Archives for posts with tag: funny

Grade B+

For the sake of transparency, I have to state that the “Entourage” series on HBO is my favorite series of all time, so I may be a bit positively biased on the movie “Entourage.”

Now that I got that out of the way, “Entourage” (the movie) continues the adventures of four guys from Queens, NYC, in Hollywood where most of them have hit the big time.  Adrian Grenier plays the A-list movie star; Kevin Connolly plays his manager; Kevin Dillon is Grenier’s brother/chef/B-list actor; and Jerry Ferrara is a Tequila business millionaire…and Grenier’s driver.   And let’s not forget Grenier’s once agent and now studio head who is played by Jeremy Piven.

There is enough drama here for all the main players.  Grenier is finishing up a movie that he directed and is way over budget.  Connolly is trying to get back with his ex-wife who is about to give birth to their son; but two women he slept with on the same day will sideline him on his way back into his ex’s heart.  Ferrara has the hots for MMA fighter Ronda Rousey, and a misunderstanding may cost Ferrara a body part.  Dillon is desperate to achieve A-list status; but one of the financiers (played by a creepy Haley Joel Osment) backing the movie that Dillon is in wants him cut out of it.  And the ever high strung Piven is even more stressed due to greenlighting Grenier’s over-budget movie and trying to come up with more money so the movie can be finished.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Entourage” is the scene when TMZ reveals a video of Dillon’s character masturbating during cybersex!

Fans of the show will love this movie.  Many of the characters from the 8 seasons of the show are here.  Doug Ellin (creator of the show) directed and wrote the movie so the movie feels just like the show (fast paced, manic, multiple crises happening, jokes everywhere (most of them work), lots of beautiful women, celebrity cameos every two minutes, and of course, the heart of the story: the bond/friendship/loyalty of the four guys from Queens and former super agent Piven).  If the story ends here, I will be satisfied with that and give Ellin a huge pat on the back for creating a series and a movie that has given me so much joy.  Of course, I’m hoping for another movie.

— M

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Grade C+

Manny’s Movie Musings: a quirky, mystery/suspense/thriller/comedy that stars Morgana O’Reilly as a criminal under house arrest — her mom’s house!  Angry that she has to be in her estranged mother’s and stepfather’s old, creepy house, O’Reilly sulks and grunts, eats like a pig, drinks like a sailor, and contributes nothing to the family.  But as memories come back of a ghost that supposedly haunts the large house, O’Reilly starts to see and hear things that will make her a true believer.  Working with her parents and her parole officer, O’Reilly will try to solve the mystery of the ghost and what it wants from her.  My most memorable, movie moment of “Housebound”: O’Reilly sitting on a toilet peeing, and we hear her urine streaming into the toilet water.  She hears a noise…her peeing stops; noise stops…she continues to pee; another weird noise near the bathroom…she stops peeing; the weird noise disappears, and we hear her peeing again.  Toilet humor, literally!

— M

Grade C +

The worst adaptation I’ve seen of a Jane Austen story.

Kate Beckinsale plays a widow who has a talent for manipulating people.  With no source of income, she is dependent on the good will of her friends and relatives to keep her and her young daughter from being homeless.  But instead of being humble and grateful, Beckinsale retains her pompous, superior attitude; and too often insults her benefactors openly or behind their backs.  Knowing that she can’t live on the good graces of her friends and relatives forever, Beckinsale spins her spider’s web and attempts to marry off her daughter to a rich man who is kind, dimwitted, and suffers from diarrhea of the mouth.  Adding to the drama is the daughter’s refusal to marry the man, despite Beckinsale’s warnings of what a woman must deal with if she is poor.

There are other complications, of course, and many, many characters in “Love And Friendship” — this is an Austen based movie, after all.  But the running time of 1 hour and 32 minutes should be a red flag to all fans of movies based on the writings of Austen.  With such little time given to tell the story, the fillmakers are forced to rush the story…and it shows, especially in the first few minutes when the audience is force-fed the names of a dozen characters and how they relate to each other.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Love & Friendship” is the scene when the rich, dimwitted man introduces himself to Beckinsale’s relations.  He moves like a hyper child, prattling on almost incoherently as his scatterbrain tries to focus on the conversation at hand, producing the funniest part of the movie.

Compared to the brilliant BBC productions of “Pride And Prejudice” and “Sense And Sensibility,” “Love & Friendship” feels half-baked.  It’s like eating a poorly cooked, 5 pound steak in 15 minutes.  The fine acting did save this movie from a much lower grade — I wanted to make that clear as the actors were not the ones at fault for how disappointing this movie turned out.

–M

Grade A

An allegory about human prejudice, xenophobia, and making our hopes and dreams come true so we can be more than what we are, “Zootopia” is a city in a world where animals have evolved to live in peace with each other.  Predator or prey, large or small, animals no longer have to live their lives based on what they are.   Anyone can be anything as long as they work hard…or at least that’s what the ideals are.  What we see is a bit more…complicated.

“Zootopia” stars Ginnifer Goodwin as the voice of a female, rabbit, police officer who searches for a missing otter.  Difficulties abound in her search because no one takes her seriously.  Her fellow cops believe she is a joke — after all, how can a small rabbit, and a female rabbit at that — effectively do a dangerous, physical job of law enforcement?  But what the other animals don’t see and recognize are Goodwin’s intelligence, never give up attitude, and courage that would put a lion to shame.  With only a sly, hustling fox (voiced by Jason Bateman) as her ally, they search for the missing otter and discover a conspiracy that seeks to destroy the peace between predator and prey animals.

One of my memorable moments of this movie is the scene when Goodwin, still a bunny, stands up to a bully who happens to be a fox.  The scene may be too intense for very little kids, but it’s a great set up to show the audience what Goodwin is made of.

Another memorable moment of “Zootopia” is the scene when Goodwin tells reporters that some predator animals in the city are becoming feral probably because it is in their nature to be that way.  They can’t help it, they are just born that way.  What a great scene.  Here is a character who has faced prejudice all her life, and now she’s spewing out the same, hurtful things, not realizing that she also harbors some of the ignorant views that she has seen in so many others.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Zootopia” is the scene at the Department of Motor Vehicles, where all the workers are Sloths!  Funny and brilliant!

Once again, Disney has hit a home run, giving us a very entertaining movie (with a lead character that is the cutest Disney had created in decades) that the entire family can enjoy, with the adults probably appreciating the more serious aspects of the movie.

— M

Grade D+

Ten stories in one movie that takes place in one neighborhood during Halloween!  Wow, sounds like a great deal, right?  Wrong!  With a running time of about 90 minutes, including credits, that’s about 8 minutes per story.  There is just no time to set up the stories so that the audience will care for what happens to the characters.  “Tales Of Halloween” is just an orgy of gory deaths that sometimes has a surprise ending that is amusing.  And the special effects isn’t much better than what was seen in the “Tales From The Darkside” t.v. show decades ago.  Almost every story has so many shenanigans that they cannot be taken seriously, further disengaging the audience from the movie.  This is not horror, but comedy; and even as such, it is a failure.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Tales Of Halloween” is the scene when a little alien with a little bag for his Halloween candy keeps saying, “twick or tweet!”  It was a cute, little critter and it made me laugh.

This movie is to be avoided by horror fans, unless you want something silly and gory to watch with your friends as you get drunk and catch up on your lives.

No, Maximus, I was not entertained!

— M

Grade A

Part comedy, part drama, part suspense and part horror — unless you don’t think being unemployed and homeless is horrifying — “The Big Short” is an eye-opening, crazy ride into the world of financial markets and how the world economy collapsed in 2008/2009.

A handful of traders and investors (played by Steve Carell, Christian Bale, and Ryan Gosling, to name a few) have found serious flaws in the U.S. housing market that would cause it to collapse and take the entire U.S. economy — and those of other countries — down with it.  They decide to go “short” (basically a bet that prices will fall) against the housing market.  These men are laughed at and ridiculed by the rest of the traders/investors/banks who take the opposite bet; but eventually the financial apocalypse that so few had the vision to see — and the balls to take advantage of — will come, bringing such a wide swath of destruction that the effects are still felt by the entire world as I write this.

One of my memorable moments of this movie is the scene when Gosling is trying to do business with Carell to take a large, short position on the housing market.  Carell and his guys ask for the math on Gosling’s findings.  Gosling points to a young, Asian guy and tells Carell and his crew that the Asian guy is his math specialist!  “Look at his face, look at his eyes,” Gosling says.  Ha ha!   Yes, it was a racist comment; but it was also funny as hell.  I’m Asian, and I laughed my ass off — and even if I wasn’t Asian, I’d still laugh my ass off.  Don’t be so sensitive…the world isn’t here to tiptoe around your feelings.

My most memorable, movie moment of “The Big Short” is the scene when Carell is in a restaurant asking a manager of a CDO fund (Collateralized Debt Obligation, which is a financial instrument that was filled with garbage a few years prior to the financial collapse of 2008/2009) what he does and what is in his CDO fund and who the manager really works for.   This scene quickly sums up the high level of greed and callousness in the financial markets that helped usher in all that pain for hundreds of millions of workers all throughout the world.   This scene is infuriating to watch.

For those not at all knowledgeable about the financial markets, “The Big Short” can be confusing despite a few segments where celebrities — playing themselves — explain things in a more simplified form.   But this will be easily understandable by all: there were a lot of shenanigans going on in the U.S. government, the ratings agencies, the traders/investors/brokers, real estate companies, banks, investment banks, and last but definitely not least, the numerous people who took out housing loans who had no idea what they were getting into.

Bottom line: whether you’re into stocks or bonds or currencies or commodities, it’s gambling.  Know exactly what you’re getting into.

— M

 

Grade A

When I first heard about the movie “Ant-Man,” I thought “You got to be kidding.  Ant-Man!  Of all the Marvel superheroes to make a movie about, you do Ant-Man!”  Well, I’m glad Hollywood made this movie, because it’s one of the best superhero movies ever made.

Paul Rudd plays an ex-con who is trying to live a straight life and provide for his daughter, who is living with her mom and her mom’s boyfriend.   Redemption comes in the form of Michael Douglas, who plays a former superhero and creator of the Ant-Man suit that allows the wearer to shrink to the size of an ant.   Douglas tasks Rudd with donning the Ant-Man suit so that he could infiltrate a highly secured building and steal a weapon prototype so that it could not be sold to the bad guys.  Rudd has but a few days to train, and his chances of coming out of this mission alive is slim…but he has high hopes!

One of my memorable moments of this flick is the scene when Ant-Man is fighting Yellowjacket — both hero and villain are in their tiny mode — within a toy, train set.  From the perspective of Yellowjacket, we see this enormous, noisy train bearing down on him, an impact sure to cause major catastrophe.  In the next shot, from the perspective of humans, we see the toy train simply and quietly fall off the tracks.  It was hilarious!  This is genius filmmaking!

My most memorable, movie moment of “Ant-Man” is the scene when Rudd accepts Douglas’ offer of redemption.  Rudd tells Douglas that he wants to do what’s right, and he has given up his criminal ways of breaking into places and stealing s@#t.   He asks what Douglas wants him to do.  Douglas says he wants Rudd to break into a place and steal s@#t.  Ha ha!

“Ant-Man” is a well-written (it better be with four screenwriters!) action/comedy that is matched with talented actors and a very good director.  Rudd plays an extremely likeable character that the audience will root for from the first minute that we see him.  There are many funny moments and the jokes are delivered with expert timing.  If you loved “Guardians Of The Galaxy,” you’ll love “Ant-Man.”

Yes, Maximus, I was very entertained to the point that I didn’t mind you throwing your swords at me.

— M

“Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens” takes place about three decades after “Return Of The Jedi.”  A new threat to freedom and the Republic has risen: The First Order, led by Dark Side of The Force practitioner Snoke and his right hand man, Kylo Ren (played by Adam Driver).  A weapon more powerful than the Death Star has been created that can destroy multiple planets at the same time from a great distance; and The First Order is on the verge of using this weapon to wipe out the Senate and the Republic, as well as the Resistance which is lead by Leia Organa (played by Carrie Fisher).  Luke Skywalker (played by Mark Hamill), last of the Jedi Knights, is nowhere to be found; and the hopes of the Resistance and the Republic lie within BB-8, a droid that hides a map that can lead the Resistance to the whereabouts of Hamill.

Unfortunately for the Resistance, BB-8’s owner has been captured by TFO, and the droid is forced to fend for itself on a desert planet.  It wanders the sand dunes until it is rescued by a young woman named Rey (played by Daisy Ridley) who, with the help of John Boyega (playing the ex-Stormtrooper character of Finn), makes the dangerous journey to bring BB-8 and it’s precious cargo to the Resistance fighters.

Second place for my memorable moments of this movie is **SPOILER ALERT HERE** the revelation of who Kylo Ren is: the son of Han Solo.

Top honors for my most memorable, movie moment of “The Force Awakens” is **SPOILER ALERT HERE** the scene when Harrison Ford (playing Han Solo) confronts Driver to bring his son home and into the Light Side of The Force.  Driver confesses to Ford that he is torn between the Light Side and the Dark Side, and he needs Ford’s help.  Driver presents his lightsaber to Ford, who holds it along with his son.  Driver suddenly activates his lightsaber, and the blade goes through Ford’s body, killing him.  What no bounty hunter, gangster, or Stormtrooper could do, the son of Han Solo has done.  I can’t say I was shocked as I kind of saw the set-up for it, but…it was hard to accept that the cocky pilot, hero, pirate and rebel is gone.

Other Episode VII movie moments that deserve honorable mentions are: 1) the introduction of the Millennium Falcon by Ridley, who calls the ship garbage; 2) a Stormtrooper wielding a baton that can parry a lightsaber; and 3) the appearance of a female Stormtrooper — no, not Captain Phasma, but a low-ranking Stormtrooper (the voice is clearly that of a woman).

Writer/director J.J. Abrams and screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan have brought their talent and love to the third set of “Star Wars” movies, finally freeing “Star Wars” fans from the shadows of Lucas’ failures.  But before you start raising your Force FX Lightsabers into the air in triumph, “Empire Strikes Back” is still the best “Star Wars” movie so far; and “The Force Awakens” does stumble a few times.  Boyega’s Finn is too often the clown, ruining a great character (a soldier with PTSD seeking redemption and peace).  Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber (the one he lost when his father cut off his hand in “Empire…”) is in a chest owned by a character with small eyes and big glasses — what the hell!  Boyega’s lightsaber duel with Driver, and Ridley’s lightsaber duel with Driver produces so many unanswered questions that fans were forced to seek answers elsewhere (such as comic books or the novels) — hey, if I have to go online for answers, then the filmmakers didn’t do their jobs.  And some of the questions are still unanswered because some of the “answers” are just guesses.  Then you have rookie mistakes by Abrams in showing the face of Kylo Ren too early in the movie (which ruins the mystery of what is behind the mask) and an ending which belongs in a television series instead of the movies.  Oy!

Have we “Star Wars” fans been freed from the vile clutches of Lucas only to fall into hands of The First Order led by J.J. Abrams?  Difficult to see, always in motion is the future.

— M

Taking place after “X-Men: The Last Stand,” Hugh Jackman (playing mutant Wolverine (special powers of healing factor, heightened smell, almost indestructible, Adamantium-laced bones and razor sharp claws)) is on a fast track to nowhere, living the life of a vagabond and trying to forget a painful past that include Jackman killing the only woman he ever loved.  He is without a group, without a purpose in life, and without a reason to live.  But life has its twists, and Jackman is given one in the form of a Japanese woman (played by Rila Fukushima) whose employer has tasked her with bringing Jackman to Japan.

Hal Yamanouchi plays Rila’s employer, a man whose life was saved by Jackman during the end of WWII; a man who knows of Jackman’s powers; a man who is dying and wants to thank Jackman by giving Jackman the gift of mortality.  It’s unclear why Jackman refuses Yamanouchi’s offer, but he does.  Jackman is attacked by a woman the same night of his refusal, and he soon finds his healing factor is severely impaired when he sustains multiple wounds from Yakuza gangsters while protecting Yamanouchi’s granddaughter.   Jackman must not only try to solve why the young woman is under attack by Japanese mobsters, he must also unravel the puzzle of what is happening to his healing power before his enemies find a way to kill him and the woman he is protecting and falling in love with.

My most memorable, movie moment of “The Wolverine” is the scene when Jackman faces The Silver Samurai, a large robot fully armored with Adamantium and wielding double Adamantium swords that can superheat in seconds, giving the swords greater cutting power.  ** Spoiler alert here**The Silver Samurai cuts off Jackman’s claws with one stroke of its superheated sword!  That was shocking and very painful to watch.

**Spoiler alert here**First runner up for my memorable moments of this movie is the scene when Jackman rips open his chest to remove an object that is attached to his heart which is the cause of his damaged, healing factor.  For those not in the know, Wolverine does feel pain.  Now just imagine what it must feel like to slice your chest open with a very large scalpel and reach into your chest and pull out a miniature robot that is attached to your heart, all without any anesthetic.  My palms get sweaty just trying to remove a splinter from my finger!

I’ve read many comic books that has the Wolverine character, and he is one of my two favorite comic book characters, so I expect much from a movie titled “The Wolverine.”  Were those expectations met?  No.  I like the movie, but it did not live up to the hype.  One of the problem I have: samurai swords, for the most part, were used to successfully parry against Wolverine’s claws.  That is absolute garbage.  Wolverine’s claws would have sliced those swords like they were made of butter.  The “making of” documentary has someone explaining they needed to have the swords withstand Wolverine’s claws so that they could have more action sequences of Wolverine fighting the samurai and ninjas.  Bulls@#t.  All the movie had to do was have some of the swords laced with Adamantium so they wouldn’t break easily against Wolverine’s claws.  That explanation would have sufficed.  But instead we get some crappy excuse about how they wanted Wolverine to be challenged and not easily defeat the enemy swords…sounds to me like the screenwriter and director were challenged instead.  My biggest problem of “The Wolverine”: he doesn’t live up to the bloodthirsty, borderline psychotic mutant who loves to slice his enemies to pieces.  The people involved in this movie go on about how this is a darker movie than the other Wolverine movies and we get to see a different, meaner side of Wolverine, blah blah blah.  This movie is rated PG-13!  And the PG-13 rating of this movie is a severe hindrance to this NC-17 rated character.

In a nutshell, this movie is like a Lamborghini Aventador forced to drive in the side streets at no more than 20 m.p.h.  Ooh, aahh, look at that fancy car going almost as fast as a little girl’s bicycle.

— M

 

“I’ve been dying a little bit each day since you came back to my life.”  “I truly, deeply love you.”  “…being around her is intoxicating.”   If you’re like me, you’ll find these lines in “Star Wars: Episode II — Attack Of The Clones” nauseating.  This is dialogue I expect from a first time screenwriter who is still in Junior High School.

Co-wrote another mediocre screenplay, George Lucas has.   One of my greatest fears is that Lucas writes or co-writes another “Star Wars” screenplay; and my fears came true again with this movie.  Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.  And so, my fellow “Star Wars” fans, we again suffer through another Episode that had so much promise that went unfulfilled.

Ten years have passed in the “Star Wars” universe since Episode I.  Thousands of solar systems have left the Republic (the Separatist Movement); intergalactic war is imminent.   Hayden Christensen (playing a teen-aged Anakin Skywalker) is now a powerful, Jedi apprentice, learning from Ewan McGregor (playing Obi Wan Kenobi).  Both are tasked with unraveling a mystery as to who is trying to kill Natalie Portman (playing Senator Amidala).  This leads to an awkward, ten year reunion between Christensen and Portman, leading to awkward banter, leading to awkward flirting, leading to a cringeworthy romance.  Let’s get this straight: Christensen and Portman are good actors; but no matter how good your actors are, if they are given a s*#t script, you will get a s*#t performance.   It’s like giving a Ferrari low-grade fuel that’s been sitting around for 5 years.

Anyway, as Portman and Christensen are making kissy faces at each other, McGregor investigates a bounty hunter involved in Portman’s assassination attempt.  This leads him to a planet where a clone army (clearly, the predecessor of Stormtroopers) has been ordered by a Jedi Knight for the use of The Republic.  Who exactly ordered this army, and why?  The overall plot of “Attack Of The Clones” is a good one, with a bit of mystery and a few plot twists; but most of all it contains the evolving relationship between Portman and Christensen, and Christensen’s slow descent into the Dark Side of The Force .  In the hands of a skilled screenwriter, this movie would have soared to new heights that would have approached the level of “The Empire Strikes Back.”  Instead we got Stevie Wonder behind the wheels of a Lamborghini.

Please give me a few moments to suffer in silence as I ponder on what could have been…

Okay.  On to Manny’s memorable, movie moments.  One such moment is the scene when we see jet packs come out of R2-D2’s legs and he starts flying!  That was super cool!  I’m sure we were all geeking out with that scene!

And for my most memorable, movie moment of “Attack Of The Clones”…Yoda’s lightsaber duel with Count Dooku!  I think every “Star Wars” fan yelled out “holy s*@t” when the little dude lit up his green saber and went off on Dooku!  In “Empire Strikes Back” Yoda said “Judge me by my size, do you?  And well you should not.  For my ally is The Force, and a powerful ally, it is.”  He was not kidding.

Nitpicking time.  Wasn’t it nice for the insect army of Geonosis to let Portman keep her utility belt during the execution scene so she could slip out a pin to remove her shackles and escape?  Didn’t you find it odd that McGregor didn’t bother to help out Yoda during his fight with Dooku?  Yes, McGregor was wounded, but he could still wave his hand and move things around.  What about Portman’s decoy (played by Rose Byrne) who was a few feet away from a huge explosion that destroyed a large ship?  A few minutes later into the movie, she’s right as rain.  Yoda mentions early in the movie that it is impossible to see the future.  WTF, George!  In “Empire…” Yoda and Luke saw the future (Han and Chewbacca being tortured in a city in the clouds, Leia being the other hope)!  George Lucas had Yoda say this to cover his ass re: why none of the Jedi Knights — none, none, all these years — foresaw Anakin becoming Darth Vader!  And one doesn’t have to be clairvoyant to see that Anakin Skywalker is a bad egg — just look at his face, his attitude, the things he says, his reckless actions, his disregard for authority.  What about…never mind.   I should know better than to ask when dealing with a writer/director who spends hours finding the right pattern on a piece of clothing for a character that shows up for only two seconds, yet does not put in the time necessary to turn in a script absent silly lines of dialogue and plot holes.

Yes, Maximus, I was entertained, but equally disappointed.  A movie this important to “Star Wars” fans, with a gigantic budget and thousands of people working in it should be as close to perfect as possible.  No excuses are acceptable.  So here are your grades, George Lucas: Special Effects — A; Sound Effects — A; Costumes — A; Sets — A; Direction — B; Screenplay — F-.

Now go home and get your shine box!

— M

 

 

Written and directed by George Lucas — six of the most fearsome words to movie fans, these are.

“The Phantom Menace” is the first part of the prequel trilogy to the “Star Wars” movies.  Lucas goes way back here…before Luke Skywalker was born, before Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader, before the dark times, before the Empire.

Senator Palpatine (who would become the Emperor) has created a false threat — a phantom menace — about a growing conflict involving taxation of trade routes and embargos and invasion and war, all to set in motion events that will allow him to rise in power as he promises to bring order throughout the galaxy.   Put into this turmoil are two Jedi Knights — Liam Neeson and his apprentice, Ewan Mcgregor (playing a young, Ben Kenobi) — who, throughout their mission, encounter the droids R2-D2 and C3PO, a young Anakin, and Anakin’s future wife (played by Natalie Portman).

One of my memorable moments of this movie is the scene when we are first introduced to R2-D2.  Portman’s ship is under attack, and her deflector shield has been damaged.  Four Astromech droids are sent outside to mend the broken parts, and three are quickly destroyed by enemy laser beams.  R2-D2 is the last droid standing, and it manages to bypass the thingamajig’s energy particle dilithium crystal thingies to repair the damage.  R2 saves the day, setting a precedent that will last all six episodes.

As most “Star Wars” fans may have guessed, my most memorable, movie moment of “The Phantom Menace” is the lightsaber duel between McGregor and Ray Park (playing Darth Maul).   Whatever problems the movie had — and it had plenty of them — they all went away when Darth Maul emerged and his light staff lit up to fight  Neeson and McGregor.  Unfortunately, when the duel was over, we were again in the world of Lucas’ shortcomings.

I want to be fair to Lucas.  I believe the man is a genius when it comes to filmmaking.  It’s not that he lost that ability, it’s that he lost his focus: instead of focusing on the story and characters, he started focusing on the costumes and special effects and sound effects and action sequences.   There are parts in “Episode 1” that shows his talents: the droid army entering Naboo’s capital is similar to the Nazis entering Paris during WW II; the duel between the Jedi Knights and Darth Maul; and Lucas’ great use of the subject of a government creating threats to instill fear in those they govern, in hopes the people will give the government more power to supposedly provide greater protection for the people.

All of the good things above are crushed by the following: Jar Jar Binks (and his way of talking that sounds like a black buffoon of early movies); horrible dialogue throughout the movie (“Are you an angel?” — I almost throw up every time I hear that line); the Trade Federation who sound like stereotypical, old Jewish men; the character Watto who sounds like a stereotypical Arab man; enemy droids who talk like idiots (“roger roger”); the lack of emotion on Anakin’s mother when Anakin leaves her (was she not capable of acting like a distraught mother who may never see her young son again — in which case it’s Lucas’ fault for not casting someone who was capable of doing so — or did she have the talent to do so but Lucas didn’t see a need for all that drama, in which case it’s Lucas’ fault for lacking the vision to know that the separation scene should have been more emotionally devastating).   Okay, I’ll stop beating a dead horse.

“The Phantom Menace” is light years away from being in the same league as “The Empire Strikes Back,” but it still has to be seen by every “Star Wars” fan because it’s part of the story, whether you like it or not.  We’re stuck with that movie…search your feelings, you know it to be true.

— M

 

 

More secretive than the CIA or MI6 or the Mossad or the He-Men Women Hater’s Club, I give you “Kingsman: The Secret Service.”  Led by Michael Caine (manning a desk) and Colin Firth (as lead Kingsman field operative), the spy organization keeps an eye on world threats and puts an end to them in a quick and violent way.

The biggest threat facing the world and the Kingsmen is a billionaire madman (played with a lisp by Samuel L. Jackson) who is planning to kill most of the population in order to save the planet.  Further down the list of concerns for the Kingsmen is their need to find new agents to train.

Enter Taron Edgerton, who plays the son of a Kingsman who died saving Firth.  Edgerton also displays natural, raw talents to be a good spy, so Firth takes him under his wing to learn the trade and see if Edgerton can finish at the top of his class in order to become a Kingsman.

And so, we have these two stories intertwined and mixed with a heavy — and I mean heavy — dose of rated R violence and language to give the audience an extremely entertaining, fast moving, very funny (“Kingsman” is an action/comedy, after all) movie that will surprise you in many ways.

Second place for my memorable moments of this movie I will give to the church massacre scene.  Describing the who, how and why will spoil too much; so let me just say that the body count in this church is about the same as the entire “Rambo III” movie.  I’m not kidding.  I’ve seen about as many violent movies as your typical politician sees hookers, so I’m used to seeing carnage on screen.  But this church scene had me stunned.

Taking first place among my memorable, movie moments of “Kingsman” is the scene when Edgerton comes upon the prison cell of a Princess.  He’s about to get her out, when more pressing matters demands his attention.  He tells her he’s off to save the world.  And her reply?  “If you save the world, we can do it in the *@#hole.”  Whoa!  Whoa!  Now that’s what I call a reward!  And that’s a Princess I can get behind and give my full support!

Fans of “Shaun Of The Dead,” “Hot Fuzz” and “Kick-Ass” will enjoy “Kingsman” and therefore should give it a try.  And yes, Maximus, I was very entertained.

— M

 

The seventh movie in the “Fast And Furious” series has Vin Diesel’s and Paul Walker’s crew under attack by Jason Statham, who plays the brother of the main bad guy that Diesel and Walker took down in the previous movie.  “Furious 7” opens with Statham leaving the hospital where his brother is in a coma; a hospital that Statham destroyed single handed, with bodies of special response team police lying dead and wounded.  This is a clue that we’re in for a violent, outrageous, ridiculous, extremely unrealistic, and entertaining movie.

Deciding to take the fight to this shadowy assassin/gangster/terrorist, the fast and furious crew travel the world to find and put a world of hurt to Statham.  But there is another part to this story: there is something called God’s Eye, which allows the user to usurp tech devices that have cameras and GPS to find anyone anywhere.  Statham has it, the CIA wants it, and the CIA is willing to help the fast and furious crew find Statham in return for retrieving the God’s Eye.   Game on.

One of my memorable, movie moments is the scene when mixed martial arts champion Rowdy Ronda Rousey fights Michelle Rodriguez.  Completely unbelievable, as Rodriguez’s character lasts for a few minutes against Rousey, and the fight was a draw.  I love Rousey, and I enjoy anything she’s in!

Another of my memorable moments of this movie is the scene when Dwayne Johnson is carrying a mini-gun ripped from a Predator drone and fires thousands of rounds at bad guys.  The problem is…based on the feeding belt that was attached to the mini-gun, it only had a couple of hundred rounds left.  Military advisers?  We don’t need no stinkin’ military advisers!  Oh, yes you do, director James Wan, yes you do.  But then again, “Furious 7” is basically a live-action cartoon, and not to be taken too seriously.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Furious 7” is the final scene.   SPOILER ALERT here, albeit not much of a spoiler as it is shown in the music video “See You Again.”  Walker and Diesel, each in his own car, say their final goodbyes, and they drive off, taking different paths.  The camera follows Walker’s white Toyota Supra, and pans upwards into the heavens.

Paul Walker, I’ve enjoyed your movies; and from what I’ve read, you were a good person.  May you be happy and at peace, surrounded by friends and relatives who have gone before you.

— M

The final movie of the original “Star Wars” trilogy, “Return of The Jedi” bestows upon fans the rescue of Han Solo (played by Harrison Ford), the truth of the connection between Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker (played by Mark Hamill), a massive, Rebel Alliance offense against the Empire’s new Death Star; and the long-awaited, final duel between Vader and Skywalker.

For the hundreds of millions who have seen this movie countless times, there’s almost nothing I can say that you haven’t already read or heard about.  For those who still haven’t seen the movies, what are you waiting for? Take 6 hours of your life and watch Episodes 4 through 6.

So what’s so special about this Special Edition?  An enhanced, Sarlacc monster (you know, the big mouth in the desert that looked like an angry anus), a new song and dance number in Jabba’s palace (which I thought was not in the same tone as the rest of the scenes in that place, and therefore made the movie worse, new celebration scenes and music at the end of the movie, and a bunch of little things here and there that most won’t notice…ksjgl…wlodkwwwlloosp0-0%$…sorry, I fell asleep.  Okay, let’s keep it moving.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Return of The Jedi” is the scene when Vader’s helmet is removed.  After 9 years of the “Star Wars” trilogy, we finally see what is behind the mask!

Second place for my memorable moment of this movie is the scene ***Spoiler Alert*** when Mark Hamill realizes that Leia (played by Carrie Fisher) is his sister!  She is the person whom Yoda referred to in “Empire…” when Yoda said there is another hope.

Taking third place among my most memorable moments of “Return…” is the scene that had Fisher in the Slave Girl outfit that put a smile on so many young boys.   Princess Leia/Carrie Fisher was at her hottest!

3 years after “The Empire Strikes Back,” George Lucas and company ties up the first trilogy in a mostly satisfying way.  Ewoks, eh, I could have done without them.  I would have preferred the original vision of having Wookies instead of Ewoks.  Sadly, the Special Edition didn’t replace the midget bears with Wookies.  On the upside, “Return of The Jedi” is the movie that had the least tampering when it comes to the Special Edition.  And that is a good thing, because Lucas has a tendency to keep changing the first 6 “Star Wars” movies.  I’ll take this movie as it was, flaws and all, back in 1983 when it first came out, the same year my parents took me to the movies to see it.

Flaws are usually not a good thing, but they are part of what makes us what we are.

— M

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My parents bought me these 2 items when we saw the movie in 1983

I saw this movie for the first time at the drive-in movie theater, and I loved this amazing work of art ever since.  “500 Days Of Summer” states from the very beginning, “This is not a love story.”  Is this statement a “red herring,” or is it an accurate description of the movie?

“500…” stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a young man who quickly falls in love with a co-worker named Summer (played by Zooey Deschanel).  This being in the genre of Romantic Comedy, you just know things aren’t going to go smoothly: Levitt is a romantic, and Deschanel doesn’t believe in love.  Despite their differing viewpoints about love, a romance is started, albeit one that is based on rules that they are just friends, keeping things casual, and Deschanel’s crystal clear explanation that she’s not looking for anything serious.

What we have here is a role reversal, where the man takes on the stereotypical outlook of a woman with respect to relationships; and the woman takes the stereotypical stance of a man regarding love and romance.  This isn’t an original idea, but director Marc Webb and screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber did a brilliant job with it and the many other little and big things in the movie that make “500…” stand out high and above the endless rom/com crap that is out there.

One example of the filmmakers’ brilliance is their witty and clever use of non-linear storytelling, i.e. going back and forth in time.  Lesser writers and directors would end up with a choppy and incoherent movie; but in the case of “500…” it gives the movie energy and mystery, drawing the audience further into the story.

My most memorable, movie moment of “500 Days Of Summer” is the sequence that has Levitt going to a rooftop party thrown by Deschanel.  The screen splits into two, and on the left we have Levitt’s “expectations” of how the party will go between him and Deschanel; and on the right we have the “reality” of how things will actually play out.  As far as I know, this is the first time I’ve seen this technique used, and it is used skillfully.  And the sequence is heartbreaking.

Taking second place for my memorable moments of this movie is the scene when Levitt and Deschanel are first getting to know each other and telling each other a bit about their past.  Deschanel blurts out that in college, her nickname was “anal girl.”  Levitt’s reaction was appropriate!

Third place for my memorable, movie moment of “500…” is the dancing sequence the morning after Levitt has sex with Deschanel.  Ah, love, when it works, that dancing sequence is how most of us feel.  And when it doesn’t, well, the movie shows that side, too.

An honorable mention goes to actor Chloe Grace Moretz, who plays Levitt’s younger sister who has a mind much older and sharper than her brother’s.  She gives him great advice that he, unfortunately, usually doesn’t take.

“500 Days Of Summer,” to me, is an honest look at how fun, painful, confusing, blind, inspiring, beautiful and destructive love can be. For those who have been there and back, and managed to survive those broken-hearted moments, this movie is for you. But those who are still recovering from bad relationships, you may want to keep away from this masterpiece.

I leave you all with something I told some of my friends: if you want to find that diamond, you have to do a lot of digging in the dirt.

— M

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I put this movie on for my mom and planned to leave and come back when the movie was done; but instead I started to watch with her, and stayed until the end.  I’ve seen this movie before, enjoyed it the first time, and I figured it’s worth a second watch.

“Dan In Real Life” stars Steve Carell, who plays the title role.  He’s a widower who is in a perpetually sad state because he’s never let go of his wife who has been dead for years.  Adding to his problem are his three daughters who are growing up too fast for Carell’s comfort.  Carell and family and all their baggage go into a car and off they go to a family get-together in Rhode Island; and it is there that Carell will meet a woman who will change his life, for better…and for worse.

Taking a break from his daughters who are giving him the cold shoulder because he’s being the typical, overprotective dad, Carell goes into a bookstore and finds Juliette Binoche needing help on finding a few books.  Not a problem for Carell, who makes a living in the literary field.  Small chit-chat leads to a lengthier conversation over coffee, and the two have clearly made a love connection.  Before the romance could progress, Binoche has to leave.  She’s meeting her new boyfriend, you see.  Ugh, life gives another body blow to Carell, but he is hopeful, and manages to get Binoche’s phone number…you know, just to talk and finish their conversation and that’ll be the end of it.  Ha-ha.  Slickly done, but he’s not fooling anybody, especially Binoche.

Soooo, Carell goes back to his family get-together, and is all excited talking about this amazing woman whom he has met…and she walks into the room — Binoche is the new girlfriend of Carell’s brother (played by Dane Cook)!  Life gives an uppercut to Carell, almost knocking him out.  But he toughs it out, telling himself that he won’t ruin his brother’s new relationship, and that he will just ignore Binoche, and that will be the end of it.  Again, he’s not fooling anybody — well, maybe himself — because with each hour that passes, Carell finds something else to love about Binoche, and vice-versa.  How long can they keep their love hidden before they are found out?

My most memorable, movie moment of “Dan In Real Life” is the scene when the Carell family are waiting for Carell’s blind date — set up by his parents — with Carell’s High School classmate who was nicknamed “pig face.”  As Carell paces the floor, obviously nervous about an unwanted date, his relatives create a song that mocks “pig face.”  Then she arrives, and “pig face” is played by Emily Blunt!  Gorgeous, Emily Blunt: hair all done, full make-up, tight, short, red dress, toned body…life throws a wrench in the Carell/Binoche romance.

There’s nothing extraordinary about “Dan In Real Life,” it’s simply a good romantic-comedy that follows all the basic points of its genre.  It’ll make you laugh, maybe give some insights to your own problems in life, and then leave you with a warm, happy thoughts.  Isn’t that worth about an hour and a half of your time?

— M

Chris Pratt plays an Earthling who was kidnapped as a boy by aliens; and now he cruises the galaxy as a hard-partying, rock and roll listening, smart-ass, fearless hustler who comes into possession of an orb that secretly has the power to destroy worlds.   Naturally, creatures from all parts of the galaxy want to take the orb, either to use it to destroy worlds, or to sell it to the highest bidder.   To make matters worse for Pratt, he also has a bounty on his head.

Enter Bradley Cooper, who plays a talking Racoon with a short temper, and Vin Diesel, who plays a tree-like creature with deadly powers and a very big heart.  Together, Cooper and Diesel are a team of bounty hunters who try to capture Pratt, only to be foiled by Zoe Saldana (playing a former henchwoman of a galaxy thug named Ronan) who is after the orb so she can hand it to the good guys and save the galaxy.   The ruckus the four people and creatures create in their attempts to achieve their goals leads to their arrest by law enforcement and a stint in prison, where the four meet a very large prisoner played by Dave Bautista.

Through a series of hilarious, sometimes heart-warming and often action-packed events, the motley group of five become “The Guardians Of The Galaxy” as they make a pact to keep Ronan from destroying the galaxy, even if their mission is most likely doomed.

Third place in my memorable moments of this movie is the scene when Cooper is drunk, flips out and has a fight with Bautista.  Cooper points a weapon as big as his body at Bautista, ready to fry him, but Pratt intervenes.  Cooper tells everyone he’s had it with being made fun of, being called vermin and rodent, that he didn’t ask to be physically altered over and over again; but he’s going to stop people laughing at him when he starts pulling the trigger.   This added a whole new layer of depth to Cooper’s character, and this is when I really liked him.  In fact, the Cooper character is my favorite in the movie.  I see part of myself in this little dude.

Holding the second slot in my most memorable, movie moment of “Guardians…” is the scene when the Guardians are in a ship that is going to crash and will kill everyone in it.  One of the Guardians takes action that will save the others but will most likely cost that Guardian’s life.  Cooper asks why the Guardian is doing this.  The Guardian essentially says that they are all family.  It almost brought a tear out of my eye as I watched this part.

Coming in first place for my most memorable, movie moment of “Guardians Of The Galaxy” is the scene when Ronan is about to destroy a planet, and Pratt starts singing and dancing!   Ronan is so shocked at Pratt’s actions that he stops his planned destruction of this world to ask Pratt what the hell he is doing.  Pratt says, “I’m distracting you.”  Ha-ha!

Hey, some of you probably watched the trailer for this movie and thought, “this looks stupid.”  That’s what I thought, too!  Well, this goes to prove you can’t judge a movie’s quality by its trailer, because my first impression was wrong and now I love this movie.   This movie is really funny, has a lot of action, great special effects, connects with you emotionally, has fast pacing, and has a killer soundtrack.

Now I’m waiting for the Blu-ray to come down to $10, and this movie is mine!

— M

Combine “Starship Troopers” with “Groundhog Day” and you have a good idea of what “Edge of Tomorrow” is about.

In the near future, alien creatures called Mimics have invaded the Earth, quickly taking over and destroying much of Europe.  A United Defense Force has been created, comprising of armies of multiple nations.  Hmmm…why not just use NATO?  Anyway, the UDF has created a battle suit that looks like the robotic loaders that is in the movie “Aliens.”  With these battle suits, and a bad-ass female soldier (a very fit and toned Emily Blunt) who is an expert at killing Mimics, the UDF finally has a fighting chance against the alien invaders.

“Wait a minute,” you’re probably asking.  Isn’t Tom Cruise’s character the bad-ass, the last hope of Earthlings?  Nope, not for the first act; and that is what makes “Edge of Tomorrow” a very nice surprise for me.  This is the first Cruise movie that I’ve seen where he is a coward.  Despite being an officer in the US military and the poster child for getting others to sign up for the UDF and giving their lives to save the Earth, Cruise has no combat experience and isn’t looking get any. In fact, when pressed into the UDF service to fight on the front lines for the biggest invasion against enemy territory, Cruise runs away!  He’s not even on the battlefield, but in the UDF’s headquarters in London; and he’s running from all these military personnel as if he can actually make it all the way back to the States without getting caught!  This was one of my most memorable moments of this movie.

As you may have guessed, Cruise doesn’t get too far in his escape plans.  He is busted down to a private and sent to join a squad that will be dropped into the fight on the next day (the big invasion).  Cruise is a babe in a very nasty part of the woods, and within minutes of being dropped into the fray, he is killed.  But somehow he has attained the power to go back one day in time every time he gets killed, with a complete memory of what happened, allowing him to sidestep all the pitfalls that would kill him.

Blunt, finding out about Cruise’s power, enlists his help to try to turn the disastrous invasion into a successful one; but both find it is a very, very difficult thing to do.  Think of it as a video game that is so difficult, you can only advance a little at a time before being killed.  The part that you’ve played already is easy, but the rest of the game is unknown.

Unfortunately for Cruise, he will have to die many, many times if he wants to get it right.  But dying is painful, and he dies in many ways.  At first, Cruise’s deaths are usually funny; and the movie comes off mostly as comedic.  But as his deaths rack up, Cruise starts to suffer from post traumatic stress disorder, or simply “shell shock” as it was called in the old days.  His multiple lives also has the benefit of making him a highly skilled warrior.  This is when the movie’s tone shifts to that of a serious, sci-fi story.  Movies that do these tone shifts usually come off as schizophrenic and uneven, but in this case, it works very well.

Pretty much all of the movie works very well.  I didn’t expect to like this movie as much as I did, so I hope you give it a chance; and maybe you’ll like it also.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention my most memorable, movie moment of “Edge of Tomorrow.”  That would be the scene when Cruise sees Blunt for the first time.  She’s in a training room, calmly doing some Yoga pose that shows how fit she is.  Upset that Cruise has invaded her space, she stands up and gives him a threatening stare.  This…woman…is…absolutely…stunning.   Hmm…I guess Blunt is a big reason why I like this movie so much.

— M

A lonely man who is in the final stages of his divorce falls in love with his phone’s Operating Software.  That’s a hell of a logline for “Her,” isn’t it?  It hooked me, that’s for sure; and I’m glad it did.

Joaquin Phoenix plays a sensitive writer who makes a connection with a new OS that has artificial intelligence and voiced by Scarlett Johansson. We’re talking one hell of an A.I. here, because Johansson quickly takes on human traits, learning and evolving at a very fast rate.  What starts as amusement for Phoenix evolves into something deeper as he converses with Johansson every day, much the same way as a man talks to a woman he clicks with on a regular basis, until they become friends and, in some cases, the relationship becomes romantic.

I know, I know, you’re wondering how the hell a person — a normal person — can fall in love with an OS?  Probably the same way a person can fall in love with character in a book or a movie.  Probably the same way a person can love his pets as if they were his child.  People are emotionally complex, and our ability to connect deeply goes beyond human beings.

One of my memorable moments of this movie is the scene when Phoenix is playing a video game, and he encounters a tiny, Pillsbury doughboy-looking character who curses like I do when I’m stuck in traffic.  Phoenix is stumped, not knowing how to deal with this foul-mouthed character.  Until Johansson offers advice that allows Phoenix to advance further into the game.  Hey, all girlfriends should be so helpful with their man’s video game struggles!

Another memorable, movie moment from “Her” is the scene when Phoenix is having a late night, sex chat online.  It quickly gets weird — which is usual for cyber sex (I know, I’ve had them!) — and outrageous when his partner, voiced by Kristen Wiig, wants Phoenix to pretend he’s strangling her with a dead cat’s tail as they are having cyber/phone sex!

As for my most memorable, movie moment of “Her”…that is the scene when Phoenix and Johansson have their first fight.  This is when I started to view Johansson as real, instead of an A.I. computer software.  The hurt and confusion in her voice will sound familiar to anyone old enough to have had a romantic relationship.  It was easy for me to believe that Phoenix was having a telephone conversation with a real woman.

“Her” surprised me in a few ways.  I expected “Her” to be some quirky, goofy, love story; but it simply is a love story.  A very well-written, well-directed (compliments to writer/director Spike Jonze), and well-acted movie about how relationships start and evolve.  I also thought I figured out what the ending would be at the start of the 3rd act, but I was completely wrong about that; and that’s a good thing, because being able to telegraph a movie’s ending sucks.  Last, I didn’t expect “Her” to stay with me after the movie ended.  You know, when a story lingers in your mind long after you have watched or read it. Those are the best types of stories.

–M

Michael Bay takes a break from the high intensity, action genre to delve into a high intensity, comedy/crime drama genre.  Bay being Bay, cannot do anything small and quiet.  So a story that can be served well in a 2 hour, Dateline NBC show has become a super-pumped, super-charged, theatrically released flick that gives lots of laughs, shocks, and action.  “Pain & Gain” is based on a true story of bodybuilders in Florida who kidnap, torture, and kill people for money and property.

Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, and Anthony Mackie portray the three criminal bodybuilders; and Tony Shalhoub plays their first victim.  Wahlberg, Johnson, and Mackie are big on muscles but are intellectual midgets.  Not able to gain wealth with their brains, they try to achieve it with their brawn.  Enter Shalhoub, who is a multi-millionaire entrepreneur whose personal trainer is Wahlberg.  Endless blabbing about how much money Shalhoub has to Wahlberg gives Wahlberg the idea that Shalhoub would be a good candidate for some forced, property exchange.

Wahlberg and his 2 bodybuilder friends soon have Shalhoub in their clutches, torturing him so that he would sign over all his property to his 3 kidnappers.  And here is where I stop describing what happens in “Pain & Gain,” because this movie has so many twists and turns and shocks that I don’t want to ruin any of it for you.  And yes, as crazy as this movie gets, most of what you’ll see is true.

You’ve heard of the saying “truth is stranger than fiction?”  For the most part, that’s bulls#@t.  Come on, what truth can compare with “Star Wars” or “The Lord of The Rings?”  But, with “Pain & Gain,” that saying is true.  Bay’s talents has turned a made-for-tv story into a mesmerizing train wreck that is impossible to look away from.

One of my memorable moments of this movie is the scene when Mackie and Johnson are at a strip club.  While Johnson is focused on the strippers, Mackie keeps pestering Johnson about mixing breast milk with steroids to get bigger; and how Mackie’s breast milk source is clean, and how Mackie wants to get so big he has to walk through doors sideways.  Mackie’s more obsessed with being muscular than the Bubba character was obsessed with shrimp in “Forrest Gump.”

Coming in first place for my most memorable, movie moment of “Pain & Gain” is the scene when Johnson was grilling the fingerprints off the severed hands of his victims…while he was outside and waving to a neighbor.  At the bottom of the screen the words “this is still a true story” appear!

Oh, boy.  Bay got some flack for making the true-life criminals into likeable goofs who just want to get a bigger piece of the American Dream.  I can understand how someone — especially families of the victims — would be upset by this.  But keep in mind that this isn’t a history lesson; that movies are always subject to the interpretations of the writer, director, producer, lead actors, so on and so forth.   And yes, I’m a bit ashamed to admit that I liked the Wahlberg and Johnson characters.  And I sure as hell like this movie!

–M

Director Ang Lee gives us a beautiful, fantastic tale of a young man and a Bengal tiger who share a lifeboat after their ship sinks.  Suraj Sharma plays the young man who nicknamed himself Pi.  His life in India is upturned when his father decides to move the family to another country to start a new life, with that new life being financed by the sale of the family’s zoo and the animals in it.  Sharma and his family and the animals take passage in a freighter that sinks during a storm; and Sharma is soon alone with a Bengal tiger who managed to escape the sinking ship and enter the same lifeboat that Sharma is in.

The tiger, named Richard Parker, isn’t a partly tamed, circus animal who is friendly to his owners.  Parker is very much wild and hungry and will kill and eat Sharma at every opportunity.  If Sharma is to survive, he not only has to find food and water, he also has to avoid being eaten by Parker.  But how the hell does he do that when they are in the middle of an ocean and the lifeboat is the size of a small school bus?  Watch the movie and you’ll find out, but not until the very end does the full explanation come.

“Life of Pi” has the best cinematography I have seen in the last 10 years.  There is a scene of Sharma underwater, at night, helplessly watching the freighter sink to the bottom of the ocean.  The freighter’s lights are still on, casting an eerie glow around it as it falls into the void beneath.  It is a beautiful and frightening scene; and it is one of my memorable moments of this movie.

Another haunting scene which is another memorable, movie moment of “Life of Pi” is the part when Sharma catches a fish, its body shimmering and glowing like a rainbow.  Sharma kills the fish, and watches the colors fade from the animal’s body — it’s life and beauty violently taken away.  Sharma cries because of what he has done, and he quickly thanks one of his gods for turning into a fish so that Sharma could have something to eat.  Some won’t understand why Sharma reacted so extremely to killing the fish.  But I get it.  Hey, I like chicken, and I happen to eat lots of them; but if I had to kill chickens in order to eat chickens, I don’t think I’ll be eating chicken.  Now, if I was starving to death and I had to kill a chicken in order to live, then of course I’ll end the chicken’s life so that my life could go on; but I’ll feel very badly about killing the animal.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Life of Pi” is, of course, the twist at the end.  I won’t spoil it, so let me just say this…

The twist to this movie came as a complete surprise to me because I haven’t read any reviews or detailed comments about “Life of Pi” prior to watching it.  For those who haven’t watched the movie and some jackass spoiled it for you, I suggest you still watch the movie because there is so much in it to enjoy; and unless you were given details of the twist at the end, it will still come as a very interesting revelation, answering so many questions you will have as you watch the movie.

— M

 

Joseph Gordon-Levitt writes, directs, and stars in this very funny movie about a young man who has a very active sex life; easily finding good-looking, young women to take back to his apartment after a night of clubbing.  Yet he still has a terrible need to masturbate many times a week while watching porn.   Welcome to the world of “Don Jon.”

Levitt (Don Jon) is a caricature of young, single males from Jersey whose life centers around sex.   Most things about him are exaggerated for maximum shock and laughter: the tight clothing, the 1970s muscle car (a Chevy Chevelle SS, I think), the road rage, the macho walk, the facial expressions he makes toward women in clubs he wants to get with, and his take on why he prefers masturbating to porn than having sex.

Because Levitt is not looking to settle down and start a family, he’s happy with his current state.  Why buy the cow when all you want is milk, and the price of milk is low?  But then he meets Scarlett Johansson, and he falls for her hard right at the beginning; and that’s when she slowly makes him miserable by forcing him to do things he doesn’t want to do like: take a college class, stop cleaning his own apartment — she says it’s “not sexy” — and stop watching porn because it’s disgusting and only weirdos and perverts do it.  Are you f*%#@$g kidding!   I would’ve thrown her ass to the gutters!  Some of the reasons I like “Don Jon” so much is because we have many things in common: we like to work out a lot; we both drive sports cars; we’re both single; we like to keep things neat; we both love porn; we’re single; we love our families; we like to use product on our hair; and we like women.  But I’m much older than Levitt’s character, so I’ve learned not to take that kind of s*#t from a woman.  I don’t care how much I like her, once she starts telling me to do things that don’t make sense to me, that’s when it’s time for her to go.   Okay, enough about me.  Back to Levitt.

He’s young and in love, so he’s become a bit of a sucker for her bidding.   And he’s now torn between doing what he likes and doing what Johansson wants him to do.  Levitt decides to do both, and that’s when his life really gets topsy-turvy.  On top of that, he meets Julianne Moore in the college class he takes, and begins a strange relationship with her that will alter his life forever.

One of my memorable moments of “Don Jon” is when he goes to church to confess his sins, and his “sins” are less than what he confessed to earlier; and he expected less Hail Mary’s and The Lord’s Prayer, but got the same amount by the priest.  Levitt questions how the punishment is tallied, and the priest simply says something like “trust in the lord” or “have faith in the Lord.”  Levitt leaves with a WTF expression on his face.  Yeah, exactly.  Listen, when your question is answered with s*#t like that, that means the one who is answering you has no clue what the hell is going on.  You’re better off talking to whatever God you believe in directly, and cut out the middle man.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Don Jon” is the sequence when Levitt tells the audience why he prefers porn over real sex.  He says of real sex: women don’t give you a good blowjob or a long enough one than what you see in porn; women like to do missionary position too much so you don’t get to see and slap their asses; you can’t get infections from porn; and in real sex women won’t let you do certain things to them like ejaculate on their face.  Well, I have to disagree with much of his assessment!  Some women out there do let you ejaculate on their face, or boobs, or in their mouths (some will swallow); some women out there will give you a very good, lengthy blowjob without you having to reciprocate (even though you should!); and some women out there can be just as freaky as men, and are willing to experiment in many strange and fascinating ways.  “How do you know this, Manny?” you ask.  I speak from experience.  Apparently Levitt gets very lucky only with women who like regular sex.

As much as I enjoyed “Don Jon” (so much so that I am planning to buy this on BD when the price goes to $10 or less), there were two things that bothered me about it.  One is mentioned in the previous paragraph, and the other is that the movie clearly lets us know early that Levitt has a sexual dysfunction.  But does he really?  Everybody’s different.   People get off on different things.  As long as everyone involved are single, consenting adults, I don’t see what the big deal is if someone likes porn, or likes to get whipped, or likes to play with urine.  Ideally you want to be with someone who gets turned on on the same things.  And if you’re not with someone who likes the same things that you do sexually, it’s time to move on.  I don’t care if you consider her a “dime” the way Levitt called Johansson a dime.

And by the way, no way in hell Johansson is a dime!  A 10!  Johansson!  Hell no!  At best, she’s an 8.  Go on youtube and look up M.U.G.R.A.W. (Manny’s Universal Guide for RAting Women) for a detailed explanation on what I consider an 8.

— M

What a great concept: two lovers (played by Michelle Pfeiffer and Rutger Hauer) are torn apart by a jealous, spiteful, and lustful Bishop, who puts a curse on the lovers so they can never be together as man and woman.  The curse turns Pfeiffer into a hawk by day and a woman by night; and Hauer into a wolf by night and a man by day.  Ouch.  Unless they’re into bestiality, there’s no loving happening there.  I can maybe see the wolf and woman thing; but the man and hawk is definitely out of the question.  Hey, you got to draw the line somewhere!

Like I said, great concept, but the execution is weak.   The first problem for me is the music: most of it is synth dance music, kind of like what you hear in “Footloose.”  Not exactly a good match for a sword and sorcery movie.  The second problem is the tone of the movie.  “Ladyhawke” is a lighthearted movie for the most part — despite all the swordplay, most combatants get kicked, pushed or thrown against a wall.  With Matthew Broderick playing a leading role as a thief who gets caught up in the lovers’ plight, it’s easy to tell from the start that this movie isn’t going to be too serious. Too bad, as I think “Ladyhawke” would’ve been better served with the seriousness of “Gladiator.”

Anyway.  Hauer decides to kill the Bishop so Hauer will at least find some solace in ending the life of the person who ruined his.  But a monk who is a friend to the shapeshifters tells them that if he kills the Bishop, the curse will last forever; and the only way to end the curse is to confront the Bishop as man and woman and call the Bishop out on what he did.  “Wait a damn minute,”  you say, “how can that happen with the curse still intact?”  “Go watch the damned movie,” I reply.  And you should, because it’s entertaining enough to be worthy of your time.

One of my memorable moments of this movie is the scene when Broderick talks to God after stealing a soldier’s purse.  He tells God that he knows he just broke his promise of not committing crimes anymore; but that God also knows what a weak-willed person Broderick is.  Ha-ha!  I wonder how many of us have made a promise to God during times of desperation, and we get what we want, but then we go back on our promise and put a spin on what we did in order to justify our actions to God.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Ladyhawke” is the scene when Hauer and Pfeiffer are together as the sun rises, and for a fleeting moment, both see each other in human form; and then the final transition takes hold, leaving them in anguish once more because of their situation.  It is the best and most dramatic scene of the movie.

–M

 

When Leonardo DiCaprio, who plays the title role in the movie, “The Wolf Of Wall Street,” is about to describe what his most addictive drug is, I already knew what it was before he said it.  We see DiCaprio snorting a line of cocaine using a rolled up, hundred dollar bill; and then he unrolls the bill and says that money is his most addictive drug.  Oh yeah.  Once you get used to those hundreds going through your hands and flowing into your pockets, you can get hooked fast, and will want more.  It alters your perception of money to the point where 5 dollar bills start to look like toilet tissue.  I know…I speak from experience.  The pursuit of money…being addicted to it…that is the heart of “The Wolf Of Wall Street.”

This movie is based on the true story of a New York trader, Jordan Belfort (played by DiCaprio), who cheated his clients of millions of dollars by turning them on to stocks that were virtually worthless.  It didn’t matter if the stock crashed because DiCaprio and his crew of traders made a killing from the commissions.  The money flowed in like a tsunami, and with it came drugs, prostitutes, delusions of being above the law, and the attentions of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the FBI.

DiCaprio gives a great performance of a man who has both likeable and disgusting qualities.  I admired his drive and focus to be financially successful so he can have a better life for himself and his wife.  His ability to sell is amazing, and he had the guts to go out there and get what he wanted.  Unfortunately, he lied and cheated his way to making his millions, financially devastating many honest, hard working people.  Still, his downward spiral in life as his morals took a back seat to drugs and money is thrilling and shocking and funny.  The movie is part comedy, don’t forget.  So is life.

Director Martin Scorsese shows us his great talent as usual, creating a movie that moves rapidly and gives us fast snapshots of a man’s rise and fall.  The momentum does wane somewhere in the last half of the third act.  This is a 3 hour movie, and it feels like it.  The first 2 hours comes and goes quickly, but that last hour will have you checking your watch often.  That said, “The Wolf Of Wall Street” is worthy of 3 hours of your time.  Unless you have an aversion to sex, drugs and cursing.

Some people complain that this movie has too many of the three things I just mentioned in the previous paragraph.  Um…these guys are stockbrokers.  Traders.  And the worst kind, too (the ones who prize money above their souls).  They are type A-1 personalities, and acting like Caligula is the norm.  What do you expect?  This is the life they had.

One of my memorable, movie moments of “The Wolf Of Wall Street” is the scene when Matthew McConaughey was telling DiCaprio what stockbrokers did: sell stocks and make tons of money from the commissions, and have no idea if the stock is going up or down or sideways.  Of course, they tell their clients that they know what they’re doing.  People, let me tell you something: stocks, bonds, commodities, currencies…they’re all a gamble.  You all should know that before you get into them.

My most memorable, movie moment of “The Wolf Of Wall Street” is…go read the first paragraph.  And after you’re done with that, go down to the last paragraph.

What brings your perception of money back to reality is when you lose money.  Then that $5 bill that you once thought of as toilet tissue is now 2 loaves of bread, or 2 dozen large eggs, or a gallon of milk, or a very nice Hallmark card in which you can write to your parents how wonderful they are in taking care of you since you were born, and how you can never repay them for all the love and kindness they’ve given you despite all your flaws.  I know…I speak from experience.

— M

There is a new threat to the world: The Mandarin (played by Ben Kingsley), a worse version of Osama Bin-Laden, with an even worse hair style that reminds me of those old yogis back in the 70s who faked all that enlightenment, but in reality they were just old perverts who loved sex, drugs, and rock and roll.  By the way, there’s nothing wrong with loving sex, drugs, and rock and roll — just be honest about it.   Anyway…The Mandarin!  Or…The Kingsley!  Well, Kingsley just hates America and all that we stand for, so he’s blowing stuff and people up around the world that directly hurts America.   Unfortunately for Kingsley, one of the people who gets hurt during one of his terrorist attacks is Happy Hogan (played by Jon Favreau).  That really angers Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr., of course), and so Downey tells the press that he’s going to kill Kingsley, and issues a challenge to Kingsley to come to Downey’s house for a fight, then gives his address to make it easier for Kingsley to find Downey!

Well, guess who comes knocking on Downey’s doors…with missiles?  The end result of this first round between Kingsley and Downey is that Downey’s better Iron Man suits have been destroyed, leaving him with a prototype that has more bugs than an American car made in the 90s.  Downey is forced to shed his armor for most of the movie, relying mostly on his intelligence and a few trusted friends (old and new).   And that leads us to the heart of the story, also known as the story’s spine or the theme.  Who and what is Downey without the Iron Man suits?  Is the suit more important, or is it the man?  These questions have already been answered from the first “Iron Man” movie.  Still, it’s nice to see these questions explored more fully in “Iron Man 3.”

It’s also nice to see a much more vulnerable Downey, who now has panic attacks since taking part in the NYC battle against aliens in “The Avengers.”  For those who’ve never had a panic attack, seeing Downey quickly turn into a frightened child may seem funny and unrealistic.  But for those who’ve had them, that’s how it happens: a sudden explosion of negative feelings that have been suppressed and building up over time that overwhelms your body and mind.

“Iron Man 3” is narrated by Downey, but he’s not telling the story to the audience.  He’s telling the story to one person, and you have to wait until the end credits are over to see who it is.  That bonus footage is one of my memorable moments of this movie.

Another memorable, movie moment of this third part of the “Iron Man” trilogy is the first scene when we see Jon Favreau.  Damn, he got fat!  He looks like NJ Governor Chris Christie!  Actually, he looks like he ate Chris Christie!

The top spot for my memorable, movie moment of “Iron Man 3” is the scene when Downey confronts Kingsley for the first time.  Kingsley — The Mandarin — is not quite what you would expect.  That’s all I can say without spoiling certain plot elements.

Although “Iron Man 3” is a worthy addition to the “Iron Man” trilogy, the first movie is still the best.  That’s why I bought only the first “Iron Man” movie on Blu-ray, and when I buy a movie, you know it’s a really good one.

M

“R.I.P.D.” comes in very much alive and kicking; and places high in the list of action/comedy, buddy cop movies.

Ryan Reynolds plays a psuedo-dirty cop who is partnered with all out, dirty cop played by Kevin Bacon.  The two have split chunks of gold they came upon during a drug bust, and Reynolds decides to turn his loot in so that he can have a clear conscience and be the good man who his wife thinks he is.  The Bacon man — having other ideas — uses an AK-type weapon and a crap-load of bullets to silence Reynolds forever.

Reynolds’ soul is quickly taken up by a vortex in the sky, and he joins many other souls that are going up to a bright light so they can be judged.  But…other factions in the afterlife have other plans for Reynolds.  He is pulled aside — literally — and given the choice of joining the “Rest In Peace Department” (responsible for apprehending dead souls who have managed to escape the vortex and judgment and remained on Earth) to make a better case for himself before he is judged, or to just go to judgment and take his chances.  Reynolds joins the heavenly police force, not just to give himself a better chance of going to heaven; but to also see his wife again.  You see, Reynolds, as a member of the R.I.P.D., comes back as a physical being on Earth, and his beat will be his hometown where his wife is.   Unfortunately, as explained to Reynolds by his new R.I.P.D. partner played by Jeff Bridges, he won’t look or sound like anything he was when he was alive.   Plus if Reynolds tries telling his wife what happened to him and who he really is, it’ll come out as garbled words.

Well, with that idea of reuniting with his wife gone to hell, Reynolds focuses on his new job bagging the dead who roam the Earth.  Jeff Bridges, playing one of the best roles in his career, schools Reynolds on how things are done; and they find themselves on a case involving an ancient artifact that can reverse the vortex and bring a rain of dead souls upon the Earth.  Wow.  And I thought 10 inches of snow in NYC last Thursday and Friday was bad!

When I saw the trailer for “R.I.P.D.” last year, I thought it was going to be a stupid movie despite its interesting premise.  Well, I was very wrong.  This is a highly enjoyable movie that didn’t get its just due in the theaters, but hopefully it’ll find its footing in home video.  Reynolds and Bridges are perfectly cast as partners in the “R.I.P.D.”  And in the buddy-cop genre, that is extremely important.   Bridges does an excellent job transforming himself into a lawman from the 19th Century — very believable and funny even though his character doesn’t mean to be funny.   The Bacon man also deserves kudos for his portrayal of the main bad guy, playing him with just the right amount of evil and charm.  Add to all this a funny, lighthearted script that has good pacing and a director who knows what the hell he’s doing, and you have a movie that should’ve been a hit.  I don’t know what happened.  Oh, yeah, we live in a crazy world where untalented idiots make millions with their “reality” t.v. shows, and people still believe in what politicians spew out of their mouths.

Well, believe this part: my most memorable, movie moment of “R.I.P.D.” is the scene when Reynolds finds out that his Earthly body is of an old, Chinese man; and the Earthly body of Bridges is of a very tall, blonde, Victoria’s Secret model.  Haha!  God does have a sense of humor.

M

This movie is one for folding laundry while you watch it.

