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“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.

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“Dinner for Schmucks”
a review by Darby O’Gill

I’ve got to say that this is a good movie… Oh, wait. What I meant to say is that Dinner for Schmucks would be a good movie if it was still 1993, but sadly its 2010, and this movie is just plain stupid now. I think director Jay Roach’s sense of humor is stuck in the 90’s, and it’s a shame because I was a fan of his back in the day. Of course that was back during the actual 90’s. I don’t want you to think I’m being a snob. I still enjoy sophomoric comedies, but that doesn’t mean I like them to be mindless.

In Dinner for Schmucks, Tim (Paul Rudd) is finally getting that big promotion. The only downside is his boss likes to hold these special dinners where his employees have to find the biggest idiots they can and bring them to dinner. Of course the idiots are told it’s a dinner for winners, and that they are there to showcase their unique talents. At first Tim is reluctant to participate, but when he literally runs into the prefect idiot on the street, he quickly finds out that getting to the dinner is going to be a challenge in itself. Barry (Steve Carell) is an IRS employee that moonlights as a taxidermist, and uses his talents on dead field mice to create dioramas that are re-creations of famous works of art. He is also recently separated from his wife, who was cheating on him with one of his fellow IRS workers. Therman (Zack Galifianakis), an equally eccentric character, has the ability to control the minds of others. You don’t have to be a psychic to know that Therman will also be attending the “Dinner for Extraordinary People.”

Here’s the thing. Not only is Dinner for Schmucks a one trick pony, but it also continues the unfortunate trend that is bad Steve Carell movies, which is mind boggling in itself, because I like Steve Carell. But, for some reason his movies never seem to work for me. There are of course the exceptions like Anchorman and The 40 Year Old Virgin, but sadly there seems to be more Evan Almighty’s out there than the former. Even Paul Rudd can’t save this one. Both Rudd and Carell give strong performances, but at the end of the day it just comes down to a bad script. This movie is so one dimensional that I would gladly wear 3D glasses while watching it, if I thought it would help. It’s also painfully predicable. I wasn’t expecting this movie to be on the same level as Inception, but come on! At least try and hold my interest for an hour and a half. Unfortunately, the only people that are going to enjoy this dinner are the schmucks themselves.

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