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Posts Tagged ‘Movies’

Review of Funny People

Posted by DrFunke on August 6, 2009

The night after I saw “Funny People” one of my family members went to see it as well. When she asked me how it was, I said “Leave after about an hour and a half.” In retrospect, this is what made the movie merely pretty good as opposed to really really great (which it could’ve been). The movie is really great, all the way up to the moment where Sandler and Rogen get in a car to go see Sandler’s ex-fiance.

There were a lot of positives. I absolutely loved the writing. It was a ballsy move to make such a dark comedy, and at times this movie uses everyone’s fear of death and mortality to create some hilarious moments. Some of the stand-up scenes were pretty entertaining, though some of it wasn’t too good. The characters and dialogue all felt real, which is something that Apatow movies execute surprisingly and consistently well.

One thing that really surprised me was how good the acting was. I don’t really like Seth Rogen’s acting, but he did well in his role as Ira, basically a struggling comic who starts working with his idol (Sandler’s character, George Simmons) and is completely awestruck being around the guy. Jonah Hill was awesome as always, Jason Schwartzmann’s character was damn funny, and a lot of the random supporting characters provided great moments. There were plenty of cameos from famous people, but none beat James Taylor and Eminem. I can’t believe I just wrote that sentence. Leslie Mann and Eric Bana both acted really well, the only problem is that their characters basically ruined the fucking movie.

Adam Sandler was absolutely phenomenal. He absolutely nailed the role, which makes me think that in real life it’s very possible that he’s just kind of a grumpy selfish asshole. But every scene, whether being scared of dying, whether joking around with Rogen, or whether trying to re-kindle his romance with his ex, Sandler was just great. He genuinely brought a lot of depth to a character that couldn’t have worked without it. Part of the interesting thing about his character is that it’s really just “what if Adam Sandler never got married and was dying?” There’s a lot about Sandler’s character no longer doing stand-up and just doing a whole bunch of crappy kids movies to make money, and how that leaves him feeling unfulfilled with his life and career when he realizes he may be dying. Again, he couldn’t have been better.

Oddly enough, I thought the funniest part of the movie was by far the first 2 or 3 minutes. Judd Apatow and Sandler were actually roommates in New York something like 20 years ago before either of them had done anything of note or achieved any kind of fame. Apatow apparently filmed a bunch of the things they did, and some of those tapes were Sandler making prank phone calls. I nearly peed in my pants. I can’t remember the last time I laughed that hard at anything, and since it was 2 minutes straight I thought I was going to break a rip. It was just one of those moments that reminded you why, for a while, he wasn’t Adam Sandler making dumb kids’ movies. He was Adam Motherfucking Sandler, one of the most hilarious people on the face of the earth. In all honesty, that first sequence makes the movie more than worth it.

I liked this movie. The problem is that the last 45 minutes or so were just not entertaining. I spent the whole time looking at my phone like I was waiting to get out of class. There were barely any laughs, and the whole romance arc was just not necessary at all. Really, it was just so unexpected that it ended up taking away from how good the movie is before that. Either way, I’d still say “Funny People” lives up to it’s name, and is definitely worth watching.

Final Grade: B

Posted in Movies | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Dark Knight: Full Review (Spoiler Free)

Posted by DrFunke on July 19, 2008

Maggie Gyllenhaal - er, The Joker

Maggie Gyllenhaal - er, The Joker

When I went in to see “The Dark Knight” at midnight on Thursday, I decided that there would only be two possible outcomes. The movie would be an awesome summer action flick, or would be a complete and total let down. Since this movie has been getting advertised all over the place for at least the last few months, my expectations were about as high as they’ve ever been for a movie. What I didn’t expect was that it would be one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time, and may actually crack in to my top five favorites if it holds up after repeat viewings. Everything was great about this movie, so I’ll try to do a little breakdown of things.

First off, I have to say that this interpretation of Gotham City along with Batman/Bruce Wayne himself is absolutely perfect. It could not be better in any way. Director Chris Nolan’s interpretation of Gotham is one of a hopeless wasteland of a city. Mob corruption permeates the police force, the DA’s office, the mayor’s office, and pretty much any government service Gotham has to offer. Nolan exhibits this time and time again throughout the movie, and I actually asked myself a few times, legitimately horrified, how could a city get this bad? Gotham’s corruption and moral bankruptcy was perfectly portrayed. And Batman/Bruce Wayne as a dark character, viewed simultaneously as a hero and vigilante criminal by the people of Gotham, is absolutely perfect. Bruce is only human, but the Batman can’t be. Bruce has limits, both physical and moral, the Batman can’t (except for his one rule: he doesn’t kill). The whole movie, Bruce’s limits are tested: how much is Batman really worth to the city, how much can he take, and when is it time to stop?

