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(This is NOT an official poster. It's just a place holder that I made for the review.)

“Frankie Go Boom”
a review by Darby O’Gill

Last week I got to attend a cast and crew screening of the upcoming indie film, Frankie Go Boom, and are you all in for a treat! This is a Secret Stash exclusive! After checking with writer/director Jordan Roberts and the producers, I’m pleased to announce that this is officially the first review of Frankie Go Boom anywhere! Remember you read it here first! I’ve always wanted to say that, and now it’s actually true! Okay, let’s get this show on the road. Now, when I went into this movie I had absolutely zero expectations. I had no idea what it was about, and having not seen a trailer… There isn’t one yet, by the way. Yeah, I told you, you were the first to know! I really didn’t know what to expect, and I’ve got to say I was pleasantly surprised. The one thing I did know going in, was the cast. I’ve always enjoyed Lizzy Caplan on the big and small screen, but I became a huge fan of Chris O’Dowd’s a few years ago after seeing The Boat That Rocked/Pirate Radio. That alone got me into the theatre, and I’m guessing that’s why I didn’t even bother to ask what the movie was about before seeing it that night. But lucky for you, your old friend Darby took some notes, and is ready to give you the 4-1-1.

Frankie Go Boom is about two brothers, the youngest Frankie (Charlie Hunnam) who is continuously being tortured and humiliated throughout his life by his older brother, Bruce (Chris O’Dowd), all the while being caught on tape as the subject matter of Bruce’s “movies.” I use the air quotes because Bruce’s movies are nothing more than glorified home videos of his constant mistreatment and torment of poor Frankie. From Super 8 cameras to HD cellphones, the advancements of modern home video equipment over the years don’t really seem to be helping Frank deter Bruce from making anymore of his movies anytime soon. And as I’m sure you can all guess by now, it was only a matter of time before one of Bruce’s “movies” found its way to the internet. Fortunately for Frankie, only a few million people got to see Bruce’s latest little opus which captured one of the worst days of Frank’s adult life, his wedding day. After that, Frank decides to do the only logical thing, he gets himself a trailer and moves out to the middle of Death Valley, miles away from society, and more importantly his family. Of course he realizes that it’s only a matter of time before they pull him back in, which is why he leaves notes to himself reminding him just how awful they can be. What’s that they say about all best laid plans? Sure enough, Frank gets lured back home, and it’s while he’s attending Bruce’s AA graduation that he runs into… Well actually she runs into him. Never the less, Frankie meets Lassie (Lizzy Caplin), who is not a dog by the way. Lassie just happens to be her name. It’s not clear if it’s in reference to the Scottish term for young lady, or the famous Border Collie, but I kind of love the fact that they don’t even address it. I think it’s hilarious that there’s not even one attempt to explain why her name is Lassie.

I think this is where I’m going to stop the play-by-play story breakdown. I don’t really want to give too much more away, and trust me this is only the tip of the iceberg, but I will however give you just one last little nugget. Mostly because I know it’s already floating around out there on the old interwebs, but also because it has to be said, Ron Perlman gives a show-stopping performance in this movie! He plays Bruce’s former prison roommate Phil, or as he/she is now known, Phyllis. I’ve gotta tell ya, seeing Ron Perlman in drag is not something you can actually prepare yourself for, especially when Mr. Perlman is sitting right next to you! I’m not kidding! Sitting right to my right, Hellboy himself, Mr. Ron Perlman! Trust me, after you see the movie you’ll understand just how weird of a life experience that was for me.
Let’s just say that someone finally makes Scott Bakula look like an attractive woman. Oh, boy.


I’ve got to say, I really enjoyed this movie! I’ve been trying to think of a movie I could compare it to, that might help you get a better idea of the film’s overall tone, but it’s really hard because the movie is unique unto itself. It’s very much an independent movie, but it has this underlying mainstream appeal that I think will ultimately help it find a bigger audience once it comes out. But, if I had to compare it to something, I would have to say Clay Pigeons, which was one of my favorite movies from the late 90’s indie film movement. It stars Vince Vaughn, Joaquin Phoenix, and Janeane Garofalo. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend NetFlixing it. As for Frankie Go Boom, the humor and pace of the movie is dead-on, and there’s a nice grittiness to it that seems to really set it apart from other movies being released these days. If you’re planning on attending this year’s South by Southwest (SXSW) Festival, I highly recommend seeking this one out! I have a feeling it’s going to be the talk of the festival. I for one will gladly be seeing it again, and I think it’s safe to say that I already have a favorite movie on my list for 2012. I’m really hoping that when Frankie Go Boom comes out, that it will go BOOM in a really big way!

