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: National Lampoon presents Dorm Daze 3: Transylmania (2009)

Clio: 3.4/5 stars (compared to 3.4 for DD1, 3 for DD2), 7.4/10 (compared to 8 for DD1, 6.2 for DD2).
Carolyn: 4/5 stars (same as other 2), 7.7/10 (compared to 8 for DD1, 7.6 for DD2).
Native ratings: 2.6/5 stars Netflix (compared to 3.7 for DD1, 2.7 for DD2), 3.7/10 IMDB (compared to 4.4 for DD1, 3.7 for DD2).

So it seems that Carolyn & I liked this better than the first movie in the “trilogy”. It’s funny that this is a trilogy, because the movies have little to do with each other. They called the 2nd one Dorm Daze 2 even though it took place on a cruise ship. At least for this one they dropped the “Dorm Daze” from the title, but how would people who liked the first 2 movies know about and find this? The only real way is Movie Connections on IMDB, under the “Followed By” section. Weird.

Dorm Daze 1 was about misunderstandings and plots.  Dorm Daze 2 was about capers and a theft.  Dorm Daze 3 was about vampires.

It had some of the same characters from the other Dorm Daze movies, but this is no longer called Dorm Daze.  It had a recap of the characters and the setup for why they were going to Romania.  And vampires!  Don’t forget vampires.

Directed by: David Hillenbrand (Dorm Daze 1-2, mostly a music developer, we haven’t seen the other 7 things he directed), Scott Hillenbrand (Dorm Daze 1-2, we haven’t seen the other 7 things he’s directed)
Written by: Worm Miller (Dorm Daze 1-2, we haven’t seen the other things he’s written), Patrick Casey (Dorm Daze 1-2, we haven’t seen the other things he’s written)

They had some of the same characters as Dorm Daze 1 and 2:
Oren Skoog (we haven’t seen his work) as Rusty / king vampire Radu.
Jennifer Lyons (3 eps of That 70’s Show, Can’t Hardly Wait, 2 eps of Night Stand) as Lynne.
Tony Denman (Fargo, 2 eps of King Of The Hill) as Newmar.
Patrick Cavanaugh (1 ep of Thundercats (2011), 1 ep of Batman: The Brave And The Bold, 1 ep of Six Feet Under, 1 ep of Frasier) as Pete.
Paul Hansen Kim (1 ep of Andy Richter Controls The Universe, 1 ep of 3rd Rock From The Sun) as Wang.
James DeBello (Cabin Fever, Scary Movie 2, Trip in Detroit Rock City, enthusiastic guy in American Pie) as Cliff Richards.
Patrick Casey as Mike
Worm Miller as Brady.

Some characters were missing with no explanation, but since this is college, one can assume that people drift apart year-to-year. Most notably, Lynne’s counterpart Marla (the “other hot chick” of the 2-hot-chick group in Dorm Daze 1, who became fat in Dorm Daze 2), was absent. Foosball was also not around.

And some new characters:
David Steinberg (Epic Movie, Willow) as Dean Floca. Unfortunately, this was his last movie, as he committed suicide in 2010.
Natalie Garza (1 ep of Dexter, haven’t seen anything else) as twin sister, Lia.
Nicole Garza (1 ep of Dexter, haven’t seen anything else) as twin sister, Danni.
Musetta Vander (The Cell, O Brother Where Art Thou?, Wild Wild West, 1 ep of Frasier, 1 ep of Xena) as Teodora Van Sloan, the vampire hunter. Incredibly sexy. She’s like a slightly younger Catherine Zeta-Jones!
Irena A. Hoffman (Four Christmases) as Draguta Floca, the dean’s daughter.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0936471/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: National Lampoon presents Dorm Daze 2 (2006)

Clio: 3/5 stars, 6.2/10.  I am unsure what I thought. It was an entertaining mess.
Carolyn: 4/5 stars, 7.6/10.
Native ratings: 2.7/5 stars Netflix (compared to 3.7 for Dorm Daze 1), 3.7/10 IMDB (compared to 4.4 for Dorm Daze 1).

