VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: 21 & Over (2013)

Clio: 3.4/5 stars, 7/10.
Carolyn: 2.6/5 stars, 7/10.
Native ratings: 3.5/5 stars Netflix, /10 IMDB.

Written & directed by Jon Lucas & Scott Moore (The Hangover movies, The Change-Up). Oh yay! Party movie!

But wait! This is the least funny movie these guys have ever done. It was OK, but it could have been funnier, and there could have been more to it. It just kind of fell a little bit flat.

It was definitely not as good as The Hangover movies… The Change-Up was also way better than this one.

This still had laughs, memorable characters, and memorable moments. Plenty of ridiculousness. And it’s not that the genre’s dead, or that we’re sick of it. I love this kind of movie. But some are better than others. This one was unfortunately more in the league of National Lampoon than American Pie. Everything was a bit more contrived and forced and less satisfying.

I still liked it… But coming in from “OMG MOVIE BY THE HANGOVER PEOPLE”-level expectations is a recipe for disappointment.

Starring Miles Teller (we haven’t seen the other 13 things he’s been in) as Miller, the party-hard one.
Skylar Astin (Roy from Wreck-It Ralph) as Casey, the responsible one.
Justin Chon (Eric in the Twilight movies, Puff Puff Pass) as Jeff Chang, the stressed-out Asian.
Sarah Wright (The House Bunny) as Nicole, the love interest.
Jonathan Keltz (American Pie presents Beta House) as Randy, the douchebag boyfriend.
Francois Chau (Lethal Weapon 4, Quick Kick in G.I. Joe, Shredder in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Secret of the Ooze) as Dr. Chang, Jeff Chang’s father.
The chicks that made out with each other? One was in In Time, and one was in 17 Again. So weird.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1711425/combined

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: TerrorVision (1986)

Clio: 2.6/5 stars, 5.4/10.
Carolyn: 2.0/5 stars, 4/10.
Native ratings: 5.2/10 IMDB. Not available on Netflix. Ha!

Another cheezy movie to watch while Carolyn is ill.

Sooooo 1980’s!

And the fact that this is a family, but that the parents are swingers? That really added to the hilarity, and was arguably what caused this to be worthwhile.

The whole sex-positive vibe of the movie was incongruent with the profanity-negative vibe. They went out of the way to say “what the hey” and other such ridiculousness (rather than cursing)… But they have Nagel’esque bondage threesome art and other topless art all over their walls?

So refreshing to see sex portrayed as less harmful than cursing or violence.

Also, the actors all seem to be from other things I’ve seen. And yet I only recognized about 3 of them.

Overall this was a campy piece of 1980s cheeziness. Something I would have probably loved as a kid, but can only barely stand as an adult, and only as something to ridicule.

There was definitely redeeming value, though. I can see why so many people recommend this movie. It was over-the-top 80’s-horror cliche to the max. Dude.

Written & Directed by: Ted Nicolaou (involved in a lot of cheesy horror movies, it seems like)

Starring Chad Allen (147 eps of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, 21 eps of My Two Dads, 5 eps of General Hospital: Night Shift) as the brother, main character Sherman Putterman.
Diane Franklin (Better Off Dead, Bill & Ted‘s Excellent Adventure, How I Got Into College, The Adventures Of Lass 1-3) the punk-rock daughter/sister, Suzy Putterman.
Gerrit Graham (guardian in Gargoyles, Franklin Sherman in The Critic, 6 eps of Parker Lewis Can’t Lose, 22 eps of Now And Again) as the dad, Stanley Putterman.
Mary Woronov (The Devil’s Rejects, The Living End, Rock N Roll High School) as the mom, Raquel Putterman.
Jon Gries (Uncle Rico in Napoleon Dynamite, Lazlo in Real Genius, Unicorn City, 2 eps of Carnivale) the metal-head boyfriend, O.D.
Bert Remsen (Dick Tracy, 4 eps of Dynasty, 3 eps of Melrose Place, 13 eps of It’s A Living) as Grampa.
Alejandro Rey (74 eps of The Flying Nun, 7 eps of Dallas, 1 ep of Knight Rider) as Spiro, the swinger.
Randi Brooks (Hamburger: The Motion Picture, 8 eps of The Last Precinct, 1 ep of Designing Women) as Cherry, the swinger. You can find videos of her real estate company on YouTube. And another one where she sings with her daughters. Not as hot today, obviously–but still not bad.
Jennifer Richards (2 eps of Night Court) as Medusa, the Elvira wannabe. She had the vibe of a Tromette, for sure.
Sonny Carl Davis (Evil Bong 1-3, Thelma & Louise, Where The Buffalo Roam) as Norton, the satellite tv guy.
Ian Patrick Williams (1 ep of Dexter, 1 ep of Batman Beyond, 2 eps of Weird Science) as Nutky (the cop?).
William Paulson (5 eps of Law & Order) as Pluthar, the alien.
Frank Welker (voice-actor GOD) as the monster’s voice. How he manages to always be SO GODDAMN UNIQUE is beyond mystery. We counted his IMDB credits: 750. I’ve never seen anyone else with 750 credits in my life!

