Friday, July 20, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises (PG-13/164 Min.)


I took PT with me last night to see the Batman trilogy. We had so much fun during the first two. It had been a while since either of us had seen those two so there were bits and pieces we didn’t remember. So, in some instances, it was like watching three new movies. Okay, our memories weren’t THAT bad. By the time The Dark Knight Rises began we were beyond ready to see how the director was going to wrap this up. I loved the first two films. I just knew I was going to love the third. I was wrong. It was a very long 164 minutes.

TDKR continues the Dark Knight story but 8 years later. Batman/Bruce Wayne is a pariah who is showing his age. Most of Gotham still hates Batman and reveres the memory of Harvey Dent. Catwoman is introduced but is she a villain or just misunderstood? Bane appears as the head villain with a vague back-story.

There were parts of this film that I really liked but it lacked so much that we saw in the first two. Such as…Batman. How on earth can you make a Batman film and leave the title character out of most of it? And, in the words of Toby Keith, we (read, “I”) needed “A little less talk and a lot more action.” It was mostly talk talk talk. The speechifying got old. Quickly. I’m so glad I’ve never been around so many people who had so much trouble getting to the point.

Christian Bale is still one of my favorite Batman/Bruce Wayne’s. I never can decide for sure between him and Michael Keaton. Fortunately for him – unfortunately for us – he didn’t have to use his throaty Batman voice through much of this film. I always feel for him when I hear him talk. That couldn’t have felt good at the end of the day.

Tom Hardy was cast as Bane. If you’ve read previous blogs you know I’m a fan. He was a good villain but I didn’t recognize Tom in his character at all which, I guess, pretty much defines a good actor. He was bigger than I’m used to seeing him and he sounded like Sean Connery. They made him seem way taller than he really is too. The cameramen had their work cut out for them when it came to Tom. He had to come off as huge so the angles were either over his shoulder looking down or he was shot from the waist up if standing next to someone. I wonder how many boxes they had him stand on. He didn’t seem quite so big when full body shots were used. What does this have to do with the movie? Nothing. I just found it interesting. I wish Bane’s back-story hadn’t been so vague. That’s all I’m sayin’.

Anne Hathaway. The only nice things I can say about her in this movie are that she kept her clothes on, she had great hair and she was obviously chosen because she fit the costume. Since I can’t say anything else nice I’m leaving it at that.

PT loves Alfred. Well…so do I. Michael Caine continued his well-played portrayal of Bruce Wayne’s manny. When he’s happy, you’re happy. When he’s sad, you get a little teary. Okay, maybe you didn’t but PT and I did. The conflict between Alfred and Bruce was a little hard to handle.

Finally, Joseph Gordon-Levitt. While not drop-dead gorgeous or super hunky he is definitely here to stay. PT said on numerous occasions that he’s pretty so, at least he has a vote from the 14-year-olds. His acting’s not bad either. I loved him in TDKR. I wish they were going to make another film and include him in the cast.

Now that we’ve talked about some of the actors let’s talk more about what I didn’t like. This was predictable. The foreshadowing at the beginning was blatant. It completely ruined the heroism for me at the end. One of the characters seemed kind of off to me and I questioned their sincerity. It kind of stunk being right. As mentioned before I thought there was too much talk. If you like all the Batman action from the first movie you’ll probably feel the same. It was greatly missed. And so was Batman. Again…what on earth? The role of Catwoman confused me. Were we supposed to feel sorry for her? You don’t want people to know about your past as a thief? I’ll make it easy for you. Don’t become a thief.

Back to the action, the few scenes included were either highly entertaining or completely fell flat. The football stadium scene? Great! Except for the fact that it was included in the trailers. It should have been left for the film only. The underground fight scene between Bane and Batman. Meh. Super meh. I have no idea why I felt so apathetic about it. Was it over-choreographed? I just don’t know. Any idea?

Let’s head on to the break-down:

Sex/Nudity – No nudity. We know sex happened but we didn’t see it happen.

Drinking/Drugs – Drinking, yes. Drugs, no.

Cursing – I’m pretty sure there was but the audience members around us out-cussed anything that was said in the film.

Violence – Well, yeah.

Maybe I would have liked this more had I not seen it right after the first two films and was expecting more drama than action. This was an absolute waste of Bane. He could have been so much better. Judging by Facebook several people already disagree with me so you may want to take this review with a grain of salt. Although I was hoping there would be, there is nothing after the credits. Go home. Watch other superhero movies and forget that this isn’t really one.

