Archive for March, 2011

Little Monsters

Posted in Comedy, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on March 30, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Lonely after moving away from friends, Brian finds himself blamed for several things he apparently has not done. A quart of ice cream is left in the cupboard, Brian’s bike is left on the driveway (causing his father to crash into it on his way to work). Brian insists he is innocent and blames his brother, Eric, who claims to have seen a monster the night before. As revenge, Brian snatches Eric’s lunch and tosses it out the window, hitting Ronnie Coleman, the school bully who boards the bus and antagonizes Brian.

Brian soon befriends a blue-skinned monster named Maurice. Over the course of several nights, Maurice shows him a fun time in the monster world beneath Eric’s bed. It consists of every child’s dream: all the junk food and video games they want, and no adults to tell them what to do. It also has innumerable staircases leading to the spaces beneath children’s beds, from which the monsters cause trouble. Maurice and Brian have fun making mischief in other people’s homes, and Brian feels he has found a true friend at last – although Brian seems to be changing. He learns that he is turning into a monster, as his body parts shrink when the light hits him.

This changes Brian’s mind about Maurice and he saws off the legs of all the beds in the house. Due to Maurice’s failure to convert Brian (all monsters are former children), Eric is kidnapped by Snik (another monster) through the couch bed in the living room. Brian enlists the help of his friends. Gathering an assortment of bright lights, they enter the monster universe in search of Eric. “Zapping” various monsters along the way, they march to the master staircase, where Boy, the ruler of the monster world, resides. Boy offers to let Eric go if Brian agrees to convert, but Brian refuses. The bright lights are destroyed and they are all placed with Maurice in a locked room. They manage to escape by turning Maurice into a pile of clothes (via an improvised light) and slide him through the door crack. They re-arm themselves with more powerful light and destroy Boy, explode Snik (who later puts himself together), and rescue Eric.

The kids appear to have lost until Maurice appears with a flamethrower. He sets Snik ablaze, allowing Brian and the others to escape. Unfortunately, they find that they cannot return home because the sun has risen. Faced with the prospect of turning into monsters if they do not return to the human world by sunrise, the children travel in the monster world from the Eastern time zone to Malibu where the sun has not risen yet and they manage to escape. Brian and Maurice share a heartfelt goodbye, and Maurice gives Brian his bomber jacket to remember him by.

REVIEW:

Please excuse the crudity of this review, it’s been a long day, and I’m half asleep.

Little Monsters is a film that was released when I was a youngster, but I don’t seem to recall it. That happens, though.

So, this film is about a kid who moves around alot and doesn’t really have any friends in his new town (been there, done that, got the T-shirt). His little brother is seeing monsters under the bed, which leads him to ask his big brother to protect him. This is where we meet the monster, Maurice, and the film takes off.

I would love to say that I found this film interesting, bt fact of the matter is, it started out slow, picked up a little steam, then fizzled out before it could really get anywhere.

The good parts of the film happen when Brian meets Maurice. In typical 80s fashion, there is a montage of their pranks and whatnot, as well as some time actually spent letting the audience know what they’re doing, and throw in some bonding between the two of them.

There is also a fairly cute subplot about the slight crush Brian has on his classmate, Kiersten.

On the negative side, this film seemed like it was trying to be  a kid-friendly Beetlejuice. Ironically, I think this one has more strong language.

Monsters aren’t exactly supposed to be the easiest to get along with, with the exception of the ones in Monsters, Inc., of course, but these were just downright annoying, especially Maurice.

 The film’s climax is not the payoff one would expect from a climax. It just serves to throw in some gross out effects and nothing more.

The casting of both Savage brothers is about the only good thing I can say about the cast, though I will say these kids didn’t seem like they were child actors, but rather kids who were literally picked randomly out of classes and told to be in this movie.

When all is said and done, Little Monsters should and could have been better. I’m sure there are some out there who have fond memories of this flick. We all have movies from our childhood that we love, bt everyone else seems to not care for as much. With me, that title falls to The Adventures of the American Rabbit. Having said that, though, I just am not a fan of this film. I wonder if I had seen this as a kid, though, would my opinion be different. Should you check this out? Sure, but don’t go in with high hopes.

