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VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: How To Stop Being A Loser (2011)

Clint: 4.4/5 stars, 8/10.
Carolyn: 4.6/5 stars, 8/10.
Native rating: 4.4/10 IMDB (not available on netflix).
WTF IT’S WAY BETTER THAN THAT!

Apparently this movie is kind of polarizing. A lot of people think it’s stupid rubbish. After all, it has similarities to MANY other movies (like The Long Weekend, or a billion other romantic comedies).

But this is more of a sex comedy than a romantic comedy, and that’s a plus for us.

It is specifically about a the influence of PUAs (pickup artists) and The Game, and parodies/comments on that phenomenon quite well.

A loser who has the most awkward time possible trying to talk to girls (with some VERY awkward scenes in the movie) finally pays a 2nd rate pickup-artist to try to teach him how to get chicks.

And the psychiatrist he keeps talking to (as a framing device) throughout the movie is pretty funny too!

Plus you get to see the girl who played the main character in MirrorMask as the “nerdy female friend whose sexuality is totally ignored by people who don’t realize she is actually really hot”.

But anyway… For a formulaic movie that wasn’t that unique, this one was better than most.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1727506/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: A Fantastic Fear Of Everything (2012)

Clint: 4.4/5 stars, 8.4/10.
Carolyn: 5/5 stars, 9/10.
Native rating: 5.3/10 (not available on Netflix).

This movie would be a psychological thriller/horror, if it wasn’t for the fact that they deliberately make it out to be a comedy.

A paranoid writer starts to slip down a slope towards insanity.  But this paranoid writer is Simon Pegg. In fact, Simon Pegg probably accounts for 90% of all screentime in the movie.

A lot of people didn’t like this, and we were almost dissuaded from watching it. Almost. The 5.3 IMDB rating is pretty indicitive of that — But then it turned out to be pretty funny. It just turns out that watching Simon Pegg freak the FUCK out is not everyone’s cup of tea.

If you watched the Spaced (UK) sitcom series [which we own an autographed copy of], you are probably a big enough Simon Pegg fan to watch this. But be warned: No Nick Frost.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2006040/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Cloud Atlas (2012)

4.6/5 stars, 9/10 from both of us.
Native rating: 3.7/10 stars Netflix, 8.0/10 IMDB.

I don’t normally like the movies of several different unrelated/barely-related lives, but then, this isn’t that. Everything is connected. The editing and execution was magnificent. They said this book could never be made into a movie, but they were wrong.

Six stories in six different periods of time, all linked, all being told simultaneously. And it’s actually pretty easy to follow, with the exception of the future-English spoken in the post-apocalypstic one. I’m sure I didn’t realize all the linkages between different stories, but it was absolutely watchable and not a scattered mess like some thought it was going to be. It was quite interesting!

Basically, Wachowski siblings FTW! As always!

It actually took me a few seconds to realize which characters were Tom Hanks… And Halle Berry as the male asian doctor was one of the most deceptive makeup jobs in the movie. Basically, each actor was several characters. David Lynch probably really liked this movie.

Carolyn: “I felt like I felt with Benjamin Button, a wholesome love-conquers-all feel, but then also revolution, going against the norm, speaking/fighting for what’s right, not accepting the status quo. It was a good movie.”

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1371111/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Dredd (2012)

4/5 stars, 8/10 from both of us.
Native rating: 3.9/5 stars, 7.3/10.

This was quite action-heavy, as expected. Since that was our expectation, we were satisfied.

The quirk of a drug called “Slo-Mo” that slows down time to 1% was amazing with the way they represented it on film. Wow.

At a couple points, they had shitty cgi blood, the worst since Star Trek 5…but fortunately that was only a 1-2 time thing and it looked good the rest of the movie.

Overall, this was visually superior to the previous version…. And the previous version’s visuals were a lot of what it had going for it.
But now things are modern, and sssso deliciously crisssssssp.  The old movie couldn’t offer that.  And I think Stallone is kind of cheesy anyway.

So file this under: Yet another remake I liked better than the original, just like with Total Recall.

