VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: The Hobbit 2: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)

Clint: 5/5 stars, 9/10.
Carolyn: 5/5 stars, 9/10.
Evan: 1.7/5 stars, 3.7/10.
Native ratings: 4.0/5 stars Netflix, 8.1/10 IMDB.

Watched in 3-D with TwoBeans, Amber, & Evan.

This was pretty goddamn kickass, and everything I could have wanted from a movie like this. I’m glad they’re doing these, and I’m glad they are as long as they are. Looking forward to the 3rd, as well as the day I can watch The Hobbit trilogy extended versions for all 3 movies.

Evan’s dissenting opinion: I might be biasedly comparing this to Game of Thrones now that I’ve been watching it, but DoS just seemed lackluster.
I found myself glad they “got rid of” some of the characters later in the flick. Seeing as how there were twins and
triplet dwarves with very similar names, I had trouble keeping track of all of them in the first Hobbit.

The CG stood out to me in the way very few other movies do…in that terrible, shitty awful kind of way. The lighting
on some of the sets was very apparent, thus making the set itself stand out more as fake. This coupled with the
very visible green screen usage knocked a bunch of marks from the quality. It seemed like the Smaug scene was
one of the only things they got right. That and the barrel scene because they seemed to put more effort into it.

Because it only had a couple things going for it, I won’t give it more than 1.7/3.7
My ratings rarely go that low, but the more I think about this flick the more I want to
rip it apart into tiny crappy pieces. :/

Directed by Peter Jackson (Lord Of The Rings movies, The Hobbit movies, Meet The Feebles, Bad Taste, Dead Alive, The Frighteners).
Written by Fran Walsh (Lord Of The Rings movies, The Hobbit movies, Meet The Feebles, Dead Alive, The Frighteners), Philippa Boyens (The Lord Of The Rings movies, The Hobbit movies), Peter Jackson & Guillermo del Toro (Pacific Rim, Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy movies, Mimic).
Ian McKellen as Gandalf.
Martin Freeman (The World’s End, Arthur Dent in The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, Shaun Of The Dead, What’s Your Number?, Hot Fuzz, 14 eps of The Office (UK)) as Bilbo.
Richard Armitage (Captain America: The First Avenger, uncredited in Star Wars Episode 1) as Thorin.
Ken Stott (The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian) as Balin.
Graham McTavish (Erik The Viking, Pandemic, Mikhail Novakovich in 7 eps of 24, Loki in 5 eps of The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Sebastian Shaw in 4 eps of Wolverine And The X-Men) as Dwalin.
William Kircher (1 ep of Xena) as Bifur.
Orlando Bloom (The Lord Of The Rings movies, Pirates Of The Caribbean movies, The Three Musketeers, Troy) as Legolas.
Cate Blanchett (The Lord Of The Rings movies, Hanna, How To Train Your Dragon 2, Ponyo, The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, 2 eps of Family Guy) as Galadriel.
Benedict Cumberbatch (Kahn in Star Trek 12, 1 ep of The Simpsons) as Smaug / Necromancer.

 

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1170358/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: G.B.F. aka Gay Best Friend (2013)

Clint: 4.4/5 stars, 8/10.
Carolyn: 4.4/5 stars, 8/10.
Native ratings: 3.8/5 stars Netflix, 6.0/10 IMDB.

Watch it for awkward-mom Megan Mullally trying to bond with her gay son!

From the makers of Jawbreakers, which was itself a poor Man’s Heathers (which is a great compliment), comes… Another movie about the crazy games high schoolers play, and all the complex interactions of everyone’s personal angle in the agenda of their social life.

Carolyn: This was pretty entertaining, and it was funny, but it probably could have been more funny.  But it was enjoyable.

Clint: Yes, this almost made it to 5-star comedy territory.

While both Heathers and Jawbreakers were both about some Mean Girls popularizing another girl AND an accidental death, this movie took a similar attitude in writing, and applied it to being gay and coming out… But without any death or violence. (A nobody still gets popularized, though.)

This is about the games of popular teenage girls will play in order to fight over the school’s first-ever “out” gay person, who is immediately treated like an asset to be paraded around to vaunt the so-called “tolerance” that these popular girls never actually had in the first place (or the second) (or the third).
It’s interesting.

And it’s unique — Outside of Gregg Araki movies, we’re not really seeing a lot of movies with gay main characters lately.

And it’s funny. It’s billed as comedy, not comedy romance. That doesn’t mean no romance; it simply means it’s a real comedy here, not a romantic comedy. And it’s not a marketing lie.

