VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: 21 & Over (2013)

Clio: 3.4/5 stars, 7/10.
Carolyn: 2.6/5 stars, 7/10.
Native ratings: 3.5/5 stars Netflix, /10 IMDB.

Written & directed by Jon Lucas & Scott Moore (The Hangover movies, The Change-Up). Oh yay! Party movie!

But wait! This is the least funny movie these guys have ever done. It was OK, but it could have been funnier, and there could have been more to it. It just kind of fell a little bit flat.

It was definitely not as good as The Hangover movies… The Change-Up was also way better than this one.

This still had laughs, memorable characters, and memorable moments. Plenty of ridiculousness. And it’s not that the genre’s dead, or that we’re sick of it. I love this kind of movie. But some are better than others. This one was unfortunately more in the league of National Lampoon than American Pie. Everything was a bit more contrived and forced and less satisfying.

I still liked it… But coming in from “OMG MOVIE BY THE HANGOVER PEOPLE”-level expectations is a recipe for disappointment.

Starring Miles Teller (we haven’t seen the other 13 things he’s been in) as Miller, the party-hard one.
Skylar Astin (Roy from Wreck-It Ralph) as Casey, the responsible one.
Justin Chon (Eric in the Twilight movies, Puff Puff Pass) as Jeff Chang, the stressed-out Asian.
Sarah Wright (The House Bunny) as Nicole, the love interest.
Jonathan Keltz (American Pie presents Beta House) as Randy, the douchebag boyfriend.
Francois Chau (Lethal Weapon 4, Quick Kick in G.I. Joe, Shredder in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Secret of the Ooze) as Dr. Chang, Jeff Chang’s father.
The chicks that made out with each other? One was in In Time, and one was in 17 Again. So weird.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1711425/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (2013)

Clio: 2.8/5 stars, 5.8/10.
Carolyn: 2.6/5 stars, 5/10.
Native ratings: 3.2/5 stars Netflix, 5.9/10 IMDB.

Man. This movie had such potential. The main cast is Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi, Jim Carrey, Olivia Wilde, and (less so) James Gandolfini (Sopranos!) and Alan Arkin (The Change-Up, Argo, Gattaca, Grosse Pointe Blank, The Last Unicorn, Edward Scissorhands).

These are all great actors.

The premise was suspicious — rival magicians? Well, it’s just ridiculous enough that it could work! They make fun of Criss Angel, and do make a valid point that these new “magicians” aren’t doing tricks… They are doing stunts, and that’s not “magic”.

It’s directed by the 30 Rock director. People say that’s funny, right?  Well at this point, I’m less likely to watch 30 Rock than ever… Because this movie FELL FLAT. Let’s look at who wrote it… A guy involved in Shit My Dad Says (the show). If I’d known that… I’d probably have steered clear of this movie. The other writer was Mitch from the movie Waiting, but yea… These guys don’t write funny things I’ve heard of.

So yes. Magic-partner buddy bromance with a side of romance, and a side of friendship. Many ingredients that could have worked together well, but ultimately did not.

 

This movie is hollow and fell flat. It wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t that good.

There were definitely laughs, and a scene or two I’ll never forget in my entire life. But I don’t know if it was worth our time. Perhaps we would have enjoyed it better if we had seen The Prestige.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0790628/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Side Effects (2013)

Clio: 3.6/5 stars, 8/10.
Carolyn: 4/5 stars, 8/10.
Native ratings: 3.6/5 stars Netflix, 7.2/10 IMDB.

Slightly creepy movie with a message about how broken our mental health & pharmaceutical systems are. But just when you think it’s a political drama…. It turns out to be more of a mystery/thriller than you expect.  The twists in tone made the “fucked up”-edness feel that much more sinister. Briefly confusing, with everything making sense in the end.  Things do not go where you’d expect; I was actually reminded of the feeling of watching the end of Wild Things when this movie ended — everything not quite being what it seemed.

Watched this with Jesse, who seemed to enjoy it a lot, though he had some problems finding Catherine Zeta-Jones‘s character/acting believable.

