The FilmZ The FilmZ

  • Kick Ass

    Posted by Matt Z

    So this is going to be a very cheesy way to start out this review, are you ready for it?  The movie Kick Ass did indeed kick ass!

    Kick Ass is actually Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson), a high school kid who is invisible to girls and is an all around "geek."  He is big into comic books and after getting mugged for what seems like the millionth time, he decides to get himself a green and gold (no he's not a Packer) costume off the web.  His first real attempt at being a superhero ends with him breaking nearly all of his bones.  The upside to this, he is basically a walking metal plate and can take quite a beating.  He's a terrible fighter but it's really funny to watch him try and at times he looks like Harry Potter in tights.

    After a video of Kick Ass getting his you know what kicked gets posted on YouTube, he becomes an overnight sensation.  The video draws the interest of a father and daughter crime fighting team.  Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) looks like Batman and his daughter Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) has a sweet purple wig.  Big Daddy and Hit Girl are the real deal.  They want to take Kick Ass under their wings but even they have to know that he will never be as effective at destroying bad guys the way they do. 

    There is one bad guy that Big Daddy wants dead and that's Frank D'Amico (Mark Strong).  D'Amico is a typical crime boss with a bunch of dumb thugs willing to do his dirty work. 

    The scenes that feature Big Daddy and Hit Girl were my favorite and actually steal the movie away from Kick Ass.  I found myself just wanting more of them and less of everyone else.  Im not a Nicolas Cage fan, I'm just not but in this movie I thought he was great.  Chloe Grace Moretz is perfect as Hit Girl.  Maybe some aren't comfortable watching a 12 year old absolutely dismantle evil doers with a butterfly knife, but I am.

    One of the things that struck me as odd about the movie was the constant use of MySpace.  Could they not get the rights to mention Facebook?  It seemed weird to me that MySpace was used so much because no one talks about MySpace anymore.  Hmmmm.

    This movie is not for everyone.  If you like pretty sweet violence, blood, lots of guns, lots of knives, vulgarity and humor all rolled up into a kick ass ball, then go and see it!  If you don't like all those things, then don't bother.  I just happen to be a fan of all of those things.

        

     

  • Date Night

    Posted by Matt Z

    Steve Carell and Tina Fey play Phil and Claire Foster.  The Fosters are a pretty typical married couple.  They have kids, full time jobs and don't have much alone time with each other.  This is where "date night" comes into play.

    Phil is told by one of his closest friends that he and his wife are going to get divorced.  Phil begins to wonder if that is what's going to happen to him so he decides to take date night a bit more seriously than he has in the past.  He decides that he and Claire should go into the city and eat at a new, trendy restaurant.  What are the odds that they would need a reservation?  I mean it's only New York City!  Predictably they are told their is no room at the inn.  So what's a starving couple to do?  You take someone elses reservation of course!  They pretend to be the Tripplehorns, who didn't show up, and that's when things get a bit hairy.  Two thugs come to the table and tell Phil and Claire to follow them outside.  Turns out the Tripplehorns stole from a very shady character and the thugs have come to collect.  The rest of the movie is all about Phil and Claire on the run, trying to clear their name and trying to save their marriage.

    I was really hoping that the movie was going to be funnier.  That's not to say that I didn't laugh because I did, I just think it could have been a lot funnier.  If you stay for the credits (not many people do) you will see some very funny outtakes that I wish were left in the movie.  Some of the lines that Fey uses in the outtakes would have been hilarious in the movie.  Instead they went with less funny ones. 

    There were two running jokes throughout the movie that I thought should have just been one time punch lines.  The jokes themselves were funny but it felt like they were trying to beat me over the head with them in order to make sure I was laughing. 

    Mark Wahlberg played Holbrooke Grant, a special ops/spy/intelligence guru who the Fosters go to to help them figure out what's going on with the Tripplehorns and the thugs.  I'm convinced Wahlberg was picked for the role in order to make every man watching the movie feel terrible about themselves.  I should add, mission accomplished my friend.  There isn't a single scene in which he has his shirt on.  My advice gents, if you are with your lady on your own date night, send them to go get popcorn just before Wahlberg comes on the screen.  This will save you the "you should really start exercising" conversation after the movie.  I would also like to start the rumor that Mark Wahlberg has signed on to star in the next Twilight movie as the lead werewolf.

