Saturday, September 25, 2010

Robin Hood 2010

"We can't repay our good luck with bad grace, it invites darkness."

Director Ridley Scott tells the untold story of Robin Hood. Throughout history tales of Robin of the Hood have been twisted and contorted but essentially keeping the main characters in play. Here we are invited into the world of Robin Longstride(Russell Crowe) who as an archer in King Richard's(Danny Huston) army fighting in the crusades. After the crusades he returns back to England pretending to be Sir Robert of Loxley, a knight who had fallen in battle and who Longstride made a blood oath to return his families sword back to Nottingham and into the hand of his aging and blind father Sir Walter(Max von Sydow). Upon arrival in Nottingham he is offered a chance at redemption as Sir Walter makes Longstride an offer...Be my son, take his name, and comfort an old man in his dying days. Longstride agrees and stays on with his band of men where he fallls for the widow of Loxley Maid Marion(Cate Blanchett). Together they protect the lands from the injustice of Prince John(Oscar Isaac) and his henchman Godfrey(Mark Strong) along with an invading army from France heading to England for an all out war against a country that has turned against itself.

This is one of the freshest retellings of any story ever brought to film. Scott and Crowe are a dream team when collaborating together. While I did enjoy Kevin Costners portrayal in the 1992 version however campy it may seem now, none the less, Crowe is and will always be Robin Hood from now on and it was nice to see a Robin Hood with an English accent. Superior acting by all and the film was low lit and gritty making it more believable than most picures set in this time frame. This is the most realistic tale of Robin Hood ever made and Scott and his crew have definitely done their homework. Sadly I feel when the Academy Awards come around it will be left out due to its relase date. Max von Sydow and Mark Strong should recieve nods for best supporting actor and Crowe, Blanchett, and Scott also deserve yet another. While not picture of the year it is one bloody good time and one of the most entertaining films I have seen in awhile. 4/5- tom

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Leviathan (1989)

"Martin: I realize you must have gone through hell. "

"Justin Jones: Gone? Bitch, we're still here! "

I've been on this kick lately of watchin monster movies and not just ANY monster movies, but those that involve water or being underwater. A strange thing to be obsessed with, I know, but fun. Something about underwater movies particularly attracts me. They share a lot of the same qualities with Sci-Fi/Outerspace films in that they have a particular otherworldly, helpless and lonely aesthetic to them. Many of them involve a small team of people doing an otherwise boring and mundane job when some invading organism or natural catastrophe causes them to be trapped, fighting for their lives. "Leviathan" is no different. I suppose this should make it boring and predictable, however (for the most part) it does not. Its the poor man's "The Thing" or maybe the rich man's "The Thing", I'm not really sure which, either way it's essentially "The Thing" on the ocean floor.

A team of underwater miner's that include Peter Weller ("Robocop"), Ernie Hudson (c'mon, Ernie Hudson - dude is in like, every movie EVER MADE!) and a bunch of other faces you will for sure recognize, stumble upon a downed Russian sub. Six Pack (Daniel Stern) boards the sub and leaves with a safe he finds. I won't divulge any more details except to say that Six Pack develops a strange rash that doesn't end so well for him or the rest of the crew. What I love about the film is the way it doesn't try to explain EVERYTHING. They never really tell you exactly what the creatures origins are or exactly what is going on above water; they only hint, and it lends a real sense of mystery to the film and it makes you fill in the blanks with your own imagination which is often scarier than anything the filmmakers could have come up with. My only real complaint is the ending. It felt to easy and far to optimistic. Early on you realize that those in charge at mining company above water do not expect any of the miners to survive but when a few do in the end it's like, 'oh well, great to see you! glad you're alive" and feels so unbelievable.

Do not let one petty gripe stop you from checking out one of the best monster movies the 80s had to offer. Creature designs done by Stan Winston and directed by George P. Cosmatos (First Blood pt. 2 and Tombstone), "Leviathan" boasts a spectacular cast, good writing and a lot more believability than most of the films of this kind, especially those from this particular era. 3.5/5 -andy

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Dumb & Dumber (1994)

"I expected the Rocky Mountains to be a little rockier than this."- "I was thinking the same thing. That John Denver is full of shit."

Come on a cross country trip with Harry (Jeff Daniels) and Lloyd (Jim Carrey), aka Dumb & Dumber. Two friends on a mission to return a briefcase to a beautiful woman named Mary Swanson (Lauren Holly) who left it at the airport. The two set off for Aspen Colorado in a over- sized van which looks like a dog. Running from mobsters and the FBI, only problem is they don't know it, and the briefcase they are carrying is filled with money to be used in a ransom for Mary's husband. The two set off an epic comedy adventure which reinvented the comedy genre and helped create Jim Carrey as the funny man of the 90's.

This movie is just a laugh out loud comedy romp with Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels creating such memorable characters. Hands down one of the best movies of the 90's and of the comedy genre. So many one liners and funny scenes you wont forget. Written and Directed by The Farrelly Brothers who's works include "Theres Something About Mary", "Kingpin", and "Me, Myself , and Irene" this is the comedy of all comedies and my personal favorite of Carrey's. "Dumb & Dumber" is anything but. 4.5/5 - tom

As Good As It Gets (1997)

"People who talk in metaphors oughta shampoo my crotch. "

There really isn't much to say about the plot of this one, save that there really isn't one; not for the main character, anyhow. Jack Nicholson plays Melvin Udall, a mean spirited obsessive compulsive who is a successful romance novel author that never leaves his apartment. Whats interesting about the narrative of "As Good As It Gets" is that Melvin is just kind of living his life with little conflict besides his serious case of obsessive compulsive disorder. It is Helen Hunt's character or Simon (Greg Kinnear), Melvin's neighbor, who experience all the plot twists and turns in this delightful film. Ultimately Melvin desires not to be so hated by everyone around him but he has such a hard time controlling himself that merely having a conversation is difficult.

Melvin's angry tirades are what make this movie such a funny comedy and Jack Nicholson is PERFECTLY cast as Melvin. Helen Hunt's career seemed to wane after this film and her performance is fine although underwhelming. Greg Kinnear is wonderful as usual and brings such a vulnerability to the character of Simon. This film is borderline drama or perhaps even romantic comedy but when you hear Melvin go off on Simon about why to never interrupt him, you will understand why I included it here. Multiple Oscar nominations and Oscar wins helped elevate this film to a higher standard though I think many have forgotten it in recent years. Bypass the rental and pick this one up. Besides being one of my favorite comedies, "As Good As It Gets" is one of my favorite movies of all time. 4.5/5 -andy

Father of the Bride 2 (1995)

"Vat Planet? The planet of not wanting to die, by a drive by shooting!"

We return to the world of George Banks (Steve Martin) who after the marriage of his daughter has finally accepted life must go on. Still happily married to his wife Nina(Diane Keaton), George is coasting through life waiting on retirement. Expecting a visit from his daughter Annie(Kimberly Williams Paisley) and her new husband Brian (George Newbern), George receives some unexpected news. He is going to be a grandfather. Putting his mid-life crisis in full go. Not wanting to except that he is getting older he rebels by changing the way he acts and even dying his hair. One night, with the house to themselves George and Nina take advantage of the quality time and weeks later are given one more surprise, they're not only going to be grandparents but they're going to have another baby. Have no fear, Franck (Martin Short) is here; who not only does weddings but also dabbles in taking care of mothers to be.

With the entire cast of the original returning along with a special appearance by "American Pie's" Eugene Levy as Mr. Habib, this is a comedy sequel that is just as good as the original. Good family laughs all around. Steve Martin and Martin Short are back at it again making for some priceless comedy moments. 4/5 -tom

Father of the Bride (1991)

"Drive carefully and don't forget to fasten your condom"

Meet George Banks (Steve Martin), businessman, husband, and father of two children. His oldest Annie (Kimberly Williams-Paisley) has recently returned from overseas after completing college. She is daddy's little girl and what makes the world-go-round for George. There's only one problem. In her travels Annie meets a young man named Brian (George Newbern) who has asked for her hand in marriage. Annie of course being young and in love says yes taking George's world by storm and his wallet. He is forced to do every fathers worst nightmare...letting go of his baby girl. His wife Nina (Diane Keaton) hires an over the top wedding planner Franck Eggelhoffer (Martin Short) and George soon realizes he's on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

This is a remake of the 1950 classic of the same name. Steve Martin at his comedy best, this is a sweetheart comedy for all. Filled with unforgettable characters and some of the funniest scenes ever put on film. Martin Short is the perfect polar opposite to Martin's character and as the two go at it the laughs never let up. 4/5 -tom

Stripes (1981)

"Solider, Ive noticed your always last"- "I'm pacing myself"

John Winger (Bill Murray) seems to be going nowhere in life. The older he gets it seems the more he loses. With no other options, John, along with his best friend Russell Ziskey (Harold Ramis) decide to join the Army together. They are introduced to a slew of oddball characters and form a rag tag Army unit which seems almost destined for failure led by the almost to serious Sgt Hulka(Warren Oates). While Hulka teaches them survival,courage, and disipline, John introduces the boys to mud wrestling, drinking, and chasing women. The two go head to head in a private war and the Army will never be the same.

Bill Murray and Harold Ramis are at their comedy best here raising the bar for 80s comedies. With a supporting cast including John Candy, Judge Reinhold, John Laroroquette, and Sean Young ,"Stripes" is comedy not to be missed. Directed by Ivan Reitman who has over the years been involved in many comedy favorites including "I Love You, Man", "Road Trip", "Private Parts", and "Old School". "Stripes" is a comedy gem created from the ealry SNL days and one every comedy fan needs to have in their collection. 4/5-tom

Monday, August 9, 2010

Tommy Boy (1995)

"Ugh, I can actually hear you getting fatter."

Tommy Callahan (Chris Farley) has just recently graduated college after almost 7 years, narrowly passing his final exam with a D, and is on his way home to Sandusky, Ohio to work at his father's car parts factory. Big Tom Callahan (Brian Dennehy) is pushing hard for his new break parts division saying it will 'revolutionize the auto parts industry'. Having exhausted all possible loans and after being told no, Big Tom the consummate salesman is able convince the bank to loan him more money to get his break parts division up and running. When Tommy gets home Big Tom reveals to him that he is to be married the following weekend to Beverly (Bo Derek) and that Beverly has a son, Paul (Rob Lowe) who will be Tommy's new brother. Unfortunately, Big Tom passes away during the reception and everyones future's are left in question. Tommy must go on his dad's sales trip in an effort to save the company and is accompanied by Richard (David Spade), who can't stand Tommy, to make sure that Tommy doesn't royally screw up.

If you haven't seen "Tommy Boy" then shame on you. One of the best comedies of all time that just gets better and better every time you see it. Chris Farley was at his peak here and the crux of the film is his relationship with David Spade and the insults that fly from either side. The supporting cast turns in performances that are just as funny as the the main cast which makes the entire film such a delight. There is real heart here which I think is what elevates it to something a little more than just being a 'funny' movie. The only downside is the sadness you sometimes feel watching it and realizing that Chris Farley only had a few more years left with which to entertain us. He never quite matched the hilarity of "Tommy Boy" nor the success but he had such a charming personality I would've rather seen him live and make mediocre movies for the rest of his life. 4.5/5 -andy

Sex Drive (2008)


Ian (Josh Zuckerman) in his senior year still a virgin, working at a Mexican donut shop at a local mall, and has never had a girlfirend. Tormented by his older brother (James Marsden) on how lame he is Ian deicdes to build an online profile claiming to be a buff, sportscar driving, high-school football star. He then sparks the interest of a beautiul blonde named Ms. Tasty via a dating website who invites him to Nashville for some hot and wild sex. Ian throws away the idea of going until his best friend Lance (Clark Duke) pretty much tells him he'd be doing a diservice to all men if he passed this up. With his brother out of town, Ian and Lance along their "girl" friend Feilcia (Amanda Crew) set out on a road trip to Nashville in his brothers prized 69' GTO Judge, taken without permission of course . Along the way the discover its not ok to pick up hitchhikers, the Amish know how to party, and rolling brown-outs are not a good thing.

The sleeper comedy hit of the decade and one of the funniest movies ever made. Raunchy humor taken to the extreme. With alot of heart and some of the funniest moments ever put on screen this is a drive you'll want to make over and over again. Look for an Amish Seth Green as Ezekial in one of his best roles ever. Bottom line you need to see this movie if you haven't, no comedy collection is complete without it. 4.5/5 -tom

Funny scene from the film.


I totally agree with Tom on this one. Definitely one of the funniest movies of the decade, if not ever. It's pretty raunchy so if that's not your thing you may want to pass BUT you'd really be missing out. Clark Duke is eventually going to be a huge comedy star with roles in this, "Kick Ass" and the hilarious "Hot Tub Time Machine". 4.5/5 -andy

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