Screen Junkies » Funny Movie Review http://www.screenjunkies.com Movie Reviews & TV Show Reviews Sun, 14 Sep 2014 20:59:28 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.3.1 REVIEW: ‘INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS’ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-review/review-inglourious-basterds/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-review/review-inglourious-basterds/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds.  You have to think the movie would make Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen-amounts of money if every moviegoer were Jewish and an action movie aficionado.  While we at Screen Junkies are decidedly action movie lovers, we are also mostly of the gentile persuasion.  So, while we already have our Basterds tickets for opening weekend, we fully appreciate how gratifying the film might be all the more gratifying for someone whose family had to actually endure the atrocities of the Nazis. The idea of hearing a Jewish perspective on a movie that centers on Jews brutally killing a bunch of people who brutally killed Jews always had an interesting ring to it.  Luckily for us, our friends at Heeb Magazine read our minds, and passed writer Oliver Noble's review of the flick on to us for a gander.  As you can see from the beginning of Noble's piece, Tarantino seems to have nailed his key demo:

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Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds.  You have to think the movie would make Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen-amounts of money if every moviegoer were Jewish and an action movie aficionado.  While we at Screen Junkies are decidedly action movie lovers, we are also mostly of the gentile persuasion.  So, while we already have our Basterds tickets for opening weekend, we fully appreciate how gratifying the film might be all the more gratifying for someone whose family had to actually endure the atrocities of the Nazis. 

The idea of hearing a Jewish perspective on a movie that centers on Jews brutally killing a bunch of people who brutally killed Jews always had an interesting ring to it.  Luckily for us, our friends at Heeb Magazine read our minds, and passed writer Oliver Noble’s review of the flick on to us for a gander.  As you can see from the beginning of Noble’s piece, Tarantino seems to have nailed his key demo:

 

Inglourious Basterds: The Heeb Review

By Oliver Noble   

“I think this might just be my masterpiece.” 

That was the final line of dialogue in Quentin Tarantino’s script for Inglourious Basterds when it was leaked online, before a single frame had been shot, in July 2008.

That statement would come to be seen as a bold proclamation among both Tarantino devotees and detractors. Yes, whether he liked it or not, Tarantino had thrown down the gauntlet. “Masterpiece” was the buzzword that the already lauded director’s 10-years-in-the-making film had to live up to, and people weren’t going to settle for anything less. 

A year later and I’m sitting in a packed theater—some audience members are giddy with excitement, others are clearly eager to call Tarantino’s bluff. The lights go down. One hundred and 53 minutes later, I leave the theater. My heart is pounding—my body humming with a rush of adrenaline that only a Tarantino movie (or a swift punch in the jaw) can provide…

Read the rest of Heeb Magazine’s review here.

 

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REVIEW: (500) DAYS OF SUMMER http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-review/review-500-days-of-summer/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-review/review-500-days-of-summer/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 It’s been several days now, and I can’t quite get this movie out of my head.  (500) DAYS OF SUMMER is one of those rare films that actually speaks to...

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It’s been several days now, and I can’t quite get this movie out of my head.  (500) DAYS OF SUMMER is one of those rare films that actually speaks to a young generation, but – lo and behold – does so in an intelligent and thoughtful way.  In his feature debut, director Marc Webb takes a relationship comedy to some pretty daring and refreshing places, not an easy feat for this genre.

A lot of guys out there are going to piss all over the idea of seeing this movie.  Maybe it’s the marketing, which makes it seem like a typical romantic comedy.  But (500) DAYS is very deceptive. At first, you do think you are getting your typical romantic comedy but you end up with something entirely different – something that guys can not only sit through, but to which they can actually relate. I’m happy to say this romantic comedy – and I use that term lightly – is made with the guy in mind.  (And yes, women are welcome.) 

The film looks at the sh*tty side of relationships that many of us men face and so few of us want to discuss.  But when we see Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s portrayal of Tom, a broken young man who yearns for what he can’t have, we all know that all too familiar feeling.  We’ve almost all experienced that desire to want someone that doesn’t want us.  But for men to actually confront and discuss this just doesn’t seem appropriate.  We’d all rather just talk about fantasy football.  But (500) DAYS OF SUMMER’s spot-on portrayal of the unrequited love bullsh*t is what makes this movie so great. 