Carolyn:  I think I liked the first one slightly better, but this one didn’t disappoint.  Dorm Daze 2 seemed to have more structure than Dorm Daze 1, and a more memorable plot, but I think Dorm Daze 1 was more fun. If Dorm Daze 1 was about misunderstandings and plots, Dorm Daze 2 was about capers and a theft.

Clio:  Interesting, I kind of felt like this one had less structure and was more all over the place. But that could easily just be my mood at the time of watching.

Anyway, during Dorm Daze 1, Clio was reminded of The Pink Panther. But it was more subtle in the original. This sequel took that feel even further, actually involving a stolen diamond.

Come to think of it…………. I don’t think there were any Dorms in this movie. And the 3rd movie in this trilogy dropped “Dorm Daze” from the title altogether, so I guess they eventually acknowledged how loosely coupled this so-called “franchise” is.

Still liked it though. Good laughs. Very underrated on IMDB if you are a comedy lover.

It had some of the same characters from Dorm Daze 1, but it didn’t rush through the introductions of the characters as much. They basically rushed through the set up of how they are on a cruise ship doing a school play. Much like a war movie, if you can’t follow a lot of people easily, it may get confusing. Just go with it…

Directed by: David Hillenbrand (Dorm Daze 1, mostly a music developer, we haven’t seen the other 7 things he directed), Scott Hillenbrand (Dorm Daze 1, we haven’t seen the other 7 things he’s directed)
Written by: Worm Miller (Dorm Daze 1, we haven’t seen the other things he’s written), Patrick Casey (Dorm Daze 1, we haven’t seen the other things he’s written)

They had some of the same characters as Dorm Daze 1:
Gable Carr (her career went nowhere) as Rachel.
Patrick Cavanaugh (1 ep of Thundercats (2011), 1 ep of Batman: The Brave And The Bold, 1 ep of Six Feet Under, 1 ep of Frasier) as Pete.
James DeBello (Cabin Fever, Scary Movie 2, Trip in Detroit Rock City, enthusiastic guy in American Pie) as Cliff Richards.
Marieh Delfino (we haven’t seen her in anything) as Gerri Farber.
Tony Denman (Fargo, 2 eps of King Of The Hill) as Newmar.
Danielle Fishel (she was in 147 eps of Boy Meets World, but I didn’t watch that show) as Marla.
Paul Hansen Kim (1 ep of Andy Richter Controls The Universe, 1 ep of 3rd Rock From The Sun) as Wang.
Jennifer Lyons (3 eps of That 70’s Show, Can’t Hardly Wait, 2 eps of Night Stand) as Lynne.
Chris Owen (Sherman from The American Pie movies, suicidal freshman in Van Wilder, A Midsummer’s Night Rave, klepto kid in Can’t Hardly Wait) as Booker McFee.
Patrick Casey as Mike
Worm Miller as Brady.

And some new characters:
Larry Drake (American Pie 2, Dead Air, Johnny Bravo, Green Lantern: First Flight, 2 eps of Justice Leage, 1 ep of Firefly, 1 ep of Six Feet Under, 1 ep of Batman Beyond) as Dean Dryer.
Vida Guerra (Not Another Celebrity Movie) as Violet.
Jeremy Howard (2 eps of Breaking Bad, Men In Black 2, Galaxy Quest) as Eli.
Kip Martin (hmm, he wasn’t Silas from Weeds or Stiffler’s cousin, we haven’t seen his work) as Stukas.
Richard Riehle (Santa Claus in A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, Smiley Face, Extracted, The Beach Party At The Threshold Of Hell, Office Space, Hatchet, Mysterious Skin, Palindromes, Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, 1 ep of The Legend Of Korra) as Captain Bunkley.
Nicolas Shake (he’s barely been in anything) as Dante (crazy black dude who poisoned people).
China Shavers (Not Another Teen Movie) as Robin Daniels.
Charles Shaughnessy (4 eps of The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack, 4 eps of Duckman, 1 ep of Gargoyles, 1 ep of Jackie Chan Adventures) as Professor Rex Cavendish.
Jasmin St. Claire (actual porno star) as Mrs. Bunkley / Summer Solstice.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0458438/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: National Lampoon presents Dorm Daze 1 (2003)

Clio: 3.4/5 stars, 7/10.
Carolyn: 4/5 stars, 8/10.
Native ratings: 2.8/5 stars Netflix, only 4.4/10 IMDB.