3 out of 5 stars

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Funny Farm

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , on March 27, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Andy Farmer (Chevy Chase), a New York sports writer who moves with his wife, Elizabeth (Madolyn Smith) to the seemingly charming town of Redbud, Vermont, so he can write a novel. They do not get along well with the residents, and other quirks arise such as the Farmers being given funeral bills for a long-dead man buried on their land long before they acquired the house. Marital troubles soon arise from the quirkiness of Redbud as well as the fact that Elizabeth was critical of Andy’s manuscript, while secretly getting her ideas for children’s books published. They soon decide to divorce, and entice the town’s residents with a $15,000 donation to Redbud, as well as a $50 cash bonus to whoever would appear as a friendly small town person in the presence of prospective home buyers visiting the area, which causes everyone in Redbud to join in on the charade of remaking their quirky town into a Rockwellesque small town. The townspeople’s charade dazzles a pair of prospective buyers, who make the Farmers an offer on the house; however, Andy declines to sell, realizing that he genuinely enjoys small-town living. He and Elizabeth decide to stay together and stay in Redbud, much to the chagrin of the locals, who are now angry that they lost their promised money. Ultimately, the mayor does not hold the Farmers liable for the $15,000, as the sale of their house did not occur, which had been the deal that the donation would occur after sale. However, because the people did do their part of appearing like friendly small-town folk, Andy decides to pay everyone in Redbud their $50, which helps to significantly improve his standing among the townspeople. The film ends with Andy taking a job as a sports writer for the Redbud newspaper, and Elizabeth, now pregnant with their first child, has written multiple children’s stories.

REVIEW:

 Don’t we all know at least one person who we believe should be sent to the funny farm? Well, if they were being to sent to the one here in Funny Farm, then they most definitely would be on the verge of having to go the real one.

This film deals with Chase’s character, Andy Farmer, who has just retired from sports journalism, bought a house in the country, and is supposed to be writing a novel. If you’re familiar with Chase’s work before he became the old guy we see on Community these days, then you are more than aware that he is the master of physical comedy. This is no exception.

As with his exploits in National Lampoon’s Vacation franchise, Chase is next to oblivious as to his surroundings, or at the very least, doesn’t care about injuring himself. He also has a unbelievaly hot wife, though this one doesn’t compare to Beverly D’Angelo.

The thing that makes this film enjoyable is that the townspeople are just as colorful as Chase’s character. Those of us that grew up in small towns know that there are some colorful folk to be met. well, this film just takes that to the extreme, if you will.

I mean, seriously, a sherif that hasn’t passed his driving test and a mailman that gets drunk and throws the mail…ok, the mailman part is more believable, but you get the idea.

While I thoroughly laughed for most of this film, it suddenly got all serious and lost my attention when they brought in the whole drama of Chase lying to his publisher about his wife’s book being his, which led to her wanting a divorce. Sure, that was a way to really tap into the comedic talents of the townspeople, but it just didn’t really fit in there for me. I’m for some, it may have been a perfect break, bt not I.

What is my final verdict of Funny Farm? Well, it is no National Lampoon’s Vacation (or any of the others in the franchise), but it does have the same sense of hilarity and Chevy Chase acting like a big buffoon. I don’t highly recommend this, but I do say that it is worth watching if you get the chance.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Love Ranch

Posted in Drama, Independent, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on March 26, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

 Set in the late-1970s, depicting larger than life personalities living on the edge, ‘Love Ranch’ stars Helen Mirren and Joe Pesci as Grace Bontempo and Charlie Bontempo, the husband and wife team who own and run Nevada’s first legalized brothel.

Their lives are suddenly altered when Armando Bruza, a husky, world famous heavy weight boxer from South America, played by Spanish actor Sergio Peris-Mencheta, is brought to the Ranch to train as part of Charlie’s ever-expanding entrepreneurial empire. Plans quickly go awry when Bruza comes between Grace and Charlie as an unforeseen love triangle develops that erupts into uncontrollable passion and murder.

REVIEW:

 So, I just finished watching what very may have been one of the top 5 worst movies in my life, in The Last Airbender. Now it is time to turn my attention to a bit of drama. This can’t be anywhere near as bad as that was, right?

Apparently, Love Ranch is based on a true story about a brothel owner in Nevada and his wife who runs off with a prize-fighter.

That is the basic plot of this film, but there is also some other stuff going on here, such as the infidelity of the husband with various women in the brothel they own, the development of the relationship between the wife and the boxer, nad then the characterization of each of the girls, as well as the cat fights.

In theory, a film about a brothel, complete with infidelity and the like should be very interesting, right? Well, this one just didn’t seem to cut it. At times, it felt like it was making too hard of an effort to capture that indie vibe, and at others it seemed as if it were just trying to be something like Boogie Nights or 54, which it most definitely isn’t.

The development of these characters is slow, but at least we are allowed to feel or not feel for them, although it sort of feels as if we are forced to feel sorry for Helen Mirren’s character. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll love Helen Mirren no matter what, but the way the tone of this film was leaning, it was almost swayed more towards her side of the story. At least that’s how I saw it.

