this wasn’t bad. It’s hard to hate a movie. Things were interesting. Interesting sexual situations. Interesting dude-won’t-move-out-of-his-dad’s-place situation. Lucy Liu was amazingly hot as usual. I don’t regret watching this, I just regret choosing this. I was looking for a straight comedy the night I watched this, so the movie didn’t match my mood. But I shouldn’t fault it too much.

It’s definitely a “journey, not destination” movie. It’s a coming-of-age story for a 35-year-old who hasn’t come of age.  And of course, the main reason most people will watch it is because of Dexter…

Starring Michael C. Hall (Dexter, Six Feet Under) as Morris Bliss, the mid-30’s guy who doesn’t have any ambition in life other than to travel and see the world. But he’s never moved out of his dad’s place.
Chris Messina (The Giant Mechanical Man, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, 6 eps of Six Feet Under) as his bestfriend.
Peter Fonda (Ghost Rider, Escape From L.A.) as his father.
Brie Larson (Envy Adams from Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, 1 ep of NTSF:SD:SUV) as his girlfriend Stephanie, the crazy teenage high-schooler chick who complicates Morris’s life.
Brad William Henke (4 eps of Dexter) as Steven ‘Jetski’ Jouseski, the high-schooler’s dad.
Lucy Liu as the hotwife Andrea. Droooooool.
Glenn Kubota (1 ep of Curb Your Enthusiasm, 1 ep of The Onion News Network, Korean Guy in Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist) as the convenient store owner, Mr. Charlies. Funny that we’ve seen him before!
Kate Simses (What’s Your Number?) as Nancy. Random.

I did not notice Rhea Perlman as Maria! WTF.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1483756/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: EuroTrip (2004) [Road Trip 2]

Clio: 3.6/5 stars, 7/10.
Carolyn: 3.4/5 stars, 7/10.
Native ratings: 3.6/5 stars Netflix (compared to 3.5/5 for Road Trip), 6.5/10 IMDB (compared to 6.4/10 for Road Trip).

Isn’t that odd? A sequel that actually received a [as slightly as possibly] higher rating than the original, where I disagree that it should be rated higher. Usually I complain that sequels are always downvoted. Here is one where they finally didn’t do that, and I still have a problem with it: They’re wrong. The original Road Trip  (2000) is definitely better than this!

This movie was good, but not great.  I really liked it, but more of a barely-really-liked-it, thus my 3.6/5 star rating. The sex gags involved dudes a lot more than the previous one, so while they were equally funny, they weren’t as titillating.  It was just a little too convenient.  The things that happened should have had worse consequences.  Instead, things happened, and it just didn’t seem to have that much of an impact.  Maybe there wasn’t enough conflict or something.  It was just like [highlight for spoilers] , “Yeah, they ended up in London, but hey, now they’re in Paris, no problem.”  Things like that happened the entire movie.  “Oh we have no money, and hitchhiked to a place that doesn’t even have a train station built, no problem.”

High-school graduate decides to take an impromptu trip to Europe with some friends in order to track down a penpal/possible love interest.

If it was going to have a requirement of that much suspension of belief, then they should have made it funnier… It seemed to lack a little bit to me. But I still enjoyed it enough. I didn’t dislike it. I almost really liked it.

At least see it for seeing Xena in a latex dominatrix outfit. We need that closure after Xena ended and she DIDN’T fuck Gabrielle.

Directed and co-written by: Jeff Schaffer (writer for Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Dictator, Bruno).
Co-writer & uncredited co-director: Alec Berg (writer for Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Dictator, Late Night W/Conan O’Brien).
Co-writer & uncredited co-director: David Mandel (writer Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Dictator, all 6 eps of Clerks:TAS, Saturday Night Live).