And it’s over the top — right at home with Gregg Araki movies (and Heathers), actually, in terms of ridiculous dialogue. People just don’t talk like that! But lots of movies have people who speak completely unrealistically. It’s part of the charm of the medium.
Directed by Darren Stein (Jawbreaker, also the writer of Jawbreaker, but he didn’t write this one.).
Written by George Northy.
Michael J. Willett as Tanner Daniels.
Paul Iacono (2 eps of Human Giant) as Brent Van Camp.
Sasha Pieterse (teenage girl in X-Men: First Class, 5 eps of Heroes, 96 eps of Pretty Little Liars) as Fawcett Brooks, the main popular girl.
Andrea Bowen (3 eps of King Of The Hill, 1 ep of Batman: The Brave And The Bold) as ‘Shley Osgoode, the Mormon.
Xosha Roquemore (19 eps of The Mindy Project) as Caprice Winters, the sassy black chick.
Molly Tarlov (48 eps of Awkward) as Sophie Aster, the former friend.
Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter movies) as McKenzie Pryce. Clint recognized her. I thought she was in something else we watched and Clint recognized her then, too, but now I don’t see her in anything else on IMDB. … Uh, no Carolyn–That was someone else.
Megan Mullally (Childrens Hospital, Axe Cop, Out There, Will & Grace, Monkeybone, Date & Switch, Smashed, Once Bitten, 8 eps of Bob’s Burgers) as Mrs. Van Camp.
Natasha Lyonne (Detroit Rock City, American Pie movies, Scary Movie 2, But I’m A Cheerleader, Girl Most Likely, 1 ep of NTSF:SD:SUV::, 1 ep of Weeds) as Mrs. Hogel, the crazy cat lady school teacher.
Jonathan Silverman (The Single Guy, The Hungover Games, Snatched, Weekend At Bernie’s, Caddyshack 2, Stealing Home, The Hungover Games, 1 ep of Caroline In The City) as Mr. Daniels.
Rebecca Gayheart (Jawbreaker, Scream 2, Urban Legend, Santa’s Slay, 8 eps of Beverly Hills 90210, 3 eps of Nip/Tuck) as Mrs. Daniels.
Horatio Sanz (Saturday Night Live, Wreck-It Ralph, The Dictator, Step Brothers, Year One, Road Trip, 3 eps of Gravity Falls, 3 eps of Upright Citizen’s Brigade) as Principal Crowe.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2429074/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Knights Of Badassdom (2013)

Clint: 5/5 stars, 9/10.
Carolyn: 5/5 stars, 9.4/10.
Native ratings: 3.2/5 stars Netflix, 6.0/10 IMDB.

So I love GWAR, and Oderus Urungus (RIP) is a star in this show Holliston, which was enough for me to watch it. Holliston is a sitcom aimed at horror fans, and the 2 main characters are themselves writer-directors. We’ve now seen 2 movies from each director. Both directors each released a 5-star movie (this movie, and Adam Green’s Frozen) and a 3-star movie (Wrong Turn 2, also by Lynch, and Hatchet 1, by Green). So that’s the convoluted story of how I decided to watch this movie

And damn. I didn’t expect it to be comedy-horror; I was just thinking it was comedy. This is basically Unicorn City meets Tood And The Book Of Pure Evil.  This is way better than Unicorn City. It takes the same concept, but adds an *actual* supernatural angle… Which is really hilarious, because what the fuck do LARPers know about battling a real demon?  (Ahem…What do any of us know?)

Anyway – Nerds, gamers, D&D-players, fanboys, metalheads, potheads — This movie’s for you. Hilarious and epic. A much-needed pure comedy, existing in a world full of romantic comedies. If you like this, you REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY need to go and watch the horror-comedy-stoner-metal series Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil.
Directed by Joe Lynch (Holliston, Wrong Turn 2).

Written by Matt Wall & Kevin Dreyfuss.

Starring:
Ryan Kwanten (True Blood, 181 eps of Home And Away) as Joe, the main guy.
Steve Zahn (Diary Of A Wimpy Kid movies, Reality Bites, The Object Of My Affection, Chicken Little, You’ve Got Mail) as Eric, the cleric friend.
Peter Dinklage (Nip/Tuck, both Death At A Funeral movies, Elf, A Case Of You, Game Of Thrones, will be in X-Men: Days Of Future Past) as Hung, the warrior friend.
Brian Posehn as Gilberto.
Summer Glau (River from Firefly, Supergirl in Superman/Batman: Apocalypse, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, 1 ep of NTSF:SD:SUV::) as Gwen, the hot chick.
Brett Gipson (uncredited in Transylmania, 1 ep of The Office) as Gunther.
W. Earl Brown (Being John Malkovich, There’s Something About Mary, Scream, Vanilla Sky, Deep Impact, New Nightmare, 1 ep of Six Feet Under, 1 ep of Caroline In The City, 1 ep of Seinfeld) as Randy, the paintball redneck who got the book on his face.
Michael Gladis (Eagleheart, 1 ep of Xavier: Renegade Angel, 40 eps of Mad Men) as King Diamond.
Margarita Levieva (Adventureland, 23 eps of Revenge) as Beth, the ex-girlfriend.
Jimmi Simpson (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, The Invention of Lying, Date Night, 15 eps of Late Show With David Letterman, 3 eps of 24, 2 eps of Carnivale) as Ronnie Kwok, the gamemaster.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1545660/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Afternoon Delight (2013)

Clint: 3/5 stars, 7/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 7/10.
Native ratings: 2.8/5 stars Netflix, 5.9/10 IMDB.

This was an interesting movie about a couple with a bad sex life + overall boring life. They go to a strip club to liven things up, and the mother (Kathryn Hahn, apparently a better actor than I’d thought) ends up having the stripper (Juno Temple, a personal favorite) live in their house. The stripper is a sex positive individual (duh), getting them into uncomfortable situations that are only uncomfortable because most people ear prudes.