    James Franco and Mila Kunis are the Tripplehorns and they were very funny as the low income, thieving couple.  I just wish they would have been in the movie a bit more but I also may have gotten tired of their schtick.  Who knows.

    I did like the movie but I didn't love it.  I wanted it to be funnier and maybe because Carell and Fey were the stars, my expectations were higher for big laughs. 

      

     

  • Clash Of The Titans

    Posted by Matt Z

    "Release the Kraken!"

    If you are not aware, the 2010 version of Clash of the Titans is a remake of the 1981 movie of the same name.  The original was bad in a really good way.  It was corny, overacted and the special effects were goofy.  That's why I liked it.  But let's focus on the new version.

    Perseus (Sam Worthington) is our hero.  He is part man, part god.  He is raised by humans but finds out that Zeus (Liam Neeson) is his father.  Zeus got angry with a human king and slept with his wife.  Man, I hate when that happens.  Anyway, one of the brothers of Zeus, Hades (Ralph Fiennes), kills the human father of Perseus and Perseus seeks revenge against Hades. 

    Hades master plan is to convince Zeus to release the Kraken, a beast that will destroy everything in its path, and that way Zeus will lose all of his power and Hades will be able to defeat him and be the top god.  You see Zeus relies on the prayers of man for his power while Hades feasts on the fear of man.  Man has started to doubt Zeus and they've started to question the need for the gods to rule.  They want to rule themselves.  Hades sees this as his chance to defeat his brother and be the top god.

    Perseus and a handful of soldiers set out to stop Hades and kill the Kraken.  Along the way they have to defeat giant scorpions, huge flying bat like creatures and Medusa.  The special effects are pretty sweet and the 2010 version of the monsters are much, much cooler than the original ones.  And the Kraken kicks ass!!!!  However, I wish there would have been more of the Kraken.  The movie itself was just under two hours and I would have been cool with it being longer if it meant more Kraken. 

    I also kept wondering to myself why Perseus didn't have a beard.  Every male had one in the movie but not Perseus.  Even Zeus had one but his own son decided against it.  It was just an observation.   

    I enjoyed most of the movie but hated the 3-D.  Can we please stop all of this 3-D nonsense?  Wait, let me clarify.  Can we please stop filming a movie in 2-D and then turning it into 3-D?  If companies are going to insist on making movies and showing them in 3-D, THEN FILM THEM IN 3-D!!!!!!!  I wish I would have saved myself the extra money and just watched it in 2-D.  Here's a secret, I took my glasses off a couple of times during the movie and liked what I saw better! 

    The movie was fun, not great by any stretch of the imagination.  And if you aren't really into the whole Greek gods thing, then you may want to skip it.  One last thing, watch it in 2-D!

  • Hot Tub Time Machine

    Posted by Matt Z

    This movie is not meant to be taken seriously.  This movie is not supposed to be taken seriously.  This movie is supposed to be dumb, vulgar, ridiculous, offensive, crazy and funny.  And I liked it.  Now don't get me wrong, it's not a great movie.  It is funny and I found myself laughing out loud much more than I thought I would.

    The movie is about three guys who used to be friends but for several reasons have drifted apart.  Lou (Rob Corddry) winds up in the hospital and Adam (John Cusack) and Nick (Craig Robinson) get called to come pick him up.  The guys decide to give their friendship another shot and so they decide to head to a ski resort that they used to frequent back in the 1980's.  Along for the ride is Jacob (Clark Duke), he is Adam's nephew.

    As they pull into the town it's clear that it's not the happening place it once was.  Now it's run down, businesses are closed but the ski lodge still exists.  The guys decide to give it a shot and actually end up staying in their old room, number 420.  We soon find out that plenty of drugs were done in that room besides marijuana.  When they go onto the deck, you guessed it, there's a hot tub that soon becomes a time machine thanks to some Russian red bull.  And just like that it's 1986.

