Archive for Sam Rockwell

Glory Daze

Posted in Comedy, Independent, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 27, 2016 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

A soon-to-be graduate finds he’s having a difficult time letting go of the college life — and decides maybe he doesn’t have to.

What people are saying:

“About some college graduates who after all there time in college still don’t have the slightest clue on what they want to do in life. It was an OK movie. It stars a young Ben Affleck. It was just some mediocre acting, Nothing speacial about this movie. Not worth seeing again.” 2 stars

“This movie practically got me through college. It exemplifies the late 90’s perfectly and has an awesome punk rock soundtrack to boot. I still put it on when I want to smile. Sure the acting sucks and the plot is thin but it brings me back to a time when life was all in front of me and the thought of “growing up” really was scary as hell!” 5 stars

“If you’re insanely bored and it’s raining outside and there is absolutely nothing else to see, well you might be able to stand this one.” 1 star

“If you read the back of the box, this movie is made out to be a hilarious comedy, but I thought it was kind of sad. The best part about this film is there’s a part where Jack (Ben Affleck) is watching a tape of himself having sex with his ex-girlfriend and you can see his nuts.” 3 stars

“Glory Daze is yet another of those “post-college angst ridden party boys get semtimental about moving on” kinda things, one that’s notable solely because of its eclectic cast and very little else.” 1 1/2 out of 5 stars

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Revisited: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Posted in Movie Reviews, Revisited with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 29, 2014 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

One Thursday morning, Arthur Dent discovers that his house is to be immediately demolished to make way for a bypass. He tries delaying the bulldozers by lying down in front of them. Ford Prefect, a friend of Arthur’s, convinces him to go to the pub with him. Over a pint of beer (as “muscle relaxant”), Ford explains that he is an alien from a planet in the vicinity of Betelgeuse, and a journalist working on the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a universal guide book, and that the Earth is to be demolished later that day by a race called Vogons, to make way for a hyperspace bypass. Suddenly, a Vogon Constructor Fleet appears in the sky and destroys the planet. Ford saves himself and Arthur by hitching a ride on a Vogon ship. The two are found and forced to listen to poetry. They are then thrown out of an airlock, but are picked up by the starship Heart of Gold. They find Ford’s “semi-half brother” Zaphod Beeblebrox, the President of the Galaxy. He has stolen the ship along with Tricia “Trillian” McMillan, an Earth woman whom Arthur had met previously, and Marvin the Paranoid Android.

Zaphod explains that he is seeking the planet Magrathea, where he believes he can discover the Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything to match with the answer “42” given by the supercomputer Deep Thought. Zaphod stole the Heart of Gold to use its improbability drive to get to Magrathea through trial and error.

During one of these attempts, they end up on the planet Viltvodle VI. Zaphod decides to visit Humma Kavula, his opponent from the election. Upon learning of Zaphod’s plan, Kavula announces that he has the coordinates to Magrathea. He takes one of Zaphod’s two heads hostage and demands they bring him the Point-of-view gun created by Deep Thought, which allows the target to understand the shooter’s point of view. As they are leaving the planet, Trillian is captured by Vogons. The others travel to rescue her from the Vogon home world bureaucracy, facing long lines and frustrating form processing. Trillian is outraged to learn that Zaphod signed the authorisation for the destruction of Earth thinking it was a request for an autograph.

The Heart of Gold is chased by the Vogons, led by Galactic Vice-President Questular Rontok, who is attempting to rescue Zaphod from himself. As the Heart of Gold arrives in orbit above Magrathea, Arthur triggers the improbability drive to avoid the automated missile defence systems. The missiles transform into a bowl of petunias and a sperm whale.

On the planet, Zaphod, Ford, and Trillian take a portal to Deep Thought. When they ask the computer whether it has calculated the ultimate question, it reveals that it designed another supercomputer to do so—Earth. When the trio finds the Point-of-View gun, Trillian shoots Zaphod, making him understand how she feels about the destruction of Earth. She also finds out how much she loves Arthur. Arthur and Marvin miss the portal and encounter a Magrathean called Slartibartfast, who takes Arthur on a tour of the construction floor where Earth Mark II is being built. Slartibartfast takes Arthur home, where the others are enjoying a feast provided by pan-dimensional beings who resemble a pair of mice. Arthur realises he has fallen into a trap. The mice, who constructed Deep Thought, used the supercomputer to build an even larger supercomputer, the planet Earth, to determine the Ultimate Question. Believing Arthur, the last remaining supercomputer component, may hold the Ultimate Answer, the mice attempt to remove his brain. Arthur kills the mice.

As the crew regroup outside the house they are surrounded by Vogons and take shelter in a caravan as the Vogons open fire. Marvin is left outside and shot in the back of the head, and uses the Point-of-View gun on the Vogons, causing them to become depressed and unable to fight. As the Vogons are taken away and Questular rejoins with Zaphod, Arthur chooses to explore the galaxy with Trillian and lets Slartibartfast finalise the new Earth without him. The Heart of Gold crew decide to visit the Restaurant at the End of the Universe while Marvin points out they are going the wrong way.

REVIEW:

Everyone has those movies that they can watch over and over again, no matter what mood they are in or how good or bad the film is. One of these films for me is The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I loved the book and the film, while a bit of a departure from the source is ranked among my all time favorites. Will it be one of yours?

What is this about?

After learning his house is about to be leveled to make way for a bypass and that Earth is about to be destroyed to clear the way for an interstellar thruway, jinxed Arthur Dent survives by hitching a ride on a passing spacecraft.

What did I like?

Zooey. I believe this is the film where I fell in love with Zooey Deschanel, or maybe it was Elf. I’m not 100% sure, but at any rate she has always been a cutie in my book. This character she plays, Trillian, is a bit more grounded and serious than we are used to seeing from the quirky and free-spirited Deschanel, and yet she makes her a likable character who may actually be the deepest character in the film.

Guide. For those that haven’t read the book, fret not because the guide, voiced by Stephen Fry, is read to you in animated vignettes and voice overs. The very first time I saw this film, I had not read the book and the voice-overs not only helped me keep up with everything, but also inspired me to go read the book. I’m sure that I’m not the only person to have that urge, nor will I be the last to have the inkling.

Devices. Any fantastical sci-fi film is sure to have great gadgets and devices, right? Well, no exception to that rule here. Two such devices stand out above everything, the Improbability drive which changes things to the most improbable objects (there is also an Infinite Improbability Drive which allows the ship to travel faster than light speed) and the point of view gun which allows the person holding it to send their point of view to someone else. I’m sure there are more than a few women who would love to shoot this at their husbands!

What didn’t I like?

Best of the best. Some of the best parts of the film are the parts that don’t get as much, such as Alan Rickman voicing Marvin the Robot. As much of a downer as Marvin is, you can’t help but want to see more of him. John Malkovich’s Humma Kavula was darkly odd and he basically is nothing more than a cameo. Perhaps they were holding him off for a bigger role in the sequel that never happened, or more scenes ended up on the cutting room floor. Bill Nighy as Slartibartfast was also of note. While he wasn’t the best character, Night is always entertaining. These are just some of the examples of underutilized talent.

Towel. Perhaps I missed it, but I don’t believe the importance of the towel was ever discussed. If such a big deal is going to be made over having a towel while hitchhiking across the galaxy, shouldn’t we know what is so important about it? Other than being able to chase Vogons away with it, I don’t think any reference was made to its use. Would it have been too much to ask for them to tell us why is it necessary?

Pacing. At times, the flick slows down, which is fine, I guess, but it does this at the most inopportune times. Just as the audience is getting into one story, such as the Vogons addiction to paperwork, it just prattles on with filler until the next big scene. Perhaps this is a British thing, but my American sensibilities didn’t quite jibe with the pacing.

What else can I say about The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy? The mix of sci-fi, comedy, action, and a hint of drama make for quite the enjoyable film, if I do say so myself. Sadly, this overlooked film never got the sequel it deserved because it didn’t make as much money as the studios would have liked. So, do I recommend this film? Do you really need to ask? I highly recommend this gem as a must see before you die! Check it out and enjoy!

5 out of 5 stars

The Way Way Back

Posted in Drama, Independent, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 4, 2014 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

14-year-old Duncan reluctantly goes on summer vacation to a beach house in a small seaside town in Cape Cod with his mother Pam, her boyfriend Trent and Trent’s daughter Steph. Trent exhibits behavior towards Duncan that borders on emotional abuse by often making comments and gestures that are belittling and rude towards him. They arrive at the beach house and are greeted by the neighbors, hard-drinking Betty, her children, Susanna and Peter, and married couple Kip and Joan. Later that evening, Duncan and Susanna have an awkward conversation from their adjacent porches.

Duncan discovers a pink, sparkly “girl’s bike” in the garage of the beach house and begins exploring the town. He eventually runs into the staff of the local water park, Water Wizz, at a pizza joint. He has a brief interaction with the manager, Owen, while Owen is playing Pac-Man. Owen takes Duncan under his wing and shows him around the park. Duncan is introduced to the park’s colorful, rag-tag group of employees: Caitlyn, Lewis, and Roddy. Several kids at the water park speak reverently of a legendary pass in the tube slide, wondering how it could have been done. Owen hires Duncan for odd jobs at the Water Wizz.

Outside of the park, Duncan is continually abandoned by his mother, Pam, who indulges in drinking, staying out at night, and smoking marijuana with other adult vacationers. At a Fourth of July cookout, Duncan witnesses Trent and Joan kissing by the side of the house, but does not reveal what he saw. Susanna sees that he is upset and invites him to go hunting for ghost crabs with her and Peter, where she talks about her absent father and helps Duncan to open up.

Pam begins to suspect Trent and Joan are having an affair, but is convinced by Trent that nothing is going on. Later, Duncan confronts Pam in front of friends and neighbors and tells her that he knows about Trent’s affair. Trent in turn reveals to Duncan that the boy had to spend the summer at the beach house because his divorced father did not want to take care of him, which leads Duncan to run away. Susanna follows him and comforts Duncan out on the beach. Duncan attempts to kiss Susanna, but she moves away, which makes him become even more upset. Accompanied by Peter, Duncan sneaks away to Water Wizz where he sees that Owen is throwing a going away party for Lewis.

After spending all night with his friends at Water Wizz, Duncan is still at the park the next morning, refusing to leave. Owen confronts him and asks him why he doesn’t want to go home. Duncan opens up to Owen about his relationship with Trent and how the water park is the only place where he is happy. Owen sympathizes with Duncan’s problems, saying that he grew up with an emotionally abusive father, which led to his disdain for patterns and rules.

When Duncan arrives back at the beach house, Pam tells him they will be leaving with Trent. Betty and her kids arrive to say their goodbyes, Susanna finally kisses Duncan, admitting that she “was just surprised” when she avoided his kiss earlier. When Trent stops for gas on their way out of town, Duncan jumps out of the station wagon and runs to Water Wizz, followed by his mother, then Trent and Steph. Duncan tells Owen and the other employees that he has to leave and tells Owen to follow him. He takes Owen to the Devil’s Peak slide, and Duncan becomes the first person to ever pass someone in the water slide while the rest of the park watches on. After finally introducing Owen to his mother, Duncan says goodbye to everyone at the park. Trent, Steph, Pam, and Duncan regroup in the car, and head out of town. Pam climbs into backseat of the car and they share a smile as Trent’s protests are heard in the background

REVIEW:

The Way Way Back is not one of those films that seems to be advertised on every DVD that I’ve watched recently. Of course, this means that I just had to see what all the hoopla was about, or at least why a film that I don’t even recall being released in theaters is being shoved down our throats.

What is this about?

A stifled teen finds his voice with encouragement from the manager of a local water park, where he takes a summer job to escape his unbearable home life with his mom and her overbearing boyfriend.

What did I like?

Quiet respectability. This is a film with no big explosions, no really huge stars (you can make a case for Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell etc, but they aren’t on the same level as someone like Brad Pitt, for instance), and no bells and whistles. Sometimes it is nice to pull back and just let the actors act, rather than relying on CG, as just about every film does these days. I respect the film’s quiet respectability, something that we don’t get much of these days.

Divorce. Liam James’ character is obviously taken the split of his parents and the fact that his mother is dating and getting serious about a new guy pretty hard. I’ve noticed that kids from divorce families in film either end up as the “weird kid” or they are some kind of loner that somehow finds a kindred spirit in the outcast, yet cute, girl from school or the neighborhood. For some reason, I like this. I guess because for most of my life, I was the new kid, and it was usually a girl who would be the first to talk to me.

Beeblebrox (kudos if you get the reference). More and more I have been realizing how talented of an actor Sam Rockwell is. Usually, he is in these slightly comedic roles that are either supporting or villainous, and they work for him. Sometimes, that comedic side is accompanied by a serious side for a few scenes. As can be seen here with this character, who for the most part is just short of being a manchild, but he serves as a great mentor or older brother figure for James’ character, as well as breathes some life in this film.

What didn’t I like?

Spray orange. I realize that this is set at the beach during some 4th of July weekend…or was it the entire summer? I’m not particularly sure, but what I can be certain of is the unnatural color of some of these skin tones, mostly female. Now, spray tan is fine, if you’re into that, but don’t just do one part of your body. That is what is seems like happened here. I first noticed it when we see AnnaSophia Robb’s character crossing the street. The girl is a little on the pale side, but her legs were quite golden brown. At the water park, it was like there was this one bottle of tanner that was passed around and you sprayed what you can. I may be nitpicking here, but to me, it was obvious.

Steve almighty. We all know Steve Carell and the nice guy characters he usually gets cast as. Well, he takes a turn to the dark side and plays a complete ass, who berates and puts down this kid, who isn’t even his son and cheats on the woman he is supposed to be trying to get engaged to. It isn’t said, but the way Toni Collette’s character acted, I half wondered if there was some beating going on there, as well. I applaud Carell for making this guy so unlikable, but the character is not one that I cared for.

Say, Peet. For the hotness (and 6 pack abs) that is Amanda Peet, she sure is used very little. Her most memorable scene is an awkward dance scene with James and Collette’s characters. Once we get past the initial meeting, she has a couple of other viewings, one being where she is behind the house with Carell’s character, but that’s it. Realizing that this film doesn’t focus so much on the adults, I can understand the lack of Peet, however, I felt her character deserved a bit more. Perhaps she had some scenes that ended up on the cutting room floor. Who knows? It would have been nice to develop her a bit more, in my opinion.

Why is this called The Way Way Back I wonder. Similar to Napoleon Dynamite, the time is which this film is set is questionable because of the cars, clothes, and even the soundtrack, but when you see someone texting, you know it is modern. So, what is so special about this film? Nothing. Truth be told, if you take out the Water Wizz scenes, then you have a very boring independent drama. With them in there, you have a watchable dramedy. Do I recommend this? Not really, but for those that are into more romantic endeavors, you may find this enjoyable.

3 out of 5 stars

Seven Psychopaths

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 24, 2013 by Mystery Man

Seven Psycopaths

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Marty Faranan is a struggling writer who dreams of finishing his screenplay, Seven Psychopaths. Marty’s best friend, Billy Bickle, is an unemployed actor who makes a living by kidnapping dogs and collecting the owners’ cash rewards for their safe return. His partner in crime is Hans Kieslowski, a religious man with a cancer-stricken wife, Myra. Billy helps Marty with Seven Psychopaths, suggesting he use the “Jack of Diamonds” killer, perpetrator of a recent double murder, as one of the seven “psychopaths” in his script. Marty writes a story for another psychopath, the “Quaker”, who stalks his daughter’s killer for decades, driving the killer to suicide and ultimately cutting his own throat to follow him to hell.

Billy and Hans steal a Shih Tzu, Bonny, unaware that it is the beloved pet of Charlie Costello, an unpredictable and violent gangster. Billy places an advertisement in the newspaper inviting “psychopaths” to call and share their “crazy or quirky” stories for him and Marty to use in their script. Charlie’s thugs, led by Paulo, discover Hans’s connection to the kidnapping. At a warehouse, they threaten to kill Marty and Hans unless they reveal Bonny’s location, but the Jack of Diamonds killer arrives and shoots the thugs. Marty and Billy meet Zachariah Rigby, who saw the advertisement and came to share his story. In his youth, Zachariah rescued a girl, Maggie, from a killer’s basement. As a couple, they embarked on a long career as “serial killer killers”, travelling America and dispatching murderers, ultimately separating when he became disillusioned with her cruel methods. Marty promises to place a message in the credits of Seven Psychopaths, asking Maggie to contact the regretful Zachariah. Charlie traces Myra to the cancer ward, killing her when she refuses to tell him Hans or Bonny’s whereabouts. Marty, Billy and Hans leave town with Bonny to escape Charlie. Marty tells the Quaker story to Hans, who reveals that it is true: Hans himself was the Quaker, and survived his attempted suicide. Marty unknowingly wrote his story after hearing it from Billy while drunk.

The trio drive into the desert. Billy suggests Seven Psychopaths end with an emotional shootout between the psychopaths and Charlie’s forces. Marty and Hans see a headline saying Billy is wanted in connection with the Jack of Diamonds killings. Marty confronts Billy, who reveals he assumed the Jack of Diamonds persona and went on a killing spree to give Marty inspiration for Seven Psychopaths. Disillusioned, Marty tells Billy they must go home. Meanwhile, Hans has a vision of Myra in a “grey place”. Hans questions his belief in the afterlife, dismissing Marty’s reassurances that his vision was a peyote hallucination. Billy sets fire to the car, stranding the trio in the desert, and calls Charlie, telling him their location. Billy intends to make the climactic shootout he envisioned a reality. Upset by Hans’s loss of faith, Billy claims he caused the hallucination by impersonating Myra. Hans leaves.

Charlie arrives alone, without a weapon besides a flare gun in his car. Billy shoots Charlie, enraged that he has not brought the men and weapons required for a satisfying shootout. Hans finds Charlie’s thugs waiting for a flare signal nearby. Marty drives away with Charlie, intending to bring him to a hospital. Billy realises the flare gun’s purpose and fires a flare. Hans motions as if to draw a weapon, causing Paulo to shoot him in front of police. The thugs head towards Billy’s flare, police in pursuit, only to encounter Marty and Charlie’s car on the road. Charlie reveals that he only suffered a flesh wound. Now with backup, Charlie returns to Billy and Bonny’s location. After a shootout, Charlie and Billy have a stand-off, holding Marty and Bonny hostage respectively. Charlie releases Marty and shoots Billy just as the police arrive. Charlie and Paulo are arrested, but Bonny stays at the dying Billy’s side. Marty visits the scene of Hans’s death, and finds a tape recorder with suggestions for Seven Psychopaths on his body. Later, Marty finishes the screenplay at home, having adopted Bonny as a pet. Marty steps outside and walks down the street, script in hand.

In a post-credits scene, Marty receives a phone call from Zachariah, who has just watched Seven Psychopaths and seen that Marty has forgotten to include a message for Maggie in the credits. Zachariah tells Marty that he will be over to kill him on Tuesday. On hearing Marty’s resigned acceptance, Zachariah realises that Marty’s experiences have left him a changed man, and decides to spare him for the time being.

REVIEW:

What does one think when they hear the title Seven Psychopaths? I know that I tend to wonder about serial killers and such, but if that is what you’re thinking that you will be seeing with this film, you may or may not be getting what you bargained for.

What is this about?

When struggling screenwriter Marty needs inspiration to finish his screenplay “Seven Psychopaths,” his conniving friends oblige by kidnapping a demented mobster’s beloved pooch and getting Marty entangled with other unsavory characters.

What did I like?

Commentary. Sam Rockwell’s character makes some rather astute observations that are sure to have you shaking your head in agreement. One of his best points is about how Hollywood has to sanitize everything to the point of almost no return. If you look at films throughout the years, and society for that matter, we have gotten rather soft. For instance, I just reviewed Commando yesterday. I was reading somewhere that could have been a PG film, as it is, if not for the language. PG?!? If that was the case today, it would be, without question, an R. *SIGH*

Quaker. The stories that introduce the psychopaths are interesting, but the one that involves the Quaker was, in my opinion, the best one because it comes back, surprisingly, to one of the main characters. This brings out the true psychopath part of the film and the audience can’t help but with for more.

Cast. A talented cast is not an option for a film such as this. Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell are the standouts for me, but it is good to see Colin Farrell take a break from making crappy remakes that do nothing but flop, and star in something that is worthy of his talents. Also, a small cameo by Gabourey Sidibe surprised the hell out of me. Too bad it was just that, a cameo.

What didn’t I like?

Dogs. I’m probably the most anti-dog person you will ever come across, short of those who wish them harm. The way Harrelson’s character reacts to his dog, treating it like human is one of the very reasons why I hate the infernal beasts. These things are nothing more than dumb animals and should be treated as such. Cats, on the other hand, are a different story.

Women. The women in this film are pretty much nonexistent, with the exception of the old woman in the hospital who is near death. This wouldn’t be a problem if this was meant to be something of a guy flick, but it isn’t. As such, it would have been nice for them to have gotten something more than just a couple of scenes, even if they were meant to be eye candy or actually characters.

Walken. Christopher Walken’s character was great, but given the way he is described, it seems as if he should have gone off the deep end after certain events transpire that direct him. The guy is apparently a cold hard killer who has retired. I wanted to see that side come out and it never did, leaving me a bit unfulfilled.

Not knowing what I was getting myself into with Seven Psychopaths, I was a bit reticent in any kind of prejudice for or against it. The trailers didn’t really do this film justice, as they portrayed it as either too much of a slapstick comedy or more serious and dark in tone that it is. In the end, though, I can say that this is a film that falls into the category of “you need to see it and make your own opinion”, because it is all over the place. Some will like it, some will hate it, and some will be “eh” about it. Check it out and decide for yourself.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

The Sitter

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on May 16, 2012 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Noah (Jonah Hill) is a college student who has been suspended and now lives with his mom. After having a disagreement with his mother, he’s lured into taking a babysitting job caring for the unruly kids of Mrs. Pedulla: her son Slater (Max Records), party-loving wild child Blithe (Landry Bender) and the pyromaniac adopted son Rodrigo (Kevin Hernandez).

Soon Noah is invited to a party to have sexual intercourse with his supposed girlfriend Marisa (Ari Graynor), who up to that point had used him only for oral sex. She agrees to have sex with him only if he brings her drugs to the party. Noah, tempted by the offer, steals Mrs. Pedulla’s car and takes the kids to the city, where he meets drug-dealing Karl (Sam Rockwell) in his body-building shop. Karl likes to hide his cocaine in expensive baby dinosaur eggs and loves to make new friends. After purchasing the drugs, Noah drives off, soon realizing Rodrigo has stolen an egg from Karl. After a struggle the egg bursts open, wasting all the cocaine inside. Karl finds out the drugs are missing and calls Noah, after finding his number on Facebook, he tells Noah that he has to come up with $10,000 or he will kill him. Noah, in a panic, decides to take the kids back to their parents but thinks against it feeling he has to fix his own problems. He then takes the kids to a bat mitzvah (which Slater was invited to earlier in the movie) for a bratty popular girl who goes to school with Slater. There Slater sees his friend, Clayton (Alex Wolff), who lied to him earlier saying that he couldn’t hang out with him because his spider died. Clayton admits he lied because he was sick of hanging out with him at his house and not going anywhere, which hurts Slater’s feelings.

Noah finds out the valet service has lost his van, which was actually stolen. Noah heads to his estranged father’s house to ask his father for the money. After his father berates him and refuses to give him money, Noah steals his fathers car and breaks into his father’s jewelry store, taking diamonds. Rodrigo, fascinated with bombs, puts a cherry bomb in the bathroom blowing up the store. Noah, frustrated with Rodrigo’s antics, yells at him and forces him to admit why he is so bad. A frustrated Rodrigo throws all of Slater’s medicine out the window believing that no one in the family likes him.

Slater has a panic attack over the missing medicine in which Noah tells him that he is a closeted homosexual. At first angry, Slater comes to accept this and calms down. Noah notices his stolen van and follows the thieves to a club where he runs across Jacolby (Method Man) and his girlfriend, who hates him because years ago Noah threw up in her grandmother’s urn. Noah allows her to hit him as an apology, which she does, then makes amends. Noah runs into Roxanne (Kylie Bunbury) a girl he knew before he dropped out of college and realizes she likes him. Still on the run from Karl, Noah goes to the party to save Marisa who is drunk and belligerent. When Karl shows up, Noah, Marisa and the kids make a run from him, crashing into a park. With Noah about to die, Jacolby and his crew suddenly come and save him, beating Karl up, while Noah runs and takes the kids back home. Marisa realizes she was a terrible girlfriend and that she got Noah into the night’s mess. Noah agrees, letting her know that he is done with her, without hard feelings. Finally Noah gets the kids home before their parents come back, cleaning up their mess. The kids all get extremely close to Noah and start to listen to him. Noah finally leaves after threatening Mr. Pedulla, acknowledging that he knows he is sleeping with his assistant. Roxanne meets him at the house, and they leave together walking home hand-in-hand.

REVIEW:

A few years ago, there were rumors of an Adventures in Babysitting remake. Names that were common to star in it were Raven Symone and Miley Cyrus. Just as soon as they had brought it up, it was scrapped. Then, out of the blue, The Sitter is released. Like most people, I thought this was nothing more than some other studio trying to take over that idea, and not very well.

What did I like?

Comedic moments. Here and there, we are privy to hilarious moments that are sure to have you rolling on the floor laughing. These are the moments that make it worth watching.

Sam Rockwell. In almost every film he’s in, this guy steals the show, or at least hams it up on screen. This makes him the perfect villain in a comedy.

Jonah Hill. I hate to say it, but when he lost weight, he also lost funny. Here, he is still the fat guy with the Jewfro and still pretty funny, albeit a bit annoying.

80s references. While this film is set in present day, there are plenty of 80s product placements here, like an Alyssa Milano aerobics video playing in the little girl’s room and 80s music here and there, which is totally rad, man!

What didn’t I like?

Blatant rip off of a certain movie. I’m not sure if it was meant to be a slight reference or proof that this was indeed a remake. In either case, it just wasn’t done very well in most cases, though the bar scene wasn’t bad.

The kids. As is the case with any film that uses children of today, these kids are just downright annoying. The little girl thinks she can be a celebrity by doing nothing (don’t you just love what today’s society has created), the oldest boy is apparently a closeted homosexual with all sorts of issues, and the adopted boy is some kind of pyromaniac and also has to take piss everywhere. He really should have that looked at.

Vibe. The whole vibe of this film feels as if it is trying too hard to be either funny or not come off as the great 80s flick that no doubt inspired it. At least that’s how it felt to me.

The Sitter was actually better than I expected it to be, but then I didn’t exactly have the highest of hopes for it. This is not one of those flicks that you need to rush out and see, though. Something tells me that within the next year or so, it’ll be airing regularly on some cable channel, or at least on Netflix instant streaming. Do I regret watching it? No, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Basically, everything you see in the trailer is all the funny parts of the film, save for Rockwell’s scenes. Nothing else is worth seeing.

3 out of 5 stars

Cowboys & Aliens

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Westerns with tags , , , , , , , on July 30, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In 1873 Arizona, a loner named Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig) awakens with no memory of his past and a mysterious shackle around his wrist. He enters the town of Absolution where he learns that he is a notorious criminal wanted by many people, including Colonel Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford), who rules the town with an iron fist. Absolution soon faces an even greater threat when alien spaceships attack the town. While his shackle holds the key to defeating the aliens, Lonergan must ally with Dolarhyde and other former enemies to make a stand against them.

It is eventually revealed that Ella (Olivia Wilde), a mysterious woman Lonergan has fallen in love with, is an alien warrior who was sent to Earth to help resist the invaders because they destroyed her homeworld. She explains that the aliens are a group of lowly space pirates, though very technologically advanced by Earth standards, who value our gold and wish to exterminate humanity to take it. However the alien pirates are not invulnerable: Lonergan’s gauntlet weapon can kill them, and stabbing them or shooting them can as well, though they are far stronger and better armed than any humans.

Armed with this knowledge the group, now led by Colonel Dolarhyde and including a group of Indians whose families were kidnapped by the space pirates, attack their grounded mothership. In a sneak attack they destroy the alien speeders, forcing the space pirates to fight them on the ground where they are eventually, after a prolonged battle, defeated. The remaining alien pirates attempt to flee in their damaged mothership but Ella sacrifices herself to detonate the ship’s engine core with Lonergan’s gauntlet.

Lonergan, now somewhat able to recall his past, leaves the town, now with Colonel Dolarhyde, a changed man due to the incident, in charge.