And a huge part of the credit for that is lead man Joseph Gordon-Levitt, once known as “Information Officer Tommy” on “3rd Rock From the Sun.” 

He’s come a long way, and it was probably his breakout performance in 2005’s BRICK that put him on the map as a rising young star to watch.

(500) DAYS solidifies Gordon-Levitt’s place among the new young leading men of our generation. He’s a likable everyman that makes you want to root for him just because he symbolizes so many of us who have known these feelings of longing and rejection all too well.  (The jury hasn’t convened on his upcoming portrayal of Cobra Commander, but it’s probably safe to say it won’t outshine Tom’s credibility.)

This movie spoke to me personally and reminded me of the girl that broke my heart so many years ago.  And every once in a while I will have a flashback and just mutter under my breath “Renee Carson, you bitch”.  Tom’s relationship with Zooey Deschanel’s character – without feeling cookie cutter – is a proxy for every tragic union; for all intents and purposes, she is Renee Carson or [insert your own heartless ex’s name here].  I think this movie could make a vial of testosterone tear up like a baby.  And considering we are in a time when movies are disposable like the greeting cards Tom writes in the film, it is nice to have one that could maybe last forever.

I can’t speak highly enough of Marc Webb’s direction.  He did a masterful job with his first movie, and transitioned incredibly smoothly from Music Videos. Check out some of his work; you’ve probably seen it at some point:


You can see a couple more here and here.

Perhaps one of the best scenes of the movie is a segment about “Expectation vs. Reality”.  Don’t watch the clip here if you are going to see the movie but if you need something to prove how cool it is, there you go.

Webb was clearly a perfect choice for this film.  The movie is told out of order and in rather creative ways to convey Tom’s love and memories of Summer.  Now this could have been dangerous territory because, in the wrong hands, an average Hollywood director would have made a very conventional, run of the mill romantic comedy. And in the wrong music video director’s hands we might have gotten “Bulletproof Days of Summer”, Youtube: “Bulletproof Monk”.  Here I’ll do it for you:

Instead, Webb was able to add the right ingredients together: a dash of music video flavor with two parts great leading actors, with the secret ingredient, a well crafted script.  And on that last note I am going to do what many reviewers won’t dare to do.  Talk about the two men who actually wrote this male driven romantic comedy, Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber. (You can listen to a podcast hosted by the amazing Jeff Goldsmith on the writing of (500) DAYS OF SUMMER at Creative Screenwriting Magazine, or go to iTunes and type in “Creative Screenwriting” to download.

Neustadter and Weber both met at Tribeca Films. For those that are unfamiliar, Tribeca is Robert Deniro’s production company. A somewhat well known actor. Scott actually hired his writing partner Michael Weber several years back, to intern at Tribeca.   The two struck up a friendship and decided to collaborate as screenwriters.  The actual story for (500) DAYS is loosely based on two relationships that Scott found himself in, and the two men thought it would be a good idea to turn reality into fiction.  As one of Tom’s friends in the movie says, “The best way to get over a girl is to turn them into literature.” Perhaps a clever nod by the writers who were doing just that.  The literature though was in the form of a screenplay that would take on a life of its own once all the pieces were properly assembled.

From a solid script we bring on Marc Webb, the director, we cast the brilliant Joseph Gordon Levitt and finally the one person I haven’t talked about yet. Zooey Deschanel, who plays Summer.  I first took notice of Zooey in a little known film called ALL THE REAL GIRLS where she gave a breakout performance. 

In (500) DAYS she does not fail to deliver in a way that few actors of her generation can even come close.  I would dare say that Deschanel’s performance as “Summer” is Oscar-worthy.  Some might say she’s just playing another Zooey Deschanel character.  Either way it works.

Here is the bottom line guys: Take your significant other or some girl you’re trying to impress to this movie.  It can be under the pretense that you’re just being nice and sacrificing to satisfy her need for a cutesy romantic comedy.  But take a seat and marvel at what unfolds.  It will touch a raw nerve that so few movies can do and it will make you think back to that one girl that left you on the side of the street as road kill. 

And before you think I have ruined anything in this movie, just realize, this isn’t a love story.