Speaking of Mirren, everyone is wondering how she ended up in this…a film that is obviously beneath her. Apparently, she is married to the director. So, I guess that explains it. Normally, I love Helen so much that I wold drink her dirty bathwater, but here she looked her age and this script didn’t even let her shine, which is something extremely hard to do, as she and Meryl Streep are arguably the two best actresses around today.

I read somewhere that Pesci look like Johnny Cash here. In the outfits they have him wearing here, as well as his aged face, I can’t argue. Also, his character seems to be very similar to the one he played in Goodfellas, though, arguably not as messed up in the head.

I wish we could have seen more of Gina Gershon. Her character seemed to have given this film a little something it needed, and that is a person of interest.

Love Ranch may sound like it should have been some sort of porn flick, but it is a serious drama. I didn’t have high expectation for this film. As a matter of fact, I didn’t have any, but considering the bas taste left in my mouth by The Last Airbender,  could have watched Megan Fox and Kristen Stewart take acting lessons and it would have been interesting. However, while this film has some moments here and there that make it worthwhile, it never really made me want to keep watching, or watch again, except for the gratuitous Helen Mirren nipple shot a little past halfway through the flick. I’m sure there are those of you out there who will eat this kind of film up, and that’s great. My recommendation, though, is to not waste your time with this below average snorefest.

2 1/2 out of 5 stars

The Last Airbender

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 26, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Fourteen-year-old Katara (Nicola Peltz) and her fifteen-year-old brother, Sokka (Jackson Rathbone), are near a river at the South Pole. While hunting, they discover an iceberg that shoots a beam of light into the sky. Inside of the iceberg is a boy named Aang (Noah Ringer) and a flying bison named Appa. Unknown to them, Aang is the long lost Avatar – the only person on the planet able to “bend” all four elements. One hundred years have passed since the Fire Nation has declared war on the other three nations of Air, Water and Earth in their attempt to conquer the world.

Zuko (Dev Patel), an exiled prince of the Fire Nation, is on a quest to find the Avatar and bring him as prisoner to his father, Fire Lord Ozai (Cliff Curtis). Seeing the light that appeared from Aang’s release, Zuko and some Fire Nation soldiers arrive at the Southern Water Tribe to demand the villagers hand over the Avatar. Aang reveals himself as he surrenders himself to Zuko on the condition that he agrees to leave the village alone. On the ship, Aang is tested by Zuko’s Uncle Iroh (Shaun Toub) to confirm him to be the Avatar. After being informed that he is to be their prisoner for passing the test, Aang escapes using his glider and flies to his flying bison brought by Katara and Sokka. Aang and his new friends visit the Southern Air Temple and he learns that he was in the ice for a whole century and that the Fire Nation wiped out all Air Nomads, including his guardian, Monk Gyatso. In despair, he enters the Avatar state and finds himself in the spirit world where he encounters a dragon spirit that tells him to make his way to the Northern Water Tribe to master Water Bending.

While at a small Earth Kingdom town controlled by the Fire Nation, Aang’s group is arrested because Katara tries to help a young boy from a patrol. They incite a rebellion by reminding the disgruntled Earthbenders that earth was given to them. Katara is given a Waterbending scroll that she uses to perfect her Waterbending and help Aang learn as they make their way to the Northern Water Tribe and liberate more Earth Kingdom villages in the process.

During a side track to the Northern Air Temple on his own, Aang is betrayed by a peasant and captured by a group of Fire Nation archers, led by Admiral Zhao (Aasif Mandvi), a Fire Nation Admiral appointed by the Fire Lord. However, a masked marauder, the “Blue Spirit”, helps Aang escape from his imprisonment. Zuko is the masked vigilante, and Zhao realizes this. He arranges to kill the prince. Zuko survives the attempt on his life with Iroh’s help. He sneaks aboard Zhao’s lead ship as his fleet departs for the Northern Water Tribe to capture the Avatar. Upon arriving, Aang’s group is welcomed warmly by the citizens of the Northern Water Tribe. Immediately, Sokka befriends the Northern Water Tribe princess, Yue (Seychelle Gabriel). After a few agreements, a waterbending master, Pakku (Francis Guinan), teaches Aang waterbending.

