VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: Sherlock Holmes 2: A Game of Shadows (2011)

MMmmmm, Sherlock Holmes sequel! Yay!

4/5 stars, 8/10 from both of us (whereas the first movie only got 7.6 from Carolyn).

Native rating: 7.5/10, 4.1/5 (guess for us=4.2), so for once we’re in line with most people.

NOOMI RAPACE! THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO! She is in this movie, in an English-speaking role!

This was actually better than the first Sherlock Holmes movie, but only slightly. I reread what Carolyn said to me about the last one, and she said her attention had faltered some during the first one, and that didn’t happen with the 2nd movie.

And that is why this movie gets a slightly higher rating (8.0 vs 7.6).


VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: Underworld: Awakening (2012)

7.6/10 from both of us (imdb avg is 6.5/10).
4/5 stars from Carolyn, 3.6/5 stars from me
(avg Netflix is 3.9/5 stars, with a guess of 4.1 for us)

I call this Underworld 3 because it’s the 3rd non-prequel movie in the 4-movie franchise. We now have 0 through 3.

Anyway, this was an improvement over the 3rd movie, Underworld 0:Rise Of The Lycans. Kate Beckinsale is back, since she was barely in the prequel movie (though it’s easy enough to mistake Rhona Mitra for Kate, if you forget the eye color difference).

It’s been too long since the first two Underworld movies for me to really say whether this was any better or worse than 1-2.

The main twist here is that vampires and werewolves are now known to exist by the general public.

For the most part, this just feels like a Resident Evil movie. Moreso than any of the previous Underworld movies. Whether that is good or bad is your choice.

This had some good action, as expected — but the story could use a bit of work. The movie was kind of short. Not too much happened. There needs to be more movies in the franchise, because this one created more new issues than it resolved.

But it was still good. High-budget, polished action.


VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: Zathura: A Space Adventure (2005)

Clint/Carolyn: 8/10.
Clint: 5/5 stars, Carolyn: 4/5 stars.
Native ratings: 3.5/5 Netflix (guess for us=3.4), 6.2/10 IMDB.

What a delightful sequel to Jumanji! And nobody knows about this, because they didn’t call it Jumanji 2! However, it’s basically the exact same movie, but with SPACE instead of JUNGLE. It’s not as dark as Jumanji; a little more lighthearted. But the EXACT SAME FORMULA. This is truly a sequel.

All the Kristen Stewart haters have really missed out on a gem of exploitable screenshots from this movie: Stewart is LITERALLY frozen during a lot of the movie. These could be memes, if someone would just screenshot and capture them.

Directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man, Elf).
With Dax Sheppart from Without A Paddle, and Tim Robbins as the dad.
And oh, the younger brother in this movie was the kid in the recent Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011) movie, and the older brother was in Journey To The Center Of The Earth (2008) as well as Peeta in The Hunger Games (2012), and Bridge To Terabithia (2007).


VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: Jumanji (1995)

8/10 from both of us. 4/5 stars from Carolyn, 5/5 stars from Clint. Carolyn had seenthis before, but Clint had not. Carolyn enjoyed it as much (if not more) as the first time she saw it.

Native rating: 6.5/10, 3.6/5 (Netflix incorrectly guesse3d 3.1/5 for us, thinking we’d like this worse than average. WRONG!)

We are both very much into board games, fantasy, imagination, and darkness, and this movie had it all, so it spoke to us.  I really thought it would be more of a “kiddie” movie, but there were actually a lot of dark, fucked up moments. Homicidal gun maniacs and animals that try to kill children? Nightmare insects? Holy fuck. WAS. NOT. EXPECTING.

I was enthralled. Carolyn adds: “It was more enjoyable watching it with you because you liked it so much.  hehehehe”

Another weird thing: Seeing Kirsten Dunst so young. Too bad she was TOO young, if you catch my drift. But that was made up for with Bebe Neuwirth (Lillith from Cheers/Frasier). SHE IS HOT AS SHIT. Plus this was 15 years ago. Too bad this is a movie about her kids and not her, or we could have stared at her longer. But I digress.

This was way better than I expected. I’d been putting off watching this movie for almost a year (17 years, if you want to get pedantic), but apparently I should have watched it much sooner!


VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: Cougar Club (2007)

Both of us: 7/10 (IMDB average:4.1/10).
Clint: 4/5 stars, Carolyn: 3/5 stars, Netflix: 2.7/5 stars, with a 3.1/5 guess for us.

So yea, we liked this better than the general public, which is true for most movies.

I’m still trying to figure out why the general public — who spends more money on porn than all non-porn movies combined — tends to rate sex comedies so low. Are they upset they aren’t actual pornos?

This is a movie about cougars, and stars such older women as Fayne Dunaway, Carrie Fisher, Loretta Devine, and other 40-55 year old cougars. But it’s not a porno. There’s barely even nudity in it. The marketeers marketed toward the sex angle to capture peoples’ money, and I think that is what they are angry about. If you watch it not expecting much sex, the sex is simply a pleasant surprise instead of a disappointment.

We found it to be a fun movie. Nothing great, but a good testament about scenesters and creating scenes, and with some fun eroticism to boot. The Cougar Club in this movie could just as easily be ANY self-aggrandizing, private sex-themed party-throwing organization. The parallels were obvious.  And the two bros that were main characters had a good comedic chemistry with each other, even if there was nothing uniuque about it.

But Amanda? God…The Amanda character was SOOOOOOO annoying. The filmmarkers did this on purpose, I think, to highlight the maturity of older women by showing how annoying a younger woman can be.

I did not realize one of the main characters had been in 8 episodes of 24! Weird.

Anyway… I’m glad we finally got around to watching this.


VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: Death Machine (1994)

4/5 stars, 8/10 from both of us, though the general public only rated it 2.7/5 stars (Netflix guessed 2.6 for us!) and 5.5/10.

This is the closest film I’ve ever seen to the movie Hardware (1990).

There are a few scenes that seem to be in DIRECT homage to Hardware. It lacks some of the comedy and psychedelia in Hardware, as well as the amazing cameos…

But in terms of cinematography, subject matter, style, and even character appearance (including the “villain”), this is simply a Poor Man’s Hardware. It even has William Hootkins (“we all sing, the wibbery-wobberly..walk!”), though he’s playing a suit instead of a perv.

Despite this being a poor man’s Hardware, it’s still better than 95% of scifi horror movies from the 1990s. So it gets 4/5 stars and 8/10, instead of the 5/5 stars and 9/10 rating that Hardware received.

Brad Dourif is pretty fricking crazy in this, and a lot of people are saying Heath Ledger must have watched this film at some point as inspiration for his insane portrayal of The Joker in The Dark Knight.

We watched the 111-minute (PAL/Europe) cut, though I would have preferred to get the 128 or 120-minute cut. Stay away from the 99-minute Netflix cut. You’ll be sorry. Get the PAL (europe) DVD if at all possible.



VIDEO: MOVIES: CARTOONS: REVIEW: The Smurfs 2 (2013) [watched in 3-D]

Clint: 3/5 stars (3/5 for Smurfs 1), 7/10 (6.4/10 for Smurfs 1).
Carolyn: 3.6/5 stars (3/5 for Smurfs 1), 7/10 (6.6/10 for Smurfs 1).
Native ratings: 3.7/5 stars Netflix (3/5 for Smurfs 1), 5.2/10 IMDB (5.4 for Smurfs 1).
For curiosity’s sake: The original 1981 series gets 7.4/10 on IMDB. (I gave it 7/10.)
So anyway–Carolyn, Clint, and Netflix folk all liked the 2nd movie slightly more. The notorious haters at IMDB liked it slightly less.

This had some good smurf action and the 3-D was the best 3-D we’ve seen on our 3-D television since we bought it. I don’t know if it was the way they produced the movie, or the fact that they did HOU 3-D (over-under) instead of SBS 3-D (side-by-side), or if it was a good encode of the movie, but either way — Best 3-D we’ve seen, with the least ghosting (which you always get with active 3-D these days; we are in the infancy of 3-D at home — think VHS.)

That alone made it worth watching for us, but then there’s the fact that Hank Azaria (Moe Szyslak/Chief Wiggum/Apu Nahasapeemapetilon/Superintendent Chalmers/Comic Book Guy/Carl & Lenny/Professor Frink/Cletus) is great as Gargamel. Such a completely unrealistic character to exist in the real, live-action planet earth, and a great casting choice to pick someone with such nuance for funny voices, and such a long career with very little time actually on the screen. He deserves this.

For a kid movie, it didn’t focus on the kid very much. The kid “Blue” (the baby from Smurfs 1) is now at talking/walking age, but was barely in the movie. So that was good for adults like us who aren’t interested in watching kids. Just kids’ shows. ;)

Instead of taking place in New York, this one takes place in Paris, France. Other than that, it is very similar to Smurfs 1, except that they introduce 2 new Gargamel-created smurfs. Apparently they are the babies that showed up later in the 1980s series, but I think I had stopped watching right around when the babies showed up. Carolyn is 2 years younger than me, so she watched it a bit longer and recognized that when they called Vexxy “a sassy lassy” at the end, it was a nod to Sassette Smurf, a baby/younger female who showed up for 2 episodes near the 1990 end run of the original series. Incendentally, I totally forgot about Johan and Peewit/Peewee, and don’t really understand how they factor into the series. I also forgot/never knew that there were alternate Gargamels in the 9th season of the original cartoon. That was 1990. I took a break from cartoons approximately from adolescence until young adulthood (i.e. 13-20) so I might have missed the alternate Gargamels. Damn. I also didn’t know there was a 1965 Smurfs movie!

One bad thing was they seem to have forgotten that when choked, a Smurf is supposed to turn yellow. NOT more blue.

But other than that, it was a generic family adventure. Stupid things that doesn’t make sense sometimes happen, because it is a generic family adventure. It is very clearly something released to make money, and I’m okay with that. The money made gave me a chance to revisit part of my childhood without having to *ACTUALLY WATCH* 1980s quality animation/writing. And while generic-family-blockbuster writing isn’t that much better than 1980’s-children’s-cartoon writing… The movie LOOKED pretty awesome, and LOOKS DO MATTER for movies. Also Jayma Mays (Hero’s waitress girlfriend from Heroes) might just be one of the most adorable females alive. Her and Emma Stone need to have a baby together.