Ultimately, because the stripper fucks people, and because people react so negatively to sex that isn’t in their defined societal parameters — Her character gets fucked over, and blamed for everything she caused. But it was in fact everyone’s attitudes that created these problems in the first place.

And that’s my summary of the whole movie: “So she fucked some people. So what?!”

To quote the IMDB thread at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2312890/board/nest/226117425:

“What started off as a film saying something interesting about people from different walks of life and demographics forming true friendships… turned into, ‘Don’t let slutty girls in your house’. Blech.”

And that’s the flaw. Juno Temple got the shit end of the stick, and it was not good. But the movie was interesting, regardless.

Minor complaint: The writer of this movie was a writer for HBO’s Six Feet Under, and directly plagarized his OWN plot device from (attending a session as a “watcher”) from Six Feet Under for use as a plot device in this movie. To be self-derivative makes it look like straws were being grasped for.

Medium complaint: Was hoping for more of a comedy.

Major complaint: Kathryn Hahn was CLEARLY attracted to Juno Temple. That they did not have sex in this movie is a grave disservice to cinema.

Carolyn’s thoughts: This was an interesting movie, and the dynamics were strange. The unhappy depressed wife who can barely care about her son or her friends or even her husband gets her mind opened by an outing to a strip club. She kept saying she wanted to help the stripper, but there were undertones that she just wanted to help herself. Then she fucked over the stripper because she didn’t want her friend to steal her nanny (I’m a nanny-stealer) and she got weirded out by how sex-positive the stripper was.

Written & directed by Jill Soloway (writer of 7 eps of Six Feet Under, 3 eps of Baby Blues, 2 eps of The Oblongs).

Kathryn Hahn (Wanderlust, The Dictator, Step Brothers, Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy, Wake Up Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie, Ab Fab, How to Lose A Guy In 10 Days, The Hungover Games, The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, 1 ep of Bob’s Burgers, 1 ep of NTSF:SD:SUV::, 1 ep of Robot Chicken, 1 ep of Childrens Hospital, 1 ep of American Dad) as Rachel.
Juno Temple (The Dark Knight Rises, Kaboom, Small Apartments, Mr. Nobody, St. Trinian’s, The Three Musketeers, Year One) as McKenna.
Josh Radnor (200 Cigarettes, Not Another Teen Movie, How I Met Your Mother, 2 eps of Family Guy, 1 ep of Six Feet Under) as Jeff.
Jane Lynch (A.C.O.D., Wreck-It Ralph, The Three Stooges, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Glee, Shrek Forever After, 15 eps of The L Word, 3 eps of Neighbors From Hell, 2 eps of Arrested Development, 2 eps of Father Of The Pride, 2 eps of The Cleveland Show, 1 ep of The Spectacular Spider-Man, 1 ep of The Simpsons, 1 ep of News Radio) as Lenore.
Jessica St. Clair (Wanderlust, The Dictator, It’s Complicated, She’s Out Of My League, 3 eps of Weeds, 2 eps of The Life And Times Of Tim, 1 ep of The Office, 1 ep of Curb Your Enthusiasm) as Stephanie.
Michaela Watkins (In A World, Wanderlust, 15 eps of Saturday Night Live, 1 ep of NTSF:SD:SUV::, 1 ep of Robot Chicken, 1 ep of Childrens Hospital, 1 ep of Curb Your Enthusiasm, 1 ep of Mad, 1 ep of Malcolm In The Middle) as Jennie.
Josh Stamberg (Kate & Leopold, The Time Machine (2002), 2 eps of Six Feet Under, 1 ep of Arrested Development) as Matt.
John Kapelos (The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, uncredited in Legally Blonde, 1 ep of Frasier, 1 ep of Seinfeld, 1 ep of Quantum Leap, 1 ep of Lois & Clark, 1 ep of The X-Files) as Jack.
Keegan-Michael Key (Hell Baby, Wanderlust, Just Go With It, Due Date, MADtv, 2 eps of Childrens Hospital, 1 ep of Bob’s Burgers) as Bo.
Annie Mumolo (This Is 40, 1 ep of American Dad, 1 ep of Father Of The Pride) as Amanda.
Suzy Nakamura (Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, Deep Impact, Evan Almighty, uncredited in The 40-Year Old Virgin, uncredited in This Is 40, 5 eps of Curb Your Enthusiasm) as Meredith.
Noah Harpster (Disaster Movie) as Craig.
Eugene Cordero (2 eps of The Life And Times Of Tim, 1 ep of Curb Your Enthusiasm, 1 ep of The Office, 1 ep of Human Giant, 1 ep of Arrested Development, 1 ep of Newsreaders) as Bobby.

 

 

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2312890/combined

VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW;Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013)

Clint: 5/5 stars, 9/10.
Carolyn: 5/5 stars, 9/10.
Native ratings: 3.3/5 stars Netflix, 6.7/10 IMDB.

Carolyn’s thoughts:  The franchise is still hilarious.  This was funny all the way through.  It had some commentary on the state of the media also.