Soon, the Fire Nation arrives and Zhao begins his attack while Zuko begins his search for the Avatar on his own, capturing Aang as he enters the spirit world to find the dragon spirit to give him the wisdom to defeat the Fire Nation. Returning to his body, Aang battles Zuko before Katara freezes him. As the battle escalates, Iroh watches Zhao capture the moon spirit Tui, which with its water spirit counterpart had assumed the form of a fish. Despite Iroh’s pleas, Zhao kills Tui to strip the Waterbenders of their powers and abilities to Waterbend. Yue explains to everyone that the moon spirit gave her life, willing to gave it back as she dies in the process. With the tables turned, Zhao is drowned by Waterbenders after Zuko and Iroh leave him to his fate. Aang uses the ocean to drive the armada back. Aang now fully embraces his destiny as the Avatar as he, Katara and Sokka prepare to continue their journey to the Earth Kingdom to find an earthbending teacher for Aang. The Fire Lord learns of the defeat, and he appoints his daughter Azula (Summer Bishil) to capture the Avatar

REVIEW:

 You know it is never a good sign when they make a live action version of a show, bt can’t even use its real name, for whatever reason. Not that it would have helped any, but there was no reason this film shouldn’t have taken the title, and its rightful name, away from Avatar. After all, it is actually called Avatar: The Last Airbender.

If you’re a fan of the cartoon, then I warn you to stay away from this film as much as possible, as it will rape your memories of that great show. Granted, I only watched a couple of episodes, so I can’t say I was a fanboy, but I do know enough about the series to know that they basically mutated it into this weird abomination.

I’m going to start with the good parts of this film. The special effects are mind-blowing, but given the fact that you have to show people bending elements and such, they had better be, right?

The plot has points that are similar to the show, which is a plus, but the parts that are different are the reason this film fails…correction…EPIC fails!

Now, to the bad parts…let’s start with the worst part of this film…the cast. They are all so wooden. How can anyone actually get behind or against these characters. I was indifferent towards them the whole way. The only one that actually seemed to be showing any real effort was Aasif Mandvi as thee vil Commander Zhao and Shaun Toub and Uncle Iroh. They actually seemed to be in it to win it, whereas everyone else either knew this was a bad film and was just collecting a check, or they were really bad actors. On top of that, they totally changed the chaterization of Sokka. Say what you will, but there needed to be some comic relief in this snorefest, and it just wasn’t there…and was severely missed!

Now, I believe in my review of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, I touched on the “whitewashing” of Hollywood. As bad as it was in that film, it is almost as bad here. The only difference is that they didn’t cover them in dark makeup to make them look like another nationality.

The stories on which this is based are of Asian persuasion…Chineese, if I’m not mistaken, so why is it, exactly, they couldn’t find some Asian actors to play these major roles? I do give them credit for at least making the Firebenders all the same race, but the fact that everyone else was white is quite disturbing. It makes one wonder what it is Hollywood has against other races. On top of that, there aren’t any big name actors in this film, so it wouldn’t have been that hard to just pull some kid off the street, have them read the script, and say that they’re Aang. I don’t know, I guess I’m just a sucker for sticking as close to the source material as one can, and when there is deviation from it, I get so infuriated!

The story never seems to gain a real foothold in what it wants to do, and it seems as if they were trying to fit in as much unnecessaryness as they could. On top of that, they had to throw in that love story, which may not have been that bad, except it never really developed.

On top of all this, the audience, or at least I, never really got into the picture. It was like this was made for only those that made it to watch, and everyone else didn’t matter. While that may not have been the case, that was the feeling I got from watching this.

Sure, the final battle was epic, but could you actually keep up with all the characters? This is a complaint that people had about the first Transformers movie, but at least there, the action made up for it. This thing was just a jumbled mess that was more or less thrust upon us to end an otherwise dull movie.

Finally, this thing was released (not sure if ti was filmed ) in 3D. Now, I watched this on DVD at home, so I can’t really comment on whether the effects looked good or bad in “brilliant 3D” (not the sarcasm), but I didn’t see anything that would’ve made me glad I shelled out the extra bucks for the rented glasses.

There is a reason this film won the award for worst picture of 2010…over Sex & the City 2, of all films. It just plain sucks! Is it the worst film ever? No, bt it is pretty bad, especially when you factor in how capable of a director M. Night Shaymalan is. How could he actually put his name on this epic failure, I’ll never know. I warned you fans of this series to stay away, but now I have to implore everyone to not waste your time with this. Trust me, it is not worth it. You’d be better served plucking every hair follicle from your body one by one! Shyamalan wants to comepete the trilogy, bt there is a reason it hasn’t been greenlit (and hopeflly won’t) be, yet.

1 1/2 out of 5 stars

Dumb and Dumber

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 26, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey) is a simple-minded limousine driver in Providence, Rhode Island, who becomes infatuated with his passenger, Mary Swanson (Lauren Holly), as he drives her to the airport. Mary is heading home to her family in Aspen, Colorado, but leaves a briefcase at the airport. Lloyd notices, and retrieves the briefcase before a pair of thugs arrive to pick it up, dashing ahead of them to snag the briefcase. Lloyd is unable to catch Mary in time, and is left on the ramp of the airport with briefcase in hand (after having run off the end of a jetway).