P.S. PT and I saw this movie at the theater in Highlands Ranch, CO; 20 minutes away from the theater in Aurora. We got to go home that night (morning) and fall safely asleep in our beds. Because of one (that we know of so far) sick individual, many at the Aurora theater did not. This movie came out on my birthday. I woke up later in the day and was able to celebrate. One of the victims also had a birthday that day. He was 27 and will be forever. My thoughts and prayers go out to all the victims and their families. Justice cannot be swift enough.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Intouchables (R/112 Min.)

I enjoyed yet another free pre-screening thanks to the wonderful people at GOFOBO. I had absolutely no idea what to expect from this movie. I hadn’t seen any of the trailers and had only read the little blurb about it on the afore-mentioned website. To say I enjoyed it doesn’t quite cut the mustard. The time just flew by!

The Intouchables is the true story of Philippe, a very wealthy quadriplegic who is looking for a companion; someone to take care of and spend time with him. All Driss wants is someone to sign his paperwork showing that he came to an interview and was turned down so that he can receive unemployment and return to life in the projects. As you can probably guess, if that’s all that happened this would be a very short, very boring movie and it probably wouldn’t have been produced in the first place.

Philippe didn’t want to be pitied and Driss didn’t know how to. Both actors were wonderful at getting this point across. It also helped that that was mentioned but there you go. I was drawn to both characters and felt their pain and happiness. I also happen to be a sympathy breather (does that even make sense???) and had a rough time of it during the wheezing scenes. I was so completely drawn in to this movie. I love it when that happens. Also, the summary leads you to believe that this is going to be more of a drama than anything. It really wasn’t. I can’t believe how much I laughed. Just to be clear, I was meant to. Some of the humor is so irreverent and I believe anyone not in on their jokes would have been completely shocked at some of the things said. I will watch this again just to see the opera scene.

The supporting cast did just as well as the stars. Yvonne, whose role in the household I’m not quite sure of – I guess she would be the key master in a show like Downton Abbey (not Ghostbusters as some of you might be thinking) – but seems to be in charge of everything, was my favorite. She is loyal and careful of her employer but, despite finding some very scary things in Driss’s bag, seemed to quickly warm up to and accept Driss. I loved how we saw that those feelings were reciprocated. Magalie, secretary to Philippe, was the object of Driss’s affection/lust and she gave him what he deserved. So funny. While the other actors also did a good job of it I’m going to skip on because they just didn’t have as big a role. The only character I felt lacked anything was Philippe’s daughter. She never did quite fit in to the story. They just stuck her in here and there so we didn’t completely forget about her. She either needed more scenes or to be taken out altogether but I’m sure the real daughter wouldn’t appreciate the latter.

I seem to be having trouble coming up with things to say tonight without giving too much away. So! Let’s head on to the break-down.

Sex/Nudity – No nudity. Driss was without a shirt at one point. He was also in a couple of bathing scenes but all you could see were his knees and from the shoulders up. Sex was discussed a few times and there weren’t any of what we would consider sex scenes. There wasn’t anything kinky, I assure you. I just have no way of explaining without spoiling it for you. It was funny. Trust me on this.

Cussing – Yes. And quite a bit. Several of the big ones.

Drinking/Drugs – While there is drinking there wasn’t drunkenness. The only drug shown was the Imodium that the daughter tried to kill herself with. She survived. Oh wow! I completely forgot the pot which is surprising considering the number of joints shown in this film.

Violence – None. The worst that we saw was Driss’s brother showing up a little worse for wear from getting beat up but nothing gross.

While this is not as intense as Scent of a Woman (hoo-ah!!!), I would still recommend The Intouchables to anyone who liked that. That being said I must warn you now that THIS.IS.A.FOREIGN.FILM!!! French, to be exact. With subtitles and everything. Having watched my fair share of foreign films with Spike (to the tune of Japanese horror flicks) the knowledge that I don’t speak the language didn’t really bother me. The subtitles were easy to read and didn’t seem to detract from the movie at all. Everyone enjoyed it and as long as you can read at a medium pace you’ll be good to go.

I’ve decided that if this were ever Americanized, which it really shouldn’t be, Dustin Hoffman needs to play Philippe and Jamie Foxx should play Driss. When this comes to fruition I’ll be expecting my cut of the profits…or top billing…whatever.

P.S. I didn't stay through the credits as this didn't seem like the kind of movie that would have anything after. If anyone does and there is please let me know so I can spread the word.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Goon (R/92 Min.)

Watch this movie only if you love hockey. I repeat…Watch this movie ONLY if you love hockey. If you have no idea how many quarters are in a game, how many umpires are on the field or how many players are on the squad do NOT watch this movie. If you didn’t find any mistakes in that last sentence do NOT watch this movie. Having said that, if you don’t appreciate a good hockey fight DO NOT WATCH THIS MOVIE! Do you get what I’m saying?

This is another film, like Warrior, that I waited FOREVER to see at the theater. I don’t think it was ever released in the booming metropolis of OKC. How very disappointing. This is definitely a movie I would’ve liked to have seen on the big screen. Especially the part with the tooth flying. Yuck!!! I looked it up today to see when it is coming out at the theater (Ha! on me!) and saw that it is already available to rent on Netflix. It’s even in the “Play from the computer” selection of films. Wow! That was quick!

Goon is based on a true story. Doug Glatt is the black sheep of his family. His dad and brother are both doctors and Doug is a bouncer at a club. Doug has a friend, Pat, who enjoys heckling hockey players. When one player is pushed too far and comes after Pat, Doug steps in and strongly convinces said player to leave his friend alone; to the tune of busting the player’s helmet with his head. Yeowch! The opposing team’s coach is a touch impressed and asks Doug to join the team as an enforcer and a career is born!

If you don’t know what an enforcer is please see the first paragraph. If you still want to know, an enforcer is the bully of a hockey team. He protects the other players on his team by beating the stuffings out of the players on the opposing team. “That’s unsportsmanlike conduct!” you might object. No. That’s hockey.

It may seem as if I’m suggesting that Goon is all hockey all the time but it’s really not. There is actually stuff to watch in between each match. Doug is a bit of a goof but he’s a lovable goof. With a potty mouth. Actually, everyone except Doug’s family has a potty mouth. Be prepared. Seann William Scott did a great job as Doug. It’s nice to see Seann as something other than a smart aleck jerk. He plays the doofus to a tee and does equally well as Doug “The Thug”. As tough as he is, though, he’s a big softie when it comes to Eva. Doug also believes in right and wrong and takes his punishment when he believes he has wronged someone else. I didn’t like that scene very much at all. There’s even a Forrest Gump scene in which he admits to his family that’s he’s stupid. It was almost sad.

Eva is played by Alison Pill. If you’ve never heard of Alison then you’ve probably never seen Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. She’s the drummer in SPvTW who introduces her band by yelling, “We Are Sex Bob-Omb!” Classy, right? In Goon she plays the boyfriend-having sweetie of Doug. She tries to warn Doug off by telling him what a bad person she is but Doug is having none of it. Alison and Seann play well off each other. She is so fun to watch and I hope we see more of her. Not literally. Seriously, people.

The other person of interest in this story is Ross Rhea played by Liev Schreiber. I happen to think that Liev is one attractive hunk o’ man so I was more than happy to see him in this film. He plays an enforcer sent down from the NHL for slashing an opposing team member in the back of the head. For some reason the hockey officials frown on stuff like that. And I have to agree with them. Beat the crap out of each other face to face. None of these behind the back cheap shots. Despite being a seemingly tough guy on the ice he’s not so bad off. The ice. You know what I mean. And even on the ice he tries to talk some of the other players out of fighting with him. But once you cross that line…

Rhea is coming to the end of his hockey career and is being encouraged by the press to participate in an on-the-ice brawl with Doug. Here are the two possibilities I foresaw. Me being omniscient and all. One…Rhea wins the fight thereby ending his career in a blaze of glory and Doug’s fans, while disappointed for him, still hold him in high regard. Or two…Doug wins and Rhea is a good sport about it and the crowd goes wild! Which one happened? I am so not telling.

The rest of the cast are either hockey players or family. Except for Pat, played by Jay Baruchel who, not surprisingly, co-wrote the film. He’s annoying. End of story. Okay, not end of story. He is so incredibly inappropriate. I really think the movie would have been better without his antics. He’s completely sophomoric and I hope that even boys (read: men) would get tired of him after a while. Now end of story.

