VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: The Secret Of My Succe$s (1987)

Claire: 3/5 stars, 6/10.
Carolyn: 4/5 stars, 7/10.
Native ratings: 3.5/5 stars Netflix, 6.4/10 IMDB. (Pretty much the average of OUR votes!)

Carolyn’s thoughts: This was slightly better than I was expecting.  It was very formulaic, and very excessive with the montages, but it stayed pretty consistently funny throughout.  One montage reminded us of the first Pink Panther movie with the ridiculous sneaking around chasing each other.  I really enjoyed it.

Claire: Me, not quite as much. I would have liked this movie more, emotionally, if the plot resolution didn’t feel like such a deus ex machina. They had a good plot — but then the plot’s resolution seemed to come from left field. And the romance subplot just seemed unnecesary and distracting.

The rest was good. It had its laughs. It had its distinctly 80’s kind of comedic moments that you just don’t see in movies these days, because film finally learned how to do realism right, and that shit doesn’t always pass muster nowadays.  So it had that nostalgic charm to it.

But points against for lack of cohesion with the resolution.

And yes, 5 fucking montages is fucking excessive. But hey, it was the 80’s. You gotta have a montage. Even Rocky had a montage.

Directed by Herbert Ross (Footloose, Steel Magnolias).

Written by Jim Cash (Dick Tracy, Top Gun, Turner & Hooch, Anaconda, Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas), Jack Epps Jr. (Dick Tracy, Top Gun, Turner & Hooch, Anaconda, Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas) and AJ Carothers (5 eps of My Three Sons).


Michael J. Fox as Brantley Foster / Carlton Whitfield.
Helen Slater (Supergirl, City Slickers, Talia Al Ghul in 4 eps of Batman-TAS, Lara-El in 3 eps of Smallville, 1 ep of Dream On, 1 ep of Seinfeld, 1 ep of Caroline In The City) as Christy Wills.
Richard Jordan (Dune) as Howard Prescott.
Margaret Whitton (Major League movies) as Vera Prescott.
John Pankow (Ira Buchman in Mad About You, 1 ep of Duckman) as Fred Melrose. I knew I recognized him, but I couldn’t place it.
Christopher Murney (Barton Fink) as Barney Rattigan.
Gerry Bamman (Home Alone movies) as Art Thomas.
Fred Gwynne (The Munsters, Fatal Attraction, The Boy Who Could Fly, Car 54 Where Are You?) as Donald Davenport.
Carol Ann Susi (Just Go With It, 2 eps of That 70’s Show, 2 eps of Seinfeld, 1 ep of Six Feet Under, 1 ep of Just Shoot Me) as Jean.
Elizabeth Franz as Grace Foster.
Drew Snyder (Cruel Intentions) as Burt Foster.
Susan Kellermann (Beetlejuice, The Devil’s Advocate, Planes Trains And Automobiles) as Maureen.
Barton Heyman (The Exorcist) as Arnold Forbush.
Mercedes Ruehl (Big, Gia, Last Action Hero, 5 eps of Frasier) as Sheila.
Rex Robbins (Vampire’s Kiss, The Royal Tenenbaums) as McMasters.
MacIntyre Dixon (Funny Farm, It’s Kind Of A Funny Story) as Ferguson.
Bill Fagerbakke (Broadway from Gargoyles, Coach, Patrick in Spongebob Squarepants, Roughnecks: The Starship Troopers Chronicles, Funny Farm, 4 eps of Batman: The Brave And The Bold, Halloween 2, 4 eps of Sym-Bionic Titan, 1 ep of Young Justice) as Ron.
Mark Margolis (Tio Salamanca in Breaking Bad, The Fountain, Hannibal, Pi, Black Swan, 10 eps of Oz) as Maintenence Man.


VIDEO: MOVIES/CARTOONS/COMIC BOOKS: REVIEW: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3 (1993)

Claire: 3/5 stars, 6/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 5.7/10.
Native ratings: 3.1/5 stars Netflix, 4.7/10 IMDB.

Oh joy: Corey Feldman returns as Donatello.  He had a lot of lines, this time.  Maybe he was all fucked up during the first movie and they had to throw away a lot of his lines?  It seemed like in TMNT1, Donatello was almost totally ignored *BECAUSE* he was Corey Feldman.  Not so, this time.

So anyway, this was a completely different kind of plot that did not involve The Shredder.  It was kind of a one-off plot that had nothing to do with the standard TMNT plot. TIME TRAVEL?  Unnecessary. But since they go to feudal Japan, it is at least relevant and not totally contrived.

It was mostly entertaining though, and definitely not as cheesy or corny as the second movie. And with more fights. So it’s one of those rare threequels that’s better than the sequel.

Except the suits. The turtle suits on the actors were inferior and looked stupider. Can’t win them all.

Written & directed by Stuart Gillard (directed 20 eps of the new 90210, writer of 1 ep of Mork & Mindy, 1 ep of Three’s Company).


All three movies:
Robbie Rist (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1, Sharknado, Michelangelo in a 2011 fanmade movie called Casey Jones, 1 ep of Jackie Chan Adventures, 1 ep of Batman-TAS) as Michaelangelo (voice).
Brian Tochi (Police Academy 3-4, Revenge Of The Nerds 3, 10 eps of Johnny Bravo, 4 eps of Avatar: The Last Airbender, 2 eps of The Grim Adventures Of Billy & Mandy, 1 ep of Family Guy, 1 ep of Samurai Jack) as Leonardo (voice).
From the second movie only:
Paige Turco (18 eps of Party Of Five, 18 eps of Guiding Light, 16 eps of All My Children) as April O’Neil.
Mark Caso as Leonardo / News Room Staff.

From the first movie:
Corey Feldman as Donatello (voice).
Elias Koteas (A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, Let Me In, Defendor, Last Days On Mars, Shutter Island, The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, Exotica) as Casey Jones.

New people:
Tim Kelleher (Independence Day, The Birdcage, 2 eps of American Dad, 1 ep of 24, 1 ep of Six Feet Under) as Raphael (voice).
Stuart Wilson (Hot Fuzz, Lethal Weapon 3) as Walker.
Sab Shimono (Uncle in Jackie Chan Adventures, Gung Ho, Waterworld, The Shadow, 6 eps of Avatar: The Last Airbender, 3 eps of Samurai Jack, 2 eps of the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, 1 ep of The Boondocks, 1 ep of Max Headroom) as Lord Norinaga.
Vivian Wu (1 ep of Tales From The Crypt) as Mitsu.
Matt Hill (Soarin’ in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Havok in X-Men: Evolution, SheZow, Ed in Ed, Edd, n Eddy) as Raphael.
Jim Raposa as Donatello.
David Fraser (11 eps of Sailor Moon) as Michaelangelo.
James Murray (Susan The Monster in Greg The Bunny, The Brave Little Toaster Goes To Mars, uncredited student puppeteer in Being John Malkovich, 3 eps of Life With Louie) as Splinter.
Eidan Hanzei (Crank 2, 1 ep of Heroes, 1 ep of Sherman Oaks) as Kenshin.
John Aylward (Armageddon, 2 eps of Carnivale, 2 eps of Third Rock From The Sun, 1 ep of Nip/Tuck) as Niles.
Tad Horino (The Kentucky Fried Movie, Mulholland Dr., Bill & Ted‘s Bogus Journey) as Grandfather.


VIDEO: MOVIES/CARTOONS/COMIC BOOKS: REVIEW: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Secret of the Ooze (1991)

Claire: 3/5 stars, 5.9/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 5.6/10.
Native ratings: 3.5/5 stars Netflix, 5.9/10 IMDB.

Claire’s thoughts: I was thinking this was pretty good, and would end up 4/5 stars like I rated the last one… And maybe 7/10 like the last one. But no. God no. Things really took a drastic turn for the worse when vanilla ice appeared and shit got ultra-corny.

Also, I find the whole idea of a caged rat learning martial arts a bit ridiculous – Even in a world where teenage mutant ninja turtles exist, it is still utterly fucking implausible that a rat in a cage learned kung fu by watching and imitating his master. And he’s always on their case about being teenagers… But rats only live 4 years. So he’s at most 23 himself.

But anyway… When you end with a song and a dance, you know you’ve lost that loving feeling.  Apparently Frank Oz or someone complained that TMNT 1 was too violent, so this one was more family friendly.

At least it wasn’t horrible.

Carolyn’s thoughts: Donatello was much more fleshed out in this one. At one point, I asked Claire, “See how many lines Donatello has now?” The difference is definitely noticeable. This one definitely was more cheesy and corny than the first one. (I think they tried to tone down the violence since Jim Henson was apparently upset about how violent the first one was.) Definitely jumped the shark when they had a Vanilla Ice rap.

Directed by Michael Pressman (2 eps of Weeds).

Written by Todd W. Langen (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1, 7 eps of The Wonder Years) & Bobby Herbeck (3 eps of Small Wonder, 1 ep of Diff’rent Strokes).


From the first movie:

Robbie Rist (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1, Sharknado, Michelangelo in a 2011 fanmade movie called Casey Jones, 1 ep of Jackie Chan Adventures, 1 ep of Batman-TAS) as Michaelangelo (voice).
Brian Tochi (Police Academy 3-4, Revenge Of The Nerds 3, 10 eps of Johnny Bravo, 4 eps of Avatar: The Last Airbender, 2 eps of The Grim Adventures Of Billy & Mandy, 1 ep of Family Guy, 1 ep of Samurai Jack) as Leonardo (voice).
David McCharen (Men At Work, Ice Age 3) as The Shredder / Oroko Saki (voice).
Michael McConnohie (Resident Evil: Damnation, 1 ep of Wolverine anime, and a lot of video games and anime including Dragon Ball and Robotech) as Tatsu (voice).
Kevin Clash (Elmo in Sesame Street) as Splinter (voice).
Michelan Sisti as Michaelangelo / Soho Man.
Leif Tilden as Donatello / Foot #3.
Toshishiro Obata as Tatsu.
Raymond Serra as Chief Sterns.

Someone who was in the first movie, but as a different character:

Kenn Scott (Talkative Foot #2 in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1) as Raphael (as Kenn Troum). WHAT A PROMOTION!

New people:
Laurie Faso (The Hunchback Of Notre Dame, 18 eps of The Transformers, 1 ep of Jesse) as Raphael (voice).
Adam Carl (1 ep of Batman-TAS, 3 eps of Designing Women, 3 eps of Who’s The Boss?) as Donatello (voice). Corey Feldman is out.
Paige Turco (18 eps of Party Of Five, 18 eps of Guiding Light, 16 eps of All My Children) as April O’Neil. This is the movie of the 3 movies that she is the hottest in, though the red hair is missed.
David Warner (Archmage in Gargoyles, Ra’s Al Ghul in Batman, In The Mouth Of Madness, Lord Downey in Hogfather, Sweeney Todd, Avatar, Black Death, 9 eps of Men In Black: The Series) as Professor Jordon Perry.
Mark Caso as Leonardo / News Room Staff. He’ll be back in TMNT 3.
Ernie Reyes Jr. (Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, Rush Hour 2) as Keno.
François Chau (Lethal Weapon 4, 11 eps of G.I. Joe (1980s), 2 eps of Childrens Hospital, 1 ep of 24) as Shredder (as Francois Chau).
Mark Ginther (Iron Man 3, 1 ep of Buffy The Vampire Slayer) as Rahzar.
Kurt Bryant (1 ep of Titus) as Tokka.
Kevin Nash (he’s a wrestler, Grandma’s Boy) as Super Shredder.
and of course, Frank Welker as Rahzar / Tokka (voice).


VIDEO: MOVIES/CARTOONS/COMIC BOOKS: REVIEW: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)

Claire: 4/5 stars, 6.6/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 6.6/10.
Native ratings: Netflix sucks, 6.7/10 IMDB.

I am in a unique position of having never been exposed to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles until 2013. I’d not read one comic book (not even one panel), nor seen even one animated second of any TMNT cartoon.  When the new CGI animated series came out in 2013, I decided to give it a shot to see what I’d been missing…. And we both love it. It’s nice to have a lighthearted superhero cartoon to go with all our slightly-more-serious Marvel/DC-type superhero cartoons.

SO I’M FINALLY SEEING SOMETHING TMNT FROM THE 20TH CENTURY by watching all 3 movies this week. About goddamn time.

And y’know what? The new cartoon is better.  I probably wouldn’t have liked this nearly as much without priming up with the new version. And now I’m ready for the Michael Bay version. Bring it on, Michael. There’s nothing you can do to me that you haven’t done before. My body is ready.

Carolyn’s thoughts: I had watched the original animated series when it was on back in the 80’s, but when the movies came out, I wasn’t interested. Nowadays, I don’t remember that much from the original series, but we’ve been watching the new animated series. The new animated series is actually really good. Back to this movie, some of the jokes fell flat. It might have been better if I watched this when I was younger, because maybe it just didn’t live up to the test of time. I don’t remember much of the original series, but now that I’m comparing it to the new series, maybe that is why I didn’t enjoy it as much.

I don’t remember how Donatello was in the original series, but he really seemed like a throwaway character in this movie. I noticed that they barely touched Donatello’s character in this movie, and he just came across as really really lame. And then I found out Corey Feldman did his voice, and it was the worst voice. Poor Corey Feldman. It’s almost like he sucked so bad that they didn’t give him very many lines, or maybe he said a lot more originally and they cut it all out. I don’t know.

Directed by Steve Barron (Coneheads, The Adventures Of Pinocchio).

Written by Todd W. Langen (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2, 7 eps of The Wonder Years) & Bobby Herbeck (3 eps of Small Wonder, 1 ep of Diff’rent Strokes).

Judith Hoag (Salt, Armageddon, 1 ep of Weeds, 1 ep of Dream On, 1 ep of Mad About You) as April O’Neil.
Corey Feldman as Donatello (voice).
Josh Pais (Michael & Michael Have Issues, Adventureland, Synecdoche New York, Scream 3, 1 ep of The Sopranos) as Raphael (voice).
David McCharen (Men At Work, Ice Age 3) as The Shredder / Oroko Saki (voice).
Michael McConnohie (Resident Evil: Damnation, 1 ep of Wolverine anime, and a lot of video games and anime including Dragon Ball and Robotech) as Tatsu (voice).
Elias Koteas (A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, Let Me In, Defendor, Last Days On Mars, Shutter Island, The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, Exotica) as Casey Jones.
Sam Rockwell (Zaphod Beeblebrox in The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy (2005), Iron Man 2, Galaxy Quest, Seven Psychopaths, A Case Of You, Heist) as Head Thug.
Kenn Scott (Raphael in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2) as Talkative Foot #2.
Robbie Rist (Sharknado, Michelangelo in a 2011 fanmade movie called Casey Jones, 1 ep of Jackie Chan Adventures, 1 ep of Batman-TAS) as Michaelangelo (voice).
Brian Tochi (Police Academy 3-4, Revenge Of The Nerds 3, 10 eps of Johnny Bravo, 4 eps of Avatar: The Last Airbender, 2 eps of The Grim Adventures Of Billy & Mandy, 1 ep of Family Guy, 1 ep of Samurai Jack) as Leonardo (voice).
Kevin Clash (Elmo in Sesame Street) as Splinter (voice).
James Saito (Life Of Pi, The Devil’s Advocate, Die Hard 2) as The Shredder / Oroko Saki.


VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Ghost Team One (2013)

Claire: 3/5 stars, 6/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 6/10.
Native ratings: 2.1/5 stars Netflix (ouch), 4.9/10 IMDB.

A horror-comedy mockumentary about a sexually charged ghost?  This could go wrong in a lot of ways.  Especially because mockumentary typically means “we can’t write, so let’s just improvise until something mediocre comes out”.

But this was better than a lot of mockumentaries. It did actually have a plot. It felt scripted, and not improvised that much.

“Did you just fuck the ghost?!?”

It was still very much a b-movie, mostly 3 people in a house, very little special effects, no soundtrack, and very low key in the way they acted  So it’s a bit off-putting if you’re looking for a high-budget blockbuster type movie. This is more like a comedy for people who can’t get enough laughs.

Carolyn: We threw this one after Walking Dead hoping that it would be an entertaining way to end the evening. Unfortunately, this didn’t really live up. It was OK, but it was neither hilarious nor scary. One won’t miss anything by passing over this movie.

Claire: Funny thing – I passed out 40 minutes before the movie ended. Once that happened, I got to see about 75% of it, but none of it made sense due to the 25% I missed by falling asleep like… Every minute. We both were going to give it 2.6/5 stars, 5/10. Then I rewatched the last 40 minutes after dinner and it made a lot more sense. Most of the funniest stuff actually happened after I stopped being able to pay attention, so the movie redeemd itself.

Even Carolyn remarked that it was better the 2nd time through (and what a stupid movie to ever see twice!), raising her rating up to 3/5 stars, 6/10 (which is what I did too).

So…. This movie has its laughs and value. It’s just not great. Or particularly good. We ended up liking it.

Directed by Ben Peyser & Scott Rutherford.

Written by Andrew Knauer & Arthur Pielli.

Carlos Santos as Sergio.
J.R. Villarreal as Brad.
Fernanda Romero (3 Geezers, Drag Me To Hell) as Fernanda.
Tony Cavalero as Chuck.
Meghan Falcone as Becky.
James Babson (Hellboy, The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, 1 ep of American Dad) as JW Menapace.



Claire: 4.6/5 stars, 8.6/10.
Carolyn: 4.6/5 stars, 8.6/10.
Native ratings: 3.1/5 stars Netflix, 7.2/10 IMDB.

Based on a book written by the same author as Trainspotting, “A bipolar, bigoted junkie cop manipulates and hallucinates his way through the festive season in a bid to secure promotion and win back his wife and daughter.”

Yes… That sounds awesome, but this movie is even better than it sounds.  So intense.

It was a psychological thriller of sorts, but with a heap of comedy thrown in (mostly in the first half). Almost the same type of mix as Fight Club.  This actually had multiple aspects of Fight Club (a lot) and of Dark Horse (a tiny bit; I’m only thinking of Dark Horse because I *just* watched it).

I have to say, the main character in this movie is one of the most conniving, machiavellian, and cunningly sociopathic characters that I’ve ever seen in any story anywhere.  The subtle ways he attacks his enemies (who are also often his friends) are the most subtle and effective form of passive-aggressiveness that I’ve ever seen. Psychological warfare so subtle that the person doesn’t even know it is happening to them. Ruining someone’s life just so they will have slightly less self confidence at work. So you get that promotion.

This guy is the most evil co-worker ever, without just being some generic mass murderer type. The hypocricy and two-facedness of this character is truly unparalleled. I had to stop watching movies for a few days. It was a combination of getting 5 reviews behind, and not wanting to watch another movie because I wanted more time to think about this one. It’s stuck with me for days. This guy is a tool, but an incredibly effective tool. His ruthlessness is actually something to be impressed with. His tactics should be considered. Life isn’t fair, and playing by the rules is for sheep.

This man, as evil and sociopathic as he may be — is actually a role model for anyone who has ever wanted crush their enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of their women. Just observing his behavior in this movie makes you realize that the scope of actions one can take in a situation is far larger than most realize. It’s almost inspiring and liberating to think that there are far more options out there than most of us would realize.

I don’t think I’d call him a role model, becuase he’s an evil fucking piece of shit… But if there were targets that actually *DESERVED* unfair treatment, his tactics would make him a role model.

This guy is no anti-hero, like, for example, Jason Statham in the Crank movies. He’s not doing wrong things for the right reason. He’s doing wrong things for the wrong reason. He’s a piece of shit, but the execution of his assholery is some of the most amazingly evil and cunning shit I’ve seen.

Carolyn’s thoughts: This was an intense movie. The accents sometimes were confusing, and it was hard to keep track of what was happening, but then overall, it was an intense fucked up movie. Definitely shows a descent into madness.

Claire: More like a descent OUT of madness, actually. Like Fight Club in that sense.

By the way: 25 logos in the credits! I count this every movie, and this is one of the highest counts ever.

“We’re filth. We come from filth, we’re going to filth, we’re filth!” -The Tick:TAS

Some other discussion:

Me: I feel like I’m wearing out my welcome on hurling movie recommendations at you.. but…this was pretty entertaining.

Radha: Hated the book  :/

Me: Maybe the movie is more fun and doesn’t take as long so it has the benefits without the cost? But yea, if you hated the book…. probably no point in watching the movie. Did you read trainspotting too?

Radha: Yeah, I read Trainspotting too. I liked it more than Filth but less than the movie. I basically hate Irvine Welsh’s writing style because I hate gimmicky bullshit and I hate things written in dialect.

Me:  so, clockwork orange and watership down are out?
Y’know, i can’t speak for writing, but for movies, i love gimmicky shit.

Radha: I didn’t like the book of Clockwork Orange nearly as much as the movie, except for the violence. Which is really unusual for me because ordinarily I like books much better than movies. It’s the dialect that aggravates me. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Me: Ahahaha yes indeed. I don’t mind that so much, to me it makes it more interesting… Thus I loved having to constantly go in between the actual story and the map-preface or glossary-appendix of Lord Of The Rings when reading it…… but i can see how if that was not your thing it would be a total fucking dealbreaker. LIke, if a movie did that to me, i might be like “fuck you, movie”

Jsun: Hm. I own this book.

Me: It could also be the case that this movie is more enjoyable than the book in the same way Radha thought Trainspotting-movie was better than Trainspotting-book. I dunno.

Matt McK: i can’t recall the book too much, read it 15 years ago, but was the tapeworm in the movie much? it’s only lightly mentioned in reviews. that was the weirdest part of the book…

Tapeworm?????? In the movie Filth? Not at all that I know of?

JSun: They left out the tapeworm?!?

Radha: Half the book is written by the tapeworm growing inside the guy. How the fuck could they leave that out??

JSun: Yeah… Major plot point left out. I’m not sure about this.

Claire: That seems like it would make the movie a little more zany and less realistic, more like Naked Lunch than Fight Club?

But yea… Movies are not cookie-cutter copies of books, or else every movie based on a book would be 3-4 hrs long, like those movjes that ARE cookie-cutter copies (lord of the rings, i’m looking at you, though even they left out stuff like tom bombadil for ex)

Claire: was the tapeworm the cause of his psychosis, then? I figured it was cocaine psychosis

Radha: It’s true that movies can’t be everything books are, but this particular plot point is so major that it wouldn’t even be the same story without it.

Claire: I’m kinda fine with that?
I mean, the movie the Naked Lunch was more about the writing of the book than what was in the book (which I’m not sure could ever actually be a film). Didn’t bother me because it was still a good movie.
Now, if they released a 4-hour version that contained every plot, I’d definitely watch it!
So was the tapeworm the cause of psychosis?

Radha: i dont remember

Claire: They should add an audiocommentary track that is narrated by the tapeworm!

Written & directed by Jon S. Baird.
Based on a novel by Irvine Welsh (Trainspotting novel).

Starring James McAvoy (Charles Xavier in X-Men: First ClassTrance, Mr. Tumnus in The Chronicles Of NarniaThe Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, 1 ep of Band Of Brothers) as Bruce Robertson.
Imogen Poots (Fright Night, V For Vendetta28 Weeks Later) as Amanda Drummond.
Jamie Bell (Jumper) as Ray Lennox.
Shirley Henderson (Moaning Myrtle in the Harry Potter movies, Bridget Jones’s Diary movies) as Bunty.
Jim Broadbent (Cloud Atlas, Harry Potter movies, InkheartHot FuzzBrazil, Time Bandits, The Lion,The Witch,And The Wardrobe, Bridget Jones’s Diary, The Crying Game, Superman 4) as Dr. Rossi.
Eddie Marsan (The World’s End, Jack The Giant SlayerSnow White And The HuntsmanHancockV For Vendetta, 21 Grams) as Bladesey.
Emun Elliott (Prometheus) as Peter Inglis.
Kate Dickie (Prometheus) as Chrissie.


VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Lust For Love (2014)

Claire: 3/5 stars, 6/10.
Carolyn: 2.6/5 stars, 5/10.
Native ratings: 5.8/10 IMDB. Not (yet?) available on Netflix.

Claire’s thoughts: VERY predictable romantic comedy. I mean, the ending may as well be telegraphed 10% of the way through, and I’ve seen this main plot 100 times. If you get more specific, I’ve seen this specific plot about 4 times too.

Of course, it’s still interesting to see the specifics on how things play out.  Is this what it’s like watching sports games?  The same things happen every game, but the specific details are what is interesting. Is that true? I don’t know, I’m not into sports.

So yes. I could describe this as “another rom-com about a guy who is trying to learn how to pick up chicks”, like The Long Weekend, or (to some extent) How To Stop Being A Loser. Fun, but utterly vapid and valueless.

Carolyn’s thoughts: This was a pathetic attempt at a movie.  It was just highly unremarkable.  Like Claire said, it was very predictable, and it just didn’t hold any merit.

Yet somehow Carolyn still rated it 2.6 stars, which rounds up to 3 stars (“Liked”). In other words, she still barely likes pathetic attempts at movies. It’s a good thing we generally enjoy movies… Or we’d watch a lot less of them ;)

Written & directed by Anton King.

Starring Fran Kranz (The Cabin In The Woods, Fanboy, The Village) as Astor.
Dichen Lachman as Cali.
Beau Garrett (Tron 2, Fantastic 4: Rise Of The Silver Surfer, Live!, 1 ep of Warren The Ape) as Mila.
Enver Gjokaj (Would You Rather, The Avengers, 1 ep of The Walking Dead) as Jake.
Karim Saleh (Iron Man 2) as Franck.
Felicia Day (Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, The Guild, 8 eps of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, 2 eps of Undeclared) as Mary.
Maurissa Tancharoen (Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.) as Hazel.


VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Fun With Dick And Jane (2005)

Claire: 4.7/5 stars, 8.8/10.
Carolyn: 5/5 stars, 9.4/10.
Native ratings: 3.3/5 stars Netflix, 6.1/10 IMDB.

Judd Apatow wrote this remake of the 1977 movie based on a book by Gerald Gaiser.

Carolyn’s thoughts: This was hilarious.  This didn’t disappoint.  It was funny all the way through, and it had a good political message.

Claire’s thoughts: I didn’t realize the political message was so pointed as it was until they named a bunch of CEOs at the beginning of the film’s closing credits. Named them for screwing people over. So this movie has a whole political message about the way the 1%er CEOs will fuck over the lives of thousands of people just to have more money on their Scrooge McDuck-esque pile of gold.

So it would have had political value even without being a comedy! But in fact, the comedy is the main point to this movie, not the politics. And it’s pretty funny. I didn’t quite get as much out of it as Carolyn did, however. I knew that since this was billed as “Comedy-Crime”, that there would be some intrigue that would take up space otherwise used for laughs. But there were still lots of laughs. This turned out better than I expected.


Directed by Dean Parisot (Red 2, Galaxy Quest, 1 ep of Curb Your Enthusiasm, 1 ep of The Tick live action series).
Written by Judd Apatow (This Is 40, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Undeclared, Funny People, Pineapple Express, You Don’t Mess With The Zohan), and Nicholas Stoller (Get Him To The Greek, 3 eps of Undeclared).

Jim Carrey as Dick Harper.
Téa Leoni (The Naked Truth, A League Of Their Own, Deep Impact) as Jane Harper.
Alec Baldwin as Jack McCallister.
Richard Jenkins (the dead dad from Six Feet Under, The Cabin In The Woods, Let Me In, The Broken, How I Got Into College, Wolf, Me,Myself & Irene, Step Brothers, Turbo, A.C.O.D., Stealing Home) as Frank Bascombe.
Angie Harmon (Barbara Gordon in Batman Beyond) as Veronica Cleeman.
John Michael Higgins (The Legend Of Korra, Mentok The Mindtaker in Harvey Birdman, Rapture-Palooza, Evan Almighty, 5 eps of Arrested Development, 2 eps of Batman: The Brave And The Bold) as Garth.
Richard Burgi (Hostel 2, Starship Troopers 2, 11 eps of 24, 1 ep of Firefly, 1 ep of Nip/Tuck) as Joe Cleeman.
Gloria Garayua (2 eps of Weeds, 1 ep of Six Feet Under) as Blanca.
Dempsey Pappion (The Lorax, 6 eps of Undressed) as Production Assistant.
Gavin Grazer (Slipstream, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Wayne’s World 2) as KostMart Job Applicant.
Garrett M. Brown (Kick-Ass movies, Uncle Buck) as Ameribanx Bank Manager.
Jeff Garlin (Curb Your Enthusiasm, Arrested Development, In A World, Safety Not Guaranteed, Toy Story Movies, Wall-E, Run Ronnie Run, MADtv) as interviewer.
Laurie Metcalf (Jackie in Roseanne, God The Devil And Bob, Andy’s mom in the Toy Story movies, Uncle Buck, 3 eps of 3rd Rock From The Sun, 2 eps of Duckman, 1 ep of Malcolm In The Middle) as Jane’s Boss Phyllis (uncredited).


VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: The Battery (2012) [zombies]

Claire: 3/5 stars, 6/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 6/10.
Native ratings: 6.7/10 IMDB. Not available on Netflix.

A strange zombie flick that proves that not all zombie flicks have to be the same. Some of them can have hardly any action, and be completely unexciting!  This is one of those “horror-dramas”, because it’s not really that scary.  It’s more about building a slow sense of dread, and demonstrating that when the zombies are really here, our deaths will be a bit more like Castaway and a bit less like Rambo. Rotting away. Alone.

Except this movie is actually a buddy flick. They rot away, alone together. Frenemies ’til the end. One makes safer, secure choices, and the beardier, assholeyer one makes more wild, feral, nomadic choices.  Of course Mr. Safe can’t stand Mr. Beard, and Mr. Beard generally thinks Mr. Safe is a pussy. These guys are besties, and they have their loyalty — but the movie verges on comedy in terms of wondering whether they were actually going to kill each other before the zombies (or other human survivors) got to them.

That aspect of the movie was great. The slowness was…. different. A bit refreshing. Not as enjoyable, but not wholly unenjoyable. But there were a few scenes where we were in disbelief that so little was happening for so long. Still…sitting…in…a….car……..  It was uncomfortable. But it did capture the essence of what the characters were going through.

So this was alright. I liked it. Nothing special. At least it wasn’t a *generic* zombie movie.

Written, directed by, and starring Jeremy Gardner.

Jeremy Gardner as Ben.
Adam Cronheim as Mickey.
Niels Bolle as Jerry.
Alana O’Brien as Annie.
Jamie Pantanella as Egghead.
Larry Fessenden (Cabin Fever 2) as Frank.
Kelly McQuade as Laura.


VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Pretty Ugly People (2008)

Claire: 2/5 stars, 3.6/10.
Carolyn: 2/5 stars, 5/10.
Native ratings: 3.2/5 stars Netflix, 4.9/10 IMDB.

Claire’s thoughts: Apparently, we aborted this movie. Apparently we didn’t really want to watch the rest. Months passed by before we realized we hadn’t finished it.  Carolyn had even written a partial review, found in her drafts, which is how we even remembered to write this “review”.

Anyway, fuck this movie. We stopped in the middle and totally forgot we’d watched half of it. Both of those are not good signs. I hear the end ties it all up, but it’s a painful movie to watch. I think I may have gotten this when I was more obsessed with camping.

Carolyn’s thoughts: Not that good. Definitely not very funny. They had a shrooming scene, and I was hoping the drug scene would somewhat save the movie, but it didn’t. Lame people are tricked into having a reunion, and are tricked onto going on a 3-day backpacking trip with their fat friend who had lost all her weight and wants to rekindle the special relationship they had in college. There was no relationship, it was just 5 people who happened to hang around each other, and now don’t have much in common, and some of them are having marital strife. The hot slut chick from college got fat, so she’s dealing with her own unhappiness and her seemingly loveless marriage. The only saving grace is the black chick from Halfway House, but her funniness is lost in the group because the rest of them are so unfunny, so she’ll say something funny and it just falls flat because nobody else is on her level. And her congressman husband keeps saying “I don’t even know you anymore.” and it’s just like “Yup.” We aborted it halfway through with the plan of watching the rest the next day. However, after thinking about it, I don’t really feel like continuing, because I don’t think it’s going to redeem itself.

Written & directed by Tate Taylor.

Missi Pyle (Miss Nobody, Visioneers, Percy Jackson 2, Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, 50 First Dates, Live!, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Big Fish, Galaxy Quest, 4 eps of The Sarah Silverman Program, 4 eps of The Life & Times Of Tim, 2 eps of Heroes, 2 eps of American Dad, 1 ep of Family Guy, 1 ep of Frasier) as Lucy.
Melissa McCarthy (Hangover 3, Identity Thief, This Is 40, 1 ep of Curb Your Enthusiasm, Charlie’s Angels, Go) as Becky.
Larry Sullivan (Miss Nobody, Psycho Beach Party, Rush Hour, 3 eps of 24, 2 eps of Six Feet Under, 1 ep of Nip/Tuck) as Austin.
Phill Lewis (Heathers, Total Drama Island, 3 eps of American Dad, 2 eps of Mad About You) as Raye.
Josh Hopkins (L.A. Confidential, G.I. Jane) as George.
Jack Noseworthy (Cecil B. DeMented, Barb Wire, Encino Man) as Trevor.
Octavia Spencer (Halfway Home, Dinner With Schmucks, Smashed, Percy Jackson 2, American Virgin 2000, Drag Me To Hell, Halloween 2, Bad Santa) as Mary.
Philip Littell as Richard.
William Sanderson (Larry from Newhart, Mirror Mirror, Mirror Mirror 2, 4 eps of Batman-TAS (1990s), 1 ep of Tim And Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!) as Sam.


VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW:o How I Live Now (2013)

Claire: 2.4/5 stars, 6/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 7/10.
Native ratings: 3.1/5 stars Netflix, 6.5/10 IMDB.

War sucks.
Purposefully living through it unnecessarily is stupid.
You’re stupid.

Lots of walking.
All for romance.
You’re still stupid.

Well. I thought I was liking this movie as I watched it, but in retrospect, I was just interested in what would happen next because I like end-to-end stories and never watch things in parts. Perhaps if I was the kind of person to turn a movie off mid-movie, I’d have turned this one off.

It kinda dragged on, and I lost interest somewhat–Although parts of it were exciting.

For the most part, it’s just a chance to see Saoirse Ronan with platinum blonde hair and emo-ish makeup, being a bitch, then not being a bitch.

I really didn’t like how her character changed from not wanting to be there at all–and being a bitch–to suddenly wanting to be there so much that she would do stupid fucking things like not leave a country in the middle of a fucking war. It was an almost instant transformation to retardation, and it was based on romance they barely showed or developed.

Was it because he nursed that bird back to life? Jesus fucking christ.

In the end, her personality is like Bella from Twilight: Taking ridiculous risks for a love that had yet to actually mature. At least Edward Cullen has the promise of eternal life and saving you from fucking werewolves and evil vampires and shit. What the fuck can some douchebag in the middle of a country at war do? Shortern your life? While you’re at it, why not date someone who causes you to get killed by werewolves? Stupid bitch. (I love you Saoirse!)

Carolyn’s thoughts: I agree they really glossed over her transformation from elusive bitch to “I will give up everything just to be here.” It was covered as a quick montage, which was just too rushed. Then it delves into the war stuff which just shows how much it sucks and without hope, what’s the use of going on?

Directed by Kevin Macdonald.

Written by Jeremy Brock, Tony Grisoni (Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas), and Penelope Skinner.
Based on a book by Meg Rosoff.

Saoirse Ronan (Violet & Daisy, The Host, Hanna from Hanna, Byzantium, the voice of Arriety in The Secret World of Arrietty) as Daisy.
Tom Holland (The Secret World Of Arrietty) as Isaac.
George MacKay as Eddie.
Harley Bird as Piper.
Danny McEvoy as Joe.
Anna Chancellor (St. Trinian’s (2007), The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy) as Aunt Penn.
Corey Johnson (X-Men: First Class, Kick-Ass, The Bourne Identity 2-3) as Consular Official.


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

Claire: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 8/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 3.6/5 stars. IMDB: 7.4/10.
The native public rating for this movie is: Netflix: 3.2/5 stars, IMDB: 6.4/10.

CAROLYN’S THOUGHTS: This movie ended up being pretty sweet. It was only slightly funny, and was more about their relationship and chemistry together. I felt sorry for the guy when the wife called him an idiot at one of their dinners. It made us think about how that could be us when we get old.

CLAIRE’S THOUGHTS: This is definitely a movie about the ups and downs of couples who have been together for decades. 22 for us, and 30 for the couple in the movie. (Though to make things interesting, I will post-date this post so that it actually posts on our 30th anniversary, like the couple in this movie.) There were a lot of things we could relate to specifically because we’ve been together so long and understand the implications of it all.

This also means the average age of people in the movie is a good 20 years more than us. There’s approximately one person younger than Jeff Goldblum in this movie. That, too, makes it an interesting deviation from the usual subject matter we, and others, watch.

Ultimately, the movie is sour, then becomes sweet. There’s not necessarily a glaring resolution to everything… It’s literally just what happens over a weekend. It’s a bit painful to watch at points, because of how bad of a couple they are. But then, the way things play out, we see how they are actually very much attached to each other — whether they like it or not — and that they are a much better couple than would appear to everyone else. And I suspect that’s how it works out with most couples that last that long — They look much worse to everyone else. Who knows.

