Archive for J.K. Simmons

The Accountant

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Thrillers/Mystery with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 2, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck) is a math savant with more affinity for numbers than people. Behind the cover of a small-town CPA office, he works as a freelance accountant for some of the world’s most dangerous criminal organizations. With the Treasury Department’s Crime Enforcement Division, run by Ray King (J.K. Simmons), starting to close in, Christian takes on a legitimate client: a state-of-the-art robotics company where an accounting clerk (Anna Kendrick) has discovered a discrepancy involving millions of dollars. But as Christian uncooks the books and gets closer to the truth, it is the body count that starts to rise.

What people are saying:

“It’s transparent in its attempt both to pimp a future franchise and give autistic kids their own superhero. There’s a genuine sweetness to the latter that converts me on the former. Headshots, math problems, and pained social interactions? Sign me up. Of the two movies Ben Affleck has been in so far this year, The Accountant and Batman V Superman, The Accountant has by far the most franchise potential” 4 stars

“The Accountant should be a straight-ahead thriller, but the film keeps tripping over its own incompetent feet. Maybe it was made for adults, but it sure doesn’t feel like it was made by them.” 3 stars

“It’s not that often a great story gets translated into a classy script and then benefits from top level acting. Thankfully this film manages to do all that and more. The unique story line combined with some excellent acting and action scenes is a triumph and is not just for those who crave some realistic looking action. Ben Affleck does a great job and makes the unusually talented and afflicted ‘Accountant’ believable. After this performance Ben Affleck must surely be at the top of the list to play ‘007’.” 5 stars

“This movie was sooooooo predictable and terrible. It rips off elements from “Jack Reacher”, “Rain Man” and “Grosse Point Blank”. All three of those movies are way better than this piece of turd. I think the PC crowd want to portray this movie as “inspiring” and about “family” or some other B.S. The movie has a message that autistic people have can live a productive life in a manner of a “normal” person. Meaning, we (the non-autistic people) just mis-understand the very special autistic folks. It’s the same formula as you have seen a hundred times. The Accountant is killing the bad folks for the greater good, but he is not an official law enforcement agent. He has to do things secretly, but with the covert help of a couple of legitimate treasury agents. Sound familiar? Kind of like Batman and Commissioner Gordon. (I did that on purpose btw.) Believe me, I “get” this movie. Wooden acting, (exception: J.K. Simmons) stupid, predictable story, and very slow pace. It’s pure garbage. I just read they are going to make “The Accountant 2″ as well. I guess it’s true, you can’t fix stupid” 1 star

“I thought the film did an excellent job of developing and explaining Ben Afflecks character. I also enjoyed the duplicity of his autism and the fighting skills that his father imbued in him and later how he learned to cope with these abilities / disabilities in adult life (quite the paradox). From personal experience: I know that autistic people have a skill sets, its finding it and making it useful too themselves and society that’s difficult. Too many times these people are written off because they are different than normal expectations and thats kinda of the bottom line of this movie. The previous reviewer is a good example of the herd mentality of people that just don’t get it and never will. (Small people with even smaller minds). I also enjoyed his marksmanship skills with a 50BMG Barret rifle, the one mile shots at cantaloupes and how he took out a pickup truck with it by shooting a hole in the engine block, no doubt also inspired by his Army father. In summary this movie is imperfect by design so that only enlightened people will appreciate and get it.” 5 stars

Kung Fu Panda 3

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

PLOT:

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

Zootopia

Posted in Animation, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 11, 2016 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In a world populated by anthropomorphic mammals, Judy Hopps, a rabbit from rural Bunnyburrow, fulfills her dream of becoming the first rabbit officer in the police department of nearby city Zootopia. After graduating valedictorian upon being presented as the new Zootopia Police Department member by Mayor Leodore Lionheart, she is assigned parking duty by Chief Bogo who doubts her potential due to her being a rabbit and thus smaller than most of the large animals on the force. During one of her shifts, she meets Nick Wilde, a con artist fox, and his partner Finnick.