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0092074/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: Mr. Nobody (2009)

Clio: 4.6/5 stars, 9/10.
Carolyn: 5/5 stars, 9/10.
Jesse: 5/5 stars, 10/10. (I made this rating up for Jesse, based on him saying it might be his favorite movie of all time.)
Native ratings: 4.2/5 stars Netflix, 7.8/10 IMDB.

Cloud Atlas, The Fountain, Click, Benjamin Button, Ink (2009), Inception (a bit). Smush them all together and you get this movie. I was hooked in the first 20 seconds. This was awesome.

Basically, this movie is about making choices, and the parallel universes that arise with each choice that is made. Hell, they even touch on string theory, chaos theory, and the butterfly effect at points… It is also about how it’s better to make a decision than it is to stand there scared of the various consequences that may arise.

The structure of the movie is pretty amazing, and the cinematography is 10/10 for sure. Over 500 visual effects.

It also had a better than average soundtrack. Mr. Sandman … used even more than in 8 Heads In A Duffel Bag!

The plot synopses on IMDB is pretty good, and though it has minor spoilers, you could simply stop reading the summary when you get to the words “at the end”, and it would not affect enjoyment of the movie (and in fact, this is part of how I was enticed to finally obtain this movie): http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0485947/synopsis … If you want a total-spoilery version, one better to read AFTER watching the movie, check out the wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mr._Nobody_(film)

This was awesome, yet I have a weird cognitive dissonance where I don’t QUITE want to rate this 5/5 stars. My IMDB rating (film quality) is not affected by this dissonance, by my Netflix rating (emotional response) is for some reason. Maybe if I had watched it in a state other than sobriety… I’d have had that “OMFG THIS IS SO AWESOME” feeling. But it WAS awesome. I just didn’t FEEL it like I often do. In part this is because I am anti-spirituality. I can’t help but feel that the message was a bit trite and cliche in the fact that it basically boiled down to “seek happiness”, which we all ALREADY KNOW.
However, this message was done VERY VERY VERY well! Just like Cloud Atlas‘s trite “fight for what is right” message, which was also done VERY well.
I’m so confused by my 5-star resistance here. But I”‘l go ahead and give it 5 stars anyway.

Political side-comment: It’s bullshit that USA typically won’t play this movie due to there being sex scenes with underage people (even though Juno Temple was fucking 20 in this!). Fucking Puritans! The Europeans should have persecuted The Puritans much harder. Seriously: The longest IMDB thread is about a nipple, and not the actual movie! Fuck us! Fuck us up our censored asses!

Written & Directed by Belgian filmmaker Jaco Van Dormael (this is his first English endeavor).

Starring Jared Leto (My So-Called Life, Requiem For A Dream, American Psycho, Fight Club, Panic Room, Girl Interrupted) as Nemo (adult/old).
Sarah Polley (Dawn Of The Dead, eXistenZ, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Go, Splice, 1 ep of Friday The 13th: The Series) as Elise (adult).
Diane Kruger (Inglourious Basterds, National Treasure, Troy) as Anna (adult).
Linh Dan Pham (Dante 01) as Jean (adult).
Rhys Ifans (Dr. Curt Conners in The Amazing Spider-Man, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1) as Nemo’s dad.
Natasha Little (we haven’t seen her stuff) as Nemo’s mom.
Toby Regbo (uncredited as Young Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 1) as Nemo (age 15).
Juno Temple (The Dark Knight Rises, Kaboom, St. Trinian’s, Small Apartments, The Three Musketeers, Year One) as Anna (age 15).

