28 April 2010

Date Night

The Perfect Date Night Movie

Date Night has Tina Fey, her biggest starring role was the tepid Baby Mama, with Steve Carell, his biggest starring role was Get Smart (basically an untested leading man) in a movie directed by Shawn Levy, director of Night at the Museums and Cheaper by the Dozen, in a moderate budget comedy. Seems like a “can’t miss.” Both leading roles come from hit comedy series. It boasts a cameo cast of Mark Wahlberg, Kristen Wiig, Mark Ruffalo, Ray Liota, James Franco, and Mila Kunis. It seems way too good to be true. Happily, it wasn’t.

The wife and I went out to see this on a Friday night, we had free passes, it wasn’t like we hit the lottery and decided to forgo the cheap early shows. From the start, we both found it funny. As it went on, the laughs did not let up.

Date Night was a nice mix of North by Northwest and Adventures in Babysitting. I know, it sounds weird, but once you see it, you’ll understand. The Fosters lead a normal, safe, mundane life in the suburbs of Manhattan. They decide to go into the city for a nice dinner to add some spice back into their marriage. When they can’t get a table, they steal the reservation from the Tripplehorns. This innocent act starts an avalanche of hilarity and adventures. It becomes more than they bargained for when they get in the middle of a blackmail scheme gone wrong.

While watching this movie, I had the same thought I have had many times. How can they keep a straight face while doing all this crazy stuff? I could not imagine trying to keep a straight face looking at Tina Fey say, “I need to go home and fart in a shoebox.” I just laughed to myself typing that line.

After we left the movie, satisfied, and impressed, we went out to dinner, where we had a gift card. We managed our “date night” on a paltry $29.00 with tip. Verdict: This is a Must see for fans of Carell and Fey, but you already saw it if you are. If you aren’t, but enjoy a good adventure, this was well worth the watch.

The Losers

Living Up To Its Name = Bad

I was so excited to see this movie. I love the trailer! It looked action packed, full of humor, and a decent cast, include the always attractive Zoe Saldana. It was action packed. It was humorous. Zoe Saldana was gorgeous. So where did it go wrong? It went horribly wrong with Jason Patric as Max. Everyone else was good. Jason Patric’s comedic performance as the villain was as bad as Mark Strong’s was good in Kick-Ass. It is hard to not draw comparisons between these two films. Both are based on little known comics series. Both have no name casts, and directors. The Losers was helmed by Sylvain White, who directed the direct-to-DVD sequel I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer, and Stomp the Yard.

I believe firmly that it was not the script. The actual lines of dialog were not bad. It was Jason Patric’s approach to the role. His right hand man, Wade, should have been the comedic relief, not Max himself. I was even willing to look past the lame weapon of mass destruction. It was an eco-friendly bomb. Ouch.

As for the action, it was stupendous. I loved it. There was no shortage of action in this movie. I really enjoyed the character interaction. They each had their specialty and part to play. They reminded me a little of and IMF team from Mission: Impossible.

The humor was passable. I did find Chris Evans portrayal of Jensen a bit too much like his Johnny Storm. I just hope he tones it down for his Captain America. If not, that could be the worst comic book movie since Catwoman. Idris Elba is always fun to watch. His Roque really just wanted his life back, no games. Columbus Short has been in many films lately, including Stomp the Yard. This was a better role for him than Armored. Oscar Jaenada was Couger, their sniper. He did not have a lot of lines, but it fit his character well. Oscar is a decorated actor in his home country of Spain, but I am not familiar with any of his films. Finally, Jeffrey Dean Morgan is the leader of this unit, Clay. He played himself playing Clay. I think that the only time Jeffrey has not been this character was when he was the Comedian in Watchmen. Then there is the mysterious Aiesha, played by Zoe Saldana. I almost sat down to watch Crossroads because she was in it. But I quickly remembered, so was Britney Spears. Pass.

As a whole, the movie was entertaining, but it felt wrong. As I mentioned before, I blame Jason Patric. On a positive note, Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” has a moment in the film, too. You can never go wrong with Journey. Verdict: Not worth the money in theaters. Yet, it is totally worth a rental. Here’s to hoping Iron Man 2 can get us back on track

19 April 2010


Living Up to Its Name = Good

As it is customary for me to do, I geeked out and delved into the people associated with Kick-Ass. I do love comic books, I went and attempted to purchase the Kick-Ass comics, but they proved hard to find or too expensive when I did find some. Anyway, the director, Matthew Vaughn, has really only directed Layer Cake and Stardust before embarking on this journey. I love Layer Cake, and believe that it is underseen.  So, that made for an interesting beginning.  The titular actor is Aaron Taylor-Johnson, a relative nobody. Throw in McLovin from Superbad, the little sister from (500) Days of Summer, Nicolas Cage and Mark Strong as the villain, and I was sold. The trailer looked good. So, off I went, with the wife in tow, curious to see if the movie could live up to its name.

It opens with a voice over of why ordinary people are not superheroes. We then meet Dave (Johnson) and his two comic loving friends Todd (Evan Peters) and Marty (Clark Duke) at the comic store/soda jerk. We briefly meet Chris D’Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), who later becomes Red Mist. From there, we get a glimpse into the life of Dave. He is a nobody at school. His only friends are the ones we have already met. One day, after leaving the comic shop, they get “held up” by some thugs who threaten physical violence if they do not surrender their money and other valuables. A man witnesses this, but does nothing to help them.

This is the changing point for Dave. He decides he is going to become a superhero. His first attempt does not go well for him. On his second attempt, he is made into a YouTube sensation. From here, the story really takes flight. We are introduced earlier to Mindy (Chloe Grace Moretz) and Damon Macready (Cage), but now we meet their alter-egos, Hit-Girl and Big Daddy. They are a father-daughter duo reminiscent of Batman and Robin. They have an ulterior motive to warn and help Kick-Ass. Red Mist enters the scene as yet another superhero. The main bad guy is a villainous mobster/drug dealer Frank D’Amico, played to perfection by Mark Strong.  He just plays evil so well.

As the story unravels, there is plenty of violence, more than enough profanity, and not a shred of dignity. The movie’s other turning point occurs in time to ramp up the action one last time for a final assault on the villain’s stronghold.

Throughout the movie, the actors play their roles solidly. Nic Cage goes a little out there with portraying Big Daddy like Adam West did Batman. It kind of works, but it was not given enough time to really work. McLovin was great in his role. Chloe Grace Moretz tore it up as Hit-Girl. As a warning, if you are not a fan of children cussing and using offensive language, this is not your film.

Kick-Ass had enough plot twists to keep you guessing, but not too many to where it became tiresome. It was a nice balance of action and story. As the title suggests, the movie did indeed kick ass. This movie officially opens the summer movie season for me. It is the first of three comic book movies in four weeks. Next week is The Losers. Two weeks later is Marvel’s Iron Man 2.

RATING: 7.5/10

08 April 2010

I have no idea why I did not post this right away. This is going to be my "Movie-of-the-Year." This is the must-see for me. Too much testosterone for just one movie. I will keep you posted.

05 April 2010

Why Did I Get Married, Too?

The wife and I went to see this movie on Sunday morning. We both loved the original. I thought a sequel seemed like a terrible idea. But, I trusted Tyler Perry to not destroy what he had built. So, we saw it. It blew me away. The original covered common ground. Each couple had secrets and dirty laundry. The laundry got aired out in a memorable dinner table scene. At the end of the first movie, the characters faced their conflicts and changed accordingly, or suffered the consequences. I did not understand why a sequel was needed.

Simple, Tyler Perry had other grounds to cover. I could not believe where the beloved characters from the first film went. They went into some dark places. They went into some heavy places. Yet, like the original, all the characters either changed or suffered from the conflicts. I felt bad for all of them at some point in the film. That made the film interesting. Since we already knew the characters from the previous film, he was able to cover so much in 2 hours. There was a hint at infidelity between a few couples, a divorce that got ugly, and trust issues among them all.

As a twice laid-off worker this past year, I really felt bad for and connected with Troy. He uprooted his life in Colorado and moved to Atlanta because Sheila wanted to. Once there, he had trouble finding a job. That made money problems float to the surface. With the other couples in the movie all being well-off, Troy went through feelings of inadequacy and had problems feeling as though he fit in with the rest of the group.

With sequels come the replacements. Yet, this sequel had all the original actors back in their roles. I really appreciate that. I also found it impressive. Each actor brought the same antics from the original back. For those of us that loved Angela, she is crazier this time around. Also, for those of us that cannot stand Janet Jackson’s terrible acting, she brought that back with her. This time around though, I found Sheila to be a bad actress. I do not remember thinking that when I watched the first movie. Making an appearance was Louis Gossett, Jr. and Cicely Tyson. Louis looked old. I know he is over 70, but he looked really old.

Verdict: There was one flaw to this film. There was a shameless cameo at the end that I did not care for. I will not spoil it for anyone. But, I like the actor and respect the actor. I just felt like it almost forces a third movie to be made. If that scene was left off the film, I would say this was better than the original. In the end, I would recommend this movie to anyone that loved the original. To those of you that haven’t seen the first one, why not? Rent it, then go see this one!

As a final thought, Bring on Why Did I Get Married, Again?!?!?!