You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Hollywood’ tag.

“It’s Complicated”
a review by Darby O’Gill

There’s nothing complicated about it; Nancy Meyers has once again delivered a hit! It’s Complicated is great! The story may not be new, but the way it’s told is. Meyers has written a script that Hollywood would love to make with a 20 or 30 something cast, but she didn’t write it for them. No, she wrote it for a cast in their 60’s, and I for one am really glad that she did.

In It’s Complicated, we follow the story of Jane, played by Meryl Streep, a woman that finds herself in her 60’s and single. Her ex-husband of many years, Jake, played by Alec Bladwin, has remarried; in fact he has married the younger woman he was having an affair with while with Jane. Thanks to their three kids, Jane and Jake have managed to keep a civil relationship with each other despite their divorce. But, when the family travels to New York, for one of their daughter’s college graduation, the unthinkable happens. Jane and Jack hook-up after a late night of drinking, and Jane now finds herself being her ex-husband’s mistress. If now being the other woman to the woman who broke up your marriage didn’t complicate things enough for poor Jane, she suddenly finds herself sparking up a budding relationship with her architect Adam, played by Steve Martin. John Krasinski gives a nice performance as the son-in-law that knows about Jane and Jack’s secret relationship, and is tortured by keeping it just that, a secret.

I really enjoyed this film. I don’t know if it was the mood I was in, or if it’s just Nancy Meyers’ refreshing spin on things. The really nice thing is that there are no tacky jokes about age. If anyone other than Meyers had written this story it would be full of “at my age” jokes. Like I said, the movie really could have been made with a cast of thirty year olds, but there is something great about the fact that it’s not. Now, don’t get me wrong. There are jokes about being older, but the nice thing is that they don’t rely on it like most films would. The cast, as you would expect, is fantastic! The pacing is pitch perfect. And if nothing else, Nancy Meyers has once again proved that she truly is the queen of romantic comedies.

Rating:



Advertisements

“Surrogates”
a review Darby O’Gill

In the near future people no longer leave there homes, instead they jack-in to a surrogate robot that they operate like a car. The really trippy thing is that surrogates also drive cars, so a person can operate a surrogate and a car at the same time. Did I just blow your minds? The movie is based on the 2005 comic book series The Surrogate and takes place in a world of robots, where crime is almost nonexistent, almost. When an unknown device seems to kill not only Surrogates, but also their operators, Detective Greer, played by Bruce Willis, finds himself investigating the first homicide in over a decade. Surrogates, being machines, are stronger and faster than a normal person. They can also be or look like anything. It’s the internet in everyday life. What looks like a hot twenty-eight year old girl, is really a fat fifty-four year old man. It kind of makes you wonder why there isn’t more crime. If anyone could look like anything, why wouldn’t they be robbing banks or something? I’m getting off subject, but it’s a good point. Back to the story at hand; while investigating the murders, Greer’s Surrogate gets destroyed, and Greer is forced to go out into the world without a Surrogate to continue his investigation, and uncovers a much deeper plot against the Surrogates. It’s really cool the way they deal with this part of the story. Willis’ character is just overwhelmed by his senses the first time out on his own. You really realize these people have been locked up in their houses with no real contact with the outside world, and it’s almost like quitting an addiction. At times you really can’t help but notice just how close we could be to that. Every day something else comes out that keeps us in touch with people, but without ever having to see them. It’s kind of scary. Even as I’m writing this, I’m thinking wow this sounds like a great movie, and I would like nothing more than to tell you that this is the case, but sadly it’s not. The problem with Surrogates is that they had a chance to do something new, but instead just seemed to play it safe, and go through the motions. This truly could have been the next Blade Runner, well okay, maybe not. But, it could have been something great. The ideas are there, but everything you see is something you’ve pretty much seen before. It’s a fun movie and well worth seeing, but I just wish they would have taken it to that next level. Would somebody, please give Hollywood their balls back! We’re so close to getting something good here. The one thing I really did like wasn’t in the movie. Elizabeth Banks! I’ve always enjoyed her performances in movies, but I think I’m an even bigger fan of hers now. She was an executive producer on this film, and yet she doesn’t appear in it. As a producer, she could have easily given herself a role in the movie, but she didn’t. The only time most actors produce a project is to guarantee they can be in it, but not Ms. Banks. It says a lot about her character, and I am now a bigger fan because of it.