Rating:


****I WILL POST A TRAILER AS SOON AS ONE IS MADE AVAILABLE****

“The Muppets”
a review by Darby O’Gill

There are a few things that I like to think of as the building blocks of my childhood; The Looney Tunes, Tom & Jerry, The Three Stooges, and The Little Rascals all played their part, but the one to play the biggest role had to be the Muppets! Allow me to better illustrate my life-long devotion to Jim Henson’s Muppets, if you will. My first soundtrack ever was The Muppet Movie, wait for it… on 8-track. Yes, I know I’m old. It was quickly followed by The Great Muppet Caper, also on 8-track. One of the fondest, and most vivid memories I have from my childhood, is the joy and excitement I would get at 7:30pm, once a week as the drum-roll and trumpets would sound over the rotating ITC Entertainment logo. That image and sound is forever etched into my brain. I remember my cousin taking me to see The Muppet Movie in the theater, just the two of us, because she had just gotten her driver’s license and she could. And when I got married, and my mother requested Kermit’s Rainbow Connection as our mother/son dance, I couldn’t have been more touched. As you can tell, the Muppets have played a huge role in my life, and to say the news of a new Muppet movie, back in the hands of Disney no less, made me nervous, would be a huge understatement.

In The Muppets, two brothers, Gary (Jason Segel) and Walter (voiced by Peter Linz), grow-up in a small town called Smalltown; only Gary is a real boy and Walter is, well a Muppet. There’s not really a lot of explanation for it, so I’m just going to move on. Walter naturally feels out of place in Smalltown, but that all changes after he sees his first episode of The Muppet Show! So, when Gary and his girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) plan a romantic get away to Hollywood, it’s only natural that they invite Walter along to take a tour of the Muppet studios. But when they get there, the studio and theatre are in ruins. The Muppets are all but forgotten, as all that seems to remain is a sad little tour. It’s on the tour that Walter overhears an oil tycoon’s, Tex Richman (Chris Cooper), plan to buy the land and drill for oil. Walter seeks out Kermit the Frog to help him bring the Muppets back together again, and hopefully save the studio in time!

I really wanted to love this movie. I went in with high hopes and wary expectations, but ended up coming out with the same mixed emotions. I really disliked the first half of the film. The thing that makes a good Muppet movie is that the story is being told around the Muppets and their interaction with the people in the real world. The first part of this movie deals with the people and not the Muppets. I understand that that’s just how the filmmakers chose to tell the story, but I just didn’t like it. I think it’s also why The Muppets Take Manhattan is my least favorite of the original movies. Also, the musical numbers are forced and way too over the top. One of the nicest things in the first two movies is the way the music just flows with the story, and sadly that doesn’t happen here. This brings us to the second half of the movie, where the Muppets regroup and hold a last-minute telethon to help save the studio. Now this is the movie I wanted to see! The eye to detail, and love and care that went into bringing The Muppet Show back to life is heart-warming. I fell in love with the second half of this movie! I know that Muppet co-creator Frank Oz walked away from this project, because he disagreed with the way some of the characters were being handled, and that the Muppets were never about money. I agree with him, but I’m also guessing that he was referring to the earlier rendition of the script, which was quickly panned by many of those that got to read it. In the final version of the film, I don’t really have a problem with it. The Muppets aren’t really raising money for themselves, as much as they’re doing it to help save their studio. Some people are also complaining that Kermit is depicted as a Hollywood mogul in the movie, but I think they forget that he was in fact the executive producer of The Muppet Show. He ran the show from his little table just off stage, and was in charge of all the guests. I think the movie nailed the spirit of the old show, and hopefully gets a whole new generation to watch them now on DVD. In closing, there were just two things I would have liked to have seen: 1) I would have loved it if they had found a Fraggle hole in the basement of the studio, and 2) If the marketing people would have gotten McDonald’s to release a new set of Muppet drinking glasses, that would have been AMAZING!

Rating:


“Horrible Bosses”
a review by Darby O’Gill

It’s finally here, hands down the best comedy of the summer! Horrible Bosses is this year’s The Hangover, which is good news, because this year’s The Hangover Part II was horrible! An all-star cast leads the way with a witty script that’s just plain fun! Nick Hendricks (Jason Bateman) is the definition of a hard working employee that’s just days away from finally getting that big promotion. The only problem is his self-centered dick of a boss, Dave Harken (Kevin Spacey). Kurt Buckman (Jason Sudeikis) is the son his boss never had… If only he didn’t actually have a son. And, when said son, Bobby Pellit (Colin Farrell) inherits the family business, Kurt quickly finds himself hating his once loved job. Dale Arbus (Charlie Day) is a dental assistant, whose boss, Dr. Julia Harris (Jennifer Aniston) doesn’t quite get the concept of a sexual harassment free work environment. So, when these three friends finally get pushed to their absolute breaking point, the only logical conclusion is to kill their bosses, or at least hire someone that can get the job done. Enter “Motherfucker” Jones (Jamie Foxx), the trio’s new murder consultant.

Horrible Bosses is not going to change the world, but one thing is for sure, it will make you laugh from start to finish. From director Seth Gordon, the same man that brought us the brilliant documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, comes a new instant classic. I have a feeling this will go right up there with the likes of Office Space, and Swingers. I realize that’s a pretty tall order, but this is one of the few movies I got to see this year that I wanted to see again almost the second it was over. The chemistry amongst the cast is fantastic! They may not be reinventing the wheel, but they sure as hell are having a good time spinning it! Charlie Day (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) completely steals the show, but Jamie Foxx is a close second. The weakest performance might surprise you. I would have to say it’s Kevin Spacey. It’s not that he gives a bad performance, but it’s just that he’s played this character a thousand times before. The one that will instantly come to mind is his performance as Buddy Ackerman in Swimming with Sharks. As much as I enjoy Spacey’s work, I think this role is just a little too close to his stereo-typical type casting for him. Without a doubt the most unrecognizable actor in Horrible Bosses is Colin Farrell. To say it’s Colin Farrell as you’ve never seen him before, would be an under statement. The bottom line on this one is that you just have to see it!

Rating:

 

“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”
a review by Darby O’Gill

Well, here we are again… I know. Why am I even surprised?! I should know better by now! The first Transformers, was a total fluke. The only hope at this point is a total reboot. Okay, I’m going to be upfront with you guys. This review might have a few spoilers, but not full-on spoilers. It’s just that some of the things I’m going to talk about in this review might inadvertently lead you to figuring out some of the movie’s plot points and twists, not that you wouldn’t have been able to do it on your own in the theatre. I’m not going to be saying them out right, but they will however be implied. So, if for some reason beyond me, you still want to waste your time seeing this movie, and have yet to do so, please feel free to stop reading this review and come back here after you’ve clearly wasted three hours of your life. We’ll be here for you, like a support group, but without the milk and cookies.

In Transformers: Dark of the Moon, a movie so poorly written they can’t even get the subtitle right. I mean shouldn’t it be Dark Side of the Moon?! Ugh, whatever! So the Transformers are still working with the U.S. Government, minus the racist gold tooth learning disabled bots, which are replaced with slightly less offensive racist stereotypes, and the I can’t tell one from the other Decepticons are still in hiding. Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) is fresh out of college and is having a really hard time finding a job that makes him feel important again in his post robotic war lifestyle. And I’m sorry, but why is John Malkovich in this movie?! His character seriously serves absolutely no purpose! Remember when seeing John Malkovich in a movie meant it was going to be good?! Boy, are those days over! Let’s get back on track. Sam’s got a new girlfriend, Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley), mostly because director Michael Bay fired Megan Fox for quitting after Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Yeah, doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense, but that’s okay because who cares, well not the screenwriter that’s for sure. Just like in Speed 2, the script for Transformers: Dark of the Moon is, I’m guessing, the exact same as it would have been if Megan Fox’s character Mikaela was still around. There are a few added lines to make Carly fit-in, but the role was clearly written for Mikaela. Case-in-point, Carly has supposedly never seen these alien robots before now, but yet she manages to have a heart to heart conversation with Megatron, when she’s never even met him before. I for one find that amazing, because even I can barely tell the Decepticons apart. That scene makes way more sense with Mikaela, but once again at this point who cares? And while we’re on the subject of writing, here’s a tip: maybe don’t give away a major plot twist in the first ten minutes of your film with the use of an old Star Trek clip. Once again, not that I didn’t see it coming without your help, but that’s beside the point. Oh, and when did Optimus Prime become a cold-blooded killer? Did I miss a meeting?! Way to completely miss the point of the “good guys” Bay! I don’t think I ever needed to her Optimus say, “You die now!” or see him shoot someone execution style in the back of the head. I’d also like to take a moment to talk about product placement, and the use of two Australian NASCAR bots. I would love to know how much Target had to dish-out for the coveted codpiece. What is it, with Michael Bay and balls? I’ve known for sometime now that Michael Bay is a total douchebag, but this film just confirms it. How you ask? Well, even though Bay hasn’t officially announced that he won’t be making another Transformers movie, he did manage to kill-off almost the entire cast. Much like a 5 year old in a schoolyard sandbox that finds out it’s time to go, he chooses to break all his toys instead of letting other kids play with them when he’s gone. Douchebag. The only problem with that is this isn’t a sandbox, and luckily for us, Hasbro will most likely just reboot the entire series. Even if that’s not the case, I’m with Shia on this one. This will be my last Michael Bay Transformers movie!

Rating:

 

“Green Lantern”
a review by Darby O’Gill

In brightest day, in darkest night, Green Lantern manages to shine bright! Now let me just say upfront, I’m a huge Green Lantern fan! And over the course of the last year and a half, I’ve been looking forward to, as well as fearing, Warner Bros. big screen adaptation of my beloved Green Lantern. I tried to keep myself from seeing too much footage leading up to the film’s release, however the trailers I did see, looked good for the most part. Although, I would be lying if I didn’t say that there were a few things that did cause me to worry that the film might not live up to my expectations. The trailers and marketing campaigns, at times, did make it look like the film might focus a little too much on the Green Lantern’s Corps and all its members, and not enough on Hal Jordan. It also looked like there were going to be a lot of epic space battles, and a part of me was worried that the CGI would take over the show, causing it to become another movie that was more animated than actually filmed, much like Avatar. These were all fears mind you, which is ironic, given the nature of the Green Lantern story.

In Green Lantern, test pilot Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) is doing the best he can to hold on to his wild and carefree life, but the galaxy has other plans for him. Unbeknownst to Hal, or any other earthling for that matter, there is a galactic police force in place known as the Green Lantern’s Corps. On the planet Oa, a group of beings known as Guardians of the Universe, forged a series of rings each with the ability to harness the raw green energy of will power. The rings are the source of each Green Lantern’s power, and they are only limited by its wearer’s will and imagination. The rings themselves have the ability to choose only the most worthy to wield their power, and when a Lantern dies it is up to the ring to find its nearest successor. The only job description is a being without fear. Fear is a Lantern’s biggest challenge, and it’s the yellow energy of fear that is currently threatening the universe. When Abin Sur (Temuera Morrison) is fatally wounded, he races to the nearest planet in his sector, which just so happens to be Earth, so that the ring will be able to find a successor. That’s right; it’s none other than Hal Jordan! The man without fear… Well, if you don’t count commitment and responsibility.

I’ve got to say, I really enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would! They somehow managed to pull it off! It’s got a little bit of an old school feel to it, in the spirit of Superman and Star Wars. I’m also glad to report that my fears were ill founded. The filmmakers take us to Oa, but at the same time manage to keep the story mostly grounded on Earth. It’s a really happy balance. We get to see tons of Lanterns, and at the same time never feel bombarded. Even though I’m happy with the balance, I would like to have spent a little more time with Sinestro (Mark Strong), Kilowog (Michael Clarke Duncan), and Tomar-Re (Geoffrey Rush). Speaking of which, the casting in this movie was amazing! This might come as a bit of a shock to some of you, based on one of my earlier statements (which can be found here). Ryan Reynolds makes a pretty good Hal Jordan! He didn’t play him the way I originally thought he would. I’ve got to say, I was wrong. That doesn’t mean that I don’t think Nathan Fillion is still the best choice, it just means that Ryan did a really good job. But hands down, the show stealing performance of this movie has got to go to Mark Strong! He manages to embody everything I’ve ever imagined Sinestro to be. I really would have liked him to have gotten a little bit more screen time. The movie does have its flaws, however minor. The 3D looks nice at times, but overall is not needed, and ultimately underplayed. There’s a helicopter crash at one point in the movie, and not only does it look like something out of a bad amusement park ride, but you can tell they were hoping to get a nice little 3D moment out of it as well. Sadly, it doesn’t work. The angle’s not right, and the whole sequence seems rushed. (For those of you that have already seen it, I’m talking about before Green Lantern shows up.) There’s one other thing that bothers me, and it makes no sense. The reason I like DC Comics more than Marvel, is because I believe the characters of the DC Universe can cross paths and interact with one another in a more believable way. I buy Superman working with Batman, or the Green Arrow teaming-up with the Green Lantern and Flash, where as with Marvel, I don’t buy any of their characters interacting with one another. But, in each of their movies they successfully bring up other characters. For about a half a second I thought it might happen in Green Lantern, and that we might finally get that acknowledgement of other heroes in the DC Universe, but no such luck. If Warner Bros. could take one page out of a Marvel’s movie making playbook, it would be that one; especially with the announcement of a Justice League in the near future. The only other thing I wasn’t a big fan of, was the add-on scene at the end of the end credit sequence. It felt really out of place. I realize they want to entice the audience with the hopes of a sequel, but that scene felt like something that they shot in an alternate script draft and wanted to just tack it on for the sake of tacking it on. Also, that five second clip should be the entire storyline of the second movie! Which I guess they could still do, but talk about your spoilers for people that don’t know that’s coming! Oh, well. I’m glad the movie didn’t let me down and I’m looking forward to seeing it again real soon!

Rating:


“Super 8”
a review by Darby O’Gill

When writer/director J.J. Abrams teams-up with Steven Spielberg to bring back that old school, early 1980’s feel of a summer movie to a whole new generation, what you get is Super 8. It’s a retro look at the cinema of most of our youths, with a hint of modern day monster thrills thrown in for good measure. It’s like The Goonies and The Monster Squad meet The Thing. There are also some elements of Red Dawn in there, and I think it all works pretty well overall. Super 8 is loosely based on the supposed transfer of the alleged items found at the Roswell UFO crash site in New Mexico, to a military air base in Columbus, Ohio. Fun little side fact, I used to live down the road from that alleged air base in college. Pretty cool, huh?! Okay I’m getting off topic. In the movie the train is derailed during the transport, and a group of kids who’ve snuck-out to make a homemade zombie movie with their Super 8 camera witness the whole thing. The train wreck is amazing, a little over the top, but that happens a lot in this film. A lot of moments are played in this very real, nice and quiet manor, and then there are these other moments where everything is just so over the top you can’t help but notice the two contrasting each other. One of these moments is when the town is just all of a sudden full of tanks, and they all just start firing causing mass hysteria and World War III to breakout in this small suburban town. It looks amazing, and it’s really well shot from a filmmaking standpoint, but I’m afraid it just doesn’t fit with the retro style. But, that’s not to say the mixing of the monster movie and the boy and his alien genre doesn’t work. I think Abrams manages to knock that out the park. The look and feel of Super 8 is fantastic! It drags in a few places, but overall I think it works. I was kind of hoping the kids would stick together a little more. The middle of the movie kind of focuses a little too much on just Joe (Joel Courtney) and Alice (Elle Fanning), the other kids are kind of M.I.A. and I wish there was a little more interaction between the group on a whole. With all these minor things aside, I think Super 8 is a great old school summer matinee movie! I sadly don’t see it becoming a timeless classic like its predecessors; but time will tell.

Rating:

 

“X-Men: First Class”
a review by Darby O’Gill

What would happen if you took a comic book origin story and mixed it with an actual historical event? In a two words… pure awesomeness! X-Men: First Class does just that. Set during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, a young Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) is called upon by the CIA, to put together a team of young mutant powered heroes. One of which is Erik Lennsherr (Michael Fassbender), or as he’s better known Magneto, and Charles’ future nemesis. The two have very different views on the future of mutant-kind, and both are right in their own way. Now, I’ve stated before that I’m not the biggest Marvel Comics fan, but the one book that has always worked for me is The Uncanny X-Men. The story just works on so many levels: isolation, segregation, political and social unrest, and even varying stages of awkward pubescent adolescence. Even though the comics dealt with the adventures of costume clad super-powered heroes, they also always managed to always keep the subject matter of segregation as its driving force. It was that subject matter that director Bryan Singer was able to so brilliantly convey in the first X-Men movie. I think the first movie really opened the public’s eyes to the types of subject matters comic books could instill in children. I for one, remember my own mother after seeing the first movie saying, “Is that what those comics were about?! I had no idea they gave you so much to think about.” And it’s that same attitude that makes X-Men: First Class just as good. Director Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass) doesn’t just re-boot the series. He truly took his time in making X-Men: First Class a prequel that not only honors the previous films, but could also be seamlessly linked back to them. The surprise cameos helped in that department, but on a whole the movie just works.

With Magneto on Professor X’s side this time around, the franchise gets to introduce yet another key protagonist in the X-Men saga, head of the Hellfire Club himself Sebastian Shaw, brilliantly played by Kevin Bacon. I don’t think I would have ever considered Kevin Bacon for the role of Sebastian Shaw, but it worked! He oozes the character of Shaw, as I remember him from the books, on to the big screen. The hair and wardrobe, it’s all dead-on. And yes, die hard comic book fans are just going to have to go with some of the movie’s changes, as characters and events are slightly askew for this new tale. Another character making her big screen début is Emma Frost, played by January Jones. Jones definitely has the look, and she fit the ‘60’s setting perfectly, but Frost’s diamond form was a little off. I realize that this is a hard one to pull off, and that it worked to some degree, but I just think it could have been done a little better. Other than little things like that, the movie works amazingly well! Also, this story is truly epic! They manage to squeeze so much into the almost two and a half hour running time, that at times I found myself wishing it had been a TV series. I would have really loved to have seen plot points from this movie played out as hour long episodes. You can also tell that things were cut in order to keep the movie under a three hour mark, but will hopefully be made available when the movie comes out on DVD and Blu-ray. This is the summer of Marvel movies, and even though X-Men: First Class received the least amount of hype of Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger, I think it’s going to end up by far being the best one of the bunch!

Rating:


“The Hangover Part II”
a review by Darby O’Gill

Bangkok can keep them! I know, I’m just as shocked as you. It’s been almost two years since a little movie called The Hangover beat the odds and became one of the highest grossing comedies of all time. But, lightning doesn’t always strike twice, and as much as I loved the first one… man, did I love that first movie! Sadly, the same can’t be said for this one. Spoiler alert! If you saw the first movie, guess what? You’ve also already seen The Hangover Part II! Why, you ask? Because it’s the exact same movie! Every plot point, every joke, and every setup… Only this time they’re in Bangkok and have a monkey instead of a baby. I didn’t really have high hopes when I heard they were making a sequel. I mean the first one was just so good that I almost didn’t want them to mess with it. And to be honest, the characters are so much fun that I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to see them again. The good news: we get to see them again! The bad news: it’s a complete rip-off of the first movie! How does that happen?! I mean, sure, when something is a big hit like that, of course people are instantly going to copy it. For example, just this year on Smallville they had an episode that was blatant rip-off of The Hangover. And it was terrible! But the one person who should never ever make an unoriginal copy of that movie is Todd Phillips! How does that even happen?! I almost couldn’t believe my eyes! For the first half hour, I thought it was a joke. I wanted to stand up at the screening and say, “Good one, Todd. Now play the real movie.” Only this was the real movie! Let’s see if you can spot the all comparisons in the breakdown.

