Sunday, March 28, 2010

Review: Hot Tub Time Machine

Grade: B+

Adam, Nick and Lou were best friends back in high school and felt their lives were going places. Now, they’re all grown up and are rather miserable with their adult lives. After an accident puts Lou in the hospital, they decide to try to have a fun weekend away together at their favorite place when they were in high school, Kodiak Valley Ski Resort. The three of them plus Adam’s nephew, Jacob, head up to the mountains for a weekend of fun and drinking. When they get there, the town isn’t quite what it used to be and all they are left with is the hot tub in their room. They decide to pile in and get drunk but when they wake up, they realize they have somehow been transported back to 1986. When they are warned by an odd hot tub mechanic, they decide it’s best to try to relive that day exactly how they did over 20 years ago, or at least that was the plan.

I’m gonna go ahead and call it right now, I predict a minimum of four Oscars for Hot Tub Time Machine at next year’s academy awards. One of those awards is going to be a new category, best title. For some reason just saying the title of this movie makes me smile. The movie is actually really entertaining. Seeing all the styles and music that was popular in ’86 was great. Hot Tub Time Machine is hilarious to top it all off. The jokes are constant and the laughter never stops. The story is actually really fun, this movie’s story absolutely could have been terrible but they managed to come up with something that’s not stupid and keeps you entertained not to mention all the great throw backs to classic 80’s stuff and movies. And the ending is really good.

John Cusack (2012, War Inc.) plays the role of Adam, a guy who is down on his luck and tries to fix that in the past. I enjoy Cusack in everything that he has done and he does not disappoint in this movie. I love that fact that he spends half the movie dressed very similarly to his character in Say Anything and he is in a scene that is a great homage to Sixteen Candles, which all but started his career. Craig Robinson (Pineapple Express, TVs The Office) plays Nick, a man who gave up his dream of music for his wife and now washes dogs for a living. Robinson was hilarious as always and really did a great job in this movie. Not to mention that he is actually a pretty good singer. Rob Corddry (W., Harold and Kumar 2) plays Lou, who’s greatest days were in high school and is completely miserable now. Corddry delivers some of the biggest laughs in the movie. Relative new comer Clark Duke plays Adams nephew Jacob, who spends his life on a computer. Duke did a pretty decent job with his role and was pretty funny too. The movie also features hilarious performances by Crispin Glover, Sebastian Stan, Lizzy Caplan and the great Chevy Chase.

If you are looking for a good fun comedy, go see Hot Tub Time Machine. It’s simply a lot of fun with a lot of laughs. 2010 is looking to be a great year in comedies.

Great quote: “Great white buffalo… Great white buffalo… Great white buffalo”

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Review: The Bounty Hunter

Grade: B+

Nicole Hurley is an investigative reporter who accidently skipped bail while following a tip. Milo Boyd is an ex-detective now working as a bounty hunter. Nicole and Milo used to be married. When Milo is handed the sheet that informs him that his next target is his ex-wife, all he can think is Best.Job.Ever! After he tracks her down, though, he discovers that she’s not lying about being close to solving a murder. The people who committed the murder are now trying to kill her. At the same time, some bookies who Milo owes money to are trying to track him down. As the two go on the run together, trying to get back to the city, they come closer to solving the crime, and reignite their passions for each-other.

This movie was just as good as I was hoping it to be. Filled with comedy and action it is a lot of fun to watch. It is hilarious to see what would happen when a bounty hunter is told to go pick up his ex-wife because she skipped bail. Milo has far too much fun tormenting his former wife as they play a hilarious game of cat and mouse. Nicole has no problem dishing it all right back in Milo’s face though. The action and suspense were few and far between and not all that great, but what do you expect from a romantic comedy? Also, it is a bit predictable, but once again, it is a romantic comedy, 99% of them end the same way. It is cute and would make for a great date movie.

Gerard Butler (Law Abiding Citizen, 300) plays Milo, the bounty hunter chasing down his ex-wife. I am a huge fan of Butler’s and will pretty much watch him in anything, as much as it pains me to watch him try to speak with an American accent, and he did a pretty good job with this role. Jennifer Aniston (Marley and Me, The Break-Up) plays Nicole Hurley, an investigative reporter hot on the trail of a murder. I am not really a fan of Aniston in movies but this is the second movie that I’ve enjoyed her in, the other being Bruce Almighty. The movie also features Christine Baranski, Peter Greene, Siobhan Fallon, Jeff Garlin and Carol Kane.