REVIEW:

For those of you that keep up with this blog, then you are more than aware that two of my favorite genres are westerns and sci-fi, so when a picture comes along called Cowboys & Aliens, you can all but imagine my overabundance of joy.

The mixture of genres, surprisingly, has not been done…as far as I know, up to now, but for some reason, I believe we’ll be seeing more in the future.

Cowboys & Aliens is based on a cult comic. I have never read the comic, so I can’t rightly say that this is a loose or accurate interpretation of the source material, but judging by how well Jon Favreau did with bringing a faithful interpretation of  Iron Man from the comic book pages to the big screen.

The plot of this picture takes us along for the ride with Jake Lonergan who wakes up in the middle of the western desert with no memory of who he is and a highly advanced technological something or other on his arm, upon making it to town, Jake learns that he is a wanted man.

Just as the Federal Marshall is about to take him and another prisoner away, here come the aliens. You’ve all seen this scene before.

Following the attack, the major characters and some others trek into the woods to track don the aliens and stop them. While out there, they meet up with some Apache indians and learn of Ellen’s secret, not to mention setup for the final confrontation with the aliens.

A lot of people hear the title to this film and assume it is going to be something like Mars Attacks, but that is not the case. As a matter of fact, they actually play it straight.

I don’t really know why with a cast that includes Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, and Daniel Craig, I expected some light moments, but I did. I wasn’t really disappointed that they were few and fast between, but it would have breathed a different bit of life into the film.

The aliens aren’t going to go down in history as the best looking or smarted we’ve ever seen, but they were pretty good. I was reminded of the aliens from the Alien franchise when I saw them.

I can’t say that I cared much for the pacing of this film. It was very old school in its development early on, just like an old western. However, you’d think they’d have been able to come up with something more interesting. Maybe it’s just me, though.

This is another one of those pictures that has caused a disconnect between the casual viewer and the critic. The critics have been doing nothing short of ripping this one apart. The casual viewer, however, has been thoroughly enjoying it, as have I. Sure, there are moments here and there that should have been tuned up a bit more ,but overall this is a very enjoyable summer blockbuster. I highly recommend it !

4 out of 5 stars

Gentlemen Broncos

Posted in Comedy, Independent, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 5, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Gentlemen Broncos tells the story of a homeschooled teenage outcast and aspiring science fiction writer named Benjamin. He attends a writing workshop to show off his work but his idea, Yeast Lords – The Bronco Years, is plagiarized by the legendary fantasy novelist Ronald Chevalier, who has turned desperate for ideas after his publisher rejects his latest novel and informs him that they intend to drop him entirely. The story is also adapted into a disastrous movie by the small town’s most prolific homespun filmmaker.

REVIEW:

 The twisted minds that brought you Napoleon Dynamite now bring us Gentlemen Broncos. Many of the same elements are present here…outcast lead character, weird family life, obscure part of the country (either Alaska or Utah…not sure which one), odd supporting characters, etc.

So, what is this film about? Well, a homeschooled boy who lost his father has taken up writing science fiction and his mother sends him off to some home school writer’s camp of some sort. Here, he meets his hero, who doesn’t want to be there and eventually plagiarizes his manuscript.

During the film, whenever someone reads the story, we are privy to what the story is. When I was in high school, I watched this really bad, low-budget film called Galaxina. These scenes reminded me of that, or those Saturday Night Live sketches with Tracy Morgan as a spaceman (can’t remember the name off-hand).

I seriously have to wonder what is wrong with these Hess guys to create, let alone put these things on screen. It was like they went a middle school and got some kid to come up with a story and told them it would be on the big screen.

To make things worse, when Chevalier got his hands on the story, it got even worse, not as bad as the homemade version, though. That was almost unwatchable, let me tell you!

The comedic timing amongst the cast is a major selling point for this picture. They really sell the simplistic outlook of these characters, much in the same way the cast of Napoleon Dynamite did.

This is one strange film, let me tell you. Approach at your own risk. However, as out there as it is, there is also that train wreck mentality. What I mean by that is you just can’t look away. I guess the best way to give a recommendation is to think of it this way…when Napoleon Dynamite was released, people either loved or hated it. That is still the case today, and Gentlemen Broncos will probably strike your fancy or irk you to the point of no return. The only way to know is to check it out for yourself.

3 out of 5 stars