Monthly Archives: March 2010

“The Expendables” Trailer

The more footage that I see about “The Expendables”, the more I am pumped to see this movie. Stallone wanted it to be a good B movie. It’s looks too good to a B movie. You never know.

It opens in August.

Crank: High Voltage (2009)

Where’s my fucking pumper?

— Chev Chielos

After I was surprised that enjoyed the batshit crazy movie Crank by directors Neveldine/Taylor, here comes the WTF sequel to the film, Crank: High Voltage. I didn’t see this movie in the theaters because of the bad buzz surrounding it. It tried to top everything that happened in the first movie that nobody could enjoy it.

If you haven’t seen the first movie, I will spoil the ending to that movie to introduce this movie. Be warned.

Picking up three months where the first movie left off, Chev Cheilos (Jason Statham) falls to his supposed death on the concrete after killing the bad guy in a helicopter. His body is quickly recovered by the Chinese mob, The Traids where a pair of surgeons in a dingy backroom promptly cut out his heart and replaces it with an artificial one. Chev quickly dispenses both of them when the new heart starts up.

He gets the name of the person that his “strawberry tart”, Johnny Vang (Art Hsu) from a thug that he sodomized with a lubed shotgun. He has taken his heart in a cooler to an old man named Poon Dong (David Carradine). The one heart that would continue to beat after a person was clinically dead.

Chev realizes that he is attached to a monitoring machine that measures how much power the heart has left. He calls Doc Miles (Dwight Yoakum) to tell him that he doesn’t have time to repower. He gets into a car crash that destroys the device. The only thing he could do is create static electricity to keep it pumping.

He goes to the Cypress Social Club where some of the Triads are at and cleans house trying to find Vang Vang narrowly escapes with the cooler in his hands. Chev meets a hooker, Ria (Bai Ling) who knows where Johnny Vang is at, a local titty bar where Chev’s girlfriend, Eve (Amy Grant) is dancing at. Thinking that Chev was dead, Amy tried to make a living.

In a backroom, Johnny is roughed up by a rival gang member, Chico (Joseph Julian Soria). Chico wants to get the heart for his boss, El Huron (Clifton Collins, Jr.) who wants to settle a debt. Johnny wants to make a deal. There is a confrontation with the gang and Chev with a shoot-out in the club. Vang slips away again.

The police catch up with Chev for the bloodbath at the strip club and what happened three months earlier. He meets Venus (Efren Ramierz) who is the twin brother of Kaylo who was killed in the first movie. Venus has full body Tourette’s. He tries to make any way to receive an electrical charge from tasers to shock collars to dry humping an old lady. Chev goes to the Hollywood Horse Track to find Vang and get his heart back.

I checked my brain at the door when I saw the first movie. This movie is ridiculous with the quick cuts, the non-stop action, the score were too much for me to handle. It was like this movie was on crack. There are no words to express how insane this movie is. Wait a minute. I have three words for you, “Godzilla fighting sequence.”

Judgment: I cannot recommend this movie that anyone that this sober. You have to be a crystal meth to enjoy this movie.

Rating: *1/2

Of Time and the City (2009)

I have never heard of Of Time and the City until I noticed that this was on Michael Phillip’s 2009 list on the now canceled At the Movies. Let’s have a moment of silence. It came highly recommend with a Metacritic score of 81. I knew very little of the movie until I saw it. I don’t get what the fuss is all about.

British actor/director Terence Davies wanted to transport the viewer to his childhood when he was growing up in Liverpool. Instead of writing a memoir recounting every detail of his life, he decides to create a documentary using newsreel and documentary footage from that era to illustrate his narration.

It starts like a secret movie club with a screen uncovered from behind a curtain. The movie starts with the said footage as Terence recounts growing up in a time where strict religious upbringing clashes with hedonistic pleasures, the daily struggles of the working class, the Korean War, mocking the Queen Elizabeth II, the privilege of the royal family, the rise of The Beatles, the decay of his town and the resurgence of the city now.

