Reviews


VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Crazy People (1990)

Clint: 3.4/5 stars, 7/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 6/10.
Native ratings: 3.4/5 stars Netflix, 5.3/10 IMDB.

This was a charming movie with the gimmick of an advertisement agency accidentally starting a trend of ultra-honest advertisements, and continuing to get these ideas from incarcerated mental patients. It started out pretty funny at times, though it got more serious near the end.

This movie is ultra-unbelievable, from the totally unsecure mental hospital, to people actually liking honest advertising, to Daryl Hannah being a crazy hot chick available to instantlly fall in love with a schlub like Dudley Moore. But that’s part of the movie’s charm.

Strangely, this is from the director of… My Bodyguard (1980)?!?! and the writer of Good Morning, Vietnam (1987). Though you’d never guess. Starring Dudley Moore & Daryl Hannah, with Paul Reiser, Mercedes Ruehl, and a bunch of people playing crazy people at what must be the least secure mental health facility on the planet. Including David Paymer (who was in Bad Teacher), who I thought I recognized from the lame NBC sitcom Boston Common, but no, that was his brother Steven Paymer.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099316/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES/COMIC BOOKS/CARTOONS: REVIEW: Astonishing X-Men: Gifted (2010)

Clint: 4/5 stars, 8.4/10.
Carolyn: 4.6/5 stars, 8.6/10.
Native ratings: 3.4/5 stars Netflix, 6.5/10 IMDB.

Did I mention this was written by Joss Whedon?

Very interesting animation… It looks like it’s going to be motion-comic-style with hardly any real movement and no lip-moving, but then it turns out to be almost fully animated. Still more “comic-book-y” than any “real” animation… But I think this really meets the halfway point between the two, in a way that I’ve never seen done better in my life. However, the strange warping they did to simulate 3D-ness kind of wigged me out. But I get it: This is a motion comic, they take shortcuts, lower budget means higher ability for more releases. Works for me. You just gotta accept it.

My one problem with this was that there was no steadfast conclusion to all the various stories spinning up (and down). In that respect, yes, it was very comic-book-y. Almost too much! Though… If something like this came out once a month for the rest of my life, it’d be frickin’ awesome.

Also, the voices weren’t top-notch… Beast’s voice especially threw me off as being so different from what I’m accustomed to that it was actually distracting. But again, that’s kind of something you have to accept when doing with motion-comic type releases (Even though this is the most motion-y motion comic I’ve ever seen.)

But other than that? That was pretty fucking awesome. It took place in the current chronology: The Legacy Virus is long gone… Beast had his secondary cat mutation… Colossus is dead…Jean is long dead [again, but this time for real]… Cyclops is dating Emma Frost The White Queen now….  [Which, if you read the wiki on Jean… Her spirit actually basically rose from her grave to tell Scott it was okay to hook up with Emma…]

WAIT WAIT WAIT.. THIS IS ONLY THE FIRST OF FOUR “MOVIES” (some call them seasons, but they are analagous to Whedon’s graphic novels)?!?! WTF!!! WELP.. I’M OFF TO GET THE REST! CYA!

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2047677/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: CARTOONS: REVIEW: Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (both parts) (2012, 2013)

Clint/Carolyn: 5/5 stars, 9/10 (part 1), 10/10 (part 2/both parts together).
Native ratings: 3.9/5 stars Netflix (only part 1 available), 7.9/10 and 8.1/10 IMDB.

Frank Miller’s Batman adaptation is concluded with this, which really should be the 4th movie in the current live-action Batman movies, but whatever.

The live-action Batman movies have been frickin’ amazing, but they have been less true to the comics than almost every other Batman adaptation out there. (They do kill people in the live-action movies a lot more, though.)

Set in the future, Batman had been retired for 10 years, and Commissioner Gordon is set to retire in a few days. (A cop should never say he is 3 days from retirement because bad things happen!)

This ties together Twoface, The Joker, Batman being old, Superman, and futuristic mutant gangs (that part definitely reminded us of Batman Beyond at times–except without the new Batman. But we get a new Robin). There is a lot going on, and it really takes both movies to conclude it all. (Though the total runtime is only about 2.5 hours for both movies combined, we watched one-per-night.)

This was really, really, really good.  Bruce Timm’s Batman productions have been top-tier for well over 20 years now. Nobody has such a consistent longstanding record of producing quality superhero animation.

Peter Weller (Robocop) as Batman was pretty interesting too. He sounded older (which he was, he has grey hair in this).
And this Batman is more hardcore. There is blood, beatings, murder. It’s rated PG-13 but it would probably be R back in the 80’s. THIS IS THE SHIT. This is maybe my favorite Batman animation ever.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2313197/combined

Clint: 3/5 stars, 6/10.

Carolyn: 2.6/5 stars, 5.6/10.
Native ratings: 2.4/5 stars Netflix, 2.4/10 IMDB (83rd lowest-rated move ever).

I bought this VHS cassette for $2.50 at a yard sale because I hadn’t heard of it, liked the hot chicks on the cover, and read the plotline about girls who decide to turn the tables and rape guys. It just seemed like an outrageous plot. After years of never playing the VHC cassette… I finally Netflixed it.

Written/directed by Kat Slater who made this movie, then a bunch of porno movies. This is the only real one. wtf. I guess this was hated so much (83rd worst movie ever) that Kat Slater (aka Christina Peters) had to go into porn afterward. She’s up to Young Sluts 15 now. Here’s an article about it.

But this is her one “real” movie.

We’d seen some of these actresses elsewhere: Busy Phillips (White Girls), Keri Lynn Pratt (A Midsummer Night’s Rave, Cat from Smallville, 1 ep of That 70’s Show and Nip/Tuck), Dominique Swain (Totally Awesome, Happy Campers), Thora Birch (American Beauty, Patriot Games, Dungeons & Dragons 1).