Secondly, the action sequences stood out for a whole lot of reasons. They were entertaining, suspenseful, and seemed real. Why is that? Because Director Chris Nolan doesn’t use CGI in order to make action sequences seem more authentic. In a summer where movies like “Wanted,” with a plot that was pretty much “The Matrix” and “Hey we have CGI technology, see?”, are near the tops of the box office, it’s nice to see a director have some balls and ingenuity instead of being lazy and just getting computers to do everything for him while actors awkwardly stand in front of a green screen making weird faces (see: McAvoy, James). A lot of the stunts were absolutely jaw-dropping, and the crowd was ooh-ing, ahh-ing, and cheering for several of them, which is the first time I can remember a crowd doing so since “The Lord of The Rings” movies were in theaters and had those huge, sprawling battles. Aside from that, there was also Batman and his gadgets. In the finale, he uses a new one in addition to some old favorites with breathtaking results. The Batmobile was great, the Batpod, his motorcycle type vehicle, was even better. The action was great, and if you saw “Batman Begins,” you can expect some of what you saw and some improvements as well.

Third, and quickly, the writing was fantastic. While drawing inspiration from the comics and combining that with some new ideas, the writers created an intelligent plot (were this not a superhero movie, the plot could’ve ended up working for a great cop-thriller type movie with a few tweaks), and some great characters, both villains and heroes. “The Dark Knight” didn’t leave plot holes (suck one, “Wanted”) and created some moments that were actually pretty terrifying, especially in the build up to the climax and the climax itself. The script did a great job developing Bruce’s inner struggle to find his limits in the face of The Joker, a villain who doesn’t know the meaning of limits. Which brings me to…

The acting. Sweet, sweet Christ, the acting. All across the board, the acting was absolutely perfect. I didn’t know if Aaron Eckhart would do well as Harvey Dent, but he was amazing. He executed Dent’s character flawlessly, creating a courageous and charismatic DA who puts Gotham on his back and tries to carry it out of it’s dark age. ***MINI SPOILER*** My only problem with Eckhart was that once Dent turned into Two-Face, he went a little overboard at first. But in the later scenes he got a hold on it, and he did great, playing Two-Face as an understated character who was out purely for vengeance against anyone responsible for his life’s deterioration. ***END SPOILER*** Morgan Freeman was excellent as always. Michael Caine does an amazing job as Alfred, who can be funny but shines in his moments where he becomes Bruce’s sage for advice and guidance. Gary Oldman is excellent as Jim Gordon, who starts to become the face of Gotham PD’s effort to clean the streets, and is much more of a central character in TDK than he was in “Batman Begins.” Maggie Gyllenwhatsit played Rachel Dawes well, even though she kind of looks like The Joker without make-up on. Christian Bale does great work with his character(s?), expertly navigating the waters of some of his darkest moments. When he actually has the bat-suit on, it’s mostly just a lot of growling and punching people (until the finale anyway), and that is awesome. Then there’s Heath Ledger as the Joker. I mean. Hold on, that gets it’s own paragraph.

Good God, Heath absolutely nailed the Joker. It’s worth noting that, when one thinks of the best villains of all time, most of them are villains you rarely, if at all, see on screen. Think two Kevin Spacey roles; Keyser Soze in “The Usual Suspects” and the killer in “Seven.” One of the quintessential horror scenes of all time is the shower stabbing in “Psycho,” and you don’t actually see the killer. So, in order to have a villain who is on screen for much of the movie while still staying scary, you need to do something special. Like Javier Bardem did in “No Country For Old Men.” I won’t say Ledger’s performance was as scary as Bardem’s because I’m still afraid Bardem will hunt me down and kill me like 8 months after seeing the movie. But the Joker wasn’t such a great character because of how scary he was (though he was scary). The Joker’s allure lies purely in his unpredictability. I’m not sure if I’d say he’s my favorite movie villain ever, but his first scene (sort of), a meeting with Gotham’s mob leaders, is the single greatest entrance for any character in any movie ever. I will stand by that. Not only that, but that moment of introduction is a perfect summary of what you get from the Joker for the whole movie. He goes from moments of joking around and laughing, to moments of horrific violence. He is the most unpredictable character I have ever seen, and Ledger is perfect for it. Some of his scenes are hilarious, some are terrifying, some are both at once. I went into the movie skeptical about this Oscar talk for Ledger but I mean… he really earned it, or at least a nomination (obviously this is pending the rest of the year’s performances). He was a complete force on the screen. The only way to replace him? Easy:

Greatest Actor In History

Greatest Actor In History

In an age where people cite trash like “Transformers” or “Wanted” as good movies, or even their favorites in the case of several mentally handicapped folks, it’s just nice to see that someone can still make an action movie that’s more than just explosions and slow motion camera angles. And even better, make that action movie with likable and interesting characters, authentic looking action, and a well written script. When you combine all of these good qualities and maybe take them up a notch or two, you get “The Dark Knight.” It’s a movie that may end up being one of my all-time favorites.

