Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Love Guru Review

The movie tells the story of a love guru (Mike Myers) who comes to America to fix the relationship problems of an NHL player (Romany Malco) at the behest of the team's owner (Jessica Alba).

- Stephen Colbert is absolutely hilarious in a far too small role as a Toronto Maple Leafs commentator. His scenes were the only thing that dragged me through.
- It's less than 90 minutes counting the credits.

- Having watched this movie it's very difficult to believe I ever though Mike Myers was funny. He spends the bulk of the movie mugging for the camera almost as though he's begging for laughs.
- The supporting actors often seem somewhat embarrassed to be in this project. There are numerous scenes where Jessica Alba looks visibly uncomfortable to be on screen with Myers. Romany Malco and Justin Timberlake are both very talented individuals and deserve so much better.
- The material is crude and sophomoric in a tremendously unfunny way. How many dumb fart and dick jokes can you possibly tell in 90 minutes? I'd rather die than watch Love Guru again, but if you feel motivated you can watch and count to get an idea.

- This movie was absolutely terrible and should signify the death knell of Mike Myers' non-Shrek career as a leading man. I can't possibly imagine the upcoming Austin Powers 4 will be any good. Colbert is hilarious, unfortunately he is on screen for maybe five of the film's 90 mintues and it sure isn't worth sitting through for that. Don't see this movie.

Overall Score: 2/10

Get Smart's Bruce and Lloyd: Out of Control Review

Bruce and Lloyd: Out of Control is a spin-off of this summer's Get Smart following two CONTROL techies played by Masi Oka (Heroes) and Nate Torrence (Studio 60).

- The direct-to-DVD venue gives an appealing actor like Masi Oka an opportunity to play the leading man and he does a pretty solid job.
- Jayma Mays and Masi Oka, as on Heroes and despite her far too small role on the show, make for a delightful couple. The two have wonderful chemistry together and their scenes are genuinely amusing.
- Anne Hathaway's cameo is hilarious, she's funnier here in one small scene than in all of Get Smart.

- Nate Torrence is not as appealing nor as charismatic as Masi Oka which leads to his primary scenes feeling rather bland.
- Like most straight to video releases, the direction, music and general production values are quite poor.
- The film's plot is nonsense and the relevance of the characters would probably lack clarity without having seen Get Smart.

- It's a pretty awful movie but Out of Control has a few laughs and a cute lead couple in Masi Oka and Jayma Mays. Definitely worth seeing if you enjoyed Carell's big screen Get Smart or if you enjoy Masi Oka's work on Heroes, otherwise I'd probably skip it.

Overall Score: 4/10

Friday, August 1, 2008

Finding Amanda Review

Finding Amanda is the story of an alcoholic gambling addict (Matthew Broderick) who goes to Las Vegas to convince his prostitute niece (Brittany Snow) to go to rehab in order to save his marriage (his wife is played by Maura Tierney).

- Brittany Snow has become a really great actress, even in junk like Prom Night (in Prom Night she was actually so good that it made the films many flaws that much more noticeable). Here Snow is strong as perky prostitute who isn't quite as happy as she lets on, even though her character is quite unbelievable.
- Matthew Broderick, playing way against type, does a good job with his scummy character. The problem is that he's just an unlikeable louse that it's difficult to care about what happens to him after the millionth time he lies to those that care about him.
- Maura Tierney does a good job in a smaller role as Broderick's wife.

- While Peter Tolan (co-creator of Rescue Me) has a knack for witty dialogue, he seems incapable of juggling the humor and dark drama found here. I definitely think, however, that Tolan will have a long directing career.
- The characters are really quite revolting, to Nip/Tuck sorts of levels, which makes it difficult to care how their story turns out. If the film itself were made more compelling then the appeal of the characters would be irrelevant, but here it's just so difficult to care.
- The characters are also remarkably stupid and make decisions at such a poor level that it's hard to believe either could achieve much success at anything, even at prostitution (let alone as a TV producer, like Broderick's character).

- Finding Amanda isn't a bad movie and it has some strong acting and witty dialogue but it isn't enough to overcome the wild fluctuations in tone and unlikeable characters.

Overall Score: 5/10

Superhero Movie Review

Superhero Movie is a spoof of the recent comic book movies, especially Spider-Man.

- Though it's far from good Superhero Movie at least shows there is still hope for the spoof genre despite the best efforts of Jason Friedberg and Adam Seltzer (Epic Movie/Meet the Spartans etc) to forever ruin the genre.
- Drake Bell and Sara Paxton (who was the highlight of last year's middling Sydney White) make for a likable lead pair.
- Some of the jokes hit home quite well. Jeffrey Tambor and Brent Spiner have nice smaller roles.

- A pretty high percentage of the humor falls flat, but even when it fails it's not as offensively stupid as the Friedberg/Seltzer disgraces.
- Leslie Nielson and Christopher McDonald are really not good here, though, in fairness, both are given a lot of terrible stupid scenes to play.
- It's simply not a good movie.

- Superhero Movie is junk. It does, at least, have a few laughs though and shows that there is still hope for a funny spoof movie in the future.

Overall Score: 3/10

Batman: Gotham Knight Review

Batman: Gotham Knight is a direct-to-video collection of six short stories set between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.

- The disparate talent involved in the project leads to a variety of creative and original takes on Gotham's Dark Knight.
- The collection's strongest, and most tied integrally tied to the Nolan Batuniverse mythology, short is In Darkness Dwells, from David Goyer the writer of Batman Begins. Bringing back the Scarecrow and adding Batvillain Killer Croc the story most closely resembles the 'feel' of the Nolan films and tels the most compelling, if underdeveloped, story.
- Most of the stories have, at least, a few moments of interest.

- The animation is not of particularly high quality.
- The quality of the stories varies RADICALLY from story to story.
- Have I Got a Story For You, the film's first short, is so awful that it almost made me quit on the rest of them.

- Like all of these types of animated collections (The Animatrix comes to mind) the quality of the individual short films is all over the place. It's definitely worth seeing for hardcore Batman fans, but only a few of the stories are otherwise worthy. I really feel like this compilation should have turned out better.

Overall Score: 5/10

Hancock Review

Hancock is about a disgruntled superhero (Will Smith) who gets an image makeover from a publicist (Jason Bateman) and his wife (Charlize Theron).

- Will Smith gives yet another strong performance. His Hancock is believably lonely, surly and flawed. He really does the best possible considering the material.
- Jason Bateman is great in support, he's one of the finest character actors in the business.
- The film's first half, despite some deep flaws, is pretty damn compelling.
- The film's underlying premise, of an anti-social superhero who needs an image makeover, is a good one.

- About half through the film there is a giant plot twist that is so poorly executed (and obviously telegraphed) that it ruined the entire rest of the film for me.
- The film's climax and denouement are inept at best.
- What the hell happened to Peter Berg? His Friday Night Lights is my favorite football movie, The Kingdom was at least competent if utterly unspectacular, but Hancock is ineptly directed. Berg positions the camera so close to the actors' faces that it's often difficult to tell exactly what the hell is going on. Peter, move the damn camera out.
- Some of the humor is both foul and inept, such as when Hancock inserts the head of one prisoner up another's ass.
- Charlize Theron often seems confused though I hesitate to blame her because her character is so ineptly written.

- Hancock has an underlying premise that's pretty damn good and a strong cast, it's too bad the idea is poorly executed.

Overall Score: 4/10

Step Up 2 the Streets Review

Step Up 2 the Streets tells the story of a girl who is forced to leave the streets to join an artistic school and brings her own brand of dance with her.

- Some of the dance scenes are surprisingly exciting.
- Though I wouldn't call them good actors leads Briana Evigan and Robert Hoffman have good chemistry and seem to at least be trying.

- The story is as cliche and by the numbers as any I've ever seen following all the typical traits of an American romantic comedy and a sports movie perfectly.
- It's sad when the Channing Tatum cameo is one of the most compelling scenes in a movie.
- The non-lead actors are almost entirely terrible.

- It was much better than I expected but it's still a pretty poor movie. You can certainly find a better way to spend 98 minutes of your life.

Overall Score: 4/10

Rumor has it that the next outing for this insanely profitable series will be in 3D.

Wanted Review

Wanted tells the story of a young man drawn out of his pathetic life into a mysterious world of bullet-bending assassins.

- Incredibly well designed, creative and exciting action scenes. Director Timor Bekmanbetov is incredibly creative in the direction of these scenes.
- James McAvoy, a tremendous young actor especially in Atonement, gives a fun and believable performance as he transitions from a nobody loser to a bad ass assassin.
- Angelina Jolie gives an enjoyable if typical performance.
- It's nice to see Morgan Freeman play a bit differently than his typical role.
- Unlike seemingly every recent event movie, it doesn't set itself up for a necessary sequel.

- It's not a 'good' movie by any stretch of the imagination.
- Did you know the 'fates' send instructions on who deserves to be assassinated through giant factory sized looms? I didn't either. The plot in Wanted is, shall we say, a bit stupid.
- Why does the character in the beginning action scene have superpowers far beyond those of any other character we see?

- It's not an objectively great movie but Wanted was some of the most fun I've had a theater all year.

Overall Score: 8/10