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.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1959332/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Junkie (2012)

Claire: 3.6/5 stars, 7/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 7/10.
Native ratings: 4.6/10 IMDB. Not available on Netflix.

Well, THAT was a weird movie. One of the stranger parts of this movie was that it could ever be a comedy. And you could argue that it’s not; that it’s a psychological thriller. In content, that may be true…But in tone, it stayed decently comedic throughout.

It was somewhat slow to start, and we (especially Carolyn) became slightly disinterested. Then it started to pickup. Got very surreal and barely made sense, but that was to set up the end, which twisted things far further than we ever would have thought.

The movie  definitely funny AND interesting, but in a very strange, low-key, and kind of dark way. If you watch multiple movies a week, this is a good weeknight choice.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1837584/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Byzantium (2012)

Claire: 3/5 stars, 6.6/10.
Carolyn: 3.4/5 stars, 7/10.
Native ratings: 3.2/5 stars Netflix, 6.5/10 IMDB.

Claire’s thoughts: A “vampire movie”, but the vampirism was less overt than in most vampire movies.  I’m kinda disappointed, actually. Like, they didn’t really fully explore the idea of what would happen if people believed her. I felt like the movie built up a lot, without having a payoff worthy of the build-up.  While the flashback scenes did help demonstrate how the past shaped the present, for the most part it was a lot of screen time away from the “now” plot. I think they should have just done the past at the beginning of the movie and been more straightforward. The repeated-flashbacks gimmick just didn’t pay off for me, and really detracted from the whole movie.

Still interesting. And Saoirse Ronan is great, and getting greater. But ultimately this was a very calm and slow vampire movie. Not my favorite pace.

Carolyn’s thoughts:  This seemed like a generic vampire movie that didn’t have that much going for it, and it was somewhat predictable.  It became ever so slightly more interesting near the end when there was a bit more action, but then it petered out again and was just like “Yep.”

Directed by Neil Jordan (Interview With The Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, The Crying Game).
Written by Moira Buffini.

Starring Saoirse Ronan (The Host, Hanna from Hanna, the voice of Arriety in The Secret World of Arrietty, Violet & Daisy) as Eleanor.
Gemma Arterton (Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time, St. Trinian’s, The Boat That Rocked, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters) as Clara.
Caleb Landry Jones (Antiviral, Banshee in X-Men: First Class, boy on bike in No Country For Old Men, fraternity guy in The Social Network, 2 eps of Breaking Bad) as Frank.
Daniel Mays (Mr. Nobody) as Noel, the hotel owner.
Barry Cassin (The Count Of Monte Cristo) as Robert Fowlds.
Sam Riley as Darvell.
Warren Brown (The Dark Knight Rises, Dead Set) as Gareth.
Thure Lindhardt (Angels & Demons) as Werner.
Uri Gavriel (The Dark Knight Rises) as Savella.
Jonny Lee Miller (Dark Shadows, Aeon Flux, 8 eps of Dexter) as Ruthven.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1531901/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: It’s A Disaster (2012)

Claire: 3.4/5 stars, 7.2/10.
Carolyn: 3.4/5 stars, 7.4/10.
Native ratings: 3.0/5 stars Netflix, 6.3/10 IMDB.

Four couples are meeting for couples’ brunch, and then find out that there’s been a terrorist attack, and they are probably going to die.  But there’s no action. No explosions. The most you hear are sirens. There’s barely any death.  They are just stuck in the house together.

…And of course this happened right when things were starting to get awkward in the first place. So now they are stuck in a house together EVEN THOUGH THEY DON’T WANT TO BE.

Not necessarily a deep or thoughtful premise or plot, but it was an interesting story nonetheless. It doesn’t make you think about life-life-life, but it does entertain. Social dynamics in situations of duress are always interesting, and often comedic.

And make no mistake: This movie is a comedy.

Written & directed by Todd Berger (he wrote 2 Kung Fu Panda movies and 2 Smurfs movies, but we haven’t seen anything else that he did.)

With David Cross (Tobias Funke in Arrested Development, Mr. Show With Bob And David, Todd Margaret) as Glen Randolph, the newcomer.
Erinn Hayes (Lola Spratt in Childrens Hospital) as Emma Mandrake, brunch hostess.
America Ferrera (Betty in Ugly Betty, How to Train Your Dragon) as Hedy Galili, freaking out girl.
Julia Stiles (Bourne movies, 10 Things I Hate About You, 10 eps of Dexter) as Tracy Scott.
Rachel Boston (Fifty Pills, 500 Days Of Summer) as Lexi (the party girl).

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1995341/combined

Claire: 2/5 stars, 4.6/10.

Carolyn: 2.6/5 stars, 5/10.

Native ratings: 3.4/5 stars Netflix, 5.6/10 IMDB.

