Category Archives: Review

Champions of the Universe – Episode 55

 

Kaptain Carbon and Areaman Adam were gracious enough to let me co-host an Episode of Champions of the Universe, their music podcast. In this episode we review the bands Bleached, Sweet, and Deep Sea Arcade. Give it a listen, these guys do excellent work.

itunes

The Ides of March Review

 

 

 

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… What a stupid name for a movie. This film takes place in Ohio, and there is snow on the ground. That leaves the only plausible interpretation for the title left, is as a reference to Julius Caesar, by Shakespeare. So, you want to name a movie on the basis that it includes betrayal? I guess it’s better than naming a movie Paranormal Activity 3, when it set before the prior two.

Marginally.

It’s a very slim margin.


The Ides of March takes place approaching the Democratic National Convention, during an election year. Both candidate’s campaigns are depending on Ohio’s Governor’s endorsement in order to clinch the Democratic nomination. As if follows Ryan Gosling, the youngest, most talented campaign manager in the whole-wide-world, a win seems easy, and without problem. But isn’t there always a problem? Obviously, there can be no betrayal without problems.

The first impression of the cast is, “Wow, these guys are smooth.” Everything is so neat, and perfect. Slides like glass. And the moment you get a break from the huge George Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ryan Gossling, Paul Giamatti, and Marisa Tomei opener, you can’t help but wonder how many dollars are tied up just in the performers.

Giving props to Clooney, a Clint Eastwood in the making, it was ballsy to make a movie strictly about a presidential campaign. Stop and take a moment to think about that. What would Taxi Driver be if you took out all the cool parts? How far flat did Recount fall? To center a production around one moment of a campaign is a death knell.

Clooney wrote and directed a very fine “Grandpa” movie, in the likes of The Good Shepherd, or even similar to his own Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. It was intelligent, dramatic, came equipped with clever dialogue, and some parts were funny, but at the end of the reel, it was dry, and had the stench of Oscar-bait. To Clooney’s credit, he brought out fantastic performances from his cast, notably Gosling, who carries the movie, but with the actors involved, do they even need a script or a director? They could pretty much be filmed drinking water, and something interesting would be bound to happen.

This movie fell flat for me. It just a tad too rehashed and unimaginative. This is not to say it was a bad movie. It just slightly fell short of the mark. Unless the desired effect was for me to feel 15 years older, balding, and with an insistent urge to talk loudly about what happened in a noisy restaurant.

 

RATING: SLUMPIN’

 

If you’re new to the Out of Commission rating scale, it’s quite simple: Bumpin’, Sumthin’, Slumpin’, Straight Dumpin’. Pretty self explanatory. Yes?

Bad Teacher Review

 

R rated movies, especially comedies, have become a bit of a rarity in recent years. It is beyond understanding, as films to the like of The Hangover, and Tropic Thunder, have both done well in down markets. Yet studio executives still fight to keep ratings at or below the all accessible PG-13. This contagion exists in action and drama movies with Live Free or Die Hard, and the recut rerelease of The Kings Speech.

Bad Teacher follows a one diminutional, gold digging Cameron Diaz, who decides to leave her job as a teacher, so she may pursue a career as a housewife to a wealthy man. After being abruptly dumped, she is forced to return to her old job teaching, until she can snag another rich mark.

I should hate this movie. Everything I’ve ever seen with Cameron Diaz, I’ve wanted to punch her in the face just to see if I can bring some life into her cold, dead eyes. However, Bad Teacher filled a void I’ve been I’ve had in my life in recent years. Sometimes, I just want to sit in a theater and be accosted by cursing and dick jokes. Unfortunately, it was still hard to like Bad Teacher. There is no flow or progression of story. Scenes really don’t seem to change, characters just do different things. It leaves most segments of this film with a hanging sensation.

Where Bad Teacher did excel, was with the selection of their supporting cast. Lucy Punch, Phyllis Smith, Thomas Lennon, and Jason Segel all brought something to this production. Even Justin Timberlake didn’t annoy me as much as I thought he would. Unfortunately, a good supporting cast can not carry sloppy directing, and bad editing and writing. Though I was somewhat entertained through out my viewing, it just didn’t do enough for me.

Bad Teacher with it’s generic plot, flawed and unredeemable main character, and poor writing and directing is by far better than any recent Adam Sandler movie; but I did like this movie a lot better when it was called Billy Madison.

RATING: SLUMPIN’

 

 

If you’re new to the Out of Commission rating scale, it’s quite simple: Bumpin’, Sumthin’, Slumpin’, Straight Dumpin’. Pretty self explanatory. Yes?

Green Lantern Review

When Warner Brothers threw a quick nine million dollars at the Green Lantern‘s special effects budget two months before the release date, I knew it was going to be a terrible movie.

RATING: DUMPIN’

 

 

What? You want more? Because that seriously wraps everything up nice and tight. It’s really not worth talking about… OK. Twist my arm.

Green Lantern represents the second to worst movie of 2011 I’ve seen thus far. To even come close to Sucker Punch for this illustrious spot, really takes talent. During this film, I was the jerk-off inappropriately laughing at all the wrong parts. I couldn’t help it. The CG/voiceover cocktail that started everything off, was just too strong. In fact, I really, really wish any of the four writers had heard of Robert McKee. Terrible voice overs aside, this script was riddled with terrible dialogue. Green Lantern breaks nearly every suggestion McKee has involving dialogue. However, starting and ending this movie with the worst voice overs ever written couldn’t have been merely a coincidence… One of those assholes had to think they were doing a good job. Barring special effects, the main antagonist to the hero in this story seems to be the writers themselves.

Very early on, it is made crystal clear that Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) is a screw up. He’s so much a screw up, that he screws up screwing up. No joke. The writers actually wrote a scene where he saves the company he works for by screwing up so bad that it corrects his screw up. They pretty much focus on this for a solid hour to reaffirm just how much he sucks at everything but flying planes. Skipping the boring details, Hal Jordan finds a dying alien, blah, blah, blah… Boom! He’s now screwing up as the Green Lantern. This mistake pretty much impossible to believe that the chosen hero of this movie could protect a glass of warm piss, let alone a planet or a universe.

Now, I want to take a moment to give everyone involved with this movie a slow clap. The chances that a film with a budget of one-hundred fifty million dollars would fail on every aspect of production is a mathematical anomaly.  Hell, you’d have a better chance hitting the lottery than you would messing up a movie with that kind of resources. What a huge disappointment for director Martin Campbell. What is most shocking, is Campbell was behind two fantastic James Bond films, GoldenEye , and the remake of Casino Royale.

I could go on and on about how terrible everything in this movie was, but it already wasted nearly two hours of my time. I’m not going to let it eat up anymore. Green Lantern was so bad, I couldn’t help but laugh the entire way through it, and I spent most of the movie joking about what was going on with a friend. There are no redeeming qualities to this film of any kind. Just avoid it.

RATING: STRAIGHT DUMPIN’

 

 

If you’re new to the Out of Commission rating scale, it’s quite simple: Bumpin’, Sumthin’, Slumpin’, Straight Dumpin’. Pretty self explanatory. Yes?

Super 8 Review

 

It’s been a long time since I’ve been on a date to the movies. It’s not because I’m a mongoloid, nor am I on the low end of the curve in the caste system. I usually end up in relationships that last for years. So instead of going out and seeing a lot of movies with a lot of different women, I’ll pick one girl and work for years on systematically destroying every piece of goodwill left in both of our souls. After seeing Super 8 with a new test subject on Sunday, I was forcibly asked to mention her in my review. Naturally, I chose to push her down in the mud and yell at her for having cooties, instead of complimenting her to the likes of saying I attended Super 8 with an intelligent and attractive young woman.

Super 8 is set in 1979 “when cool kids never have the time.” It enkindles an old memory of a simpler time. If that’s not cliché enough, wait until I start talking about growing up without the internet and walking to school barefoot, uphill both ways. While I was watching this movie, I felt like I was being bombarded with nostalgia. I think this will most likely be missed by younger generations, but director J.J. Abrams did a fantastic job making the cinematography and film quality look like it was shot in 1979. I thought almost entirely throughout Super 8, that it looked like other work producer Steven Spielberg did in this time period, namely E.T. and The Goonies.

Super 8, named after the 8mm film, opens with a group of middle school aged children trying to make a horror movie. During one of the late night shoots, they happen to witness a pickup truck collide head on with a freight train. This creates a completely awesome action scene, that I found to look pretty convincing, which has become a rarity for me in this post CGI cinema world we’re living in. Following the wreck, the children are chased out by military personnel, who claim the cleanup of the site to be a military operation. Once people’s stuff starts to go missing, there’s no one better than a group of young teenagers to attempt to uncover a conspiracy.

J.J. Abrams has written a lot of high profile scripts for both television and films, but this one seems different. This one comes off as if he put a piece of his childhood in it. The characters are so well developed, it’s easy to identify with them. Without giving it a second thought, you know exactly why they’re doing what they are. It is made especially easy to believe due to the children’s great acting, which caught me off guard by the amount of craft they were able to exhibit.

Super 8 is a world filled with childhood wonder and laughter. It is a perfect light horror/slightly comedic adventure to bring your kids or a date to. It’s not the kind of movie that’s going to have a girl gripping to you like Scooby Do to Shaggy – unless you’re like my lady friend who was hanging on to me for dear life – but it is an enjoyable movie, with just the right mix to let yourself get carried away. Just make sure that when the lights come up, you don’t bolt for the door. There is a very enjoyable scene that starts a few moments after the credits begin to roll.

Rating: Sumethin’

 

 

If you’re new to the Out of Commission rating scale, it’s quite simple: Bumpin’, Sumthin’, Slumpin’, Straight Dumpin’. Pretty self explanatory. Yes?