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“Ali G Indahouse”
a review by Darby O’Gill

What’s that? You didn’t know there was an Ali G movie? Well there’s a good reason for that… it’s God awful! This 100% scripted movie takes the character of Ali G and throws him into the storyline of a bad ‘90’s SNL movie. I know! “Ali G Indahouse” was released in 2002, between Season 1 & 2 of the American series of “Da Ali G Show” for HBO. It’s nice to know that something in the U.K. can get so popular, that even they will rape it for the price of a movie ticket. And here I always thought that was just an American thing. Something that shocked me even more, was when I saw some of the people they got to be in this abomination. One of my favorite actors from “The Office,” Martin Freeman, plays one of Ali’s friends. But the worst part is that he beat-boxes in it… so sad. They even got proper actors like Michael Gambon and Charles Dance to somehow agree to be seen in this film. The story in a nutshell is, Ali works at a community center; but wait, it’s going to be shutdown. Oh, no! But don’t worry, somehow Ali becomes a member of Parliament, and becomes a pawn in a plot to overthrow the Prime Minister, but then helps to return the Prime Minister to power, which he then uses to save the community center. I couldn’t make this up if I tried. Wow. No, really… wow! It’s amazing we got a decent Borat movie after this bomb. Speaking of which, Borat does make a cameo appearance that is shot like a big, oh my god, but they’re the same guy, how can this be, kind of moment. I can’t even go on. I respect you, my readers, too much to subject you to this any longer. Just go back to not knowing that it ever existed and your life will be better for it. Let’s just rate this crap and move on.

Rating:

1 Little People

 

DVD Special Features:

  • Side-Splitting Commentary From Ali G
  • Hysterical Deleted Scenes & Outtakes Too Wild To Show In The Theatres
  • Go Behind The Scenes With Ali G
  • Learn To Talk Like Ali G
  • Photos From The Shoot
  • Trailers

Please let the record show that I did not name these special features, they are written that way on the back of the DVD. I would also like the record to show that I didn’t watch any of these special features, because I watched it on my Xbox’s Netflix account. But for the sake of thoroughness, I will be reviewing them once the disc arrives in the mail. So look forward to that wonderful little nugget of an update.

 

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“Brüno”
a review by Darby O’Gill

Sacha Baron Cohen is back, and this time he’s brought his flamboyantly gay Austrian fashion correspondent, Brüno, to the big screen. I wish I could say it’s a welcomed return, but sadly it just doesn’t live up to its “Borat” predecessor. I think the biggest problem here is that it seems like Baron Cohen truly didn’t try to do anything new. This is the exact same story he told in “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.” The bear has been replaced with an adopted African baby, the Kazakhstan producer was replaced by a homosexual assistant in love with Brüno, and the cross country road trip replaced with… well, nothing, because it is another road trip story. I can’t for the life of me figure out why Sacha has just simply cookie cut this new film. He really didn’t have to. On the original HBO TV series, “Da Ali G Show,” Brüno was a character who would interview people in the fashion industry, which he does if only for a moment in this film. I personally would have liked a more fashion oriented story line. I can’t believe I just said that, because I would never want to watch a movie about fashion, but that’s what this character was created for and is really best at. The reason Borat works so well is because he’s a lovable, culturally challenged, misguided foreigner.The same can’t be said for Brüno, because he’s not misguided. He’s just stupid. The other problem with this film is that much like “Borat” a lot of the film seems staged and faked as real reactions, when clearly they’re not. Where as “Borat” was about 80% of real situations, sadly only 10% of “Brüno” can fit that bill. One of the reasons Brüno works so well in the fashion world, is because everyone in that industry is so self absorbed, that no one would ever question a character like Brüno being real. Once you take him out of that element, its hard to believe anyone would buy his act, which is why this movie doesn’t work. Also with the success of “Borat,” more and more people became aware of Sacha Baron Cohen’s characters, and were therefore not as easily fooled as they may have been in the past.  Is it’s funny? Yes. But in the end it’s just a scripted comedy that is not any different from a skit on “Saturday Night Live.” I really question the situations and reactions in this film, much more than I did in “Borat.” You might just be better off renting “Zoolander” and imagining Brüno in that movie.