Carolyn’s thoughts: Not a comedy. Repeat: NOT A COMEDY! Don’t be fooled by what IMDB says and the presence of June Diane Raphael. This is a drama. It was OK, but nothing really special and it was kind of “blah.” It was pretty sad, and there wasn’t enough funny to counteract the sad.

Claire: Yes, pretty sad indeed. Usually a few shots of alcohol make a movie more interesting for me, but in this case it simply took my disinterest in what was going on within the movie and converted it into unconsciousness. And I might rate the unconsciousness higher on IMDB. I mean, it’s not BAD…

But anyway…What an utter, underwhelming disappointment this was. My girlfriend June Diane Raphael has no business being in this.

Directed by Shari Springer Berman (American Splendor, Wanderlust) & Robert Pulcini (American Splendor, Wanderlust). Written by Michelle Morgan.

Kristen Wiig (Young Lucille Bluth in Arrested Development, Date Night, Adventureland, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Knocked Up, The Brothers Solomon, How To Train Your Dragon, Saturday Night Live, Despicable Me, 2 eps of The Simpsons, 1 ep of Drunk History) as Imogene.
Annette Bening (Mars Attacks, American Beauty, Postcards From The Edge) as Zelda, the mom.
Matt Dillon (There’s Something About Mary, Wild Things, Drugstore Cowboy, 1 ep of The Simpsons) as George / The Bousche, the mom’s boyfriend.
Darren Criss (Glee, A Very Potter Senior Year and A Very Potter Sequal [what? a musical Harry Potter? hehehehe], 1 ep of Archer) as Lee, the rentor.
Christopher Fitzgerald as Ralph, the brother.
June Diane Raphael (NTSF:SD:SUV::, Anchorman 2, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Year One, 3 eps of American Dad, 1 ep of Drunk History) as Dara, the fake best friend.
Natasha Lyonne (American Pie movies, Detroit Rock City, Scary Movie 2, Kate & Leopold, 1 ep of NTSF:SD:SUV::) as Allyson.
Bob Balaban (Clockwatchers, 5 eps of Seinfeld) as Maxwell, the father.
Michelle Morgan (1 ep of Kid Notorious) as Georgina.
Brian Petsos as Peter Van Woodsen, the ex-boyfriend.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1698648/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Funeral Kings (2012)

Claire: 3.8/5 stars, 8/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 6.6/10.
Jesse: 3.4/5 stars, 7/10 (I think).
Native ratings: 4.1/5 stars Netflix, 6.1/10 IMDB.

SLEEPER ALERT: This movie isn’t well-known at all, so I’d like to point out this might be the only time you see it mentioned.

“Two altar boys decide to play hooky.”

At first that tagline didn’t grab me, but then I had to consider: This is actually a comedy, and not a rom-com. I better watch it, because there aren’t enough good comedies.

I think this movie has some similarities in feel to Stand By Me, but with tons more profanity. Tons more. A lot of profanity. A lot of fucking profanity. These kids curse more than the fucking Sopranos.

…And that’s part of the charm. It’s so authentic that it almost feels unrealistic… But then I remember just how foul-mouthed some kids were when I was in school. It may actually be a bit over-the-top, but it works. You make the movie about those kids that are over-the-top. A movie about normal kids doing normal things would not be entertaining; it would be a documentary.

Anyway… This was good. Things did not go where I expect. The end hit me a bit abruptly, and it helped to have Carolyn the Movie Whisperer explain it to me a bit.

Speaking of Carolyn, her thoughts:

“This was OK. We expected more of a comedy, but we should have remembered that a review on IMDB compared it to Stand By Me. That is a good comparison. Kids being kids and learning how to grow into themselves. How to cope with other kids’ perceptions of you. How kids who are trying to be “cool” may find themselves in bad situations and over their head.”

Here’s a good review: http://www.larry411.com/post/review_pictures_red_carpet_funeral_kings_world_premiere_sxsw_film_festival

Written & directed by Kevin McManus & Matthew McManus.

Starring Dylan Hartigan (The Stepford Wives) as Andy Gilmour.
Alex Maizus as Charlie Waters.
Jordan Puzzo (uncredited in What’s Your Number?) as David Mason.
Kevin Corrigan (Seven Psychopaths, Pineapple Express, Superbad, The Dictator, Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie, Detroit Rock City) as Iggy Vannucci.
Michael Delaney (The Dictator, The Onion Movie, 1 ep of Human Giant, 1 ep of Curb Your Enthusiasm, 7 eps of Upright Citizan’s Brigade) as Brendan Hamilton.
Sarah Baldwin (1 ep of The Office) as Amanda Prescott.

Ian B’s review can be found here.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1951133/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Antiviral (2012)

Claire: 4/5 stars, 8/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 7/10.
Native ratings: 3.4/5 stars Netflix, 5.5/10 IMDB.