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‘ROGER EBERT’ REVIEWS A PORNO http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/roger-ebert-reviews-a-porno/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/roger-ebert-reviews-a-porno/#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2009 17:00:44 +0000 Jame Gumb By Roger Ebert*There is an ugly scene in Squirt In My Gape 3 that I want to tell you about. A young woman played by Bobbi Star has just had her gaping anus filled with both male and female ejaculate. We see the girl, pretty yet exhausted, contorting her body in such away as to avoid spilling the fluids. The cameraman moves in to give the audience the requisite close-up of the genetic ooze she is holding ever so precariously.?? We expect the scene to end, but it does not. The audience is left waiting for what seems like an eternity. Then, without warning, a bubble begins to form.

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By Roger Ebert*

There is an ugly scene in Squirt In My Gape 3 that I want to tell you about. A young woman played by Bobbi Star has just had her gaping anus filled with both male and female ejaculate. We see the girl, pretty yet exhausted, contorting her body in such away as to avoid spilling the fluids. The cameraman moves in to give the audience the requisite close-up of the genetic ooze she is holding ever so precariously.

 We expect the scene to end, but it does not. The audience is left waiting for what seems like an eternity. Then, without warning, a bubble begins to form.

Before you have time to fully process what is happening, audible flatulence rings out. 

As the scene finally faded to black, I couldn’t help but think to myself that if I had wanted to watch Cum-Fart Cocktails, I would have rented Cum-Fart Cocktails. 

The needlessness of the fart took me out of the movie and into the minds of its makers. What were they thinking? Have they so lost touch with human nature that they think fans of the squirt genre will like this scene? Do they think it’s funny? Did the actors voice any objections? It’s the job of the producer to keep a film on track; did the director notice anything distasteful? Or is it possible that everyone connected with the film has become so desensitized by the relentless cynical aggression of Gonzo porn that the scene passed without comment?

The film is billed as a “a celebration of the finest gaping a**holes” overflowing with “excessive amounts of female ejaculate.” I’m not quite sure what measurement constitutes an acceptable amount of female ejaculate. A quart? A liter? I doubt the producers gave it much thought. It seems they didn’t give much thought to any aspect of the film. Squirt In My Gape 3 is a bloated, unpleasant assembly-line extrusion of forced squirts and questionable orgasms. By trying too hard to please fans of both squirting and ass gape, the film ends up pleasing no one.

Oh, it’s all done with competent technique. William H., the director, is a master of this sort of thing. But there is not an original idea in the film. Even Sindee Jennings, whom I adored in Big Black Beast 11, seems little more than a bargain-basement ripoff of Cytherea in the classic Squirt Woman 2: The Drinks are on Me.

The plot, briefly, involves two girls meeting for the first time, and putting aside their initial (feigned) mistrust in order to work together to please the same cock. This scene repeats itself five times. No one in the movie is very interesting; our eyes glaze over during yet another bone-tired retread of sex scenes that we have seen over and over again.  I wonder what the atmosphere was like on the set every day. How does it feel to make a movie where the characters don’t seem sure about who they are?

Occasionally there is variety, as when a starlet fills her partner’s gaping anus to the brim. I dunno, maybe it’s just me, but I don’t see anything original about yet another a winking a**hole, even if it is filled with lady cum. The movie has a carelessness that shows a contempt for the audience. It is so choppy in its nervous editing that a lot of the time we’re simply watching senseless kinetic action. The anal and the ejaculations are broken down into closeups that deny us any sense of the physical relationship of the actors or the strategy behind the sex. It’s all just movement.

Consider the scene between  Flower Tucci and Mya Nichole. Both are so pleasant that it’s a shame to spoil their party. But toil and try as they do, the sex bogs down in relentless predictability and the puzzling overuse of squirting. I was never sure who was being pounded, or why. Maybe I missed something, but it didn’t make much difference. Eventually, well after the male star has already finished, Tucci bends Nichole over for yet another squirt to the gape. As nearly as I can tell, the only reason this took place is because there was some sort of gape-squirt quota to fill. In a movie that is painfully long at 157 minutes, why is this scene taking up our time? 

I liked the first two films in the Squirt In My Gape series, although my description of the sequel as "a really rather brilliant vomitorium of vaginal viscosity" might have sounded like faint praise. But the third film is a mess. It lacks the sharp narrative line and crisp clarity of the earlier films, and descends too easily into shapeless sex scenes that are chopped into so many cuts that they lack all form or rhythm.

Should you actually pay money to see this movie at a time when Mother-Daughter Exchange Club Part 3, Strap Attack 8, A** Eaters Unanimous 15, Forced Bi Cuckolds and I’ll Toss Your Salad If You Butter My Buns are all available? I don’t think so.

Rating = 2 Stars

*Not True

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ANDY ROONEY REVIEWS ‘BRUNO’ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-review/andy-rooney-reviews-bruno/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-review/andy-rooney-reviews-bruno/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 By Andy Rooney, of CBS's "60 Minutes"My primary care physician has recommended that I find a way to put more exercise into my daily routine. Normally I avoid all forms of physical exertion, but seeing as I’m no spring chicken anymore I decided it might be in my best interest to take him up on his suggestion.  I wouldn’t want to die and miss out on this newfangled digital television.  (Sometimes it’s hard to convey sarcasm through writing.  So let me just tell you last night I almost electrocuted myself walking into the HDTV my son bought me for Christmas.  It thought it was a doorway to the beach and I had my metal detector in hand.  Turns out I forgot to turn off the Travel Channel.)

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By Andy Rooney, of CBS’s "60 Minutes"

My primary care physician has recommended that I find a way to put more exercise into my daily routine. Normally I avoid all forms of physical exertion, but seeing as I’m no spring chicken anymore I decided it might be in my best interest to take him up on his suggestion.  I wouldn’t want to die and miss out on this newfangled digital television.  (Sometimes it’s hard to convey sarcasm through writing.  So let me just tell you last night I almost electrocuted myself walking into the HDTV my son bought me for Christmas.  It thought it was a doorway to the beach and I had my metal detector in hand.  Turns out I forgot to turn off the Travel Channel.)

Anyway, it may not surprise you that I hate the gymnasium. Nowadays gymnasiums cater to a whole crowd, instead of a handful of neighborhood prizefighters. The rampant nudity in the men’s locker room is more than a little off-putting. I refuse to sit on the benches in there without layering up a five towel cushion between myself and the unsanitary wood. Not to mention that the lockers smell like a long distance runner’s shorts. Then when you’re in the workout room itself there’s something called “house” music playing, which is fine, I guess, if you have a vendetta against your ear drums.

With all of that being said, I’ve opted to take up walking. You remember walking, don’t you? It used to be a popular mode of transport back before Lil’ Henry Ford unleashed his “vanity on four wheels” on the world.

Above: Even getting into one is a process.

Well anyway, I was out for a walk the other day when I noticed a Puerto Rican woman, and well, fearing for my life, I ducked into a nearby movie theater. It was that or be stabbed.

I’m not sure I made the right choice.

In my state of distress I stumbled into a theater so that I could hide in the dark until the threat had passed. Turns out I stumbled into a press screening someone had the foresight not to invite me to: a foreign documentary called Brüno. You may have seen the posters around town. I know I have.  All the colors make my eyes watery.

The film follows an Austrian reporter who just goes by “Brüno.” (Why someone would choose to go without a surname, I’ll never know. That’s got to be a paperwork nightmare when tax time rolls around).  He brings his interview program to America and always seems to be prancing around in short pants that make Mae West’s brassieres look like Amish winter wear. Whatever happened to newsmen wearing a suit and tie? When you’re conducting an interview on camera, you want to look your very best. Mesh material and animal print do not scream serious journalism. Unless you’re working undercover.

Above: Ed Bradley and me playing the role of "embedded journalists."

The movie that unfolds doesn’t really say much that we didn’t already know.  The Muslims hate the Jews…

Hassidic Jews hate flamboyantly gay Jews…

 

And everyone south of the Mason Dixon line despises anyone who’s one iota less masculine than Rock Hudson.  Rock Hudson is about the most masculine man I can think of, by the way.  Every other actor who came after him is a real ninny. 

There are a few memorable scenes.  Brüno interviews songstress Paul Abdul while they use Latino gardeners as human chairs.  I say Latino because God forbid I call them what they are. (Mexicans.) 

Above: a perfectly good piece of furniture (left); this Brüno nut’s idea of a chair (right).

I also enjoyed the musical interlude in which a banana squash bounces and twirls around the screen to lively music, like in the old cartoons.  Someone next to me kept saying it was just a close-up shot on an erect penis, but they should get their minds out of the gutter, or go see that movie with that Sandra Bullock and the Ryan Reynolds fellow where they no doubt have filthy sex.  I don’t need to see any more pornography disguised as a romantic comedy.  The second to last movie I saw at the picture house, When Harry Met Sally, had an orgasm scene that was enough to make a man celibate until the second coming of Jesus.  Though, that’s not too far off, the way the world is going these days.

I heard a rumor that the makers of Brüno cut out a scene where the reporter tries to get LaToya Jackson to hand over Michael Jackson’s phone number.  Universal Pictures, the amusement park robber barons of the day, claimed to do it out of sensitivity after Michael Jackson’s passing, but I don’t know why.  I’ve had to look up plenty of people after they were dead.  They still owed me money.  Maybe Michael owed this Brüno character money.  Who’s responsible for the debt?  Whoever picks up Michael Jackson’s cell phone.  That’s who.

Even though the movie had a run time of at least 80 minutes, I was able to hold my bladder for the duration.  I don’t know if it was that I was subconsciously genuinely interested in what the Austrian fruitcake had to say, or if I still thought there was a chance the Puerto Rican woman was still trolling around outside the theater and possibly with a bicycle chain.

In any case, that Brüno fellow rubbed me the wrong way, like I’ve met him somewhere before.  I don’t know why.  He doesn’t know me from Adam and I certainly wouldn’t associate with his kind. 

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‘TRANSFORMERS 2′ REVIEW http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-review/transformers-2-review/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-review/transformers-2-review/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 By Spencer Vickers I am 80% convinced that Michael Bay did not give a sweet sh*t about the first hour and twenty minutes of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.  What occupies that part of the highly anticipated summer flick is about as dumbed down as you would expect from a film that is brought to you by a toy company (I would like to point out that my previous comment was by no means meant as an attack on Hasbro, for without them my childhood would have been severely depressing).  At points the film even borders on offensive (and not the good kind of offensive). 

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By Spencer Vickers

I am 80% convinced that Michael Bay did not give a sweet sh*t about the first hour and twenty minutes of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.  What occupies that part of the highly anticipated summer flick is about as dumbed down as you would expect from a film that is brought to you by a toy company (I would like to point out that my previous comment was by no means meant as an attack on Hasbro, for without them my childhood would have been severely depressing).  At points the film even borders on offensive (and not the good kind of offensive). 

Yes.  Michael Bay is the filmmaking equivalent of Benjamin Button; with every film he makes, he becomes more and more like a child waiting for explosions.

Speaking of children, there were about seven kids behind me at the giganto-sized IMAX screening I attended.  Their review of the movie?  In their exact words, “That was the best movie EVER!”

That’s probably all you need to know.  I’m an old, bitter bastard, and now the young’uns have a fun summer movie to drag their parents too.  And yes, like myself, maybe the parents will get into the last 40 minutes of the movie, where Bay does his usual “blowing stuff up” routine in awesome fashion.  His movies aren’t the greatest things ever, but the movies are an afterthought to spectacle in the world of Bay.

Lemme get the bad parts out of the way first, much like the movie itself.  Whenever the script calls for storytelling, the film fails fantastically.  I have honestly not seen a movie hinge on so much expository dialogue ever before; quite literally every bit of plot is told through a military general or one of the Transformers.  There are scenes that explain the movie, and without few key bits of dialogue, the film would have literally stalled in its place.  That’s how dependent the film was on spoon feeding its plot to both its audience and its characters.

The other bits of dialogue are reserved for some of the worst comedy I’ve seen in a movie since the time I pretended I was watching What Happens in Vegas (I didn’t really want to watch the movie, but I wanted to talk negatively about it.  Who hasn’t done that?).  This goes with the “Bay Button” theory, where even his comic sensibilities are getting immature to the point of jokes about dudes being awkward around hot women and mother figures eating weed brownies that seem to immediately take effect (the Autobots might have been realistically engineered by the folks over at ILM, but everyone with any college schooling under their belt knows that weed brownies don’t kick in with just a jump cut).  What ever happened to giving Sean Connery mid-action zingers such as, “Well, it’s certainly more enjoyable than my average day… reading philosophy, avoiding gang rape in the washrooms… though, it’s less of a problem these days. Maybe I’m losing my sex appeal”?  That one line from The Rock is funnier than the sum of every alleged joke in Revenge of the Fallen, and looking at the IMDB quote page, I’m reminded of about 15 more quotes that are awesomely quotable even thirteen years after the films original release.