Just beware: I saw this listed as Comedy-Drama-Romance. It’s more like Romance-Drama-Comedy. Watch this with your sweetheart to meditate on what things may be like when you get familiar enough with each other to tear into each other with incisive criticism. If you’re a real human with real emotions you’ll have to eventually experience that… Or live the rest of your life bottling things up until they explode in an asymmetric fury. However, the counter-point to not bottling things up is that, once the floodgates are open, and people are familiar enough to tear into teach other — It’s easy to begin a death match where you lose your footing and don’t even realize where you are. Temperance between these two extremes sometimes requires an occasional jolt… And that is part of what makes up this movie. It’s deeper than I would have expected.


Lindsay Duncan (Alice In Wonderland, 1 ep of Absolutely Fabulous, 1 ep of Doctor Who (2005)) as Meg.
Jim Broadbent (Harry Potter movies, Inkheart, Cloud Atlas, Filth, Hot Fuzz, Brazil, Time Bandits, The Lion,The Witch,And The Wardrobe, Bridget Jones’s Diary, The Crying Game, Superman 4, Erik The Viking) as Nick.
Jeff Goldblum (The Fly, The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai Across The 8th Dimension, Tim And Eric‘s Billion Dollar Movie, 5 eps of Portlandia, 1 ep of NTSF:SD:SUV, 1 ep of Allen Gregory) as Morgan. (more…)

Claire: 3.4/5 stars, 8/10.
Carolyn: 4.4/5 stars, 8.4/10.
Native ratings: 3.1/5 stars Netflix, 7.4/10 IMDB.

This was a fucked up movie. It just kept going derper (few will get that reference, but this is what we’re going with)!

Charlie Kaufman likes to make some fucked up movies! From Nicolas Cage losing his shit in Adaptation, to John Malkovich exclaiming, “I have seen a world that no man should see!”, to Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind‘s bittersweet romance–There are some freakin’ awesome Charlie Kaufman movies.

This is the worst of the 4. But it’s still really good, and now that Philip Seymour Hoffman is dead, it’s time to give this one a go.

It started to lose us a few times, but then it would ultimately snap us back and just… wow… Some of what is going on in this movie is absolutely amazing, and could only be done by Charlie Kaufman.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t much to motivate my interest in the characters. The plot seemed thin. The message seemed thin.

Being John Malkovich said a lot about the idea–both the erotic and vanilla aspects–of living in someone else’s skin, and had relationship drama (and psychological animal trauma) to drive a story. Adaptation definitely had a strong plot and an obvious resolution as well. Even Eternal Sunshine “resolved” by indicating that [highlight for spoilers] they had become aware of the cycle, yet were going to continue it anyway, because their love was a journey and not a destination.

This movie? It basically seemed to boil down to “don’t waste your life”.

What is built up in this Kaufman film is built up as well as any other. It’s just harder for me to take something good out this. You waste your life and then you die. Hoffman did this in the movie, and then again in real life.

So, there were amazing things, but this is the least important Kaufman flick for me. Perhaps it’s because he directed it himself? Maybe that made it not as good?


Radha’s thoughts: This is one of my all time favorite movies. Hoffman’s performance is incredible and the last fifteen minutes alone make me cry like a baby for hours every time.

Claire: Seriously though… I kinda just got tired of the premise. They kept going deeper and deeper, but to what end? Don’t waste your life? I get it. Don’t waste your life!  Was there something deeper to it? I get if it was just a feeling that can’t be expressed, then I can understand. I hope there wasn’t some super-obvious symbolism I missed or something, because I do that a lot…

Radha: One way to get me is existentialism, every time. There’s no super-obvious symbolism in the movie, and the theme isn’t (or at least I wouldn’t characterize it as) “don’t waste your life” at all…I’d say if anything, it’s a meditation on the line between reality and art, and how blurry it can be. It’s definitely a portrait of the hopes and fears of mankind stuffed into one dude who’s neurotic about everything

Claire: One key word you used – “Meditation”. That could be it right there. I hate meditation, generally. Like, doing it, the concept, etc. Let’s not discuss that, it’d be an annoying tangent. But anyway, that may be it. I hate meditation. I want there to be a “point”. What is a “point”? Well, I know it when I see it…

Radha: Yeah, if you need a clearly defined point and not just an emotional study and character portrait, or a meditation on the nature of things…it’s no surprise that Synechdoche left you wanting. On the other hand, it’s exactly the kind of thing I love.

Claire’s Mom:  I love Kaufman–in my estimation, he’s the most original screenwriter of his time or any time. This film didn’t resonate with me as much as his others, but the fault could be my own–I just wasn’t able to process all the layers. I suspect this film is something that needs to be watched many times and, so far, I’ve only watched it once. Maybe I’ll get back to you after another viewing.

Radha: I’ve seen it at least 4 times and can attest to that.

Claire: I finally learned how to pronounce this.




Written & directed by Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Adaptation, 1 ep of Moral Orel).

Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Hunger Games 2, The Invention Of Lying, The Boat That Rocked aka Pirate Radio, The Big Lebowski, Magnolia, Boogie Nights, Scent Of A Woman, Twister, Along Came Polly) as Caden Cotard.

Catherine Keener (Being John Malkovich, Bad Grandpa, Percy Jackson 1, Where The Wild Things Are, The 40-Year Old Virgin, S1m0ne) as Adele Lack.

Tom Noonan (Last Action Hero, Robo-Cop 2) as Sammy Barnathan.

Josh Pais (Michael & Michael Have Issues, Adventureland, Scream 3, Rafael in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1, 1 ep of The Sopranos) as Ophthalmologist.

Daniel London (Minority Report, 2 eps of The Sopranos) as Tom.

Michelle Williams (Oz The Great And Powerful, Shutter Island, But I’m A Cheerleader) as Claire Keen.

Stephen Adly Guirgis (Palidromes) as Davis.

Samantha Morton (John Carter, Minority Report) as Hazel.

Hope Davis (American Splendor, Home Alone, Flatliners) as Madeleine Gravis, the therapist.

Jennifer Jason Leigh (Jill in Weeds, Palindromes, eXistenZ, The Hudsucker Proxy, Short Cuts, 2 eps of Spawn, 1 ep of Mission Hill) as Maria.

Jerry Adler (The Sopranos, 10 eps of Mad About You, 1 ep of Quantum Leap) as Caden’s Father.

Lynn Cohen (The Hunger Games 2, Sex And The City) as Caden’s Mother.

Dianne Wiest (Edward Scissorhands, Dan In Real Life, The Birdcage) Ellen Bascomb / Millicent Weems.

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Iron Man 3 (2013)

Claire: 4/5 stars, 8/10.
Carolyn: 4/5 stars, 8/10.
Native ratings: 3.9/5 stars Netflix, 7.4/10 IMDB.

Claire’s thoughts: Man… That movie was a bit hazy for me. I enjoyed myself, but I often didn’t have a clue what the plot was. Alcohol is a hell of a drug!

Carolyn’s thoughts: This one didn’t seem to have the same Iron Man charm as the first and second movies, but it was still good overall.  I don’t think it had as much of the comedic elements as the other Iron Man movies, and the Avengers movie.  Oh, this one was directed by someone else, and not Jon Favreau, so that probably explains the different feel.

Claire: It seems as comedic if you’re drunk! But then it’s hard to know what’s going on.

Well anyway… At least this was another Iron Man movie. I’d watch 100 of these. The end.

Directed by Shane Black (writer of the Lethal Weapon movies).
Written by Drew Pearce and Shane Black.

Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark.
Gwyneth Paltrow (Sky Captain And The World Of Tomorrow, The Royal Tenenbaums, Se7en, Contagion) as Pepper Potts.
Don Cheadle (Ocean’s Eleven movies, Hotel Rwanda) as Colonel James Rhodes.
Guy Pearce (Memento, Prometheus, The Count Of Monte Cristo, The Time Machine (2002), L.A. Confidential, The Hurt Locker) as Aldrich Killian.
Rebecca Hall (Vicky in Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Dorian Gray) as Maya Hansen.
Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan.
Ben Kingsley (Ender’s Game, The Dictator, Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time, The Wackness, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Sneakers) as Trevor Slattery.
James Badge Dale (World War Z, 24) as Savin.
Stephanie Szostak (R.I.P.D., Dinner For Schmucks, 1 ep of The Sopranos) as Brandt.
Paul Bettany (The Da Vinci Code) as Jarvis.
William Sadler (Machete Kills, The Shawshank Redemption, Freaked, Bill & Ted‘s Bogus Journey, Die Hard 2) as President Ellis.



Claire: 4/5 stars, 8/10.
Carolyn: 4/5 stars, 8/10.
Native ratings: 3.7/5 stars Netflix, 6.7/10 IMDB.

Carolyn’s thoughts: This was on par with the first one.  Some action, some comedy, some government politics. Mary-Louise Parker‘s character grows and gains experience.

Claire’s thoughts: How do they keep making Helen Mirren look so good when she’s 68 fucking years old?  Yay Hollywood makeup artists? But anyway, I don’t remember the first movie that well. I mostly just remember how much I liked it. And I like this movie pretty much that same amount.  I think maybe this one didn’t feel as comic-book-y as the last one.  And yes, these kinds of movies are a bit formulaic.  But the fact that it stayed funny is kind of what Red movies are: Comedy-Action movies that are over-the-top and unrealistic.

Daniel Hagan’s adds: “Yeah, they’re empty calories – fun to watch but not particularly notable from a cinema viewpoint”

And since we can never get enough comedy at our house — and prefer comedy to action — it’s great to get both at once.

Plus the cast was great. Anthony Hopkins was particularly fun to watch.

Directed by Dean Parisot (Galaxy Quest, 1 ep of Curb Your Enthusiasm, 1 ep of The Tick live-action series).
Written by Jon Hoeber (Red 1) & Erich Hoeber (Red 1).

Starring some of the same people from the first movie:
Bruce Willis as Frank.
John Malkovich as Marvin.
Mary-Louise Parker (Nancy Botwin from Weeds, The Spiderwick Chronicles, Fried Green Tomatoes) as Sarah.
Helen Mirren (Deep Thought in The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, Georgina Spica in The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, National Treasure: Book Of Secrets, 1 ep of French & Saunders) as Victoria.
Brian Cox (Captain O’Hagan in Super Troopers, The Campaign, Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, X-Men 2: X2, Adaptation, Fantastic Mr. Fox, narrator in The Color Of Magic, The Bourne Identity movies, Troy) as Ivan.

Plus some new people:

Anthony Hopkins (Hannibal Lecter in The Silence Of The Lambs, Odin in the Thor movies, Beowulf, Titus) as Bailey. A great performance.
Byung-hun Lee (G.I. Joe movies) as Han Cho Bai.
Catherine Zeta-Jones (The Mask Of Zorro, Ocean’s 11, Traffic, Rock Of Ages, Side Effects) as Katja.
Neal McDonough (Captain America: The First Avenger, Minority Report, 8 eps of Band Of Brothers) as Jack Horton.
David Thewlis (Remus Lupin in the Harry Potter movies, The Big Lebowski) as The Frog.
Wahab Sheikh (Trance) as Iranian Clerk.


VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: The Last Days On Mars (2013)

Claire: 3/5 stars, 6/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 7/10.
Native ratings: 3.3/5 stars Netflix, 5.9/10 IMDB.

This was your VERY average VERY formulaic VERY generic run-of-the-mill rom-com. Overall it was entertaining, but it was not that wonderfully great. Jennifer Aniston was nice to look at. Ben Stiller was pretty funny, and somewhat awkward. We watched this because Philip Seymour Hoffman was in it and we decided to watch a bunch of his movies that were beneath our radar since he passed away. As a bonus: Hank Azaria, the Simpsons voice of sooo many characters. Always rare to actually see him ON screen. He always seems so delightfully miscast, but that’s really just his cartoony stage presence at work.

Directed and written by John Hamburg (director of 3 eps of Undeclared, 2 eps of Stella, writer of Meet The Parents movies, I Love You Man, Zoolander).

Ben Stiller as Reuben Feffer.
Jennifer Aniston as Polly Prince.
Alec Baldwin as Stan Indursky.
Hank Azaria as Claude.
Missi Pyle (Miss Nobody, Visioneers, Harold & Kumar 2, Pretty Ugly People, Live!, Anchorman 1, Dodgeball, Big Fish, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Percy Jackson 2, Galaxy Quest, 4 eps of The Sarah Silverman Program, 2 eps of Heroes, 2 eps of American Dad, 1 ep of Family Guy) as Roxanne.
Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Hunger Games 2, The Invention Of Lying, The Boat That Rocked aka Pirate Radio, The Big Lebowski, Magnolia, Boogie Nights, Scent Of A Woman, Twister) as Sandy Lyle.
Debra Messing (Grace from Will & Grace, 2 eps of Seinfeld) as Lisa Kramer.
Nick Jameson (President Yuri Suvarov in 24, Batman: Year One, Eurotrip, Beowulf, Extracted, The Critic, 15 eps of Spider-Man-TAS (1990s), 13 eps of Mission Hill, 6 eps of Star Wars: Clone Wars, 1 ep of Star Wars: The Clone Wars) as Van Lew Executive.



VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: The Last Days On Mars (2013)

Claire: 3.4/5 stars, 7.0/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 6.6/10.
Native ratings: 3.1/5 stars Netflix, 5.5/10 IMDB.

Claire’s thoughts: Martian zombies oh my. This was an entertaining movie that straddled the genres of “sci-fi”, “horror”, and “zombie”.  It might have been better if they hadn’t gone the zombie/monster route, but it was interesting nonetheless.

Unfortunately, it feels more sci-fi at the beginning, and more horror at the end.  When the sci-fi decreases and the horror increases, the movie becomes less good.  Less about Mars and more about running away from monsters. Less of the rarer, more difficult, more intellectually complex genre of scifi, and more of the easier, less complex, more generic genre of horror.  I love horror-comedy and scifi-comedy, but scifi-becomes-horror is much worse.

While still a good movie, this could have reached a greater potential.

A better movie that straddles sci-fi, horror, and zombies would be Pandorum. If you are tempted to watch Last Days On Mars – I’d go watch Pandorum instead.

Carolyn’s thoughts: This was alright, but it didn’t leave me feeling all that excited about it.  I give it a slightly-above-generic pass.

Directed by Ruairi Robinson.
Written by Clive Dawson.
Based on a short story by Sydney J. Bounds.

Liev Schreiber (Victor Creed in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Movie 43, Goon, The Ten, Repo Men, Salt, Kate & Leopold, Scream 2-3) as Vincent Campbell.
Elias Koteas (A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, Let Me In, Defendor, Shutter Island, The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, Exotica, Casey Jones in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1 & 3) as Charles Brunel.
Romola Garai as Rebecca Lane.
Olivia Williams (Hanna, Moira MacTaggart in X-Men: The Last Stand, The Sixth Sense, 1 ep of Spaced) as Kim Aldrich.
Johnny Harris (Snow White And The Huntsman, Dorian Gray, The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus, Big) as Robert Irwin.
Goran Kostic as Marko Petrovic.
Tom Cullen as Richard Harrington.
Yusra Warsama as Lauren Dalby.


VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Red Dawn (2012) [remake]

Claire: 4/5 stars, 8/10.
Carolyn: 4/5 stars, 8/10.
Native ratings: 3.8/5 stars Netflix (original got 3.6), 5.5/10 IMDB (original got 6.3).

Carolyn’s thoughts: I had never seen the original, and I didn’t really know what this movie was about.  When we were about to watch it, Claire told me what the original one was about, and she told me about the only scene from the original that she remembered.  I think this was a pretty good action movie.   I asked Claire how it compared to the original, but she doesn’t remember the original.  I think it could have touched more on the political aspect, but it was good as a movie about war.

Claire thoughts: I don’t remember the original, so everything I say is possibly bullshit, but I feel like this one actually touched on the political aspect more than the original. Of course they couldn’t go to it in TOO great detail, because it wouldn’t actually make sense for North Korea to attack us on the ground. It’s one of those things you kinda gotta suspend disbelief of in order to enjoy the movie.
But anyway, this was a good remake. The modern take on things — switching the enemy from Russia to North Korea, incorporating cyberwarfare into the setup, etc — helped revamp the story to be more relevant and enjoyable to people who might not know what it was like to be alive in the 1980’s. I’m all for that.

It’s also great because it shows how just a few people with just a few guns can indeed make a big difference. Gun control proponents often like to make the fallacious appeal to how awesome our army is by saying that it would be impossible to fight the american government with the guns that we have available to us. But the thing is, there are nice assault rifles out there that a lot of people have. And it only takes a few people with a few guns (or bombs) to make a big fucking difference: Just look at how long we’ve been in Iraq and Afghanistan. The number of armed citizens over there is far lower than over here, and we actually tend to have better guns than poorer countries. So yeah. I find the insurgency part of this story far more believable than the idea that we’d ever be attacked like that in the first place.

Regardless of believability, seeing people fight the good fight — for their homes, for their families — really filled me with a lot of patriotic spirit and love of the idea of human hope continuing to exist because it’s always possible for there to be a fight. This movie really embodied the American spirit — the original spirit, not what it is today. I liked that a lot. *patriot tear*

Directed by Dan Bradley (he is usually a stuntman or a second unit director).
Written by: Carl Ellsworth (The Last House On The Left, 2 eps of Xena) and Jeremy Passmore.

Starring Chris Hemsworth (Thor in The Avengers and Thor movies, Star Trek 12: Into Darkness, Snow White And The Huntsman, The Cabin In The Woods) as Jed Eckert.
Josh Peck (Casey Jones in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012), The Wackness, Special, Spun, Ice Age movies, 1 ep of MADtv, 1 ep of Samurai Jack, 1 ep of Family Guy) as Matt Eckert.
Josh Hutcherson (Peeta in The Hunger Games movies, Journey To The Center Of The Earth, Zathura: A Space Adventure, Bridge To Terabithia, Howl’s Moving Castle, American Splendor, 1 ep of Justice League) as Robert Kitner.
Adrianne Palicki (Jaye in G.I. Joe: Retaliation, 4 eps of Robot Chicken, 1 ep of Family Guy) as Toni Walsh.
Isabel Lucas (Daybreakers, Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen) as Erica Martin.
Edwin Hodge (The Purge, Dorm Daze 1, Take Me Home Tonight, 1 ep of Heroes) as Danny.
Brett Cullen (The Dark Knight Rises) as Tom Eckert.
Will Yun Lee (The Wolverine, Total Recall remake) as Captain Cho.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Live!) as Tanner.
Fernando Chien (Iron Man 3, The Mummy 3) as Lt. Pak.
Kenneth Choi (Captain America movie, 4 eps of 24, 1 ep of Heroes) as Smith.
Matt Gerald (G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Avatar, Terminator 3) as Hodges.


VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: American Mary (2012)

Claire: 4.4/5 stars, 8.6/10.
Carolyn: 4/5 stars, 8.4/10.
Native ratings: 3.6/5 stars Netflix, 6.3/10 IMDB.

Well… That movie certainly made me feel uncomfortable and disturbed. A lot.
And sad.
And ashamed of humanity.

This movie is visceral. Casting Ginger from Ginger Snaps was brilliant, but this character was a far more quiet and detached character than Ginger was. Detached, desperate, and alone, American Mary has no sister to riff of of.

Just herself, and a cruel world.
And surgery.
Unlicensed, unauthorized, cash-only surgery.

Things could have gone straightforward, but they actually got fucked up fast.

This movie really feels like Nip/Tuck, perhaps with a tiny pinch of Rules Of Attraction thrown in. I can’t help but think that this movie would the all-time favorite movie of the barber from The Marvelous Misadventures Of Flapjack.

I definitely yelled out in my disturbedness more than once.  I’m amazed that things turned out the way they did.

Carolyn’s thoughts: This was intense and kept you riveted.  There were some confusing parts when it flashed back or forward, or had a dream sequence that could kind of throw you off.  But overall, it was very intense and I really liked it.  It was neat seeing the girl from Ginger Snaps again.

Written & directed by Jen & Sylvia Soska (who played the twins).

Katharine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps movies, Freddy Vs. Jason, 30 Days Of Night: Dark Days, Insomnia, Titanic, 1 ep of Smallville, 1 ep of The L Word) as Mary Mason.
Antonio Cupo (2 eps of Dark Angel, 1 ep of The L Word) as Billy Barker.
Tristan Risk as Beatress Johnson.
David Lovgren (2 eps of Smallville, 2 eps of The L Word) as Dr. Grant.
Paula Lindberg (Iron Man: Armored Adventures, Mobile Suit Gundam 00) as Ruby Realgirl.
Clay St. Thomas (1 ep of the 2009 V series) as Dr. Walsh.
John Emmet Tracy (1 ep of Smallville) as Detective Dolor.


VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Ender’s Game (2013)

Claire: 5/5 stars, 9.4/10.
Carolyn: 5/5 stars, 9/10.
Native ratings: 3.9/5 stars Netflix, 7.0/10 IMDB.

It’s weird how certain I was that I would love this movie, given how very little I actually knew (i.e. nothing) about this original story. I just knew that this was a science fiction legend being done as a high budget film, and that it would be very hard to fuck it up enough to make me & Carolyn hate it.

So yes: This movie was awesome! My only real complaint is kind of standard for good books trying to be good movies: It felt a bit rushed. This should have been a 3- to 3.5-hour movie, not a 2-hour movie. If they had done this Lord Of The Rings-style, it would have definitely received a 10/10 from me.

This movie occupies a strange mental space somewhere near The Last Starfighter, but nearer to Starship Troopers. Neat things happen, happen too fast, and leave you wanting more. I’d love for there to be a sequel, given that there were 4 books.

Carolyn’s thoughts: This turned out surprisingly well.  It kept you interested, and it told the story well.  The special effects were awesome, and we ended up watching this “upscaled” from 2-D to 3-D.  Pretty awesome.

Written & Directed by Gavin Hood (director of X-Men Origins: Wolverine).
Based on a book by Orson Scott Card.

Asa Butterfield as Ender Wiggin.
Harrison Ford as Colonel Graff.
Hailee Steinfeld as Petra Arkanian.
Abigail Breslin (Zombieland, Signs) as Valentine Wiggin.
Ben Kingsley (Iron Man 3, The Dictator, Prince Of Persia, The Wackness, A.I., Sneakers) as Mazer Rackham.
Viola Davis (Knight And Day, Kate & Leopold) as Major Gwen Anderson.
Aramis Knight (The Dark Knight Rises, 3 eps of Dexter) as Bean.
Moises Arias (Despicable Me 2, The Secret World Of Arrietty, Astro Boy, Hannah Montana) as Bonzo Madrid.
Jimmy ‘Jax’ Pinchak (Let Me In) as Peter Wiggin.
Nonso Anozie (Conan The Barbarian remake) as Sergeant Dap.


Next Page »