This is a sci-fi thriller movie about society’s celebrity obsession. What if people were so obsessed with celebrities that we paid money to have their diseases? What if we could have Lindsay Lohan’s alleged herpes, or have the same flu that Lady Gaga had? Human obsession *absolutely* goes this far. With sufficient technology, and a society that would allow a situation like this to develop — the story in this movie is actually pretty goddamn plausible.

And that’s a commentary in and of itself.

This is the very first full-length film written & directed by David Cronenberg‘s son Brandon Cronenberg. So my first thought was: “Expect weird creepy meatiness.”  And yeah. There was definitely some of that.

Courtney Love’s “Celebrity Skin” album will now and forever remind me of this movie. And don’t get me started on the celebrity-endorsed food products, or the “celebrity meat”.

This movie isn’t very exciting. It’s not an action. It’s very cerebral, a “thinking man’s movie”, if you want to use a tired old phrase. The watching-buzz I got from this was not like that of a comedy, action, or drama. It was is more based on thinking of social and moral situations that the technology in this movie created, as well as thinking about how the sentiment required to make this movie possible in real life exists today. It’s a definite commentary with an interesting plot.

And the ending… wow…

Carolyn adds: (SPOILER ALERT): I feel like there should have been more repercussions regarding his job… I mean, the police were investigating the other guy who was doing similar things. The main guy was just able to be sick all of the time, and barely show up for work, and the boss is like, “OK, that other guy is arrested, so you’re the one who is going to get the blood from the celebrity.” Then the blood never gets to the company, the guy barely shows up for work and when he does, he looks like hell, and can barely function. His coworker mentioned that strings were pulled to keep the main guy from being fired, and that was it… it didn’t make any sense. that was only one aspect of the movie, but it bothered me… They never even showed the boss or made any mention of him after the main guy injected the blood and got really sick. Anyway, it was an interesting premise… I agree with you that it could have been executed better.

Starring Caleb Landry Jones (Banshee in X-Men: First Class, boy on bike in No Country For Old Men, fraternity guy in The Social Network, 2 eps of Breaking Bad) as Syd March.
Sarah Gadon (Beth rom Total Drama Island) as Hannah Geist.
Douglas Smith (he is going to be in Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters, but we haven’t seen anything else) as Edward Porris.
Joe Pingue (Repo Men, The Boondock Saints, 1 ep of Puppets Who Kill) as Arvid.
Nicholas Campbell (Hank in Naked Lunch, Goon) as Dorian.
Wendy Crewson (8 eps of 24) as Mira Tesser.
Malcolm McDowell (Alex in A Clockwork Orange, Vater Orlaag in Metalocalypse, 9 eps of Heroes.. and the killer of Kirk!) as Dr. Abendroth.
George Tchortov (Goon) as Portland.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2099556/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Sightseers (2012)

Clio: 2.3/5 stars, 4.4/10.
Carolyn: 2.0/5 stars, 4.4/10.
Native ratings: 3.4/5 stars Netflix, 6.6/10 IMDB.

Bonnie & Clyde meets Dumb & Dumber? If I’d known this was British, I might have [correctly] decided to skip this one. British comedies are rarely as funny. Awkward, subtle, dry humor is indeed hilarious, but overt, in-your-face, ridiculous humor is more hilarious.

This movie wasn’t that good.  We thought it would be funnier, but it was mostly just awkward and creepy.  None of the characters were likeable or relateable — which is okay — but the characters were one of many aspects of the movie that just didn’t do anything for us.  It was slightly interesting at times, but mostly pointless.

Girl meets boy. Roadtrip. Girl finds out boy is serial killer. Girl accepts boy.  That’s the whole movie. Well, there’s some interesting aspects I’m not sharing — and some slight twists that you wouldn’t expect… But for the most part, this is not a comedy. This is just a set of fucked up circumstances that conclude with no more message or afterthought than nihilism itself.

Directed by Ben Wheatley. Written by Steve Oram and Alice Lowe.
Starring the movie’s own writers: Alice Lowe (Hot Fuzz) as Tina and Steve Oram (1 ep of Life’s Too Short, 1 ep of The Increasingly Poor Decisions Of Todd Margaret) as Chris.
Jonathan Aris (Gulliver’s Travels, 1 ep of Bob & Margaret–how weird) as Ian.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2023690/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Spring Breakers (2012)

Clio: 3.4/5 stars, 7.6/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 7/10.
Jesse: 3/5 stars, 7/10.
Native ratings: 3.7/5 stars Netflix, 5.9/10 IMDB.

Written & directed by Harmony Korine (Kids, Gummo, Julien Donkey-Boy), but to tell the truth, this movie is, to me, exactly what it would be like if Harmony Korine directed a Gregg Araki movie — especially something from Araki’s Teen Apocalypse trilogy (Totally Fucked Up, Nowhere, The Doom Generation). The feel of this movie REALLY reminded me of the fatalistic feeling found in Aaraki’s work.

