Sunday, August 28, 2011

Our Idiot Brother

I personally think that Paul Rudd is a brilliant actor, just not a comedic actor. I don't understand why guys like him and Jason Bateman, for example, waste their talent in comedies. Rudd and Bateman always play the normal guy alongside the stupid, funny guys. When you aren't funny, you shouldn't be in a comedy, period. With that being said, I really thought this might be a role that Rudd would use to break out of his normal guy spell. Any title that contains the word "idiot" certainly has potential to contain one goofy character, and this time it was supposed to be Rudd. I didn't expect too much with the movie, but I missed the movies dearly so I needed something to watch this weekend.

In the opening scene, Ned (Paul Rudd) is arrested for selling weed to a police officer, which is certainly an idiotic thing to do. You are then taken to the day he gets out of jail several months later. Then you find out what is going on in one of his sister's lives. Then the next sister. Then the next sister. Then him. Then all of them together. Then one sister. Then one sister. What I'm trying to show is that the plot was way WAY too busy early on. Eventually, each of the sister's lives are influenced by Ned in a negative way. This really was a good way to show how Ned could easily screw things up, but the plot as a whole lacked laughs. Don't get me wrong, there were funny parts, but I just didn't feel like the movie was meant to be funny. It turned out to be more about family, which is a great thing. It just wasn't what I expected.

Of course the main character was Ned, but he didn't really have enough of the movie's focus, in my opinion. The sisters, Miranda (Elizabeth Banks), Natalie (Zooey Deschanel), and Liz (Emily Mortimer), really were the focus of the movie. Each sister had her own little plot, which stole from Ned's ability to be the focus of the film. I don't know if that makes any sense, but it does in my head. Ned's biggest problem was that he was too nice, a result of his living at a peaceful, hippy, dope-smoking farm. While he did make dumb decisions and do funny things, I was expecting him to be completely oblivious to the world around him. It turned out that he made the world just a little bit better with his idiocy. He just didn't seem quite dumb enough for me.

Best Character: Billy, played by T.J. Miller (She's Out of My League), was probably the funniest character in the movie. He was one of the guys who lived on the hippy farm where Ned originally lived. I really thought that Rudd's character was going to be more like Miller's. The movie probably would have been better if Billy were the main character rather than Ned.

Worst Character: Jeremy, played by Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation), was the only real mismatch in the plot. As I said, each sister had their own plot, but Jeremy really gave Miranda a second plot as her love interest. He was funny, but I just didn't see why he was necessary.

I thought that maybe, just maybe, Rudd might be a bit goofier than normal and make this movie funny. While this was not really the case, the movie didn't turn out as bad as you might expect. The story really showed how important family is to everyone, including the idiots. It really made for a nice story, just not the one I was expecting. In my opinion, the movie really should have been called "My Three Idiot Sisters," but I don't get to choose. The cast was very good, and there was only the one out of place character, as mentioned above. Paul Rudd remains unfunny, as I give Our Idiot Brother 2.39 out of 5 stars.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Movie News for the Week of August 26, 2011

Just in case you missed it last week, movie news has moved to Fridays. So be on the lookout for great news to share with your friends each and every weekend.

Also, the first trailer for The Hunger Games will air this Sunday, during the Video Music Awards. Be sure you check that out!

1. A writer named Sean Hood has submitted a screenplay for yet another Rambo film. He reportedly had some help from Sylvester Stallone while writing the script, which makes this something that very well could happen in the near future.

2. The Last Exorcism, made for just $1.6 million, has grossed $67 million since last year, which means there imminently will be an sequel. Production for the sequel is set to begin in the fall, and yet another "Last/Final" movie has failed to wrap up a series (I'm talking to you, The Final Destination).

3. In an interview with Denis Miller, Dan Akroyd revealed that Ghostbusters 3 was definitely happening and hopefully will include Bill Murray, who hasn't been keen on making a third film. Akroyd said that the classic ghostbusters would be passing the torch on to younger stars. Also, Matthew Gray Gubler (Criminal Minds) was mentioned by Akroyd as one of the younger stars that he had in mind.

4. Chevy Chase announced this week that he has scripted a new Vacation movie, without the National Lampoon tag. The story would revolve around the original characters, who would jump off of their cruise ship, thinking that the boat was on fire. The Griswolds would wash up on an island, where good ol' Randy was left after a season of Survivor. Sounds like a funny plot to me.

