Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Get Him to the Greek - 2 1/2 stars

This movie had a lot of potential. It started out really funny, and for a while they are just throwing out jokes left and right. Not every one works, but enough work that I was laughing constantly.

Then the movie gets weird, and then the movie gets serious. And it doesn't work anymore. Too much sentimentality just doesn't make this kind of movie better. It kills the momentum.

Jonah Hill and Russell Brand are both best as supporting characters, but Jonah Hill is the lead in the movie. He actually does a decent job of playing the straight man, but I think the movie would have worked better with a better actor that we can relate to. He plays Aaron, a guy working at a record company run by P. Diddy. Diddy is really enjoying playing the asshole, and he gets some laughs, but his scenes should have been trimmed just a bit.

Aaron's job is to pick up rock star Aldous Snow (Brand) and take him from London to the Greek Theater in LA in time to play a big concert. Snow is a typical rock star - all he wants to do is drink, do drugs, and get laid, and he doesn't really care if they make it to LA in time. Meanwhile Aaron's live-in girlfriend Daphne (Elisabeth Moss) works round the clock shifts at the hospital. She is offered a good job at a hospital in Seattle, and when she suggests they movie there, she and Aaron fight and split up.

There are some great cameos in the movie, including Rick Schroder, Lars Ulrich, and Tom Felton. Colm Meaney plays Aldous's dad, and he is always good. Aziz Ansari is very funny, but he is only in the first 10 minutes of the movie. I think the movie should have been about 15 minutes shorter, and they should have lost the stuff regarding Aldous's emotional issues (he is lonely and depressed, and that's why he acts the way he acts). If the movie had stuck with the funny, it would have been worth recommending.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Friday, June 11, 2010

RUSH: Beyond the Lighted Stage - 4 stars

Full disclosure: Rush is one of my favorite bands of all time, and I play in a Rush tribute band. That being said, this is a great movie. This documentary has everything one would want to know about Rush. Even if you don't like Rush, you will find something to like in this story about three guys who wrote and recorded the music they wanted to record, and stayed true to their own musical vision (despite the interference of too many keyboards in the '80s).

The A-Team - 3 1/2 stars

I never watched the show, so I don't know how faithful the movie is to the show. But the movie was a lot of fun. The action was great and there was a lot of humor.

The Karate Kid - 2 1/2 stars

Not bad, but it should be called The Kung-Fu Kid. It also doesn't need to be 2 1/2 hours long. It is not quite as good as the original, but there is some good kung-fu fighting in it.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Splice - 3 stars

Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley are research scientists. They are splicing DNA together to try and come up with new species. They're doing this to try and find new hormones to fight diseases.

One day, they create something really strange. I'm not going to tell you if it is part human. I'm not going to say whether it gets smart, and starts killing people. I'm also not going to tell you if it gets horny ...

If you like creepy horror movies, you may like this. It's more unnerving than it is scary. I enjoyed it, but I don't think I would watch it again.

Killers - 1 star

No wonder Lionsgate didn't want any critics to see this before it came out. It is so bad that I can't believe anyone wrote the dialogue and expected an audience to take it seriously.

Ashton Kutcher is a CIA assassin. He meets Katherine Heigl in Nice. He is on a job, she is on vacation with her parents, played by Tom Selleck and the great Catherine O'Hara. They meet, go out on a date, then the movie cuts to three years later. They are married, and he has quit being an assassin. He never did tell her he was an assassin, probably because he read the script and there wouldn't be a movie if he had.

The plot kicks into action when people show up trying to kill Kutcher. Of course his wife it there, and yes there is a scene where has asks her to go get his gun, and she carries it like it's a dead animal and she is afraid to touch it. Even though her dad shoots skeet in his backyard, she apparently has never handled a gun before.

I actually laughed at the movie, but that was because I saw it with friends, and we talked over it the whole time, MST3K style. There is no way to take it seriously. Kutcher and Heigl are horrible in it. The only one who actually gives a good performance is Catherine O'Hara, and it's because she knows how bad the movie is, and she is having fun with it. Tom Selleck gets some laughs too.

When the end comes and we find out who was trying to kill him and why, it is about the dumbest reveal I have ever seen. It's at this moment that I realized the filmmakers were trying to make their own version of a crappy Roger Corman b-movie.

It really sucks.

Harry Brown - 2 1/2 stars

Michael Caine plays Harry Brown. His daughter died long ago, and his wife dies early in the movie. So he is all alone. His only friend is Leonard, played by David Bradley, Filch from the Harry Potter movies. Leonard and Harry meet at the local pub and play chess regularly.

The apartment complex where they live is run by a violent gang. When the gang kills Leonard, Harry goes all Charles Bronson and starts killing them off.

Michael Caine is always good. I don't think he has ever given a bad performance. Unfortunately the movie lets him down. One thing I didn't like was the look of it. It was kind of dark. Even when scenes take place in broad daylight, it had a dark look to it. The movie also didn't have any humor. I always say that it doesn't matter what kind of a movie it is, it needs to have a little humor.

I also didn't like the end. This isn't the kind of movie that needs a surprise reveal at the end. I'm OK with a character turning out to be a relative of one of the gang members. I can buy that that character doesn't want his relative to be killed, even though he knows the kid deserves it. But I don't buy it when that character is suddenly a ruthless killer himself.

Overall, the movie is dark and depressing. I can't really recommend it.