So anyway, the movie itself was a little sophomoric. Not particularly well written, acted, shot, produced, edited, or transferred to dvd.

But it was still interesting. It almost seemed inspired by Gregg Araki‘s teenage apocalypse trilogy. Over the top plot lines & characters. Over-the-top sexual obsession. Gender power struggles. Crazy fashion that doesn’t exist in real life.

I actually felt like this movie had a lot going for it… But it was held down by the badness of it all. But some like it for being bad.

Unfortunately, it became kind of a downer at the end. Which is also a Gregg Araki thing to do. It makes it a bit more poignant (or possibily pretentious).
At least it was interesting. More interesting than your average movie.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0205418/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Gridlock’d (1997)

Clint: 3/5 stars, 6/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 7/10.
Native ratings: 3.7/5 stars Netflix, /10 IMDB.

So…. first movie we watch this year opens with a New Year’s Eve countdown… What are the odds of that? Compute them for me, please.

Carolyn’s thoughts:  I thought this was going to be more of a caper, but it turned out to not be as funny as I was hoping.  It was more a commentary about how messed up the system is for drug addicts who want to get help to kick the habit.  It was pretty interesting, and it was lighthearted enough to not bring us down too much.

Clint: I can still see why this has “comedy” listed as one of its IMDB genres, but I should have noticed “Comedy | Crime | Drama” having “drama” right there at the end.  If the only thing between drama and comedy is crime, then it verges on dramedy territory. I hate expecting humor and getting little. But this still had comedic elements all the way through to the end. It was kind of a black comedy. Depressing yet unexpectedly funny at the same time.  I don’t know that I’d recommend it, but it had its interesting moments.

Written & directed by Vondie Curtis-Hall (directed 1 ep of Firefly).

Starring Tupac Shakur as Ezekiel ‘Spoon’ Whitmore. One of the last 2 movies he appeared in.
Tim Roth (Mr. Orange in Reservoir Dogs, The Incredible Hulk (2008), Funny Games, The Cook The Thief His Wife & Her Lover) as Alexander ‘Stretch’ Rawland.
Thandie Newton (2012, Run Fatboy Run, The Chronicles Of Riddick, Interview With The Vampire, Mission Impossible 2, 1 ep of American Dad) as Barbara ‘Cookie’ Cook.
Lucy Liu as Cee-Cee. (Why the hell didn’t I recognize her?)
Charles Fleischer (Roger Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, A Nightmare On Elm Street, Dick Tracy, Gross Anatomy, 1 ep of Men In Black:TAS, 1 ep of God The Devil And Bob, 1 ep of Weird Science, 1 ep of Lois & Clark) as Mr. Woodson.
Howard Hesseman (Halloween 2 (2009), WKRP In Cincinnati, 7 eps of Soap, 3 eps of That 70’s Show) as Blind Man.
James Pickens Jr. (19 eps of The X-Files, 19 eps of Roseanne, 2 eps of Curb Your Enthusiasm, 2 eps of Six Feet Under) as Supervisor.
Tom Towles (Rob Zombie’s Halloween, Grindhouse, The Devil’s Rejects, Night Of The Living Dead, 1 ep of Firefly, 1 ep of Malcolm In The Middle) as D-Reper’s Henchman.
Tom Wright (The Onion Movie, Live!, 2 eps of 24, 1 ep of Nip/Tuck) as Koolaid.
Richmond Arquette (A Midsummer’s Night Rave, Rob Zombie’s Halloween, Smashed, Scream 3, Fight Club, Se7en, The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button) as Resident Doctor.
Vondie Curtis-Hall (Die Hard 2, 1 ep of The Sopranos, and the director of this movie) as D-Reper.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119225/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010) [Finland]

 A Finnish film subverting the Christmas legend with a twist.  Entertaining, though somewhat slow in parts.  The execution could have been better, but hey, it’s not a blockbuster-funded endeavor. It’s Finland. Still fun to see Santa Claus depicted as an evil demon. The ending was downright funny.

Written & directed by Jalmari Helander.

Starring a bunch of Finnish actors:
Onni Tommila as Pietari Kontio.
Jorma Tommila as Rauno Kontio, his father.
Tommi Korpela as Aimo.
Rauno Juvonen as Piiparinen.
Per Christian Ellefsen as Riley.
Ilmari Järvenpää as Juuso, Pietari’s naughty friend.
Peeter Jakobi as Pietari’s Elf.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1401143/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: The Da Vinci Code 2 – Angels & Demons (2009)

Clint: 3/5 stars, 8/10. (Compared to 3/5, 6/10 for Da Vinci Code.)
Carolyn: 4.4/5 stars, 8.6/10.  (Compared to 5/5 stars for Da Vinci Code.)
Native ratings: 3.7/5 stars Netflix, 6.6/10 IMDB. (Compared to 3.6/5 stars, 6.4/10 for Da Vinci Code.)

Pink Panther minus comedy plus religion.”
National Treasure minus comedy minus patriotism plus religion.”
“24 minus America plus The Vatican.”
Da Vinci Code 1 minus Leonardo Da Vinci plus Illuminati.”

It seems like everyone — Clint, Carolyn, Netflix people, IMDB people — all liked this better than first movie of the trilogy, The Da Vinci Code. Ignore the fact that Carolyn gave this one 4 stars and the last one 5 stars — she, too, agreed this one was better. (It’s hard to rate consistently, people!)

This was done very well… And was interesting. But I am quite turned off by religion, so I wasn’t super-thrilled with the entertainment, despite recognizing its quality. Religious stuff just doesn’t resonate with me.

Still better than the first, though. This one wasn’t a disappointment like the first one.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0808151/combined

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