Sunday, August 29, 2010

When in Rome (2010)

Starring Kristen Bell, Josh Duhamel, Will Arnett,Jon Heder, and Danny Devito

Directed by Mark Steven Johnson

Release Date January 29, 2010
After being humilated by her ex-boyfriend, Beth (Kristen Bell) is a skeptic when it comes to love. So when her younger sister enters into a whirlwind marriage in Rome, Beth joins into the wedding party and meets Nick, a charming sports reporter. But, after spying Nick and another woman outside the famous Fountain of Love, Beth foolishly plucks five coins out of the fountain where five men are struck with a curse that puts them head over heel in love with Beth. Will Beth find the way to break the curse to get rid of such crazy suitors as a street magician (Heder) or an egomaniac model (Shepard), or at long last find true love?

I will admit, the trailers for this movie were atrocious: they made Bell look annoying, and the tone set in 2 minutes' time didn't make me feel like giving this rom-com a chance. However, to my surprise, When in Rome has a lot going for it with good chemistry with the romantic leads, and some good comedy from the suitors. Is there a weakpoint? One of Nick's buddies is horribly written and the actor's portrayal of this character feels like he was channeling Jonah Hill in a C- performance. Other than that misstep in static characterization, When in Rome is a goofy, lighthearted comedy with a great leading lady and a charming love interest in Duhamel.

Rating: * * * * of 5

Click here to buy When In Rome When in Rome [Blu-ray]

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Other Guys

Starring Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Eva Mendes, Michael Keaton, Steve Coogan, Dwayne Johnson, and Samuel L. Jackson

Directed by Adam McKay

August 6, 2010

Funnier than I expected. Sure, Will Ferrell can be a tad irritating at times, but he's still pretty hilarious in this movie and has some funny banter with Wahlberg. An entertaining comedy, but a tad too slow and certainly not at the calliber of Ferrell's previous work.

Rating: * * * * of 5

Click here to buy
The Other Guys (Rated)
The Other Guys (The Unrated Other Edition) 
The Other Guys (The Unrated Other Edition) [Blu-ray]
The Other Guys (Two-Disc Unrated Other Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Expendables (2010)

Starring Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Bruce Willis, Dolph Lungren, and Arnold Schwarzenegger

Directed by Sylvester Stallone

Release Date: August 13, 2010

Not a perfect movie, but a fun and enjoyable action movie. The cast has goon chemistry together, have some great action sequences, and Mickey Rourke gives a pretty good monologue about a previous mission as a mercenary with The Expendables. Plus, there's a hilarious scene with Arnold Schwarzenneger, Bruce Willis, and Sylvester Stallone. Sure, the movie is pretty much your standard 1980's action movie, but director/co-writer/star Stallone is aware of that and revels in the cheezy dialogue and over-the-top action. My two major gripes would be: 1) Stop using close-ups and shaky cam footage when filming action sequences. Note to directors: We the audience are tired of this trick as it makes the fight scenes confusing to watch and hard to truly enjoy, so knock it off. 2) More of the group together would have been awesome; it reminds one of Quentin Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds, where we only follow 2-3 characters when what the audience truly wants to see more of is the group as a whole.

The Expendables is a fun, goofy action movie with flaws, but still an entertaining experience.

Rating: * * * 1/2 of 5

Click here to buy The Expendables The Expendables (Three-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

Starring Michael Cera, Ellen Wong, Kieran Culkin, Brie Larson, Brandon Routh, Jason Schwartzman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Alison Pill, and Chris Evans

Directed by Edgar Wright

Release Date: August 13, 2010

Bursting from the pages of ONI Press and the warped minds of creator Brian Lee O'Malley and Director Edgar Wright, comes Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, a hipster's guide through the world of video games, rock and roll, and heartache.

Scott Pilgrim is your typical 22 year-old slacker: He has no job, but sleeps in a bed with his gay roommate, Wallace Wells (Culkin) yet has a new girlfriend when we first enter Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life: 17 year-old high school student Knives Chau (Wong), which is safe, quiet and comfortable after being dumped a year ago by The Clash At Demonhead lead singer/keyboard player, Natalie "Envy" Adams (Brie Larson). Soon, Scott's life is turned upside down when he meets the mysterious delivery girl, Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). Yet, before Scott can truly win Ramona's heart, he must defeat her exes: THE LEAGUE OF EVIL EXes, seven of Ramona's past relationships....

The first thing I can say is that Edgar Wright perfectly captured the tone of O'Malley's six volumes of Scott Pilgrim: the comedy, the relationship aspects, and the crazy video game inspired action sequences. And yes, this movie is a live action video game: there are "KOs" and status bars, and "VS" captions when Scott fights an EVIL EX. Is everything right? Well, I'd say that Wright skims over one or two important characters but for the most part all of your favorite Pilgrim Universe characters: Stephen Stills, Kim Pine, "young" Neil, and even Comeau!

The actors really nail their characters, even Michael Cera (who, FINALLY HAS EMOTIONAL RANGE!). The league of Evil Exes are truly hilarious, from Chris Evans a Lucas Lee (Ex #2) to Jason Schwartzman as Gideon Gordon Graves (Ex #7). Ramona and Roxy (Ex #4) even have a humourous exchange due to Scott's indecision when having to fight a female EX. I only wish there would have been more time to let the audience get to know Kim Pine (Alison Pill) as well as the comic book audience got to know her in the original stories.

Go see Scott Pilrgirim Vs. The World, it is truly a one of a kind experience at the movies.

Rating: * * * * * of 5

Click here to buy Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Repo Men

Starring Jude Law, Forrest Whitaker, and Liev Schriber

Directed by Miguel Sapochnik

Release Date: March 19, 2010

Before anyone asks: Yes, I will be comparing this movie and 2008's REPO!: The Genetic Opera.
In 2025, the world has become dependent on organ transplants in which to live. To that end, THE UNION has made replacement organs known as "Artiforgs" available to people that need a new liver or a new knee. When people can't make their payment for their new limbs, The Union sends in their specialty medical technicians/thugs known as "Repo Men", who are to collect the unpaid organs regardless of if the client is still breathing. Of the known Repo Men, Remy (Law) and Jake (Whitaker) are two of the best; friends since childhood and ripping out organs well into adulthood. Soon, Remy's wife wants him to slow down and take a desk job. But, Remy's last job is botched and now he's a client with a new heart and a down payment....

If you were to take Blade Runner, Brazil and Repo! The genetic Opera combined and mixed in a blender, Repo Men is what you'd get. The film just feels like the cobbled pieces of better known, more inventive science fiction (get to the ending and try not to scream "Plagarism!", I dare you). The concepts are okay, but nothing spectacular are ever done with them. By the third act, Repo Men just degenerates in to the standard gun fight in any other action movie. Take a film like "The Genetic Opera": it has an amazing visual style, grandiose costuming, and some pretty kick-butt songs. Repo Men, on the other hand, will just be another generic movie you'll probably forget in six months after you saw it.

Moving on to the more positive aspects, the movie does have a good cast with great chemistry, Law and Whitaker especially as life-long buddies soon on the outs after Remy starts questioning his life as a Repo Man. Also, the soundtrack is pretty cool, full of jazz and indie-rock instead of the generic "HARD ROCK HEAVY METAL" that usually plays during an action sequence.

Not a bad movie, but certainly nothing original.

Rating: * * * 1/2 of 5

Click here to buy  Repo Men Repo Men (Unrated) [Blu-ray]