Compared to Korine’s other work, this had wayyyyy more structure than Gummo. Korine has matured, and his movies now actually have specific plots.

Carolyn thought it was somewhat drawn out with the monologues and repeating phrases. “But it seemed right when I would start to get actively annoyed, they would finally move on.” I really disagree with that critique.

Plotwise, It’s worth watching. An interesting plot that captures the feel of Spring Break, but then diverges into a totally different, crime-related angle. And a strange romance — of sorts. “You guys are my soulmates.”

Ultimately, it is entertaining yet artsy at the same time. Which is what I’d expect.

Also: Bonus points My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic appearing on screen TWICE during this movie! The Elements Of Harmony..Korine!

Outlaw Vern’s got a good review of the movie, which is what caused us to watch it: http://www.outlawvern.com/2013/03/26/spring-breakers/

Starring:
A barely-recognizable James Franco (127 Hours, Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, Oz in Oz The Great And Powerful, Date Night, Pineapple Express, Harry Osborn in the Spider-Man movies) as Alien.
Selena Gomez (Justin Bieber’s girlfriend, Barney & Friends, Wizards Of Waverly Place) as Faith (the brunette).
Vanessa Hudgens (High School Musical, Sucker Punch) as Candy. I think she’s better as a blonde.
Ashley Benson (13 Going On 30, Days Of Our Lives, 75 Pretty Little Liars, dated Justin Bieber’s “swagger coach”) as Brit (the other blonde).
Rachel Korine (Harmony Korine’s wife) as Cotty (the pink-haired one).
Heather Morris (Glee) as Bess.
Real-life rapper Gucci Mane as Archie, Alien‘s rival.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2101441/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Imaginaerum (2012)

Clio & Carolyn: 2.8/5 stars, 6.4/10.
Native ratings: 5.7/10 IMDB. Not available on Netflix.

This will be the 2nd time we watch a movie based on a concept album we’ve never listened to, performed by a band we’ve never listened to. The last one was Marillion:Brave, by Richard Stanley, director of the movie Hardware (1990). This one is based on an album by the Finnish metal band, NightWish. We mostly watched it for the visuals, which were pretty cool, but we were not as impressed as we were hoping.

The story was a bit lacking. The sound mix was surprisingly bad (though that is a distribution problem). It was overly-dramatic and kind of full of itself. But of course, it’s a video for an album, and music videos are sorta-kinda SUPPOSED to be like that — all grandiose and shit. So I might be faulting the genre for its own self-definition here. It also got a lot less exciting (and a lot more depressing) near the end. The acting wasn’t the greatest, but this also wasn’t a movie with very much acting in it.

In the end, this was style over substance. Some pretty awesome visuals. Definitely a great movie to watch — not as great to listen to, or think about. But visually, it was an 8/10.

Directed by: Stobe Harju (who directed Nightwish’s “The Islander” music video).
Written by: Stobe Harju & Mikko Rautalahti (Alan Wake video game), and Richard Jackson.
Story written by Tuomas Holopainen (Nightwish songwriter and band member) & Stobe Harju.

Starring Marianne Farley (Undressed, 2001: A Space Travesty, 6 eps of Vampire High) as Gem Whitman.
Quinn Lord (young boy in The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus–is he now typecast to only be in movies with Imaginae?rium in their title?, 2 eps of Smallville) as Tom Whitman – age 10.
Tuomas Holopainen (Nightwish song writer and band member) as Tom Whitman – age 47.
Francis X. McCarthy (BASEketball, 7 eps of Melrose Place, 4 eps of the original 21 Jump Street, Alien Nation, 2 eps of The Greatest American Hero, 1 ep of Smallville, 1 ep of Cheers, 1 ep of ALF, 1 ep of The A-Team, 1 ep of Parker Lewis Can’t Lose) as Tom Whitman – age 70.
Joanna Noyes (Grandma Thora Read in Arthur) as Ann – age 73.
Anette Olzon (Nightwish band member) as Ann.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1959409/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: CARTOONS: REVIEW: The Lorax (2012)

Clio: 2.8/5 stars, 5.4/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 5.6/10.
Native ratings: 4.1/5 stars Netflix, 6.3/10 IMDB.

Based on the Dr. Suess book. Very generic. Too many songs. It’d probably be more enjoyable for a young kid, but didn’t have nearly as much to offer to adults.

Worth it to be able to visually explore a CGI instance of a Seuss-inspired world. For a lot of these Seuss movies, that’s really the sole point: Seeing what it looks like a grander scale.

Worth it, but I’d like more.

Directed by:
Chris Renaud (Despicable Me) and Kyle Balda.
written by: Ken Daurio (Despicable Me, Horton Hears A Who, College Road Trip, The Santa Clause 2).

