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“Scream 4”
a review by Darby O’Gill

The movie that changed the face of horror is back, and this time with a whole new set of rules. It’s hard to believe that it’s been 15 years since the first Scream movie came out, and just a little over 10 years now since Scream 3. One would even wonder if we needed a fourth installment to the Scream franchise, especially when three already seemed like one too many. But luckily for us, screenwriter Kevin Williamson has also returned this time around, and has brought a bit of that old fun creativity back with him. The one thing that made the original Scream so amazing was its outstanding writing. Sure, it wasn’t Shakespeare. But, there’s no denying that it was the writing that made that movie the classic it is today. And with Facebook, Twitter, and a whole new style of horror movies emerging in the last 10 years, Williamson had an opportunity play with some new ideas.

In Scream 4, Sidney Prescott, played by Neve Campbell, has finally written a book that tells her side of the story, and is somehow talked into finishing her national book tour in Woodsboro, on the anniversary of the first killing. With the return of Sidney, the anniversary, and yet another installment of the popular Stab movie series, wouldn’t you know someone else wants to try their hand at being the Ghostface Killer. Dewey, played by David Arquette, and Gale Weathers, played by Courteney Cox, are now married and currently living in Woodsboro, where Dewey is the town Sheriff. They also introduced a new generation of teens, along with the idea that the killer might not be playing by the rules of a sequel this time around, and might actually be looking for a 21st Century reboot!

I’ve got to say, I enjoyed Scream 4 more than the last two sequels, but I still think they could have taken it a little bit further. Although, having Kevin Williamson back in the screenwriter’s chair is a big help, they did have a few opportunities in this script to take the franchise in a whole new direction, but in the end, they ultimately ended up sticking to the same old format. Well, that’s not completely fair. There is a new twist to Scream 4, and not one that I think most people will see coming, but I think the biggest problem the Scream series has always had to deal with is the fact that the killer, or killers, have always clearly died at the end of each movie. The other big problem is that the movie isn’t about the Ghostface Killer, it’s about Sidney, Dewey, and Gale! With Freddy, Michael, and Jason, the movies are always about them, the rest of the cast is replaceable. It’s easy to bring back the unstoppable killing machine once they’ve been established, and at one point in Scream 4 (without giving anything away) they could have easily done that. I’m not saying that it would have been a good thing for the series, but it would have at least been different, and maybe even a new direction you didn’t see coming this time around. Scream 4 manages to keep the audience guessing, and has more red herrings than you can shake a stick at, but it is definitely a welcomed addition to the series.

Rating:



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“You Again”
a review by Darby O’Gill

I know, it’s not the type of movie you would expect to find getting a good review at the Stash, but stranger things have happened. I also realize that You Again has been getting mostly horrendous reviews from all the other critics, but for some reason I don’t find myself completely agreeing with them. I’ve seen it twice, and have found it to be enjoyable each time. It might just be that I was in the right frame of mind when I went to see the movie, or maybe I just wasn’t expecting too much from it. The first time I went to see it, I went in thinking this is just going to be another Disney family-friendly movie that will most likely suck. But, when it was all said and done, I found myself thinking that it was more like that of the Disney movies I grew-up watching; and it was really nice to see a movie like that again. I grew-up watching all those great Wonderful World of Disney movies, like The Parent Trap, The Love Bug, The North Avenue Irregulars, Candleshoe, The Cat from Outer Space, and Freaky Friday. All of those movies are classics in their own right, but if you compared them to The Godfather or Citizen Kane, of course they would seem stupid and predicable. I feel like that’s what most critics are doing with You Again. I, on the other hand, want to see Disney make more movies like this. Enough with the High School Musicals and the Miley Hanna Cyrus Montana Denver omelet movies; let’s bring back the “Wonderful” to Disney movies.

Sure the storyline to You Again is sophomoric and highly predictable, but if you manage to check your uptight prude attitude at the door, it can also be kind of fun. The story centers around Marni (Kristen Bell), who was tortured all throughout high school by Joanna (Odette Yustman), and has grown-up, despite the torture, to be a successful P.R. agent. It’s not until Marni returns home for her older brother’s wedding, that she discovers the bride to be is none other than her old rival Joanna. This theme repeats itself throughout the film, over and over again, but that’s the whole point. Marni’s Mom, played by Jamie Lee Curtis… Yes, she took some time off from regulating her digestive system to make a movie. Don’t worry; I’m sure she’ll be back to her poop-yogurt in no time. Where was I? Oh, yeah! Marni’s Mom (Curtis) has her own high school rival to deal with when Sigourney Weaver shows up as Joanna’s wildly successful Aunt Ramona. This isn’t Schindler’s List people! I’m really finding it surprising that most critics are giving this movie such a hard time. It’s not one of my favorite movies of the year, but it’s also not Jonah Hex. Now that, was an abomination. You Again is just a nice little family movie, that kids can enjoy, and can remind adults of Disney’s golden years.

Rating:


“Get Him to the Greek”
a review by Darby O’Gill

When I first heard about Get Him to the Greek, I thought it looked like it could be fun, but I also thought that Russell Brand looked like he was just playing the same type of character that he played in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Little did I realize at the time, that that’s exactly what he was doing, because Get Him to the Greek is a sequel to Forgetting Sarah Marshall… well of sorts. It’s 10 years later, and indy rocker Aldous Snow (Russell Brand) finds his career in a bit of a slump, and you could even say quickly finding himself becoming an irrelevant joke. But when Aaron Green (Jonah Hill), a young up and coming music executive, suggests a 10 year anniversary show of Aldous Snow’s Infant Sorrow performance at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles, it quickly becomes his responsibility to transport Snow from the London to L.A. in 72 hours. Here’s the part that doesn’t make any sense to me, Jonah Hill is not playing the same character that he played in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. I’m not really sure why that is, because he could have quite easily been the same character, and I think it would have added a lot more charm to the movie if he had. I went into this movie thinking he was the same character and couldn’t for the life of me figure out why they were acting like they had never met before. I mean it makes sense that Snow wouldn’t remember the waiter from 10 years ago, but why wouldn’t the waiter bring it up? I understand that the waiter that Hill played in Forgetting Sarah Marshall was a little over the top, but with the story taking place 10 years later, writer/director Nicholas Stoller could have easily made it work. The waiter had a demo tape in the first movie which would already establish him being interested in the music industry, so half the work is already done right there. I just don’t get it.

The other huge problem with this movie is that it’s an editor’s nightmare. It’s all over the place! Half the stuff that is in the trailer is nowhere to be found in the movie. There’s even a scene in the movie that only makes sense if you’ve seen the first part of the scene in the trailer, and I’m sorry but that should never happen. To top it all off, the one joke that made me laugh the hardest in the trailer isn’t even in the final cut. And after seeing the movie, I would still have to say that it’s my favorite moment of the movie, and it’s not even in the movie! How can that be?! I would have to think that it is largely to do to the amount of improvisation that is clearly running rampant through out the film. I think it’s safe to say that the deleted scenes on the DVD will have a much longer running time than the actual feature film. The best way to describe the chaos of Get Him to the Greek is like that of a Saturday Night Live skit. At times it goes on for too long, and then at times it feels too rushed. And much like SNL, there were parts of the movie that really made me laugh, and others that just seemed to be going through the motions. But over all it feels like a bunch of funny moments and ideas that are just strung together in the hopes that they’ll work in the end. Which is clearly why the trailer and movie are nothing alike, because the person putting together the trailer clearly found some moments funnier than others, and the director ended up not using them at all. Like I said it’s an editor’s worst nightmare.

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“Couples Retreat”
a review by Darby O’Gill

When is a vacation not a vacation? Two words… couples counseling. When the very together Jason and Cynthia, played by Jason Bateman and Kristen Bell, feel their marriage may possibly be coming to an end, they decide to enlist in a very special couples program on a remote tropical island. The only problem, is they need to convince three other couples to join them in order to get the cheaper group rate. There’s the couple that seems to have it all together, Dave and Ronnie, played by Vince Vaughn and Malin Akerman, a nice happy family. Then there’s Joey and Lucy, played by Jon Favreau and Kristin Davis, who are counting down the days to their divorce, once there daughter heads off to college. Finally there’s Shane, played by Faizon Love, who is recently divorced and finds himself dating Trudy, played by Kali Hawk, a girl young enough to be his daughter. At Eden Resort West, the couples can find all sorts of activities, like couples skill building, open sea swimming with sharks, full contact yoga, and even a little “Guitar Hero.” Which brings us to Sctanley, played by the brilliant Peter Serafinowicz, who watches the couples like a hawk. He makes sure the couples don’t venture over to the resort on the other side of the island, Eden Resort East, which is a singles resort that promises all the fun that seems to be missing from their side of the island.
I know a lot of people are knocking Couples Retreat for not taking the story somewhere new, but I kind of like that this movie feels like an old school comedy. Sure you know where they’re taking it, but it’s funny, and fun to watch. Isn’t that the point of an entertaining movie? These days, it seems like movies have to be totally amazing, or so bad you want to leave the theater. Can’t we have an Uncle Buck these days? You know, a movie that isn’t the best, but makes you say, “That was fun!” I would like to think it’s that kind of movie Favreau and Vaughn had in mind when they wrote this. I also think director Peter Billingsley, did a great job of capturing that feeling visually. Speaking of the visuals, I think it’s safe to say that Bora Bora makes every shot look amazing! Why couldn’t I have been invited to that press junket!? A free trip to Bora Bora! No thanks, it’s nice and cool here in Los Angeles. Hey Jon, I’m available for the Iron Man 2 junket by the way. I also love the fact that the characters Jon Favreau is playing these days, has gone from the guy in the PG-13 movie everyone’s really hoping makes it happen, to the guy in the rated R movie that cheats on his wife; although Couples Retreat is rated PG-13. But you know what I mean. He’s played some really great assholes lately, and some of those movies were rated R. Look, the bottom line is, if you want to see something deep, go see A Serious Man. But, for a fun date movie that makes you laugh and feel good, Couples Retreat is a nice getaway.

Rating:
3.5 Little People