Monthly Archives: March 2009

FB Recommendation: Lantana (2001)

lantana

For Christ’s sake, I don’t have a weak heart. All right? This is not an affair. It’s a one-night stand that happened twice.

— Leon Zat

I was going to review Kingdom of Heaven yesterday, but I was bored to tears with the film. I decided not to waste my time lambasting it. I thought that I would recommend a movie that I caught a glimpse of Saturday afternoon on IFC, Lantana.

It has been a long time since I saw this Ray Lawrence second directorial effort. This is adapted by Andrew Bovell’s own play, “Speaking In Tongues.” It was renamed “lantana” for a couple of reasons that I will not spoil here.

It’s about the intertwining relationships between all of the main characters. It’s toxicity. The way it corrodes peoples souls.

The movie opens with Detective Leon Zat (Anthony LaPaglia) is in the throes of lovemaking with Jane O’May (Rachael Blake) in a hotel room. The thing is that they are both married.

Leon’s wife, Sonja (Kerry Armstrong) suspects that he is cheating, but she does not confront him. She seeks the advice of Dr. Valerie Somers (Barbara Hershey).

Valerie also suspects her husband, John (Geoffrey Rush) of cheating on her.

The central mystery of the movie is, who was the woman’s body that was discovered at the beginning of the movie? What were the circumstances that lead to her demise?

All of this is revealed is slight plot twists that leads the characters to their revelations.

Judgment: An enthralling character piece that deserves to be looked at.

Rating: ****

The House Bunny (2008)

house_bunny

The eyes are the nipples of the face.

— Shelley

While I was at the library, I flipped through the April issue of “Vanity Fair”. Anna Faris was highlighted for her comedic chops in The House Bunny and so I watched it.

Let me just say that I had a case of déjà vu. This film is a rehash of Legally Blonde. Plain and simple. This was written by the same writers, Kirsten Smith and Karen McCullah Lutz.

It starts out with the main character, Shelley (Anna Faris) celebrating her 27th birthday at the Playboy mansion. She hopes that she would be the Miss November cover model for Playboy magazine. She receives a letter from Hugh Hefner– who appears in the movie with his girlfriends, Kendra, Holly — that she had to leaves the mansion immediately.

Homeless, she stumbles upon a sorority house that is in dire straits, the Zeta Alpha Zeta House. They are in need of a house mother and thirty pledges or their house will have to close.

Even though, Shelley is not an alum of the unidentified school that she is hired as house mother.

There are some characters that were not humorous at all. There are some subplots that were ridiculous. The message of the movie is to get any attention in this world, you have to dress like a skank.

Judgment: There are some hilarious dialogue, but the story is seriously lacking.

Rating : **1/2

Hustle & Flow (2005)

hustle_and_flow

Everybody gotta have a dream.

— DJay

Saturday night, I was flipping through the channels and I saw that Hustle & Flow was on Mtv. I was most pleasant of surprises. I did see the movie a couple of times before.

When it was released in theaters in 2005, I avoided it when I saw the trailer. I thought that it was another “pimp and ho” movie that I don’t want to see. Right around Oscar time when Terrence Howard was nominated for an Oscar and “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” won, it came on my radar.

People were saying that this movie was good and transcended the “pimp and ho” movie.

DJay (Terrence Howard) is an uneducated pimp that is hustling in Memphis, Tennessee. He lives with his pros, Nola (Taryn Manning) and Shug (Taraji P. Henson), who is pregnant from a trick.

He is struggling to keep himself afloat when one day he finds a small keyboard. He writes his raps down. He hooks up with a rookie producer, Key (Anthony Anderson) and a whiz kid keyboardist, Shelby (DJ Qualls).

They create beautiful music together.

Judgment: If you want to see great acting, infectious songs, then watch this movie.

Rating: ****

Starships Troopers (1997)

You’re some sort of big, fat, smart-bug, aren’t you?
— Johnny Rico


Starship Troopers
is a movie that I wanted to see for a long time, because it has become a cult classic to sci-fi geeks since its release in 1997. People said that when it was released that it was terrible. I would not say that it’s terrible. I have some huge issues with the movie, but it was fun.

The film is based on the 1959 novel by Robert Heinlein. The plot revolves around Bueno Aires in the near future where a trio of friends, Johnny Rico (Casper Van Dien), Carmen (Denise Richards) and Carl (Neil Patrick Harris) are preparing to graduate from high school that think about what they are going to do with their lives.

They want to enroll in the Federal Service for different reasons. Carmen wants to be a pilot. Carl wants to understand alien species and Rico wants to be there just for Carmen.