Directed by Steven Soderbergh (The Informant!, Contagion, Erin Brockovitch, Sex, Lies, & Videotape, Ocean’s 11, Solaris, Full Frontal).  Soderberg is a major hit-or-miss director with us — I flat out hated several of his films, and only really liked 50% of them. But I keep coming back for more because of the better half of Soderberg films — and this was in that half.

Written by Scott Z. Burns (Contagion, The Informant!, The Bourne Ultimatum).

Rooney Mara (Lisbeth Salander in the American version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo movies, Youth In Revolt, The Social Network) as Emily Taylor.  Clio got us all thinking this was the girl from the Swedish version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. She convinced us and everything. Nope! That would be Noomi Rapace! Duhhh!
Jude Law (Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Parnassus, eXisitenZ, Lemony Snicket, Gattaca, Contagion, Repo Men, Rise Of The Guardians, and many more) as Dr. Jonathan Banks, the psychiatrist.
Catherine Zeta-Jones (The Mask Of Zorro, Ocean’s 11, Traffic, Rock Of Ages) as Dr. Victoria Siebert, the former psychiatrist.
Channing Tatum as Martin Taylor, the husband who was just released from jail.
Polly Draper (1 ep of The Larry Sanders Show) as Emily’s Boss.
David Costabile (Gale from Breaking Bad) as Carl. Totally didn’t make the connection.
Vinessa Shaw (Eyes Wide Shut) as Dierdre Banks, the wife of the psychiatrist.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2053463/combined

Clio: 4.6/5 stars, 8.6/10.

Carolyn: 5/5 stars, 9/10.

Native ratings: 3.7/5 stars Netflix, 5.6/10 IMDB.

This movie was a bit more fun than The Change-Up. It had less romance and more adventure. It might not have been as funNY, but it had more FUN. It’s hard to rate the two, actually. We either had a stroke of luck in our selections, or we were in extremely good moods while watching these movies.

This is a caper about a guy who self-bounty-hunts his identity thief, in order to keep from losing his job. She is an irritating sociopath, and together they have to take a road trip. It is perhaps a coming-of-age story for the sociopath, as they inevitably form a love-hate relationship (but mostly hate). The things she does…

Amazing how many negative things people have to say, simply because Melissa McCarthy is fat. It’s not that big of a deal! Jesus. And then the other negative things about the movie not being funny. I guess when you have a sociopathic, irritating character on screen, people lose their ability to feel humor. I am glad Carolyn & I are not jaded, and can enjoy a fine comedy such as this. It seems 95% of the IMDB comments are from people who hated the movie!

Apparently you have to be someone who loves comedies, to love this comedy. But it’s honestly better than most comedies out there! Fuck everyone else’s grim lives, we enjoyed this and you can’t stop us!

Directed by Seth Gordon (Four Christmases).
Written by Craig Mazin (The Hangover movies, Scary Movie 3 & 4, Senseless) (screenplay) and Jerry Eeten (story).

Starring Jason Bateman (Arrested Development, The Change-Up, Sit Down Shut Up, The Invention Of Lying, Hancock, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Juno) as Sandy Patterson.
Amanda Peet (Gulliver’s Travels, 2012, Saving Silverman) as Trish Patterson, the pregnant wife.
Melissa McCarthy (The Hangover 3, This Is 40, 1 ep of Curb Your Enthusiasm, Charlie’s Angels, Go) as Diana, the Identity Thief.
Jon Favreau (Iron Man, I Love You Man, Swingers, Made, John Carter, Elf, Four Christmases, 6 eps of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, 6 eps of Friends) as Harold Cornish, the old douchebag boss.
John Cho (Harold from the Harold & Kumar movies, Sulu in the new Star Trek movies, American Pie movies, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Total Recall remake, Smiley Face) as Daniel Casey, the new boss.
Jonathan Banks (Mike from Breaking Bad, Puff Puff Pass, Gremlins) as Paul.
Morris Chestnut (Ryan Nichols in the V remake series) as Detective Reilly.
Robert Patrick (T-1000 in Terminator 2, Die Hard 2, The Men Who Stare At Goats, Bridge to Terabithia, Roger Bannon in The Real Adventures Of Jonny Quest, The Faculty, 4 eps of Sopranos, 1 ep of American Dad. He reminded us of a younger JigSaw from the Saw movies) as Skiptracer. We really thought he was Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) from the Saw movies, but apparently he simply has the capacity to look like a similar person.
Eric Stonestreet (Bad Teacher, 1 ep each of Nip/Tuck, Greg The Bunny, & Malcolm In The Middle) as Big Chuck.
Steve Little (Peppermint Butler in Adventure Time, Dr. Barber in The Marvelous Misadventures Of Flapjack) as Party Guy’s Buddy. Only mentioning that because it’s weird to play minor characters in a cartoon, and then in this.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2024432/

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Movie 43 (2013)

Clio: 5/5 stars, 9/10.
Carolyn: 5/5 stars, 8.6/10.
Jesse: “That was awesome.”
iDRMRSR: “Oh this was a GREAT flick. I had to shampoo my reclinar after I watched it I crapped my slacks so many times laughing.”
Native ratings: 3.0/5 stars Netflix, only 4.4/10 IMDB.

This movie took me places I’ve never been before. It gets really low ratings becuase it is too ridiculous, disgusting, and low-brow. But if you like the Family Guy/South Park style of humor, IGNORE THE LOW RATINGS and go for this.

It is a series of about 13 interconnected segments. The framing-device part that encapsulates all of the sketches is probably the worst part. The individual segments range from funny to oh-god-make-it-stop awkward to disgusting to ridiculous.

For example, Hugh Jackman goes on a blind date with Kate Winslet, and he has testicles that hang off his neck. The whole segment is about Winslet’s disbelief at Jackman’s neckticles.

There’s also a super hero speed dating segment.

Great movie that totally exceeded all of our expectations.

BTW, another reason to watch this movie? Ensemble cast. Anna Faris (why do you think we watched this?), Emma Stone, Hugh Jackman, Johnny Knoxville, Kate Winslet, Naomi Watts, Kate Bosworth, Elizabeth Banks, Uma Thurman, Leslie Bibb, Kristen Bell, Seth MacFarlane, Patrick Warburton, Liev Schreiber, Gerard Butler, Seann William Scott, Dennis Quaid, J.B. Smoove, Justin Long, Greg Kinnear, Charlie Saxton, Chris Pratt, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chloe Grace Moretz, Stephen Merchant… and even Snooki.

Even the directors of the segments include Bob Odenkirk (who wrote his segment) and Elizabeth Banks.

This movie is all over the place, and that’s awesome.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1333125/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Warm Bodies (2013)

Clio: 5/5 stars, 9/10.
Carolyn: 5/5 stars, 9/10.
Jess: 3.4/5 stars, 5.9/10.
Native ratings: 4.0/5 stars Netflix, /10 IMDB.

*Another* zombie romance movie? Awesome! But unlike Boy Eats Girl, this one is post-apocalyptic, in a world populated almost exclusively with zombies. Like I Am Legend.

And yet, this movie is completely and wholely about the power of love.

Very good movie. It didn’t get too sappy with the romance part, and the zombies were awesome. There is a surprising amount of comedy. Surprising. And this had a slightly different take on zombie-ism. For instance, with great effort, a zombie can utter word or two. And there were two kinds of zombies: The normal zombies, and the ones that had given up so much hope that they’d peeled their skin off and were basically walking skeletons. These ones were feared even by the normal zombies.

I’d describe the movie math behind this as (I Am Legend * ((Twilight + Romeo & Juliet) / 2)) – teen emo bullshit + Boy Eats Girl… I caught on to the Romeo & Juliette similarties during the balcony scene.

But the fact that I just said Twilight might scare people. However, Teresa Palmer, to me, looks exactly like a blonde Kristin Stewart. And being loved by something that has a natural instinct to devour you is the basic premise of both Twilight and this movie.

