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“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:


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“The A-Team”
a review by Darby O’Gill

When you have a problem and no one else can help… Well, I guess you’ll just have to wait for the sequel, because The A-Team movie is just about how they get there. This is an origin story, with a modern update. When I first heard about them wanting to bring The A-Team to the big screen, almost 15 years ago, I thought what a huge mistake. But, when I saw the final choices for the cast, I was more than convinced a feature film version just might work. And, I’m very glad to report that I was absolutely right.

In this modern re-launch of The A-Team, we see the team meet for the first time and ultimately get framed for the crime they didn’t commit. Let’s just take a moment to talk about this A-List cast. First, we’ve got the man with the plan, Col. John ‘Hannibal’ Smith, played Liam Neeson. I think he was the hardest to see in the role, but once I saw a production still I was totally sold. Up next, is a team member with one real bad attitude, Sgt. B.A. Baracus, played by former UFC fighter, Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson. Without a doubt the hardest shoes to fill in the movie, but Jackson is perfect! Much like Mr. T, Rampage embodies a little of B.A. himself honestly, and doesn’t have to force a performance, which is great! Because the worst thing that could have happened to this movie is if someone like Taye Diggs was cast in the roll and did a cheesy job of trying to play Mr. T. Dare I say, “I would pity the fool that fucked up this role.” And what would a yin be without its yang? That brings us to the sanest crazy person that can fly anything, Capt. H.M. ‘Howling Mad’ Murdock, played by District 9’s very own Sharlto Copley. Easily the second biggest pair of shoes to fill on The A-Team, it’s very hard to play crazy, but Copley masterfully knocks it out of the park. Last but by no means least, we come to the pretty boy of the group. No lady can resist his charm, and there’s nothing he can’t get. Of course we’re talking about Lt. Templeton ‘Faceman’ Peck, who’s perfectly played by The Hangover’s Bradley Cooper. Like I said, this is truly an A-List cast for the best possible A-Team movie. Well done, Hollywood… for once.

Over the last few months, I’ve started watching some old episodes of The A-Team again, getting myself that much more syked for the new movie. It was then that I realized just how much the old show still holds up to my wonderful childhood memories. If I had just one complaint about the new movie, it would be that they don’t help anyone other than themselves. Wait! Don’t start writing your comments yet. I know that this is the origin story, and they’re not in that business yet. It’s just that helping the town that’s being terrorized by the big bad biker gang, was such a huge part of the old show and I really missed it. The good news is that the sequel will be even better, and this one was pretty damn good. I’m also looking forward to the introduction of the fifth member of The A-Team in the sequel, that of reporter Amy Allen. And, if I could be so bold, I’d like to offer my suggestion for the best actress for the role, Evangeline Lilly. Oh, man! I’m so screwed. The A-Team hasn’t even had its opening weekend yet, and I’ve already got “The Jazz” for the sequel. I guess I’m just going to have to see this one a few more times then. Oh, and be sure to stick around after the credits, to see a few cameos.

Rating:


“Valentine’s Day”
a review by Darby O’Gill

What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day, than with a review of Garry Marshall’s Valentine’s Day on Valentine’s Day? Okay, there is probably a better way to spend Valentine’s Day, but that’s all I have for you this year… So, get over it.

In Valentine’s Day, we follow the lives of several people, and the events that take place on what day? That’s right, Valentine’s Day! Do you see a pattern forming here? This movie also has an all-star cast the length of my arm. Now, when most movies have a cast of this size, it’s almost a sure thing that the movie is going to totally suck, but not so much in this case. Normally, one of the biggest problems of movies of this scale is the script. They almost always screw-up the pacing of the story by trying to make sure all the A-List actors are getting enough screen time. I’m happy to say this isn’t the case in Valentine’s Day. Amazingly, this script really flows well from one sub-story to the next, and it also works really well as a whole. That’s not to say this movie is perfect. This movie definitely has its flaws, the biggest being Queen Latifah’s acting. Wait, I’m sorry that’s not totally true. The worst performance came from dumb & dumber. I’m sorry, I mean Taylor & Taylor. Taylor Swift and Taylor Lautner give two of the worst performances I’ve seen in a movie to date. Ah, what a train wreck! Now, I haven’t seen the Twilight movies, so I don’t know if Lautner can normally act. But, working next to “Acting 101” Swift, Lautner looked like he couldn’t act his way out of a wet paper bag. Surprisingly, Ashton Kutcher’s performance was bearable! I was expecting him to be over the top, and annoying, but he gave a nice subtle performance. Also playing a big part in this movie, is the city of Los Angeles. Shot on location on the streets of L.A., Valentine’s Day will become another one of those movies, that when friends come to visit you in from out of town. You’ll take them for a ride around L.A. and say, “This is where that one scene in Valentine’s Day was shot.” Now, I’m not saying this is a must see movie, but if your lady wants to go see it, there are worse movies you could sit through. Just be glad she doesn’t want to see Leap Year.

Rating:


The Hangover
a review by Darby O’Gill

Well, I went to see “The Hangover” last night… I think. To be honest I can’t remember. What the hell happened last night?! Okay, let’s see. Met up with Wayne and Kathy around… nine o’clock? We picked up Karen from work… went to the theatre. The Arclight, right? No! It was in Woodland Hills. We went to a late show, or maybe we had dinner? Come on Darby! Check your pockets. Maybe there’s a ticket stub in there. Let’s see, a pen cap, some change, and a wooden nickel? Where the hell did I get a wooden nickel? Here we go. A ticket stub to “The Hangover” at eleven fifteen at AMC. And what else do we have here? It’s a fortune from a fortune cookie? Where did that come from? I remember now. We got to the movie early and went to have dinner at P.F. Chang’s. Oh man, no wonder I can’t remember anything. I’ve seen “The Food.” I know that P.F. Chang uses M.S.G. Okay, fun time is over; let’s get on to the review.

“The Hangover”
a review by Darby O’Gill

Hands down the best movie of the summer! No, really. I went to see an advanced screening of “The Hangover” back in March and wanted to see it again immediately. Unfortunately, I had to wait three months before I could see it again. A long three months later, I’m pleased to say I enjoyed it just as much, if not more. The movie really is air tight. It’s just a non-stop laugh-fest. Zack Galifianakis steals the show, which is fantastic because I’m a long time Galifianakis fan. I have been waiting for him to get a project that would bring his genius to the masses, and I’m happy to say this is the one. But if this is your first time seeing Galifianakis in action, and you think he’s hysterical, please do not hold “G-Force” against him when it comes out in July.  The only performance that comes close to upstaging Zack is that of his baby co-star. The faces this kid makes are unbelievable. I mean it. That baby has to be CGI, there’s no way that’s a real baby.

Okay, let’s get to the plot breakdown; not that I have to tell you what the movie is about, I’m sure you’ve seen the trailers that give away everything. If you haven’t, here’s a breakdown that doesn’t give anything away. Three buddies, played by Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zack Galifianakis, take their best friend Doug (Justin Bartha) to Las Vegas for his bachelor party, and a night they’ll never remember. With no memory of the events that took place the night before, the guys wake up to discover that not only is Doug missing, but they only have 40 hours to retrace their steps and find Doug before his wedding.

This movie really does have it all. The script is hysterical from beginning to end. I’m not even going to hold the screenwriters’ last script, “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past,” against them. Director, Todd Phillips, keeps the pace of the movie moving, almost to a fault.  At times you actually feel exhausted because you truly don’t stop laughing for such a long period of time. The locked-off camera shot of Ed Helms, when he first wakes up is fantastic. Heather Graham stands out; with a charming performance that reminds us why we fell in love with her as Mercedes Lane in “License to Drive.” The cast works so well together that it was of no surprise to me that Warner Bros. green-lit a sequel more than a month before the film’s release. “The Hangover” is destined to be a comedy classic, with the likes of “Animal House,” “Caddyshack,” and “Bachelor Party.” I just hope the sequel can live up to the incredibly high standard set by the first film.

Rating:

5 Little People