A crazy dorm caper full of convoluted misunderstandings and plots. It actually reminded us of The Pink Panther 1 (1963) … Except that we liked it (and consider the 1963 Pink Panther movie to be the worst of all 11 Pink Panther films).

It started out with a rushed intro of the characters that felt like it wasn’t going to be that good, but then it started getting better and better.. And it never let up on the comedy or the twists.

Nothing was super sophisticated, but there’s one important thing to note: This is NOT a National Lampoon college-aged sex comedy. This is actually more of a “chase the money” caper. Closer to Pink Panther than American Pie. It was a bit of a surprise.

Yes. A surprising amount of people from Can’t Hardly Wait and Detroit Rock City – 2 of our favorite comedy movies.

James DeBello (Trip in Detroit Rock City, which we JUST watched, Cabin Fever, Scary Movie 2) as Cliff Richards.
Tatyana Ali (Jawbreaker, Ashley Banks in The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air) as Claire.
Tony Denman (Fargo) as Newmar.
Danielle Fishel (Boy Meets World) as Marla.
Courtney Gains (Back To The Future, Can’t Buy Me Love, Children Of The Corn) as Lorenzo the Black Hand (the bad guy).
Edwin Hodge (Take Me Home Tonight, which we JUST watched) as Tony.
Jennifer Lyons (Can’t Hardly Wait, which we JUST watched) as Lynne.
Chris Owen (klepto kid in Can’t Hardly Wait, which we JUST watched, Sherman from The American Pie movies, suicidal freshman in Van Wilder, A Midsummer’s Night Rave) as Booker McFee.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0362511/combined

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!

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1433207/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Unicorn City (2012)

Clio: 4.4/5 stars, 8/10.
Carolyn: 3.4/5 stars, 7.4/10.
Native ratings: 3.5/5 stars Netflix, 5.5/10 IMDB.

“You are who you pretend to be.”

Sadly, Carolyn didn’t like this one as much as me, despite also being a gamer herself.  This movie certainly doesn’t REQUIRE any knowledge of Dungeons & Dragons, or fantasy roleplaying……… But it helps!

This is basically a comedy movie about a guy with a blank resume who tries to get a job with a gaming company by creating a real-life utopia for gamers in the middle of some woods. He does this because his DungeonMaster is a real dick, and wanted to start his own guild. Take tabletop gamging to the next level – LARP’ing.

Sounds geeky? It is.

Now throw in a romantic subplot – the SUPER-hot Jaclyn Hales is crushing on the main character, and he’s never really looked at her as a real woman before. She is the typical geek-girl role in a movie: A super-hot chick with her hair up and wearing some glasses. As if that’s going to fool us into thinking she’s not hot. I’m sorry, but it’s impossible for this girl to not be hot. Check her out yourself: http://www.imdb.com/media/rm1213771008/nm4076403

This was a fun movie. It has a unique plot, a great deal of comedy, tons of characters (though only 2 are developed past 2 dimensions), enough guy-girl interest to keep the romantically-inclined entertained, and enough wackiness to keep it memorable.

Cast-wise, this movie is mostly full of bit players, but the main bad guy is played by Jon Gries, aka Uncle Rico from the great Napoleon Dynamite movie, and the mediocre Napoleon Dynamite animated series.

Multiple actors from this movie are in some endeavor called Gary The Unicorn. I can’t view this as coincidence.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1734589/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Superbad (2007)

Clio: 4.6/5 stars, 8.6/10.
Carolyn: 4.6/5 stars, 8.6/10.
Native ratings: 3.9/5 stars Netflix, 7.6/10 IMDB.

