Archive for Terry Crews

Serving Sara

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews, Romantic with tags , , , , , , , , on September 27, 2016 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Joe Tyler gets more than he bargained for when he’s asked to serve divorce papers to Sara Moore. Unwilling to give up the money she helped make for her cattle baron husband, Sara proposes a deal: If Joe helps her, she’ll cut him in on the proceeds.

What people are saying:

“not very funny, or well-directed, mathew perry in his lesser funny movie role, and elizabeth hurley with her too annoyingly english accent. the comedy is heavily laboured and could only work with the chemistry between the two main characters, which, alas is not present during the whole film, even when things get slightly steamy. cedric the entertainer gives us the few entertaining scenes and one-liners in the film, and even the scene where mathew perry has to do something with a bull and sticking his hand up its ass to get it to have sex with a plastic cow, might have worked well in another movie, with better actors, better director, and better comic writers, but every necessary element is missing, creating a pointless ” 2 stars

“The biggest hurdle this movie has to overcome is the overwhelming screen presence of Elizabeth Hurley. Her beauty and glamour easily outshine anyone that stands next to her, dwarfing any co-stars or supporting characters who dare to share the screen with her. Matthew Perry does an admirable job, but he just seems so lacking next to Liz. There really is not much chemistry there. There is some humor in this movie, but not a whole lot. Perry is his usual saracastic self, and it is refreshing – but it is hard to accept him as a wise-cracking tough guy who can use different accents at the drop of a hat. The story is not the least bit believeable, but the audience will be drawn in and kept by Hurley alone. Not a must-see, but if you have a free spot in your queue you might want to give this one a try.” 3 stars

“Cute, if mindless, fun. Its one of those movies you watch while doing something else, but still good.” 4 stars

“The only really good thing about this movies…Elizabeth Hurley in a short skirt.” 2 1/2 stars

“Ok, so it’s not a great film, it’s got some humor to it but it’s not a Barrel of laughs and a story that kinda holds together. But then it’s got the great Bruce Campbell in it, the gorgeous Amy Adams, the also attractive Liz Hurley and funny man Matthew Perry. Entertaining.” 2 1/2 stars

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The Ridiculous 6

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews, Westerns with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 11, 2016 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In the Old West era, a calm man named Tommy Stockburn (Sandler) is raised by Native Americans, where he is named “White Knife”, due to his tendency to use knives. He is due to marry a Native girl named Smoking Fox (Jones). He has a run-in with a gang of bandits with eye patches on their right eyes, led by Will Patch (Forte), and manages to outsmart them and a deranged, Native American-racist food proprietor named Clem (Zahn), whose left eye is badly dysfunctional. At his Native village a bank robber named Frank Stockburn (Nolte) comes by, claiming to be Tommy’s biological father. Tommy explains to Frank that his mother was shot by a silhouetted man with tattoos on his hand when she was escorting him to school during his childhood, something that has haunted his dreams since. Frank also tells Tommy that he is dying of consumption, but that he has amassed $50,000 and buried it in a meadow next to a pine tree, which he offers to Tommy and the Natives. The next day, a group of bandits with connections to Frank come to the village, led by the ruthless Cicero (Trejo) who want Frank to give them his “big score” he gained a while back. Frank has the bandits kidnap him so he can lead them to the $50,000 at the so called “Singing Windmill” at Jawbone Fall, in return for the bandits not attacking Tommy or the Indians. With no time to search the meadow and find the money, Tommy decides he must find another way to obtain it and save his father.

Tommy sets out on his quest to regain his father and decides that the best way to gain enough money is by stealing it. However, because his tribe does not condone theft and claims it is dishonorable, Tommy instead opts to steal from those who have no honor, leading him to target corrupt politicians, racist bankers, and thugs alike. During his quest, Tommy discovers that he has 5 half-brothers; Mexican burro rider Ramon (Schneider), whose innkeeper mother Frank had a fling with; mentally challenged yet happy-go-lucky Lil’ Pete (Lautner), who has a strong neck that makes him immune to hanging; feral mountain-man Herm (Garcia), who speaks incomprehensibly; guilt-ridden drunkard Danny (Wilson), who served as a bodyguard for Abraham Lincoln until accidentally leading John Wilkes Booth to murder him; and African-American saloon pianist Chico (Crews), who confesses to be only 50 percent white; all of which join Tommy. Meanwhile, Clem joins the eye patch gang in hopes of finding Tommy to take revenge on him after Clem removes his only functional eye (since the other eye patch wearers claim that removing the right eye is part of the gang’s way) before they kidnap Tommy’s fiancee, though she manages to escape them due to Clem’s poor eyesight and heads out to find Frank. When meeting Chico and Danny, they run with Chico’s boss: the aggressive, always smiling saloon owner Smiley Harris (Keitel), who was part of Frank’s gang until Frank stole his cut of their biggest score and left him to die at the windmill. He owns a large golden nugget the brothers steal after Ramon, while riding his burro, accidentally decapitates Smiley with a shovel from behind just as he is about to shoot the brothers as revenge against Frank for his betrayal, though Ramon was only trying to knock him out.

While relaxing in a pond, Clem and the eye patch gang show up and while the brothers manage to overpower them, the gang manage to steal the money the brothers stole. Hope isn’t lost for the brothers, as Herm (through Tommy’s translation) tells them that a gambler named Ezekiel Grant (Lovitz) is hosting a gambling game with Mark Twain (Ice) and General George Armstrong Custer (Spade) in Yuma. After successfully robbing the poker game, they head out to ransom their father. As dusk falls, Tommy realizes (through a photograph carried by Danny) that it was Cicero who murdered his mother. Not wanting to put his brothers in harm’s way, Tommy sets out alone in the cover of night to rescue his father and confront his mother’s killer. After paying the ransom, Cicero decides to part ways but Tommy insists on getting his revenge. Having successfully killed Cicero, the half-brothers (who followed Tommy) have a reunion with their long lost father. Realizing that Tommy’s group now have $100,000 after rescuing the Left-Eye Gang and getting their original $50,000, Frank double crosses them, revealing that he was in cahoots with Cicero for an easy $50,000. Tommy then reveals that their group also has a Plan B: a hidden bomb inside the bag containing the ransom money. When the bomb explodes and commotion ensues, Frank runs off with Smoking Fox (whom his group has been holding hostage) inside a mine. Tommy runs after them and successfully rescues his bride-to-be and captures his father. Also, in the process of the fighting, the Left-Eye Gang accidentally reveal that they lied about removing their right eyes, much to Clem’s outrage.

