Archive for August 4, 2010

Be Cool

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 4, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Chili Palmer (John Travolta) helps Edie Athens (Uma Thurman), the widow of an executed friend, Tommy Athens (James Woods), to resurrect a record company using the talents of young and talented female vocalist and songwriter, Linda Moon (Christina Milian). The plot is complicated by several facts:

  • A loan-shark subplot from Get Shorty of “who owns who”, Chili makes deals and owns all the players as a “producer”.
  • The Russian Mafia are trying to kill Chili because he witnessed the execution of Athens.
  • Athens’ record company owes money to a gangster/producer, Sin LaSalle (Cedric the Entertainer).

Chili Palmer, tired of filmmaking, enters the music industry when his friend, Tommy Athens and owner of a record company, is executed by the head of the Russian mob, which Chili witnesses. Chili uses the opportunity to help his friend’s widow, Edie Athens, manage the failing business, which owes $300,000 to the hip hop producer Sin LaSalle. Chili enters the music industry on the talents of a female entertainer, Linda Moon. Moon convinces Chili to take on her cause, getting out of contractual obligations to Nick Carr (Harvey Keitel) and Raji (Vince Vaughn), who has a gay Samoan bodyguard named Eliott (The Rock), an aspiring actor and the butt of Carr and Raji’s homophobic jokes. Carr and Raji take exception to Chili’s intervention, and hire a hitman, Joe “Loop” Lupino (Robert Pastorelli) to kill Chili. In the meantime, Chili convinces Edie to produce Moon, hoping to resurrect Athens’ failing record company through a live performance with Aerosmith and Steven Tyler.

LaSalle threatens Chili and Edie for payment of the $300,000, but they convince him to give them a few days to get the money plus the vig. When the Russians attempt to kill Chili, Joe Loop mistakenly kills Ivan Argianiyev (George Fisher), the Russian Mob hitman. Raji then kills Loop with a bat after Loop “disrespects” him. After Chili talks Linda into leaving Carr and his girl group, Carr tries to trick Chili by handing him a pawn ticket, claiming that Linda’s contract was at the pawn shop owned by the Russians. This is actually a set-up by Carr to get Chili killed.

Knowing about this trick, Chili hands the ticket to Edie, who turns it over to the police. Now the cops, instead of Chili, pay the Russians a visit. Believing that Carr tricked him, Bulkin and his men pay a visit to Carr’s office while Sin LaSalle and the DubMD’s are there. Insulted by Bulkin’s racist remarks (while LaSalle himself also makes racist remarks the whole time), LaSalle kills him. In the meantime, Raji sends Elliot to kill Chili. However, Chili befriends Elliot and tells him that he can help him out with his acting career. When Carr threatens Chili, Chili sends him to the hands of the police with a pawn ticket. Finally when Raji and Elliot threaten Chili, Chili again befriends Elliot, who turns on Raji after learning that Chili gotten him an audition for a film and Raji erased the evidence of it on his T-Mobile_Sidekick. For all his smooth talking and flamboyant wardrobe, Raji finds himself in a firework conflagration which roasts him live on camera. Carr is arrested on murder charges when they find him with the bat used to kill Joe Loop.

During all of this confusion, Chili squeezes in a dance scene with Edie (a nod to his “Twist Contest” scene, also with Thurman, in Pulp Fiction) and Moon gets her debut with Aerosmith. Finally, LaSalle becomes the producer for Moon and Elliot embarks on a successful acting career (his first film is with Nicole Kidman)

REVIEW:

For those that don’t know, Be Cool is the sequel to Get Shorty. There are a few references to the previous film, but not enough to warrant watching the prior film first. You won’t be lost and/or confused watching this one first.

Be Cool really isn’t that great. It is another one of those flicks that is labeled as a comedy, even though there is very little to laugh about. Whether that is the cause of bad writing or me not getting the “jokes” I don’t know, but there is a true lack of comedy in this “comedy”.

The true highlight of this film is Christina Milian. Not only is she a true treat for the eyes, she has some nice pipes, and isn’t that bad of an actress, especially when you consider she is a singer, first.

The story here is…ok, at best. In a manner similar to the first film, it doesn’t gel and just comes off as a big mixture of random characters who cross paths without knowing each other. I hope that the book isn’t like this.

Other than Milian, there really isn’t much to say about the cast here. Although, I can say that The Rock does a good job with his role as a gay bouncer.

In the end, I wouldn’t waste your time watching Be Cool. This film doesn’t suck, but it isn’t anything more than average, maybe even below average. I’m sure there is an audience for this flick, though. I’m just not part of that group.

2 1/2 out of  stars

Ultimate Avengers 2

Posted in Action/Adventure, Animation, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 4, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

T’Challa, the Prince of Wakanda, returns from the outside world to learn the kingdom is being attacked by the alien Chitauri. Herr Kleiser, the alien shape-shifter who battled Captain America during World War II, kills T’ Challa’s father in combat and seeks Wakanda’s store of vibranium, the metal the Chitauri use to manufacture their ships and weapons. After becoming King and assuming the alias of the Black Panther, T’ Challa seeks the aid of Captain America. General Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. orders the Ultimate Avengers to assemble, with the exception of Thor (who is unavailable) and the Hulk (his alter ego Bruce Banner is being kept under surveillance).

Despite a misunderstanding in which the Ultimate Avengers are attacked by the Wakandan soldiers, the Wasp (Janet van Dyne-Pym) being injured and Captain America’s shield being stolen, the team rally and together with Thor battle the alien Chitauri. Banner then deduces that gamma rays will weaken vibranium and sends Betty to Wakanda with a gamma-ray projector. With this weapon the Chitauri are weakened, and Iron Man and Giant Man (Henry Pym) manage to destroy the core of an attacking Chitauri vessel. Giant-Man, however, is fatally injured and dies. The team depart with the thanks of the Black Panther, and on returning learn that Banner has become the Hulk and escaped

REVIEW:

Marvel Studios decided that since Ultimate Avengers was a fairly decent success (as far as direct-to-DVD films go), a sequel was needed. I’ve alwasy been of the belief that a sequel should only be made to complete the story and that’s it. No reason to make a film just for the sake of banking on the success it has. Can you imagine how much better cinema would be if pointless sequels were never made?

So, Ultimate Avengers 2 somehow made it into production and onto the shelves. I can’t say that I’m a happy camper about this picture, though.

On the plus side, this is the first medium to really feature the Black Panther (that I know of). Having said that, though, he was still not as much of a character as I would have liked. I dunno, I kind of feel like I got more out of him in his brief appearances elsewhere.

As in the previous film, we get a squabbling Wasp and Giant-Man, an enigmatic Thor, and a Captain America who doesn’t want to work with others. As I said in the previous review, I haven’t read this particular comic, but these characteristics just don’t seem to work for me. The first time they were ok, but still hard to swallow. This time around, they just seem to be recycled from the first film.

The only plus is the emphasis put on Black Widow. In the previous film, she is more of a back ground character until the end. In this one she takes more of a central role and we actually get to see her character which is quite the contrast from her teammates i r she’s not moody, brooding, whining, cocky, etc. There’s also the red dress she’s wearing in the last scene that just makes her HOT!!!!

Another issue I had with this film was Iron Man. nothing wrong with him, or Tony Stark, but rather the armor he chose for the final battle, which was War Machine’s armor. Now, if they wanted to use that armor, that’s great, but they should brough in James Rhodes to wear it, rather than having Iron Man flying around in a War Machine suit. That just wasn’t right. It’s like if Batman one day decided he wanted to be Robin. You just don’t do that!

The action here is ok, but I would’ve liked more. I mean, this is a superhero flick. Contrary to what these studio execs believe, folks watch films such as this for the action, not some kind of overblown drama that many of Marvel (and DC, for that matter) studious seem to think we want to see. When they realize that these film should be all about the action and the characters, rather than some made up drama, these films will not only be better received, they’ll make more bank. Seeing as how thins thing has ben on Cartoon Network a few times, and I’m sure it’ll be on, again. My suggestion is to catch it there. THere really is nothing spectacular to waste your time renting this, when you can just as easily watch it on TV.

3 out of 5 stars