Of course one can always say this is not a remake, but another, different adaptation of the source material.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1343727/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Leon: The Professional (1994)

Clint: 3.6/5 stars.
Carolyn: 4/5 stars.
8/10 from both of us.
Native rating: 4.2/5 stars, 8.6/10.

I’d heard “The Professional” recommended so many times. After all, it’s the 31st highest-rated movie in IMDB. Natalie Portman’s 2nd movie, and she’s only about 12 or 13 years old. Starring Jean Reno, who we really only have seen as Ponton in the Pink Panther remake movies, but who is quite good. And Gary Oldman.

I’m not a big fan of the crime genre, but the actors in this were good. The story was kind of generic, but the characters were not. The sexual tension between Natalie Portman and Jean Reno was so completely awkward and cringe-inducing and unique.

The over-the-top mega-acting of Gary Oldman was pretty intense, and at times hilariously cheesy. Yet the movie itself doesn’t come off as cheesy at all. The ending could be better — it felt slightly cliched to me (but I’m a cynic) — but all in all this movie held my interest more than I expected.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0110413/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

I'd rather be watching TV! Imagine my surprise one late Saturday night (1:44AM on 9/16/2012) when Carolyn said she didn’t know there was a such thing as a Pink Panther movie! WTF! How the hell can you not know this, Carolyn? I was pretty flabbergasted so I made it a point to make Carolyn watch all 11 Pink Panther movies with me. Plus, I didn’t remember any of them, and also hadn’t seen some of them.

PLOT SUMMARY: Inspecter Clouseau is a bumbling fool who somehow manages to solve cases, all the while stressing out his boss so the point of driving the boss homicidally insane.

PEOPLE: The earlier movies are mostly done by Blake Edwards, generally starring Peter Sellers, until the actor died and those movies continued on without him. Herbert Lom plays his deranged boss [except for the first movie]. The remake movies star Steve Martin.

BTW, Herbert Lom died 11 days after I found out Carolyn didn’t know these movies existed and had decided to watch these movies. Weird!

QUIRKS: Slapstick detective mysteries. Bumbling idiocy peppered with intrigue and a tinge of sexiness.

VISUALS: Typical 1960s/1970s low-grade visual quality.

SOUNDTRACK: Henry Mancini’s Pink Panther song, which everyone was familiar with when they watched the Pink Panther cartoon on TV as a kid. In later movies there is a Disco-ish version.

GOOD STUFF: Some hilarious slapstick and dialog-based comedy.

BAD STUFF: Nothing specifically bad, per se…. The movies simply just aren’t great.

CONCLUSION: These movies are universally not nearly as good as I remembered. The rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia strike yet again! These are iconic. These are classics. These are must-see movies. But they aren’t masterpieces. They aren’t even great. They’re just decent.

Which movies did we like better? Hard to say exactly, because it’s hard to maintain numerical consistence with oneself when giving out ratings. But we do our best, and this is the order we came up with:

RANKING: BY CLINT’S RATING:
11 > 6 > 2 > 10 > 4 > 7 > 8 > 5 > 9 > 3 > 1
Pink Panther 11: Pink Panther reboot 2 (2009) – 3.2/5 stars, 7.2/10.
Pink Panther 6: Revenge Of The Pink Panther (1978) – 3/5 stars, 7/10 from both of us.
Pink Panther 2: A Shot In The Dark (1964) – 3/5 stars, 7/10.
Pink Panther 10: Pink Panther reboot 1 (2006) – 3/5 stars, 6.6/10.
Pink Panther 4: The Return Of The Pink Panther (1974) – 3/5 stars from both of us. 6.4/10 from Clint
Pink Panther 7: The Trail Of The Pink Panther (1982) – Clint: 3/5 stars, 6.4/10.
Pink Panther 8: Curse Of The Pink Panther (1983) – Clint: 3/5 stars, 6.4/10.
Pink Panther 5: The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976) – 3/5 stars, 6/10 from Clint
Pink Panther 9: Son Of The Pink Panther (1993) – Clint: 3/5 stars, 6/10.
Pink Panther 3: Inspector Clouseau (1968) – 3/5 stars, 5.6/10.
Pink Panther 1 (1963)Clint: 2/5 stars, 4.6/10.