So we have some talented people making this movie, and some talented people in this movie:

Michelle Trachtenberg as the twin girl Jenny (we JUST saw her as the goth girl in Take Me Home Tonight, plus Weeds, 5 eps of Robot Chicken, 4 eps of Six Feet Under, 17 Again, Mysterious Skin).
Travis Wester as twin guy Jamie (1 ep of Six Feet Under, 3 eps of Undressed [wow!], 6 eps of the original Beverly Hills 90210).
Kristin Kreuk (Smallville) as cheating now-ex girlfriend, Fiona.
Matt Damon as a punk band singer.
Fred Armisen (Portlandia, Saturday Night Live, Terry in Out There) as Creepy Italian Guy .
Lucy Lawless (Xena) as sexy dominatrix Madame Vandersexxx.
Joanna Lumley (Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous) as the Hostel Clerk we only see in the closing credits.
Pat Kilbane (Pucked, Monkeybone, MADtv) as American Robot Guy.
Nick Jameson as a Reporter. Quite the fall from playing President Yuri Suvarov in 15 eps of 24…
Jeffrey Tambor (George Bluth Sr. in Arrested Development, Hank Kingsley in The Larry Sanders Show, Professor Cakes in 6 eps of China, IL) as Scott’s Dad.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0356150/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Take Me Home Tonight (2011)

Clio: 5/5 stars, 8.6/10.
Carolyn: 5/5 stars, 8.6/10.
Native ratings: 3.6/5 stars Netflix, 6.3/10 IMDB.

From the producers of That 70’s Show, and the director of Goon, comes a movie that takes place in the 80’s, and is about as good as Superbad, and definitely in the same vein! Most of the movie’s events take place during one night.

This was an ideal choice for a Saturday night drunken party movie, and I’m glad that’s how we watched it. VERY enjoyable movie.

“I can’t deal with this. I need to do the coke.”
“Ok, slow down…. what exactly can’t you deal with?”
“Not doing the coke.”
[Can you fucking believe this movie was delayed a long time because no studio wanted to put out a movie where people use cocaine? Pffft! This movie was finished in 2007!]

Seriously though… We’ve already watched 26 comedies this year, and this is just about the best one (besides classics that we re-watched). AND IT’S ONE MOST PEOPLE OVERLOOKED. So underlook.

Party movies are usually fun, and this one included Anna Faris and Topher Grace.  We watched this as part of our “watch all movies by Anna Faris, as long as they seem watchable”. We’ve now seen 18 out of 35 of her movies, so we finally broke the halfway point.

Lots of funny people were in this one.  And the soundtrack… Full of 80’s awesomeness! Duran Duran, Men Without Hats, INXS, Falco, Wang Chung, N.W.A., Motley Crue, The Buggles, Dexy’s Midnight Runners, Grace Jones, and more.

Someone described this as “I Love You Beth Cooper but in the 1980’s”. I know I loved Beth Cooper and need to watch it again… Now I feel more of an onus to do so.

A lot of people complain that this isn’t 1988-accurate, that it feels more like 1983. Fuck off, wankers. Get a life.

People:
Topher Grace (That 70’s Show, Spider-Man 3, The Giant Mechanical Man) as the loser who works at the mall and wants the girl, Anna Faris as his twin sister, Dan Fogler (Kung Fu Panda, Fanboys) as the best friend who was in fuck-it-party-mode due to being fired that day, Teresa Palmer as the high-school crush (The Grudge 2–this girl needs more exposure!), Chris Pratt (What’s Your Number?, Jennifer’s Body), Lucy Punch (The Giant Mechanical Man, Bad Teacher, Hot Fuzz), Michelle Trachtenberg (Weeds, 5 eps of Robot Chicken, 4 eps of Six Feet Under, 17 Again, Mysterious Skin), Michael Ian Black (Stella, The State, This Is 40, Wet Hot American Summer), and a bit part from Bob Odenkirk (Breaking Bad, Mr. Show, Tim And Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, Monkeybone, The Giant Mechanical Man). Also Michael Biehn (Aliens, The Terminator, Planet Terror, Grindhouse) — Being a big fan of The Terminator and Aliens, Topher Grace personally called Michael Biehn and offered him the role of his father.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0810922/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Rock Of Ages (2012)

Clio: 2.6/5 stars, 5.4/10.
Carolyn: 4.6/5 stars, 8.6/10.
Native ratings: 3.0/5 stars Netflix, 5.8/10 IMDB.