In The Hangover Part II, Stu (Ed Helms) is preparing for his wedding. That’s right another wedding! Stu tells Phil (Bradley Copper) and Doug (Justin Bartha) that he doesn’t want a bachelor party in hopes of avoiding the same mistakes that almost ruined Doug’s wedding. Phil quickly calls bullshit, and demands a proper sendoff. So when they get to Thailand… oh, wait. I forgot about Alan (Zach Galifianakis). Of course, Stu has no desire to invite the man that roofied him to his wedding, but Tracy (Sasha Barresse), Doug and Phil somehow convince him, and the Wolfpack is back! A new addition to the group is Stu’s brother-in-law to be, Teddy (Mason Lee), a medical student and teenage musical prodigy. Then guess what? They wake-up and can’t remember what happened? Yes! Lose a member of the group? Yes! Find a baby? No, a chain-smoking monkey! Do they find a tiger that belongs to a former heavyweight champion? No, but how about a monk that belongs to a monastery?! I mean, come on! I really hope they didn’t actually pay someone to write this! Oh wait, they paid three people to write this. That had to be the easiest paycheck ever! I know that I’m making light of it, but it is kind of heartbreaking. I mean, the first movie was just so amazing, and really managed to change the way Hollywood studios looked at scripts. I don’t think the sequel had to be better than the original, I just think it had to be different. They could have at least tried. That’s not to say it’s not funny. Well, parts of it anyway. Some of the jokes are great, and yes the “don’t you remember last time” stuff is amusing to a degree, but do we really need a Chris Farley Show version of the first movie? I can’t even say it’s worth checking out, which is not something I thought I’d be saying a year ago.

Rating:


“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”
a review by Darby O’Gill

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is the fourth installment of the Pirates Trilogy… Yeah, I don’t get it either. Look, I don’t care if you want to make five, or six, or hell even thirty-two sequels to a movie. Just don’t call it a trilogy if there’s even a remote chance you’ll be making more… That goes for you too Scream 4! Once you’ve said the word trilogy, you’ve lost all rights to making more than three movies for that series. You can start a new series that features one of the secondary characters now as a featured role, but that’s it! That’s a rule now. So, let’s stop throwing the “trilogy” word around as loosely as the word “literally.” Sorry, I just had to say something. Now, let’s talk review. Johnny Depp returns as Jack Sparrow… I’m sorry Captain Jack Sparrow, and this time he’s on his own. Well, that’s just to say Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) aren’t joining him this time around, but don’t worry Capt. Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) is still around to give Jack a hard time. I’ve enjoyed the last few installments (notice I didn’t say trilogy) of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies… Well not the last one. At World’s End was a total misfire. It just had way too much going on at one time; way too many characters and overlapping storylines, which is also why losing Will and Elizabeth on this one really kind of helped. Although, that’s not to say they weren’t missed. This, for lack of a better word, skeleton crew, felt like it was missing something at times. I’m not sure exactly what it was that was missing, because at the same time it felt like just more of the same old same old, but something definitely felt off. Well, to me anyway.

In On Stranger Tides, some time has passed since the last movie, and Capt. Jack Sparrow finds himself once again searching for his beloved Black Pearl, which leads him to London. He also discovers that unbeknownst to him, Capt. Jack Sparrow is looking to put a crew together. Upon hearing this news, Jack decides to find out exactly who is impersonating him, and thank him for saving him the time of assembling a crew and procuring a boat. But when things don’t go according to plan, Jack finds himself a measly deckhand aboard the Queen Anne’s Revenge, and under the command of the infamous Blackbeard (Ian McShane). One thing leads to another and you’ve got two crews racing to find the Fountain of Youth. Much like the other films of the series, everyone has their own agenda, and Jack’s playing every card he can to make sure he gets what he wants in the end. Johnny Depp is really great as Capt. Jack! And don’t get me wrong; I’m glad they’re making more Pirates of the Caribbean movies! I think Capt. Jack Sparrow is one of those characters that just lives to be seen on the big screen, like James Bond and Indiana Jones. The 3D is okay. It’s nothing special, but it does help that it was actually shot in 3D and not just converted for the sake of ticket sales. Overall, On Stranger Tides is a nice addition to the franchise. Until next time, drink up me hearties, yo ho!

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“Thor”
a review by Darby O’Gill

When Gods become superheroes… or something like that. Thor is the latest odyssey in the Marvel Studios journey towards the all-star extravaganza that will be The Avengers. To be honest, I’m not much of a Marvel Comics fan, or a Thor fan for that matter. I’m more of a DC Comics man myself, but that’s not to say I can’t enjoy a good Marvel movie. Sadly, Thor is not one of them. It’s not a horrible movie, I mean it’s no Jonah Hex, which by the way was last year’s Death Coach winner, which should dispel any thoughts of publisher loyalty that you might find in this review. But, Thor does have its fair share of problems, as well as nice moments, however few.

In Thor, King Odin (Anthony Hopkins) of Asgard tries to prepare his two sons for the challenges they may face one day as future kings. His eldest, the Mighty Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is cocky and arrogant, and only wishes to show off his superior strength and fearlessness at any chance he can get. Loki (Tom Hiddleston) on the other hand, likes to use his head, and manipulate situations and others to help mold events to his liking. They don’t call him the God of Mischief for nothing. The ying to Asgard’s yang is Jotunheim and its people the Frost Giants. When a small group of Frost Giants breach the palace’s security, Thor wishes to go to Jotunheim and strike fear into the heart of its people to never try such a thing again. Odin strongly forbids it, but Thor and his men, consisting of the Warriors Three (Ray Stevenson, Tadanobu Asano, & Josh Dallas) and Sif (Jamie Alexander), along with his brother Loki, sneak-off to Jotunheim and unwittingly start a war. Yeah, I don’t get that either! What did they think would happen? Anyway, Odin strips Thor of his powers and banishes him from Asgard. He is cast to Earth as a mortal man, but his Mjolnir (Thor’s Hammer) is also sent to Earth as a “Sword in the Stone” to restore Thor’s powers once he’s learned his lesson. While on Earth he meets astrophysicist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), and S.H.I.E.L.D., and bla babla babla. You get it right?!

Okay, so let’s just say Thor didn’t make me a fan of Thor. It’s too bad too! I was really hoping having director Kenneth Branagh behind the wheel of this one would have done for Thor, what Jon Favreau did for Iron Man. That’s not to say Branagh didn’t do a good job! If it wasn’t for him, we could have easily been looking at next year’s Death Coach Award winner here. The problem isn’t so much the directing, as it is the writing. The script isn’t horrible, but it does feel like it’s just jumping from plot point to plot point to keep the story moving, and it never lets you really care about the characters, or even the story for that matter. The storyline in Asgard is much more defined than that of the story on Earth, but that comes as of no surprise with Branagh’s Shakespearean background. Chris Hemsworth is perfectly cast as Thor! He did an incredible job of bringing the mighty comic book God to life. We also get to see Thor and his powers unleashed pretty early in the film when he battles the Frost Giants on Jotunhein, and I’ve got to say some of the hammer tricks were pretty bad-ass! It’s just too bad I didn’t get to have that feeling again by the end of the movie. I would have really liked a second helping of that fight scene later on in the film. I can’t for the life of me figure out why Thor’s best fight scene would be at the beginning of the movie, and not at the end? I also don’t know if it was just me, or the once again pointless 3D conversion, but the CGI at times seemed to be a little too CGIy. The other realms looked fantastic, and had a grand sense of space to them, but I felt like I was watching a video game at times, and actually had to remind myself I was watching a movie! I know that this is Kenneth Branagh’s first real CGI venture, and with that in mind it’s really not that bad. But next time, less is more. I’m starting to feel like I’m being unfair. They say that this is the first official movie of the summer season, but I’m going to give that title to Fast Five! Also, that way my summer can start on a high note, and not this middle of the road shit! Thor does its job of introducing the movie going public to the Mighty Thor, but ultimately it’s just not worth it.

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