Back in the Native Village, Tommy weds Smoking Fox with his brothers in attendance. Since the revelation that their biological father Frank Stockburn was no more than a two-bit crook, the Native chief decides to adopt the half-brothers as he did with Tommy

REVIEW:

With the apparent flop of Pixels, it is safe to say that Adam Sandler is not the box office draw he once was. Sure, he still brings a certain crowd to the movies, but that number is dwindling with each carbon copy film. Enter Netflix! Now those that want to see Sandler movies, but not pay outrageous prices for utter crap can watch at the push of a button. The first film in Sandler’s deal with Netflix is The Ridiculous 6. Now, will this new deal reinvigorate Sandler or are we destined for more of the same?

What is this about?

A white man, Tommy, raised by Indians is approached by his long lost father who tells him he needs $50,000 or he’ll die at the hands of his former gang. Tommy goes on an incredible and ridiculous journey picking up his other 5 new brothers on the way in a race to save their dad.

What did I like?

Brother from another mother. 6 guys all without a father. What ties them together? Well, it turns out that the same guy was with all of their mothers. In a drama, this would make for some interesting deep character study, but for a comedy, an Adam Sandler one, at that, it just makes for some interesting casting choices. What was intriguing about all of the brothers is how each has their own specific characteristic and they aren’t just clones of each other or their father.

A little history. Believe it or not, there is some history in this film. We get a short telling of the murder of Abraham Lincoln and then meet General Custer, Mark Twain (Vanilla Ice, really?!?), Wyatt Earp, etc. I sincerely doubt that these men were ever in the same room together, but it is always nice getting that “what if” moment. If you’re one of those people citing historical inaccuracies, I have to question if you even know what kind of movie this is!

Made for the west. Recent westerns have shown us a more rugged, realistic look to people, as opposed to the flawless hygiene that we have become accustomed to with the shows and movies of the late 50s and 60s. This brings me to Nick Nolte. At one point in time, he was a heartthrob, a leading man, if you will. These days, he’s just a grumpy old codger. The kid of guy that fits perfectly in the old west. Someone needs to snatch him up and cast him in the next western in production, because he looks the part, already!

What didn’t I like?

Sandler humor. I’m not some guy that insists on highbrow, cerebral humor. I’ll laugh at fart jokes ’till the cows come home. That being said, when said jokes are done in every…single…film…one gets tired of them. For me, as a Sandler fan, it is getting harder and harder to laugh at his films. He uses the same juvenile humor in everything he’s in. There have been two or three times he hasn’t. Hotel Transylvania (which technically isn’t his film), Spanglish, and there was a drama with Don Cheadle about the World Trade Center bombing that he was in, but the title escapes me at the moment. The guy can do something different, he just doesn’t seem to want to.

Cry wolf. No one else in Hollywood will cast Taylor Lautner, except Adam Sandler. I have nothing against the guy, other than he was in that franchise that shall not be named (side note…the actress playing Smoking Fox also was in those horrid films). My problem is that this is a stupid character. Think Gomer Pyle and take away about 100 IQ points. If there needed to be a dim one, that’s fine, but this was just a bit too much. I was questioning whether he had been hit in the head a few times or kicked by some horses more than we are privy to know.

Hero for hire. Ever notice that in all of Sandler’s movies he is the hero? He typically has the best life, or will have by the end of the film, the hottest wife, etc. Talk about an ego! Admittedly, if I were writing a film for myself, there would be at least one time that I would save everything for myself, but not everytime. What makes it so bad here is that I cannot believe Sandler as an old hand of the west. Luke Wilson and he should have traded roles.

Final verdict on The Ridiculous 6? Well, The Magnificent 7 it ain’t, that’s for sure. It was nice to see Sandler and Rob Schneider working together again (apparently, they had a falling out at some point). As you can guess, Sandler has all his buddies in here at some point, including his wife and one his sons! Eh…at this point, it is what it is. I don’t have much to say about this flick, other than it kills a couple of hours and isn’t boring. Do I recommend it? No, if you’re in the mood for a comedy western, go watch A Million Ways to Die in the West. It isn’t that much better than this, but at least it doesn’t feel lazily slapped together by someone who got drunk one night.

2 out of 5 stars

Blended

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews, Romantic with tags , , , , , , , , on March 14, 2015 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Divorcee Lauren Reynolds (Drew Barrymore), who has two sons, Brendan (Braxton Beckham) and Tyler (Kyle Red Silverstein), meets Jim Friedman (Adam Sandler), a widower with three daughters, Hilary (Bella Thorne), Espn (Emma Fuhrmann), and Lou (Alyvia Alyn Lind) on a blind date. The date ends in disaster due to conflict between Jim’s clumsy and careless attitude and Lauren’s perfectionist nature.

Later, Jim and Lauren run into each other at a pharmacy; Jim for tampons for his daughter Hilary and Lauren for an adult magazine for Brendan. Afterwards, Jim realizes that their credit cards were mixed up, due to them exchanging products to avoid embarrassment, and goes to Lauren’s house to switch them back. There, he and Lauren learn that Lauren’s friend Jen (Wendi McLendon-Covey) has broken up with her boyfriend Dick (Dan Patrick), who happens to be Jim’s boss, over his having kids, and that they will no longer be going on a planned African vacation together. Unbeknownst to each other, Jim and Lauren both arrange to go on the pre-booked vacation with their families. When they arrive in Africa the two families are surprised to see each other. Things get more awkward when Jim and Lauren are given a romantic suite.