After they leave for the Federal Service, the Arachnids attack Earth and thus starts the intergalactic war.

There is so much blood in this movie. It was like a slasher film. Decapitated, mangled, split-apart bodies strewn all over the place.

Watch out for a lot of explosions of red, green, and orange.

The movie was kick ass, but I have some problems with it.

  • The teenagers were from Buenos Aires, but they were played by white actors.
  • When Carmen gets punctured in the shoulder by an arachnid, ten minutes later she is holding a gun blowing the away.
  • The dialogue was too campy for my taste. I had to laugh.
  • The romantics rivals Dizzy and Zander (Dina Mayer, Patrick Muldoon) were outrageous.

Judgment: It was a fun ride, but you have to let a lot things go to enjoy it.

Rating: ***1/2

The Obama Deception


I heard about this documentary, Alex Jones’ The Obama Deception almost immediately after the historic election of our 44th president. People are bitter that their candidate didn’t win.

Was there a “Bush Deception” documentary?

You can watch this documentary on YouTube either in parts or the whole movie.

Tell me what you think of the film in the comment section below.

Ratatouille (2007)


Food is fuel. You get picky about what you put in your tank, your engine is gonna die. Now shut up and eat your garbage.
Django

Ratatouille is currently number 154 of the top 250 of all time on IMDB. I have to disagree highly with the praise that movie has gotten. It won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature against Persepolis and Surf’s Up. I did not see the latter, but it must have been slim pickings that year if the movie won.

The movie centers around Remy (Patton Oswalt), a rat that has impeccable palate for good food and different combinations of tastes. He lives with his nest family in the roof of an old lady’s house.

His father, Django (Brian Dennehy) wants his son to be a thief like his other son, Emile (Peter Sohn) and himself. Remy doesn’t want that. He wants to be a world famous chef like his hero, Chef Gusteau (Brad Garrett).

One day, he hears news that Gusteau died when he lost a star from his five-star restaurant. Also, the nest is discovered when Remy and Emile were trying to scour for food.

As usual, Remy is separated from the nest and he ends up at Gusteau’s restaurant. Imagine that. He helps out a bumbling, flailing guy, Linguini (Lou Romano) to help bring out his creations.

Hilarity ensues and the move falls out the rails so much that I had to turn it off.

Here are my major problems with the movie:

  • I have an issue with a family, even if they’re rats, being from Paris and none of them have the slightest accent.
  • Why would you let a rat cook? Whose idea with this?
  • Why did Linguini tell that cook that he doesn’t when in a scene ten minutes before he was sipping wine with Remy?
  • How it is physiologically possible control a person’s movements by hair?

Are you kidding me, Pixar? Are we suppose to buy this dreck? What happened to the Finding Nemos, the Toy Storys of yesteryear? We have to deal with convoluted plots with ridiculous characters and situations that is supposed to be heartwarming. Spare me!

Judgment: There are some genuine laughs, but it’s not worth getting invested in it.

Rating: **1/2

Team America: World Police (2004)



Great job, team. Head back to base for debriefing and cocktails.
— Spottswoode

Created by the same guys that did South Park, BASEketball, Orgazmo, is the movie that was spurned on the heels of American patriotism, 9/11 hysteria, and paranoia of anything foreign; Team America: World Police. Trey Parker and Matt Stone provide a good majority of the voice talent in this movie.

The action starts when Team America is in Paris to stop some terrorists and the leader of the group is killed. Spottswoode (Daran Norris) recruits a Broadway actor, Gary Johnston to assume the role as a covert operative to find out the terrorists ties.

Team America blow the crap out of historical landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, the Sphinx, the pyramids, the Louvre.

The antagonists of the movie are Kim Jong Il and the Film Actors Guild (F.A.G.) that they want to have a perfect world.

The famous sex scene was hilarious, but the movie had to resort to bathroom humor to convey their message. It was disconcerting to me.

Judgment: There are some genuine laughs, awesome kills, wonderful puppetry, but the story is lacking.

Rating: ***

Ladder 49 (2004)


People are always asking me how is it that firefighters run into a burning building when everyone is running out. Courage is the answer.
— Chief Kennedy


Ladder 49
was a movie that I want to see for a long time it got some some critical praise when it was released in 2004. I never had the chance to see until now. I am asking myself, why did I bother?

Jack Morrison (Joaquin Phoenix) is the main protagonist in this Jay Russell vehicle. It revolves around his career from being a rookie firefighter to a point where he is trapped in a crumbling building.

This is not a spoiler. Jack is fighting a fire with his situation house, Engine 33 when a twelfth story floor gives away. The action jumps forward and backward in time to show his life leading up to that moment.

That was my biggest problem with the movie. The dramatic tension of Jack’s life being in peril is suffocated by melodramatic scenes with his wife, Linda (Jacinda Barrett) about his dangerous job. Those scenes dragged infinitum. It felt like an eternity to me. I had to shut the movie off.

It was a commendable film about the life of a firefighter, but I felt disconnected from the story that I didn’t care for them. When tragedy happens, I thought it was horrible, but I felt cold.

Judgment: I would rather look at Fireproof than this movie.

Rating: **

The Warriors (1979)

Can you dig it?

— Cyrus

I heard about The Warriors ever since I could remember, but I have never seen the movie in its entirety. I heard about that the video game came out in 2005, I wanted to see the movie. Now that I have, I don’t know what the fuss it all about.

The movie centers around a one night in New York City when all of the gangs of New York City are gathered together for a summit by Cyrus (Roger Will), the wise leader of the Gramecy Riffs. They are like Bruce LeRoy clones from The Last Dragon. They wanted to have a truce for one night to discuss the territory that they are fighting for.

A gunshot is heard from withing the crowd, Cyrus falls by the hand of Luther (David Patrick Kelly), the leader of the Rogues. He is witnessed by one of the members from The Warriors, Fox (Thomas G. Waites). Luther points out that The Warriors orchestrated the plot to cause a turf war between the hundreds of gangs.

The police shows up to break the summit and arrested anybody on sight. The Riffs catches the leader of The Warriors, Cleon (Dorsey Wright) and supposedly beats him to death.

The second-in-command, Swan (Michael Beck) assumed the leadership role and orders the rest of the guys to get back to their place of Coney Island to be safe. They have a price on their head.

I thought being a movie about gangs, I thought there would be more action. It was just The Warriors running away. That’s it. The acting was was atrocious. The action sequences were few and far between. When there was action scenes, it was done badly.

The various gangs were ridiculous. They are the Orphans that are outcasts that nobody respects in Bronx. The Baseballs Furies that dress up like Babe Ruth was paint on their faces. The Hi-Hats that are mimes. Say what now? Also, The Punks, a bunch of white boys on wearing roller skates and overalls.

I wondered when watching this movie, Lynne Thigpen as the deejay reporting that movements of the Warriors from the Bronx to Coney Island, how did she know about what happened to The Warriors and the various gangs they encountered. This movie was in 1979. They didn’t have cell phones are anything.

Judgment: I don’t know if I could recommend this movie unless you want to see some bad acting, ridiculous gang outfits and horrible action sequences.

Rating: **1/2

Snatch (2000)

Where is the stone?
— Franky Four Fingers

Personally, I have a lukewarm reception to some Guy Ritchie’s movies. I have seen some snippets of Snatch since it was released in 2000. This movie is currently #186 on the IMDB Top 250 of all time. Some people think that this movie is overrated. I don’t think so. It was a solid movie.

This is an ensemble piece about a bunch of bumbling crooks trying to get their hands on an 86-carat flawlessly cut diamond.

It starts with a struggling boxing promoter and also the narrator of the film, Turkish (Jason Statham) and his partner, Tommy (Stephen Graham) trying to repay a debt to a ruthless bookie, Brick Top (Alan Ford). They try to buy a caravan from an incomprehensible gypsy boxer, Mickey O’Neil (Brad Pitt).

Another plot outline is when a gambler, Franky Four Fingers (Benicio del Toro) steals the diamond after a jewel heist to possibly gamble it away. He is employed by Boris the Blade (Rade Šerbedžija).

Boris also hires Sol (Lennie James), Vinnie (Robbie Gee) with Tyrone (Ade) as the getaway driver to steal the diamond from Franky.

A New York businessman, Avi (Dennis Farina) hears the news that the diamond was stolen flies to London to confront his cousin, Doug the Head (Mike Reid). Eventually, Avi hires some muscle with Bullet Tooth Tony (Vinnie Jones) and Rosebud (Sam Douglas).

There are a lot of twists and turns, backstabbing, and some genuine hilarious moments. A solid feature from Guy Ritchie.

There were some wink-wink moments in the movie when in one scene when Bullet Tooth Tony is roughing up a guy in a car, the radio is turned on to Madonna’s “Lucky Star.” How ironic.

Judgment: If you want to see a solid heist movie, then this movie is more your speed.

Rating: ****1/2

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