Hopps abandons her shift to arrest a thief named Duke Weaselton. She is reprimanded by Bogo and nearly fired until Mrs. Otterton arrives pleading for help locating her missing husband – one of many animals recently missing in Zootopia. To Bogo’s dismay, Hopps volunteers and agrees to resign if she cannot solve the case within 48 hours. She sees Wilde in the last known photo of Otterton and tracks him down, coercing him into to assisting her with the investigation.

After acquiring Mr. Otterton’s license plate number, Hopps and Wilde track the vehicle to Mr. Big, an Arctic shrew crime boss. Initially, he orders them “iced,” but after his daughter spares them, Mr. Big informs the pair that his florist Mr. Otterton had gone savage and attacked his chauffeur Manchas. Hopps and Wilde locate Manchas, who mentions “night howlers” were responsible for attacking him before he goes savage and chases the pair out of his home. When Bogo and his reinforcements arrive, Manchas disappears. Bogo demands Hopps resign, but Wilde takes a stand, insisting they have 10 more hours to solve the case. As the pair leaves, Hopps learns from Wilde that he was bullied by prey animals as a pup and became a criminal, believing he would be stereotyped as one no matter what due to being a fox.

Wilde realizes that the city’s traffic camera system may have captured Manchas’s disappearance, and the pair consults Assistant Mayor Dawn Bellwether. They identify the captors as wolves, hence “night howlers”. Hopps and Wilde locate the missing mammals (including Mr. Otterton) at Cliffside Asylum. All are predators, and all have gone savage like Manchas. The two discover Mayor Lionheart consulting with Dr. Madge Honey Badger about the predators’ condition. The pair escape with the evidence and the police swarm the area, arresting Lionheart.

Having developed a friendship with Wilde throughout the case, Hopps requests that he joins the Zootopia Police Department and become her partner, which Wilde happily considers. However, during a press conference, Hopps mentions that the savage animals are predators and argues they have gone back to their “natural state.” Wilde is hurt and angrily walks out on her offer. Fear and discrimination against predators spreads across Zootopia and a guilt-ridden Hopps resigns. During this time, pop singer Gazelle holds a peaceful protest and publicly asks for the harmonious Zootopia she loves to be restored.

Back in Bunnyburrow, Hopps learns from her former bully Gideon Grey that “night howlers” are flowers that have a severe psychotropic effect on mammals. Hopps returns to Zootopia and reconciles with Wilde after being told where he is by Finnick. They locate Weaselton and catch him. With help from Mr. Big, Judy learns that Weaselton has been collecting night howlers for a secret laboratory. The pair discover the lab and find sheep scientists creating a night howler serum which has been injected into predators via dart guns. Hopps and Wilde race to the ZPD with the evidence, but the sheep scientists pursue them.

Just short of the ZPD, the pair encounters Bellwether who tries to take the evidence. Realizing Bellwether is the mastermind of a species-supremacist conspiracy, Hopps and Wilde try to flee, but Bellwether shoots a dart at Wilde and calls the ZPD for help. Wilde becomes savage and corners Hopps, but it turns out the pair were acting and had swapped out Bellwether’s darts for blueberries. With Bellwether’s confession recorded on Hopps’s carrot pen, the two have enough evidence to unravel the conspiracy. Bellwether is then arrested for her crimes alongside her accomplices. When informed and interviewed on the matter, Lionheart explains that he had no knowledge of Bellwether’s plot, but fully confesses his crime of illegally imprisoning the savaged predators during his confidential mission by stating that it was done for the “right reasons.”

Some months later, Hopps is reinstated into the ZPD. The savaged mammals are cured. Inspired by his friend’s faith in him, Wilde joins the ZPD as the first fox police officer and Judy’s new partner. During the credits, all of Zootopia enjoys a performance by Gazelle while Bellwether angrily watches the live streaming from prison.

REVIEW:

A man of my age should not be excited for a kids’ film, but I can’t help it. I’ve been looking forward to Zootopia since the first trailer dropped last summer. Why, you may ask? Well, there is so much promise and potential here. Disney isn’t just recycling another princess story, but rather coming up with original material. Hopefully it pays off!