I thought it was be a journey with Terence Davies physically goes back to Liverpool and recounts his life and how the city has changed. It felt distant. Sometimes I felt bored. There were minutes were you saw endless footage and swelling music. The movie peppered with prose and Davies reciting poems and quotes, but it felt like it has times undeserved praise.

Judgment: You could only enjoy this movie if you are from that time and era.

Rating: **

Let’s Compare and Contrast

“The Losers”

Vs.

“The A-Team”

Okay. I know that this is old news to everyone that is reading this blog. I don’t care. I posed this question on twitter that sparkled my last FB Rant about similar properties. I wanted to make an example out of “The Losers” and “The A-Team”.

Compare: They are both about mercenaries that have been betrayed by their government and have to work undercover to get revenge and clear their name.

Contrast: The only differences is that one if based on a campy 80s TV show and the other is based a comic book. The Losers is supposed to come out in late April, then it was threatened to be moved. The A-Team is coming out mid-June.

Is there something that I am missing here?

“Scott Pilgrim vs The World” Trailer

Okay. I’m not familiar with the comic book genre, but I know the well-known. I have never heard of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Never read the source material. I heard that they were making a movie from it. Okay. I saw the production stills from the movie on /Film. Watching this trailer has me excited. Even though, this movie has Michael Cera in it — you know my gripe with Michael Cera — I think this could be a cult classic.

The story is about Scott Pilgrim falling for a girl Ramona. In order to totally when her over, he has to defend all seven of her ex-boyfriends. It sounds easy, but it’s not.

The cast includes: Brandon Routh, Chris Evans, Kieran Culkin, Allison Pill, Jason Schwartzman and Anna Kendrick. It opens on August 13th.

Gangs of New York (2002)

I took the father, now I’ll take the son.

— Bill the Butcher

I have been meaning to watch Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York, but I didn’t want to devote the time to it. When I saw the “Top Five Irish Films” on Matt’s site, CyniCritics, I thought I would visit this movie. It stirred up controversy when it was campaign to pick up any of its ten Oscar nominations in 2002 when it something happened to make it shut out in every single category. I felt bad that it went home empty-handed. Looking at it now, I kinda see why.

Taking place during Civil War era New York City, the film focuses on Amsterdam Vallon (Leonardo DiCaprio), a man returning back to his old stomping ground at the Five Points. where sixteen years earlier, he witnessed his father, Priest Vallon (Liam Neeson), the leader of the Dead Rabbits get killed by a rival gang leader, the head of the Natives, William “Bill the Butcher” Cutting (Daniel Day-Lewis).

An old friend of his, Johnny (Henry Thomas) tells about the disintegration of the city. The name “Dead Rabbits” was never spoken of again. The members of the Dead Rabbits integrated into the Natives. The city has been divided with no clear leader to rise up against Bill and his regime. The climate of the city is ripe with tension from the Natives having boatloads of Irishman coming to the city, blacks being somewhat free and Abraham Lincoln being vilified as a traitor.

After the duo loots a house where rival fire bridges are fighting to see who would put out the fire, they bump into Bill. Bill doesn’t know anything about the son of Priest Vallon coming back, even though his gang sent him away to Hellgate: House of Reform. Every year, Bill pays tribute to the anniversary of killing Priest in a ritual every year, which he relays to his new protégé, Amsterdam that he lets him run his shady dealings.

Amsterdam tries to live out the adage, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” As an assassin tried to kill Bill, Amsterdam stops him for succeeding in what he wanted to do. They become closer. When an ally betrays Amsterdam, he is forced to regroup the old gang to rise up against Bill.

I know that Scorsese wanted to make a movie that chronicle the shaping of New York City the way that is today. I get it, but I thought this movie did not get the point across. I did not care about any of the characters. It was a typical revenge story set in the 19th century. I spent almost three hours of buildup to get premature ejaculation. What I mean by that is that I thought the big showdown was anti-climatic. Shit. It was literally two minutes. What a disappointment.

Judgment: Have you read my last paragraph?

Rating: **1/2

FB Rant: Be A Leader, Not A Follower!

