Archive for Jack Black

Be Kind Rewind

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on July 30, 2017 by Mystery Man


Jerry is a junkyard worker who attempts to sabotage a power plant that he believes is melting his brain. But, when his plan goes awry, the magnetic field that he creates accidentally erases all of the videotapes in a local video store where his best friend Mike works. Fearing that the mishap will cost Mike his job, the two friends team up to keep the store’s only loyal customer–a little old lady with a tenuous grasp on reality–from realizing what has happened by recreating and re-filming every movie that she decides to rent. From “Back to the Future,” to “Robocop,” to “Rush Hour,” to “The Lion King,” Jerry and Mike become the biggest stars in their neighborhood by starring in the biggest movies ever made.

What people are saying:

“inviting, undemanding and altogether wonderful…you’ll want to see it again, or at least Swede it yourself.” 4 1/2 stars

“started out ok but the ending was way too sappy. on an added note, i do miss the long gone days of mom and pop video stores. But it was Blockbuster that did them in not the internet. I think they still existed for a while in densely populated urban areas (both rich and poor) where you could have enough customers in a few blocks to support a small business.  ” 2 stars

“It’s hard to get too cranky about a movie that, at heart, is a tribute to the joy of making things with your friends.” 3 1/2 stars

“Mos Def has the screen presence of a bowl of fruit. Aside from that, the film is well shot and manages to convey a sense of nostalgia as other users have pointed out. ” 3 stars

“The film begins rather unrealistically but soon develops into a great story. Jack Black fuels the flick with humour as the comedic colossus he is and it powers on with great film references and balances it out with some heartfelt moments.” 4 stars


Kung Fu Panda 3

Posted in Animation, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 22, 2017 by Mystery Man


In 2016, one of the most successful animated franchises in the world returns with its biggest comedy adventure yet, KUNG FU PANDA 3. When Po’s long-lost panda father suddenly reappears, the reunited duo travels to a secret panda paradise to meet scores of hilarious new panda characters. But when the supernatural villain Kai begins to sweep across China defeating all the kung fu masters, Po must do the impossible-learn to train a village full of his fun-loving, clumsy brethren to become the ultimate band of Kung Fu Pandas!

What people are saying:

Kung Fu Panda 3 boasts the requisite visual splendor, but like its rotund protagonist, this sequel’s narrative is also surprisingly nimble, adding up to animated fun for the whole family” 3 1/2 stars

“I almost did not watch this. I saw the first two and really liked them. I felt compelled to watch this just to finish the series. It actually turned out a lot better than I thought. There were times where the film was predictable, but the graphic of the movie made it quite enjoyable. I chuckled several times throughout the movie and I never got bored. I would definitely recommend watching it until the very end because the final fighting scene was very well done.” 4 stars

“This third installment in the Kung Fu Panda series lives up to all of the things you want it to with beautiful animation, clever humor, and a couple underlying messages that more than just kids can appreciate. ” 5 stars

“Nothing will be better than the first movie (something that hollywood has still to learn) and the trailer promised much more than the actual movie, still an enjoyable movie but probably just out of love for Po’s character” 2 1/2 stars

“I adore the Kung Fu Panda franchise, and although this movie is not up to par with the first two, it is still amazingly unique in it’s own way. I loved the super villain in this one, he was so sarcastic and cool and his theme song whenever he walked in was amazing. The visuals and animation is extremely well done, and they have successfully, once again, combined 3D animation with subtle 2D visuals. The story line is not as great as the first two, but I still thoroughly enjoyed this film.” 4 stars

The Holiday

Posted in Chick Flicks, Comedy, Movie Reviews, Romantic with tags , , , , , , , , on August 28, 2016 by Mystery Man


Stuck in a vicious cycle of dead-end relationships with two-timing men, Los Angeles resident Amanda (Cameron Diaz) and Londoner Iris (Kate Winslet) decide to swap homes. In the process, their trade paves the way for romances they never imagined possible.