    We find out that Lou was a loser then just like he is in the present.  Adam is the guy who let the perfect girl get away and Nick was an aspiring musical artist who gave up on his dreams to get the girl of his.  Jacob hasn't been born yet but he does run into his mom.  There is also an appearance by William Zabka (Johnny from the Karate Kid....sweep the leg Jonny!) and it's probably the most uncomfortable scene in the movie.  It's funny but not for those who are easily offended.  Let's be honest, this movie isn't for those who are easily offended. 

    The movie doesn't take us on an emotional journey.  There isn't some great big moral lesson to learn from it.  Well maybe the the moral of the story is that the F word can be used in many, many, many different ways.  Trust me, I'm cool with that.

    Rob Corddry stole the show.  In fact, if he wasn't in the movie I don't think I would have liked it all that much.  He was my favorite Daily Show correspondent and he was my favorite hot tubber.  On the flip side, Chevy Chase let me down.  I don't know if his role was just poorly written (he is the maintenance man charged with fixing the 1986 hot tub) or if it was just his schtick not living up to it's reputation.

    If you go to see this movie, go into it with low expectations and you will be presently surprised.  Just go wanting to laugh and you will.

     

     

      

     

  • The Men Who Stare At Goats

    Posted by Matt Z

    The movie lets us know at the very beginning, "More of this is true than you would believe."  It's not really my desire to try and figure out what's real and not real or what could have been real in this movie.  I was more interested in just sitting down and enjoying a movie, which I did.

    Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor) is a reporter living in Michigan.  He wants to go where the action is and that means Iraq.  While in Kuwait he meets Lyn Cassady (George Clooney).  Wilton remembers the name Cassady from a guy he interviewed back home.  It turns out Cassady was once part of the New Earth Army.  Sort of a ridiculous name right?  Tell that to Colonel Bill Django (Jeff Bridges), it's his concept.  Basically it's all about psychic warfare.  An army of men able to spy from a distance, be stealth warriors, travel remotely in their minds to find prisoners, pass through walls and some even have the power to kill a goat (although I'm not sure goats are a threat to our national security).  Still sound pretty ridiculous?  Then throw in some LSD and it's a real party.  The New Earth Army was supposed to be the wave of the military future.

    Wilton goes with Cassady into wartime Iraq because Cassady is supposed to be on a top secret mission, although we aren't really ever sure what that mission is.  Along the way they get kidnapped, escape and meet a wandering goat.  Seems pretty standard right? 

    There are plenty of flashbacks along the way.  This gives us the chance to experience how the New Earth Army came along.  Bridges plays Colonel Django just like he did The Dude in The Big Lebowski.  Is that a bad thing?  Not if you are a fan of The Dude.  Django turns his recruits into a bunch of little Dudes.  Just your run of the mill long haired hippies who happen to have super powers.  Well some of them do.  Did I mention the recruits, if they pass their training, are called Jedi's?  Well they are!  No wonder Ewan McGregor got cast.  Speaking of cast, it was nice to see Kevin Spacey.  He plays Larry Hooper, an up and coming Jedi who isn't quite as good as Cassady but doesn't want to admit it to himself.  I've always liked Spacey.

    I wouldn't say the movie was hilarious but it was funny.  Clooney didn't play his part over the top or crazy which made his character very believable.  Maybe the Jedi's existed or exist now in some form or another.  Programs are classified for a reason, right?  Or maybe it's all just BS.  I don't really care.  I do know that for 90 minutes I got some laughs.

  • Repo Men

    Posted by Matt Z

    If you can't make your car payments, you lose your car.  If you can't make your house payments, you lose your home.  If you can't make your liver transplant payments, you lose your liver and sometimes your life.  At least that's how it works in Repo Men.

    Remy (Jude Law) and Jake (Forest Whitaker) are the best transplant repo men in the biz.  When it's time to collect, you can be behind on payments for 90 days, they will find you and take your organ back.  It doesn't matter where you are.  You could be at home, at work, in an elevator or even on the street.  In fact, it doesn't even matter if you are unconcious or not.  And they seem to really enjoy getting up to their elbows in blood, literally.

    Then Remy gets a tast of his own medicine.  After an accident he gets a new heart from The Union, the company which supplies the organs and employs him.  90 days go past and it's time for him to pay up but with the help of Beth (Alice Braga) he comes up with a plan to take The Union down and set all the organ recipients free.  Beth by the way has an organ transplant for almost everything in her body and owes on every one of them.  So what's the plan?  Watch the movie!