What is this about?

Nick Wilde is a fox with a criminal record. He meets Judy Hopps, a rabbit that is just starting out as a police officer. She is trying to live up to the expectations of her parents, Bonnie and Stu. Judy and Nick must work together to find a missing otter. Along the way, they develop an unlikely friendship and learn about the other citizens of Zootopia. The team discovers the surprising truth about the missing otter, realizing the disappearance goes deeper than they ever expected.

What did I like?

Creativity. A society of all types of animals living in one big city. I really liked how the developers not only gave us different climates for the various animals, but also different sizes, tunnels, entrances, exits, etc. It really felt like a city where animals had just evolved into civilization, rather than another anthropomorphic animated tale.

An offer you can’t refuse. When I heard there was a scene based on The Godfather, I was skeptical. After all, the audience for this film is nowhere near old enough to have watched and appreciated that fine film. However, when I saw the scene and how it fit in with the story, I was relieved. Yes, it is probably there because the writers are fans and it is something for the adults, but the main thing is that the scene works. On another note, there is also a small Breaking Bad reference, if you can catch it.

Relevance. Even in a society of animals, racism (or speciesism) is present. Predators are not looked kindly upon in this society because, well, they could revert back to their killing ways. Because of this, and with someone turning predators back to their savage ways, they have more or less become second class citizens. Yes, this is a theme in a kids movie. The same kind of thing that we are experiencing in society today where people are turning on each other just because they have different beliefs, skin color, or don’t vote a certain way. I give this film a standing ovation for tackling this subject, because it is obvious parents aren’t doing their job anymore and our society is headed to hell in a handbasket!

What didn’t I like?

Exploration. As little Judy Hopps was riding the train into Zootopia, we see the various areas of the city. It kind of reminded me of the first couple of Hunger Games films, where we saw the different districts and how different they were. Here’s my issue with this, though. It seems to me that they could have done more with exploring the city. For the most part, the film stays downtown. They make one trip out to the tundra, a couple of treks to the rainforest, but that’s it. I don’t believe they even went to the desert! If you’re going to have these impressive ecosystems (and go through all the trouble of creating them), then do something with them!

Give it away. If you’ve been keeping up with the marketing for this film, then I’m sure you’ve seen the most popular trailer for it. You know, the one with the sloths at the DMV. The first time I saw that, I laughed for a good 10-15 minutes. It cracked me up! However, that is an actual scene from the movie, with a couple of snippets taken out here and there. While I loved it, I think they should have saved it. Maybe given us a peek, but not the whole thing. The trailer for Captain America: Civil War came out yesterday and they gave away the one thing that they really should have held close to the vest, Spider-Man! What is with trailers these days and giving everything away? As far as the sloths go, it is hands down one of the funniest scenes in the film and it isn’t hard to see why they put it out there, I just wish they’d have shown a little restraint and not given us the whole thing!

Dance, Gazelle, Dance. A trope that was started back with Shrek, if not before, was ending animated films with a dance sequence utilizing all the characters. This has never been my cup of tea and, while this film works it into the story (a concert featuring the biggest pop star of this world, Gazelle), I still couldn’t get into it. Just give me my happy ending and roll the credits. If you must have Gazelle sing and dance underneath that’s fine, but that didn’t do anything for the film to include it in the actual movie.

Final verdict on Zootopia? This is one of the best animated film I’ve seen in the last few years. Each character is developed and given something to do, other than just standing there (aside from the characters that are meant to just stand there). The story isn’t what I initially thought it was and, with the exception of one swerve, nothing was predictable. This is definitely a film worth taking the kids to see multiple times, but please make sure they are well-behaved and not running up to the top, jumping on people so that they can put bunny ears on the screen (yes, this actually happened!) Control your children, people!

5 out of 5 stars

Extract

Posted in Comedy, Independent, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2012 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Joel Reynolds is the owner and founder of Reynold’s Extract, a flavor-extract company. Although his business is successful, his marriage is now completely sexless. His best friend Dean, a bartender and pothead, offers to ease his mind with Xanax and various other drugs, but the straight-laced Joel refuses.

One day, a series of mishaps occurs at the extract factory, resulting in an employee, Step, losing a testicle. Cindy, a con artist and drifter, reads a news story about the accident and gets a job at the factory, flirting with Joel in order to find out more information about Step. Although Step initially decides not to sue the company, he changes his mind after a “chance meeting” with Cindy, and hires ambulance-chasing lawyer Joe Adler.

Joel entertains the idea of an affair with Cindy, but still loves Suzie and would not want to have any regrets. At the bar, Dean suggests hiring a gigolo to seduce his wife, so that Joel can then have a guilt-free affair of his own. Joel initially balks at the idea, but—after his judgment is impaired by an accidentally administered dose of ketamine—eventually accepts and the two hire Brad to pose as a pool cleaner and have an affair with Suzie. The next morning, Joel sobers up and realizes what he has done and tries to stop Brad from going to his house, but he is too late; Brad and Suzie have begun an affair. Brad falls in love with Suzie and wants to run away with her. After smoking marijuana with Dean and his friend Willie, Joel attempts to call Cindy, but soon realizes that he is calling Willie’s number. Just then, Cindy walks into the apartment. Willie realizes Joel is trying to make time with her [she’s living with Willie, they’re a couple] and Willie furiously punches Joel in the face.

Joel meets with Adler and his associates in the factory office to discuss the terms of the settlement. The workers, believing that the meeting is about a buy-out of the factory by General Mills, organize a strike. Frustrated by Adler’s unflinching negotiations and the disrespect from his employees, Joel storms out and goes home, where Suzie admits that she had an affair with Brad. Joel admits he hired Brad to do so, and leaves the house to escape her wrath.

Joel moves into a motel, where he spots Cindy staying in another room. When he goes to her room, he notices a purse stolen from one of his employees, along with other stolen items, and realizes that she is not only a thief, but behind a lot of the problems at the company. He begins to leave and call the police, but softens when Cindy breaks down in tears, and the two spend the night together. The next morning, Cindy disappears, but leaves the stolen items behind.

Step meets with Joel at the factory to tell him he is dropping the lawsuit on the condition that Joel promotes him to floor manager. Meanwhile, while cleaning the pool herself, Suzie loses her temper with her annoying, overly talkative neighbor Nathan and tells him what she really thinks of him; just as she is finishing her tirade, he collapses and dies. Feeling that she may have caused his death, Suzie attends the funeral, where she runs into Joel. After a few awkward moments, the two share a ride home, hinting at a possible reconciliation. It is revealed that Cindy has scammed Adler also and ends up stealing his luxury car, replacing it with Step’s truck.

REVIEW:

Independent comedies tend to lean more towards being dramas than comedies, but when you put someone like Mike Judge behind everything, then you might actually get something worth laughing about. This is the case with Extract.

What is this about?

Poised to sell his successful flavor extract company, Joel’s life is pretty sweet — until an on-the-job accident threatens his livelihood. To make matters worse, his marriage is failing, and a sexy con artist is stirring things up at the office. Will things work out for Joel, or is everything doomed to come crashing down around him?

What did I like?

Affleck. Some people may have forgotten, but Ben Affleck is actually a decent comic actor. If you don’t remember, just look at his work in Kevin Smith’s film’s. Probably his best in terms of funny would be Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back. With all the serious stuff he’s been doing lately, it was good to see him back in a comedic role.

Formula. When Mila Kunis is trying to get some info out of Jason Bateman, he tells her how he got to be owner of his company and where the formula came from. Listening to how it was done takes you aback and makes you wonder if someone really did/could do that. There obviously is a market for it.

Simmons. Yes, Gene Simmons is in this, but he’s not the Simmons I’m referring to. That would J.K. Simmons. He has a bit of a supporting role, but it is one, much like J. Jonah Jameson from the Spider-Man films, that is comically serious.