Wow! Carolyn and me rating 2.0/5 stars apart from each other (Netflix), and 2.2/10 apart from each other (IMDB). I think that is a top-1% disagreement level; we’re never this far off from each other!

This movie actually failed to keep me engaged. The plot was so thin that once it became “just people singing songs” with 5 minutes of song to every 30 seconds of plot, I began to grow bored, which then made me tired, which made me fall asleep, which made me have to take a break to wake up just to get through the movie.

A musical needs at least some plot. Not a huge amount. Just something more tangible than what we had here. Repo:The Genetic Opera, Sweeney Todd, Nightmare Before Christmas, the South Park movie, Rocky Horror Picture Show. All of these have more engaging plots. Yes, even Rocky Horror! In the end this was just too random, I didn’t care about the characters enough to care about the movie, and it started to feel like an extended music video of old songs sung by celebrities instead of the original artists. I was waiting for it to be over, and was happy when it was.

Any given moment was kinda awesome, and Tom Cruise was great… The whole cast was… But it was just too devoid of story for me. It was too much. Maybe I would have enjoyed a shorter version (I did watch the extended version, after all). It’s totally out of character for me to say that, though.

Maybe on a different night, with a different mood and body chemistry, I would have enjoyed this more. Dunno if I’ll ever be able to make myself try it again, though. Life’s too short.

Carolyn adds: I enjoyed this movie.  I didn’t love it quite as much as Take Me Home Tonight, but I had fun watching it… They did have a lot of songs, and barely any plot, but it was more the ride than the story for me, I guess.

My mom adds: I saw this on an airplane, a captive audience. I must admit that I lean towards Clio‘s opinion.

Parthena, who recommended this to us (but didn’t rate it high?!) adds:  I would rate this 3/5 stars myself! For all the reasons you listed. Very loose plot…like they couldn’t decide which story to focus on. But some parts made me laugh.

 

People-wise:
Co-written by the writer of Tropic Thunder & Iron Man 2.
The main girl is Julianne Hough (uncredited role in Harry Potter 1, Footloose remake).
Diego Boneta (Mean Girls 2)
Russell Brand (Despicable Me, Get Him To The Greek, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, St. Trinian’s)
Alec Baldwin (Dr. Seuss’ The Cat In The Hat, 5 episodes of Clerks-TAS, Beetlejuice)
Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad, Malcolm In The Middle, 6 episodes of The Cleveland Show, Jim Gordon in Batman: Year One)
Catherine Zeta-Jones (Ocean’s Twelve, Titanic, The Mask Of Zorro)
Paul Giamatti (John Dies At The End, The Hangover Part II, The Haunted World Of El Superbeasto, Sideways, Man On The Moon, Saving Private Ryan, Lady In The Water)
Kevin Nash (wrestler)
Tom Cruise (Knight And Day, Mission: Impossible, Magnolia, Eyes Wide Shut, Minority Report, Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, Days Of Thunder)
Malin Akerman (Childrens Hospital, The Giant Mechanical Man, Wanderlust, Watchmen, The Brothers Solomon, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle)
Will Forte (5 episodes of Gravity Falls, 5 episodes of American Dad, Saturday Night Live, 19 episodes of The Cleveland Show, Tim And Eric‘s Billion Dollar Movie, Tim And Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, Sit Down Shut Up, Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs, Fanboys, The Brothers Solomon, Clone High
Eli Roth (writer of Cabin Fever, Hostel)
T.J. Miller (Robbie in Gravity Falls, Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World, Gulliver’s Travels, How To Train Your Dragon, Get Him To The Greek, Cloverfield
Debbie Gibson
Sebastian Bach (Skid Row)

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1336608/combined

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