Harry Dunne (Jeff Daniels), Lloyd’s roommate, is in the pet grooming business, and has recently spent his life savings converting his van (a 1984 Ford Econoline) into a “sheepdog.” Both Lloyd and Harry quickly lose their jobs due to preventable accidents, and the two are distraught over their situation. Thinking Lloyd is a “professional” hired by the Swansons, or perhaps an FBI agent, the thugs exact revenge on Harry and Lloyd. Shortly after returning home, Lloyd and Harry are alarmed by the thugs at their door, one of them being armed. Believing them to be debt collectors, the two escape through their back window with the briefcase. While the pair are out looking for new jobs, the thugs behead Harry’s pet parakeet. After they return home, Lloyd goes out to purchase some beer and other goods, but ends up getting robbed by “a sweet old lady on a motorized cart.” Unhappy with life in Providence, Lloyd insists to Harry that they should leave their messed-up lives in Providence behind and head for Aspen to return the briefcase to Mary. Harry is at first skeptical of the idea, but agrees to do so after being persuaded by Lloyd. They leave the next day, and the thugs learn of their intentions and pursue the two Aspen-bound men.

On their way to Aspen, Harry and Lloyd have several misadventures. They stop at a diner for food, and Harry gets his burger spat on by a fellow patron named Sea Bass (Cam Neely) after Harry unintentionally threw a salt shaker at him. Harry and Lloyd try to reconcile with Sea Bass and his friends by offering to buy them all beers, but Lloyd decides to put the beers (as well as some other items) on Sea Bass’ account and they manage to escape, but Lloyd really needs to urinate and pees in empty beer bottles only to be briefly pulled over by a police officer (Harland Williams) in Pennsylvania – he mistakes the urine to be alcohol and drinks some. The two then drive off while the cop coughs nauseously. Meanwhile in Aspen, Mary explains that she left the briefcase in the terminal on purpose to be given to the thugs as a ransom to save Mary’s husband who’s been held hostage. Days later, Harry and Lloyd pick up one of the thugs, Joe “Mental” Mentalino (Mike Starr), who says that his car broke down, and the other thug, J. P. Shay (Karen Duffy) follows them. Mental intends to kill Harry and Lloyd by spiking their rest-stop hamburgers with rat poison, but when Harry and Lloyd secretly feed him atomic peppers and mistake the poison for Mental’s ulcer medication, they feed it to him instead, inadvertently killing him. Later that night, Lloyd runs into Sea Bass and Harry accidentally sets his foot on fire while pumping gas. Harry rushes into the stall Sea Bass and Lloyd are in and knocks Sea Bass unconscious. The two wind up separating when Lloyd accidentally takes a wrong turn and drives them to Nebraska instead of Colorado, which inadvertently helps them avoid a road block set up by feds. With the van virtually out of fuel and Harry being infuriated by Lloyd’s mistake, he begins walking home, but Lloyd is able to trade the van for a small scooter, he catches up with Harry and the two proceed to Aspen.

Unable to remember Mary’s last name or locate her in the phonebook, the two spend a cold night in a park. They end up in a scuffle, and in the process discover that the briefcase is filled with the huge sum of cash. The two decide to spend it “responsibly” and keep track of all expenditures with “I.O.U.’s,” but they end up living extravagantly: they check-in at a luxury hotel, buy a Lamborghini Diablo and other gifts. Having found out that Mary will host an international preservation society they have full body makeovers, and get expensive, gaudy candy-colored tuxedos (sky-blue for Harry, tangerine for Lloyd) complete with matching top hats and canes. Lloyd tries to use the money to woo Mary before revealing he has the briefcase, but Mary ends up befriending Harry, whose stupidity she mistakes for intentional humor. Harry and Lloyd both mistake Mary’s friendship with Harry as a romantic interest. This belief leads to friction between the two friends (which includes Lloyd putting laxatives in Harry’s tea).

One night, Lloyd heads to Mary’s house to reintroduce himself and do it better. He also asks her to come with him to his hotel to return the briefcase of money. Shortly after the two are found by the man behind the kidnapping, Nicholas Andre (Charles Rocket), a long time confidant of the Swanson family, who holds the two in the hotel room at gunpoint. When Lloyd reveals all the money is gone, replaced with I.O.U.’s, the kidnapper becomes vexed and handcuffs Mary and Lloyd on the bed. Harry comes in the hotel room and is also put on the bed. As he purchases a one-way airplane ticket to Amsterdam via telephone while holding Mary, Lloyd, and Harry at gunpoint, Harry demands to Andre that he shoot him. Andre does, and as Lloyd is about to be killed, Harry emerges again and shoots a gun at Andre, but misses all the shots. The FBI intercede, and it is revealed that the FBI was aware of Nicholas’ presence and the kidnapping scheme, and equipped Harry with a gun and a bulletproof vest as he entered the hotel. As the Aspen Police arrest Andre and Shay, Mary is reunited with her husband, much to Lloyd’s dismay, who did not realize Mary was married. Lloyd has a vision of himself murdering her husband, but it is interrupted when Mary introduces her husband to him.

With no money, their expensive gifts returned, and their scooter having broken down after leaving Aspen, the two begin to walk home. Along the way, they inadvertently turn down a chance to be oil boys for Hawaiian Tropic bikini models directing them instead to a nearby town. They then walk off together, saying to each other how two lucky guys will get to tour all over the country rubbing down the girls before shows. Harry reassures Lloyd that “Someday we’ll get our break too, we’ve just got to keep our eyes open”. And the two walk away arguing about a “You’re It” game.

REVIEW:

 So, here is it Saturday. If you a loyal reader of this blog and pay attention to when I post, then you are probably wondering why I’m this isn’t a western, sci-fi, or other classic film. Well, there a couple of reasons for that. First, I’m taking a short hiatus from westerns…could be a week, could be 6 months….who knows? Second, I just was in the mood for a good comedy today.

Was this a good comedy, though? I’m not so sure about that, but it did have me rolling on the floor at points.

Dumb and Dumber lets us follow these two…shall we say intellectually challenged…individuals as they attempt to cross the country and return a brief case to its rightful owner. They have no idea what the true purpose of the briefcase is, though.

This is one of those gross out comedies that was so prevalent back in the mid-90s. If you’re easily offended by fart jokes, or a guy sitting on the toilet, etc., you best not even bother watching this film. Having said that, I was expecting more. Hard to belive, but I actually found this quite tame.

The comedy seemed to be gross out or nothing. What I mean by that is that if they were trying to push the proverbial envelope and gross the audience out, then they weren’t really doing a good job with the comedic aspect of this film.

Now, maybe I’ve just lost my funny bone or something, but most of this film did not make me laugh, when by all means, it should have at least garnered a chuckle. I did find the gross stuff funny, but who wouldn’t? However, the few funny lines that weren’t related to the gross stuff did nothing for me, except for the final scene.

Jim Carrey was obviously cast here for two reasons. The first being that this is the kid of role that he could, and does shine in. The other being they wanted to capitalize on his fame from the Ace Ventura movies.

Jeff Daniels plays a nice foil to Carrey’s “dumber” character, but there are times you wonder which is which.

Lauren Holly was perfectly cast as the object of their affections, but switching her out with Karen Duffy wouldn’t have hurt, that’s for sure.

The antics that these guys get into going across the country is what truly gets the film moving, but it seems that when they get to Colorado, things hit a brick wall and they are more or less relegated to meaningless gags to fill up some time until the truth can come out about the briefcase.

Dumb and Dumber isn’t the best Carrey comedy I’ve seen, but I see why people love this film so much. Having said that, I won’t tarnish it by even thinking about that sequel/prequel. For those of you, like me, that are just in the mood for a good comedy, check out Dumb and Dumber and forget about everything else that might be going on in your life. You know what they say, “Laughter is the best medicine!”

4 out of 5 stars

Life With Father

Posted in Classics, Comedy, Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , on March 25, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

In late nineteenth century New York a Wall Street broker likes to think his house runs his way, but finds himself constantly bemused at how much of what happens is down to his wife. His children are also stretching their wings, discovering girls and making money out of patent medicine selling. When it comes to light he has never been baptized and everyone starts insisting he must do so, it all starts to get a bit too much.

REVIEW:

With the death of Elizabeth Taylor this week, I figured it was the opportune time to watch one of her earlier films, especially since this has been on my list for quite some time.

Life With Father apparently is the true story of Clarence Day. Yeah, I’d never heard of him, either, but apparently this guy was famous enough to have a statue erected in his honor.

The plot of this film revolves around Clarence, who is a very staunch traditional sort of man and his resistance to change, even though his family is ready to move on to bigger and better things.

Now, that is an oversimplification of what happens in this picture, but it is the gist of it.

The character, Clarence, reminds me of the dad from Mary Poppins, only more extreme. This guy is borderline caveman, if you ask me…not someone I particularly care for.

The children are your typical kids who fear, yet respect their father. Unfortunately, there is nothing memorable about these characters.

As a matter f fact, that goes for the whole cast. With the exception of a very unlikable William Powell as Clarence Day, the whole cast just seems rather flat.

Yes, I know you would like for me to say that Elizabeth Taylor’s star outshined everyone in this picture, but I can’t say that, mainly because she’s only a supporting character. However, we must remember that this one of her first roles, so the greatness that Liz achieved in films such as Cleopatra, is still on the horizon. Everyone has to start somewhere, and this was one of those that got her started.