What didn’t I like?

Bateman. I don’t think I’ve ever liked this guy, even going back to Teen Wolf, Too. For some reason, though, the last few years have found either him or Paul Rudd in just about every comedy, playing the same whiny guy with an insanely hot wife and something to do with infidelity. Enough is enough! Time for a new character!

Wiig out. Kristin Wiig is apparently the current “it” girl in terms of hot comediennes. She’s not a bad looker, either. Hell, we see her rocking a bikini, and it is a pleasant surprise to see she’s quite the hardbody. That being said, I can’t help but think they wanted someone more attractive for this role, but settled for her because she was funny and looked good in a bikini.

Death. David Koechner is playing another character that the audience hates. Hey, it works for the guy, so I’m not going to knock him for it. However, he dies at a point in the film, and it leaves you wondering…why? I mean, there was no real point to killing him off, other than to get rid of an annoying character, but it didn’t move the plot forward any, so why would they do that?

Extract is supposed to be a companion piece to Office Space. As such, it fails to live up to that film’s legacy. However, when you think of it as a stand alone picture, it works on many levels, most notably, the comedy. While there are moments that I love in this film, there are also those that I didn’t care for. It is for that reason that I can’t fully recommend this to everyone. That being said, give it a shot if you’re in the mood for a chuckle or two.

3 out of 5 stars

The Astronaut Farmer

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 5, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Charles Farmer is a former astronaut-in-training who was discharged from the military before he could fulfill his dream of becoming a vital part of NASA. Having missed the opportunity to travel into space, he decides to build a replica of the historic Mercury-Atlas in the barn on his secluded ranch in the fictional town of Story, Texas, using all his assets and facing foreclosure as a result. When he begins making inquiries about purchasing rocket fuel, the FBI and FAA step in to investigate, and the ensuing publicity thrusts Farmer into the spotlight and makes him a media darling.

Farmer’s first launch is delayed by endless red tape created by government officials, who seek to stall him beyond his deadline to foreclose on the farm. Farmer is denied the fuel he wishes, which would be liquid hydrogen. His ranch facing financial ruin, he panics and somehow launches his rocket before it is ready and without the proper fuel. His rocket falls over and horizontally blasts out of an old wooden barn.

Farmer nearly dies with head trauma and other injuries after his capsule is thrown from the rocket. Spectators and their vehicles are nearly crushed. During the months he spends recuperating, public interest in his project wanes, and when he recovers sufficiently to start anew, he is able to do so in relative privacy with the support of his wife Audrey, his son Shepard, and daughters Stanley and Sunshine. An inheritance left by his father-in-law Hal allows him to settle all his debts and finance reconstruction of his rocket which he succeeds in launching. As officials from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are arresting his one lone illegal-alien farmhand, the rocket rises out of the barn. After orbiting Earth nine times and suffering a brief period of a communication blackout, he returns safely and is given a hero’s welcome home through the credits.

REVIEW:

 The idea that someone can build a rocket in their barn has to be a scary thought for the government, especially in this day and age when they think everyone that looks at them funny is a threat, but here we have a charming tale of just such a thing…complete with the government’s overreaction.

I’ve always been a believer in if you got the knowledge, don’t let it go to waste. In this case, Billy Bob Thornton’s character has a degree in rocket physics, or something like that, and went through the training to be an astronaut. I forgot why it is he never went up into space, though. So, his building a rocket was just wa way to put that knowledge to good use, right?

Well, apparently not, since as soon as he was nearing ever so closer to actually getting the thing in the air, they government comes swooping in on his house faster than they invade a country.

Once you get past all the paranoid government stuff, there is a nice little family story here, complete with the drama of grandpa dying, the house/farm nearly being repossessed, and the son’s love for his dad never letting hm give up hope. It really is quite touching.

I was a little disappointed that there weren’t more flight scenes. Sure, there was that montage, and the two launches, but for a movie called The Astronaut Farmer, one would think we’d see more astronaut stuff…or at least some farming.

