Friday, August 31, 2012

My Week In Movies - August Wrap Up

The Odd Life of Timothy Green (2012) Disney's latest film deals with every kid's favorite topics of infertility and adoption. A young boy mysteriously emerges from the garden of a couple who have given up hope trying to have a child of their own. The boy teaches his new parents and everyone else in town a little something about themselves and each other. While not terribly compelling, this well made family drama should fit the bill if you're ever looking for a family drama.

Pirates! Band of Misfits (2012) I always say, I only ask one thing of a movie - be funny from beginning to end. This stop-motion feature from the folks who do Wallace & Gromit is hilarious from the very first scene up until the last. A band of pirates help their fearless leader, Pirate Captain, win the coveted title of Pirate of the Year. Very smart humor is mixed with some solid sight gags and plenty of slapstick, my kids and I loved this movie!

Casa de mi Padre (2012) Parody is a dying art form. The likes of Mad TV and the Date/Epic/Disaster Movies has reduced parody to just mentioning something from pop culture and then farting. Casa de mi Padre is Will Ferrel's take on Spanish telenovelas, crime movies, and Westerns. There's not a lot of jokes as in one liners or funny situations, it's all in the style of the film and the sincerity and conviction that Will Ferrel holds his own with an entire Spanish speaking cast while he converses in the foreign tongue for the entire 90 minuets. Don't worry, it's subtitled. As the poster says, "It's the funniest movie you'll ever read!"

Superman Vs. The Elite (2012) Love, love, LOVED this new DC animated flick which pits Supes against a group of vigilante super heroes. I was hooked on this movie from the retro opening title sequence, but the humor runs throughout the picture. The relationship between Superman/Clark and Lois Lane is fresh and the message of the film is strong and powerful. I even liked how DC wasn't afraid to take this cartoon to a more adult level with actual cursing and some sexual material. Still, I wasn't bothered with my 6 and 9 year old kids watching it. They loved it too. It's very well done and was worthy of a theatrical release.

The Dictator (2012) This is another strike-out for Sasha Baron Cohen. Da Ali G Show and Borat are both so painfully funny, but he can't seem to capture the magic again with Bruno and now this. The Dictator is scripted, so the outragousness doesn't seem quite so outrageous this time around, and the Hollywood story it's all wrapped up in is just plain stupid.

American Reunion (2012) I laughed once in the two hours this film lumbered across my TV screen.

Friends With Kids (2011) Pretty good Woody Allen-esque comedy about two friends who decide to have a kid together and cut through all the romantic BS of a relationship. It works really well and then with 10 minutes left to go it just derails onto Romantic Comedy Auto-Pilot. It ends on kind of a down note, but otherwise a very good movie.

Step Up 3
Step Up 3 (2010) Ok, this one was just silly...but I still enjoyed it.

Meatballs Part II (1984) I've been meaning to rewatch this great summer camp movie for years and I finally did on the last night of Summer Vacation. It still holds up!

The Silencers (1966) Dean Martin plays Matt Helm in the first of four movies where he pretty much channels his inner 007. That's 007 if he constantly drank and made out with girls.

Little House on the Prairie (1974) The pilot movie for the long running series is a really tight, sometimes intense story of the Ingalls family moving from their Little House in the Big Woods to Indian Country in Kansas. I read the first book in the series with my kids this summer and we all really liked it. It's surprising I never read the book before because my mother was a HUGE Laura Ingalls Wilder fan, but I wish I had read it when she was alive. She would have gotten a huge thrill out of discussing it with the boys and I.

Bloodlust! (1961) Mike Brady and three of his younger friends get stuck on a tropical island owned by a crazy millionaire who wants to set them loose in the jungle and hunt them down. As cheesy as any horror movie from 1961 is going to be, I actually quite enjoyed the film - with a brief running time of 68 minutes, it told it's story quickly and entertainingly.

August Movie Count: 26
Best New Movie: Pirates! Band of Misfits
Worst New Movie: American Reunion
Best Rewatch: In & Out
2012 Movie Count: 159

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My Week In Movies - August; Weeks 2 & 3

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (2012) The third film in the franchise combines books 3 & 4 into one story about summer and responsibilities. There's some pretty solid laughs even if a few of the situations are beyond silly and simple.

The Lion King (1994) What do you need to say about one of the greatest movies of all time? We saw this at an outdoor screening while camping and it's the perfect movie for the venue - seen it 1,000 times so I don't care if the projection is not great but such a good movie that I can sit though it again in less than favorable conditions.

This part really happened!
Pocahontas (1995) I always forget how good Disney's Pocahontas is. It's not quite on par with the masterpieces the studio put out between 1989 and 1994, but it's still darn good. The songs aren't as memorable as The Lion King, but they are a heck of alot better than Disney's next feature "The Hunchback of Notre Dame."

Pocahontas II: Journey To A New World (1998) This is one of the few Disney DVD Sequels that I had not seen, and it was actually pretty good. It turns out (according to my brief Internet research) that this film is a bit more factually accurate than the first film. Pocahontas travels to England to represent her people to the King. There she meets John Rowlfe, who she actually married. However, what didn't happen in real life is that Pocahontas did not take her pet raccoon and hummingbird to England with her. Which brings me to my big beef with this film: How do you take a hummingbird anywhere, yet alone a Trans-Atlantic voyage? And I'm pretty sure even back then you couldn't take a raccoon from America to England. The raccoon would have mated with a British raccoon (with a delightful accent but bad teeth) and started some horrible mutant race of raccoons. Surely, this was not the impression that the Native Americans wanted to make on the world. Also, while I enjoyed the film...the songs are so bad, I'm pretty sure some of them were actually written by raccoons.

Bandolero! (1968) Attention any guy reading this stupid blog! Every once in a while, you just gotta watch a good old fashioned western to put some hair on your chest. I really wish my Grandfather was still alive. He loved westerns, and it would have been so much fun to watch some with him and learn about the genre from him. As it stands, the only things I remember watching with him were The Great Muppet Caper and an episode of Bossom Buddies. Anywho, Bandolero! stars Jimmy Stewart along side Dean Martin, George Kennedy and the beautiful Raquel Welch. Whats' great about this film is that it starts out as a comedy and ends up as a nail-biting action packed western. Stewart helps his brother, Martin, escape from jail. While Dean makes his getaway with Welch as his hostage, Jimmy knocks over the bank and meets up with his bro. Sheriff Kennedy goes after them and the chase in on. Good stuff!

Bikini Spring Break (2012) There are no bikinis on display here, nor is anyone on Spring Break. Sure, they talk about Spring Break and while there might not be any bikinis there are certainly plenty of bras and nudity. A marching band heading to Florida for the National Championships encounters one set back after another trying to get to the big competition. Their antics are fueled by their need to pay for bus repairs. You would think you could call your school and they would financially figure out how to get their students either home or to the big competition. But instead the girls resort to stripping, jello wrestling and any other half naked way you can think of to raise money. The plot is stupid but the script tries to be funny and manages to do so throughout the picture.

In & Out (1997)  A fantastic film, that I hadn't seen in quite a while, that separately lampoons Hollywood and our own perceptions of homosexuality. At 15 years old, some of the film's jokes/references and general attitudes towards gays are a little bit outdated - but the funny is all still there. Featuring an all-star cast, the standout for me has always been Bob Newhart as the high school principal who has to deal with parents and the media when one of his teachers is outed on national television. Hilarious movie from beginning to end!

Under The Boardwalk: The Monopoly Story (2010) The history of how the popular board game came to be is pretty interesting, unfortunately that only makes up a small bit of this rather dry documentary that celebrates all things Monopoly. At the core of the picture is ESPN-style coverage of the 2009 World Monopoly Championship Tournament which gets kind of old after a while. The film really shines when it features memories of playing the game as a kid, collectors of Monopoly memorabilia and an impressive collection of film and television clips featuring the classic real estate game. (Look for an appearance by a certain Modern Stone Age Family!)

Friday, August 17, 2012

My week in Movies; August Week 1

Piranha DD (2012) The 3D Piranha remake from 2010 is a masterpiece of goofy gratuitous nudity and violence. The filmmakers strive to cram as much blood and boobs into 90 minutes as they could that the film plays as a parody of the horror genre. The clever title for the sequel, Piranha 3DD, suggests even more over the top amounts of skin and guts - however it just doesn't deliver. Still an enjoyable silly film, the follow-up is almost too self aware of it's silliness and never really goes anywhere. The man eating fish make their way into a water park, and all hell breaks loose yet again. A few of the actors from the first film turn up in small roles and there is still buckets of blood and larger breasts on hand, but as with many sequels it shows that the first film was lightning in a bottle.

LOL (2012) Here we have a mess of film as Miley Cyrus navigates her way through her senior year of high school. I saw the trailer a while back and wanted to see it, then it just showed up on WalMart shelves and Redbox. I should have taken that as a warning. Totally pointless voyage through waters we've already sailed before.

Step Up (2006) I usually like dance and music related films, but I don't always go out of my way to see them. But when a film series rolls around to it's fourth instalment, then I sit up and take notice. How can a silly movie about dancing generate three more sequels? Well, I was pleasantly surprised at how enjoyable Step Up 1 is. The story is nothing new, about a juvenile delinquent proving himself worthy in a performing arts school, but the performances are very good and the light tone and pace keeps things moving at a solid pace. There's some silly side story about some dude's brother dying, but the dancing is what it's all about. I enjoyed it.

Step Up 2: The Streets (2008) However, I enjoyed #2 even more. Why? Because it was even more generic in it's storyline about a dance competition to prove who's the best street dancer in Baltimore. More silly than the first and loaded with way more music/dance interludes, this unnecessary sequel got more hooked on the whole franchise.

Leroy & Stitch (2006) In the fourth and final chapter in the Lilo & Stitch saga, the duo wrap up loose ends after capturing all of the 624 experiments they were tasked with. Still funny and creative after years of churning out Stitch content, this direct-to-DVD flick is well worth a visit.

Bring It On Again (2004) I was saddened when I went to watch Step Up 3 on my DVR and the satellite had gone out preventing it from recording. So, I popped in a copy of another silly franchise that I have no business enjoying - the second Bring It On. The original Bring It On is somewhat of a modern classic, and the DVD sequels they keep churning out are fun and close to the spirit of the original. In Chapter 2, a different bunch of cheerleaders attend college and form a squad to compete with the school's snotty and well funded Varsity squad. Bring It On style hi jinks are then brought on.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Sunday, August 05, 2012

My Week In Movies - July Wrap Up

Blue Crush (2002) I know I've mentioned it before, but I'll say it again - I love this movie.

Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown (1977) Quite possibly the 4,000th time I've seen this 3rd Peanuts big screen adventure. I'm pretty sure most of this film's score has been the soundtrack to my nightmares for the past 30-some years.

Gimme An 'F' (1984) Somehow, this low-brow cheerleader comedy for the 80's had escaped being a fixture of my youth. I imagine, had I seen it at an impressionable age I would have a fondness for it to this day, however coming to this flick this late in life - I found the tale of a troubled cheerleading squad trying to outsmart the leader of a cheerleading camp - a bit tedious but overall just not funny. However, you've gotta give big 80's credit to any movie that enforces stereotypes by playing a gong sound every time Asian businessmen characters arrive on screen.

July Movie Count: 17
Best New Movie: 21 Jump Street
Best Rewatch: The Cannonball Run
Worst Movie: Dennis The Menace
2012 Movie Count: 133

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