VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Funeral Kings (2012)

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

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

“Two altar boys decide to play hooky.”

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

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

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

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

Speaking of Carolyn, her thoughts:

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

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

Written & directed by Kevin McManus & Matthew McManus.

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

Ian B’s review can be found here.

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

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: The Big Hit (1998)

Claire: 4.2/5 stars, 8.1/10.
Carolyn: 3.6/5 stars, 7.0/10.
Native ratings: 3.4/5 stars Netflix, 5.9/10 IMDB.

A comedy-crime-romance, with the comedy coming first. It was Carolyn’s first time seeing this movie, but Claire had already seen it in the theater in 1998 when it came out.

The chick they kidnap is China Chow. She is 3/4 Chinese, 1/4 German. Check out her IMDB pictures. Beautiful.

Carolyn says: “It was entertaining. I enjoyed it. The vomit scene was disgusting, but also pretty funny.”

Almost all movie covers and posters at the video rental store are from Troma Entertainment. And that says a bit about this movie’s penchant for the ridiculous. What other movie has ever employed a TraceBuster-Buster-Buster?!

You know what would make people not want to watch this movie? The fact that the screenplay was written by the same writer as the Dragonball:Evolution writer.

But you know why people SHOULD watch this movie? Because it’s ridiculous, funny, and unique. I’m glad I watched this a 2nd time, a treatment the majority of the movies I watch do not receive.

“Is this the movie with the disturbing chicken-feeling scene?” Yes, yes it is.

“Is this the movie with the car chasing the guy… In the middle of the woods?” Yes, yes it is.

People are trying to say this is in the same vein as In Bruges, The Transporter, True Romance, Shoot ‘Em Up, Grosse Point Blank, Demolition Man, Last Action Hero, Face Off, or the A-Team movie. THEY’RE WRONG. This movie is better than 80% of the ones I just listed. And funnier than 100%.

It’s cheesy as hell. It’s “bad” by many measures. But I REALLY REALLY LIKE this movie!

Directed by Kirk Wong (we haven’t seen his other movies, and he mostly does international stuff).
written by Ben Ramsey (Dragonball: Evolution).

Starring Mark Wahlberg (Ted, Date Night, The Happening, I Heart Huckabees, Planet Of The Apes) as Melvin Smiley.
Lou Diamond Phillips (Young Guns, 2 eps of 24, 1 ep of American Dad) as Cisco.
Christina Applegate (Kelly from Married With Children, Veronica in the Anchorman movies, Mars Attacks!, Jesse, Samantha Who?) as Pam Shulman.
Avery Brooks (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, 1 ep of Gargoyles) as Paris.
Bokeem Woodbine (The Host, Black Dynamite, Total Recall remake) as Crunch.
Antonio Sabato Jr. (The Three Stooges, 260 eps of The Bold And The Beautiful) as Vince.
China Chow (Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, 1 ep of That 70’s Show) as Keiko Nishi.
Lainie Kazan (You Don’t Mess With The Zohan, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Harry & The Hendersons, Beaches, The Journey Of Natty Gann) as Jeanne Shulman, Pam’s mom.
Elliott Gould (Jack Geller in Friends, Ocean’s Eleven movies, Contagion, 1 ep of The Life & Times Of Tim) as Morton Shulman, Pam’s dad.
Sab Shimono (Uncle in Jackie Chan Adventures, Waterworld, The Shadow, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3, 6 eps of Avatar: The Last Airbender, 3 eps of Samurai Jack, 2 eps of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, 1 ep of The Boondocks, 1 ep of Max Headroom) as Jiro Nishi.
Lela Rochon (13 eps of The Wayans Bros.) as Chantel.
Danny Smith (Senior Trip, The Three Stooges, 3 eps of Detentionaire) as Video Store Kid.
Joshua Peace (Interrogation Surveillance Tech in Red) as Lance.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120609/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Vampires Anonymous (2003)

Claire: 2.8/5 stars, 5.8/10.
Carolyn: 2.6/5 stars, 5.6/10.
Native ratings: 2.8/5 stars Netflix, 5.1/10 IMDB.

A vampire joins a 12-step program to stop drinking human blood (and use animal blood instead). Good premise…though tainted by the Twilight stigma.