Clint: Yes, it’s quite strange that such an absurd franchise can have such poignant commentary on the state of mainstream media. Seriously: There is no fucking point to watching news on the TV nowadays. You may as well be watching Will Ferrell, for all the relevancy of what they talk about. They find a story to distract people, then replay it over and over and over. Watching TV news now actually makes you less informed. And it’s sad that a ridiculous franchise like this actually has a point to make.

Anyway… This was hilarious, as expected.

 

Directed by Adam McKay (Step Brothers, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Anchorman 1 and Wake Up Ron Burgundy).
Written by Will Ferrell (Step Brothers, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Anchorman 1 and Wake Up Ron Burgundy) & Adam McKay (Step Brothers, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Saturday Night Live, Anchorman 1 and Wake Up Ron Burgundy).

Will Ferrell as Ron Burgundy.
Steve Carell as Brick Tamland.
Paul Rudd as Brian Fantana.
David Koechner (The Office, 4 episodes of the 2011 Beavis & Butt-head, 12 episodes of American Dad, Final Destination 5, Sex Drive, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Thank You For Smoking, The 40 Year Old Virgin, The Dukes Of Hazzard, Small Apartments) as Champ Kind.
Christina Applegate as Veronica Corningstone.
Dylan Baker (Fido, Dr. Curt Connors in the recent Spider-Man movies, Solondz’s Happiness, The Cell, Kinsey, Requiem For A Dream, Planes,Trains & Automobiles) as Freddie Shapp.
Meagan Good (Don Jon, Saw 5) as Linda Jackson.
James Marsden (Anchorman: The Legend Continues, Small Apartments, the son in Robot & Frank, Sex Drive, Cyclops in the X-Men movies, Death At A Funeral (2010), Sex Drive) as Jack Lime.
Greg Kinnear as Gary.
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, Girl Most Likely, 2 eps of The Simpsons, 1 ep of Drunk History) as Chani Lastname.
Fred Willard as Ed Harken.
Chris Parnell (Cyril in Archer, Rick & Morty, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, The Dictator, Turbo, Saturday Night Live, 3 eps of Gravity Falls, 2 eps of The Problem Solverz, 2 eps of Drunk History) as Garth.
Harrison Ford as Mack Tannen, Veronica’s boss.
June Diane Raphael as (NTSF:SD:SUV::, Anchorman 2, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Year One, Girl Most Likely, Ass Backwards, 3 eps of American Dad, 1 ep of Drunk History) Chani’s Boss
Kirsten Dunst as El Trousias Maiden of the Clouds.
Jim Carrey as CBC News Anchor (uncredited).
Tina Fey as Entertainment Tonight Reporter (uncredited).
Amy Poehler as Entertainment Tonight Reporter (uncredited).
John C. Reilly as The Ghost of Stonewall Jackson (uncredited).
Lori Beth Sikes as Tina (uncredited).
Matthew Stanton as Skinny Guy (uncredited).
Vince Vaughn as Wes Mantooth (uncredited).
Kanye West as MTV Host (uncredited).

 

 

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1229340/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: A Case Of You (2013)

Clio: 3.4/5 stars, 7.4/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 7/10.
Native ratings: 2.7/5 stars Netflix, 5.6/10 IMDB.

It’s like one of those NBC episodes where someone invents a lie, and then just digs himself into a deeper and deeper hole with it. Plots based on lies annoy me, but then, they are realistic, and it is reality itself that is the true source of annoyance.

So anyway… This is a movie about a shy guy finally trying to get the girl — by stalking her facebook page and trying to become HER ideal man. The ultimate poser. You can imagine how such a lie would get you into bad situations.

And it all happens.

They also have a slight meta-angle, whree the main character is writing a book based on his experiences in the movie. I felt like they could have done more with this, and it was perhaps a bit forced… But I’m still glad they did it. It at least gave a chance for Vince Vaughn to exist.

And then… The movie got super-romantic at the end. I’m kind of surprised it turned out the way it did.

Carolyn’s thoughts:  This wasn’t that special, but it was a nice story.  There were some funny moments.  Peter Dinklage was hilarious.  I totally didn’t recognize Brendan Fraser as Birdie’s ex-boyfriend.  It was cute.  It definitely had that NBC “relies on lies” feel.
Directed by Kat Coiro.
Written by Justin Long, Keir O’Donnell & Christian Long (Justin’s brother).

Starring:
Justin Long (Unsupervised, Youth In Revolt, Funny People, Zack And Miri Make A Porno, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story) as Sam.
Evan Rachel Wood (S1m0ne, 1 ep of Robot Chicken) as Birdie.
Peter Dinklage (Nip/Tuck, both Death At A Funeral movies, Elf, Game Of Thrones, will be in X-Men: Days Of Future Past) as Gerard, the hilariously-weird barista.
Vince Vaughn as Alan, the annoying publicist.
Co-Writer Keir O’Donnell (Miss Nobody, Wedding Crashers) as Eliot, the roommate.
Busy Philipps (White Chicks, The Smokers, He’s Just Not That Into You, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, 2 eps of Undeclared, 1 ep of Arrested Development, 1 ep of American Dad) as Ashley, the roommate’s girlfriend.
Jenn Harris (Better Living Through Chemistry) as Jackie, Birdie’s improv friend.
Sam Rockwell (Zaphod Beeblebrox in The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy (2005), Iron Man 2, Galaxy Quest, Seven Psychopaths, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1, Better Living Through Chemistry, Heist) as Gary. Was he the publicist’s partner?
Brendan Fraser (The Mummy movies, Journey To The Center Of The Earth, Bedazzled, 2 eps of King Of The Hill) as Tony, Birdie’s ex-boyfriend. Seriously? We didn’t recognize him.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1817081/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: A.C.O.D. (2013) [“adult child of divorce”]

Clio: 4.6/5 stars, 8.3/10.
Carolyn: 4.6/5 stars, 8/10.
Native ratings: 2.9/5 stars Netflix, 5.7/10 IMDB.