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0485947/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Side Effects (2013)

Clio: 3.6/5 stars, 8/10.
Carolyn: 4/5 stars, 8/10.
Native ratings: 3.6/5 stars Netflix, 7.2/10 IMDB.

Slightly creepy movie with a message about how broken our mental health & pharmaceutical systems are. But just when you think it’s a political drama…. It turns out to be more of a mystery/thriller than you expect.  The twists in tone made the “fucked up”-edness feel that much more sinister. Briefly confusing, with everything making sense in the end.  Things do not go where you’d expect; I was actually reminded of the feeling of watching the end of Wild Things when this movie ended — everything not quite being what it seemed.

Watched this with Jesse, who seemed to enjoy it a lot, though he had some problems finding Catherine Zeta-Jones‘s character/acting believable.

Directed by Steven Soderbergh (The Informant!, Contagion, Erin Brockovitch, Sex, Lies, & Videotape, Ocean’s 11, Solaris, Full Frontal).  Soderberg is a major hit-or-miss director with us — I flat out hated several of his films, and only really liked 50% of them. But I keep coming back for more because of the better half of Soderberg films — and this was in that half.

Written by Scott Z. Burns (Contagion, The Informant!, The Bourne Ultimatum).

Rooney Mara (Lisbeth Salander in the American version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo movies, Youth In Revolt, The Social Network) as Emily Taylor.  Clio got us all thinking this was the girl from the Swedish version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. She convinced us and everything. Nope! That would be Noomi Rapace! Duhhh!
Jude Law (Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Parnassus, eXisitenZ, Lemony Snicket, Gattaca, Contagion, Repo Men, Rise Of The Guardians, and many more) as Dr. Jonathan Banks, the psychiatrist.
Catherine Zeta-Jones (The Mask Of Zorro, Ocean’s 11, Traffic, Rock Of Ages) as Dr. Victoria Siebert, the former psychiatrist.
Channing Tatum as Martin Taylor, the husband who was just released from jail.
Polly Draper (1 ep of The Larry Sanders Show) as Emily’s Boss.
David Costabile (Gale from Breaking Bad) as Carl. Totally didn’t make the connection.
Vinessa Shaw (Eyes Wide Shut) as Dierdre Banks, the wife of the psychiatrist.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2053463/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Wrong (2012)

Clio: 2.4/5 stars, 5.0/10.
Carolyn: 2.4/5 stars, 5.0/10.
Native ratings: 3.4/5 stars Netflix, 6.1/10 IMDB.
From the director of Rubber.

It was definitely weird and surreal… But it didn’t go anywhere. As some have complained, it was like it was weird just for the sake of being weird, with no real point. I fell asleep during this just like with Rubber. It’s like the movie didn’t take enough stock in itself to remain interesting beyond a superficial “yeah, that is weird” level.

As I watched it, I was thinking, “This is better than Rubber”. Then I looked at the ratings. I wonder why I thought this felt better? It might have simply been more interesting, and made more sense. But in the end, Rubber’s….rubber-ness….might have been what saved it.

Quoth Carolyn, “I think I liked Rubber better because at least that had a murdering tire…”

And that’s not saying much.

I should have trusted myself the first two times I decided not to obtain this movie… Basically, I’m avoiding Quentin Dupieux from now on.

Jack Plotnick (Xandir in Drawn Together, an accountant in Rubber) as Dolph Springer.
Eric Judor (he’s been in a bunch of french movies) as Victor, the gardener.
Alexis Dziena (Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist) as Emma, the pizza girl.
Steve Little (Identity Thief, Peppermint Butler in Adventure Time, Dr. Barber in The Marvelous Misadventures Of Flapjack) as Detective Ronnie. We had just seen him in Identity Thief. He’s much less creepy when he’s not constantly recommending surgery as a solution for every possible problem.
William Fichtner (Date Night, The Dark Knight, Ken Rosenberg in Grand Theft Auto, Blades Of Glory, Equilibrium, Endsville, Armageddon, Black Hawk Down, Go, Strange Days) as Master Chang.
Regan Burns (Halfway Home, 1 ep of Weeds) as Mike, the neighbor who hates running.
Arden Myrin (Michael & Michael Have Issues, MADtv, What Women Want, 1 ep of Delocated) as Boss Gabrielle. (We have her mixed up with someone and are going crazy trying to figure out who. She definitely reminds me of Dina Waters, but still… There’s someone in a movie we just watched that reminds me of these two actresses, but isn’t either one of them.)

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1901040/combined