Monthly Archives: June 2011

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

Hey, Cameron. You realize if we played by the rules right now we’d be in gym?

— Ferris

I have to say that I am surprised that it has taking me this long to write this review on John Hughes’ Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. I watched the film almost a month ago and now I have to chance to write about it. Weird. I must admit that I have not seen this movie in its entirety. People regard that this movie is his masterpiece. I would beg to differ.

A smart-alecky Chicago teen named Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) pretends to be sick so that he would miss a test that he did not study for. His parents, Tom and Katie (Lyman Ward, Cindy Pickett) buy into his fake illness, but his sister Jeanie (Jennifer Grey) can see through his bullshit. She tries to rat him out, but the parental units do not want to hear it.

When everybody leaves the house, Ferris basks in his day of leisure by addressing the camera to talk about his master plan of spending his free day. His best friend, Cameron (Alan Ruck) is actually at home sick in his home. Without having a car of his own, Ferris calls Cameron to ask to borrow the classic of Cameron’s dad. Ferris also wants to have his girlfriend, Sloan (Mia Sara) in on the action, by pretending that her grandmother had died to get her out of school.

They think that they get off scott free, but the Dean of Students, Ed Rooney (Jeffrey Jones) knows that Ferris is faking being sick. Ferris has been absent eight earlier times during the school year. Rooney tries to find a way to catch Bueller in the act so he could humiliate him.

I am not the first person or the last person to skip school. Almost every teenager does it at some point in their lives. Some get caught and others not. I thought that nobody could do all of things in a span of a couple of hours. How the hell can you go to a baseball game and be in a parade? Really?

Judgment: I know that this is a movie, but it seems a little far-fetched to me. Ferris is slick, but he is not an evil genius by any means.

Rating: 6/10

American Gangster (2007)

 The man I worked for had one of the biggest companies in New York City. He didn’t own his own company. White man owned it, so they owned him. Nobody owns me, though.

— Frank Lucas

I have previously watched American Gangster when an aunt loaned me the DVD of the movie. I watched a third of the movie when I stopped, because it was too long for me to pay any attention to it. I knew that the movie was nominated for two Oscars including a Best Supporting Actress nom for Ruby Dee for her five-minute role and for Best Art Direction. Watching the movie against almost made root for the bad guy… almost.

Harlem 1968. Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington) mourns the death of Bumpy Johnson (Clarence Williams III) who was a surrogate father to him. Bumpy was Frank’s teacher for dealing with the gangster life, especially for a black man in those times. Frank wants to take over in Bumpy’s place, but do things a little better. He wants to get the best product, which was cocaine to give to the people of Harlem. He wants to show his dominance with the other gangsters of the neighborhood like Tango (Idris Elba) who treats Frank like a servant and Nicky Barnes (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) who is all talk and no bit.

At the same time, an undercover cop, Richie Roberts (Russell Crowe) tries to be on the straight and narrow in a sea of corruption in the police department. Richie’s partner, Javier Rivera (John Ortiz) discovered a car that had almost a million dollars in it. John wants to keep some of the money, but Richie wants to do the right thing and turn them all in. he Richie is not the most popular cop in the precinct. He is going to night school to get his law degree and having to pay child support to his ex-wife, Laurie (Carla Cugino).

There is a crooked cop, Detective Trupo (Josh Brolin) who confiscated drugs from busts, water them down and sell them back to the bad guys for a profit. He wants to get some hush-hush money from Frank, but Frank doesn’t want to be another police lackey.

Opium and heroin are on the rise during this time and about goes to Bangkok to get the purest heroin that he could find. He finds it and sells it on the street as “Blue Magic” for dirt cheap. With the money from selling the 100 kilos of heroin, he buys a home for his Mama (Ruby Dee) and the rest of his family. Frank decides to expand his business and include his brothers in the process.

Meanwhile, Richie is hand selected to lead a special group of DEA agents to help bring down the drug trafficking ring. their first target is Frank Lucas.

The movie came with the theatrical version and the unrated version. I wanted to see the theatrical version, because it was short. The movie is 2:45 at least. That is a lot of movie about a bad guy selling drugs to his own people. The unrated version would make it three hours. No thanks. I was able to take the movie. there were some good moments in the movie that was bogged down by filler scene that I could do without.

Judgment: It’s interesting to see a movie about a black gangster, but I wish that it was a tighter story.

Rating: 7/10

Born on the Fourth of July (1989)

 People say that if you don’t love America, then get the hell out. Well, I love America.