The families are put together for a “blended familymoon”, where they get together with other couples, including the oversexed Eddy (Kevin Nealon) and Ginger (Jessica Lowe), as well as Eddy’s teenage son Jake (Zak Henri), who Hilary develops a crush on at first sight.

The kids make an awkward impression with each other, with Brendan calling his mom “hot,” and the others not knowing how to react to Espn acting like her mom is there with her. Over time, they begin to bond with each other and each other’s parents.

Jim makes the boys happy by helping them with adventurous sports, while Lauren takes care of the girls, and helps Hilary to change her tomboy look into a more feminine one. Jim and Lauren warm up to each other as time passes. They inadvertently get together for a couples massage and have fun with each other.

On the last night of the trip, Lauren puts on a beautiful black dress that she admired earlier. She wears it that evening and receives admiration from everyone. While the children are pulled away for a kids-only buffet, Jim and Lauren are sat down for a romantic dinner, which Lauren soon discovers was actually planned by Jim specifically for her. They chat briefly about basic parenting techniques and then pull in for a kiss; however, at the last second, Jim pulls away, apologizing and explaining that he “can’t do it”.

After returning home, Jim realizes he misses Lauren and that he’s fallen in love with her. Although Espn is not fully ready to move on from her mother’s passing, she also doesn’t want her dad to lose Lauren. At the kids’ behest, Jim goes to Lauren’s house to give her flowers, only to find Mark there, pretending to be back with Lauren. Tyler gets excited to see Jim and wants to play ball, but Jim sadly leaves and Mark bails on his son again. Mark later tries to make a move on Lauren, but she refuses since he has continuously failed to be a good father, as well as having an affair with his receptionist during their marriage.

That following Saturday, Lauren and Brendan go to support Tyler at his game, along with Jen, Dick, who Jen has worked things out with, and his kids. Mark, once again, is a no-show. Jim and his daughters arrive to show encouragement, inspiring Tyler to hit the ball. Jim then finds Lauren and they admit to wanting to be together, and they finally kiss, to the happiness of their kids.

REVIEW:

Adam Sandler can’t catch a break from critics. It seems that the same people who were lapping up his films in the late 90s and early 2000s, when he was at the top of his game, are now the same people who can’t stand his movies. Isn’t it funny how fickle people can be? Sandler is no dummy, though. In an effort to appease the critics, he has reunited with his costar from two of his most enduring films, Drew Barrymore, for Blended.

What is this about?

In this romantic comedy, Jim and Lauren find themselves on a dreadful blind date. Afterwards, the two single parents cross paths once again — but this time at a vacation resort with their kids in tow.

What did I like?

Toned down. Adam Sandler is known for being one of the most successful manchildren (in that the plural of that word?) in Hollywood. These days, his films still have that humor that brought to the big screen after leaving Saturday Night Live, but he seems to be wishing he could do more. This seems to be one of those films that lets him stretch out a bit. The role is a bit more dramatic for Sandler and the comedy, while still potty humor, isn’t as prevalent. Can our boy be growing up?

Usual suspects AWOL. I like Sandler’s usual cache of stars as much as the next guy. Some of them may not have careers if not for their friendship with Sandler, if you think about it. That being said, sometimes you just have to break away, if only for a film or two. Think about how attached at the hip Ben Affleck and Matt Damon were and now look at them. Not having Sandler’s buddies in this film might actually have been a good thing, or he may have just saved all that money and threw it at Drew Barrymore.

Chemistry. Speaking of Drew, I don’t think there is anyone that has better chemistry with Sandler than her. This is I believe their third film together. Watching them, you wonder why they haven’t done more. Once the awkwardness of the plot settles in, it is just like watching two old friends get together and have a good old time. Also, if you’ve noticed in most of Sandler’s films, he tends to have a woman who is hot and half his age, Jennifer Aniston and Salma Hayek being the exceptions. Drew is the only woman for him in the flick and, to quote her son, “my mom is hot!” I’m a little biased, though, because I’ve had a crush on her since the 80s.

What didn’t I like?

Vacation time. Ironically, the trend of Sandler’s films being a vacation for he and his friends seems to have started back with 50 First Dates, which also starred him and Drew Barrymore. I’m not here to judge the guy. If he’s able to pull that kind of weight around, then fine, but it does seem rather odd that he seems to be making films for the sole purpose of taking a vacation. I’m half expecting soon to get something set at Mt. Rushmore or the Grand Canyon

Predictable. If you can’t tell what happens in this film within the first 10 minutes, then I don’t know what to tell you. This is a sweet and charming picture, but everything is so predictable. We know what is going to happen to our stars, what’s going to happen with the kids, etc. Nothing comes as a surprise. Would I change the ending? No, but I would take away some of the predictability. I was reading some comment somewhere that said this should have had a bleak ending. *SIGH* I’ve said my piece on dark ending in another post and won’t go into it here other than to just say no.

Crews’ crew. Someone tell me why Terry Crews hasn’t been in a superhero film yet? The man has the build for it! Luke Cage would have been perfect, but I think age played a role in that. Can you imagine him and Michael Jai White together in something? Anyway, in this film he is some sort of singer. As an over the top character, its just fine, but the constant minstrel show aspect didn’t really work, perhaps because they wore the audience down with Crews, who really is funny in his small role.

What can I say about Blended to sum everything up? Well, it is like this generation’s Brady Bunch, just not as clever. Whoever thought that it would be a good idea to put Sandler and Barrymore back together needs to get a raise. That said, this film could be better with a touch up to the script and some more realistic looking African scenery. Do I recommend this? As a date flick, it isn’t bad, but as a film to just watch, it isn’t anything to write home about. Watch at your own discretion.