This movie is rather enjoyable and fun to watch. I would definitely have to recommend it to anyone looking for a good date night movie.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Review: Repo Men

Grade: B+

In the near future, the national debt has risen so high that the government has gone into bankruptcy and corporations have taken over. One corporation in particular, The Union, has developed artificial organs that they sell on credit to people to help them live longer and healthier. What they don’t tell you is that if you get three months behind on payments they will send a repo man to repossess the organ with little to no regard to your comfort or survival. Remy is one of these repo men. He and his lifelong best friend, Jake, have been repoing together for years. One day, Remy goes to repo a well known musician’s heart, when his defibrillator backfires and almost kills him. His only chance of survival is if he gets a top of the line artificial heart put in. Unfortunately though, after he gets the artificial heart, he no longer finds himself able to repo organs, which causes him to get behind on payments. As he goes on the run from his own best friend, he encounters a young woman who also has artificial organs, he then decides to find a way to wipe them, and everybody with artificial organs, out of the system.

This movie is one of the few movies like this lately that has actually managed to reach most of its potential. It is a very fun movie to watch, albeit quite gory at times, and is more enjoyable than I thought it would be. One thing that’s great about it is that it has a wonderful sense of humor about itself and in turn is actually kind of humorous at times. It is also a great commentary on creditors and the direction our country is sort of heading in, it was amusing to see things that implied that China now owns America, which sadly we are not far from. The movie was just plain fun to watch and I would be willing to watch it again.

Jude Law (Sherlock Holmes, The Hiliday) plays the lead role of Remy. Law did a fantastic job with this role and really helped make the movie worth viewing. Forrest Whitaker (Street Kings, Vantage Point) plays Remy’s best friend, Jake. Whitaker did a pretty good job with this role and the interactions between him and Law’s character were great. Liev Schreiber (Taking Woodstock, Defiance) plays Frank, Remmy and Jake’s boss. Liev does such a great job at roles like this, he eerily does such a great job playing completely heartless people. The movie also features Alice Braga, Carice Van Houten, and RZA.

If you enjoy fun, and at times bleak, sci-fi movies in the vein of Blade Runner, then go and check out Repo Men. The action is good, the humor is good, the acting is good and the story is good, and unlike movies like Surrogates, this movie has a great concept that it actually manages to almost completely live up to the potential of.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Review: She's Out of My League

Grade: A-

Kirk is just a lowly security guard at an airport in Pennsylvania. One day, Molly came through his line at work and while every other guard was trying to keep her around as long as possible, Kirk quickly came over and saved her by letting her through security finally. Then, Kirk finds her phone that she forgot in her rush and she asks him to hold on to it. When she gets back into town she invites him to an event that she planned, so he could return her phone to her. Molly begins to like Kirk when she realizes that he is very kind and honest and that he isn’t like other men that she’s dated in the past. However, Kirk is very insecure and becomes quickly convinced that she is too hot for him and that she will dump him as soon as she realizes this. Both Kirk and Molly try to fight the odds and make their relationship work.

This movie turned out to be really good and really funny. I really liked how this movie played out, I was looking forward to seeing it and it really exceeded my expectations. The story is actually very sweet and the humor tends to stay away from raunch for the most part. A truly surprising movie and already a contender for one of the best comedies of the year. I am so glad to see that the studios are beginning to trust in R rated comedies again. While, like I said, the movie’s humor does tend to stay away from raunch, there are many aspects of it that if it was turned PG-13 it wouldn’t have been nearly as good or as funny.

Jay Baruchel (Tropic Thunder, Knocked Up) plays the main role of Kirk, a slightly nerdy guy with very little self confidence. He did a fantastic job with the role, every time I see him in a movie it seems as though he just keeps getting better and funnier. Relative new comer Alice Eve (Crossing Over) plays the role of Molly, the extremely beautiful event planner. Eve did a wonderful job and it almost seems as though this role were tailor made for her. The movie also features great, and funny, performance from T.J. Miller, Mike Vogel, Krysten Ritter, Lindsay Sloane, Nate Torrence, Debra Jo Rupp and more.

If you are looking for a great romantic-ish comedy, this is the movie to see. It is extremely funny from start to finish and at the same time it has a very enjoyable story and is very sweet. I definitely enjoyed this movie more than I thought I would and actually really want to see it again. I really can’t recommend seeing this movie enough.

Great quote: “Wait, she kissed you? With her actual mouth? And meant to?”

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Review: Green Zone

Grade: B+

Shortly after the war with Iraq stars, Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller is the leader of the task force set up to find the Weapons of Mass Destruction. After the third site that they hit where they are informed that there are WMDs turns up empty, Miller starts to question the sources the military are using. He finds out that the military is getting their information from a source code-named "Magellan". At the same time, a local Iraqi citizen tips him off about a meeting between many of Saddam's men nearby. Miller goes rogue in order to figure out who "Magellan" is, what the truth about WMDs is and tries to find a way to prevent all hell from breaking loose in Iraq.

I didn't know how to feel about this movie going into it but it really surprised me. I will admit, it almost comes off as a prequel to the Bourne trilogy. It is directed by Paul Greengrass, who directed Bourne Supremacy and Bourne Ultimatum, it stars Bourne himself, Matt Damon, and it is about a man in a special task force who goes rogue to find out answers for himself. But, Green Zone is an exciting thriller that takes place in the early days of the Iraq war and presents some interesting questions as to why we went to Iraq. Greengrass uses his unique, almost documentary style-esque, hand-help camera technique that he has used in his previous films that really makes this interesting to watch. Only downside is that there are some scenes where the camera is so shaky you can't really tell what is going on.

Matt Damon (Invictus, The Informant) plays the lead role of Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller. Matt Damon was really enjoyable in this movie and he did a great job portraying his characters determination to discover the truth. Greg Kinnear (Ghost Town, Little Miss Sunshine) plays Clark Poundstone, a man from the Pentagon who handles the source known as "Magellan". Kinnear did a great job as this man who you just hate and can tell is hiding something. Brendan Gleeson (In Bruges, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix) plays Martin Brown, a man from the UN who is suspicious of the source as well and chooses to help Officer Miller. Gleeson gives a great performance as usual in this. Amy Ryan (Dan in Real Life, Gone Baby Gone) plays Lawrie Dawn, a writer with the Wall Street Journal who exchanges information with Miller when she can. She did a pretty good job with this smallish role.

Green Zone is a very enjoyable war thriller that most people will be able to enjoy. Although I have a feeling that W haters and conspiracy theorists will probably enjoy it the most.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Review: Alice In Wonderland

Grade: A-

This movie, Alice in Wonderland, is not a remake of the classic tale and it is only loosely based on the classic books by Lewis Carroll. In this movie, Alice is now 19 and doesn't feel like she quite fits in the society she is being forced to live in. At a party at a Victorian estate, Alice spots a white rabbit wearing a waistcoat, she chases after the rabbit and falls down a rabbit hole and into Underland, more commonly known as Wonderland. It has been over 10 years since she first went to Wonderland and has since forgotten it and thinks it was all a dream, she is convinced this visit is a dream as well. She is reunited with all the people and creatures in Wonderland and is informed that she has been brought back to Wonderland because she is the only person who can slay the Jabberwocky and end the Red Queen's reign of terror.

Tim Burton (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Sleepy Hollow) did a wonderful job directing this movie and I wouldn't have wanted anybody else to do it. The movie looks absolutely extraordinary and spectacular. I will admit, it looks a bit cartoony at times, but I feel that it works for this movie as Wonderland is supposed to be a crazy and rather cartoonesque world. The movie is very enjoyable to watch especially if you are a fan of the stories and characters. This movie really sticks true to the craziness of the story. It was wonderful to see all the classic characters, Mad Hatter was great, the Cheshire Cat was fantastic, the March Hare was hilarious, Tweedledee and Tweedledum were a joy, really, all of the characters were so very fun to watch. Burton really did a great job at bringing an updated version of this classic tale. I really hope that someone convinces Tim Burton to remake The Wizard of Oz.

The cast of the movie was really great. Relative new comer Mia Wasikowska plays the lead role of Alice. She did a fantastic job with the role, portraying Alice's confusion and wonder of being in this world. Johnny Depp (Sleepy Hollow, Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy) plays the role of the Mad Hatter. Depp was a perfect casting choice for this rather eccentric role, and he did it perfectly. It was rather interesting though as half the time, Depp was speaking in the quirky voice you hear in the trailer and the other half of the movie, he is speaking with a Scottish accent. It was bizarre yet interesting, it has been a while since I've read the books so I don't remember if the Hatter is actually Scottish or if that's something Burton decided to add. Helena Bonham Carter (Sweeny Todd, Fight Club) plays the role of the evil Red Queen. She was perfect in this role, I don't know how to describe it but her portrayal of the Red Queen was genius. Anne Hathaway (Get Smart, Valentine's Day) played the role of the White Queen. Hathaway did a great job with this role and really did a great job portraying how nice the White Queen is, who literally won't hurt a fly. Crispin Glover (Charlie's Angels, Back to the Future) played the Knave of Hearts. Glover was truly devilish in this role and did a great job with it. The movie also features the voices of Matt Lucas, Stephen Fry, Alan Rickman, Michael Sheen, Timothy Spall and others.

If you are a fan of all the Alice in Wonderland tales and movies, you should definitely go see this movie. It is so much fun to see all of the classic characters and what not, come to life in Tim Burton's beautiful re-imagining, of sorts. This movie is just plain fun to watch. I watched it in IMAX 3D, and while I think that everything is better on IMAX, I wouldn't say it's necessary to watch it this way unless you really want to. The 3D is kind of cool but in general, I am so very over the whole 3D craze.