What people are saying:

“Loved this film. Typical romantic comedy but got to see all the old guys- which is always special. Eli Wallach and Shelley Berman! What more could you ask for?” 5 stars

“There’s nothing authentic or personal about The Holiday — it’s as chilling as heart-warmers get.” 2 stars

“Watching Kate’s character hopelessly follow an obviously broken relationship was heartbreaking… But seeing her find love in an unexpected, yet genuine man gave me hope.” 4 stars

“Not too bad but a bit long. Sorry but Jack Black just doesn’t cut it as a serious actor in this one. Combination of poor dialogue and bad facial expressions by his character didn’t help. ” 3 stars

“I adore this movie and have watched it many times. The four leads, Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jack Black, and Jude Law all play their parts perfectly. Yes, it is somewhat of a fantasy, but after all it is a romantic comedy. It has plenty of laughs but enough tears to hold the viewer’s attention. It is definitely a “chick flick,” so husbands and boyfriends hold your breath and endure. You will have the everlasting gratitude of your significant other.” 5 stars


Posted in Comedy, Family, Horror, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 23, 2016 by Mystery Man


None-too happy about moving to a small Maryland town, teen Zach Cooper finds his outlook changing after meeting the gorgeous girl next door, Hannah Stine — whose reclusive father happens to be hiding a big secret

What people are saying:

“not too scary not too boring. just the right amount of creep and scares along with the proportional amount of humor.
really likes the character of slappy the dummy and Mr. R.L. Stine and the cast of goosebumps” 4 1/2 stars

“For what it was, it was very well done. Lots of jumping around action that kids and the adults that go with them enjoy. I’ve seen better movies in this genre (Jumanji, which it has been compared to…Night at the Museum, too), but it was still good enough. Jack Black almost always a fun watch…and Odeya Rush is a beautiful young woman that teens should heat thump over). Some of the story seemed contrived and plotting often felt like ‘an afterthought,” 4 stars

“After a few years of development hell, the filmmakers decided to try and cram all of R.L. Stine’s book creations into one movie.The result is a movie overstuffed with horror things, but never scary due to its breakneck pace and lack of character development. There’s no big twist either that is also present in Goosebumps books, so it comes off as a rather frivolous affair than anything memorable.” 2 stars

“Frustrating disappointment. This film has all the elements of a great movie: good cast, good story, photography, sets, great F/X, even a Danny Elfman score! The problem is that it never “comes together”. It almost does, but ultimately it fails & becomes tedious. It could have been on a level with THE MONSTER SQUAD if only, if only, if only…” 1 star

“I grew up reading and watching goosebumps and when I heard about this film I had to take a look in to it. This film is enjoyable and everything I wanted from a move based on the horror children books, the film has a good cast, good plot, good and evil charters and in no way does this film disappoint in any way.” 4 stars


Posted in Independent, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , on January 19, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In small-town Carthage, Texas, local assistant mortician Bernie Tiede (Jack Black), a beloved member of the community, becomes the only friend of the wealthy, recently widowed Marjorie Nugent (Shirley MacLaine), who is widely considered cold and unpleasant by the other townsfolk. Tiede, in his late 30s, and the elderly Nugent quickly become inseparable, frequently traveling and lunching together, though Tiede’s social life becomes hindered by Nugent’s constant and sometimes abusive need for his attention.

Tiede murders Nugent after growing weary of the emotional toll of her possessiveness, persistent nagging and non-stop putdowns. For nine months, Tiede takes advantage of her poor reputation to excuse her absence with few questions while using her money to support local businesses and neighbors. Finally, Nugent’s stockbroker becomes concerned by her absence and enlists the help of her estranged family by using Tiede’s neglect of payments previously agreed upon by the family. This results in an authorized police search of her house that concludes with the discovery of her body in a meat freezer.

The local district attorney, Danny Buck Davidson (Matthew McConaughey) charges Tiede with first-degree (premeditated) murder. Tiede is arrested and he soon confesses that he killed Nugent while claiming her emotional abuse as a mitigating circumstance. Despite this confession, many citizens of Carthage still rally to the murderer’s defense, with some even asserting that Nugent deserved to die. Frustrated, Davidson successfully requests a change of venue to the town of San Augustine, 50 miles away, to avoid selecting a biased jury. Despite the absence of evidence of premeditation, Tiede is found guilty as charged and imprisoned for life.