RANKING: BY CAROLYN’S RATING:
11 > 2 > 6 > 8 > 10 > 9 > 4 > 5 > 3 > 7 > 1
Pink Panther 11: Pink Panther reboot 2 (2009) – 3.2/5 stars, 7.2/10.
Pink Panther 2: A Shot In The Dark (1964) – 3/5 stars, 7/10.
Pink Panther 6: Revenge Of The Pink Panther (1978) – 3/5 stars, 7/10 from both of us.
Pink Panther 8: Curse Of The Pink Panther (1983) – Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 7/10.
Pink Panther 10: Pink Panther reboot 1 (2006) – 3/5 stars, 6.6/10.
Pink Panther 9: Son Of The Pink Panther (1993) – Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 6/10.
Pink Panther 4: The Return Of The Pink Panther (1974) – 3/5 stars from both of us. 5.6/10 from Carolyn.
Pink Panther 5: The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976) – 3/5 stars, 5.6/10 from Carolyn.
Pink Panther 3: Inspector Clouseau (1968) – 3/5 stars, 5.6/10.
Pink Panther 7: The Trail Of The Pink Panther (1982) – Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 5/10.
Pink Panther 1 (1963)Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 5/10.

RANKING: BY IMDB‘S RATING:
2 > 1 > 5 > 4 > 6 > 10 > 11 > 3 > 7 > 8 > 9
Pink Panther 2: A Shot In The Dark (1964) – 7.5/10
Pink Panther 1 (1963) – 7.2/10
Pink Panther 5: The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976) – 7.1/10
Pink Panther 4: The Return Of The Pink Panther (1974) – 7.0/10
Pink Panther 6: Revenge Of The Pink Panther (1978) – 6.5/10
Pink Panther 10: Pink Panther reboot 1 (2006) – 5.3/10
Pink Panther 11: Pink Panther reboot 2 (2009) – 5.3/10
Pink Panther 3: Inspector Clouseau (1968) – 4.9/10
Pink Panther 7: The Trail Of The Pink Panther (1982) – 4.7/10
Pink Panther 8: Curse Of The Pink Panther (1983) – 4.1/10
Pink Panther 9: Son Of The Pink Panther (1993) – 3.6/10

RANKING: BY NETFLIX’S RATING:
2 > 1 > 4 > 5 > 6 > 7 > 11 > 8 > 9 > 10 > 3
Pink Panther 2: A Shot In The Dark (1964) – 3.7/5 stars
Pink Panther 1 (1963) – 3.6/5 stars
Pink Panther 4: The Return Of The Pink Panther (1974) – 3.6/5 stars
Pink Panther 5: The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976) – 3.6/5 stars
Pink Panther 6: Revenge Of The Pink Panther (1978) – 3.5/5
Pink Panther 7: The Trail Of The Pink Panther (1982) – 3.4/5 stars
Pink Panther 11: Pink Panther reboot 2 (2009) – 3.3/5 stars
Pink Panther 8: Curse Of The Pink Panther (1983) – 3.2/5 stars
Pink Panther 9: Son Of The Pink Panther (1993) – 3.0/5 stars
Pink Panther 10: Pink Panther reboot 1 (2006) – 3.0/5 stars
Pink Panther 3: Inspector Clouseau (1968) – 2.9/5 stars

RATING MATRIX:

11 > 6 > 2 > 10 >  4 >  7 >  8 > 5 > 9 >  3 > 1 [CLINT]
11 > 2 > 6 >  8 > 10 >  9 >  4 > 5 > 3 >  7 > 1 [CAROLYN]
 2 > 1 > 5 >  4 >  6 > 10 > 11 > 3 > 7 >  8 > 9 [IMDB]
 2 > 1 > 4 >  5 >  6 >  7 > 11 > 8 > 9 > 10 > 3 [NETFLIX]

OBSERVATIONS:
1) Carolyn & I really like 11 (the 2nd Steve Martin one) & 6 (“Revenge”) more than most people. Most people put 11 pretty much in the middle.
2) Carolyn & I and the general public do all agree that Pink Panther 2:A Shot In The Dark is in the top 2 movies.
3) Carolyn & I vehemently disagree with the public’s opinion of Pink Panther 1, which we thought was rather dull.
4) Carolyn & I like Pink Panther 6 (Revenge) a bit more in comparison to the others than the general public does.
5) Everyone but Carolyn thinks 4 (Return Of) is in the top 5 of the 11 movies.
6) Netflix people hate the remake (Pink Panther 10 reboot) more than everyone else, including IMDB people.