WARNING

The follow rant will contain some coarse language that is directed to anybody running Hollywood studios and greenlight movies. Don’t let the kiddies read any further.

The genesis of this rant come from a tweet that I had written about the difference between Deadpool and Deathstroke. They are both masked mercenaries that use samurai swords and guns as weapons. Then it was another tweet about everybody going into 3D. Lately, I have been disheartened about the lack of originality with Hollywood. What the fuck is your problem, Tinseltown? Ever since Pocahontas/Fern Gully/Dances With Wolves rip-off Avatar came out, everybody wants to convert movies into 3D. Why? Alice in Wonderland, the new Clash of the Titans was converted to 3D post-production. Why would you do that? It would just look shitty as all get out.

Now, every movie is going to be in 3D; the reboot Spider-Man movie, Saw VII, Shrek 4, Step-Up 3, Jackass Tres, Tron: Legacy, Green Lantern, Toy Story 3, and the sequel to The Hangover. Are you fucking kidding me? Enough already! You know that this is a tool to gauge the consumer so the studios could make back their money. Just because Avatar made $2 billion dollars worldwide doesn’t mean that process is going to be repeated. Keep dreaming.

Next, vampire movies. Oh, my god! Stop it. Just because those shitty Stephanie Meyer books are making tween girls cream in their panties doesn’t mean that you should make another vamp movie. We already had The Vampire’s Assistant, Daybreakers, a sequel to 30 Days of Night, the US remake of Let the Right One In, Priest, Abraham Lincoln: The Vampire Hunter, Blood: The Last Vampire, The Vampire Diaries, Dark Shadows, Fright Night remake, and Vamps. I wish that we could suck the blood out of this genre.

What’s up with the entire modern take on Greek mythology? We already had Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief. What an obnoxious title, by the way. It’s basically a teen version of Clash of the Titans, which already mentioned. Now, there is another movie called War of the Gods or something. Why do we need that?

The success of The Hangover, everybody wants to make the next (insert sleep hit movie here). That was the downfall of She’s Out of My League. The blurbs were saying that this is the next big thing and it’s not. You are setting yourself up for failure.

I am getting sick and tired of movies getting unfairly compared to one another. I don’t know if this rant made sure. I needed to vent.

Blood Diamond (2006)

In America, it’s bling bling. But out here it’s bling bang.

— Danny Archer

Blood Diamond was a movie that I intentionally stayed away from when it was released in 2006 ,because of the overt political message that slapping you upside the head with it. I did see the ending of the movie when I was flipping the channels one day. If I saw the ending that liked it, I should see the rest of it. The movie is an unflinching look at a war zone, but the message is heavy handed.

Taking place in Sierra Leone circa 1999, the story mainly focused on a civil war between the people over the control of diamond fields there. Many people have died, even though no one of them has actually seen a diamond. Ambassador Walker (Stephen Collins) tells a panel that the Africans have been killing themselves over precious resources for years. Now they have turned to diamonds as their next source of strife. The blood diamonds are purchased for weapons that made the civil war drag on. He wants to prohibit the purchase of conflict diamonds. The US makes up the majority of diamond sales.

A fisherman, Solomon Vandy (Djimon Honsou) walks with his only son, Dia (Kagiso Kuypers) from school, when he sees a bunch of soldiers from the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) gunning down men, women and children in their village of Shenge. Solomon tries to save his family from the ongoing massacre, but he is captured while they escape. The reason behind the shooting is that the rebels don’t the people to vote to change the way things were. Solomon is sent as labor to mine diamonds. While at the mines, Solomon finds a 100 carat light pink diamond. He buries it, but it caught when the Sierra Leone troops attack rebels and captures alike. Shoot first, ask questions later. He is taken for being rebel in their eyes.

A Rhodesian diamond smuggler, Danny Archer (Leonardo DiCaprio) pretends to be with National Geographic to cross into Liberia with the conflict diamonds placed inside the necks of goats. He is doing this assignment for Colonel Coetzee (Arnold Vosloo) that is working the large diamond exporters, Rudolf Van De Kaap (Marius Weyers) and Rupert Simmons (Michael Sheen) to supply the money for the never-ending conflict. (Getting confusing for you. I should.)