Come to think of it, the only farming I think he did was when the film opens and he rode in his space suit on his horse. That was about as close as we got. Unless you count the fact that he drove one of those old beat up trucks common among farmers in the movies.

Having said that, the story works. While this is a drama, it doesn’t seem to take itself too seriously. Just when it seems to be headed in that direction, something happens to lighten the mood.

Billy Bob Thornton’s performance may not be one of his best, but his emotions appear genuine here, though I think his accent was a bit thick. Considering he already has a southern drawl, it was a tad bit of overkill, at least for my taste.

Virginia Madsen plays a typical female lead. A mother who would do anything to keep her family safe and loves her husband to the then end of the world, but you have to wonder with some of the decisions he makes…why is she still with him.

Bruce Willis appears out of nowhere and actually earned his cameo paycheck for this one. In other films where he just shows up, he seems to be uninterested, but this was like he actually cared. I am tempted to say it was like he remembered his Armageddon days and just continued with that.

J.K. Simmons, Jon Gries, Bruce Dern, and Tim Blake Nelson also appear in quite memorable roles, but nothing out of character for these character actors.

While I actually liked this film, I can understand why it wasn’t a success when it was released in theaters. It just doesn’t have the appeal to draw in the big crowds. That is what DVD sales are for, right?

So, should you check this picture out? Well, it has comedy, drama, a touching family tale, and space travel. If you’re interested in any of those things, then this is something that you should see. If you’re looking for eye candy, there really isn’t much here. For the guys, we have Virginia Madsen, who isn’t an eyesore, but that’s all we got. Women get Billy Bob Thornton and Bruce Willis…oh, and if you’re into jailbait, there’s Max Theriot. So, that wouldn’t be a reason. Just stick to the real reasons to watch this film, and you won’t be sorry. It really is quite the enjoyable watch.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

I Love You, Man

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews, Romantic with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 25, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Peter Klaven, a real estate agent, just got engaged to Zooey Rice. Zooey is ecstatic about the engagement and calls her friends to tell them about it, but Peter does not seem to have anyone special he’d like to share the good news with. While visiting his parents, it comes out that Peter is more adept at getting along with women, instead of having any male friends. After overhearing Zooey’s friends voice their concerns over the matter, Peter realizes he needs to find male friends in order to have a best man for his wedding.

Peter attempts to go on “man dates” with several men, which all end in failure, due to his general lack of knowledge in regards to “being a man”. Feeling rejected, Peter is about to give up, when during an open house at Lou Ferrigno’s mansion, he meets Sydney Fife, an investor who (admittedly) is attending the showing simply to pick up divorced women. The two hit it off very well, despite having different personalities, and exchange business cards. Later, Peter calls Sydney, and they go out for drinks.

The two continue to hang out more, and Sydney eventually invites Peter into his “man cave,” a space in his garage where he keeps a big-screen TV, his collection of musical instruments, and various other belongings. Peter and Sydney quickly bond over their mutual fanhood of the band Rush, and start meeting frequently for jam sessions. Peter finally introduces Sydney to Zooey at their engagement party, but Zooey’s opinion of Sydney sours when he makes a very awkward and inappropriate toast.

The next night, Peter is watching TV with Zooey, when Sydney calls and talks Peter into going to see Rush live. Zooey reluctantly agrees to join them, but feels ignored while Peter and Sydney are bonding during the concert. The next day, while shopping for tuxedos, Sydney asks Peter why he is marrying Zooey, and also asks for an $8,000 loan. After some thought, Peter decides to loan Sydney the money, and later grants him the honor of best man at his wedding.

Zooey, meanwhile, has become suspicious of Sydney, especially after he gets into a fight with Lou Ferrigno, possibly causing Peter to lose exclusive sales rights to Ferrigno’s house. Peter tells Zooey that he lent Sydney money and asks her if she knows why they are getting married. Hurt and angry, Zooey leaves to stay at her friend’s house.