Starring Danny DeVito (Taxi, Penguin in Batman Returns, Twins, The War Of The Roses, Man On The Moon, Mars Attacks!, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia) as The Lorax.
Ed Helms (Andy Bernard in The Office, The Hangover movies, 3 eps of Arrested Development, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay) as The Once-ler.
Zac Efron (Anakin Skywalker in Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode III, 17 Again, High School Musical, 1 ep of Firefly) as Ted.
Taylor Swift (the singer) as Audrey.
Betty White as Grammy Norma.
Rob Riggle (P.O.T.N. in NTSF:SD:SUV, 4 eps of American Dad, The Hangover, Step Brothers, Human Giant, Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby) as Mr. O’Hare.
Jenny Slate (2 eps of Bob’s Burgers, 1 ep of Ugly Americans, Saturday Night Live) as Ted’s Mom.
Nasim Pedrad (87 eps of Saturday Night Live, The Dictator, 7 eps of Allen Gregory) as Once-ler’s Mom.
Elmarie Wendel (Mrs. Dubcek in 3rd Rock From The Sun, 1 ep of American Dad, 5 eps of General Hospital) as Aunt Grizelda.
Danny Cooksey (5 eps of Invader Zim, Kung Fu Panda, 2 eps of G.I. Joe Renegades, Tiny Toon Adventures, Terminator 2, Static Shock, Dave The Barbarian) as Brett / Chet.
Stephen Tobolowsky (Bob Bishop in Heroes, The Time Traveler’s Wife, Boxboarders!, Buried) as Uncle Ubb.
Chris Renaud (he’s the director of The Lorax, Despicable Me) as Forest Animals.

 

Christie: Agreed. Liked it, but too many songs.

 

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1482459/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Wrong (2012)

Clio: 2.4/5 stars, 5.0/10.
Carolyn: 2.4/5 stars, 5.0/10.
Native ratings: 3.4/5 stars Netflix, 6.1/10 IMDB.
From the director of Rubber.

It was definitely weird and surreal… But it didn’t go anywhere. As some have complained, it was like it was weird just for the sake of being weird, with no real point. I fell asleep during this just like with Rubber. It’s like the movie didn’t take enough stock in itself to remain interesting beyond a superficial “yeah, that is weird” level.

As I watched it, I was thinking, “This is better than Rubber”. Then I looked at the ratings. I wonder why I thought this felt better? It might have simply been more interesting, and made more sense. But in the end, Rubber’s….rubber-ness….might have been what saved it.

Quoth Carolyn, “I think I liked Rubber better because at least that had a murdering tire…”

And that’s not saying much.

I should have trusted myself the first two times I decided not to obtain this movie… Basically, I’m avoiding Quentin Dupieux from now on.

Jack Plotnick (Xandir in Drawn Together, an accountant in Rubber) as Dolph Springer.
Eric Judor (he’s been in a bunch of french movies) as Victor, the gardener.
Alexis Dziena (Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist) as Emma, the pizza girl.
Steve Little (Identity Thief, Peppermint Butler in Adventure Time, Dr. Barber in The Marvelous Misadventures Of Flapjack) as Detective Ronnie. We had just seen him in Identity Thief. He’s much less creepy when he’s not constantly recommending surgery as a solution for every possible problem.
William Fichtner (Date Night, The Dark Knight, Ken Rosenberg in Grand Theft Auto, Blades Of Glory, Equilibrium, Endsville, Armageddon, Black Hawk Down, Go, Strange Days) as Master Chang.
Regan Burns (Halfway Home, 1 ep of Weeds) as Mike, the neighbor who hates running.
Arden Myrin (Michael & Michael Have Issues, MADtv, What Women Want, 1 ep of Delocated) as Boss Gabrielle. (We have her mixed up with someone and are going crazy trying to figure out who. She definitely reminds me of Dina Waters, but still… There’s someone in a movie we just watched that reminds me of these two actresses, but isn’t either one of them.)

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1901040/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Django Unchained (2012)

Clio: 5/5 stars, 9/10.
Carolyn: 5/5 stars, 9/10.
Native ratings: 4.1/5 stars Netflix, 8.6/10 IMDB (Top 250: #44).

I’m not going to write a long review for this one. Suffice to say, Quentin Tarantino ALWAYS delivers (except Jackie Brown, which was still good, but technically a disappointment).

This movie does for white-on-black slavery in the mid-1800s what Inglorious Basterds did for German-on-jew genocide in the mid-1900s. Ultraviolent fan-service at its best.

My only complaint was the rap song. Everything was so mid-1800s. Hearing a modern song in the middle of that was a bit jarring. But I also understand it’s a way to imprint the movie as being made in the present.

Jamie Foxx has come so far since In Living Color! I’m so glad Will Smith passed on this! And Samuel J. Jackson has never played a character with as little dignity as his character in this movie. Leonardo DiCaprio was good, too (of course). I wish I’d noticed Russ Tamblyn (the professor from Twin Peaks)! It’s also funny that Jonah Hill was in this (but only with a bag over his head). Tarantino movies always have random hilarity in them, so it makes sense that Hill would have a place in one.

Wilhelm scream? Yes.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1853728/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: The Perks Of Being A Wallflower (2012)

Clio: 3.2/5 stars, 7.8/10.
Carolyn: 4/5 stars, 8/10.
Native ratings: 4.0/5 stars Netflix, 8.1/10 IMDB (top 250: #238).

Good, but a bit depressing. It definitely made me remember high school, and how it felt to be in high school. Despite having the unrealistic aspects most high school movies have (like having actors older than their characters), this had a lot of realism in terms of depicting the emotional feeling of being trapped in high school life.  There were definitely strong emotions and impressions in this movie.

However, this movie is not as poignant as it thinks it is. Cynically, I view it as a slice of life with an “enjoy life” message. SOME coming-of-age, SOME dealing with serious issues. It was still done very well, and was still thought-provoking. I can see why IMDB has this in the top 250 movies, though it wouldn’t be in my personal top 250, and I expect it to fall out of the top 250 once it stops being “new”.It did have good music.

But still, as a cynic, the most I really get out of it is, “Shit happens. Live your life in a way that makes you happy anyway.” Which I already knew… As a nerd coming-of-age fantasy, I’d rather see something funny like The New Guy. And other sadnesses of this movie are better portrayed in Gregg Araki‘s Mysterious Skin.

I guess this is why I generally prefer comedies. Those dramatic movies that try to teach a lesson? I’m old enough to know those lessons by now. It gets repetitive. Laughing never gets repetitive.

Still — the nostalgia value was tangible. I’d still recommend this movie. I’m sure hipsters freaking love it.

Annoying shit: Censorship of original characters that were chain smokers. We can show people standing on the back of a truck going down the highway — very risky and endangernig to others — but not people smoking? (Only 50% of smokers die from smoking, and they don’t generally cause car accidents when that happens.)

Cool shit: Rocky Horror Picture Show being involved in the plot!

Written & Directed by Stephen Chbosky, who also wrote the book and the screenplay. When the hell does THAT ever happen?!?! Nice to see the original creators being honored for once.

Logan Lerman (Percy in Percy Jackson & the Olympians, The Three Musketeers, Gamer, The Number 23, What Women Want) as Charlie.
Dylan McDermott (Jersey Girl, Steel Magnolias) as Father.
Kate Walsh (Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie) as Mother.
Johnny Simmons (the new 21 Jump Street, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, Jennifer’s Body) as Brad.
Nina Dobrev (Repo! The Genetic Opera) as Candace.
Nicholas Braun (we haven’t seen his stuff) as Ponytail Derek.
Ezra Miller (we haven’t seen his stuff) as Patrick.
Tom Savini (Django Unchained, 1 ep of Aqua Unit Patrol Squad 1, Zack and Miri Make A Porno, Planet Terror, Grindhouse, Dawn Of The Dead, Creepshow, and original Dawn Of The Dead) as Mr. Callahan.
Paul Rudd as Mr. Anderson.
Emma Watson (Hermione in the Harry Potter movies) as Sam.
Melanie Lynskey (Detroit Rock City, Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World, Becky in The Life & Times Of Tim, The Informant!, Coyote Ugly, But I’m A Cheerleader) as Aunt Helen.
Mae Whitman (Ann Veal in Arrested Development, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, April O’Neil in the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2012 cartoon, Wonder Girl in Young Justice, Annaleigh Quagmire in 9 eps of Family Guy, Katara in Avatar:The Last Airbender, Little Suzy in Johnny Bravo) as Mary Elizabeth.
Reece Thompson (we haven’t seen his stuff) as Craig.
Joan Cusack (Jessie in Toy Story, Grosse Pointe Blank) as Dr. Burton.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1659337/combined

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: 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

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Would You Rather (2012)

Clio: 5/5 stars, 8/10.
Carolyn: 4/5 stars, 8/10.
Native ratings: 3.1/5 stars Netflix, ???/10 IMDB.

That movie was pretty disturbing. I feel like it was kind of a cross between Saw and Hostel. It had me on sitting up on the edge of my seat the entire movie, quite disturbed and worried. This is the point of a horror movie. To horrify you. And it worked.

This is one that a lot of the old school hipster-horror-snobs will dismiss as “torture porn” or merely seving to horrify the viewer without constructing some grand legend or theme or message.

It is true that there is not much to this movie at all.  It’s short and sweet and simple. But it is messed up, and leaves you thinking about how messed up it was for days afterward. So good stuff.

Carolyn: This was interesting.  Kind of like Saw meets a childhood game with a twist…

Directed by David Guy Levy.  Written by Steffen Schlachtenhaufen.
Starring Brittany Snow (John Tucker Must Die, 5 eps of Nip/Tuck, 1 ep of Family Guy) as Iris.
Jeffrey Combs (The Frighteners, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, Ratchet in Transformers Prime, The Leader in The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, 5 eps of Justice League, 1 ep of The Batman, 1 ep of the new Thundercats, 1 ep of Batman: The Brave And The Bold) as Shepard Lambrick.
Jonny Coyne (The Hangover 3, 1 ep of NTSF:SD:SUV) as Bevans, the butler.
Lawrence Gilliard Jr. (8 eps of The Walking Dead, Cecil B. DeMented, The Waterboy) as Dr. Barden.
Enver Gjokaj (The Avengers, 2 eps of Dexter) as Lucas.
Sasha Grey (porn star, The Girlfriend Experience) as Amy.
John Heard (Sharknado, Big, 5 eps of The Sopranos) as Conway.
Charlie Hofheimer (The Village) as Travis, the Iraq vet.
Logan Miller (Nova in Ultimate Spider-Man, 1 ep of Childrens Hospital) as Raleigh. (Was he Iris’ brother?)
June Squibb (Atlas Shrugged Part 1, 1 ep of Eagleheart, 1 ep of Curb Your Enthusiasm, 1 ep of Just Shoot Me) as Linda, the old lady.
Eddie Steeples (My Name Is Earl, uncredited in Wristcutters: A Love Story) as Cal.
Robin Taylor as Julian, the rich son.  He was not Draco Malfoy as Clio kept thinking.
Robb Wells (Ricky in Trailer Park Boys, Hobo With A Shotgun, Goon, The Boondock Saints 2, 1 ep of Archer) as Peter.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1999995/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Small Apartments (2012)

Clio: 4/5 stars, 8/10.
Carolyn: 3.6/5 stars, 7.6/10.
Native ratings: 2.6/5 stars Netflix, 5.9/10 IMDB.

This rating is disproportionately low. Is it because the main character is a fat bald dude who never wears pants the entire movie? C’mon, people. This is that special genre I like to call “FUCKED UP”. Except it’s also a comedy, so it’s not really as fucked up as some other movies (like Gummo, Irreversible). So it’s not really THAT fucked up. At least, the movie makes this fucked up story comical. So I don’t know why people would rate it so low. Fucked up is a boon, funny is a boon. This movie was solid. On par with any major hit you’d see.

It’s just a bit creepier, that’s all.

Based on a book about a creepy guy who seems a little off, finds himself living alone in a small apartment with a cranky old man and a deadbeat stoner for neighbors.  He misses his brother, who is in a looney bin, but sends him cassettes every day.  Then his landlord is accidentally killed, and the fun of watching things unfold begins: People with poor coping skills trying to cope with a situation stranger than most situations most of us will ever have in our lives. That’s entertainment.

We thought this was an interesting movie, full of interesting quirks.

Directed by Jonas Akerlund (who used to mostly direct music videos, but has moved on to “realer” endeavors). Book *and* screenplay are by Chris Millis. Mr. Millis is a book author, not a screeplay writer. This is the only one he wrote. But it was based on his book. Isn’t that nice? A little respect actually being shown to the author? It almost seems quant, but it really should be common sense!

Matt Lucas as the main character (2 eps of Portlandia, Tweedledee & Tweedledum in Alice In Wonderland, Cardinal One from Popetown, Cousin Tom from Shaun Of The Dead).
James Caan as the old next-door neighbor (Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs, Elf, Honeymoon In Vegas).
Juno Temple as slutty teenager (Kaboom, The Dark Knight Rises, The Three Musketeers, St. Trinian’s, Year One).
Saffron Burrows as… the mom?! (Wainy Days, Wing Commander).
Johnny Knoxville as the stoner neighbor (Jackass, The Ringer, Dukes Of Hazzard, A Dirty Shame, Men In Black 2, Coyote Ugly).
The celebrity shrink was Dolph Lundgren (He-Man in the He-Man Movie, Johnny Mnemonic, Dark Angel, Rocky 4).
James Marsden as the crazy brother (Anchorman, Sex Drive, Cyclops in the X-Men movies, and we just recently saw him as the son in Robot & Frank).
DJ Qualls plays a clerk! (The New Guy, Road Trip). Good to see him again.
Peter Stormare as the landlord (1 ep of Adventure Time, 2 eps of Weeds, 1 ep of Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!…No I did not recognize him).
David Koechner as a fire investigator (Anchorman, Final Destination 5, Sex Drive, Talladega Nights, Thank You For Smoking, The 40 Year Old Virgin, The Dukes Of Hazzard, 4 eps of 2011 Beavis & Butt-head, 12 eps of American Dad).
Hell, we even get Billy Crystal here! (Soap, When Harry Met Sally, Analyze That/This, America’s Sweethearts, City Slickers, Howl’s Moving Castle, Monsters Inc.).
The strangest one to pop up was Rosie Perez (Pineapple Express, choreographer on In Living Color). Why do we all recognize her so readily? She’s not really on screen in anything we’ve really seen, other than Pineapple Express.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1272886/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: My Awkward Sexual Adventure (2012)

Clio: 4.6/5 stars, 8.6/10.
Carolyn: 4/5 stars, 8/10.
Native ratings: 3.7/5 stars Netflix, 6.0/10 IMDB.

This movie might be the perfect intersection of sex comedy and romantic comedy. It was FUN. It didn’t have that “all humor stops here” point that so many romantic comedies have. That’s the sex-comedy influence :) Admittedly the comedy lets off a bit in the last 10%, but the jokes do indeed go all the way to the end, and even into the credits. And it’s not just a bunch of overt sex comedy (not that there’s anything wrong with that)… There’s also some a lot of “cringe comedy”. Awwwkwarrrrrd moments. I mean, they put the word awkward the title for a reason. It’s obvious.

If you were to combine Roger Doger with The 40-Year-Old Virgin… It still wouldn’t be this movie. But it would be close.

This is Canadian, so most people aren’t going to hear about it outside of my review, he types, drunk on power. So I’d recommend this over other movies I post about and like, simply because it’s easy to miss this one.

Plot-wise: Stuck-up girlfriend of boring accountant (who pined for 24 years before dating her) breaks up with him because he’s boring in bed.  They might have been able to work out some sort of alternative lifestyle arrangement regarding that, but instead she just breaks up with him.  This made him have to go on their planned, pre-paid vacation alone.  While on vacation, he tries to make his girlfriend jealous by taking pictures of him posing with strippers.  He ends up befriending a stripper who agrees to help instruct him on being better in bed in order to win back his girlfriend. You’d think it would be raunchy, but no, it really isn’t that raunchy, actually.

Cast-wise: Dudeface is played by Jonas Chernick (Degrassi: The Next Generation) WHO ALSO WROTE THE MOVIE. Stripper-with-a-heart-of-gold is played by Emily Hampshire (Boy Meets Girl, 1 ep of Puppets Who Kill, ‘Misery’ in some animated series called Ruby Gloom that kinda looks interesting). Bitchy girlfriend is Sarah Manninen.  Indian man-slut friend is Vik Sahay (Chuck, American Reunion, Stir Of Echoes 2). Naked Tom (Mike Bell) was in Goon. Dudeface’s androgynous co-worker who really seemed like “Pat” from Saturday Night Live turned out to not be Pat, but Sarah Constible, who was a teacher in 2 episodes of the MOST AMAZING SHOW EVER Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil. The “Mint Girl” was in Todd as well.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2112210/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: What’s Your Number? (2011)

Clio: 3/5 stars, 6.4/10.
Carolyn: 3.4/5 stars, 7/10.
Native ratings: 3.5/5 stars Netflix, 5.8/10 IMDB.

This was watched mostly because we are Anna Faris fans…We’ve watched 18 of her 35 movies. It was a fun movie, but once you get over the initial ride and look back on the movie, one realizes it wasn’t quite as good of a movie as how enjoyable it was to watch. This may be in part because we think Anna Faris is hot. Anyway, her character was kind of insane in this movie. And that was amusing.

However, despite all that, this boils down to basically being a cute movie that became pretty predictable, even for a rom-com..  It was more about the ride, than having a unique plot–that’s for sure.  It definitely could have been a lot funnier if it had been done right.

The plot is basically: Girl realizes she’s slept with a lot of guys, but there’s never been a Mr. Right.  She doesn’t want to increase the number of guys she’s slept with past 20 (because of a Woman’s Magazine article), so she decides [highlight for spoilers] to exclusively sleep with past ex-boyfriends in order to not increase that number, and see if their lives have changed for the better. [END SPOILERS]

It could have been better. But I don’t regret watching it. Laughs and hotties is sufficient.

Cast:
One of her love interests is Chris Evans (Captain America, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, Fantastic 4, Not Another Teen Movie). He’s pretty prominent in this movie, playing a sleazy douchebag womanizer.
Anna Faris’s sister is Ari Graynor (Nick And Norah’s Infinite Playlist, some eps of American Dad, 4 eps of The Sopranos).
Her mom is Blythe Danner (Meet The Fockers movies, TONS of other stuff).
Her dad is Ed Begley, Jr. (Pineapple Express, TONS of other stuff).
Ex-boyfriend 1 is Zachary Quinto (Sylar from Heroes, Spock from new Star Trek).
“Disgusting Donald” is played by Chris Pratt, her real-life husband (!!).
The douchebag boss (Joel McHale) was in The Informant!, The Onion Movie, Spider-Man 2, Community, and wrote a season of The Soup.
There’s also bit appearances with Adam Sandberg and Aziz Ansari.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0770703/combined