Archer is promptly arrested and taken to the same prison with Solomon is held. The person that captured Solomon, Captain Poison (David Harewood) announces to everyone including Danny that he buried the diamond. Danny is bailed out by his friend, Nabil (Jimi Mistry) to convince Coetzee, Van De Kaap and Simmons to split the cost of the pink diamond Solomon has found.

At a local bar, Danny meets a journalist Maddy Bowen (Jennifer Connelly). She tries to get information about Van De Kaap. How are the diamonds being exported from Liberia where there are not diamond mines? She wants his help to expose Van De Kaap and Simmons for their wheeling and dealing; names, dates, and number accounts of buyers of the conflict diamonds to take them down.

When Solomon is bailed out, he tries to find his family at various refugee camps. They are nowhere to be found. Still on the run, another group of rebels have taken Dia from his family. He is beaten and brainwashed into being a part of the child soldiers by Captain Poison.

Danny tracks down Solomon to find the location of the diamond that he buried. Split the cost of the diamond fifty/fifty to help get Solomon his family back and Danny enough money to pay off Colonel. They enlist the help of Maddy to ensure that they succeed in finding his family and recovering the diamond.

I have heard about the dealing with conflict diamonds prior to watching this movie. I didn’t know the extent of what was going on at the time. Here is another example as why the Western world doesn’t care about Africans. Just like what was dramatized in Hotel Rwanda and The Last King of Scotland. Massive atrocities have been happening and nobody did a damn thing to stop it. It’s still happening. I do hate it when the point is donkey-punching me every five minutes. We get it, Ed Zwick!

The movie is long for such a heavy subject. I thought some of the sequences dragged a bit too long. The romance plotline between Maddy and Danny was completely trite. Why does that need to be in there? Why is it every time that Solomon is about to get killed a militia comes in to wipe out everything moving? He survives.

This film was nominated for five Oscars including Best Actor for DiCaprio and Best Supporting Actor for Hounsou. I thought they were good, but I didn’t think it was worthy of recognition in my opinion.

Judgment: There is a good story under all the political red tape.

Rating: ****

The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005)

You know what? I respect women! I love women! I respect them so much that I completely stay away from them!

— Andy Stitzer

It has been a while since I have seen Judd Apatow’s breakout movie, The 40 Year Old Virgin. I owned the unrated edition before I had to sell it. Boo. No matter how many times I watched this movie, I still get a kick out of it.

If you don’t know the premise of the movie, you should be ashamed of yourself. Stop reading this review now and watch this movie. For the rest of you, I will give you a refresher. Steve Carell plays Andy, an introverted that leads a solitary life with his gaming chair, painting small figurines and endless toys that have never been taken out of the box. He doesn’t have a car. He rides his bike to work at Smart Tech, which is like Radio Shack.

Andy doesn’t fit in with his co-workers, particularly with the womanizing Jay (Romany Malco), wound up Cal (Seth Rogen) and romantically forlorn David (Paul Rudd). As by some miracle, they invite Andy to a poker game after store hours that night. Andy playing online for hours at time gave the wherewithal to wipe the floor with them.

The conversation turns to sex when they relay horror stories about when Jay talks about the freaky shit he has done with his jump-off behind his girlfriend, Jill’s (Erica Vittina Phillips) back, a dog giving Cal anal-lingus during sex or David rambles on about making love to his ex-girlfriend, Amy (Mindy Kaling). When it comes to Andy, he tries to bullshit he way with a story and the guys call him out on it. It turns out that Andy is virgin. Their mission to get Andy laid. With Andy’s secret out, he is afraid that the whole store will know.

The next day, everything seems to be normal, but it’s normal. Everybody knows including the store manager, Paula (Jane Lynch). Andy wants to escape from the embarrassment. David tries to calm Andy down. Andy tells David about his failed attempts of getting laid. David wants to make it up to Andy by inviting him to be with the guys again with no pressure about having sex.