When Peter leaves for work that next morning, he learns that Sydney has used the $8,000 loan to purchase several ridiculous billboard advertisements for Peter’s real estate business. Peter confronts Sydney, and decides to end their friendship. Peter then patches things up with Zooey, explaining to her that he is nervous but ready to get married.

Peter discovers that Sydney’s billboards worked after he starts receiving more clients and offers on the Ferrigno house. Peter feels bad about fighting with Sydney but doesn’t re-invite Sydney to the wedding. Before the wedding, Zooey sees Peter upset, so she calls and invites Sydney, who is already on his way to the wedding. Just before the vows are to be taken, Sydney makes a dramatic entrance. He informs Peter and Zooey that he is, in fact, a successful investor and returns the money he borrowed from Peter, stating that the billboards were the couple’s wedding present. Peter and Sydney declare their platonic love to each other, and Sydney assumes the role of best man

REVIEW:

With a title like I Love You, Man, one would assume this is some kind of flick about gay men, but you would be sadly mistaken because, in fact, this is a film about the relationship between two straight males who become best friends.

I have a little bit of a soft spot for this film, actually. No, I didn’t love it, but it did touch me. Like the main character, Peter, most of my friends, especially the ones I’m close to are female. I haven’t had a true male best friend since I was a wee little tyke. I’m sure there are more guys out there like me who feel the same way, but are just afraid/ashamed to admit it.

The comedy is what really drives this film. There are moments of slapstick, gross out/phart jokes, high brow, senical, and just plain physical comedy. However, with all those various types, each done very well, I might add, none really seemed to leave a lasting impression. As a matter of fact, if not for Jason Segal’s character, this film might have very well fallen flat.

The cast is pretty good. I have a bit of trouble believing that Jamie Pressly would marry Jon Favreau, though.

Paul Rudd plays the straight man to perfection, but I just don’t think he has enough to carry a film on his own. He just seemed uncomfortable the whole time. It was sort of like he wanted someone else to take over and be the lead. To this point, his character suffered.

Jason Segel single-handedly saves this flick. Seriously, if you take Segel out, this is a very dull flick. His comedic timing and manchild ways make this thing enjoyable. The drama at the end was a waste, but I guess there had to be some sort of conflict, right?

Rashida Jones’ hotness is wasted here, as well as her talent. She started off the film as the understanding fiancée, but as the film progressed she became this unlikable, jealous bitch. The ironic thing is that she is the one that suggested Peter find a best friend! Still, things manage to right themselves and she became likable (as if anyone can hate her).

Is I Love You, Man worth the time to watch? Well, yes and no. I mean it is a funny movie, and a definite break from all those typical rom-coms where some chick is running around pining for Mr. Right who happens to be right in front of her face…blah, blah, blah. However, the entertainment factor of a film like this, which is supposed to be a comedy, is low. So, sure you can watch this right now, or wait awhile. I’m sure it’ll pop up on TNT or TBS or something as one of their weekend movies.

4 out of 5 stars

Aliens in the Attic

Posted in Comedy, Family, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

It all starts as a meteor shower rockets across the dark galaxy. Four glowing pods sparkle and crackle while hiding behind the meteor show. A mysterious force makes the meteor shower turn a hard right towards a bright blue ball in the distance – planet Earth.

In a comfortable suburban house in Michigan, Stuart Pearson (Kevin Nealon) and his wife Nina (Gillian Vigman) head a family that includes adorable seven-year-old Hannah (Ashley Boettcher); 15-year-old Tom (Carter Jenkins), a techno-geek whose grades have gone south; and older sister Bethany (Ashley Tisdale), who’s just returned from a secret outing with boyfriend Ricky Dillman (Robert Hoffman).

Deciding the family needs some good old-fashioned togetherness, Stuart packs up the clan and heads to a three-story holiday house in the middle of nowhere. Joining them is Uncle Nate (Andy Richter), Nate’s son Jake (Butler), Nana Rose (Doris Roberts), and identical 11-year-old twins Art (Henri Young) and Lee (Regan Young). An unexpected arrival is Bethany’s beau Ricky, who wrangles an overnight visit with the extended family.

As day turns to night, dark storm clouds start swirling around the house. Suddenly, four glowing objects shoot toward the roof. The alien crew inside the objects is made up of Skip, the tough commander, Tazer, a muscle-bound dude armed to the teeth, Razor, a lethal female alien soldier; and Sparks a four-armed techie, who is the only non-threatening alien intruder.

Ricky and Tom are sent to fix the satellite for the TV because the aliens crashed into it. Ricky then reveals to Tom that he lied about everything he said to his family, like his car broke down, his parents own a beach house, he’s 18. Ricky is actually in college, and he’s at least 5 years older than Bethany. Ricky is placed under the control of the aliens, courtesy of a high-tech mind-control device and plug implanted into the base of his skull; Ricky’s mind and actions now belong to the alien crew. The alien “Zirkonians,” via Ricky, lay claim to the planet (when asked why they didn’t just say it themselves Skip responds, “This way is more fun.”) Like a puppet/robot/zombie, Ricky moves towards the boys – but Tom and Jake break free.

It isn’t long before all five kids see the strange new arrivals. Tom takes charge and the kids come to realize the alien mind control device only works on grownups, giving them a fighting chance against the invaders — and the responsibility to protect the adults by keeping the aliens’ existence a secret. Left to their own devices, the kids unleash their imaginations, creating makeshift weapons, like piping ingeniously rigged as a home made potato spud gun. They even learn to use the mind controller. Their first order of business is to take control of Ricky and turn his actions against himself and the aliens.

The adults remain oblivious to the alien presence, and insist that the youngsters partake in a fishing expedition. Meanwhile, a friendship is struck between Hannah and Sparks, the friendly alien with four arms and hands. Unlike his alien cohorts, Sparks has no stomach for battle; he just wants to return home to his Zirkonian family. Nana Rose comes under the control of the alien mind control device, which gives her super-human strength and agility. Under the control of the kids, she comes to their rescue and has to fight off Ricky, who is again under alien control. Nana gives Ricky a huge jolt causing the alien plug to dislodge and Ricky breaks up with Bethany because in his opinion she talks about feelings and family all the time. The kids reveal to Bethany what’s going on, and Sparks helps by making weapons so the kids can fight on. Sparks reveals that what the aliens want from their planet is a device under the basement which makes them giant sized. The kids destroy Skip, Tazer & Razor. Sparks calls off the invasion and returns home. The rest of the vacation goes back to normal, except the kids grew closer to each other during their adventure. When they get home, Ricky starts visiting his old girlfriend, but Bethany and Tom take advantage of him using the mind control device. His ex throws him out of the house, leaving him wondering what happened in those last 5 minutes.

REVIEW:

When I saw the trailers for this film last year, it immediately brought to mind that film from a while back, Small Soldiers. Admittedly, I actually thought this was some kind of remake. I was mistaken…to an extent.

Aliens in the Attic is a lighter film than Small Soldiers, with the exception of the subplot of the issues between the father and son. That was a bit too much for a light family film for my taste.

The aliens here are diminutive and deranged. As with most alien races, they seem to be hellbent on destroying the human race for some unknown reason. The exception is the one voice of reason in their crew, Sparks.

The kids seem to be your typical rebellious type that are trapped with their parents on vacation. The thing about them is that they aren’t that great actors.

A surprise for me was Ashley Tisdale. I honestly thought all she could do was Disney stuff like High School Musical and Suite Life of Zack & Cody.

A highlight of this flick was seeing Doris Roberts doing kung fu. Otherwise, she was a bit wasted. Why would you cast such a comedic icon as her to only waddle around on a cane? Seems to me they could have given her more.

The aliens themselves are kind of…I dunno…odd looking, and not in a good way. They look as if someone took some clay, started to make something, then stopped. I didn’t care for their look.

I guess if you have kids, they’ll like this. For those of you expecting a good alien flick, this isn’t for you. There are so many much better alien flicks out there. Still, I’m not going to condemn this picture. It has its good points, and I would watch it again, so sure, check it out.

3 out of 5 stars