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: How To Lose Friends & Alienate People (2008)

Clio: 3/5 stars, 6/10.
Carolyn: 3.6/5 stars, 7.2/10.
Native ratings: 3.2/5 stars Netflix, 6.5/10 IMDB.

A moderately funny movie where Simon Pegg plays an asshole celebrity journalist who wants to shake things up. Watch this for the Simon Pegg Vs. Megan Fox Vs. Kirsten Dunst love triangle. This movie is pretty predictable, and not that special. I’d only recommend it if you are a fan of the actors. In that case, it is serviceable and worth a few laughs.

Directed by Robert B. Weide (producer and director on Curb Your Enthusiasm), and based on a book by Toby Young–Who was subsequently banned from the set as he was reportedly annoying actors and interrupting the director as he tried to direct scenes.

Simon Pegg plays the main character, with Kirsten Dunst as the co-worker, and Megan Fox as the movie star. Jeff Bridges (The Dude!) as the magazine editor. Gillian Anderson (Scully in X Files…officially hotter now than ever) as the publicist.  Danny Huston (Poseiden in Clash Of The Titans remake, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, The Number 23) as the douche. Also, the landlord lady–Mariam Margoyles–was in Harry Potter (Professor Pomono Spout).

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0455538/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: Youth In Revolt (2009)

Clio: 3.4/5 stars, 7.4/10.
Carolyn: 3.4/5 stars, 7.4/10.
Native ratings: 3.3/5 stars Netflix, 6.5/10 IMDB.

This was decent. It was sort of a romance/comedy/drama — a rom-com that is a bit heavier on the romance than on the comedy.

It was still funny a lot of the time, in part because it had this vague Fight Club-ish weirdness to it. Michael Cera developing another personality in order to get with the girl. He needs to be bad to get himself kicked out of his mom’s house to go life with his dad, so he develops a split personality disorder.

There are actually several moments where this movie is basically a disturbing psychological thriller…. But then the comedy or the romance kicks in, so it doesn’t stay disturbing throughout (like, say, Fight Club, or The Number 23).

Definitely an interesting and entertaining romantic comedy — with a side-serving of disturbingness.  And definitely the widest range of acting I’ve ever seen coming from Michael Cera (which isn’t saying much).
Directed by Miguel Arteta (3 eps of Six Feet Under, 1 ep of The Office).
Based on a novel by C.D. Payne, who had a cameo as “neighbor on porch”.

Starring Michael Cera (Superbad, Arrested Development, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, Nick And Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Juno, Childrens Hospital) as Nick Twisp / Francois, and Portia Doubleday (relative beautiful newcomer) as Sheeni Saunders.

M. Emmet Walsh (Big Guy And Rusty The Boy Robot, The Iron Giant, Wild Wild West, Twilight) as her strict religious dad, and Mary Kay Place (Smashed, Being John Malkovich, Pecker, Girl Interrupted, 6 eps of My So-Called Life) as her strict religious mom.

Cera’s family is: Jean Smart (Designing Women, Martha Logan in 24, Pickles Oblong in The Oblongs, I Heart Huckabees) as the mom, and Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover, Between Two Ferns, Visioneers, Tim & Eric, It’s Kind Of A Funny Story, Due Date) as her douchebag boyfriend, and Steve Buscemi as his dad. His mom’s later boyfriend is Ray Liotta (Observe And Report, Date Night, Blow, Hannibal, Field Of Dreams).

Cera’s friends are: Erik Knudsen (Scream 4, Scott Pilgrim, Degrassi:TNG) as his friend Lefty, and Adhir Kalyan (3 eps as Dr. Raj Paresh in Nip/Tuck, Fired Up!) as Vijay Joshi.

Fred Willard has a small part as their neighbor, Mr. Ferguson.

Jonathan B. Wright as the rival boyfriend, Trent. He played a beefy guy in Nick And Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Seems a lot of Nick & Norah people were in this movie, such as:

Ari Graynor (Caroline in Nick And Norah, What’s Your Number?, 4 eps of The Sopranos, Date Night) as Lacey.

Justin Long (Unsupervised, Funny People, Zack And Miri Make A Porno, Dodgeball) as Paul Saunders, the girl’s brother.

Rooney Mara (The Social Network, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo remake, A Nightmare On Elm Street remake) as Taggarty.

And oh, there’s an old man played by Michael Collins. He’s the astronaut who went to the moon with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, and had to stay in the ship and not step foot on the moon. Is his minor role (that nobody noticed) in this movie a symbol of his moon role? Nobody rememebers him. I don’t know his name. Most don’t. And now he’s in a movie where nobody will remember him. That’s too bad. :/

By the way: There was a pilot for a TV series of this made in 1998 for MTV: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0173998/combined

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0403702/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: Cloud Atlas (2012)

4.6/5 stars, 9/10 from both of us.
Native rating: 3.7/10 stars Netflix, 8.0/10 IMDB.

I don’t normally like the movies of several different unrelated/barely-related lives, but then, this isn’t that. Everything is connected. The editing and execution was magnificent. They said this book could never be made into a movie, but they were wrong.

Six stories in six different periods of time, all linked, all being told simultaneously. And it’s actually pretty easy to follow, with the exception of the future-English spoken in the post-apocalypstic one. I’m sure I didn’t realize all the linkages between different stories, but it was absolutely watchable and not a scattered mess like some thought it was going to be. It was quite interesting!

Basically, Wachowski siblings FTW! As always!

It actually took me a few seconds to realize which characters were Tom Hanks… And Halle Berry as the male asian doctor was one of the most deceptive makeup jobs in the movie. Basically, each actor was several characters. David Lynch probably really liked this movie.

Carolyn: “I felt like I felt with Benjamin Button, a wholesome love-conquers-all feel, but then also revolution, going against the norm, speaking/fighting for what’s right, not accepting the status quo. It was a good movie.”

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1371111/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

BOOKS: Lord OF The Rings: The Terrible Secret of Tom Bombadil

Verrrrrrry interesting speculation on Tom Bombadil (who was skipped over in the movies) actually being one of the most evil characters in Middle Earth.

LINK URL: http://km-515.livejournal.com/1042.html