    I know it's a bit twisted, but the whole slicing someone up to repo organs was sweet viewing on screen.  I actually found myself thinking, "this is sort of sexy" during a scene where Remy and Beth are scanning each others organs.  If I describe it fully, then it ruins part of the movie but because I'm not giving all the details I'm sure you are thinking I'm crazy.  You have to see it (although you still might think I'm crazy).  There was plenty of drama, suspense, action and more comedy than I thought there would be.  I was in the theater with about 15 other people and I could tell they wanted to laugh at things but must have felt awkward.  Not me, I laugh when I want to laugh.  There is also a tasty twist that caught me by surprise.  Check it out.

     

      

       

      

  • Old Dogs

    Posted by Matt Z

    "My beef is not with you old woman...."

    I had an honest laugh only once during this movie and the above line did it for me.  For a movie that's supposed to be a comedy, that's sad.

    Dan (Robin Williams) and Charlie (John Travolta) are best friends who run a sports marketing company.  Dan is divorced and we find out he had a one night stand not long afterwards.  Charlie is a fun loving, ladies man.  The two are on the verge of landing a huge business deal with a Japanese company when things get complicated.  What do I mean by complicated?  How about 7 year old twins!  Not complicated enough?  What if I told you that the twins are Dan's kids from his one night stand?  Apparently he slipped one passed the goalie.  Oh, you figured that out already?  Well I figured out the rest of the movie shortly after the kids arrived.  Yet I continued to watch until the end....we all make mistakes.

    Every attempt at humor you could see coming from a mile away and besides that, the attempts weren't funny.  Justin Long makes a cameo and was the only role to provide a chuckle (he also had the old woman line).  Seth Green played Craig, Dan and John's third wheel, and I normally think he is very funny but not this time around.

    Oh yeah, there's a scene where Dan and Charlie play ultimate frisbee with some camp counselors and it's a complete rip off of the basketball scene from the movie Cable Guy.

    It's supposed to be a family movie and kids might be amused but it's the parents who have to fork over the cash to rent it.  It would have been nice if the writers would have kept that in mind.  My advice, spend your money on gas.  Or rent Cable Guy, just don't let the kids watch that one.  

     

     

  • Basketball Movie Madness

    Posted by Matt Z

    basketball hoop

     

    I love March Madness and with the games getting underway this Thursday, it got me thinking about my favorite basketball movies.  Here's my list (in no particular order):

    Hoop Dreams
    Hoop reality
    -The follow up to Hoop Dreams
    He Got Game
    Hoosiers
    Blue Chips
    -Okay, so it's a Shaq movie but everytime it's on television I seem to sit and watch it. 
    Basketball Diaries
    Air Up There
    Above the Rim
    Glory Road
    Love & Basketball
    -When I told a buddy of mine I like this movie he laughed at me.  Sure it's a love story but what's wrong with that?  I say nothing.
    Space Jam
    Teen Wolf
    White Men Can't Jump
    Coach Carter

    What are your favorite basketball movies?  Disagree with mine?

  • Green Zone

    Posted by Matt Z

    "The reasons for going to war always matter....."

    That line is spoken by Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller (Matt Damon) towards the end of the film, but it's the theme of the movie.  Miller and his team of Army specialists are in Iraq (it's 2003) and are looking for the elusive WMD's.  They go from sight to sight, risking their lives in very hostile situations but always come up empty.  The intelligence they are given isn't accurate.  Miller begins to question why and begins to doubt their existence.  So as a soldier in the middle of a foreign land, how far would you go to find out the answers?  Is it a conspiracy?  Miller needs to know what's going on and he will stop at nothing to find the answers.

    The other main characters are U.S. intelligence agent Clark Poundstone (Greg Kinnear).  Poundstone is busy selling the press that WMD's are out there and he's had meetings with a high ranking Iraqi who confims it.  He also has a Special Forces unit working for him to advance his agenda.  He and Miller don't see eye to eye.

    Martin Brown (Brendan Gleeson) is with the CIA and he's trying to find out the truth about WMD's, just like Miller.  The two team up on their hunt for the truth.  The CIA has been cut out of the loop and they have gone "underground" as an organization because Poundstone refuses to work with them.  But why is that?