To say this movie is not for kids is the understatement of the century. Here’s the reason Netflix gives for the R-Rating: “Brutal violence, non-stop language, some strong sexual content and drug use.” That pretty much sums it up. If you don’t believe the part about the brutal violence lemme ‘splain one of the scenes to you. Yes, I am going to actually tell you what happens. Please skip if you don’t wanna know. The Halifax Highlanders, Doug’s team, are fighting to keep the other team from scoring. Unfortunately, the Highlanders’ goalie gets taken out leaving nothing but Doug in between the puck and the net. Instead of using his glove, as I was hoping he would, he takes it in the mouth. Blood spurts. And spurts and spurts. It’s gross but once again, it’s hockey. There is a LOT of blood in this film. I will admit that the only part that made me gag involved not blood but a spit fight. I can’t explain me so don’t even ask. Oh wait! I was almost ill when I heard a bone break. That was more than I could handle. Aside from that I thought the sexual content was completely unnecessary but it is in there so be warned. And while the language doesn’t hold a candle to 21 Jump Street it is still pretty bad.

If you like Slap Shot you’ll, more than likely, like Goon. I was on the edge of my seat during the final scene. The one good thing about not watching this in the theater is that I didn’t have to worry about making an idiot of myself during parts of the movie. If you’re longing for hockey season, Goon may help tide you over. It might also help if whatever match you watch doesn’t include the fights I know you go to see. This may be my new anger management movie…if G.I. Jane doesn’t do the trick. What?

Magic Mike (R/110 Min.)


It’s not surprising at all that Magic Mike did so well at the box office this past weekend. We all knew that we would be seeing Channing Tatum in his [nearly] altogether however, if it continues to do well then there are a LOT of women out there that are either lying to or withholding information from their friends. This was so far from being a good movie. The woman two seats down from me was complaining about being bored. And this was just 10 minutes in. Was I expecting it to do as good as it did for the opening weekend? Yes. Yes I was. Was I expecting it do great? No. No I wasn’t. I’m not completely oblivious. I knew going in to this that it wasn’t going to be anywhere close to Oscar-worthy. They shouldn’t even be mentioned in the same sentence. Why did I go? Because I wanted to. So there.

For those of you who’ve been in a cave the past few months, Magic Mike is the story of a stripper who really wants to own a custom-made furniture business. He befriends another guy at one of his many other jobs and introduces him to life as a stripper. He’s less than satisfied with his current situation and his personal life is an absolute shambles as he appears to be avoiding healthy relationships.

Makes you want to run right out and see it, doesn’t it? Here are the pros for Magic Mike. Most of the strippers are very easy on the eyes. Though one did remind me of Mickey Rourke. No thank you very much. The other pro?...The movie ended. Now for the cons… While the scenes inside the clubs were bright and sharp, the rest of them were almost sepia and dull. It was so very blah. And so was the script. I would say the acting wasn’t too bad if I hadn’t been distracted by what the actors were forced to say. This is yet another movie in which I have to ask what was going on at the viewing. Again, did they actually watch the entire thing and think, “Man! We are awesome!” Or did they think, “We don’t really care about the rest of the story because women have one-track minds and they’re not going to care that everything aside from the strip club scenes is stupendously awful.”? Maybe “stupendously” is a bit of an exaggeration…but not by much.

I would say that I don’t need to do a break-down for this but when I came out of the movie and saw the line of women waiting for the next showing I noticed that one woman was standing there with a 5 or 6 year old. What the crap was she thinking?!!! There was nothing about the trailers that should have made people think this was okay for children. There is nudity including a male member taking up a good portion of the screen. The rest of the nudity was limited to the women. Yeah, we saw men in thongs but the “parts” were covered. There is lots and lots of drinking and a couple of drug scenes. There is most definitely cussing. And did I mention the vomit-eating piglet? No? I’m sure there was more but I was so numbed by the banality of it all that I just don't remember.

If you are determined to see this movie I would recommend finding a way to see it for free. Since I’m not a big fan of strip clubs anyway, the women in the movie and in the movie theater really bugged me. I’m sorry but it’s true. I guess it’s nice to get away and just be silly with your girlfriends sometimes. I just choose to indulge in other forms of silliness. So again you ask why did I go see this? I have to admit it was because of Channing. I’m sorry, Channing. You have officially broken me of seeing one of your movies just because you’re in it.

There is no reason to stay through the credits but if you decide to anyway, they are mercifully short. Not surprising really. It didn’t take many people at all to create this near disaster.

P.S. To read a much funnier (more funny?) review click here. Please be warned that this review itself is not appropriate for children. I'm just sayin'. And I am apparently one of the "snotty film buffs" to which she refers. At least for this movie anyway.