Bernie is a true story, ya’ll. I kid you not, the first title card we see says, “you are fixin’ to see a true story”. The fact that it was written like that should tell you that this is not going to be some heavy-handed true life drama like other true stories we’ve seen over time.

What is this about?

In this black comedy inspired by a true story, affable Texas mortician Bernie befriends the small town’s wealthiest widow and then kills her. But despite the suspicious nature of her death, no one wants to think anything but the best of Bernie.

What did I like?

Different. I’m not exactly a huge fan of Jack Black. I find his comedy too…something…for my taste. So, the fact that he was starring in this film was a bit of a red flag for me, but he actually did a real good job. Apparently, others thought so too, because he was nominated for Best Actor Golden Globe. Stepping out of the box was good for Black. Maybe he should do it more often and continue to grow as an actor, rather than keep retreading on his tired schtick (which has been improved upon by Zach Galifianakis).

Townsfolk. Judging by the end credits, it seems that the townspeople used for the documentary setting of this are perhaps real people from Carthage, TX. Just like any other small town, they are quite the colorful bunch of characters. The little anecdotes they provide really spice things up.

76 trombones. The classic song from The Music Man, “76 Trombones” is performed by Bernie and his little theatre troupe. As a huge of the musical, it isn’t the best version, but it isn’t the worst. A very respectable version of it, if I say so myself. I wonder who thought to put that in there, because it was a stroke of genius!

What didn’t I like?

Lowlife. Bernie is so loved in this town that it seems as if no one really cared that he allegedly murdered this woman, plus she wasn’t exactly Little Miss Sunshine. Listening to the testimonies, all the people loved him, even when they were talking smack about him, but there was this one guy, the D.A., played by Matthew McCounaughey who, in today’s vernacular, is a “hater”. He’s so anti-Bernie that he gets the trial moved to a different town just so that he can get a win. That’s some low-level, dirty handed tactics, but he is a lawyer.

Don’t call me Shirley. It seems like every film I see Shirley MacLaine in nowadays, she’s playing the bitter old woman character. Don’t quote me on this, but I believe this can be traced back to Steel Magnolias. Ouizer was a great character, don’t get me wrong, but I’m starting to wonder if she’s not like this in real life now because of all these rather unpleasant women she’s been on screen.

Mix and match. Two things bother me about this flick. First, they show the real Bernie Tiede at the end, and Jack Black doesn’t look anything like him. Truthfully, that isn’t that big of a deal, but I have to wonder if Black is doing a caricature of Bernie, or if he really is like this. Since we never hear him talk, one can’t really say. Second, the tone of the film is a bit of an issue. It starts off as a bit of a comedy, then turns into a legal drama of sorts. Personally, I think this film would be better served sticking with the dark comedy angle, rather than turning into Law & Order: Carthage, TX.

Bernie is one of those films that gets talked about but no one remembers even hearing about it when it was in theaters. I don’t even recall seeing a trailer for it, though I might have seen a poster in passing. All this is really a shame, because, truth be told, this is a good and enjoyable film. Yes, it has a few issues and is likely to turn some people off, but I would definitely watch it again. Check it out sometime!

3 3/4 out of 5 stars

The Cable Guy

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , on January 12, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

After a failed marriage proposal to his girlfriend Robin Harris (Leslie Mann), Steven M. Kovacs (Matthew Broderick) moves into his own apartment after they agree to spend some time apart. Enthusiastic cable guy Ernie “Chip” Douglas (Jim Carrey), a man with a lisp, installs his cable. Taking advice from his friend Rick (Jack Black), Steven bribes Chip to give him free movie channels, to which Chip agrees. Before he leaves, Chip gets Steven to hang out with him the next day and makes him one of his “preferred customers”.

As promised, Chip arrives the next day, where he takes Steven to the satellite dish responsible for sending out television. Steven tells his problems with Robin to Chip, who tells him to admit his faults to Robin and invite her over to watch Sleepless in Seattle, which is running on HBO the next night. Steven takes Chip’s advice, and Robin agrees to watch the movie with him. The next day, Chip begins acting more suspicious, “running into” Steven and his friends at the gym and leaving 10 messages on Steven’s answering machine. When Robin arrives to watch the movie, the cable is out, thanks to Chip, who intentionally sabotaged Steven’s cable when he didn’t call Chip back. Chip fixes the cable under the condition that they hang out again. Steven agrees.

The next evening, Chip takes Steven to Medieval Times, where Chip arranges for them to battle in the arena, referencing the Star Trek episode “Amok Time”. Chip behaves aggressively, nearly killing Steven, who eventually bests him in combat. Afterwards, Chip congratulates Steven, who decides the experience was fun. When they arrive at Steven’s home, Chip reveals that he’s installed an expensive home theater system in his living room. Chip and Steven later host a party, complete with a karaoke sing-off. With Chip’s help, Steven sleeps with a woman named Heather, while Chip serenades the party by singing Jefferson Airplane’s “Somebody to Love”. The next morning Chip reveals that Heather is a prostitute. Furious, Steven throws Chip out. Chip tells Steven he will make things better.

Chip tracks down Robin, who is on a date with another man (Owen Wilson). When the man goes to the bathroom, Chip beats him up and tells him to stay away from Robin. He later upgrades Robin’s cable, saying that it’s on Steven. Robin decides to get back together with Steven as a result. Steven tells Chip that they cannot be friends, which hurts Chip. Chip then begins a series of vengeful acts. He gets Steven arrested for possession of stolen property (the home theater system), although Steven is released on bail. Steven is later fired from his job when Chip sends out a video of Steven insulting his boss to the entire office that was recorded by hidden cameras in his apartment.

During a dinner with his family and Robin, Steven is horrified to see Chip is in attendance as well. Steven tells him to leave, but Chip tells him to play along or he will show everyone the picture of him with the prostitute. The evening goes from bad to worse as Chip gets on well with Steven’s family and leads everyone in a game of “porno password”. Steven finally punches Chip when he implies he slept with Robin.

Rick later tells Steven that Chip has been fired from the cable company for stalking customers, and uses the names of television characters as aliases. Chip calls Steven that night, telling him he’s paying Robin a visit. Steven tracks them down to the satellite dish, where Chip holds Robin hostage. After a physical altercation and a chase, Steven gets the upper hand and is able to save Robin. As the police arrive, Chip goes into a long speech on how he was raised by television (“I learned the facts of life by watching The Facts of Life!”) and apologizes to Steven for being a bad friend. He then dives into the satellite dish, which knocks out the cable across the entire town, just as the verdict in a highly publicized case involving a famous child star is about to be revealed. The following scene shows a man turning off his television and picking up a book, noticeably intrigued.

Chip survives the fall, but injures his back. As Steven and Robin reunite, Steven forgives Chip and asks for his real name. Chip jokingly replies “Ricky Ricardo”. Chip is later taken to the hospital in a helicopter. When one of the paramedics addresses him as “buddy”, Chip asks the paramedic if he is truly his buddy, to which the paramedic replies, “Sure,” causing Chip to smile deviously just before the credits roll.


That stereotype about cable guys taking forever and day to hook up your cable is true, at least it was with my current hookup. Of course, the one I had in college was hooked up by an ex of a friend. Had no idea he worked there, but that’s neither here no there. The Cable Guy is one of Jim Carrey’s darker roles, but some have said it is one of his better performances. Then there are those that rank this as one of the worst things on his resume.

What is this about?

When recently single Steven (Matthew Broderick) moves into his new apartment, cable guy Chip (Jim Carrey) comes to hook him up — and doesn’t let go. Initially, Chip is just overzealous in his desire to be Steven’s pal, but when Steven tries to end the “friendship,” Chip shows his dark side. He begins stalking Steven, who’s left to fend for himself because no one else can believe Chip’s capable of such behavior.

What did i like?

Music. No, I’m not talking about the score, but rather some musical cues that are used, such as music from Star Trek episodes when Carrey’s character is acting out what happened in his “battle” with Broderick. There is another one later on in the movie, but I can’t recall what it is from. Little things like that go along way towards getting some high marks from me.

Medieval Times. I have never been to Medieval Times. The closest one is either in Dallas or Orlando, I think. Also, I’m not a big fan of the Dark Ages. However, I do like buxom wenches and jousting. The contest between our two leads wasn’t the best, but can you imagine what it would be like if you actually got up there and tried to do that? I doubt it would have been as clean. Kudos to them!

Creepy Carrey. We’ve all come across that one guy (or girl) that is just plain creepy. They could be this way because of a our prejudices, perhaps it is some kind of deformity, or maybe it is something we’ve heard about them. Whatever the case, save for being hunted down by a serial killer, I don’t think any of us can imagine anything creepier than Carrey’s stalker cable guy character. Well, maybe is Sheldon from Big Bang Theory were to become s supervillain. Man, that would truly be scary!

What didn’t I like?

Stiller. Ben Stiller directed this and, much like Tarantino, he just has to make an appearance. His appearance isn’t even important to the film, though. He plays this pair of twins on television on trial for murder. They keep coming back to it as random as pop up ads, and just when it seems as though something  is about to happen with them…*poof* Unfulfilled!

Jack Black. True, I’m not the biggest Jack Black fan. Also, I actually think he did a much better job than most of his other roles. That doesn’t get him off the hook, though. This role could have been the start of Black’s descent into what I call madness. He plays the “funny friend”, but he isn’t really funny. Perfect for Jack Black!

Satellite. Something that bothered me about the satellite dish scenes was how easy they were able to just get up there. That seems like the kind of place that is usually heavily locked up. How is it a lowly cable guy can get in there? I would really like to know!

The Cable Guy is one of the films that I think gets a bad rap. Is it a great film? No, but it isn’t anywhere near as bad as everyone seems to think it is. I won’t be going out of my way to watch it again, but if it were to show up one afternoon that I’m flipping through the channels, I may stop and watch a bit. I’m sure you’ll feel the same way.

3 out of 5 stars


The Muppets

Posted in Comedy, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 21, 2012 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Walter, a man born as a Muppet, lives with his human brother Gary in Smalltown. They became Muppet fans when they watched The Muppet Show in their youths. As adults, the brothers continue to live together in Smalltown. Gary plans a vacation to Los Angeles with his girlfriend Mary to celebrate their tenth anniversary, and he invites Walter along so he can tour the Muppet Studios. Gary is pleased to spend time with Mary and Walter, though Mary feels that Gary’s devotion to Walter detracts from their relationship.

In Los Angeles, the three visit the abandoned Muppet studio. During the tour, Walter sneaks into Kermit the Frog’s office and discovers Statler and Waldorf selling the theater to Tex Richman, an oil magnate, and his henchmen Bobo the Bear and Uncle Deadly. Waldorf explains that if The Muppets can raise $10 million they can repurchase the theater. Later, Richman reveals his plans to destroy the Muppet Theater and drill for oil underneath.

Walter recounts the conversation to Gary and Mary and appeals to Kermit at his mansion. Kermit realizes he must organize a program to raise the money, which the Muppets have not done in years. Walter convinces him to try, and they set off to reunite the group. Fozzie Bear is performing with the Moopets, a group of uncouth Muppet impersonators, in Reno, Nevada, and Kermit persuades him to leave Reno. Meanwhile, Gonzo has become a plumbing magnate. Despite his initial objection, Gonzo decides to destroy his business and join them. Animal is in a celebrity anger-management clinic; he rejoins them, but his sponsor, Jack Black, warns him to avoid drums. Using a montage, the other primary Muppets are located and rejoin. In Paris, the group finds Miss Piggy working as Vogue Paris’s editor for “plus-sized” fashion. Unable to convince Miss Piggy to return, the group replaces her with her Moopet counterpart Miss Poogy.

The Muppets pitch their telethon idea to several TV networks, but are turned down. Due to a popular show’s sudden cancellation, Veronica, an executive at the CDE network, gives the Muppets a two-hour opening in CDE’s schedule on the condition that they find a celebrity guest. The Muppets repair the theater, but their rehearsal fails and Kermit is unable to find a celebrity guest. Miss Piggy returns and forces Miss Poogy out. Refusing to work with Kermit, Miss Piggy selects Pepe the King Prawn as her partner for a dance routine. Kermit later persuades Walter to perform and find his talent, while Mary goes sight-seeing alone.