Carolyn: This turned out to be better than we were expecting.  I thought the premise sounded like it could be entertaining, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Clio: Indeed… I was resisting this movie quite a bit, as I’m so fucking sick of other peoples’ divorces. I was sick of it when I was a fucking kid, and I’m more sick of it now, as now I get to deal with others’ drama directly. So I figured it wouldn’t be as funny as I’d hoped because of that. I also figured that since Carolyn & I have been together for decades, as has/had our parents… That some of this simply might not resonate through me due to a lack of personal experience.  I also figured that since it was all about families… Well, I’m not really much of a family guy, and families in movies can be annoying.

I’m pleased to report I was wrong on all counts. This took awkwardness to an enjoyable level. People dug themselves into holes; deeper and deeper. Adam Scott’s face makes my fist want to hit it repeatedly, and it didn’t ruin the movie. His fucking, scrunched-up trollface didn’t ruin the movie. It worked for portraying a neurotic child of divorce. Who had a book written about him. A best-selling book. Yea… This movie really deals with repressed childhood anger, and that indeed resonated with me.

But most of all? I laughed a lot, which was the purpose for watching a comedy movie. Yay. The end.

Directed by Stu Zicherman.
Written by Ben Karlin (4 eps of Space Ghost Coast To Coast, The Daily Show) & Stu Zicherman (Elektra).

Adam Scott (Step Brothers, Knocked Up, Parks And Recreation, 2 eps of Six Feet Under, 1 ep of Robot Chicken, 1 ep of Childrens Hospital, 1 ep of NTSF:SD:SUV::, 1 ep of Drunk History) as Carter.
Richard Jenkins (the dead dad from Six Feet Under, Fun With Dick And Jane, The Cabin In The Woods, Let Me In, The Broken, How I Got Into College, Wolf, Me,Myself & Irene, Step Brothers, Turbo, Stealing Home) as Hugh.
Catherine O’Hara (The Nightmare Before Christmas, Home Alone movies, Frankenweenie, Where The Wild Things Are, Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events, Dick Tracy, SCTV, 4 eps of Six Feet Under, 1 ep of Curb Your Enthusiasm) as Melissa.
Amy Poehler (Blades Of Glory, Shrek 3, Mean Girls, Wet Hot American Summer, Saturday Night Live, Horton Hears A Who!, Parks And Recreation, Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, 5 eps of Arrested Development, 3 eps of Undeclared, 2 eps of Wonder Showzen, 2 eps of The Simpsons, 1 ep of Napoleon Dynamite-TAS) as Sondra.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, Death Proof, Grindhouse, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Smashed, Final Destination 3) as Lauren.
Clark Duke (Hot Tub Time Machine movies, Kick-Ass movies, The Croods, Superbad, 19 eps of The Office, 5 eps of Robot Chicken, 1 ep of Childrens Hospital) as Trey.
Ken Howard (13 eps of Dynasty, 2 eps of Curb Your Enthusiasm, 1 ep of Batman-TAS, 1 ep of The Office) as Gary.
Valerie Tian (Percy Jackson 1, Jennifer’s Body, Fantastic 4: Rise Of The Silver Surfer, Juno) as Kieko.
Sarah Burns (I Love You Man, 8 eps of Drunk History) as Margo.
Jessica Alba (Dark Angel, Machete movies, Fantastic Four movies, The Ten, Idle Hands, Little Fockers, 1 ep of The Office) as Michelle.
Jane Lynch (Afternoon Delight, Wreck-It Ralph, The Three Stooges, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Glee, Shrek Forever After, 15 eps of The L Word, 3 eps of Neighbors From Hell, 2 eps of Arrested Development, 2 eps of Father Of The Pride, 2 eps of The Cleveland Show, 1 ep of The Spectacular Spider-Man, 1 ep of The Simpsons, 1 ep of News Radio) as Dr. Judith.
Jamie Renell (The Change-Up) as Tyler.
Vickie Eng (The Change-Up) as Mrs. Kobayashi.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1311060/combined

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.

Starring
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.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2272336/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Filth (2013)

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.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1450321/combined

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.

Starring
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.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1894476/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Red 2 (2013)

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.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1821694/combined

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.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1709143/combined

HAPPY NEW YEAR, FUCKERS!

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.

Starring
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.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1709143/combined

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.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1731141/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: The Wolverine (2013)

Claire: 5/5 stars, 9/10.
Carolyn: 4.6/5 stars, 8.6/10.
Evan: 4/5 stars.
Native ratings: 3.7/5 stars Netflix, 6.8/10 IMDB.

Watched in 3-D: I’ve noticed it’s really hard for me to rate 3-D movies, because the 3-d distracts me from my normal train of thought. I think some of my being-impressed-with gets transferred from the content of the movie into the spectacle of 3-D.

But hey — I guess I loved this movie, ’cause superhero stuff kicks ass, so i guess that’s 5 stars.  But I was’t orgasming over it, so I guess it’s a low 5 stars, so I guess I agree with Carolyn’s 4.6/5 rating.

Love Marvel. Love mutants. Love the X-Men. Love Wolverine. It’s almost impossible for Marvel to screw up; these movies are barely worth reviewing because they’re incredibly consistent to us.

Carolyn’s thoughts: Entertaining movie about Wolverine and the Mariko story origin. I’m looking forward to the sequel, if it ever comes out.  We love the comic superheros and I’m glad they are continuing to make them into movies.  The 3-D was alright, but didn’t seem as spectacular as it could have been.  Judging from the quality of the mountains at the beginning that Claire noticed, maybe it was converted to 3-D.
Evan: That fake mountain was pretty hilarious. Is it wrong that I like the ninja guy better then Hawkeye? (As a ranger-type character.) The 3-D is always better at your place, so my ratings typically go up a notch when I rewatch stuff there. I’d give wolvy a 4. Not enough action.

Directed by James Mangold (Kate & Leopold, Girl Interrupted, Knight And Day).
Written by Mark Bomback (Fifty Shades Of Grey, Total Recall remake) and Scott Frank (Get Shorty, Minority Report, Dead Again).

Starring Hugh Jackman (X-Men movies, Movie 43, Rise Of The Guardians, Van Helsing, Kate & Leopold) as Logan.
Tao Okamoto as Mariko.
Rila Fukushima as Yukio.
Hiroyuki Sanada (Ring & Ring 2, Speed Racer, 5 eps of Lost) as Shingen.
Svetlana Khodchenkova as Viper.
Brian Tee (1 ep of The Problem Solverz, 1 ep of Sym-Bionic Titan) as Noburo.
Hal Yamanouchi as Yashida.
Will Yun Lee (Total Recall remake) as Harada.
Famke Janssen (The Faculty, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, The Wackness, The Ten, 11 eps of Nip/Tuck) as Jean Grey.
Ian McKellen as Magneto (uncredited).
Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier (uncredited).

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1430132/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: After Earth (2013)

Claire: 3.2/5 stars, 6.8/10.
Carolyn: 4/5 stars, 7.4/10.
Native ratings: 3.1/5 stars Netflix, 5.0/10 IMDB.

Claire’s thoughts: This wasn’t as good as I hoped.  Interstellar travel, yet we spend our time on earth. Futuristic technology, yet we mostly just see clothes and a sword.  Too much father stuff and not enough aliens stuff.  The moral of fear being optional is a bit too Vulcan for me. I’ll file it under “sacharrine platitudes” right next to “you can be anything you want to be” and “looks don’t matter”.  The kid’s accent is annoying, and why would I want to watch a movie that’s mostly just a kid in the woods anyway? And WHERE’S MY FUCKING TWIST, Shyamalan? Is the twist of this movie that there isn’t a twist???

That’s a lot of bad things I just said, but I still liked the movie. It just wasn’t spectacular. I think these days people have come to expect that from Shyamalan. They should have let him continue with the Avatar movies, goddamnit. The Last Airbender 2 would have been so much better than this.

I still liked it though.

Carolyn’s thoughts: I thought the point of the movie would be to show more of what happened to earth after the humans abandoned it.  They touched on how nature took over, but I thought it would more about that and less about the kid’s relationship with his father. The accent was kind of annoying at first, but then you get used to it.

Directed by M. Night Shyamalan (The Last Airbender, Lady In The Water, The Village, Signs, Unbreakable, The Sixth Sense)
Screenplay written by Gary Whitta (Walking Dead video games) and M. Night Shyamalan.
Story written by Will Smith.

Starring Will Smith’s son Jaden Smith (The Day The Earth Stood Still) as Kitai Raige.
Will Smith (The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, Men In Black movies, Wild Wild West, Independence Day, I Robot, Hancock, Anchorman 2) as Cypher Raige.
Sophie Okonedo (Sithandra in Aeon Flux, Hotel Rwanda, ) as Faia Raige.
Zoe Kravitz (X-Men: First Class, It’s Kind Of A Funny Story) as Senshi Raige.
Glenn Morshower (Aaron Pierce in 24, X-Men: First Class, Transformers: Dark Of The Moon, The Men Who Stare At Goats) as Commander Velan.
David Denman (Roy Anderson in The Office, Fanboys, Big Fish) as Private McQuarrie.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1815862/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Last Vegas (2013)

Claire: 4.2/5 stars, 8.2/10.
Carolyn: 4/5 stars, 8/10.
Native ratings: 3.7/5 stars Netflix, /10 IMDB.

This was pretty funny.  Old people decide to go on a Vegas trip for a bachelor party. We had our honeymoon in Vegas, so it always imparts a personal meaning to movies that take place in Vegas.  I gotta say, though, that these guys appeared to have had a better time than us ;) Because movie logic kicks ass. Want the best party ever? Just have a 10 second montage where you’re passing out flyers. Bam! Party appears! Not even Pinkie Pie can manage that!

But there’s actually a lot more to this. Distinct characters with distinct stories. Honestly, if you drink too much while watching this movie, it can actually confuse you! This is described as “Hangover for old people”, but there’s no real hangover or major binge drinking in the movie. Just a bunch of stuff happening, with jokes interspersed.

This is how a party comedy is meant to be, and it’s very refreshing to see it with old people instead of young people.  (Either way, none of them will be MY age.) [40 as of writing this review]

Honestly, I’m surprised they pulled it off.  This entertained, and that’s all I really want from a comedy about a bachelor party in Vegas.

Directed by Jon Turteltaub (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, National Treasure movies).
Written by Dan Fogelman (Crazy Stupid Love).

Starring:
Michael Douglas as Billy.
Robert De Niro as Paddy.
Morgan Freeman as Archie.
Kevin Kline (Mr. Fischoeder in Bob’s Burgers, The Pink Panther (2006)) as Sam.
Mary Steenburgen (Clara Clayton in Back To The Future 3 and the TV series, Four Christmases, Step Brothers, Inland Empire, Elf, 5 eps of Curb Your Enthusiasm, 1 ep of Robot Chicken) as Diana.
Romany Malco (Conrad in Weeds, Darius in Unsupervised, Blades Of Glory, The 40-Year Old Virgin) as Lonnie.
Roger Bart (Harold & Kumar 2, Hostel 2, The Stepford Wives, 1 ep of The Life & Times Of Tim) as Maurice.
Joanna Gleason (Maddy Platter in King Of The Hill, 1 ep of Delocated) as Miriam.
Marla Malcolm (\+1, Road Trip) as Party Guest.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1204975/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Bad Milo (2013)

Claire: 4/5 stars, 7.7/10.
Carolyn: 4/5 stars, 7.7/10.
Native ratings: 2.8/5 stars Netflix, 5.7/10 IMDB.

Of interest if you like Ken “I want to dip my balls in it” Marino from The State.

This is a comedy-horror, with a lot of ass grossness.  A monster lives in Ken Marino’s ass.

However — for a movie where characters are mildly covered in shit during several scenes — it was surprisingly funny and not that visually gross.

Comedy-horror is a great genre, almost post-modern in its own admission that this wouldn’t really happen, so you’re not actually supposed to be scared, so the whole “horror” genre becomes an oxymoron.  And this movie is moronic, alright…

Funny and entertaining. Absolutely more fun than movies more well-written than this.  A very singular movie. I don’t think I’ll see this story repeated much :)

This could have been a Troma movie… But it’s actually produced better than that.
This could have been a skit from The State… But it’s actually produced better than that.

It was surprising how… legitimate?!?!…And…Cute?!?!?!… this movie could be at times?!?!?! What the fuck, I’m typing that??  Well… I guess that’s kind of part of the joke. The ending is quite what I would have expected. Dare I say it was heartwarming?  Wow.

Directed by Jacob Vaughan.
Written by Jacob Vaughan and Benjamin Hayes.

Starring Ken Marino (The State, Childrens Hospital, Stella, Wet Hot American Summer, Flute Cop in Axe Cop, Wanderlust, In A World, Hoodwinked, 1 ep of The Sarah Silverman Program) as Duncan.
Gillian Jacobs (The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World, Hot Tub Time Machine 2, 1 ep of The Venture Bros., 1 ep of Robot Chicken, 1 ep of Aqua Teen Hunger Force) as Sarah, the wife.
Mary Kay Place (Smashed, Youth In Revolt, Being John Malkovich, It’s Complicated, Girl Interrupted, Shrek Forever After, 6 eps of My So-Called Life, 3 eps of King Of The Hill, 1 ep of The Life & Times Of Tim) as Beatrice, the mom.
Claudia Choi (1 ep of Weeds) as Jillian.
Toby Huss (Kahn Souphanousinphone Sr in King Of The Hill, Carnivale, Bedazzled, 4 eps of The Venture Bros., 4 eps of Harvey Birdman, 2 eps of Beavis & Butt-head (2011), 1 ep of NTSF:SD:SUV, 1 ep of Childrens Hospital, 1 ep of Adventure Time, 2 eps of Kung Fu Panda) as Dr. Yeager.
Patrick Warburton (Seinfeld, The Tick, Family Guy, The Venture Bros. Movie 43, Men In Black 2, 3 eps of Archer) as Phil, the boss.
Peter Stormare (Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, Small Apartments, The Big Lebowski, Minority Report, Chocolat, 1 ep of Adventure Time) as Highsmith.
Kumail Nanjiani (Michael And Michael Have Issues, 6 eps of Portlandia, 3 eps of Newsreaders, 2 eps of Adventure Time, 1 ep of Drunk History) as Bobbi, the mom’s husband.
Stephen Root (Bill Dauterive in King Of The Hill, Office Space, NewsRadio, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, The Men Who Stare At Goats, Penguin in Batman: The Brave And The Bold, Superman: Unbound, 5 eps of Gravity Falls, 3 eps of The Legend Of Korra, 1 ep of the new Thundercats) as Roger, the dad.
Steve Zissis (1 ep of The Office) as Dr. Yip / Milo.
And as the voice of Ralph — the other turd-monster — we have David Herman (Scruffy from Futurama [as well as Wernstrom], Buckley from King Of The Hill, Mr. Frond from Bob’s Burgers, Idiocracy, Dude Where’s My Car?, Michael Bolton from Office Space, Steve from Brickleberry, Ubuntu from The Goode Family, Uncle Gabby from The Drinky Crow Show, Officer Papermouth from Moral Orel, Roy from Father Of The Pride, 2 eps of 24, MADtv).

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2274570/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: +1 aka Plus 1 aka Plus One (2013)

Claire: 4/5 stars, 8/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 7.4/10.
Native ratings: 3.1/5 stars Netflix, 5.5/10 IMDB.

Parties are fun, but then the weird shit starts happening.  This movie managed to merge a high school reunion party, aliens, clones, and time distortion all into one light-hearted sci-fi thriller.  The party framework makes it feel almost as if it’s a comedy — there’s jokes and funny stuff and everything.

Ultimately, this was entertaining AND interesting. It was hard to know where the plot was going. Hints of the movie Triangle at times.

Also interesting was that the people with violent tendencies who decided to use lethal force were left “incomplete”. The peaceful ones focused on love and/or understanding simply got to become… more? Of course it’s ultimately unclear, but I did find it interesting and I liked that kind of commentary about violent tendencies.

Directed by Dennis Iliadis (The Last House On The Left)
Written by Dennis Iliadis and Bill Gullo.

Starring Rhys Wakefield (The Purge) as David. Claire recognized him instantly as being in The Purge.
Logan Miller (Nova in Ultimate Spider-Man, Would You Rather, 1 ep of Childrens Hospital) as Teddy.
Ashley Hinshaw as Jill.
Natalie Hall (181 eps of All My Children) as Melanie.
Ronald Ogden (1 ep of Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell) as Mike.
Marla Malcolm (Road Trip) as Heather.
Rhoda Griffis (The Hunger Games, Mean Girls 2, Year One, Road Trip) as Mrs. Howard (uncredited).

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2395385/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: The Hunger Games 2: Catching Fire (2013)

Claire: 5/5 stars, 8.9/10.
Carolyn: 5/5 stars, 8.9/10.
Native ratings: 4.4/5 stars Netflix, 8.1/10 IMDB.

What can we say that hasn’t been said? This is extremely popular, so it warrants less effort to review. Let’s just say: We fucking loved it. We love this trilogy and are glad it will only be another couple of years before we get to see the end of the story.

However…

However, it wasn’t as good as the first. That’s kind of to be expected with the middle movie of a trilogy.

Beware the abrupt ending. Abrupt ending is abrupt.

This movie really is more of the same, but with differences… Like the 2nd line in a three-line joke.

So some people will undoubtedly complain. I’ve already heard them complain.

I can’t find Claire’s review of the first one, but the ratings we emailed each other for the first one: Ca: 4.6/8.6, Cl: 5/9. So I liked this one better than the first one. I noticed that the average IMDB rating of the first one is 7.3 and the rating for this one is 8.1.

Directed by Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend).
Written by Simon Beaufoy (127 Hours, Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day, The Full Monty) and Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3, Brave).

Based on the book by Suzanne Collins.

Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique in X-Men: First Class) as Katniss Everdeen.
Liam Hemsworth (Triangle, The Expendables 2) as Gale Hawthorne.
Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy.
Josh Hutcherson (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 Peeta Mellark.
Donald Sutherland as President Snow.
Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games, Miri In Zack And Miri Make A Porno, Fred Claus, The 40 Year Old Virgin, Betty Brant in the Spider-Man movies, Wet Hot American Summer, The Details, Movie 43) as Effie Trinket.
Nelson Ascencio (he’s a writer and various voices on MADtv, 1 ep of Curb Your Enthusiasm, 1 ep of The Larry Sanders Show) as Flavius.
Lenny Kravitz as Cinna.
Stanley Tucci (Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters, Captain America: The First Avenger, Swing Vote) as Caesar Flickerman.
Wilbur Fitzgerald (Anchorman 2, The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, RoboCop 3) as Cray.
Patrick St. Esprit (Super 8) as Commander Thread.
Toby Jones (Dobby’s voice in the Harry Potter movies, Snow White And The Huntsman, Captain America: The First Avenger, Saint Trinian’s 2) as Claudius Templesmith.
Jena Malone (Sucker Punch, Howl’s Moving Castle, 1 ep of Robot Chicken) as Johanna Mason.
Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Invention Of Lying, The Boat That Rocked aka Pirate Radio, The Big Lebowski, Magnolia, Boogie Nights, Scent Of A Woman, Twister) as Plutarch Heavensbee.
Sam Claflin (Pirates Of The Caribbean 4, Snow White And The Huntsman) as Finnick Odair.

Bruce Bundy as Octavia. I was trying to figure out who she is and whether I should list her, and I was like “Wait, isn’t Bruce a boy’s name?” Then I see her early credits say she was credited as “Brooke Bundy” so then I was wondering if she went through a sex change… Nope, I guess according to her facebook page, there was already a Brooke Bundy so she decided to go with Bruce as a “bold move”. Weird stuff. I still don’t know what character she is in the movie, though.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1951264/combined