Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Heat

Yeah, just...go see The Heat!

Okay, yeah, I know what you're thinking, "Sean! How can you be telling me to go see a movie about some generic looking comedy that just involves the straight lead dealing with the bumbling looking side kick? This seems like the worst movie you can recommend." Well, I'm not going to say that The Heat is a life changing master piece nor am I saying that it's really that great. But when you get right down to it, this movie knows what it's doing and is still absolutely worth seeing because it is FUNNY! Remember funny? It's what movies were when they actually try to tell jokes without devolving to making references and expecting people to laugh all because you made a reference to something your average idiot recognizes. No, this movie isn't exactly the smartest nor the funniest, but the entire movie works in the end, offering a glowing light to what has been a pretty bleak summer thus far.

So, here's the story, though, if you've seen the trailer, you'll probably know the entire plot by now. Ashburn, played by Sandra Bullock, is having some rough patches as an FBI agent. Sure, she actually does a really good job in her line of work, but she has trouble getting along with people while also having to deal with the fact that nobody seems to liker her because of how well she does and also how uptight she can get. Her boss(Hey, it's Tom Wilson, look at that!) assigns her to a partner named Mullins, played by Melissa McCarthy, who is a foul mouthed, loud eccentric who likes to do her job her own way that seems to ignore a lot of regulations. Being the exact opposite of each other, they must learn how to work as partners in order to solve a case that both of them are working on.

Errr, yeah, I know it seems like the most formulaic and dumb thing you can ever put on screen, and, yeah, it is pretty formulaic; I have a feeling a lot of people are going to be skipping out on this movie because of it. But, the thing with this movie is that instead of using formula as a crutch in order to get a movie out without doing a lot of work, The Heat opts to use formula as a tool to accomplish to tell a story your well familiar with in its own way. In other words, making sure that it keeps the audience laughing as much as possible, and, to that extent, it succeeds quite well.

Not only is the really funny but it also provides really well rounded, likable characters. Seeing the trailers, you're probably thinking that McCarthy's character is a bit incompetent, having the jokes revolve around having Bullock's character roll her eyes every time her partner does something soooooooo wacky(!), but that's not the case in this movie. The characters actually do feel quite a bit realistic as they all have to deal with their own problems. And, McCarthy's character isn't as incompetent as she seems, in fact, she's quite capable of getting the job done, she just likes to do things in her own way. And, these are where most of the jokes come from, McCarthy's character pretty much saying some of the most outrageous things ever. Every other line of dialogue she spouts is some sort of snarky comment that just ends up being hilarious.

I can't really talk about most of the jokes here as if I did tell you what these jokes were, you would be expecting them and they probably wouldn't be as funny. But...let me just say how convincing a revolver with one bullet can be.

I don't want to over sell this movie, but as an R-rated comedy that actually turns out to be clever and funny, I've had a more enjoyable time with this movie than a lot of other movies that have come out this year. The movie doesn't exactly have a lot to say or isn't particularly unique(other then showing that it's possible to actually have decent female characters as leads through the movie), but when it comes down to being a comedy and it's this funny, what more could you ask for?

Saturday, June 8, 2013

This is the End

This is the End....

This is the End alright!

This is the End of good comedy!

*ba dum tsh*

Oh, were you expecting me to review either The Purge or The Internship? Were you expecting me to even see those movies? Screw that!

Sure, maybe I'll see them eventually the next time I feel like torturing myself, but, until then, here's something not quite as bad as torture.

To be fair, I probably shouldn't get too mad at this movie because not even Hollywood seems to have faith that it's going to do all that well since it's being released right next to Man of Steel.

So, the movie is based on actors that you know who are supposedly playing themselves, or, more like "so whacky and weird" versions of themselves during an apocalypse. And, honestly, I actually laughed a couple of times during the times when the movie wasn't pretending that it was being funny and actually started being funny. However, those times were only few, making this movie to be kind of bad. Not really awful or anything terribly offensive to movie making itself, it's just that it's kind of stupid.

"But Sean!" I hear you asking, "This movie is supposed to be stupid and that's what makes it funny! I'm not one of those elitists, like you, who only goes to high brow comedies that makes references to Shakespeare or some stupid bull**** like that!" In which case, you're probably exactly the kind of person who would enjoy this movie, but I would also like to point out that you're a fallacious little idiot strawman that I created in order to make a point. So, don't worry, if you're reading this, I'm not talking about you specifically...probably ; )

Anyways, yes, I realize that the movie is supposed to be kind of 'stupid.' The premise itself is incredibly stupid and they just sort of laugh at itself along with the audience. And that's fine really. Unfortunately, that's all it really does and never gets anywhere past "Hey, look how crazy everybody is in this movie!" And, to be fair, most of the time it doesn't even go that far. A lot, and I mean a lot of the jokes are really just non-jokes where the movie just makes a reference and expects people to laugh only because it made that reference. Hey! Are you still not tired of somebody referencing Lindsay Lohan and it's supposed to be funny, because...well...ya know....Lindsay Lohan?

I'm not oppose to jokes that are created by references, just as long as there's an actual joke in there. It'd be like me saying "Hey, did any of you guys actually watch Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band with Peter Frampton and the Bee Gees" and expecting the two people in this world who could actually stand watching that movie all the way through to laugh. And since this movie is made up of Seth Rogan, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinsons, Danny McBride, and Jay Baruchel who just sort of like to talk about the different movie's they've been in, but never really say anything other than "Hey! Remember this movie?"

I'm starting to think that actual humor is starting to die. And, for that, I blame Facebook(Yep, I'm using my movie review page to rant about Facebook!). I can just go onto Facebook right now and see the same four or five incredibly unfunny jokes involving cute animals, or a reference, or Hitler saying the word 'mein' in the wrongest way possible, or the same old tired photos of Ashton Kutcher from That 70s Show shouting "BURN" over some stupid Facebook conversation where somebody supposedly 'burns' somebody else with a snarky comment. Well, that's what watching this felt like for me. A movie that can get by on pretending to be funny, but if you actually start thinking about why a lot of the things in this movie are supposed to be funny, you'll kind of start to realize that it isn't.

Like I said though, it's not like I didn't find this movie to be completely unfunny. During the few times it actually strayed away from making references and actually just tried being funny, I did laugh out loud. In fact, maybe I found more things to be funny in this movie than I remember it being. But, really, in the long run, I didn't like This is the End too much. Now, I know a lot of people who did, including my dad and my brother and all those people who actually applauded at the end of the movie, so, I'm willing to conjure a guess that you'll probably enjoy this movie too.

At the same time, if what I said in this review actually meant anything to you, than maybe you probably won't.

At the same time, at the same time, Man of Steel is coming out around the same time anyway, so, it kind of doesn't matter.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

REVIEW: After Earth


M. Night Shyamalan, what else is there to say about this guy?

I'm actually familiar with his earlier films, IE, the good part of his career where it seemed like we had one of next great, coming of age film makers. The Sixth Sense was incredible, Unbreakable was really good, and Signs, being the first movie I've seen by him, is one I'm willing to call a great horror flick.

And then he came out with The Village, which was an incredibly poorly made, boring film with a supposedly clever twist that also had nothing interesting going on before the beginning. And while I remember actually liking Lady in the Water when I first saw it, keep in mind that it has been a really long time since I last saw the movie and, if I saw it now, my reaction to the movie is subject to change. But, suffice it to say, it's one of his movies that has panned the hardest. I haven't seen The Happening or The Last Airbender, but with the consistent reception his movies seem to keep making, nobody has there hopes up for After Earth.

But is After Earth really as bad as you've heard? Well, I'm not sure if I can say.

To be honest, I was never bored throughout the movie and it does seem to hold together well even with its problems that you can go through. So, I'll give this movie a big 'maybe' I suppose.

If it's one thing that did intrigue me about the movie is that it actually plays by video game rules. The movie is about Jaden Smith and his father, Will Smith, getting trapped on a post apocalyptic Earth that has be vacated by civilized life. In order to escape, Jaden Smith takes orders from his father, who has been injured by the crash that lead them to this planet, in order to make it all the way to the end of the level by way of limited resources, a weapon that can change into many different blades, and checkpoints that he has to go through before the planet becomes to cold for some unexplained reason. This may not seem like it can be good story telling for a movie, but I kind of dug it, even if they never really do anything interesting with this whole concept. You can take your average first person shooter, where, throughout the entire game, there's somebody yelling orders at you to where you have to follow them in order to advance the plot, and you'll get a good idea of what this movie is like, except, unlike most of those games, the main character is actually a character, albeit, a very messy character.

The whole movie is kick started by having Jaden Smith narrate this battle that took place with these monsters who hunt their prey by sensing fear. By removing his fear, Will Smith was able to help win this battle. Jaden Smith hopes to live up to his father's legacy, and there's where the plot of this movie comes from. The movie isn't about a battle or what happens on Earth after Earth(even though it's the title of the freakin' movie) but more about a kid who wishes to be as cool as his father. Talk about a squandered concept.

The reason why I referred to the protagonist as being a bit of a mess as a character is because all of the pieces don't come together until the middle of the movie where we find out that he has a tragic history. To which I have to ask "Why did they wait til then to reveal that?" Well, my only guess is that since M. Night Shyamalan has also become a synonym for 'plot twist,' the director has to live up to his reputation of having a twist in every movie he does even if the movie is worse off because of it.

Well, since this is a movie that takes place in a post-apocalyptic setting, the obvious reference I can make has to go to that boring mess that was Oblivion, which might have been smarter(even if pretty dumb in hindsight) but also more boring. So, I'll give After Earth this. At least their's an actual plot. At least there are things that actually happen in the movie. At least it wasn't boring.

And, when it comes down to it, I'll take something that's dumb rather than boring any time.