5. While it has been known that a Popeye movie is on the way to the big screen, this week it was rumored that Jim Carrey will voice the sailor man. Also rumored, Amy Adams will voice the character of Olive Oyl.

6. Although very little detail is known at this point, it has been reported that the Scary Movie franchise will get a fifth installment. No actors or directors have been linked to the film, but the studio wants it out next summer. They better hurry up!

7. There will be an additional bonus when you go watch The Muppets this November. Disney announced this week that a Toy Story short entitled "Small Fry" will play before you see Kermit and crew return to the big screen.

8. Along with the Toy Story news, Pixar made even bigger news this week when they announced concepts for two new films. The first film will be out in November 2013 and will take place in a world where dinosaurs never became extinct. The second film will be out in May of 2014 and will go "inside the human mind." Both of these sound interesting to me, and I cannot wait to trailers.

This is a compilation video that somebody made, and it contains the 25 Greatest Unscripted Scenes in Film. Some of them really surprised me. I think it's definitely worth a look.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Movie News for the Week of August 16, 2011

With school starting back up next week, the blog will be forced to conform to my schedule. Because of this, movie news will be moving to Fridays, starting next week. Just wanted to let everyone know, because I know you would just be worried to death next Tuesday. Also, there has been a lot of news this week so enjoy!

1. With the great succes of the first Smurfs film, Sony pictures has already ordered a sequel. They have set the release date for August 2, 2013, making this the first film to lock up an August release date in 2013. I have my own opinion about a sequel, which you can read on my review of the Smurfs.

2. Mila Jovovich has committed to a fifth Resident Evil film. She has tweeted that the film may be called Retribution, but this has not been confirmed.

3. Bruce Willis is in talks to appear in the next G.I. Joe film. The actor would play the character of original Joe, which I imagine is just an old G.I.Joe.

4. Casting is underway for a third Riddick film, and Vin Diesel has already committed to returning as Riddick. The studio has promised that the third film will be on a smaller scale, much like Pitch Black, rather than a large scale like The Chronicles of Riddick.

5. Justin Lin, the director of Fast Five, is becoming more and more popular each and every day. He has officially signed on to direct the sixth Fast and Furious film and is also being associated with a new Terminator film. Lin himself has said that he has met with Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Cameron about making a fifth film in the famous series. Cameron has said that he will not produce if the film is made, but Lin has been very appreciative of Cameron's input. 

6. Earlier in the week, Paramount announced that it would be releasing World War Z, a zombie takeover film, on December 21, 2012. This was a bit confusing, because this was the same date as The Lone Ranger and Life of Pi were due out, but, on Saturday, Disney shut down production on The Lone Ranger. The film, starring Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer, was going to cost over $250 million, which Disney thought was a bit much for western-like remake. The Lone Ranger very well may get made eventually, but the price tag will have to be lower for director Gore Verbinski. I am super pissed about this, because I was really looking forward to this movie.

7. The Lincoln Lawyer, starring Matthew McConaughey, was not the biggest movie of 2011, but TV Land has decided to turn the film into a TV series. It is highly unlikely that TV Land would be able to afford/convince McConaughey to reprise his role, but nothing has been announced yet as far as casting goes.

8. A third Bridget Jones Diary film is being made, which mean more eyes are going to burn out after looking upon the face of Zellweger!

9. Earlier in the week, it was reported that Michael Myers is officially on board for a fourth Austin Powers movie. This turned out to be a false report, but Myers has said that he is interested in making another Powers film, so we will just have to wait and see.

The Batplane has reemerged in the streets of Pittsburgh. No one knows if the new Tumbler will transform into the Batplane or if the plane is its own accessory, but here is a clip:

Sunday, August 14, 2011

30 Minutes or Less

The summer of 2011 was full of mediocre comedies and included a few great laughs like Horrible Bosses and The Hangover: Part II. While I do love Jesse Eisenberg, my expectations for 30 Minutes or Less leaned more towards the mediocre side. The previews were certainly funny, but it seemed that those may be the only funny parts. My expectations were really lowered when I found out that this film was derived from true events. It was such a good idea, but knowing that it wasn't an original idea really made it seem less funny for some reason. Also, the guy in the true story died, which is pretty rough and not funny.