    The movie is full of conspiracy theories and cover-ups.  The whole point is that the U.S. lied to the American public about the existence of WMD's and now the war has escalated and it's to late to come clean with the truth.  The reason for going to war is false.  So why did we?  Why can't we just come clean and admit we were wrong?  If we don't tell the truth now, will other countries ever believe us again?

    Keep in mind, this movie is not presented as FACT, it's clearly FICTION.  I know that their will be many people who will hate the movie just because it raises questions as to why we invaded Iraq.  Others will love it for the same reason.  But it's not based on real characters or real events.  If you watch it, view it for what it is, a very good thriller with plenty of action and intense situations.

    There are scenes that are extremely intense.  Miller and his team are traveling by vehicle through the streets of Iraq an come across a large group of Iraqi citizens who seem like they are ready to riot.  They surround Miller's team and you know that at any moment this situation could turn ugly in a hurry.  I had a knot in my gut that whole scene. 

    There are also parts that are predictable and a bit over the top dramatically.  From the opening scene you pretty much know what the theme of the movie is.  It's no mystery unless you really aren't paying attention.  But during a scene at the end between Poundstone and Miller, the writer and director, Paul Greengrass (two of the "Bourne" movies) felt it was necessary to use dialogue that came across very cheesey to hammer home the point.  I actually laughed during the scene and it's not a comedy.  Also, some of the choppy camera work almost made me dizzy.

    Is the movie perfect? No.  Is it a good action movie?  Oh yeah.  I was wrapped up in it from start to finish.  If you want a thriller with plenty of action, check it out. 

       

  • Alice In Wonderland

    Posted by Matt Z

    This is not your mother's Alice.  This Alice (Mia Wasikowska) is now 19 and faced with making a choice to marry a really unappealing dude, Hamish (Leo Bill) or go against everyones expectations.  I mean the guy admires what he just produced in his handkerchief.  Go for it Alice!  Thankfully she gets distracted by a familiar rabbit and down the hole she goes, once again.

    She has been brought back to Underland (not Wonderland) so that she can finally end the reign of the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) and her card army.  It's her destiny to find the Vorpal Sword and use it to slay the Jabberwocky.  I know what you are thinking, why would Alice want to destroy the Jabberwocky dance crew?  I mean they are so talented!  First of all, the dance crew are the JabbaWockeez, so just relax.  Second, I really would like to see that fight.

    Along the way we meet all of Alice's old friends, the White Rabbit (Michael Sheen), Tweedledee and Tweedledum (Matt Lucas), Dormouse (Barbara Windsor), Chesire Cat (Stephen Fry), Blue Caterpillar (Alan Rickman) and of course the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp). 

    I really liked how Burton interpreted these characters especially the Chesire Cat and Blue Caterpillar.  Here's an idea, do a movie based around those characters.  I have no idea what it would be about but I know I would watch it.  They were great to watch and the voices of Fry and Rickman really gave them life and you almost forget that they are computer generated.  The cat and caterpillar stole the show. 

    Depp's Hatter is truly mad in a very good way.  Although, at times I wasn't sure if I was watching the Mad Hatter on screen or Willam Wallace.  Several times Depp uses a Scottish accent for the Hatter that I know Mel Gibson would be proud of.  During the movies big battle scene Hatter is holding a sword and I was just waiting for him to scream, "they may take our lives, but they'll never take our FREEDOM!"  Also, I could have done without a ridiculous dance sequence from the Hatter near the end of the movie.  Seemed really out of place.  Otherwise it was great.

    I thought the Red Queen was great but the White Queen (Anne Hathaway) not so much.  I'm not quite sure what Hathaway was trying to do with the character but I am sure that it didn't work.  At times it seemed as if her version of the White Queen had spent too much time toking up with the Blue Caterpillar.

    There are many versions of Alice and this one was pretty much what I expected it to be.  I'm a big Tim Burton fan and I love his style and imagination.  The characters were crazy and the animation was what I've come to expect from Burton.  I was sort of hoping the movie would have been a bit less sane and a bit more twisted.  Not enough nonsense.  I liked it but didn't love it.