They say this film is a comedy, but I didn’t really find anything funny about it. I’m not really sure if this is because it wasn’t funny, or if it should have just been labeled as a drama, but it is what it is, and that is not funny.

Is this film any good? Well, I’ve sen much better. However, my main reason for even bothering to watch this flick was to honor the memory of Elizabeth Taylor. So, it served its purpose. However, if you’re wondering what I thought of this as an actual film, then I have to say that it really isn’t worth the trouble. Strangely enough, this film did win nomination for Academy Awards for Best Actor in a Leading Role (William Powell), Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Color, Best Cinematography, Color and Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture. So, it does have some credibility. I just didn’t care for it. You’ll have to be the judge for yourself, though.

2 1/2 out of 5 stars

All-Star Superman

Posted in Animation, Movie Reviews, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 23, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Dr. Leo Quintum and his P.R.O.J.E.C.T. Team are exploring the Sun when they are sabotaged by a booby-trapped, genetically enhanced Lex Luthor clone. Superman saves the day, but it turns out that his body has been overdosed with solar radiation that not only gives him new powers but now is slowly killing him. Luthor, having orchestrated the death of Superman while under the employment of General Sam Lane, is arrested thanks to Clark Kent’s article and sentenced to death.

Deciding to keep his impending death a secret from the public, Superman reveals his secret identity to Lois Lane because he wants to spend his remaining time with her. Though Lois was unable to accept it after years of him keeping the truth of his identity as Clark Kent from her, Superman takes her to the Fortress of Solitude. During this visit, Superman’s secretive behavior and indirect exposure to alien chemicals heightens Lois’ paranoia to the point of attacking Superman with a kryptonite laser. However, seeing the radiation has now made him immune to green kryptonite, Superman is able to calm her down and reveals that his secret was that he has been preparing her birthday present: superpowers for 24 hours.

Now as a Superwoman, she and Superman stop an attack by Krull in Metropolis just as Samson and Atlas arrive. Flirting with Lois, and showing a newspaper that reads “Superman Dead, by Clark Kent”, Samson is revealed to be the one who stole jewels from an Ultra-Sphinx that he gave to Lois. Answering the Ultra-Sphinx’s unanswerable question to save Lois, Superman then defeats Atlas and Samson in a double arm-wrestling match before spending the rest of the day with Lois as her powers fade. Later, Kent meets Luthor for an exclusive interview at Stryker’s Island. However, Superman’s energy causes the Parasite to free himself and causes havoc in the prison. Clark stops him while not revealing his secret identity, with Luthor disclosing his respect for Clark as both a journalist and a regular person. He then reveals a tunnel from his cell for Clark to escape with the help of Nasthalthia, his delinquent niece. Though Clark asked, Luthor states that he has no desire to escape as long as Superman dies before he does.

Two months later, after taking the city of Kandor to a new planet to thrive, Superman finds Metropolis has been repaired with Kryptonian architecture, and Earth has been protected by Bar-El and Lilo, Krypton’s first astronauts, survivors, and Superman’s relatives. But, to his dismay, the two have less altruistic goals and intend to turn Earth into a new Krypton. However, Bar-El and Lilo begin showing signs of illness: the two had passed through the remnants of Krypton and thus were saturated with kryptonite. To save them, Superman places the two within the Phantom Zone at their request until a cure can be found.

After settling his affairs in order, Superman proceeds to finish his last will and testament. By then, having reprogrammed one of Superman’s robots to get the formula he used to give Lois super powers, Luthor succeeds in making a super serum for himself and tricks the executioners in having him drink it. Escaping, he meets up with Nasthalthia below one of his lairs to continue his plans. Superman finishes off his final entry in the Fortress of Solitude when he learns of Luthor’s secret ally: Solaris, the tyrant star computer, which betrayed Luthor by tampering with Earth’s sun and turned it blue. With his robots, Superman engages Solaris in space. All seems lost until Superman’s pet Sun-Eater sacrifices itself to weaken the tyrant star which allows Superman to destroy Solaris. Clark returns to the Daily Planet, very ill, to submit his article until he falls dead. As the staff tries to save him, the super-powered Luthor arrives and attempts to kill Lois when Clark comes to and fights off Luthor with a gravity gun. Though the gun is destroyed and he is powerless against Luthor, Superman actually intended the weapon to warp time for Luthor so that his powers burn out early. As his powers fade, Luthor briefly sees the world as Superman sees it, and weeps as he gains a small measure of understanding of the universe and everyone in it before realizing his spare serum was taken by Superman who destroyed it.