Kermit entreats Richman to return their studio, but Richman refuses, revealing that at midnight the Muppets will also lose their trademark name and rights, which he plans to give to the Moopets. Miss Piggy has the Muppets kidnap Black as a celebrity guest. Meanwhile, Mary leaves Gary for Smalltown. When Gary attempts to explain to Walter about Mary’s problem, he realizes he has forgotten his anniversary. Gary decides he must improve his relationship with Mary, while Walter realizes he was meant to be a Muppet. Gary reconciles with Mary and they return to Los Angeles, while the telethon builds up to success with celebrity support and Black as host. Richman cuts the theater’s power supply, but Gary and Mary repair the wiring. Richman attempts to destroy the transmitter antenna, but Uncle Deadly realizes that he is a Muppet and stops him. Kermit reconciles with Miss Piggy and the Muppets perform “Rainbow Connection”.

With the telethon running short, Walter performs a whistling act, receiving very positive audience response. In desperation, Richman disables the telephone lines and finally evicts the Muppets from the theater, out of time and short of their monetary goal. Kermit says that the Muppets tried their best, and will begin again as a family, before leaving with Walter, Gary and Mary. The group discovers a vast gathering of fans outside the theater. With Gary’s encouragement, Walter greets the crowd with the Muppets. Gary proposes to Mary, and Richman gives the theater and rights back to the Muppets after suffering a head injury from Gonzo’s bowling ball act


I grew up in the days when the Muppets, despite not being on the air, were still popular, so you can imagine the mixed emotions I had that they were dusting off my beloved characters for an “updated” take on their mythos. For some reason, I was expecting this to be some odd film that did nothing more than make the Muppets look goofy and unfunny while glorifying the overpaid humans that were cast.  Admittedly, my preconceived notion were way off base and The Muppets did just the opposite!

If you’re going to make a Muppet film these days, then you better have a good story, right? Well, they did bring in a decent plot, but it seemed a bit too Scooby-Doo for me. I don’t know why, but the whole thing about the deed seemed like something we would expect Scooby and the Gang to go through, coupled with some ghost/monster who, when unmasked, would turn out to be guy who was trying to buy the place all along.

Another thing you must have is music. Look, they’re not going to tear up the charts with any of the songs, but for what they are, they work. By the way, “Man or Muppet” won an Oscar for Best Song, so they did something right, I suppose. Also, there is the quintessential Muppet song, “Rainbow Connection” that makes a couple of appearances in the film, and for old school Sesame Street fans, the ever popular “Mahna Mahnam” pops up as the end credits roll.

What else works? Well, the fact that the humans are not the focal point here is a major plus. This is The Muppets after all. With that being said, they are there just enough to justify being in here.

Also on the human front, Jason Segel make quite the cute couple, plus the simplistic, retro setting of Smalltown fits their personalities perfectly.

80s robot is great, both for his 80s slang, but also for his, shall we say, sidekick escapades.

The travel by map concept was great, as well.

What didn’t work?

Well, Walter is a great little addition and all, but I think they miscast his human counterpart. Jason Segel muppet version looks almost exactly like him, but Walter is Jim Parsons (Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory). I love Parsons, so don’t think that it has anything to do with him, but he had no lines here, just appeared in the mirror, faux played a piano in a white tux, and lip synched to the song.

The last act was totally out of place. First off, it seemed as if they just tacked it on at the zero hour before they started shooting. It didn’t fit the tone of the rest of the film, especially with pushing Tex Richman off the building. Also, the way everything played out was a bit too coincidental for my taste, but that’s a personal issue.

Also on a personal note, I would have loved to have gotten more of Gonzo, but that’s only because he’s been my favorite since Muppet Babies. It would have also been nice to have gotten more from Rowlf.

Come to think of it, instead of using Walter, they could have finally make Skeeter a Muppet instead of just a character made for the cartoon, or finally bring in the characters from Sesame Street. Don’t tell me you haven’t wondered why those things haven’t happened yet because I know their probably in the back of your mind.

In conclusion The Muppets turned out to be a much better film that anyone, including myself ever imagined. This may be a family film, but trust me, there are plenty of references to days gone by and old Muppets skits, sketches and what not to keep everyone entertained. This isn’t the perfect film, but it may be the most entertaining film I’ve seen all year and you should really check it out!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars