New Movie Reviews

    • Funny People

      10 years ago

      New Movie Reviews

      -Funny People-

      “Funny people†(July 2009) is a comedy, by the great Judd Apatow, with a well chosen cast of comedian/actors, including two of my heroes, Adam Sandler (as George Simmons, a famously accomplished comedian and actor) and Seth Rogen (as Ira Wright, an aspiring stand up comedian), as well as Leslie Mann (Laura), George’s love interest in the film, and Eric Bana (as Clarke). Two other main actors include Jonah Hill (as Leo Koenig, a stand up comedian) and Jason Swartzman (as Mark Jackson, a tv sitcom actor). Other minor character star-spots include the lovely Aubrey Plaza, RZA, and Aziz Ansari (as Randy). Spoiler- there are many comedy star appearances in the film, such as Ray Romano, Eminem, Sarah Silverman, Dave Attell, Norm MacDonald, Paul Reiser, Andy Dick, James Taylor, and a few others.

      The movie starts off in the open credits with old clips of Adam Sandler making prank phone calls with a group of friends, using a mock voice of an old lady, which is hysterical. Throughout George Simmons’ (Adam Sandler) moments of reminiscing, you’ll see several old clips of Sandler’s pranks and original comedy from his days as an aspiring comedian mixed onto the screen. This adds a certain depth and realism to Sandler’s character. This also helps immerse the crowd in the story, which sums up one comedian’s life and drops you into a time of conflict in his later years, and allows the audience to sympathize with the character’s emotions. They’re also just very funny. Adam Sandler, already an accomplished actor, gives a great performance in this movie. He goes back to his roots as a stand up comedian and brings the laughs, while balancing his confused “going off the deep end†state of mind into play. Leslie Mann (Laura) is tied to Sandler’s character, George, as his girl that got away. Eric Bana, plays Laura’s husband, Clarke. The love triangle conflict between Laura, George, and Clarke draws the plot down to earth away from a standard comedy. Playing Laura and Clarke’s kids are the Apatow sisters, playing Leslie Mann’s daughters for the second time in a film since Knocked Up.

      Seth Rogen also performed well in Funny People. Though he’s not much of a stand up comedian, he has proven himself to be a capable actor and screen comedian in such films as Knocked Up, Superbad, Pineapple Express, and the 40-Year-Old Virgin. The shaky teasing relationship between Sandler and Rogen makes for an entertaining on screen chemistry. Rogen plays the focal character in the plot of Funny People and brings the entire cast together through on screen relationship ties with all of the other characters, including both Hill and Swartzman as their roommate, with Aubrey Plaza who was fantastic and plays Ira Wright’s crush, with Sandler as his assistant, and with other minor characters like RZA (Chuck) and Aziz Ansari (Randy). I just want to add this here, the character Randy is the comedy plot character embodiment of a skit based stand up comedian that takes it over the top just for a few laughs. He’s more of an annoyance than an entertainer, and this film is no exclusion. Swartzman also wasn’t that great in this movie, though Jonah Hill made up for his lack of performance. Just about everyone in this movie has some kind of previous acting experience with another actor or producer in this film. The web of history between all of the actors just goes on and on.

      Since this is a comedy movie, rather than some special effects filled action packed blockbuster, there isn’t much to speculate about other than acting performance, plot, and entertainment value. The cast and level of acting throughout the film are certainly solid. The plot and theme was original and flowed along smoothly and naturally. Funny People was definitely entertaining and held true to the expectations left by the title. This movie is Funny. The stand up comedy style is real and successful. Each actor performing in a stand up comedy scene isn’t just acting it out in front of stand-ins, those are actual crowds in actual clubs, according to the behind the scenes special. The crowds are real, there for the laughs and the moments of silence are also real. All of the emotion in this movie is believable and immersive, as well as entertaining.

      Final Score- 9 out of 10
      I honestly liked this movie. If you're interested in taking a break from the action blockbusters and seeing an entertaining comedy with a new twist on funny films, Funny People is your movie. It's a movie for teen or older audiences, as you can probably already guess just by looking at the cast. Check it out.

      -Dan Popejoy, Amateur Film Reviewer


    • District 9

      10 years ago

      New Movie Reviews

      -District 9-

      I just managed to catch this movie in theaters recently and currently I have mixed opinions about it. Once again, a modern film advertised as non-stop action has managed to produce yet another display that follows today's usual MO, starts off as a snore fest and then kicks you in the ass by the end. Honestly, have a pillow and set an alarm clock half way through this movie and you'll be set. It's like the into to a movie doesn't matter to producers anymore. As a classic films man and tough critic, I believe no only the beginning of, but the entire first quarter of a movie sets the pace for the remaining duration. If it starts off slow, the ending won't matter much. People will be turned off when it comes time to see it again later on down the road because they know they will have to sit through an hour of boredom to reach the hour of intensity.

      The movie is practically documentary style, with regular action scenes mixed in. It's like flipping from the news to a movie on HBO back and forth. Don't get me wrong, the shooting style of this movie is somewhat original and is entertaining.

      The plot is definitely interesting, but is hard to describe without giving away key secrets and scenes in the film. So you'll just have to watch and see for yourself. Some bits of this movie can be traced back to other sources: an alien weapon that is capable of attracting and lifting objects, then propelling them at enemy targets for example, closely resembles the gravity gun from Half-Life 2. And an electric pulse cannon is also very similar to the plasma coil weapon you can use in the Ratchet and Clank series for the Playstation 2. The special effects in this movie are outstanding, as well as costumes, props, vehicles, environment and weapons. I will say this, District 9 is gory. Very gory. More heads explode and limbs tear away than in any recent sci-fi film I've seen. As well as the main character's progressive transformation/mutation/decomposition of flesh altogether, animal destruction, aliens being executed, humans being vaporized, and various other shows of anatomy.

      The background environment of the alien ghetto-style, set in Johannesburg, South Africa, resembles a concentration camp. In fact, many aspects of this film's plot and environment, including the alien-MNU security forces relationship, are similar to many past occurrences of genocide; such as the Holocaust. That's another conversation for another time.

      Unlike some films recently released, which I will not mention, District 9 is not an example of a film that sacrificed good acting and a thick plot for an overload of special effects. I believe some acting regarding a few minor characters could have been better, but the primary focus is on the main detective, Wikus Van De Merwe (Sharlito Copley), who had an excellent acting performance.

      Final Score- 8.0 out of 10.
      Save more many other spoiler details and the aforementioned kinks, the movie was good at best. The giant murderous robot action scenes were fantastic, the plot was interesting, and District 9 still managed to maintain a standard of good acting throughout the entire film. Leave the kids at home and pay the few bucks to see it. Save yourself the money down the road and skip the DVD purchase.

    • Star Trek

      10 years ago

      New Movie Reviews

      -Star Trek-

      Basically an all around solid film. I enjoyed the plot, the action, and the acting. Some parts tended to drag on, and made the movie a little too comical, only to appeal to a younger audience. That aside, I still liked the film. The remake stayed true to the original style, so kudos to JJ Abrams. With a full cast including Zachary Quinto (young Spok), Erik Bana (Nero), John Cho (Sulu), Simon Pegg (Scotty), and Bruce Greenwood (Captain Pike). I believe Chris Pine was well casted as Captain James T. Kirk. He held true to the off beat original Shatner-style and mixed well with Quinto's portrayal of the young Spok. I also believe that Karl Urban (Bones) gave the best character performance in the film, second to Greenwood as Captain Pike. His tough exterior reminded me of the original Doc McCoy instantly. Zoe Salanda's performance as Uhura was also well done. She added a new side of Uhura's character personality not previously seen before and gave her persona a new spark of youth and attitude.

      Bana as Nero was just out of place in this film, both acting and plot wise. The villainous plot story was interesting enough, with the ship, the fighting, and the back story, but it could have used much more fine tuning in the casting department and script writing.

      Simon Pegg was an excellent addition to the character cast. He played Scotty very well. Where the sidekick midget alien comes in, I have no clue. Maybe I missed too much of the original series to understand where the little guy came from.

      Final Score- 8.5 out of 10
      The movie was very entertaining. Even if you haven't seen the original series much, you can still enjoy the 2009 film without worrying about keeping up with too much back story; since it is the back story really.

    • Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen

      10 years ago

      New Movie Reviews

      -Transformers 2- Revenge of the Fallen-

      This is a repost of my first review posted in my journal. All my future reviews will be posted using this group from now on.

      This movie has been hyped up beyond belief in mainstream advertising. After seeing it though, I have mixed opinions. Transformers was a good movie, for the most part. Obviously the sequel had to live up to the original. All that I asked in a sequel was more action, better acting, and a catchy plot. In Transformers 2, we see a few requests answered. The first half of the movie is rather slow and dull. Not until the second half does the plot begin to show itself and the action picks up. Once it jumps off between a few giant robots who don't want to share the shiny toy, the rest of the film is nothing but explosions and human versus alien toaster mayhem.

      I appreciate that new models of Transformers were added to this sequel, as there used to be a variety of kinds in the original shows. Also the addition of new technology in the United States Military used to combat the alien machines gives you the sense that we humans aren't just innocent bystanders in the storyline but a fighting force as well. Lastly, tweeking the plot with a sidebar story of conflict between the military personnel and the politicians over decision making points out that in an emergency situation, everyone is most likely to be ass backwards in taking care of it these days. Whether it be a hurricane, an economic crisis, health care reform, or invading forces of massive murderous robots.
      These are clunkers you can't get cash for at your local Ford dealership.

      Final Score- 5.5 out of 10
      Good action, somewhat entertaining, but I'm not really interested in sitting through it again right away. Not to mention the garbage band Linkin Park had to get involved in the soundtrack yet again.. ugh
      Also, as Iceman4264 pointed out in a journal review of this film I published recently, this movie contained several distasteful scenes that some audiences might find disturbing. Including dog on dog action, robot on Megan Fox action, and a disgusting brain probing scene. As much as I like seeing Shia Lebeouf getting knocked down a peg, the doctor/patient alien gitmo-like action was over the top to say the least.

      See Journal Review Comments for Discussion

    • Just Getting Started

      10 years ago

      New Movie Reviews

      I've been posting reviews in my journal for a little while, including Start Trek and Transformers 2.

      From now on, reviews will be posted in this group. Currently, I'm working on watching and taking notes for Funny People. Review post coming soon.

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