Anyway, this was pretty generic. The one thing it had going for it was that it was a comedy. However, it was only OK, and not that good.
It was somewhat funny, but not that much.
The romance angle of the romantic comedy grew to overtake the comedy, like with most romantic comedies. That’s bad.
But not quite as much as the average rom-com; That’s good.
It wasn’t even widescreen, it was fullscreen!
Lots of booms! The most booms I’ve ever seen in a movie. Also the furthest into the screen I’ve ever seen a boom go in any movie.
Some bad editing.
Bad filmstock.
Sometimes unbelievable plot — even for a movie about vampires.
Still…. It did have laughs. A vampire-loving comedy-completist might want to check this out.

Directed by Michael Keller (he directed some 4 “Expert Insight” things, whatever those are…), written by J.P. Srinivasan (the only thing he’s written) and Michael Keller.

Paul Popowich (1 ep of Dark Angel) as Vic Weller.
Michael Madsen (Mr. Blonde in Reservoir Dogs, Scary Movie 4, Kill Bill: Vol 1, Not Another Not Another Movie, 4 eps of 24, 1 ep of Bob’s Burgers) as Geno.
Nicole Forester (298 eps of Guiding Light, Jack Reacher (action movie like Parker that we haven’t seen)) as Maggie Miller, the love interest.
Judith Scott (1 ep of Frasier, 1 ep of 24) as Christine, the VA moderator.
Carolyn Lawrence (Orel in Moral Orel, Spongebob Squarepants, Resident Evil, 1 ep of Caroline In The City) as Penelope. She must have been the blonde chick from the VA group.
Michelle Stafford (1468 eps of The Young & Restless, and she plays *THAT SAME CHARACTER* from Young & Restless in the movie Parker [WTF]) as Taffeta Munro, the vampire slayer.
John Boyd West (21 Grams) as Jimmy.

So yes. There are 2 women in this movie who were in hundreds of episodes of soaps, and then one 2013 action movie each: Parker and Jack Reacher. What The Fuck.

Another, personal coincidence: The night we watched this movie, Carolyn was reading her book (Discworld#24: The Fifth Elephant) and there was a reformed Vampire who talked about how she was addicted to blood and how she only drank animal blood now. Hmm, from the imdb message boards: “I haven’t seen the film but it sounds exactly like the vampire in Terry Pratchett‘s Discworld novel ‘The Truth’.” Carolyn hasn’t read that one yet. Oh, that is #25, so that will be the next one she reads. Go figure. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0197996/board/flat/4225539

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0197996/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: The FP (2011)

Clio: 4.4/5 stars, 7.6/10.
Carolyn: 3.6/5 stars, 6.6/10.
Native ratings: 2.9/5 stars Netflix, 4.7/10 IMDB.

This movie is perhaps best summarized as Idiocracy meets Rocky meets 8 Mile meets the videogame Dance Dance Revolution.

“In a post apocalyptic future, two rival gangs fight for control of Frazier Park by playing “Beat Beat Revelation”, a deadly version of Dance, Dance, Revolution(tm).”

Yes. An incredibly ridiculous premise. As soon as I read the summary, I KNEW I had to see it. I love Dance Dance Revolution, and I love post apocalypstic futures… Though I gotta say, that part of the summary was mis-leading. It doesn’t look post-apocalyptic. It doesn’t look apocalyptic. It doesn’t look like the future either. People drive around older cars and use payphones. Things are obviously bad, and people talk in a very different, stupider way … But it’s not really made obvious that there was ever any apocalypse. It’s a bit dystopian, that’s all.

But that’s a very minor complaint. This was one of those bad movies that is hilarious. Carolyn was somewhat annoyed at the dialogue, but it was still pretty funny. And they were doing that on purpose. Talking like fucking idiots. So much slang. Like the education system has collapsed and street talk has taken over the world… Yet people are still civilized enough to have Dance Dance Revolution machines at clubs and party spots.

The opening scene had someone dying from DDR.

This was awesome. And so unique and ridiculous. It may as well have been a cartoon. Fuck yeah.

Written & directed by Brandon Trost (mostly a cinematographer and special effects guy) & his brother Jason Trost (Hatchet 3, Crank 2, Scream 2), who played JTro.

Main characters JTRO and Stacy aren’t actors that have been in anything we’ve seen. But other stars included:
Art Hsu (Crank 2, uncredited role in Pirates Of The Caribbean 3) as KCDC.
Clifton Collins Jr. (Crank 2, Star Trek (2009), Traffic, uncredited role in Scott Pilgrim Vs The World) as CC Jam. DID NOT RECOGNIZE HIM.
James DeBello (Detroit Rock City, Dorm Daze, Cabin Fever, Scary Movie 2, American Pie 1) as Beat Box Busta Bill. Recognized him.
Nick Principe (uncredited role in Hatchet 2) as BLT.
Sean Whalen (A Midsummer’s Night Rave, Charlie’s Angels, Hatchet 3, Twister, Waterworld, Men In Black, The Cable Guy, The Bold And The Beautiful) as Stacy‘s Dad.
Dash Mihok (Sex & Death 101, I Am Legend, The Day After Tomorrow, Sleepers) as henchman Cody.
Michael Sandow (usually a camera guy) as henchman Jody.
James Remar (Harry Morgan in Dexter, Django Unchained, X-Men: First Class, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Pineapple Express, Ratatouille, 4 eps of Justice League, The Girl Next Door) as Narrator.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1296373/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: The Change-Up (2011)

Clio: 4.6/5 stars, 9/10.
Carolyn: 4.6/5 stars, 9/10.
Native ratings: 3.5/5 stars Netflix, 6.3/10 IMDB.

This was a fun comedy.  Sooo much better than This Is 40. Why did I just mention This Is 40? We thought this was a Judd Apatow movie, but then it turned out not to be Judd Apatow. Leslie Mann‘s presence really threw us off.  This movie is actually written by the guys who wrote the Hangover movies. It’s good to know they can do other things. They should write more movies.

This was basically Freaky Friday, updated for the Apatow crowd.  Lots of humor. Including foul humor. Think about it: In the Freaky Friday-type movies, one person is always a minor. Sex doesn’t really come up. By updating this cliched trope to no-holds-barred modern day cutting edge comedy (NOTHING IS SACRED!), we get to see tons of hilariously awkward situations that none of the oldschool bodyswap movies would dare touch.

But beyond that, there is actually some good sentiment, too.  Lessons, if you will. They didn’t need to do that, but they did. And yet, the comedy never stops, so the entire movie is all good times.

Holy jesus.. just came back from the haters on imdb. Why do people like that bother to watch movies? If all you do is find flaws and get offended, maybe you should find a different hobby?

Directed by: David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers, Fred Claus, Shanghai Knights)
Written by: Jon Lucas (The Hangover movies) & Scott Moore (The Hangover movies)

Ryan Reynolds (Adventureland, Hal Jordan in Green Lantern, Wade Wilson in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Van Wilder, The Proposal) as Mitch Planko.
Jason Bateman (Arrested Development, Sit Down Shut Up, The Invention Of Lying, Hancock, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Juno) as Dave Lockwood.
Leslie Mann (17 Again, The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, This Is 40, Funny People, Allen Gregory, Timecode) as Dave’s wife.
Olivia Wilde (Tron: Legacy/Tron: Uprising, Year One, In Time, The Girl Next Door) as Sabrina McArdle, the legal assistant.
Alan Arkin (Insp. Jacques Clouseau in Inspector Clouseau (1968), Gattaca, The Jerky Boys, Grosse Point Blank, Edward Scissorhands) as Mitch’s Dad.
Mircea Monroe (The 41-Year-Old Virgin Who Knocked Up Sarah Marshall & Felt Superbad About It) as Tatiana, Mitch’s pregnant fuck buddy.
Gregory Itzin (President Logan in 24, Adaptation, 1 ep of Firefly) as Flemming Steel, the lawfirm boss.
Ed Ackerman (Frozen, Hatchet II, bartender in 17 Again) as Victor.
Patricia French (Wanderlust, The Three Stooges (2012), 8 eps of Squidbillies) as Dave’s Secretary.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1488555/combined

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