3 3/4 out of 5 stars

The Expendables 3

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 1, 2014 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

The Expendables led by Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) and formed by Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), Gunnar Jensen (Dolph Lundgren) and Toll Road (Randy Couture) extract former member Doctor Death (Wesley Snipes), a knives specialist and team medic, from a military prison and recruit him to assist them in intercepting a shipment of bombs meant to be delivered to a warlord in Somalia. Arriving there, they reunite with Hale Caesar (Terry Crews), who directs them to the drop point, where Ross is surprised to find out that the arms trader providing the bombs is Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson), who co-founded the Expendables, but later betrayed the team to profit off of illegal weapons dealing, and was since believed to be dead. In the ensuing firefight, the Expendables are forced to retreat due to Stonebanks’ men’s advanced weaponry, and Caesar is severely injured in the process.

Blaming himself, Ross leaves for Las Vegas, where he enlists retired mercenary Bonaparte (Kelsey Grammer) to help him find younger, mercenaries to join the team. The recruits include ex-Marine John Smilee (Kellan Lutz), nightclub bouncer Luna (Ronda Rousey), computer expert Thorn (Glen Powell) and weapons expert Mars (Victor Ortiz). Skilled sharpshooter Galgo (Antonio Banderas) advocates to be included in the team, but Ross turns him down. The new team rendezvous with CIA operative Max Drummer (Harrison Ford), the Expendables’ missions manager, and Ross’ rival Trench Mauser (Arnold Schwarzenegger), who have traced Stonebanks to Romania, where he is set to make a deal with another arms trader. Ross and the new recruits infiltrate his office building and capture him in order to deliver him to Drummer, but Stonebanks’ men catch up to them and fire a missile at the team’s van. Ross is thrown into a ravine, while Smilee, Luna, Thorn and Mars are captured by Stonebanks.

Stonebanks sends Ross a video, challenging Ross to come after him. While preparing to leave, Ross is found by Galgo, and agrees to give him a chance. Christmas, Jensen, Road and Doc likewise join his efforts, and they raid the building where Stonebanks is keeping the recruits and rescue them. Stonebanks has rigged the place with explosives, but Thorn is able to use a battery-powered device to delay the countdown. Drummer and Mauser arrive to help them alongside retired member Yin Yang (Jet Li), and the team begrudingly works together to kill Stonebanks’ men and destroy his weapons. Ross and Stonebanks fight hand-to-hand, and Ross finally kills him just as the batteries of Thorn’s device run out and the entire building begins to collapse. The team makes it to Drummer’s helicopter and flies away to safety.

Caesar recovers from his wounds, and Ross officially accepts Galgo, Smilee, Luna, Thorn and Mars into the team. They all get together at a bar to celebrate.

REVIEW:

Admittedly, I never would have expected this niche idea to spawn into an entire franchise, yet here we are with The Expendables 3. While there is something to be said about surviving to a trilogy, one has to wonder if they are getting too big for their britches. Look at how many people are on that poster!

What is this about?

Maintaining their go-for-broke attitude in this installment of the action franchise, the Expendables square off against villainous arms trader Conrad Stonebanks, who’s hell-bent on destroying the team.

What did I like?

Blood Transfusion. After a mission goes wrong and nearly costs one of them their lives, Stallone’s character fires the old guys (big mistake) and goes on a search for the next team of Expendables. Quite honestly, save for Ronda Rousey’s character, these young bucks are generic and forgettable. However, two new old guys that come in steal the show, Wesley Snipes and Antonio Banderas. First off, Snipes has been in prison for tax evasion the past 8 years or so (in real life), so this is his first role back, and you really can’t tell he was away. Although, I wonder if it is possible for him to have gotten darker. Ha! This character of his kicks all sorts of ass and has the personality of Willie “Mays” Hays, Snipes’ character from Major League. Banderas is an acrobatic ball of Spanish fire! When he comes on, he doesn’t shut up, but he gets the job done. If I had to equate his performance with anyone, it would be as if he brought the studio performance of reading his line for Puss in Boots to this film and then had a few cases of Red Bull. I almost forgot to mention Harrison Ford, who replaces Bruce Willis’ role as CIA liaison. Ford is an upgrade, both in terms of credibility and acting ability. Most importantly, though, he appears to want to be there, whereas Willis was just sort of there.

Action and explosions. A bunch of ex-military guys going out on missions armed to the teeth and willing to sacrifice themselves for the cause. What else can we expect but lots of action and explosions? If you’re looking for some mind-blowing drama, this ain’t the place to find it, I hate to break that to you.  Save for a slight slowdown in the second and third acts, this flick is almost nonstop action, starting with a badass train rescue scene that reminds us why these films are so enjoyable.

Mel’s diner. The Expendables 2 dug up Jean-Claude Van Damme and made him a villain. Excuse me, Vilain. This time around we get Mel Gibson, who apparently was one of the original Expendables (with Stallone and Snipes), but a mission went wrong and, after being rumored for dead, he is discovered to be a massive weapons dealer. In Machete Kills, Gibson returned to the big screen, after his strange legal troubles, and gave us an over the top villain performance for the ages. This character seems as if he is just as unhinged, but Gibson is doing his best to keep that under control. That Jekyll & Hyde dynamic, if you will, is what makes it work so well as a foil for the team.

What didn’t I like?

Young vs. old. Tell me if you’ve heard this before. A bunch of old guys, who are (or were) the top of their game…maybe even the best have an encounter with the “next generation” who do the same job but with fancier gadgets and more attitude. If that sounds familiar, it is probably because just about everytime we get old and new school together, they come to blows. Personally, with this group of “newbies”, they could have been left out of the film, save for Rousey and the computer guy. These films were created with the intention of giving the older guys the spotlight, a little tidbit they seem to have forgotten.

Race card. Bare with me as I step on my soapbox for a bit here. So, early on, Terry Crews’ character is mortally wounded, strangely enough, this happens as a new African-American character, played by Wesley Snipes, is brought in. Crews even mentions it, since he was in Somalia, or whatever 3rd world country that was while the rest of the team was breaking Snipes out of that prison train. We should have known then, but it seems as if this film suffers from what has been deemed The Walking Dead syndrome, which is the inability to have two black characters. Go back and watch the show, you’ll see what I’m talking about. Most notably when T-Dog was just coming into his own is when he gets it…coincidentally as Michonne was brought in. If this is some hidden Hollywood racism, it could also point to why we still haven’t got that much-anticipated Black Panther movie. Then again, if we ever do get it and he joins the Avengers, Falcon or War Machine, if not both, would have to go. Back to the point at hand, Crews’ character is one of the most charming and endearing of this franchise and they took him out of this film. It could have just as easily been Randy Couture’s character. No one cares about him, plus we get 2 other UFC stars later in the film! –steps off soapbox–

Snipe hunt. After Snipes’ badass introduction, he disappears into the background. I have two issues with this. First, they go through all the trouble of pointing out that he’s one of the original Expendables and a doctor, yet the only time we see him doing any doctoring is when Crews is hurt. As far being one of the original, that just seemed like it was a convenient plot point to break him out of jail. Second, the clothes they put him in are…well…let’s just say they remind me of what my grandfather wore. Now, I will say that the home base of this film is New Orleans, and that is a style down there, especially among jazz musicians, just go look at Kermit Ruffins. Unfortunately, Snipes is not playing a jazz musician, so I have to wonder if the clothes were to just keep him noticed. If that was the case, then it worked. If not, then someone needs to rethink these choices because the look does not work for Snipes.

I was expecting The Expendables 3 to do better at the box office. Maybe if they stopped trying to make these PG-13, it would have. The audience for these films is mostly those of us that were around when these guys were in their prime, making R rated action flicks, complete with boobs, muscles, sweat, action, and guns. If and when they make the 4th film of this franchise, I hope they realize that. Also, they touched on the origin of the group, I would like to see more of that and/or since there are so many now, perhaps Expendables A and Expendables B? Just a couple of thoughts. All that said, this is not the kind of film that will be bringing home any awards in the spring, I think we all know that little fact. However, it is a fun summer flick. Out of the 3 films, it may be the best written and most exciting. Do I recommend it? Yes, very highly! Check it out!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

Posted in Animation, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 1, 2014 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

After Flint Lockwood and his friends save the world from the food storm in the first film, super-inventor Chester V, the CEO of Live Corp, is tasked to clean the island. He relocates Flint, his friends, and the citizens of Swallow Falls to San Franjose, California. Unbeknownst to Flint, the FLDSMDFR survived the explosion and landed in the center of the island, and Chester is determined to find it. Chester invites Flint, his biggest fan, to work at Live Corp, where he meets Chester’s assistant Barb, a talking orangutan with human intelligence. Six months later, Flint humiliates himself during a promotion ceremony when his invention “Party-In-A-Box” explodes. Meanwhile, Chester is informed that his search-parties on the island have been attacked by monstrous cheeseburgers which are learning how to swim. Fearing the world’s inevitable doom, Chester tasks Flint to find the FLDSMDFR and destroy it once and for all. Despite Chester’s demands to keep the mission classified, Flint recruits his girlfriend, meteorologist Sam Sparks; her cameraman Manny; police officer Earl Devereaux; Steve, a monkey who communicates via a device on his head; and “Chicken” Brent. Much to Flint’s dismay, his father Tim joins the crew and they travel to Swallow Falls on his fishing boat.

Upon arriving back at Swallow Falls, they notice that a jungle-like environment has overgrown the island. Tim stays behind while Flint and the others investigate, finding a vast habitat of living food animals. Tim, searching for food at his abandoned tackle shop, encounters a family of humanoid pickles and bonds with them by fishing. Chester discovers that Flint allowed his friends to join him on the mission, so Chester travels to the island with Barb, chagrined and determined to separate them. After escaping a Tacodile attack, Sam notices that the foodimal was protecting its family, and begins to suspect Chester is up to no good. Flint finds his former lab and invents a device that can track the FLDSMDFR. Sam attempts to convince Flint to spare the foodimals, but Flint is intent on making Chester proud. Sam leaves in anger, and Flint’s other companions go with her (including Steve). In the jungle, Sam proves that the foodimals mean no harm by taming a Cheespider. Upon realizing Chester’s intentions, the group is then ambushed by Live Corp employees.

Flint finds the FLDSMDFR, but notices a family of cute marshmallows and becomes hesitant to destroy the machine. Chester immediately seizes control of the FLDSMDFR and announces his plot to make his updated line of food bars out of the foodimals. A crushed Flint is knocked into the river but rescued by the marshmallows. Flint is taken to his father, and they and the foodimals all work together to allow Flint to infiltrate the Live Corp building that is under construction on the island. Flint frees the trapped foodimals and confronts Chester, who threatens to make food bars out of his friends. Chester makes several holograms of himself to overwhelm Flint, but Flint uses the “Party-In-A-Box” to expose the real Chester. An army of foodimals arrive and Flint’s friends are freed by Barb, who had a change of heart. Chester tries to make off with the FLDSMDFR, but is eaten by a Cheespider. With the island safe from Chester and with Live Corp destroyed, Flint returns the FLDSMDFR to its place and the foodimals continue to live in peace as more are born. The film ends with Flint fishing with his father for the first time, finding it enjoyable. During a post-credits scene, Barb reveals to have a crush on Steve

REVIEW:

According to my friends on Facebook, this apparently was the weekend to watch Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. Many of them are watching it as I type these words. For those of you that aren’t cool enough (Ha Ha!) to be watching this today, I hope my words will convince you to go check this out.

What is this about?

Inventor Flint Lockwood is forced to leave his new dream job when he discovers his notorious machine is still running — and is pumping out mutant food beasts! Now, he must battle creatures including shrimpanzees, tacodiles and jellyfish sandwiches.

What did I like?

Food. The design of these food creatures is just stunning. Your breath will be taken away when the camera pulls back and you see the majesty of them all. Think back to the first time you see the Brontosaurus in Jurassic Park. It is a similar feeling (and scene). Also, the simplistic creativity and puns were quite entertaining.

Continuation. So many sequels take place an unspecified time after their predecessor. This flick doesn’t waste time. It literally picks up where Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs left off (even if it has been 4 years since the original). This makes for a continuation that very few seem to want to take a chance on. The only other sequel that I can think of that does picks up right after the end of the first film are the Back to the Future sequels.

Character design. The design of the new characters, such as Chester V is amazing. The fluidity in which he moves with is very rubbery. I was thinking of some of the characters from Samurai Jack or others by Genndy Tartakovsky. I’ve already mentioned the food, but I have to brink up the cuteness of Barry the Strawberry. As the film goes on, this little guy gets cuter, especially when he’s becomes more than just a talking strawberry. There are also the pickles that give Flint’s dad a reason to be in this film. Each has their own personality and design. My favorite is the one that looks like he should be some sort of mad scientist.

What didn’t I like?

Replacement. For some reason, Mr. T. didn’t reprise his character Earl the cop. I don’t really know why he didn’t, so I won’t jump on his case about that. However, Terry Crews, who does his own thing, isn’t a replacement. In a way, I’m glad he didn’t try to do a Mr. T. impression, but at the same time I kind of wish he would have, just so that we know that he was the same character. With Crews, they tried to make him the same Officer Earl from the first film, but it just didn’t work.

Falling into the trap. I really hate to say this, but this film falls into the typical traps kids films fall into these days. Use of bright colors, loud music, etc. For the effect this film is going for, some of that works, but there comes a point where it just seems to lost its originality and is just following a formula. Why couldn’t it start a new formula?

Divide and conquer. For some reason, part of Chester V’s plan involves him and his assistant, and apelike creature that could have just as well been an annoying little kid, trying to get Flint away from his compatriots, especially Sam Sparks. Knowing how this film ends, I’m still wondering why they just didn’t kidnap them in the first place, rather than trying to divide and conquer, which obviously wasn’t an effective plot.

I get asked all the time about good family animated flicks. Well, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 falls into that category. It isn’t dumbed down to the point that adults will be bored and not too smart for the little ones to enjoy. The balance, along with the fun character design and exciting finale are worth the 95 minutes it takes to watch. I highly recommend this film, even if the plot doesn’t seem resonate as well as the first. Check it out, though, it is worth it!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Idiocracy

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews, Spoofs & Satire with tags , , , , , , , , on March 9, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

During the prologue, a narrator (Earl Mann) explains the story’s premise: that in modern society, natural selection is indifferent toward intelligence, with the result that in the future, stupid people (who reproduce more often) will greatly outnumber the intelligent.

As the story begins, Corporal Joe Bauers (Luke Wilson), a U.S. Army librarian, and a prostitute named Rita (Maya Rudolph) are selected for a suspended animation experiment which is only supposed to last a year, but the experiment is forgotten when the officer in charge is imprisoned for having started a prostitution business of his own.

Five hundred years later, when the average IQ has dropped to somewhere in the low twenties, Joe and Rita’s suspension chambers are unearthed by the collapse of an immense pile of garbage. Joe’s suspension chamber smashes through the wall of the apartment of Frito Pendejo (Dax Shepard), who immediately throws him out for interrupting his favorite TV show, “Ow! My Balls!”.

Joe, suffering from a suspended animation hangover, makes his way to a hospital, where he discovers the year is 2505. He is arrested for not paying his hospital bill, and for not having a bar code tattoo. Frito, still mad about his broken apartment, turns out to be his trial lawyer, and his inept representation causes Joe to be sent to jail. Meanwhile, Rita returns to her former profession.

While imprisoned, Joe is renamed “Not Sure” by a faulty identity tattooing machine, and takes an IQ test before easily outsmarting the prison guards and escaping. Joe returns to Frito’s apartment to ask him whether a time machine exists to help him return to 2005. Frito claims to know of one, but agrees to help only after Joe promises to open a bank account under Frito’s name in Joe’s time, which will be worth billions of dollars by 2505. On the way to find the time machine, Joe and Frito find Rita.

They arrive at a gigantic Costco store, where Frito thinks the time machine can be found. A scanner in the store identifies Joe as a fugitive by his tattoo. He is arrested again and taken to the White House to become Secretary of the Interior, on grounds that his IQ test identified him as the smartest man alive. In a speech, President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho (Terry Crews) gives Joe the job of fixing the nation’s food shortages, dust bowls, and crippled economy within a week.

Joe discovers that the nation’s crops are irrigated with a Gatorade-like sports drink named “Brawndo”, whose eponymous parent corporation had earlier purchased the US Food and Drug Administration and Federal Communications Commission. When Joe has it replaced with water, without visibly improving the crops, Brawndo’s stock drops to zero and computers automatically lay off half the population, causing mass riots.

Joe is sentenced to die in an unfairly-matched monster truck demolition derby featuring undefeated “Rehabilitation Officer” Beef Supreme (Andrew Wilson). Rita discovers that Joe’s reintroduction of water to the soil has finally prompted vegetation in the fields, Frito shows the thriving crops on the stadium’s display screen, and the President gives Joe a full pardon.

The President names Joe Vice President. Joe and Rita find that the “time machine” is a wildly inaccurate history-themed amusement ride (in which Charlie Chaplin was the leader of Nazi Germany instead of Adolf Hitler and World War II is depicted as a fight between dinosaurs). Joe is subsequently elected to the presidency. Joe and Rita marry and conceive the world’s three smartest children, while Frito, now Joe’s Vice President, takes eight wives and fathers thirty-two of the world’s stupidest children.

After the credits, a third suspension vessel releases Rita’s former pimp, Upgrayedd, where he seemingly starts to search the future city for Rita.

REVIEW:

I was in the mood for a spoof/satire tonight, and it just so happens that Idiocracy came in the mail. Making matters even more perfect, I was talking to someone about how our society seems to be getting dumber by the day, a central theme in this film. Could this film be an unlikely prophecy?

What is this about?

To test its top-secret Human Hibernation Project, the Pentagon picks the most average Americans it can find — an Army private (Luke Wilson) and a prostitute (Maya Rudolph) — and sends them to the year 2505 after a series of freak events. But when they arrive, they find a civilization so dumbed-down that they’re the smartest people around

What did I like?

Casting. Casting someone who is supposed to be the most average person you can find, no one fits the bill better than Luke Wilson. Pairing him with the always funny and unpredictable Maya Rudolph, who is playing a prostitute to his naive Army librarian is just inspired casting. Who would ever have thought that these two would have such great chemistry together. Surely, I didn’t, that’s for sure.

Silly. I think we can all agree that most people take things way too seriously these days. Well, think back to movies like Airplane!. That was a spoof that was silly beyond silly, even though part of tis success was that many of the actors seemed oblivious to the silliness. Maybe a better example would be Monty Python and the Holy Grail. This is a film that is out there, went on to become a cult classic, and did not suck. This film is in that same vein. Everything is so over the top and yet, like seeing a big wreck on the interstate, you can’t turn away.

The future is now. I can’t be the only one who notices how this future is a mixture of what we came to know on Futurama and what life is like now, to an extent. Isn’t that sad? Kudos to Mike Judge for being such an accurate prophet.

What didn’t I like?

Hispanic lisp. Maybe this had something to do with everyone’s dumbing down, but in the future everyone has some sort of lisp, and I’m not really sure why. If that wasn’t bad enough, a good majority of them seem to be of Hispanic descent. How that happened, I have no idea. Perhaps Judge is telling us that Hispanics are dumb in his eyes? –shrugs– I don’t know, but it certainly didn’t work for me as well as I’d imagine the filmmakers would have liked.

Mountains of trash. This is the second film to mention how we need to find a better way to deal with our trash, the first being Wall-E. There are similarities to both when it comes to these trash mountains, and I find that a bit disturbing. Either two people have the same morbid idea of what our future will look like, or someone at Pixar ripped of Mike Judge’s idea.

Sara. Casting a beautiful, talented actress like Sara Rue and not using her is a crime! she got so little use in this film, that I believe she went uncredited. OF course, given her character, I can’t blame her. There isn’t exactly a plethora of female roles for her in this film, either, but somehow I think she would have automatically made any role better, had they given her the chance.

Epilogue. I won’t spoil anything, but there is a short scene at the end of the credits that implied there would have been a sequel As far as I know, this never came to fruition, which leads that last scene to be nothing more that.

Idiocracy is not a good film, let’s get that out there. It is, though, a film that you can watch over and over again with friends, making jokes and playing drinking games. I thoroughly enjoyed watching this and can’t wait to watch it again! I highly recommend this to any and everyone! Again, it isn’t a good movie, at all, but the entertainment factor is high up there.

4 out of 5 stars

The Expendables 2

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 18, 2012 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

The Expendables are deployed to Nepal in order to rescue a Chinese businessman. The team consists of leader Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone), former SAS soldier and blades specialist Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), martial artist Yin Yang (Jet Li), weapons specialist Hale Caesar (Terry Crews), demolitions expert Toll Road (Randy Couture), and snipers Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundgren) and Billy the Kid (Liam Hemsworth), the group’s youngest and newest member. The mercenaries rescue the businessmen, as well as Trench (Arnold Schwarzenegger), Ross’ rival. Yang accompanies the businessman in his return to China, and temporarily departs from the group.

Ross accepts a mission from Mr. Church (Bruce Willis) to retrieve an item from a safe from an airplane that was shot down in Albania. The team, accompanied by tech genius Maggie (Yu Nan), retrieve the item from the airplane; their victory is short-lived, after discovering that Billy has been captured by Jean Vilain (Jean-Claude Van Damme), who intends to retrieve the item. The Expendables surrender the item, however Vilain executes Billy and leaves. The group bury Billy and swears revenge on Vilain; Maggie reveals the item on the plane was a blueprint to a mine which stores plutonium. Vilain, along with his right-hand man Hector (Scott Adkins), intends to retrieve a large amount of plutonium and sell them.

The team decides to travel to the mines, although the group stops by an abandoned military base where they spend the night. The next morning, the team are ambushed by Vilain’s army, but the army is quickly eliminated by Booker (Chuck Norris) single-handed, who departs the group shortly afterwards. Before departing, Booker informs the group about a nearby village with residents who are against Vilain. As they enter the village, the group discovers a number of armed female villagers who are guarding their children. The women tell the mercenaries that the men of the village have been taken to work at the mine; the miners never return to their families. Eventually, the Sang arrives to take more villagers to work, but the team successfully kills all the Sang, saving the village. The group stages an attack on Vilain through infiltrating the mine by shooting their plane through the caves; the plane is destroyed in the process. Vilain causes a set of explosions that buries the team and the miners underground. After Jensen makes an unsuccessful attempt to detonate a portion of the mine, Trench and Church rescue the mercenaries and the miners trapped in the mine; the miners are reunited with their loved ones from the village.

The Expendables, Trench and Church pursue Vilain to the airport, where Vilain and his men would depart on a private plane with the plutonium. The team, rejoined by Booker, fight their way through the airport. Christmas encounters and eventually decapitates Hector. Ross and Maggie follow Vilain to the hangar, where Ross and Vilain battle. Vilain is eventually strangled and stabbed by Ross, avenging Billy’s death. Church, Maggie, Booker and Trench say their goodbyes to Ross, with Church giving a worn-out airplane to Ross (as a replacement of the team’s destroyed airplane). As the team departs in the plane, the Expendables give a final toast in honor of Billy. The group leaves a large sum of money to Sophia (Nikolette Noel), Billy’s French girlfriend, as well as a picture of Billy and Billy’s final letter to Sophia

REVIEW:

A couple of years ago, everyone scoffed at the idea of a bunch of aging action starts getting together and making a movie. Many thought it was just a way for them to get a paycheck, since Hollywood had apparently passed them by. Well, they went on and laughed all the way to the bank, because The Expendables was a big financial success, proving that not everything needs to be CGI and big budget special effects. Now, we have The Expendables 2…same idea, but with a few of the stars that didn’t or couldn’t be in the first one.

What is it about?

Contrary to popular belief, there is a plot to this film, and it isn’t just a bunch of old guys shooting and blowing up stuff…although, that stuff is very prevalent throughout the picture. The actual storyline, though, is that the guys get hired by Mr. Church to go in and bring back something valuable, we initially don’t know what it is, from a safe in a plane that was shot down in the Chinese mountains. Once they retrieved the package are ready to head home, they are ambushed by a group of vigilante villains. After a tense game of chicken, a team member dies, which leads to the driving force behind the rest of the film, revenge. Along the way to the final showdown, the group helps the town that is being forced to mine plutonium so that the other vigilantes can sell it.

What did I like?

Action. If you’ve ever seen an 80s action flick, then you know that they are all about over the top explosions and bloody gore. Welcome to the 2000s, where the explosions are created by computers more often than not and gore is relegated to horror movies. Thanks goodness someone remembered that the audience wants to see this kind of stuff. Now, if only we can get more of it!

Tone. I’ve heard some people weren’t too happy with the change in tone from the first film, but I actually didn’t mind it. A few jokes among friends don’t hurt. If anything, they make these characters seem more human. Don’t you agree? There is a line that Barney has which really sums it up. It goes something like, “…we keep it light, but when the time comes we go full on dark”[sic].

Start and end with a bang. The best scenes in this film are the opening and closing scenes. Both are just the over-the-top action we expect from this fledgling franchise. These are this kind of scenes with lots of people getting killed, lots of stuff being blown up, and dizzying camera angles.

New blood. Bringing in Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme wasn’t a bad idea, even if Norris made them tone down the language to get a PG-13 rating (the violence knocked it back up to an R). I didn’t miss Mickey Rourke at all. Then again, after watching the first film again yesterday afternoon, he wasn’t really that important.

Know your audience. The audience for this film is mostly guys like me who are fed up with these so-called “action” (read=drama) films of today and they make sure they do everything the right way. I don’t believe this was a 3D film, but I can imagine some studio execs pleaded and begged for it to have been. I can’t say how glad I am to not have to have been forced to shell out the case for some rental sunglasses just to see some half-ass 3D effects that really don’t look any different from 2D.

Friendship. There is a scene where the guys are sitting around trying to relax from the day and it is just like some old friends reminiscing. They even have some fun with the “new guy”. This is not only the funniest scene of the movie, but it serves to develop the bond between the characters that we didn’t get in the first film, save for Barney and Christmas, who is actually not involved it.

Villain. Jean-Claude Van Damme returns to his starring form with his role as the villainous Villain (pronounced vil-lain). This guy seems to be cold, calculating, and everything you would expect from a villain of today. He demands and commands respect and murders without a second thought. Then there is the fact that he can go toe to toe with Stallone. Just wait until you see that!

What didn’t I like.

Girl, please. When this film started, I was thinking to myself, we have this group of 80s action guy stars, but what about a group of women? No sooner than I finished that thought, do we get introduced to the character of Maggie. Throughout the film, you can tell there is tension between her and Stallone, and I’m not just talking about the sexual tension. As a character, she isn’t bad, but a woman doesn’t belong in this group. It just doesn’t work.

Asian connection. Jet Li kicks more ass in the 10 minutes or so he’s on the screen this time around than he did in all of the last picture. OK, maybe that’s a bit of a an exaggeration, but he does seemingly disappear and never comes back or is mentioned for the rest of the picture. Coincidentally, the “help” that Church brings in is Asian. I can’t help but think there was a reason behind this ethnic casting.

Jason. I’m a huge Jason Statham fan and, personal bias aside, I have to say that it sort of felt like he was relegated to the role of the sidekick this time around. He even bitches about it when he has to go back and get the truck. If not for the scene in the church and his fight with Van Damme’s right hand man, you’d really wonder why he wasn’t utilised more.

Young blood and nearly silent. Aside from Li, there were two other things about the cast that bothered me. First, there is the early death of Liam Hemsworth’s character. I was initially questioning his casting instead of his brother, Chris, but since they killed him off so fast, I guess it makes sense. I have to wonder, especially if they’re talking of making this a real franchise, why they would kill the newest and youngest member, especially since he’s such a crack shot. Granted, his death serves as motivation for the rest of the film, it just seemed like they could have used someone else, like say, Toll Road. Randy Couture’s character is there, but he has little, if anything, to say. I believe he may have 5 or 10 lines throughout the entire film. They could have given him something else to do!

Arnold. After his years as governor of California, it is good to see Arnold getting back into the acting thing. There was even a trailer with hims starring in his own film, so he’s at least picking back up where he left off. The problem here, though, is that his one-liners are as bad they were in Batman & Robin. I can’t give him a pass for being rusty on this one. He needs to do better, and the writers should be ashamed for having him constantly recite such drivel!

The Expendables 2 is a damn fun, good time to be had. A true nostalgic picture than makes you wonder why they don’t make films that are truly fun anymore. I want you, though, if you’re looking for something cerebral and artsy-fartsy, this is not the film for you. This is a film for those of us that actually want to be entertained when we go to the movies! With the summer movie season coming to a close, this is the perfect film to wrap it up and may end up being a sleeper hit, at least on this blog, come the end of the year awards. I highly recommend that you stop reading this and head to your nearest theater and go see this right now!

5 out of 5 stars