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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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“Paul”
a review by Darby O’Gill

Throughout the history of cinema we have always had our share of great comedic duo teams, Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy, Bud Abbott & Lou Costello, Burt Reynolds & Dom DeLuise, David Spade & Chris Farley, and now Simon Pegg & Nick Frost. Okay, that might be a little bit of a grand statement, but I’ve got to say it’s one that I’m proud to stand behind. From Spaced to Hot Fuzz, Pegg and Frost have more than earned their place on that list. In their newest team-up, they find themselves on the run from the men in black with a little help of the third kind.

In Paul, illustrator Graeme Willy (Simon Pegg) and aspiring sci-fi writer Clive Gollings (Nick Frost) have ventured across the pond on holiday to attend the Holy Grail of all nerd events, the San Diego Comic-Con! However, the Comic-Con is just the beginning of the duo’s epic adventure. Having rented an RV, Graeme and Clive plan to visit all the UFO hot spots the American Southwest has to offer, from Area 51 to the infamous UFO crash site in Roswell, New Mexico. But, their plans quickly change when in the desert just outside Area 51, they stumble upon a real life alien named Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen). Now on the run from government agents that want Paul back, the boys will do their best to help their new alien friend get home.

Paul might not be an instant classic, or even in line for an Oscar anytime soon, but it’s a fun ride just the same. I really had a good time watching this one, and can’t wait to see it again. It’s just fun to watch Pegg & Frost do their thing, even if it is without the help of good friend Edgar Wright. That’s not to say that Wright was completely left out of the making of Paul. There’s a nice little nod in one of the scenes, to the movie Edgar was filming at the time of Paul. In the comic book shop in Roswell, there is a rack full of Scott Pilgrim trades proudly on display. This movie is full of little gems like that. With so many science-fiction movies, comic book and pop culture references in it, Paul has definitely set a record. I would almost say there are too many, but somehow it works. I think having so many in the film, gives the movie a little bit of a leeway. Well, that and the fact that Graeme and Clive are a pair of hopeless nerds, who would most likely talk like that. The other thing that really helps you enjoy this movie is the character of Paul himself. Seth Rogen does such a great job of breathing life into this fully culturally integrated spaceman. I love that he is constantly pointing out the misconceptions of alien stereotypes, and has a true gift for stating the obvious. Did I mention that Paul is also the idea man (well, alien) behind some of our greatest science fiction? Well, he is! Paul is truly the ultimate fanboy road trip movie!

Rating:


“Tangled”
a review by Darby O’Gill

Just when you thought Disney was all out of princesses, Rapunzel lets down her hair and pulls out another hit. Tangled marks the 50th installment of the Walt Disney Animated Classics series, and even though it might not be one of the best, it definitely doesn’t disappoint. I think it’s safe to say that Pixar and DreamWorks Animation have clearly stolen a lot of Disney’s animated thunder over the last few years, but why is that? It might just be a sign of the times, but I don’t think computer animation has anything to do with it. If I didn’t know better, I would have thought Tangled was a completely computer animated film, which it is sort of. They used both hand-drawn and CGI techniques to help bring Tangled to life. I don’t think the look really matters though, and when it comes down to it, it’s not the animation style that makes a great movie. It helps, but the story itself is what really brings an animated tale to life. Okay, well when you say it like that you do sound kind of stupid. What I mean to say is that the story is what connects to the audience and ultimately holds their interest. If you took one of the Toy Story movies and remade it word for word with the old school hand-drawn animation, I would be willing to bet it would still be one of the best animated movies of all time!

In Tangled, Rapunzel (Mandy Moore) was born with magical hair, and when she was just a baby, she was kidnapped by an old hermit lady who knew of her hair’s magical powers. She then locked Rapunzel away in a tower, raised her as her own, and for eighteen years told her of the dangers of the outside world, keeping her an unknowing prisoner. That is until the dangerous outside world came to her. When the outlaw Flynn Ryder (Zachary Levi) decides to use her nicely isolated tower as a hiding place to lay low after stealing a priceless item from the castle, he not only is shocked to find someone living there, but quickly finds himself being blackmailed into playing tour guide for Rapunzel’s first outing into the world.

The movie has some great moments and fantastic animation in it, but it also has musical numbers as well. The music is good, but it doesn’t have that unity that the other Disney animated classics of the 90’s use to have, like Aladdin and The Lion King. The songs in Tangled almost seem out of place at times, and even forced. I’m not a big fan of musicals, but I was a big fan of those older Disney films, so I’m not exactly sure what the difference is here. Not that it effects the enjoyment of movie, it’s just noticeable. The musical numbers don’t seem to flow with the storytelling here. In The Little Mermaid, you almost didn’t even realize the musical numbers were happening at times. Music aside, the humor in Tangled is really fun! Not too goofy, but it does have its moments. The storyline is clean for the most part, with the exception of a few holes, but overall Tangled is a nice addition to the Disney legacy.

Rating:


“Monsters vs. Aliens: Mutant Pumpkins from Outer Space”
a review by Darby O’Gill

Just when you thought everything from our childhood was dead. Last night I got to see something I’d never thought I’d see again, a Holiday Special! You remember those don’t you? I’m not talking about Rudolph or Frosty. No, I’m talking about when stars of the Saturday Morning lineup hit primetime with a special holiday tale. Only this time it’s not Saturday Morning answering the call, but rather Hollywood, more specifically DreamWorks Animation. Last night the cast of Monsters vs. Aliens, re-teamed for a half-hour Halloween special, the first of many hopefully. The best part of this is that the original cast of voice talent got back together; so this is not one of those let’s just throw something together projects. DreamWorks Animation is doing it right.
In the special, we find the Monsters getting ready for Halloween, when an alien spaceship makes a quick pit-stop in Modesto, to dump their waste in a pumpkin patch. When the Monsters arrive to investigate, they quickly discover that the pumpkins are starting to come to life. It’s short and sweet, but one thing is for sure. Thanks to DreamWorks Animation, the Holiday Special is now back for a whole new generation. Also look for their Christmas special featuring the cast of Madagascar, in Merry Madagascar this winter.

Rating:
3.5 Little People

“The Invention of Lying”
a review by Darby O’Gill

What would you do if any lie you told was instantly taken as truth? In The Invention of Lying, Mark Bellison, played by Ricky Gervais, finds himself being the first person in a parallel reality that learns the art of lying. I think the trailers are a little misleading because they make it seem like everyone tells the truth. But, it’s more like they speak their mind no matter what, because they don’t know how to lie, and they simply just don’t know what else to say. Also, in this reality there is no fiction, and because of that the film industry only makes films about historic events. There also aren’t any actors in this world because acting like someone you’re not would be lying. So, how do they make the movies you ask? Why readers of course. That’s right, movies are just a person, in this case the brilliant Christopher Guest, sitting in a comfy chair reading a history book to the audience. If you think the movies would be bad, just take a minute to think about how great your dating life would be without lying. Would anyone honestly be dating? No pun intended.
When we first meet Mark Bellison, he’s loosing his job as the screenwriter of the Black Plague, and his blind date with Anna McDoogles, played by Jennifer Garner, is anything but smooth. But, when he asks a bank teller for more money than he has in his account, she chalks it up to a computer mistake, and gives him the amount he asked for. Voila, the world’s first lie! A lie can be a powerful thing when no one questions it, the world quickly becomes Mark’s oyster. However, Mark doesn’t realize just how powerful until he tells his dying mother something to comfort her. It’s overheard and repeated, and things quickly get just a little bit out of control.
I really enjoyed this movie, but sadly it might upset some. See, there is this religious undertone in this movie that could upset some Christians; but I honestly don’t think that was the intent of Ricky Gervais. I don’t think they’re saying that there is no God. In Christianity the word of God is told through parables in the Bible, which never would have been written in this world. As our friend Joe Rogan would point out, I’m pretty sure that no one thinks that Noah’s Ark is a 100% true story. Please don’t tell me you really believe a giant boat was built to carry two of every animal in the entire world, for forty days and forty nights! Look, those stories, much like The Invention of Lying, are told in hopes of making people want to be better to each other. You know… Peace on Earth, goodwill towards men… Ah, and women. Hey, I didn’t write it. Honestly, it doesn’t matter what religion you believe, whether it’s Christianity, Judaism, Islam, or hell even Scientology. At the core of it all, those religions are meant to do one thing… make people want to be a better person and hopefully make the world a better place. Funny, it’s the same thing that people kill each other over and start wars because of. The point is, Mark Bellison wanted people to be nicer to each other, and if telling a few lies would make the world a better place, maybe it’s not so bad. Now, I understand that religion is a touchy topic. And the last thing I want to do is upset any of you, but let’s just believe what makes us feel good, and not force those beliefs on other people. When did this turn into a rally? Go see The Invention of Lying, it’s honestly a good movie… No, really. Seriously, it’s really good. Would I lie to you?! Okay, I would. But, it really is worth seeing.

Rating:
4 Little People


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