Amazing: A+

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The Dark Knight: First Reactions

Posted by DrFunke on July 18, 2008

This about sums it up:

A Common Side Effect Of Watching This Movie

A Common Side Effect Of Watching This Movie

More on this tomorrow.

Posted in Movies | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

My Review of Wanted, or “The Shitty Matrix”

Posted by DrFunke on July 15, 2008

Before you read this review, you should probably know a few things. One is that when I watch a movie, I like plot holes to be addressed, or at least for there to be some attempt at an explanation when something stupid happens. Two, if an actor tries an accent and sucks at it, it will bother me for the movie’s entirety. Third, I like explosions and people getting shot as much as the next guy, but if a movie has cool effects and slow motion shots, that can’t save it if the rest of it seems like it may have been written by someone who wears a helmet 24 hours a day and whose best friend is a tree named Johnny. Now would be a good time to warn you here be spoilers, but if you watch this movie and don’t know the ending after 30 minutes, then you might take the short bus to school with the aforementioned writer of the movie.

As for “Wanted,” I don’t think I’ve seen anything this stupid since… maybe ever. And I watched “Snakes On A Plane” like a week ago. At least that movie had a plot, albeit dumb, that didn’t have as many holes as my favorite pair of fishnet pants. Also, at least it was original. Ever heard of a movie called “The Matrix”? “Wanted” was basically if they took the script to “The Matrix”, made it a lot worse, and then cast shitty actors in it. Literally every element of about the first 30 minutes was taken pretty much exactly from “The Matrix.” He started off as a loser and a shitty employee who didn’t enjoy life, then was recruited by a group of hard asses lead by a wise black man, thus changing from slacker to someone with a meaning in life. I literally asked everyone sitting around me in the theater if they noticed this, and if I was perhaps taking crazy pills. Then, probably to avoid plagiarizing just one movie, they started taking things directly from “Fight Club.” Like standing up to the dick-ish boss, and his transformation from a reserved whiny douche to an uninhibited, um… well, whiny douche.

Time to address plot holes. First off, the story line of Cross being Wesley’s (McAvoy’s character) father was fine, if not painfully obvious. But I don’t think anything bothered me more than Cross’s attempts to contact Wesley. He’s a possibly superhuman (again, not addressed by the movie) assassin. You would think he could manage to break into an apartment and leave a message, or even stage a kidnapping and then speak to him. You would think. Instead, Cross shoots at Wesley in a pharmacy, chases him in a car, then shoots Wesley in the arm in a later foot chase in order to set up a meeting. Only, this meeting, instead of a talk, consists of Cross running from Wesley, then getting into a gun fight with him. And getting shot. And dying. Then, annoyingly, saying, “I am your father,” in his dying moments. Really? His best plan for speaking to his son is shooting at him a lot and getting him to travel to the Middle-East so you can shoot at him more? That is the stupidest fucking plan ever conceived. And it was put together by, again, a supposedly semi-superhuman assassin.

Next, it explains how the assassins are given their targets, which is through a code revealed in the looms at a textile factory. That could’ve been kind of cool had it not been for the exceedingly retarded idea that only Morgan Freeman’s character, Sloan, could see who the targets were. And no one else could. And not a single one of the several hundred assassins thought, “Hey, this could lead to some form of dishonesty or corruption. We really need a better system.” Now, we all know how wise Angelina Jolie is. Are we really supposed to believe she didn’t see this coming? As a matter of fact, when it gets revealed to all the assassins that Sloan is manipulating the loom’s messages, I was expecting them to say, “Wow, we really should’ve seen that one coming. In retrospect, we did not handle this well.”

As for the acting, I’ve only seen James McAvoy in this and “Last King of Scotland,” and I really hated his characters in both. I don’t know if I think he’s a good actor, because his characters have been miserable pricks. In LKOS I guess his character was supposed to be in a moral gray area so maybe he wasn’t supposed to be likable, but in “Wanted” his character was supposed to become a character you root for, who was charismatic and James Bond-esque in his use of shitty jokes right before or after killing people. The other problem with his character was that he didn’t develop in an arc, like most decent-or-better characters do. He just changed personality on a dime at three different points (anxiety-ridden pathetic sheeple, suddenly a hard ass because someone handed him a pistol, then a vigilante assassin who kills hundreds of people implementing a no-look style of shooting two pistols at once.). By the finale, I was openly rooting for Sloan to shoot him in the face about 25 times, letting the movie end in a “Shawshank Redemption” style narration by Freeman about how annoying Wesley was.

Freeman did a fine job, especially when he said “motherfucker,” and so did Jolie and the 5 seconds of screen time her ass got. But the solid cast couldn’t save the movie from the insanely terrible script. I could bitch for days about how bad this movie was, but I don’t feel like it. Under no circumstances go see this movie, ever. Terrible: F.

Andy crawled through 500 yards of shit so he didn't have to watch Wanted.

Andy crawled through 500 yards of shit so he didn't have to watch Wanted.

Posted in Movies | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »