Clio: 4.6/5 stars, 9/10.

Carolyn: 4.6/5 stars, 9/10.

Native ratings: 3.3/5 stars Netflix, 6.4/10 IMDB. (20% of people give this 9-10/10, 30% give it 8-10/10.)

HOLY SHIT this movie had me hooked with the similarities to my own life — the raccoons, building an addition to a house. Literally — we talked about what it would be like to build another addition AND looked up Denis Haysbert on IMDB, then pressed play on this movie, where they proceded to put Dennis Haysbert’s name on the screen and then talk about building an addition!

But then the black comedy. So black. So comedic. A lot of black comedies are just “bad things happening, and it’s kind of ironic”, but this was one that still managed laugh-out-loud laughs 90% of the way through the movie, AND was so incredibly dark and messed up that we were both going, “Oh nooo. WTF! This. Is. Messed. UP!”

There was at least one point where I was simultaneously laughing out loud while having my tear ducts almost completely full from how messed up the situation was. But the funny stuff never stops either.

I think this is about as perfect as a black comedy can get. Absurd, dark, awkward, sexual, subversive, morally ambigous, a constantly surprising rollercoaster keeping you guessing up until the last second.

Some people are comparing the tone (but not the story) to American Beauty. I think it is more fun than American Beauty, and just as dark. I highly recommend this movie.

Written & Directed by relative newcomer Jacob Aaron Estes. He may be nobody, but the cast had some big names in it:

Starring Tobey Maguire (Spider-Man, Pleasantville, Wonder Boys) as Jeff Lang, and 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) as his wife.
Hot chick #1 is Kerry Washington (Django Unchained, Fantastic Four, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Black Panther:TAS) as Rebecca Mazzoni, and Ray Liotta (Date Night, Youth In Revolt, Observe And Report) as her husband.
Laura Linney (Truman Show, Kinsey, Mothman Prophecies) as crazy cat lady Lila.
Dennis Haysbert as Lincoln (President David Palmer from 24, Wreck-It Ralph, Kung Fu Panda, Kilowog in Justice League:TAS[1990s], The Thirteenth Floor, and strangely — 1 ep of Duckman, as Cornfed’s singing voice [wut]).

12 logos!



Carolyn: 4.6/5 stars, 8.6/10.
Native ratings: 4.2/5 stars Netflix, 7.9/10 IMDB.

I defer to Carolyn’s rating for this one. I kept falling asleep. I definitely still followed everything that happened in the movie, but it lost it’s potential for full effect on me. I could tell it was awesome, but I just wasn’t SURE it was awesome. I’m not even going to rate it because I don’t even know how I feel about it.

But hey! Carolyn loved it! A lot of people loved it! I’ll be watching this again someday, 7 years from now.


VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)

4/5 stars, 8/10 from both of us
3/5 stars, 7/10 was what we gave Kung Fu Panda 1.
Native rating: 4.0/5 stars, 7.4/10. (Netflix guess for us=3.8, which makes sense since we rated the original lower).

We actually liked this more than 1! Fancy that!

I wonder if this has to do with the fact that we watched Kung Fu Panda 1 during our movie-glut of watching 200+ movies in a year.

We stopped doing that, because we eventually learned (by analyzing our numerical ratings) that watching movies more often makes you enjoy them less. The rating disparity could be completely because we are watching movies at a rate of about 90/yr instead of 200/yr (the rate we held up for several years after buying a 52″ tv – I think the honeymoon finally wore off).

Who knows.

But this was good.
And funny.
And entertaining.
And well-animated.

I forgot just how funny the dialog and attitude of these movies were.

I had put this off for a long time. Probably because of how nonplussed we were by episode 1 of the animated series.

But it turns out this is really good!
And you get to learn more backstory about Po (the kung-fu panda).

I’ll have to remember NOT to pass up movie 3 when it comes out. This franchise is better than we remember.