With Superman’s body starting to turn into pure energy, he and Lois embrace one final time and he proclaims his love for her once and for all. He takes off, flying into the Sun as his solar-radio consciousness begins to overtake his body as he enters the Sun and thus saves the day for the last time. One year later, a memorial service is held for Superman. Only Lois does not attend, believing Superman is not dead and will return after he is done fixing the sun. Quintum visits Luthor in his death row cell. Now enlightened from his ordeal and accepting his impending death, Luthor presents Quintum with the only thing that could redeem him for his actions over the years, a formula to recreate Superman’s genetic structure through a healthy human embryo. Inside the Sun, Superman, now a solar being, is activating and making machinery within.

REVIEW:

I actually hadn’t planned on watching another superhero flick this week, since Netflix surprised me with Marvel Knights: Black Panther last week. Well, they did it again this week with All-Star Superman!

I’m actually not quite sure I like this entry into the DC Animated Universe. I can’t really put my finger on it, but this film just didn’t quite capture me the way previous entries such as Wonder Woman, Green Lantern: First Flight, Batman: Under the Red Hood, Superman: Doomsday and Justice League: The New Frontier managed to do. I don’t know if was because this film was darker and more serious or what, but it just didn’t make me want to rush out and buy it or read the original comic, that’s for sure.

The film has a simple premise that revolves around Superman being tricked by Luthor to rush into space and save a spaceship from crashing into the sun. In the process, he is exposed to so much solar radiation that while his powers have increased, he will also soon die. The rest of the film is spent with him tying up the proverbial loose ends, if you will, and then concludes with the tradition confrontation between hero and villain.

Doesn’t that sound like an exciting film? It really should have been, but much like the Man of Steel’s live action incarnations, this film suffered from a lack of action. I’m sorry, but I want to see Superman throw down with some baddies. I know he’s a peaceful guy, and I respect that, but there comes a point where you can’t just have him holed up in the Fortress of Solitude sewing clothes all day, which is something he actually does here.

Speaking of the costume, what was the deal with the half cape Superman was sporting here? It reminded me of Captain Marvel (Shazam!). Just my opinion, but I think Superman should always have a full cape. I’m just saying.

While I’m on the design thing. Not a fan of the way he was drawn. He seemed like Lex Luthor from the 90s animated series and Li Shang from Mulan. It wasn’t necessarily bad, but the heroic look that one would expect Superman to have just wasn’t there, at least for me.

Aside from the design, though, the animation was pretty good. I’m always glad to see hand drawn animation, especially done at such a high level (even if there were obvious computer generated images).

The few action scenes that were in this film weren’t half bad, and kept the film from falling into some kind of morose, dark, brooding territory reserved from the heavier Batman stuff.

Speaking of the Caped Crusader, I do belive this is the first Superman movie I’ve seen since Superman Returns that he doesn’t appear in.

I don’t want to make it seem like I totally hated this film, because I really didn’t. I just expected something…more.

The voice casting was quite interesting, to say the least. As much as I applaud them for going after actors that are known, as opposed to your traditional voice actors, I have to wonder if they are only doing this in an effort to bring in some who wouldn’t otherwise watch. I’m sorry, bt I don’t know how well that would work. I mean, Christina Hendricks is known for 2 things…neither of which is her voice. That isn’t to say she doesn’t do a decent job as Lois Lane.

I’ve never read this particular comic/graphic novel, so I don’t know all the details, just what was told to me by my Superman fanatic friends, but it just seemed as if they were trying to shove too many characters in here at one time. Granted, from what I hear, this series lasted for about 3 years, so that was a lot of ground to cover in 71 minutes. Having said that, it seemed as if they were trying too hard to fit all the characters in that they could.

I won’t complain about Parasite or Solaris, they actually made sense in their short window of screen time, though Polaris apparently has a bigger role in the comics. My beef is with the underdevelopment of the characters of Atlas and Samson and even more so with Lilo and Bar-El.

To me, it just seemed as if they could have been developed a bit more, instead of just randomly showing for a few minutes and then forgotten just as soon as you can snap your fingers. Viewers may have differing opinions on this, and that’s fine, but I’ve said my piece.

Don’t even get me started on how disjointed this whole thing seemed to be. It was like a series of episodes with little to nothing connecting them, but they still smooshed them together in hopes of making a S’more (pardon the bad analogy, but you get the idea).

In conclusion, All-Star Superman wasn’t what I was expecting, but it was a decent entry into the DC Animated Universe. I won’t be rushing to see it again, but that doesn’t you shouldn’t check it out, just don’t expect too much. Personally, I’m hoping their next outing, Green Lantern: Emerald Knights is makes up for this setback. Feel free to check out my friends’ review over at Fortress Takes for another take on this disappointment.

3 out of 5 stars