Archive for April, 2014

27
Apr
14

The Lego Movie

Hey, kids, be sure to buy all the toys!

Let’s just get this out of the way: The Lego Movie is not good. Everyone thinks it’s good, but it’s not. At best it’s average. People have become so blinded by the horrible garbage runoff that Hollywood incessantly churns out, that anything that isn’t remotely putrid is lauded as a masterpiece of cinema. That’s what happened with The Lego Movie. It wasn’t terrible, therefore, everyone thought it was amazing.
The Lego Movie starts out promising as it immediately critiques the homogenization of our culture, where everyone watches the same shitty TV show, drinks the same overpriced coffee, and listens to the same terrible pop music. “The Special” is the one person who will break the mold and revolutionize the Lego world. Unfortunately, this is where the film falls back in line with every trope you’ve seen before.

Continue reading ‘The Lego Movie’

19
Apr
14

The Big Gundown, Safe

The Big Gundown

“OK, Eastwood, this time I’m the star.”

Lee Van Cleef stars in this 1966 spaghetti western written and directed by Sergio Sollina. This is one of the more popular spaghetti westerns outside of the films made by Sergio Leone. Van Cleef plays a weird character, Corbett, who is a U.S. Senator and the best bounty hunter in the West. Um, what? I do like the idea of a Senator who isn’t afraid to take care of things on his own, but honestly, this idea makes no sense. Why the fuck would a Senator also moonlight as a bounty hunter? Isn’t he already busy enough in Washington? And shouldn’t he be there to do the job he was elected for? A more interesting movie might have featured Van Cleef playing a bounty hunter who tracked down politicians involved in illegal activities (i.e. all of them). Anyway, Van Cleef is tasked with capturing Mexican criminal Cuchillo, played by Thomas Milian. He tracks him across the U.S. and into Mexico. The events play out as a battle of one-upmanship with each character turning the tables on the other several times. There are a couple of memorable action scenes, and a fantastic soundtrack by the legendary Ennio Morricone. Van Cleef is great as ever, with a stoic, screen-filling presence, and a likeable ruthlessness about him. Milian holds his own, taking a more comical approach, and he becomes endearing as the bad guy. Near the end of the film, a greater threat rears it head and Van Cleef and Milian must join forces. The finale was pretty cool, but ended too abruptly for my tastes. Overall, this is a very good spaghetti western. The directing isn’t quite on par with that of Leone, but then again, Leone’s skill was unmatched. If you like the genre and haven’t seen this one, it is definitely worth checking out.
Verdict: Good
Safe

“Don’t worry Soon Yi, we’ll get you back to Woody Allen.”

Safe is a 2012 film starring Jason Statham as a former cage fighter who must protect a young Chinese girl from the mafia. Not only is Statham an ex-cage fighter, but he’s also an ex-cop. He’s probably also an ex-SAS operative and ex-MI-6 and ex-James Bond considering how skilled he is and how he never loses his cool. They piled on way too much for his character to be even remotely believable. Either ex-cage fighter or ex-cop would have been enough. Not both. The story is pretty basic: a Chinese girl who happens to be a math genius is kidnapped from the mainland and brought to the U.S. to work for Big Trouble in Little China’s Lo Pan. It’s not quite clear what they have her do, but they are really evil, so that’s enough for the audience to hate the bad guys (and wasn’t this plot already used in Bruce Willis’ movie Mercury Rising?). But wait! There’s more! The girl is kidnapped by the Russian Mafia because they want to exploit her, too! And then it turns out that the Chinese Triad and Russian Mafia are both in cahoots with the NYPD! ZOMG! There’s so many levels! It’s like Inception! My head practically exploded with all the ridiculous and unnecessary twists and turns in the story. The movie is basically about Statham protecting the girl and killing limitless bad guys in the process. They move from Point A to Point B, kill Triads or Mafiosos or dirty cops, rinse and repeat. In the end, Statham has to kill some random bad guy who doesn’t even show up until like 70 minutes into the 90 minute running time. How exactly was he supposed to be the final villain? There was no payoff whatsoever for the audience. I think that the most bizarre part of this movie is how the Russian Mafia and Chinese Triad run New York City. The cops are afraid of them, and they are a menace, gunning down innocent people in broad daylight. While I’m sure these guys are not to be trifled with in real life, I find it completely absurd to think that they have the manpower and resources to hold the entirety of New York City hostage. Give me a fucking break.
Verdict: Bad
12
Apr
14

Natural Born Killers – Oliver Stone Has No Talent and He Must Scream

Oh, so that’s what this movie is called.

In case you were wondering why people have a tendency to hate on Oliver Stone, just take a look at Natural Born Killers. It pretty much sums up everything the “auteur” director is about. He goes into full on pretentious cunt mode with this movie. He tries hard to make an “artistic film,” but it turns out to be the movie version of Taco Bell diarrhea. Stinky, wet, and cheap.

Did you ever see the old 1960s Batman TV series starring Adam West? Half the time the scenes were filmed with the camera tilted to a 45 degree angle to make everything look all weird. Natural Born Killers is filmed like this for two fucking hours. I’m not sure if Stone was trying to evoke the old 60s Batman, but it sure looks like his audition tape to direct an episode. It becomes a chore to watch because you know he is doing it on purpose to be clever, but it comes off as stupid, and a lazy man’s way of making the movie “deep.”

Continue reading ‘Natural Born Killers – Oliver Stone Has No Talent and He Must Scream’

05
Apr
14

Identity Thief, The World’s End

Identify Thief

I hate this movie so much.

This is a classic, stupid, road-trip, piece-of-shit movie that Hollywood loves to produce and defecate on the masses every year. The set-up is as generic as possible. Jason Bateman plays an average, everyday schmuck who has his identity stolen by brash, morbidly obese Melissa McCarthy. She has stolen his identity, racked up huge credit card bills, and put him in trouble with his employer. He travels across the country to set things right. What happens next is a prolonged road-trip where he uses her to clear up all the problems with his employer. Of course, in typically cliche fashion, they learn from one another and becomes friends in the process. This story has been told a billion times before, and this movie brings nothing new to the table. The characters are completely bland and one-dimensional. McCarthy uses physical “comedy” to elicit laughs from the audience. She punches a lot of people in the balls and runs away. This, I think, is the primary gag in the movie. It is also a sad commentary on what this film is. It’s a punch in the balls to the audience. If you paid money to see this shit, you got punched in the balls. If you saw it for free on Netflix, you still got punched in the balls, because this movie sucked 111 minutes of your life away. Don’t waste your time with this stinky piece of shit.
Verdict: Shitty
The World’s End

British culture summarized in a single picture.

The World’s End is directed by Edgar Wright, starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, and written by Wright and Pegg. It features the exploits of 6 childhood friends who return to their hometown to complete a famous pub crawl called “The Golden Mile.” The final pub on the crawl is the aptly named “World’s End.” The movie also forms the third act of the loose thematic “Cornetto Trilogy.” It’s one of those trilogies where none of the movies have anything in common except for the actors, director, and some thematic elements. I call bullshit on the fact they planned this as a trilogy. I bet they never had any consciousness of a trilogy back when they made the first or even second installments, but it only dawned on them when this movie went into production. In any case, the movie shows how different each of the 6 friends have become. Five of them have grown up, but one, Gary King played by Pegg, is still living life like he was 18 years old. He’s a drunk, a drug-addict, and an all-around loser. He revels in the nostalgia the pub crawl brings, while his other friends are wary of it. As the pub crawl goes on, the comedy becomes greater, and the characters warm up to each other. It seemed like things were really going to get deep, with serious character introspection, when the film throws a sudden curveball. It turns out that the town has been overrun by alien/bodysnatching robots. They started with this small town, and have plans for global domination. Only the 6 friends stand in their way. Things go balls-out crazy from this point forward. There are zany action scenes, chase sequences, killer robots, and heaping doses of comedy throughout the final act. The film turns itself into a commentary on our modern society and how everything has become homogenized (essentially all the pubs are identical) and how we have become like zombies, enslaved by our own technology. Zombies, hmm, yes, the alien robots are pretty much exactly like zombies. Which brings me to my biggest complaint about the film. The first film in the “Cornetto Trilogy,” Shaun of the Dead, was a spoof on zombie movies. The second, Hot Fuzz, was a spoof on cop movies. This film, sort of backtracks and does the zombie thing again. The town is overrun, the heroes are outnumbered, and slowly they are all turned into alien robots. They already did this before, and it seems like the filmmakers are spinning their wheels. The other problem was that the character depth we were just on the brink of experiencing was thrown away in favor of chases and fights. The characters do show growth by the end, but only in the most superficial ways (Gary quits drinking). To be perfectly honest, I greatly preferred the first half of the film. I want to see more of that, I want to see where those characters go in an organic way, without all the gimmickry of alien robots. Alas, we’ll never know. Overall, though, this was a fun movie. It was about something, had a deeper message, and had great action and comedy. Of the “Cornette Trilogy,” I’d say it’s my second favorite entry. Here’s how I would rank all three films:
Hot Fuzz > The World’s End > Shaun of the Dead
Verdict: Good



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