— Ron Kovic

Memorial Day was a while ago and I wanted to see the picture that nabbed Tom Cruise his first Oscar nomination for Best Actor, Born on the Fourth of July. I saw this a while ago, but I haven’t had the chance to write the review until now. The movie did win Oliver Stone the Best Director Oscar.

Based on the true story of Ron Kovic (Cruise), a man who comes from an extremely religious background, was a wrestler in high school and wanted to be part of something greater than himself. When a Marine Corps recruiter shows up at the school, Ron almost jumps at the chance of signing up and going to fight in Vietnam.

The action cut to Ron’s second tour when his platoon shot up a Vietcong village, but they accidentally killed women and children. They realize that it was ruse for the Vietcong to have the opening salvo on the Americans. During the confusion of sand and bullets, Ron ends up shooting one of his fellow soldiers, PFC Wilson (Michael Compotaro). Ron tries to confess what happened, but his superiors brush the incident under the rug.

In another altercation, Ron is shot in the foot and then in the upper chest, paralyzing him from the mid-chest down. He resides in a VA hospital in the Bronx that looks like a slum then a place for veterans. When he returns to his childhood home, he becomes angry that people are indifferent about the war and what it represents to the country.

The main reason for this review is for the next LAMB Acting School 101, Willem Dafoe. Willem has a small part as a confidant of Ron, Charlie, when Ron lives in Villa Dulce, Mexico. A place where disabled veterans stays, get drunk and have sex with hookers. Charlie questions Ron about what really happened to him in the war and questions everything that Ron believed in.

I was expected to be blown away with Tom Cruise’s performance. I saw glimpses of it, but not that much to keep me interested in it. I have seen a lot of Vietnam movies. It’s like all of them are blurring into one. This particular story is not that intriguing to me and I found myself bored with it. It seems shallow and it doesn’t explore what happens to a person when they come back from the war.

Judgment: I wish I had some glowing words to say about this movie, but I don’t.

Rating: 6.5/10

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Thor (2011)

Oh, no… this is Earth… isn’t it?

— Thor

I don’t know if you know this, but the comic book adaptation of Thor is my first time seeing a 2011 release in the theaters. I know! Surprise! I had a unoffical boycott of the theaters since the quality of the movies sucked major elephantiasis balls last year. I heard that the movie was getting some positive reviews. I was like okay. Besides, I want to see The Avengers next year, so I have seen all the components before the geeky movie ever comes out. I went with a friend of mine. She wanted to see Jumping the Broom and I should have went with her.

The only knowledge I have about Thor is that he is the Norse god of thunder and that he talks in Elizabethan language. I knew this because I had read the only copy of Thor that my older brother had when he collected comics as a kid. Thankfully, the movie does not have that. That the only good thing about it.

Thor (Chris Hemsworth), his brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and their father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins) are in a battle with the Frost Giants lead by Laufey (Colm Feore). Laufey tried to invade Asgard before Odin defeated his army and took the Casket of Ancient Winters, which is the source of their powers as their own.

Odin is getting older and needs to chose a worthy successor to weld the hammer, Mjolnir and possess the powers of the Thunder God and lead the Asgardian people as their new king. Thor believes that he is the right one for the job, because he wants to fight to protect his people, not diplomacy. He is very arrogant about what the right thing is for everybody that he is about to swear to protect. Loki wants to have a chose to ascend.

When Thor is about to be crowned the new king, a couple of Frost Giants broke into the palace to try to take the Casket. They are defeated. Loki, Thor,  his childhood friend, Sif (Jaimie Alexander) and the Warriors Three; Volstagg (Ray Stevenson), Fandral (Joshua Dallas) and Hogun (Tadanobu Asano) accompany him to Jotunheim against Odin’s orders to demand how they were able to get in the palace. A battle ensues and Odin comes to rescue.

Odin is disappointed in Thor that he is unworthy of having the powers of Thor and banishes him to Earth. There Thor is found in the middle of New Mexico desert by astrophysicist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), her assistant Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings) and mentor Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård). They want to know where did he comes from. The hammer, Mjolnir is found miles away like Excalibur. Agents from S.H.I.E.L.D., headed by Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) want to find out as well about the circumstances of Thor coming to Earth.

I was expected to be blown away by this movie, but I wasn’t. The movie seemed liked a Nordic soap opera with banishments, finding babies that are not their own, an old man falling into a “Odinsleep”, betrayal and it everything in between. The sequences in Asgard where very over the top, melodramatic and yawn inducing. The only thing that saved this movie was Kat Dennings as Darcy. I would never think that this girl would make me love her for delivering one liners.

Judgment: This makes me worry about the Avengers movie. If Captain America sucks, then you know all of them together is gonna suck times a million.

Rating: 4.5/10

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