RECOMMENDATION: A pretty good franchise that really should be seen, but not quite the comedic masterpiece that I had thought it was when viewed through the rose-tinted shades of nostalgia.

BRIEF REVIEW OF EACH MOVIE:

Pink Panther 1 (1963)
Clint: 2/5 stars, 4.6/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 5/10.
Native rating: 3.6/5 stars Netflix, 7.2/10 IMDB.
I always thought of The Pink Panther movies as coming off as comedy-mysteries, but this first one seemed to be more of a mystery-comedy. It just wasn’t as funny. It was more about the intrigue. Things got a little zany and funny at the very ending, but for the most part… I was just a bit confused. Watched this pretty drunk. Maybe would have enjoyed it more less drunk? All in all, after having fond memories of The Pink Panther Returns as a child, I realize…. The franchise must have improved in the 1970s compared to the 1960s ones. This was an utter disappointment. Still, it was nice to go back to the beginning. I’m not even sure if I saw this one as a kid or not.

Pink Panther 2: A Shot In The Dark (1964) –
3/5 stars, 7/10 from both of us.
Native rating: 3.7/5 stars Netflix, 7.5/10 IMDB.
Much better than the first one. Introduction of Cato. I think I remembered a couple scenes of this from my childhood — specifically the thumb-cutting-off in the cigar-cutter-guillotine.
SPOILERS: This one was the murder one where everybody was guilty…. Except for the one everyone was framing.

Pink Panther 3: Inspector Clouseau (1968)
3/5 stars, 5.6/10 from both of us.
Native rating: 2.9/5 stars Netflix, 4.9/10 IMDB.
WTF …. Not Peter Sellers?!?! Alan Arkin instead? The only Pink Panther movie with Jacques Clouseau played by someone other than Peter Sellers. And not directed by Blake Edwards, either!
Bank robbery instead of murders..
Not as “good” as 1 or 2, but more slapstick/screwball comedy and less intrigue than Pink Panther 1, so we ended up liking it more, even though a lot of purists probably really hate this one.
The scene where he was usurping the Scotland Yard guy, meeting him for the first time, moving things around on his desk, changing chairs constantly… Was pretty funny.
The tape recorder and lasers were… weird.
The ending was kind of confusing if you are passing out.

Pink Panther 4: The Return Of The Pink Panther (1974)
3/5 stars from both of us. 6.4/10 from Clint, 5.6/10 from Carolyn.
Native rating: 3.6/5 stars Netflix, 7.0/10 IMDB.
The 2nd best of the first 4.
He has his exaggerated French accent now (monkey = men-key). The slapstick is just as strong, and his boss who wants to kill him (from #2) is back. Hot women fall for him in an unrealistic way, over and over, almost James Bond-style, which is how it was in the other movies. Also, this was about the Pink Panther Jewel again, which hadn’t been the topic of the movie since The Pink Panther 1.
Basically, this one breathed some life back into the franchise, even if it still wasn’t as great as I remember as a kid.

Pink Panther 5: The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976)
3/5 stars, 6/10 from Clint, 5.6/10 from Carolyn.
Native rating: 3.6/5 stars Netflix, 7.1/10 IMDB.
Not as good as the last one.
No real love interest except sorta-kinda at the end. Less sexiness ensued.
Cato and his crazy ex-boss are still characters…. And the crime-to-solve is more global than in the previous movies: A multi-bank heist that would mess up entire economies.
Still — It could have been better than it was. So far I’ve been disappointed that none of these live up to my nostalgia.

Pink Panther 6: Revenge Of The Pink Panther (1978)
3/5 stars, 7/10 from both of us.
Native rating: 3.5/5 Netflix, 6.5/10 IMDB.
This one was the best yet. Laugh out loud moments for sure!
The crime was “Who killed Jacques Clouseau”? Dreyfus (the crazy murderous ex-boss) was brought back since Clouseau was now supposedly dead. But Dreyfus was haunted by his happiness that Clouseau was dead and was seeing him everywhere — except he really was seeing him everywhere because Clouseau was not dead.
The crime group who tried to kill Clouseau was The French Connection. They attempted to kill Clouseau as a symbol that they were still strong.
The end is hazy to me. They chased each other into a fireworks factory and there were lots of fireworks, and then Clouseau got a medal for his good detecting skills, I guess… I’m not sure…

Pink Panther 7: The Trail Of The Pink Panther (1982) –
Clint: 3/5 stars, 6.4/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 5/10.
Native rating: 3.4/5 stars Netflix, 4.7/10 IMDB.
Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous AND the Wibberly-Wobberly-Walk guy from Hardware as a taxi driver in this movie & the next.
3 parts: Before Peter Sellers dies/disappears, clip show, Joanna Lumley story.

Pink Panther 8: Curse Of The Pink Panther (1983) –
Clint: 3/5 stars, 6.4/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 7/10.
Native rating: 3.2/5 stars Netflix, 4.1/10 IMDB.
Naked Patsy! Wibberly-Wobberly Walk guy from hardware returns!
The beginning kind of felt like deleted scenes from the “deleted movie” of Pink Panther 7, which was itself scenes originally shot for Pink Panther 6.
This movie turned out to employ an interesting way to create a replacement character for Professor Clouseau: A computer program designed to find the worst possible detective.
But I guess the public didn’t buy it, as another Pink Panther movie didn’t come out for 10 more years.

Pink Panther 9: Son Of The Pink Panther (1993) –
Clint: 3/5 stars, 6/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 6/10.
Native rating: 3.0/5 stars Netflix, 3.6/10 IMDB.
So after the public didn’t like the idea of a computer-program-chosen replacement for Clouseau, they decided to materialize an illegitimate son of Clouseau instead. With Dreyfus still around (since Pink Panther 2!) constantly near having nervous breakdowns due to how annoyed he is at this obvious Clouseau… The humor is still not completely dead yet. But I think the franchise realized it was over, and they kind of made Dreyfus a nice guy with a happy ending at the very end.

Pink Panther 10: Pink Panther reboot 1 (2006)
3/5 stars, 6.6/10 from both of us.
Native rating: 3.0/5 stars Netflix, 5.3/10 IMDB.
Carolyn: “I thought it was good. I think I liked it ever so slightly better than the originals…. But not by much… like… the tiniest little sliver…”
Also: Beyonce!

Pink Panther 11: Pink Panther reboot 2 (2009)
3.2/5 stars, 7.2/10 from both of us.
Native rating: 3.3/5 stars Netflix, 5.3/10 IMDB.
Another Pink Panther theft…Carolyn enjoyed it slightly more than the first one. Apparently, this is our favorite out of all the movies. Kinda sad.
Also: Aishwara Rai! (more…)

VIDEO: MOVIE: CARTOONS: ANIME: REVIEW: Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989) (Japan)

Clint: 3.6/5 stars, 7.2/10.
Carolyn: 3.4/5 stars, 7/10. “Good. No Howl’s Castle or Princess Mononoke, but still.” And that’s about how I feel.
Native ratings: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 7.8/10.

Hayao Miyazaki. Great animator. Great director. Good writer. Huge body of work.

The plot wasn’t super exciting and full of jam-packed action, as it was more character-driven than plot-driven. There was no “bad guy” for example. Just a 13 year old girl trying to live independently for a year, as is the custom with witches.

And if you can fly on a broomstick, why not start a delivery service?

I do feel like it puttered out at the end a bit, which is a trope among anime. Anime is often more about the voyage than the destination, and that remains true here. But less frustratingly so than usual.

This was so lighthearted!

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097814/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

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