Instead of zingers between Nic Cage and Sean Connery, this film thinks that inner-city colloquialisms spoken by robots are hilarious.  This leads to a genuinely offensive set of characters, most notably the twins, who I refer to as “Mudflap” and “The Other Offensive One,” as I didn’t catch both of their names [Editor’s Note: It’s “Skids” but we like the one from Spencer’s memory].  They have decidedly goofier faces than most of the autobots, and giant gold and white bucked teeth.  Already, I noticed a bit of a racist character going on, before they even spoke.  They then spoken in a very stereotypical inner city accent, called people punk asses, pussies, and finally talked about how they couldn’t read.  I’m beginning to think Michael Bay directs the comment section of every post we have linked on Break.com.

As a current college student, I was upset by Bay’s portrayal of the college experience, notably how hot women are and how they operate around average looking/mildly nerdy guys (they jump them in a seductive fashion.  In the film’s defense, this is explained later, but I was plenty mad when it first was happening).  The sequences of college students running for their lives made me notice a very important aspect of the Michael Bay universe:  There are only super models and mothers.  Think about it.  Find an unattractive woman in any of Bay’s movies.  Go ahead, try; I’ll wait.  They’re usually the mother character if they are even there.  That’s alright though, because usually there aren’t that many women in his movies.  But the extras in the college campus sequences were just silly.  They were all models.  Not a single mildly attractive yet unconfident and awkward engineering major with cute glasses that I might possibly have a chance with after two cups of jungle juice to be seen.  What a shame.  This version of college is Asher Roth’s wet dream.  I’ll check the credits to see if he was a creative consultant.

This is all standard negative criticism for Bay movies, however.  The question you’re all wondering has yet to be fully addressed:  Are the action scenes good?  My answer is that yeah, they’re pretty sweet.  Bay manages to drop the pretense that he was trying to make a film with plot, and just let giant robots fight near or on pyramids.  A special note should be made of their IMAX cinematography.  The scale of the Transformers and the picture quality really do add a lot of enjoyment to some scenes, notably the ones where Devastator is involved.  The acting even manages to improve a bit from bad comic acting to legitimate moments of care and concern for the characters.  There’s not much else to say about this; the action is cool, but trying to describe why it’s cool is kind of a futile pursuit.

Reading this over, I notice a parallel between Revenge of the Fallen and my review for the movie.  Basically, I spent a majority of this review babbling about things most people who are going to see a movie about giant robots could not care less about, then spent a little bit of time at the end confirming what is obvious about the film’s level of action.  The only problem is that the good action is too little, and too late.  Revenge is boring and dumb for too long, until it wises up and becomes a big ol’ action set piece.  Kids will dig it, adults might like the action, and almost everyone with common decency and tolerance of all ethnicities will be offended by the incredible racism Bay pulls off with only two robots and a sh*tload of stereotypes.  Look for “Bay Button’s” next movie to be 70 or less minutes, dividing its time between poop jokes and giant explosions, and not caring once about plot.  On the bright side, Bay’s director persona will become instantly more likeable, as a baby shouting orders through a megaphone to blow stuff up is much more adorable than a douchey middle aged man doing so.

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‘LAND OF THE LOST’ REVIEW http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-review/land-of-the-lost-review/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-review/land-of-the-lost-review/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000   If you're reading this during Land of the Lost's opening weekend and happened to have come here from our homepage, you may have noticed the GIANT LAND OF THE LOST AD enveloping it.  So, for those of you who think our advertisers dictate our reviews, you probably shouldn't read on.  (And those of you who thought our "Best/Worst Movie Time Machines" piece was a thinly-veiled ad for Land of the Lost, you should just stop reading the site entirely.)  Because I genuinely liked Land of the Lost. 

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If you’re reading this during Land of the Lost‘s opening weekend and happened to have come here from our homepage, you may have noticed the GIANT LAND OF THE LOST AD enveloping it.  So, for those of you who think our advertisers dictate our reviews, you probably shouldn’t read on.  (And those of you who thought our "Best/Worst Movie Time Machines" piece was a thinly-veiled ad for Land of the Lost, you should just stop reading the site entirely.) 

Because I genuinely liked Land of the Lost. 

The film’s detractors are founding a lot of their hatred on the fact that Land of the Lost doesn’t seem like it knows what it wants to be.  Its basis is a saturday morning kids’ show from the ’70s.  But its cast – particularly the male side of it – has made a career out of blue humor, and they don’t kick the habit entirely, here.  You have Will Ferrell (Dr. Rick Marshall), who’s no slouch when it comes to unabashed nudity (Old School) or old-fashioned misogyny (Anchorman).  You have Danny McBride (Will) who is peerless in his portrayal of prideful, narrowminded characters who live by ridiculous codes (The Foot Fist Way, "Eastbound & Down"). And you have The Lonely Island and SNL’s Jorma Taccone (barely recognizable under his Cha-Ka fur), who writes songs about dicks in boxes and mother loving.  Not exactly the crowd you’d immediately think of when adapting a property that once ran opposite shows like "Hong Kong Phooey" and "The New Adventures of Gilligan."  

But we’ve seen this sort of irreverent homage to ’70s source material before, and it’s kinda worked.  People championed Betty Thomas’s 1995 spoof of the "The Brady Bunch."  And the Starsky & Hutch movie, while met with mixed reviews, wasn’t criticized for its taboo brand of comedy.  But I guess those shows’ original audiences skewed older.  Nonetheless, everyone who watched "Land of the Lost" growing up is now old enough to experience a mouthed F-bomb from Will Ferrell, or hear Danny McBride call Grumpy the T-Rex "a pussy."  And I thought those moments that rode the edge of the film’s PG-13 rating were used well. 

The plot isn’t going to win any awards.  It’s pretty much there to hang funny scenes from, and I thought some of the bits between Ferrell and McBride were inspired.  Without giving too much away, the moment when Danny McBride manipulates his voice with a vibrating pylon – apparently an iconic piece of the original show – in order to pay tribute to Cher… well, that one was worth the price of admission, especially when Ferrell decides the song is best performed as a duet.  And I thought that, while they could have taken it even further, Ferrell’s character’s gluttonous eating habits that surface in stressful situations were used to great comic effect.  For example, Dr. Marshall nonchalantly explains to his impromptu understudy Holly (the funny and charming and gorgeous Anna Friel) that he’s eating a donut filled with M&M’s so "when you finish the donut, you don’t have to eat any M&M’s."  It’s a deadpan, beautifully naive line reading that rings true for anyone out there – myself included – who enjoys junk food a little too much at times.  And it becomes a good go-to source for gags once Dr. Marshall and company crash land in the titular location.  Also, the moment from the trailer with the giant crab on the offensive has a totally ludicrous payoff that laughs in the face of logic, but sometimes those make the best jokes. 

On a visual note, the CG was a lot better than I expected, and mixed well with the Sid and Marty Krofft-inspired, Bo Welch-crafted production design.  It was an interesting combination of lo-fi and new school technical wizardry, and I haven’t seen much like it.  And director Brad Silberling, who’s always had a sort of grand confidence behind the camera on his bigger films (Lemony Snicket, Casper), really managed to leave room for the actors to mess around while still keeping the momentum heading forward, and decidedly quicker than the villainous, reptilian Sleestak who threaten to devour Dr. Marshall and company, if they could ever catch up to them. 

Oh, and Matt Lauer CAN suck it.

Screen Junkies Grade: B

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‘THE BROTHERS BLOOM’ REVIEW http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-review/the-brothers-bloom-review/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-review/the-brothers-bloom-review/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 I loved Rian Johnson's first film, Brick* - the neo-hard boiled detective story set amongst high school social circles.  It was the one with a bespectacled Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the anachronistic dialogue and the fantastic score by Johnson's brother.  I saw it three times in the theaters.  Even bought it on DVD.  But as I sat down for my screening of Rian Johnson's followup, The Brothers Bloom, a wave of doubt washed over me.  No way he can do it again, I thought.  Besides, the trailers made it seem like a hodgepodge of styles culled from Johnson's contemporaries.  It was Hudson Hawk through the off-kilter lens of Wes Anderson.  Not necessarily a bad thing (I'm one of the few with fond memories of Hawk), but it wasn't promising to be a revelation like Brick...

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I loved Rian Johnson’s first film, Brick* – the neo-hard boiled detective story set amongs high school social circles.  It was the one with a bespectacled Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the anachronistic dialogue and the fantastic score by Johnson’s brother.  I saw it three times in the theaters.  Even bought it on DVD.  But as I sat down for my screening of Rian Johnson’s followup, Th Brothers Bloom, a wave of doubt washed over me.  No way he can do it again, I thought.  Besides, the trailers made it seem like a hodgepodge of styles culled from Johnson’s contemporaries.  It was Hudson Hawk through the off-kilter lens of Wes Anderson.  Not necessarily a bad thing (I’m one of the few with fond memories of Hawk), but it wasn’t promising to be a revelation like Brick

Well, turns out The Brothers Bloom wasn’t Brick.  It was totally different, but in a nonetheless welcome way.  Rian Johnson’s sophomore effort unabashedly demonstrates the filmmaker’s respect and passion for the magic of storytelling, which is ultimately what the movie is about.  It’s joyous, masterful, cinematic sleight-of-hand, and worth viewing multiple times just to try and see the artifice behind the trick. 

Essentially, it’s the story of two brothers, Stephen (Mark Ruffalo) and Bloom (Adrian Brody), who’ve been successful con artists since childhood, always two steps ahead of everyone else.  (The opening sequence, narrated by P.T. Anderson and David Mamet mainstay Ricky Jay, features the young brothers, one of whom is played by Max Records, who stars in the upcoming Where the Wild Things Are.)  They’ve always worked the same way, with Stephen creating the cons – essentially telling the stories – and Bloom befriending the mark – essentially playing the lead part in the Brothers’ plays, which wind up costing their audience members a pretty penny, usually a savings account. 

Flash forward to, presumably, present day – the film smartly lacks certain trappings that obviously assign it a time period, like cell phones – and the Brothers have added another to their ranks – the virtually dialogue-less Bang Bang, a demolitions expert played with impeccable comic timing by Babel’s mute Japanese girl, the oh-so-hip Rinko Kikuchi.  But a malaise has set upon the the younger romantic Bloom, who’s ready to leave the conniving life. Stephen convinces him to go after one last mark, however, the eccentric heiress Penelope (Rachel Weisz), who lives all by her lonesome, collects hobbies, and has a penchant for crashing Lamborghinis.  I should mention here that if you’re a Rachel Weisz fan, just stop reading the review and go see the movie.  It’s one of her best performances, and… well… Darren Aronofsky is one lucky dude.

Without giving too much away, Stephen’s scheme to rob Penelope blind involves Bloom getting close to her, and he of course gets way too close.  But perhaps older brother Stephen expected this very thing to happen… What follows is a fast-paced, lighthearted second act in which the plot thickens, as the Brothers – who’ve now "recruited" Penelope into their cadre of gentlemen thieves under false pretenses – travel across Europe and attempt to steal away with a rare book that’s ultimately just bait.  They also have a run-in with a shady man from their past, Diamond Dog (Maximilian Schell), whom the Brothers refer to as their "Fagan."  (For all you young’uns out there, that’s a reference to the bad dude from Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens.  Rent the movie.)  His couple of scenes on-screen belie his great importance in the film’s climax. 

At face value, The Brothers Bloom is a flat-out fun flick about funny con artists.  But all the little Easter Eggs to be found throughout make it much more.  And the ending – a testament to the love and selflessness among brothers – was surprisingly emotionally satisfying.

Admittedly, that’s something not even the great Hudson Hawk provided. 

The Brothers Bloom opens today in New York & Los Angeles, then starts a limited run in other cities on May 22nd. 

* For all you Brick lovers watching Brothers Bloom, look for a dialogue-less cameo by Joseph Gordon-Levitt; and a slightly less microscopic part for Nora Zehetner, who played femme fatale Laura in Brick. 

P.S. Check out this piece Rian Johnson wrote on Con Man films for the Huffington Post

 

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