Rating:
3 Little People


“9”
a review by Darby O’Gill

Well, it’s official. The machines will kill us all. But at least it’s going to be fun to watch. I truly haven’t seen an animated movie like this in quite sometime. The visuals are mind blowing. You could get lost for hours in the details alone. The story is dark, and the action is intense, but most of all 9 reminds us that even an animated movie can entertain audiences of all ages.

The story of 9 takes place in a post-apocalyptic world, but not one of the future, like you would think, but rather an alternative future of the 1940’s. This was a really smart move on the filmmaker’s part. They could have easily made it all futuristic, but by limiting the technology available at the time (with some artistic license of course); they really give the film a unique look that just adds to its magic. But I digress. The story follows the journey of 9, a mechanical patchwork doll that awakens to find himself in a world seemingly void of life. He quickly discovers he’s not alone and stumbles upon the other eight patchwork dolls that came before him, and together they must face the reawakened doomsday machine that now threatens their very survival. The visuals in this film are outstanding! They really are. I can’t say it enough. Even though Tim Burton was only a producer on this project, his influence can clearly be seen throughout the film. Much like Neill Blomkamp’s District 9Shane Acher’s 9 also stems from an award winning short. It’s great that in this day and age, Hollywood can see the potential in these small shorts, and give the filmmakers a chance to tell their stories properly. It’s hard to believe that this is the same Hollywood that made G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.

The voice talent in this film is fantastic, and not just big names for the sake of having big names either. Don’t get me wrong they are big names, but their voices are not only fitting for their characters, but they also work brilliantly as an ensemble, which is hard to pull off in an animated movie. Especially when the voice talent cast doesn’t get to meet each other till the night of the premiere in most cases. And what Tim Burton project would be complete without Danny Elfman? Well, Elfman many not have composed the full score, but he did compose the theme for 9. Which, I have to say is better than nothing. You know, just this past weekend, I was talking about how much Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas just blew me away, and changed the way I thought of animated movies. I’m glad to say that 9 will most likely raise the bar for animated films yet again.

Rating:


“Inglourious Basterds”
a review by Darby O’Gill

Quentin Tarantino is in the business of two things, killin’ Nazis, and reclaiming box office supremacy. And cousin, business is a-boomin’. Inglourious Basterds takes place during World War II in German occupied France, where a team of Jewish American soldiers, known as “the Basterds,” are taking out the Nazi Party, one scalp at a time. In true Tarantino style, there is more than one story being told, and both tales converge at the films climax. It’s really nice to see a film like this again. For the last ten years, Tarantino has been focusing more on telling his story set in pre-set format, but in Iglourious Basterds he triumphantly returns to his Pulp Fiction roots.

The first thing I noticed when watching this movie is that independent film isn’t what it used to be. For the last few years, independent films like Juno are not so much artsy films, as they are just good movies that Hollywood refuses to make. Thankfully, Inglourious Basterds takes us back to that glorious golden age of indie filmmaking, and who better than Quentin to take us there. When the movie started, I was instantly reminded of those 1990 heydays. From breaking up the story into chapters, to the unmistakable dialogue, Tarantino effortlessly reclaims the indie title. Brad Pitt’s performance as Lt. Aldo Raine for some reason makes me think of George Clooney. I think it might be his character’s gruff southern accent, or maybe it’s the mustache. It also just seems more like the type of character Clooney would be cast to play. But don’t get me wrong I think Pitt did a great job. I loved the somewhat subtle hangman’s scar on Raine’s neck that is never explained or talked about. It would also lead you to believe it had something to do with Raine’s gruff voice. It’s that kind of attention to detail that makes Tarantino’s character development so top notch. Although, I heard that Tarantino asked the actors to develop their character’s back stories in this film, so the credit in this case might go to Brad Pitt. When I first found out that director Eli Roth was going to be playing one of the major roles in this film, I got to say it wasn’t a plus for me; but I’m glad to report that he does a good job in the role. I always hate when Tarantino puts himself into his movies, and Eli has done the same in the past. But with no Tarantino cameo, and a strong performance from Roth, there’s not much to hate. I was a little disappointed that they ruin a nice surprise cameo from Mike Myers by putting his name in the opening credits. I know, you wouldn’t expect Mike Myers to be in a Tarantino film, but he delivers an almost Peter Sellers-esque performance of a British General. Also, keep your ears open for other A Band Apart alumni cameos from Samuel L. Jackson and Harvey Keitel. Inglourious Basterds might not be the best Tarantino movie, but it’s definitely in the top five.

Rating:

4 Little People



“District 9”
a review by Dary O’Gill

First off, I want you to know that there are no spoilers in this review, so please read on worry free. District 9 is the story of a marooned alien spacecraft hovering over the city of Johannesburg in South Africa. The people of Earth welcome first contact in the beginning, but when nothing happens for the first three months, man steps in to do what he does best. Twenty years later, the Earth becomes an intergalactic melting pot, and the planet’s newest refugees are starting to outstay their welcome. The only thing the planet seems to still be interested in is the alien technology, mainly their weapons. No big surprise there.

New comer Writer/Director, Neill Blomkamp, masterfully tells a tale with social and political undertones, but manages to do so in a truly entertaining way, which never seems preachy. District 9 is based on Blomkamp’s 2005 short film “Alive in Joburg,” which reflects his views of growing up in Johannesburg. The movie is a beautiful mix of documentary filmmaking and that of a sci-fi thriller. And let me also just say, it was one of my favorite marketing campaigns in years. I love when movies use their marketing to make people say, “What is that poster for?” Most studios want you to know right away; but did you know anyone that wasn’t talking about the “Humans Only” campaign? The special effects were top notch, by doing things like using stock footage of riots in South Africa and adding aliens to the footage, District 9 gives itself an amazing sense of realism. Finally, a summer movie worthy of its namesake, and we only had to wait till mid August to get it. Let me tell you, this more than makes up for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. With a production budget of a mere thirty million, District 9 proves that it’s not the size of the budget, but the quality of the film making. In its opening weekend, District 9 quickly turned a profit by making a cool thirty-seven million in only three days. Are you listening Hollywood?! All you need is a concrete story and talented director to back it up. Thank God Peter Jackson got onboard with this project and saved it from the clutches of evil Hollywood executives. A friend of mine was saying this weekend, that when you see this movie, you’ll realize that you find yourself desperately hoping they don’t screw it up at the last minute. You’re actually pulling for the movie to stay true to itself and not go the way of every other movie this summer. District 9 is destined to be an instant classic! Humans may not be allowed in District 9, but lucky for us we are allowed in the theaters to see this monumental film.

Rating:

5 Little People



“G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra”
a review by Darby O’Gill

Honestly! Not one, but two of my favorite childhood memories are raped right before my eyes, and all in the same summer! Really!? REALLY!? Fuck you, Hasbro! I mean, what’s next? A He-Man movie? What’s that? Hang on a second. They did? When? Really, with Courtney Cox? Oh, come on! Dolph Lundgren played He-Man! Oh, fuck you too, Hollywood! What did I ever do to you!? Other than give you all my money and go see all of your craptasic movies. I can’t… I just can’t. I didn’t even want to see it, and yet here we are. Some part of me thought it might be fun to go see it just to laugh at it, like a bad B-movie, but you can’t even do that. It really is just bad news. I’m sorry; I can’t even put it into words. You would never believe me. How did they ever get Dennis Quaid to agree to be in this movie? Okay, enough of this let’s just get to it.

I don’t know when, but at some point Hollywood thought action sequences would be so much better if they just filmed them as close as the camera could get to the action. It’s crazy. They spend all this time and money setting up action sequences and then you can’t even see what’s happening. This movie will seriously hurt your brain if you try and think about it too hard, but here are some examples that I hope don’t hurt your head too much. The Joe’s, who are real American heroes, seem to not really care much about public safety. They’re killing every agent of Cobra they come across, and at no time try to minimize the amount of damage they are causing to the public. Now here’s the part that is really going to hurt your head. Cobra’s big bad master weapon is designed to destroy metal… That’s it. It doesn’t kill anyone, it just destroys metal. Not so mind blowing? Well how about if I told you that Cobra, not the Joe’s, use pulse pistols that are non-lethal weapons. Isn’t that the kind of weapon you would give the hero?

How about at the end of the movie…  Don’t worry, I’m not about to give anything away, not that any of you should ever want to see this movie. But, at the end of the film, the Joe’s are battling Cobra at their under water base in the Artic, and detonate the ice thousands of feet above the base to crash down and destroy it. Let me say that again. They blow up the ice above the underwater base to come crashing down. Even a 2 year old can tell you that ice floats. Actually, the ice was already floating over it to begin with, wasn’t it?

Now in a movie like this, the one thing you would think you could count on is top of the line special effects, because that’s all they ever really focus on.  But, the effects in this movie are so bad they look as if they were done on a Commodore 64. Okay look, I’ve got to stop. I’ve already wasted more than enough of my life on this movie. Let’s see if I can say at least one good thing… Sienna Miller looks amazing as the Baroness. However, I did keep finding myself thinking of Olivia Munn’s Baroness from G4’s Attack of the Show. Olivia would have at least tried to have had a Russian accent. Okay, so I can’t say anything good. Let’s just rate this turd. Once again there is no lower rating I can give this, but I would if I could. Believe it or not, this was even worse than Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. I know! How is that even possible?!

Rating:

0.5 Little People



“The Ugly Truth”
a review by Darby O’Gill

Well, The Ugly Truth is just that. I got to tell you, I had no interest in seeing this movie, but a press screening is a free screening. So for the sake of being a good journalist, I went. I would like to say, I was pleasantly surprised. However, this was exactly the train wreck I was expecting. What I wasn’t really expecting was the rude crudeness of the film. This is the American Pie of chick flicks. Wait! Don’t misunderstand that statement. I’m not saying this movie is good! What I’m trying to say is that this chick flick relies on dick and fart jokes, or in this case vagina and fart jokes, to get the laughs. It reminds me of the Cameron Diaz and Christina Applegate movie, The Sweetest Thing, only that movie worked a little better than this.


Does it sound bad, that the one thing that I did like in this movie was the lighting? I really found myself noticing the colors and look of the film. The film itself however, is the ever transparent storyline of Abby, played by former American sweetheart, Katherine Heigl, a morning television producer in Sacramento whose show is struggling in the ratings. The obvious solution is hiring Gerard Butler’s character Mike, a loud mouth late-night public access channel host that tells lovesick women that they know nothing of what men want. Can any of you guess the name of his show? Transparent as tracing paper, that’s right, it’s The Ugly Truth. It took three people to write this script. Amazing! Now believe it or not, Abby and Mike hate each other… I know! You really don’t see any of this stuff coming. But you know what this story really needs? I know. How about a little “Cyrano De Bergerac” storyline to spice it up? But wait, if Abby uses Mike to help her get a man, doesn’t that mean that they will ultimately realize that they are really in love with each other? Don’t be silly. A movie could never be that obvious… Oh, I’m sorry. I’m being told it can be that obvious. It’s painful; it really is. The jokes and situations in this film are so forced, you could probably press charges. It really wants to be this hybrid of a girl’s night out flick with a manly edge. But, what you get is just a sad desperate little movie trying to fit in. Now I think I’m laying it on a little thick. There are a few moments in this film that do work. The chemistry between Heigl and Butler does work to some degree, but I think it’s more clear that Hollywood believes they have found themselves a Mel Gibson replacement in Gerard Butler, and they might very well have. Katherine Heigl’s charm shines through at times, but it’s nothing new, and it’s really not enough in the end. I think this movie will most likely do well. I think some ladies out there will enjoy having a raunchy chick flick to drag their men to. But, most of them will most likely be teens, which doesn’t make sense because with an “R rating” they shouldn’t be able to get in. Well, now that I think of it, maybe it won’t do so well after all. I mean, what with the majority of people seeing the movie being teenage girls that have to sneak in to see it; no one will really be buying movie tickets. Well that makes me feel a little better.