But the fact that I just said Twilight might scare people. However, Teresa Palmer, to me, looks exactly like a blonde Kristin Stewart. And being loved by something that has a natural instinct to devour you is the basic premise of both Twilight and this movie.

In the end, you are left with a great message of hope, the power of love, and human triumph over darkness. Can love change the way the entire planet functions? Yes. Yes it can. And I’m not just talking about the movie.

Beware: This is a work of fiction, and makes no attempt to be fully logical. For example, electricity is still working even though society has collapsed. If you’re unable to look past something like that (but somehow able to look past the fact that zombies don’t actually exist), you might want to resolve that mental incongruity prior to watching.

Directed and written by Jonathan Levine. This is his best movie, though The Wackness was also good and profound.
Based on a novel by Isaac Marion.

Nicholas Hoult (Beast in X-Men: First Class, Clash Of The Titans remake) as R the Zombie.
Teresa Palmer (Take Me Home Tonight, The Grudge 2) as the human girl, Julie.
John Malkovichas Julie’s father, Grigio.
Analeigh Tipton (Crazy Stupid Love, The Green Hornet) as Julie’s horney friend, Nora.
Rob Corddry (Hot Tub Time Machine, Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay, the clown doctor in Childrens Hospital, Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World, The Ten) as M.
James Franco’s brother Dave (Superbad, the new 21 Jumpstreet, The Riddler in 2 eps of Young Justice) plays Perry, the original boyfriend.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1588173/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: I Give It a Year (2013)

I Give It A Year (2013) – Clio: 3/5 stars, 6.4/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 6.4/10.
Native ratings: 3.4/5 stars Netflix, 6.0/10 IMDB.

This was most likely selected to be watched because 1) Anna Faris, 2) sounded tolerable. Pleased to say it delivered on both fronts, and even exceeded the average rom-com. This is a *BRITISH* rom-com, so there’s a bit more nuance and class to things (even though 2 of the 4 main characters are USAians).

The beginning half was much funnier than the ending half — like most formulaic rom-coms. INCREDIBLY AWKWARD SCENES. Lots of awkwardness. So awkward.

Things get interesting when we start to realize that instead of the normal a love triangle (or love line segment), this movie gives us a love quadrangle.

Things get even more interesting when you realize that this movie actually has a yin-yang zen balance to it that other rom-coms want — This is as much about ending a bad relationship as it is about starting a good relationship.

The ending was pretty damn unique and awesome for a romantic comedy, and the movie is possibly solely worth watching just for The Climactic Scene That Is The Opposite Of What You’d Think It Would Be, and The Twice As Improbable As Usual Ending Scene.

I’d recommend it if you want to see a “rom-com done right” (not my words).

Directed and written by Dan Mazer (writer of Bruno, 4 eps of Da Ali G Show, Director of 6 eps of Da Ali G Show)

Starring Rafe Spall (Prometheus, Shaun Of The Dead, Grindhouse, Hot Fuzz, Life Of Pi) as the husband Josh.
Rose Byrne (Moira MacTaggert in X-Men: First Class, Get Him To The Greek, 28 Weeks Later, Sunshine, 1 ep of Portlandia) as Josh’s wife, Nat.
Anna Faris as Chloe, the ex-girlfriend.
Simon Baker (Sex And Death 101, L.A. Confidential) as That Corporate Guy Who Would Be Hugh Grant If This Was Another Movie.
Stephen Merchant (Ricky Gervais‘s sidekick) as the Glen Colen the creepy friend.
Minnie Driver (Brooke Shields in the South Park movie, Carlotta in The Phantom Of The Opera) as the friend who hates her husband, Naomi. Damn she’s still got it going on.
Jason Flemyng (Azazel in X-Men: First Class, Hanna, Clash Of The Titans remake, Kick-Ass, Mirrors, Transporter 2, Snatch, Clueless) as Hugh, the husband.
Nigel Planer (Neil from the Young Ones, The Colour Of Magic, Hogfather, Brazil) as someone’s dad.
Jane Asher (she’s been around since the 50’s.) as Diana, main wife’s mom.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2244901/combined