This didn’t hold up as well to a second viewing.  It was still pretty funny, but it didn’t have the same excitement the second time around.  We also had just rewatched Trojan War recently, which is what we compared this movie to, except replace condoms with alcohol.

It’s a super fun movie. Everyone already saw this and generally knows this. Teen sex comedies are one of our mainstays, and movies that have parties in them are another [this movie has multiple parties in it]. Bromances are funny, and movies with geeky guys trying to get girls are funny. The nostalgia of watching highschoolers on the hunt harkens back to a younger age and reminds us what it’s like to be young. The movie is a conflation of many good things and many ridiculous things. Total win.

Directed by: Greg Mottola (Adventureland, 3 eps of Arrested Development, 6 eps of Undeclared)
Written by: Seth Rogen (writer of The Green Hornet, Pineapple Express, 5 eps of Undeclared) & Evan Goldberg (writer of Goon, The Green Hornet, Pineapple Express, 6 eps of Da Ali G Show)
Producer: Judd Apatow (who seemingly makes every comedy movie that exists nowadays)

Starring Jonah Hill (Allen in Allen Gregory, Get Him To The Greek, How To Train Your Dragon, The Invention Of Lying, Funny People, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Knocked Up, Grandma’s Boy, The 40 Year Old Virgin) as Seth.
Michael Cera (Arrested Development, Childrens Hospital, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, Nick And Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Juno) as Evan.
Christopher Mintz-Plasse (this was his first movie, prior to Kick-Ass, Year One, How To Train Your Dragon) as Fogell/McLovin’.
Bill Hader (Pineapple Express, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, The Brothers Solomon, Knocked Up, The Voice in Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs, Year One, Saturday Night Live, Men In Black 3) as Officer Slater.
Seth Rogen (Kung Fu Panda, The Green Hornet, Funny People, Observe And Report, Fanboys, Zack And Miri Make A Porno, Pineapple Express, Step Brothers, Knocked Up, The 40 Year Old Virgin, Anchorman, 17 eps of Undeclared) as Officer Michaels.
Emma Stone (who Clio says is a perfect 10) as Jules (Zombieland, Gwen Stacy in The Amazing Spider-Man, Crazy Stupid Love, The House Bunny).
Joe Lo Truglio (The State, Stella, Wanderlust, Wreck-It Ralph, 2 eps of Childrens Hospital, I Love You Man, Fanboys, Pineapple Express, Wet Hot American Summer) as Francis the Driver.
Kevin Corrigan (The Dictator, Pineapple Express) as Mark.
Erica Vittina Phillips (The 40 Year Old Virgin, gyno nurse in This Is 40, Darryl’s ex-wife in 2 eps of The Office, Step Brothers) as the Liquor Store Cashier.
Mark Rogen (Seth Rogen’s father) as “Father With Bat”.
Charlie Hartsock (Crazy Stupid Love, 7 eps of Arrested Developement, The 40 Year Old Virgin) as Good Shopper Cashier.
Carla Gallo (Lizzie from Undeclared, Libby from Carnivale, Get Him To The Greek, Funny People, I Love You Man, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, The 40 Year Old Virgin) as Period Blood Girl. It’s sad that after her excellent work in Undeclared, she mostly plays kinky-girl bit-parts in party/roadtrip/caper movies, and never gets to be a leading lady again.
Martin Starr (Sam [the human, not the robot S.A.M.] in NTSF:SD:SUV, Adventureland, Walk Hard, Knocked Up) as James Masselin.
Clark Duke (he ended up playing Clark on the last season of The Office, 5 eps of Robot Chicken, Hot Tub Time Machine, Kick-Ass, Sex Drive) as Random Party Teenager.

I didn’t even notice Danny McBride (Observe And Report, Fanboys, Tropic Thunder, Pineapple Express, The Foot Fist Way, Eastbound & Down, Good Vibes, Despicable Me) as a buddy at the party (uncredited).

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0829482/combined