Rating:

2 Little People


“Da Ali G Show: Da Compleet Seereez”
a review by Darby O’Gill

Season 1 DVD:

Going back to where it all began, well for the U.S. at least, Sacha Baron Cohen shows us just how great he can be. If you’ve never seen “Da Ali G Show,” I highly recommend picking up this DVD set. Originally airing here in the states on HBO, this six episode series would have made Andy Kaufman proud. Baron Cohen uses his three alter egos: Ali G, Borat, and Brüno, to travel cross America to interview unsuspecting politicians and celebrities. Now this is as real as it gets. I truly wonder how many agents and managers were fired for setting up these interviews. If you watch closely, at times you can see Sacha trying to hold it together, as even he can’t believe just how far the interview has managed to go. Ali G’s interviews with Buzz Aldrin and Boutros Boutros-Ghali in this season are instant classics.

Rating:

4 Little People

 

Season 1 DVD Special Features:

  • The unedited ‘Spyz’ Movie that Ali G pitches in Hollywood

This ten minute short is hilarious and I would love to know the longest it played before being turned off by a Hollywood executive.

  • Unseen footage of Borat at the Hampton’s Horse Show and the American Patriotism Event

This is just uncut footage from the show.

Sadly it’s only on the first episode, but it’s better than nothing. The nice thing is that even though it’s only the one commentary, you do get a real insight into the making of one of these episodes. They talk about the planning of one of these interviews; from how they write a list of things they would like to happen, to a list of crazy things they could only hope to happen. And more often than not they make it to the crazy list.

  • Glossary of Ali G jargon

Not really needed, but there if you want to look at it. It’s just an on screen list of words and phrases. I didn’t really look at all of it.

DVD Special Feature Rating:

2 Little People

 

Season 2 DVD:

Ali G, Borat, and Brüno are back for another six episodes of interview hijinks. The one bad thing about this series is that there are not nearly enough episodes. It’s basically more of the same as season one. But let’s be honest, is that really such a bad thing? This series could also be called a collection of the most awkward, whitest fist pumps ever. One of the best interviews of this season has to be Ali G’s chat with Pat Buchanan. Repeatedly in this interview Ali G asks Mr. Buchanan about B.L.T.’s in Iraq. At no point does Buchanan correct him that they are W.M.D.’s, and not B.L.T’s, but he even repeats it back to him. This is one of those moments that you can clearly see Sacha trying to push it as far as he can. After talking about the possibility of B.L.T.’s in Iraq, with or without mustard (gas), Ali then asks, “Is it ever worth fighting a war over sandwiches?” This is why this show is so great. Where else can you see a man be interviewed, that has no idea of what’s really going on… besides Fox News that is. And this series truly does save the best for last. On the credits of the last episode, Ali G interviews, well tries to interview, Andy Rooney. Offended. Confused. Pissed off. These are only a few words that could possibly describe Mr. Rooney’s mood. You really have to see it to appreciate it.

Rating:

4 Little People

 

Season 2 DVD Special Features:

  • Ali G gives a commencement speech to the graduating class at Harvard

This is the whole speech, which runs a little long, but funny none-the-less. The best part of watching this, is watching the uptight kid sitting behind Ali G sweat and scan the audience as Ali delivers his raunchy speech.

  • Ali G holds an educational summit, interviews linguistics professor Noam Chomsky, and visits an historic naval vessel.
  • Borat learns American football in Texas, gets a hunting lesson at an exclusive ranch, and lunches with the Arizona Republican Party.
  • Brüno dishes gossip with a Hollywood stylist, and visits a psychic to speak to his late boyfriend, and much more. (Well not really. These four things are the only special features on the DVD. I really hate when they pull this shit.)

This is just unused footage, it runs just under forty minutes, and has some nice moments in it. One of the best is when Borat is hunting in Texas and outs a hunter’s dislike for Jews. Little does the hunter know that he is talking to a Jew.

DVD Special Feature Rating:

2 Little People