Katherine Heigl plays a down on her luck woman who turns to bounty hunting to make ends meet.  She has no experience in law enforcement, but hey, what the hell, how hard could it be, right?  As an added incentive for her to be a fugitive recovery agent, her ex-high school crush, played by Jason O’Mara, is a fugitive with a big bounty of $50,000.  So, Heigl decides to go after O’Mara in order to get the 10 percent bounty fee plus get even with O’Mara for breaking her heart back when a desktop computer with 512KB of memory and a 20GB hard drive cost $3,000.

So why is O’Mara a fugitive in “One For The Money?”  He’s a former cop accused of killing an innocent, unarmed man.  Of course, O’Mara claims it was a clean kill and he is being set up by local thugs who want to silence anyone who can put a wrench in their criminal operations.  Knowing that it’s not healthy for his butt to be locked up in prison, O’Mara goes on the lam to prove his innocence.

A decent concept, right?  Unfortunately, the execution was botched like the Obamacare rollout.  Heigl and O’Mara have no chemistry; the editing and screenplay were mediocre; and the pacing — mostly a product of editing, directing, and the screenplay — is off.  I did not feel engaged with the movie until the last 20 minutes when things started to pick up.  That’s like saying I married a woman and for the first 5 years I didn’t give a damn about her, but I stuck it out because I had nothing better to do; and now she grew on me.  That’s not quite a glowing review, is it?

Do I have a memorable, movie moment for this forgettable flick?  That’s right, Spartacus!  That would be the scene when Heigl gets into a mixed martial arts ring with a very scary thug in order to chat some information out of him.  Within seconds, the thug has her against the cage and is about to do all kinds of damage to Heigl.  Pretty intense and unexpected for a movie that is mostly light-hearted.

Save your time and watch “The Bounty Hunter” instead.  Although that one isn’t that good, either, it’s a much better movie.  It’s like having to choose to ride either a Big Wheel or a tricycle.  One is better than the other, but even if you choose the better ride, you still lose.

M

The first time I saw “Watership Down” was on t.v., back in the early 80s.  I saw the commercial for it and I just had to watch it.  I loved the movie as a boy, and I love it now as an adult.

“Watership Down” is a British animated movie about a group of rabbits who leave their warren because they believe something bad will happen to their old home very soon.  But leaving isn’t so easy, because the warren is run like an oppressive government, led by a Chief Rabbit whose orders must be obeyed, and the orders are enforced by soldier/policemen rabbits.   The rabbits who want to leave (led by a rabbit voiced by John Hurt — you know, that dude who had a baby alien burst out of his chest in the movie “Aliens”) make a break for it anyway; and they encounter many dangers in order to find that perfect home where they can live peacefully and come and go as they please.

But finding a new home is only part of the problem, because all the rabbits in Hurt’s group are male.   So, in order to make their lives and new home whole with new mates and the possibility of future baby rabbits, they look to another warren where male and female rabbits want to leave.  This other warren is run by a huge, tyrant, warrior rabbit called The General; and he has many vicious, soldier rabbits under his command who will kill any rabbit who crosses him.  So, of course, Hurt’s group is going to find it difficult to release the female and male rabbits who are in The General’s warren.

When I first watched “Watership Down,” I don’t think I was aware of the political messages of the movie; but as an adult, yes, I see and hear what the movie is truly about, which makes the story more profound, especially in today’s political climate.  As a kid, though, I mostly remembered the little guy fighting the big guy for what he believed in.  And that leads me to my most memorable, movie moment of “Watership Down”: the scene when one of the good rabbits called Bigwig fought The General, who is twice Bigwig’s size.  Boiled down to a child’s perspective, it’s a person fighting a bully when there is no other choice but to fight.  Fighting the good fight, even though the odds are against the little guy.  I know, I’ve been there, because I’ve had my share of dealing with bullies when I was younger.  Sometimes I stood up to them.  Sometimes I got my ass kicked, sometimes it was a draw, and sometimes it led to no physical altercation.  But I never regretted those moments when I stood up to those idiots despite some of the negative outcomes.

Walk away if you can, but if that’s not possible, then stand up and fight for what you believe is right and just.

M

"Watership Down" drawing

This is my drawing based on a picture I saw as part of an advertisement of “Watership Down” in TV Guide back in the 1980s .  That’s how much I loved this movie…I spent a few hours of my childhood to create this.

Some of you are saying, “this movie is like ‘Olympus Has Fallen.'”  And you’d be right.   Only “Olympus Has Fallen” is a much superior movie than “White House Down.”   For those wondering why Hollywood tends to put out similar movies at about the same time, it’s because a movie gets its start as an idea; and ideas are discussed heavily among actors, directors, producers, and screenwriters over a period of months or years.  Sometimes it leads to two studios making the same type of movie.  Anyway…

“White House Down” has the White House attacked by domestic enemies who have multiple axes to grind against the U.S. government.  The security personnel within the White House are easily taken out like the resident slut in your High School.  It’s a bit funny, actually, how easily the bad guys took over, because I kept thinking “it can’t be this easy.”    Yes, there is an inside man — and no, I’m not giving anything away, as the audience can tell within the first few minutes who the inside man is — but the defenders of the White House were made to be no better than inept, mall cops who are secretly eyeing the butts of teenaged girls.  It’s lazy screenwriting.

Jamie Foxx is the president.   Are you giggling already?  That’s the problem of having him play POTUS.  Sure, he can play serious roles, but I just knew he was going to be cracking jokes along the way, and I was right; and that gives this movie a much less serious tone than “Olympus Has Fallen.”  It’s still a fun movie, but it’s much less intense than it could’ve been, and doesn’t emotionally engage you as it could have.   It’s like watching a “Die Hard” sequel.

Playing the hero that puts a wrench in the machinery of the bad guys is Channing Tatum, a Washington, D.C. cop who is applying for a job with the Secret Service, and at the same time trying to connect with his little girl by taking her along so she can have a tour of the White House.  Tatum has the looks of a leading man, and he has decent acting abilities; but he doesn’t have the “it” factor — you know, when you look at a person’s performance and say, “damn, that person is a movie star.”  Add to this the lack of chemistry between him and Foxx, and it’s just another problem for this movie.

You’d be surprised to know that my most memorable, movie moment of “White House Down” is a funny part.  It’s the scene when Tatum and Foxx are running from the terrorists, and they both get into one of the Presidential Limousines.   Tatum gets in the driver’s seat, and Foxx gets in the backseat, and Tatum asks the President why the hell he’s getting in the backseat.  The timing on that scene was perfect, and it brought lots of laughs from me and three of my best friends who were watching the movie.

“White House Down” brought the entertainment, that’s for damn sure.   So if you look at it that way, it’s a success.  But it’s not enough for me to buy it on Blu-ray.

M

You may want to turn on your subtitles for this movie, because most of the actors have extremely thick accents.  From England comes “Attack The Block,” a hybrid sci-fi/comedy movie that has aliens attacking a poor neighborhood in London.  It all starts when an alien crashes into a car near a group of teenaged hoodlums (led by John Boyega) who are in the process of mugging a nurse who is on her way home (played by Jodie Whittaker).   Boyega investigates the damaged car, looking for something valuable to steal, and instead he gets attacked by the alien.  This doesn’t go too well with Boyega and his crew, so they decide to chase  the alien and make it sorry that it messed with the local toughs.   Having done battle with a tiny alien and coming out victorious, Boyega and his gang go home to the apartment complex where they all live in order to celebrate by getting high.  But their celebration is cut short when more aliens arrive, and the aliens — the size of small gorillas with glowing mouths and teeth — seem to be focusing their attacks on Boyega and his gang.

It was hard for me to root for the teenaged gang at first, because the first time they are shown is when they are wearing hoods/hats/handkerchiefs over their faces as they block the path of Whittaker so they can mug her.  It’s not a comedic scene at all; it was actually a bit terrifying.  I hated these kids, and I wanted them to get their low-life bodies crushed by a falling, giant anvil like in the cartoons.  Then I realized these are the main characters — the heroes, I guess — of the movie!  D’oh.  But halfway through the movie, when the street toughs and their muggee join forces to survive this alien attack, my anger eased up a bit and I found myself somewhat liking them and wanting them to live.  By the way, writing likeable characters is easy.  Writing unlikeable characters that forces the audience to eventually like them is very hard to do, and risky.  Risky because the audience could wind up hating them throughout the movie and emotionally distancing themselves from the movie, which leads to an unhappy movie experience, and bad reviews, and low profits for the movie.  So, I give a lot of props to the director/screenwriter for not taking the easy way out.

One of my memorable, movie moments of “Attack The Block” is the scene when Boyega is making a run for his apartment while the monsters are running after him, just a few feet away from taking big chunks out of his body.  The scene is in slow-motion, elongating the nightmarish scenario of a person running for all his worth in order to not suffer a painful death of being ripped apart by sharp teeth.

A comedic scene gets the award for being my most memorable, movie moment of “Attack The Block.”  And that would be the part when two little kids — wanna-be gangsters who call themselves Probs and Mayhem — are about to attack an alien so they can get street cred.  Mayhem keeps asking Probs questions about what would happen to them if they fail to kill the monster.  Probs finally shuts him up by saying something like, “Nobody is going to call you Mayhem if you keep acting like a pussy.”  Buwahahahahaha!

For those who think this is some laugh out loud, silly alien movie…it’s not.  It’s more serious than it is funny; and there are many parts of grisly violence when people are ripped to pieces by the aliens.  The screenwriter/director did a great job of blending the two genres, as well as keeping the tension high throughout the movie.   I was glad I took a chance on this indie flick, as it provided me with very good entertainment for 88 minutes; and it was free (thanks, Library!).

M

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