 

I also recently found out that one of the bits, which was in the version I saw, has been cut from the film do to the untimely death of Michael Jackson. In said scene, La Toya Jackson is interview by Brüno, as Mexican men are used as chairs and furniture because there is no furniture in the house. La Toya hangs out and politely banters with Brüno, who asks if she could introduce him to her more famous brother, Michael. She kindly says, “No.” But, when Brüno asks to see her cell phone, he finds what is supposedly Michael Jackson‘s phone number, and reads it to his assistant in German. Don’t worry; this joke isn’t completely lost considering they do the same thing with Paula Abdul. I really am on the fence about this film, because parts of it were very funny; however it wants you to believe these situations are real when they’re painfully faked. I’m afraid no amount of gypsy tears is going to save “Brüno” from a low rating.

 

Rating:
2 Little People

 

“Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan”
a review by Darby O’Gill

Hello, my name a Darby. I review movie for you… nice.

In the spirit of comedy legends such as Andy Kaufman, and the boys of Spinal Tap, comes Sacha Baron Cohen’s “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.” In “Borat,” Baron Cohen brings one of his beloved characters from the HBO TV series “Da Ali G Show,” to the big screen. This mocumentary follows the journey of Kazakhstan’s fourth most famous celebrity, Borat Sagdiyev, as he travels to the US and A to document our nation’s culture for Kazakhstan. But when Borat catches a late night marathon of “Baywatch,” he quickly falls in love with its star C.J. Parker, a.k.a. Pamela Anderson, and high jacks the documentary in a cross country trip to California to wed her. The character of Borat has always lent himself to awkward interviews, so it was of no big surprise that he would also lend himself to awkward situations. Now, I don’t want to ruin the magic of Hollywood for you, but there is no such thing as “reality,” be it television or film, unless it’s a true documentary, which “Borat” is not. I don’t think the movie was ever meant to be seen as real, but some of the situations set-up in the film are clearly produced. Meaning, people pretend to not be in on the joke, when clearly they are. This doesn’t ruin the film, it just takes you out of the spirit of the movie every once in a while, and you can’t help but feel lied to because they try to pass it off as real. The best example I can think of is “jackass: the movie,” at no point in that film does anyone being, for lack of a better word, punked, seem to be in on the joke. It’s a perfect example of what “reality” entertainment should be. I don’t mean to paint a poor picture of the film, because it really is a good movie. I would say about 80% of the people being interviewed or talked to by Borat, believe he’s a real person, and have no idea their reaction to him is the joke, which is pretty good. Sacha Baron Cohen is a brilliant comedian; his commitment to the character is truly a testament of his skill. He never seems to brake character, which just makes the character that much more believable to the unsuspecting victim. Overall the movie is truly entertaining and surely secures Borat Sagdiyev a much deserved place among beloved comic characters.

Rating:

4 Little People

 

DVD Special Features:

  • Deleted Scenes
  •  Global P.R. Tour
  •  Music Infomercial

I wish the special features on this DVD were better. The deleted scenes are great. There are eight in all. But the thing I hate is there is no play all button. You have to push play for all eight. It really sucks. However, the deleted scene in the grocery store is just a testament to Baron Cohen’s talent to manipulate situations. You have to see it to believe it. The other thing I would have liked on here is a commentary track. Whether it be Sacha Baron Cohen talking about creating the character and the making of the film; or as Borat commenting on the making of his documentary, a commentary is desperately needed on this DVD.

DVD Special Feature Rating:

1.5 Little People

 

“Public Enemies”
a review by Darby O’Gill

The only public enemy here, is the film itself. Seriously, this movie is going to piss off a lot of people. Wayne and I went to an advanced screening a few months back and we both thought it was a train wreck. Last month I saw a trailer for “Public Enemies” and was like, that looks good… oh wait, but I’ve already seen it and it sucked. I’m telling you Universal got the Leonardo Da Vinci of movie trailers to cut this trailer. And because of that, people who’ve seen the trailer and go to see the movie that’s in that trailer, are going to be really pissed when they find out they just bought a ticket to a slow, boring three hour snooze-fest. If I hadn’t already seen the film and only saw the trailer, I too would be looking forward to this movie. The sad truth is I have seen it and wouldn’t wish it on any of you, hence this review.

Okay, lets get down to it. You would think a movie starring Johnny Depp about John Dillinger, would be a sure bet, but sadly you’d be wrong. Johnny Depp gives an outstanding performance as Dillinger. He brilliantly plays Dillinger as an everyman. His intelligence, charisma, and wit just oozes off the screen. It just makes you want the movie to be that much better. Marion Cotillard’s performance opposite Depp is absolutely stellar. Actually the problem with this film doesn’t lye within the performances, however it’s within it’s vision, or lack there of. Here’s the biggest problem, the story is there, it’s just suffocated by the slow pace of the film. Michael Mann is always a hit or miss director. I think you would be hard pressed to find someone that would call themselves a true Michael Mann fan, because no one likes all of his films. It’s usually a 50/50 mix, at best. While you’re watching this film, you’ll think that’s cool, let’s have more like that, but nope that is quickly replaced with this. Here are some examples: When Dillinger breaks his crew out of prison at the beginning, you think, “Wow this is going to be amazing!” But wait, we’re going to hit the breaks and completely change the feel of the movie. Or when Dillinger is robbing a bank and telling people he’s not there for their money. Hells yeah! John Dillinger is the modern day Robin Hood… sort of? He doesn’t really give to the poor, but he definitely doesn’t steal from them, only the money they’ve already put in the bank. The shoot out and car chase in the woods is amazing and makes you think the third act is going to turn around, but… oh, Michael Mann, you’ve got me again. You’ll also have plenty of time to notice these things, what with the nearly three hour running time. The cinematography of Dante Spinotti all though outstanding, gives the film the look of something grander than it is.

Now to be fair, the film could have changed since the cut I watched, but in order to make it better they would have had to reshoot the whole film, which I know they could not have done. I for one am not willing to sit through it again to find out. If I’m wrong, and the “Public Enemies” you see is fantastic, please leave comments and tell me what you liked about it. If it’s something I didn’t see, I’ll gladly go see it again. I would really like this movie to be good, but until then…

Director’s Cut Rating:

2 Little People



==================== UPDATE ====================


Being a man of my word, the other day I went to another screening of Michael Mann’s “Public Enemies.” This time it was the theatrical cut. The first screening I attended was a test screening, and the running time was easily three hours long. The theatrical cut is just over two hours. I’ve got to say there was a very noticeable difference in the movie’s pacing for the first half of the film. In my earlier review, I mentioned the stop and go pace of the movie really taking you out of the film, just as you were starting to get into it. However in this version, the story just keeps moving, and really improves the first half of the firm. You’ll notice that I keep saying, the first half of the film. That’s because once we get to the second half Mann still slams on the breaks, and gives you nothing but time to think about how long you’ve been watching this movie. For me, it just gave me time to realize I’ve done this twice already. I still stand by my first review, but I will say this cut is just a wee bit better, and ultimately just leaves you still wanting a better movie.

Theatrical Cut Rating:

2.5 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


crips-and-bloods-made-in-america-02

“Crips and Bloods: Made In America”
a review by Darby O’Gill

Stacy Peralta has once again showed us why he is truly one the best documentary filmmakers of our time. I’ve been skateboarding since middle school, so to say I was a fan of “Dogtown and Z-Boys” would be something of an understatement. His follow-up documentary “Riding Giants” was equally amazing. Both films gave the audience an inside look at the birth of skateboarding and surfing, with a beautiful mix of stock footage and truly amazing photographs. The passion of the subject matter in both films was not much of a surprise. After all, Peralta was one of the founding fathers of modern skateboarding, and was surfing even before that. So of course when I heard his next project was going to be a look at the infamous Los Angeles gangs the Crips and Bloods, my first thought was… Really?

Not that I didn’t think he could, it’s just not the first thing I would have guessed for his next project. But it wasn’t until watching his latest opus, that I realized the true genius that is Stacy’s documentary style. Michael Moore is a fantastic filmmaker, but his films are clearly of his opinion and view. Stacy’s films seem more like history books that bust into vibrant life on the big screen. It’s in letting these stories tell themselves that Stacy sets himself apart from all other documenarians. “Crips and Bloods: Made In America” is a testament to that. His ability to tell this story without placing blame, or taking sides, but rather just doing what he can to help, speaks to his unbelievable character. I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Stacy Peralta, but I did have the honor of working with his brother Craig for six years, and I think it’s easy to say that they must have the greatest parents ever! The morals, the decency, the compassion, that these two men have, is truly mind-boggling. Whatever their parents did, worked. If you don’t believe me, watch “Crips and Bloods: Made In America” and see for yourself what humanity looks like.

Rating:

4 Little People

DVD Special Features:
• Interviews with Snoop Dogg & Lil Wayne
• The Making Of Crips and Bloods: Made In America
• Deleted Scenes