As the previews show, a pizza delivery guy, Nick (Jesse Eisenberg), is kidnapped and has a bomb strapped to him. The kidnapper, Dwayne (Danny McBride), needs $100,000 to hire someone to kill his dad, so he can have his inheritance. They decide to rob a bank, using a kidnapped pizza boy. I won't reveal the rest of the plot, but I will tell you one thing that really pissed me off. The pizza boy is given something like nine hours to rob the bank. I don't know about you, but I wanted to see him do it in thirty minutes. Maybe that really isn't important, but I think they should have focused more on the pizza side of things than they did. The title is 30 MINUTES OR LESS, they could've thrown a few pizza jokes in there somehow. Overall, the plot was rather predictable and simple, but there were plenty of laughs along the way.

Jesse Eisenberg was his usually great self, which made me want to see more of him and much less of Danny McBride. Don't get me wrong, McBride was very very funny, but I thought the movie should have focused almost totally on the delivery guy. Nick's friendship with Chet (Aziz Ansari) was actually very intriguing. They had stabbed each other in the back a few times in the past, which provided many laughs. Eisenberg is very good at making you care about his character, which makes this friendship seem very personal in just an hour and a half of watching. You really feel like these two are true friends.

Best Character: Chango, played by Michael Pena, is the man who Dwayne is going to hire to kill his dad. He is, by far, the funniest character in the movie, and Pena really does a great job playing the role. Also, Chango provides the only real plot twist, which is an added bonus.

Worst Character: Travis, played by Nick Swardson, was Dwayne's best friend and fellow kidnapper. Personally, I thought he was absolutely unnecessary. Swardson is very very funny, but he really distracted from the focus of the film.

30 Minutes or Less definitely falls into the mediocre comedy category. There were many laughs and a funny storyline, but I don't think there was ever too much potential with this film. The cast was full of great, funny comedic actors and, of course, the great Eisenberg. Aziz Ansari really surprised me, because I usually don't find him very funny. The entire cast really gelled well together, and I think the problem may have been that there were too many great actors. I wanted the movie to focus on each of them a bit more, but that just couldn't really happen. I'm still bitter about the fact that the pizza had very little to do with the movie, but I will get over it. I give 30 Minutes or Less 2.32 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Movie News for the Week of August 9, 2011

1. In an attempt to grab a best picture nomination, Warner Bros. is launching a huge Oscar campaign for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. They believe the nomination would mean so much to the series as a whole. Up to this point, Academy members have had mixed opinions on the film being nominated.

2. As I have reported before, a Green Lantern sequel is in the works. But, due to the struggles Green Lantern had this summer, the script is going to be completely changed and rewritten. Warner Bros. has promised an edgier, darker sequel. I have already said how I feel about a sequel. If you want to see what I said, go read my review of Green Lantern.

3. There has been a lot of racial tension in the comic book world. First, Peter Parker was killed of in a Marvel comic book series, and his replacement was a black guy. Now, Laurence Fishburne has been named as the actor who will portray Perry White in The Man of Steel. Many people do not like that a black actor will play the role of a usually white character, but who really cares.

4. Disney has locked up three big release dates for the summer of 2014. Two of these dates will be given to unknown Marvel movies, and the other will go to Pixar. It was recently reported that Marvel is working hard on a Dr. Strange film, so many believe that one of the two Marvel slots will go towards that film. Other rumors include a possible Captain America sequel, which would be awesome.

5. Sony has already set a May 2014 release date for a sequel to The Amazing Spiderman. In my opinion, these people plan way too far in advance.

6. The Hunger Games sequel, Catching Fire, has a release date set for November of 2013. The first Hunger Games film is due out in March.

7. As the release of the Footloose remake is not far away, news has now come out that there will be a remake of Dirty Dancing. Kenny Ortega, who directed High School Musical, is heading up the project. What makes this seem like a sure things is the fact that Ortega was the dance choreographer for the original Dirty Dancing film.

This is a first look at Anne Hathaway as Catwoman. Many people are disappointed in the suit, but we must trust in Nolan. I've also included the first picture of Henry Cavill as Superman.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Summer Recap

In my opinion, last Friday was the final big release date of summer 2011 with The Smurfs and Comboys & Aliens tying atop the box office. I am not a big fan of the Planet of the Apes series and The Change-Up just looked dumb, so I chose to write this rather than wasting my time at the movies this weekend, but don't worry, next week I will have a review of 30 Minutes or Less.

The past three summers have brought some of my favorite movies of all time. There was The Dark Knight and Iron Man in 2008. There was Star Trek, District 9, and The Hangover in 2009. And everybody loved Inception and Toy Story 3 in 2010. With those films in mind, the summer of 2011 seems very very weak. Maybe it's not fair to compare these, but the truth is that this was just a bad summer for movies. Many people whined about the abundance of super hero movies, but I don't think this was the problem. Sure, Green Lantern really sucked, and Thor was just ok, but X-Men and Captain America were each high points in a low summer. Many people whined about the abundance of sequels. Once again there were lows such as Pirates 4, but there were many sequels loved by many. I personally loved The Hangover Part II, Transformers 3, and once again X-Men. Harry Potter, Fast Five, Kung Fu Panda 2, and Cars 2 are other sequels that many people loved. So what do we blame the aweful summer of 2011 on?

The problem with the summer of 2011 is the lack of big, original movies. Every movie that I mentioned from previous summers, except Toy Story 3, was a movie that really made itself or its series famous. The two biggest money making movies of 2011 will undoubtedly be Transformers 3 and the final Harry Potter film, but both of these were sold by the success of their previous films. A lot of critics don't care for summer movies because they aren't very Oscar worthy, but, in my opinion, the problem is the lack of original storytelling ability in the film industry these days. My favorite movie of the summer was Super 8, a movie that did a great job of being itself. The biggest surprise of the summer was definitely Horrible Bosses. It may not have been as good as The Hangover, but the storyline really made for many many laughs. Each of these films were certainly original stories, furthering my point.

If you are one that hated the super hero movies or the sequels, you will also be hating the summer of 2012. The biggest films of 2012 will be The Dark Knight Rises, The Avengers, and The Amazing Spiderman, all of which fall into those two categories. But, there is still hope for next summer to be a good summer for movies. The best thing it has going for it? It will be compared to the summer of 2011.

This has been a great couple of months of blogging for me, and I have really enjoyed letting people know how I feel about each film. If there is ever anything that you think would better the blog, just let me know. I am very open to suggestions. I want to thank each of you for listening to what I say, and I ask you to please continue reading.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Smurfs

As a kid, I loved the Smurfs. They were magical, small, and funny, just like me! I could not pass up the opportunity to see my little blue friends on the big screen, even as I approach age 20. I didn't really expect much out of the movie, mostly because I do not find Neil Patrick Harris the least bit interesting as an actor. Also, this summer has really been lacking as far as animated films are concerned, which is extremely rare. Usually we can count on animation to save Hollywood, because they don't have to make movies about the same old crap every time. They can create whatever characters and put them in whatever world they choose. So I just pray that animation makes a triumphant rebound next summer!

The plot is simple and very childish with no depth whatsoever. I did not feel any emotional connection to Patrick (Neil Patrick Harris) or his wife Grace (Jayma Mays). It was like the writers were trying soooo hard to develop some sort of lesson to learn from this movie and utterly failed. Obviously, the Smurfs are trying to avoid being captured by Gargamel (Hank Azaria) and his cat, as they do in the old cartoons. I personally felt like they should have left that as the only real storyline. The addition of the real world and the humans made for some funny events, but I really would have rather seen the Smurfs remain in their own little world. This movie would have been so much better if it were strictly animated.

The characters really lacked any depth at all. The only two Smurfs I cared about were Clumsy and Papa. Every other character just seemed awkward to me, mostly because the situation was awkward. As I said, Neil Patrick Harris struggles to interest me in this film as well as everything else. Jayma Mays did alright, so I have nothing bad to say about her. The voices for the Smurfs were pretty good, and I liked that none of the Smurfs fell for Smurfette, because kids don't give a crap about that anyway, and this is definitely a kids movie. I really liked Clumsy (voiced by Anton Yelchin) more than any of the other Smurfs. He actually represented overcoming your troubles to accomplish something great. Something that kids need to see.

Best Character: Azrael, Gargamel's cat, was actually pretty freakin hilarious. He really made Gargamel look like an idiot and brought on many laughs from the kids, which is the most important thing.

Worst Character: Gargamel, played by Hank Azaria, was just not a very threatening villain. If I were still five years old, I would have said that he was just stupid. Obviously you can't remove the villain from The Smurfs movie, but they could have done something different.

I didn't expect much with The Smurfs nor did I get much from The Smurfs. I really thought the Smurfs were digitalized very well. Ten minutes into the movie, I was ready to adopt one and bring it home with me. There were some awkward parts where Patrick would give them a hug or Grace would pick them up, and it was very very fake looking. Overall I got what I expected, but I thought there were many things that could have been done better. I give The Smurfs 2.03 out of 5 stars and hope the studio stops after one film. I don't want the 21st century to ruin the Smurfs for my future children.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Movie News for the Week of August 2, 2011

1. The book ESPN: Those Guys Have All the Fun, based on the early years of the sports channel, could be turned into a movie. 20th Century Fox is close to a deal that would give them rights to the film. Many say that the film would probably have strong similarities to the feel of The Social Network.

2. Now that the hype surrounding Super 8 has settled down, J.J. Abrams has officially announced that he will be directing the second Star Trek movie. All main characters from the first film are returning, and the release date will either be at the end of 2012 or during the summer of 2013.

3. After directing both The DiVinci Code and Angels and Demons, Ron Howard has said that he will not be involved with The Last Symbol. Dan Brown, the author of the books turned movies, has reportedly reached out to Howard about making a third film, but Howard is not interested.

4. A fifth Die Hard movie is almost a sure thing. The movie will take Bruce Willis's character outside of the United States for the first time. It has been rumoured that Russia might be his destination.

5. The director of The Expendables 2 has stirred the pot a bit by hinting that three big name actors might be a part of the sequel. Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger are already signed on to return in larger roles, but now it is being said that Chuck Norris, John Travolta, and Jean-Claude Van Damme will also be joining the cast.

This is a cool opportunity to watch the making of a scene from The Dark Knight Rises. Very cool stuff, so check it out:

Monday, August 1, 2011

Friends With Benefits

All the talk going in to this movie was how it was exactly like No Strings Attached. Judging from the trailers of the two films, that is very true, but I have never seen No Strings Attached, giving me a clean slate to think upon during this movie. I really thought that the movie would be purely comedy. It's obvious that a love connection would spark between Mila and Justin at some point in the film, but I expected hilarity up until that point. I am not a huge fan of Mila Kunis, but she is 3,000 times funnier than Natalie Portman, hence my watching Friends With Benefits rather than No Strings Attached. Did I expect great things from this movie? No, hence my going to watch Captain America first. But I am always up for a good laugh.

Before I move on to the plot, I would like to let all readers know that my girlfriend was absolutely disgusted by the abbreviation FWB. She told me atleast three times, so I figured that everyone should know how awefully dumb it is to abbreviate movie titles.

As is the case with most people, I go see a comedy for one reason... to laugh. For the first twenty minutes or so of Friends with Benefits, I didn't find myself doing much of this. Then, suddenly, the movie began to pick up in humor. But once the funny business was over, the plot became very serious. As I said before, the obvious love connection sparks, and mixed emotions get in the way. I am usually ok with the relationships in comedies, yet this one began to turn into more of a chick flick as time went on. Not only is there tension in the relationship between the main characters, but also Dylan (Justin Timberlake) has a rough family history and a sick dad. Now I don't know about you, but I don't want to see much emotion from a man in an R-rated comedy. Now that I have hated some, I do think that the approach was good and the idea brilliant. If they hadn't played up the comedy so so much in the trailers, I would have loved the family connections. This movie was actually thought up before No Strings Attached, so I will give them credit for turning this great idea into a film. The execution could have been better, the plot could have been less predictable, but the idea is genius.

As I said before, I am not a huge fan of Mila Kunis. I am one of the biggest That 70's Show fans you could ever meet, and I believe she was the weak link in the greatest TV comedy of all time. With that being said, I was impressed by her performance in Friends with Benefits. I do think she really utilized Timberlake's talents to her advantage and made me laugh multiple times. Justin Timberlake really wasn't as funny as normal, mostly because he was held back by his family issues. I did think the chemistry between Kunis and Timberlake was obvious, and I would not be surprised if this relationship carried over into the real world.

Best Character: Dylan's dad, played by Richard Jenkins, was really a great character. I know I said that I wanted comedy, but he really did a good job of adding the drama that was desired by the filmmakers.

Worst Character: Shaun White, played by Shaun White, was completely useless. There was a really hilarious joke about him looking like a girl, but other than that I was baffled as to why he was in the film.

Friends with Benefits was not exactly what I expected, but it was pretty good. I did laugh a good bit and also felt something for the characters, particularly Dylan. I have mixed emotions about the film. The plot was predicted by our waiter before watching the movie, which shows its depth. Even with the weakness of the plot, I do still love the idea, and my hat goes off to whoever thought to turn this into a movie. Friends with Benefits gets 2.46 out of 5 stars. However, I do want to reserve my rights to change my opinion on the film daily.