So anwyay…. We were pleasnatly surprised. Not every sequel is better, but if you free your mind and allow yourself to enjoy things… Sometimes it actually works out.

So yeah, we’ll watch The Smurfs 3 in 2016, probably. It’s a prequel.

Directed by Raja Gosnell (Smurfs 1, Home Alone 3).
Written by J. David Stem (Smurfs 1, Shrek 2, 3 eps of Rugrats and the Rugrats movie, 2 eps of Mission Hill), David N. Weiss (Shrek 2, 3 eps of Rugrats and the Rugrats movie, 2 eps of Mission Hill, All Dogs Go To Heaven), Jay Scherick (1 ep of Caroline In The City), David Ronn, and Karey Kirkpatrick (The Spiderwick Chronicles, Charlotte’s Web (2006), The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy).

Neil Patrick Harris as Patrick.
Hank Azaria (The Simpsons, Herman’s Head, Eric in Stressed Eric, The Birdcage, Eddie Brock in the 1990’s Spider-Man, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, Year One, Mystery Men, Run Fatboy Run, Grosse Point Blank, 2 eps of Family Guy) as Gargamel.
Brendan Gleeson (Alastor ‘Mad-Eye’ Moody in the Harry Potter movies, The Secret Of Kells, In Bruges, Beowulf, The Village, Troy, 28 Days Later, Mission Impossible 2) as Victor.
Jayma Mays (Heroes, Epic Movie, Smiley Face, 1 ep of NTSF:SD:SUV, 1 ep of Six Feet Under) as Grace.
Nancy O’Dell (Scream 2-4, 1 ep of The Simpsons) as Herself.
Mr. Krinkle as Azrael.

And the voice actors:
Katy Perry as Smurfette.
Christina Ricci as Vexy.
Jonathan Winters as Papa Smurf. Did you know he was Grandpa Smurf in the original? There was an R.I.P. in the credits; this was his last film.
J.B. Smoove (Curb Your Enthusiasm, Clear History, Movie 43, The Dictator, Date Night, Mr. Deeds, 12 eps of Saturday Night Live, 4 eps of American Dad, 1 ep of The Simpsons, 1 ep of Robot Chicken) as Hackus.
George Lopez (118 eps of George Lopez, 1 ep of Curb Your Enthusiasm) as Grouchy Smurf.
Anton Yelchin (Chekov in the Star Trek reboot movies, Terminator Salvation, Odd Thomas in Odd Thomas, 1 ep of Curb Your Enthusiasm, 1 ep of The Life & Times Of Tim) as Clumsy Smurf.
John Oliver (2 eps of Gravity Falls) as Vanity Smurf.
Fred Armisen (Portlandia, Terry in Out There, Eurotrip, Saturday Night Live, he’s also a small part in The Dictator) as Brainy Smurf.
Jeff Foxworthy (Bounty Hunters, The Jeff Foxworthy Show) as Handy Smurf.
Alan Cumming (The Devil in God, The Devil And Bob, John Castaway in Gargoyles: The Goliath Chronicles, Rick & Steve The Happiest Gay Couple In All The World, Nightcrawler in X-Men 2, Garfield, 6 eps of The L Word, 3 eps of Robot Chicken) as Gutsy Smurf.
Gary Basaraba (Fried Green Tomatoes, Charlotte’ Web (2006), 1 ep of Nip/Tuck) as Hefty Smurf.
Adam Wylie (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Jimmy Olsen in Superman/Doomsday, Brainiac in Legion of Super Heroes, American Pie Presents Band Camp, 1 ep of Mad) as Panicky Smurf.
Kenan Thompson (Sit Down Shut Up, Saturday Night Live, All That, Stan Helsing) as Greedy Smurf.
Shaquille O’Neal as Smooth Smurf.
B.J. Novak (The Office, The Internship, Knocked Up, Inglourious Basterds, The Amazing Spider-Man 2) as Baker Smurf.
Paul Reubens (aka Pee-Wee Herman) as Jokey Smurf.
Jimmy Kimmel as Passive-Aggressive Smurf.
John Kassir (Mittens in Eek The Cat, Jack The Giant Slayer, The Grim Adventures Of Billy & Mandy, Cryptkeeper in Tales From The Cryptkeeper and Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight, Buster Bunny in Animaniacs and Tiny Toon Adventures, 2 eps of Adventure Time) as Crazy Smurf.
Tom Kane (Professor Utonium in The Powerpuff Girls, Narrator and Yoda in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, also Yoda in Star Wars: Clone Wars, Wolverine And The X-Men, 10 eps of The Eric Andre Show, The Angry Beavers, 1995 Iron Man-TAS, 6 eps of The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, 5 eps of Robot Chicken, 1 ep of The Legend Of Korra) as Narrator Smurf.
And of course, Frank Welker (Freddy in Scooby Doo, and many many many animal voices in many many many of our favorite cartoons) as Azrael.



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