Jay doesn’t wanna hear that. He wants Andy to scam a sloppy drunk that is on the verge of passing out and Nicky (Leslie Mann) enters from a bachelorette party. Andy and Nicky seem to hit it off and leave together in her car. Things spin out of control real fast when she bobs and weaves out of traffic, crashing her car with another and blew chucks at him. The fellas have a chuckle afterward when Andy tells them.

Things were about to change when a customer, Trish (Catherine Keener) comes into the store looking for help for a VCR. They quickly disappear leaving Andy to deal with her. Andy convinces her to get a DVD/VCR combo; in turn Trish is a shop owner at a place called “We Sell Your Stuff on eBay Store”. She invites Andy to check out the store and gives Andy her number. The fellas go out a celebrate Andy’s first step in order to have sex. They try to loosen up his clean cut exterior. Will it impress Trish?

I thought the climatic scene between Trish and Andy was silly. How the hell did she get into his apartment? When Andy tried to call Trish a couple of times how come she didn’t know it was his number. She doesn’t have caller ID. The dance sequence at the end? Maybe that is nitpicking.

Judgment: There is a poignant story of love inside a raunchy comedy.

Rating: ****1/2

Boy A (2007)

Here is another film that popped up in my radar because of the hosts of Filmspotting enjoyed the lead performance in Boy A. I didn’t know that much about the movie from the start. I saw the trailer and a plot description; it had more intrigued to see the film. It was a television movie over in England before it was released theatrically here a year later.

Based on the novel by Jonathan Trigell tells the story of a 24-year-old young man, Jack Burridge (Andrew Garfield) is released from jail after a lengthy prison sentence. He wants to start his life over, because he doesn’t want to be that guy anymore. A rehabilitation worker, Terry (Peter Mullan) is assigned to Jack to help him integrate back into normal life in Manchester. Terry pretends to be Jack’s uncle to give Jack a place to live at a friends, Kelly’s (Siobhan Finneran) flat and helps him find work at DV Deliveries.

Jack has a police presence staked out in front of the house when he gets settled in. Alone in his room, Jack has flashbacks from when he was a kid (Alfie Owen) befriending a fellow troublemaker, Philip (Taylor Doherty) as they skip school, shoplift food and stand up to a couple of bullies. Philip confides in him about being raped by a family member. They become very couple when they make a grave mistake that affected their lives forever.

Jack is wondering about the circumstance of what happened to Philip when he was in jail. Did he commit suicide or was he killed by fellow inmates? He wants Terry to find out what exactly happen to him. Terry’s underachieving son, Zeb (James Young) appears on his doorstep because he has become homeless and has no place to go. He seems uninterested in having a life outside of the house.

Starting out on his new job, Jack becomes from friends with Chris Cowie (Shaun Evans) who is his delivery partner. Jack tries to become more accustomed to his new life that he is too shy to know that the company secretary, Michelle (Katie Lyons) is interested in him. On a night on the town with the boys from work, a different side of Jack comes out when Chris is getting hit from a group of guys and he steps in to save him.

Taking a drive back to the warehouse one day, Jack notices a broken stone wall. They go to investigate and find a car crashed against tree over an embankment. Jack saves a little girl. Afterwards, Jack and Chris are labeled heroes around Manchester. They feel pretty good about themselves, but Jack doesn’t want to have a picture taken. He tries to hide his face. When Jack’s face hits the newspapers his dark past he has been running from come back to haunt him and destroy everything that he ever worked for.

Granted that this movie was originality shown on broadcast television made me a little hesitant about the pacing, because it is a slow burn for most of it. It was like watching a rubber band being slowly stretched out. Nothing really happened until the last twenty minutes of the movie. I thought this was a fascinating exploration of redemption. Can you escape from your past? Will you ever forget what has been done?

Judgment: I would say, watch this movie, hang on to the end, and you will not regret it.

Rating: ****

%d bloggers like this: